Nobodies.ReignXA.29.11.2020

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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The Other Lectionary’ - a suggested ‘southern hemisphere’ Lectionary (with a few Resources added) offered in parallel to,
or even replacement of,  the RCL which is in standard use by many.


A GATHERING LITURGY FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
26 November 2017. Reign of Christ A. (White).
Jesus and his Kingdom of Nobodies Sunday

Worth Pondering
“The Kingdom is not a thing to be observed
but the experience of God within human activity”
(John Shea)

Acknowledgement of Country/First Peoples
(An act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years Indigenous people have walked
in this land, on their own country.
Their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives.

We acknowledge the (NN) People of the (NN) Nation, past, present, emerging,
and their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.

First Peoples Statement to the Nation 2017 called “Uluru Statement from the Heart” HERE
A Response from Common Dreams5 Conference of Religious Progressives,
Australia/South Pacific 2019  
HERE

(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Rich and Striking Visuals
          “The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality which is richer and deeper
          and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (Henry N. Wieman)
          Multi-sensory artwork
OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Slides 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Come in bringing all of who you are.
Calm your hurried pace.
For this hour let the cares, the fretfulness and worry, be set aside.

Know that you are not alone. 
There is strength and caring support for you here.
(Adapt. C S Owen-Towle)

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence, then...

"We call upon the power which sustains the planets in their orbits,
that wheels our Milky Way in its 200 million year spiral,
to imbue our personalities and our relationships
with harmony, endurance, and joy.

"Fill us with a sense of immense time so our brief, flickering lives
may truly reflect the work of vast ages past
and also the millions of years of evolution whose potential
lies in our trembling hands." (Australian deep ecologist) John Seed, Thinking Like a Mountain, 1988)

Note: (i) A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE
(ii) Additional Special Purpose Hymns that cover major international events or themes can be found HERE  They include the categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees, 10 Terrorism, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism
HERE
(iv) On Wonder, Awe, and Nature HERE

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"You Are Born In Us Again”  (Tune: ‘Dunstan’)                                                                 52 COC
You are born in us again
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
to melt away the icicles of vanity and pride;
you come to blow the very doors of loving open wide.
Like the warmth of the summer wind you come,
like the warmth of the summer wind you come.

You are born in us again
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
You come to quench the thirsty and to freshen up the land;
you come to clean away the dust that settled in our hand.
Like the scent of the summer rain you come,
like the scent of the summer rain you come.

You are born in us again
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
to give light to the places that have never seen the Son;
you come now to embrace us, you’re the holy, holy one.
Like the light of the summer sun you come,
like the light of the summer sun you come.  MWilson
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
v1  A morning mist,
the gleam of a new day,
faintly we discern the possibilities that are before us.
All   Energy rising, plans turning to action,
we build our every yesterday
from the living of our days.

v2   May we live our hope into tomorrow.
All   May we wrap our lives around
the challenges of today.

v1  And in the quiet of the sacred space,
may we listen at the centre of our being
for the truth of our inner voice
v2   that sets before us the purpose of this day.  (Adapt.Gretta Vosper/ab)

Act of Awareness
The world is always radiant.
Whether at night under the dimmest starlight,
or at noon under the brightest sun,
the world is giving forth a vast legend.

It only awaits the involvement of the eye,
the engagement of the ear.

So let us live this moment in all its fullness,
for in it is all realization, all time.  (Adapt.Kenneth Patton/sscl)

OR

We pray:
Christ be with me, Christ before me,
Christ be after me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left. 
(Adapt. St Patrick)
May it be so.

Hymn  O Life That Maketh All Things New”  (Tune: ‘Truro’, LM)                               54 HCL
O life that maketh all things new,
The blooming earth, our thoughts within!
Our pilgrim feet, wet with thy dew,
In gladness hither turn again.

From hand to hand the greeting flows,
From eye to eye the signals run,
From heart to heart the bright hope glows;
The seekers of the Light are one.

One in the freedom of the truth,
One in the joy of paths untrod,
One in the soul’s perennial youth,
One in the larger thought of God;

The freer step, the fuller breath,
The wide horizon’s grander view,
The sense of life that knows no death,
The Life that maketh all things new.  (Samuel Longfellow/Revised by D S Harrington)

OR

E=mc2: Einstein/Science/Religion (Tune: ‘Stewardship’ 11.10.11.10)
God is less tangible than a neutrino
(taking a short-cut? Or faster than light?
Challenging theories, sustained suppositions).
Can we be certain that we are so right?

