Pentecost3A.21.6.2020

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
21 June 2020. Pentecost 3A.  (Green).
Winter (Southern Hemisphere)

Worth Pondering
“Religion lives only while we are making it up,
while our imaginations are firing and we are generating new angles,
new narrative and new metaphors”
(Don Cupitt)

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

v1  Life is a journey with others;
we travel as a people, on a winding road.
v2  We share our lives, our experiences, our hopes, our fears.

v1 So as we gather, let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this flame and give praise for
the gifts that lift and inspire our living:
music, art, creativity and all beauty.

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 these 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. Terrorist Attacks, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) Some specific resources on Terrorism
HERE
(iv) On Wonder, Awe, and Nature HERE

Hymn/Song   The people stand as they are able, to sing
God is Surroundly Inherent" (Tune: "Wunderbarer Konig", 668D 33. 66)                                    14 SNS2

All the cosmos beaming;

All creation gleaming;
So we stand in awe and silence.

Galaxies are dancing;

Stars, the night enhancing;

Constellations claim our reverence.
God's own heart

Seen in part,

Shines in all the brilliance;

Shows forth God's transcendence.

Microscopic sources

Hold such mighty forces

In the atom's sacred magic.

Germs can be our masters;

Makers of disasters;

So minute, yet cause 'the tragic'.

Smaller still

Genes, with skill,

Breed God's inborn presence
In our human essence.

God is all, surrounding;

Source of life abounding;

Ground of being, spirit swelling.

Inmost at our centre,

There we all encounter
God as love and grace indwelling.
We adore
Evermore

Worshipped down through history,

God the wondrous mystery.  (George Stuart)

OR

Morning, So Far To See(Tune: ‘Schonster herr Jesu’, 66.96.68)                                        42 SLT
Morning, so fair to see,
night, veiled in mystery –
glorious the earth and resplendent skies!
Pilgrims, we march along,
singing our joyous song,
as through an earthly paradise.

Tall are the verdant trees;
deep are the flashing seas;
glorious each wonder the seasons bring.
Brighter is faith’s surmise,
singing in pilgrim eyes,
from which our waking spirits spring.

Age after age we rise,
‘neath the eternal skies,
into the light from the shadowed past:
still shall our pilgrim song,
buoyant and brave and strong,
resound while life and mountains last.  
(Vincent B Silliman)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
We are met in the presence of the Sacred
All  
And we do not meet alone.
With the angels in highest heaven,
All  
We gather to worship this present God.
With the saints of every age,
All  
We gather to celebrate this present God.
With the church throughout the world,
All  
We gather to honour this present God.

We are met in the presence of the Sacred we name God
All  And we do not meet alone.

OR

v1   In darkness seeds are drawn to germinate,
flowers prepare to bloom and our dreams unfold.
All  Darkness is gift.

v2   In darkness, the edges blur.
Boundaries between reality and fantasy,
between friend and stranger become fluid,
opening new possibilities.
All  Darkness is gift.

v1   In darkness, when our eyes rest, our ears
become more attentive to the sounds
of story, of lullaby, of wind, of loved ones breathing in the night.
All  Darkness is gift.

v2   In the darkness, we find space for reflection;
for deep, dream filled and refreshing sleep.
We are bidden to journey into the unconscious.
All  Darkness is gift.

v3   In the darkness of the womb, we were formed in great complexity.
Under the cover of darkness, many creatures have their being.
Only in the deepest darkness, can we see the star- studded sky.
All  Darkness is a gift of grace.
As we celebrate the shortest Winter day,
may we also celebrate the many gifts of darkness. 
 (Adapt.Nancy L Steeves/st.pn-t)

Act of Awareness
The earth turning…

Exploding orb of helium and hydrogen,
firing our lives into existence.
We are here.
We mindfully take our places in life again.

Imagine… we are one, connected, human family.
Be and know that you are the ones the world awaits.
Each of you here and now:
a difference,
a beautiful presence.

Each… of you.  (Adapt.Bob Kleinheksel/C3Exch)

OR

We pray:
Surprising God, as you lead us into new experiences,
help us to be open to your presence among us and within.

Let us sense your glory
in the sights and sounds of this winter day.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  We Are Many”  (Tune: ‘Hamilton’)                                                           67 FFS
We are many, we are one,
and the work of Christ is done
when we learn to live in true community,
as the stars that fill the night,
as a flock of birds in flight,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine;
as the branches of a tree,
as the waves upon the sea,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine.

All division is made whole
when we honour every soul,
find the life of God in every you and me,
as the fingers of a hand,
as the grains that form the sand,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine;
as the threads upon a loom,
as a field of flowers in bloom,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine.

We will join creation's song,
make a world where all belong,
build as one in peace and loving harmony,
as the voices of a choir,
as the flames within a fire,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine;
as the snowflakes in the snow,
as the colours of a bow,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine. 
Colin Gibson
The people sit

OR

If in the Southern Hemisphere
Through Winter Cold(Tune: ‘Chilcombe’)                                                                     139 HoS
Through winter cold and drifted snow,
through bitter wind and biting frost
the silent seeds of spring will grow
and buried dreams will not be lost.

Within God’s world, as seasons turn,
we sleep and grow, with changing need
to shed old concepts and to learn
the faith that sprouts like mustard seed.

It is compassion warms the day
and hugs the lonely or the cold,
speaks out for justice, come what may
when people’s lives are bought and sold.