All our theology, all speculation
must be provisional, never a creed.
Is the best test of 'divine' revelation
how it is mending those broken, in need;

Open to challenge, to intellect, reason;
forging new concepts in culture and place;
yet in humility focusing loving,
open, accepting and channelling grace?  © Andrew Pratt 26/9/2011
People sit

Welcome
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are worshipping at (NN) for the first time
or who have returned after an absence.

Your presence both enriches us and this time of celebration together.
Refer to printed liturgy.
Fellowship hour following worship.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

CENTERING

Centering Silence
In the safety of this sacred place
I invite you now into a time of silence.
(Silence)

May our ears be attuned to hear
the great symphony of the universe, and
in the solo of another’s face...
(Silence)

Spoken Reflection
"Imagine Integrity"
By Bruce Sanguin. If Darwin Prayed/162.

Mighty and tender God,
you, the deep within all,
you, the encompassing heart of all,
we enter now into your kin-dom,
your community of wholeness,
a realm of peace.

We bring our hunger,
and the hunger of the world.
We bring our inner stranger,
and the exiled of the world.
We bring our hurting selves,
and the hurting of the world.
We open to healing.

Inspired,
we dare to imagine integrity
in our inner life, our relationships,
our planet, and our political systems.

We dare to imagine the reign of Christ.
Love's Servant,
your heart
for an unfolding cosmos.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Wisdom from the Religious Traditions
xxx

• "At the Margin”
By Stephen M. Shick. Consider the Lilies/48

At the margin of a newly cut field,
where every blade still stands secure,
where every bud is fearless now,
a lily
        turns to the dawn
                  and opens.

Here, in the kingdom of the living,
        danger has passed,
        and clustered buds,
        moist and swollen,
        choose their day.

We too grow at the margins,
where our fear of cutting is faced,
where we accept our lowly place,
where we explode in the dawn,
        with the brilliance
                  of a flower.

OR

• “Christ on the Margins”
By Marlene Marburg.

He upturns the table

They upturn the soapbox

He reads the raw underside

They read the soapie side

He speaks of love and vulnerability

They speak of law and certainty
He is crucified
…
They are crassified.

OR

• "Distinguishing History from Confession”
By David Galston.
Embracing the Human Jesus/17.

Taking the historical Jesus seriously mans saving Jesus from the imperial church
and the memory of the Christian Empire - the days
when everyone was Christian whether they wanted to be or not.

This is no easy task.
Despite the apparent waning of Christianity in Western experience,
the desire to preserve it for nostalgic reasons remains in place.
Even among 'progressives', the point often is
to explain Christianity correctly and to modernize its language
but not genuinely to alter its foundational beliefs.

The historical Jesus, though, is all about the challenge of alteration.

Recovering the human Jesus means recovering someone who is not the Christian savior
or anybody else's for that matter.

A positive future for religion rests on a basic turn to honest human existence.
No one really comes from heaven, and no king or emperor
or great mind is ever anything but human like everyone else.

The imperial language used to name Jesus, even when the satire is noticed,
still delivers Jesus to a lofty place beyond his humanity and,
accordingly, beyond honest hope that might be associated with him.

• Matthew 25:31-46  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
When the Promised One comes in glory, with all the angels,
then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
All the nations will be gathered before him,
and he will separate people one from another
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
and he will put the sheep at his right hand
and the goats at the left.

Then the king will say to those at his right hand,
Come, you that are blessed of God,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
for I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me.

Then the righteous will answer him,
When was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food,
or thirsty and gave you something to drink?

And when was it that we saw you a stranger
and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?

And when was it that we saw you sick
or in prison and visited you?’

And the king will answer them,
Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these
who are members of my family, you did it to me.

OR

• “Sand and Foam”
By Kahlil Gibran

Once every hundred years, Jesus of Nazareth meets Jesus of the Christians
in a
garden among the hills of Lebanon.
And they talk long;
And each time Jesus of
Nazareth goes away saying to Jesus of the Christians,
‘My friend, I fear we shall
never, never agree’.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: ‘Call to be Church’ (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together the litany, ‘Call to be church’.
The people stand as they are able

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Le   enable us to create - across
cultural, age and class boundaries –
a laboratory of peace,
testing out your vision
of community and love as we struggle
live with our differences.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Ri   enable us to be a parable of the Kingdom,
allowing the upside-down values of your commonwealth
to nudge us away from the acquisitive
and self-regarding attitudes of our day.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Le   enable us to be a sign of contradiction among the nations,
pointing to hope in the midst of disillusion,
offering non-violent resistance when evil threatens,
accepting loss of prestige or wealth in the cause of justice.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
Ri   enable us to be a place of welcome and warmth,
where what is ignored elsewhere may be heard and honoured,
where sorrows may be shared and stories told,
where hard questions may be asked and new ideas greeted with joy.

Our God, you call us to be Church:
All   enable us to be a community of praise,
cracking open the dry husks of cynicism and despair,
being clowns and jesters for Christ,
celebrating the mystery of faith in stillness and song.
   (
Kate Compston/sco)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you. (David Galston/q)
All  And also with you.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours

OR

Namaste
Facing the person with right hand on your heart and a slight bow of the head…

The Divine in me honours the Divine in you.
OR

The Light in me recognises the Light in you.
OR

The spirit within me sees the spirit within you.

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Here Stands a Stranger, Who is She?(Tune: ‘Saffron Walden’, 88.86)
Here stands a stranger, who is she?
We do not know.  What do we see,
someone who threatens you and me?
Is she a foe, or friend?

Here stands a person, young or old,
seeking asylum, so we're told.
How does he fit your frame or mould?
Is he your foe or friend?

Here stands a child: assess her need.
What should we offer so we heed
her cry of hunger, so we feed
this child?  This foe?  This friend?

Here stands a person, this time, you.
The choice is yours.  What will you do
to ask this stranger in, or sue
this foe, who could be friend?

Here is a mirror, see your face.
What do you offer; hatred, grace,
now in this very time and place,
to Christ you call your friend.  (Andrew Pratt/ssb)

OR

Nature’s Beauty(Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87.87.47 Extend)                                         4 SNS3
Nature knows her sounds and movements
Heard and seen each day and night;
All her life in rich abundance
Fills my heart with great delight;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world so bright.

Fearsome winds cause trees to whimper;
Storms can force the clouds to cry;
Raindrops, snowflakes dance together;
Sun and moon wink in reply;
Celebrate with adoration
All the wonders of the sky.

Celebrate all hidden textures;
Value all the roots below;
Celebrate all covered spendour;
Value beauty not on show;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world we know.

Creatures bold and creatures timid
Offer beauty, each unique;
Trees and flowers paint a picture
On the plain and mountain peak;
Celebrate with adoration;
All revealed for those who seek.

We are blest with such profusion;
Beauty bursts out everywhere;
If we take the time to ponder
We may find a thankful prayer;
Celebrate with adoration
Thankful for the world we share.  (George Stuart)
People sit

Offerings

Presentation
As we bring our offerings forward,
may our whole life move forward,
in good faith,
with good feelings,
and with a good belief about the future.  (Adapt.Francis Macnab/h)

With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat

Conversation:

"Somewhere someone:"

The kingdom of love is coming because:
All  
somewhere someone is kind when others are unkind,
somewhere someone shares with another in need,
somewhere someone refuses to hate, while others hate,
somewhere someone is patient - and waits in love,
somewhere someone returns good for evil,
somewhere someone serves another, in love,
somewhere someone is calm in a storm,
somewhere someone is loving everybody.
Is that someone you?
 (Binkley & McKeel/jke)

In Solidarity
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
In joy and in sorrow
All  We do not walk alone.  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take this flame and light our special care candle...
The Care Candle is lit

For ourselves, for those named or remembered, and in solidarity with those
who have not the freedom to express their concern or celebration
for fear of discrimination or condemnation…

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among us,
and to see new possibilities of the now.

The 'Abba' Prayer: (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All  O God, you love us like a good parent,
and are present in every aspect of our existence

May your nature become known and respected by all
May your joy, peace, wholeness and justice 
be the reality for everyone
as we live by the Jesus Way

Give us all that we really need to live every day for you
And forgive us our failures as we forgive others for their failures
Keep us from doing those things which are not of you,
and cause us always to be centred on your love

For you are the true reality in this our now,
and in all our future.
In the Jesus Way we pray.  Amen
. (David Sorrill)

SCATTERING

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
If We Can But Love”  (Tune: ‘If We Can But Love’, 55.55.55)                                    15 SC
Life is ours in vain 
If we have no love. 
But remember this: 
Love’s not only bliss: 
And be not dismayed.
Life is ours in vain.

Light and sister shade.
Shape each mortal day.
Seek not to evade
And be not dismayed.
Welcome too its pain.
Light and sister shade 

OR

“Celebrate the Bush and Cities”  (Tune: ‘Brookside’, Alternative Tune: ‘Abotts Leigh’)
Musical Score:
www.methodist.org.nz/resources/othernzhymns/Aotearoa hymns songsandchants

Celebrate the bush and cities,
Honour people and the land,
Weave their many diverse cultures
Till they form one golden strand.
Let the people bring together
All their many cultured ways
Finding deepest thoughts and feelings
Resonate in songs of praise.

Think of how the fearless migrants
Came in waka, ship or plane.
Each would claim this place as homeland,
Space they called their own domain.
Honour all who made the journey
Chasing dreams that surged ahead;
Celebrate each pioneer spirit
Whether living or long dead.
* ‘waka’ = canoes
Remain standing

Parting Words
The presentness of God reaches beyond this place...
The Community Candle is extinguished

May we open ourselves ever more fully to that Eternal Mystery
which lures us onward toward life and creativity.
All  May we find the courage to live our faith,
to speak our truth, and to strive together for a world
where freedom abounds
and justice truly does roll down like water.

May we know the fullness of love without fear,
and the serenity of peace without turmoil.
All  May we hold one another
in the deep and tender places with compassion,

and may we grace one another
by sharing our own vulnerabilities,
All  being ever mindful of the divinity within
that makes soulmates of us all.
  (CMeyer)

Words of Blessing
As the kookaburra gently settles on the tree, receive the gift of peace.
As the flame rises with light and warmth, receive the gift of life.
As the wind moves and dances round the earth,
receive the gracious gift of the Spirit. 
(Adapt.David Stewart/wb)
All  Amen. May it be so.

Hymn/Song  (Cont) If We Can But Love”  (Tune: ‘If We Can But Love’, 55.55.55)         15 SC
Grief is not in vain.
If the fates ordain
Love and sweetest life,
Welcome too its pain.
Grief is not in vain
If we can but love. 
(Oodgeroo of the Tribe Noonuccal)
(Adapted by Daniel Ryan from the poem “Song”)

OR

“Celebrate the Bush and Cities”  (Tune: ‘Brookside’, Alternative Tune: ‘Abotts Leigh’)
Musical Score:
www.methodist.org.nz/resources/othernzhymns/Aotearoa hymns songsandchants

Let us reverence plants and creatures,
Birds and fish of sea and stream,
Viewing bush as sacred temple,
Holding air in high esteem.
Then our children will inherit
More than family wills can bring;
They will share the world of Nature,
Drinking from life's sacred spring.  (William L Wallace)
The people sit after the hymn/song

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Significant Events
Journey Candles

Music

Fellowship
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in this time of fellowship.

You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend


Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
Abbott, M.
Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal Use. Unley. MediaCom Education, 2001.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
(COC) Carol our Christmas. A Book of New Zealand Carols. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1996. 
Duncan, G. (ed). A World of Blessing. Benedictions from Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2000.
Duncan, G. (ed). Seeing Christ in Others. An Anthology for Worship, Mediation and Mission. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 1998.
Duncan, G. (ed). Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A Worship Resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.
(HCL) Hymns for the Celebration of Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 1964.
Galston, D. Embracing the Human Jesus. A Wisdom Path for Contemporary Christianity. Oregon. Polebridge Press, 2012.
Gibran, K.
Sand and Foam. A Book of Aphorisms. NY. Alfred A. Knopf, 1970.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Macnab, F.
Hope:The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart . Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
Patton, K.
Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
Sanguin, B.
If Darwin Prayed. Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics. Vancouver. ESC Publishers, 2010.
(SNS3) Stuart, G.
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 3. Toronto. G Stuart, 2011.
Vosper, G. 2008. 
With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more Important than what we Believe. Canada. Toronto. HarperCollins.
Vosper, G. 
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.

Web sites/Other:
Meyer, Owen-Towle, Beattie, Sorrill. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Andrew Pratt. "E=mc2". Direct from the author.
“Christ on the Margins” Marlene Marburg. Eureka Street eZine, 31 October 2011
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/

rexae74@gmail.com