And as in winter, as in grief
 the frozen heart of things in numb,
 compassion melts our unbelief
 and all is changed, for spring has come.  
(Shirley Erena Murray)

Welcome
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are gathering 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 the Gathering.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

CENTERING

Centering Silence
Let there now be a silence among us…
(Silence)

In the stillness of early morning,
In the heat of the mid-day sun,
In the cool of the evening,
In the dark of night…  
(Alex Ruth/worship-rcl)

God’s presentness can be seen and felt.
And we are blessed.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Wisdom from the Religious Traditions
Reader:  May we open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom
that lies dormant in this/these reading/s.
All
 And may our minds be fertile soil
in which it/they may grow strong and true. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• “The Legacy of Christianity”
By Lloyd Geering.
The Once and Future Jesus/131-32.

We humans the world over are becoming increasingly interdependent on one another.
Our material standard of living is becoming dependent on one global economy,
even though this is making some very rich and some very poor…

More than ever before
we humans face a common future
and for this we must create some
kind of global culture.

The global world now being formed is not a Christian world,
certainly not in the sense that medieval Christendom was a Christian world.
But neither is it non-Christian, in the way that the pre-Christian world of Greece and Rome was.

The global world as a whole has been influenced by the Christian tradition a great deal
more than is usually recognized.

The global world has to be described as post-Christian.

While there are still very many who personally embrace the traditional Christian beliefs,
Christianity no longer overtly determines
the public face of western societies.

The post-Christian global world is even better described as secular.
By the term ‘secular’ I do not mean non-religious but ‘this-worldly’…

It is only when religion is focused primarily on ‘other-worldliness’,
as has been the case in the Christian tradition,
that ‘secular’ appeared to be ‘anti-religious’.

Harvey Cox defined secularisation simply as
“man turning his attention away from worlds beyond and toward this world and this time”…

OR

• “Winter. A Southern Hemisphere Reflection"
By Rex A E Hunt. When Progressives Gather Together.

It’s official.
Winter has arrived.
No more dull, bare waiting.
It is.

Actually it is more than ‘is’.
It is well advanced.
June into July.
Boxed August beckons.

Winter Solstice is behind us.
Gone in an instance.
Along with the full moon
that coaxed itself into our lives.

No one says much good of Winter.
It is the unpopular, slandered season.
Made up of wind and storm.
And stark hillsides.
House-bound apathy greets the neighbourhood.
Welded to brisk mornings, and
frosted back lawns.

No one says much good of Winter.
Except as something hard that exaggerates
the too-much-green of Spring reprieve…
When house-free folk chat over back fences
and call across lawnmower handles
recalling how it was
when Winter was.

In this wide dry land of
drought and flooding plains,
Winter is not a shutting down.
Brown land does not fight an induced white death.
There is a slumber.
Yet there is a stirring beneath
the gardeners Autumn
compost.

Winter just is.

If it be anything Winter is a time of… silence.
A time to put aside the getting of too many things.
Selecting out forgotten fragments
and New Year resolutions let slide.

The clock on the study wall
may tick off the hours and days.
But inner clocks keep a different chronos
at differing speeds.

Life is what you have done and
time was how you feel about
what was.

Remembering… on the edge of time.
But also a Yeshua bar Yosef what-was time.
In the Winter of his solo days.
Nights of his searching.
Days of his breaking down
social and religious barriers.
Seeking wisdom.
Facing failure.
Death.
A Winter’s dead-leaf death…

When we too experience the Winter of our lives
may we find the courage
to seek the green coming-out
of brown mud.
Like waking up.
To live in life.

In truth the year is a balance.
For every Spring, an Autumn.
For every Summer, a Winter.
For every sorrow, a laugh.
For every noise, a silence.

Prologue and epilogue.
Things balance out.
If we give them time.

A silence.
A Winter silence.

This time.
Winter time.
It just is.
Life.
(Inspired by and borrowed from, the writings of Max Coots, Seasons of the Self, Abingdon, 1971)

• Matthew 10:16, 24, 34-39  (NRSV, adapted)

Jesus continued to instruct the Twelve as follows:
'I am sending you out [into the world] like sheep into the midst of wolves;
so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves…

'A disciple is not above the teacher,
nor a slave above the master;
it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher,
and the slave like the teacher…

'Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth;
I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

'For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

'Those who prefer father or mother to me are not worthy of me.
Those who prefer son or daughter more to me are not worthy of me.
Those who do not take up the cross and follow in my footsteps are not worthy of me.

'Those who find their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake will find it’.

Contemporary Exploration and HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on
let us stand and share together a celebration of our faith.
The people stand as they are able

"A Credo for Progressive Christians"
All   We worship and adore God,
source, essence, and aim of all things,
spirit that enlivens all beings.

We follow the way of Jesus, who found God in himself
and shared a way for others to find God in themselves.
He was born through love,
He lived for love,
He suffered for love,
He died for love,
But love never dies.

We submit ourselves to the leadings of the love that is God,
that we may be compassionate to all beings,
that we may live and serve in community with others,
that we may ask for and offer forgiveness,
that we may praise and enjoy God forever.
 (Jim Burklo/b&b)

OR

Winter: A Litany
v1  Winter is the season when everything is hidden,
sheltering, hibernating, enfolding,
lying fallow, looking inwards,
using what is stored.
Wm   It is a time to draw together, keeping the dark at bay.It is a time for comfort.
All   We are the garden, and we are the gardener.
We are the tree, and we are the pruner.
We are the winter, and we are the promise beyond winter.

v2  Winter is the season when nothing is hidden.
The flourishing of flowers and fruit is gone.
We see only the bare bones of our lives,
spare, stark, of the essence.
Mn  It is a time for recognition,It is a time for change.
All   We are the garden, and we are the gardener.
We are the tree, and we are the pruner.
We are the winter, and we are the promise beyond winter.

v1 Winter is the season for testing the limits,
striding full tilt into the wind,
trudging through the rain,
gulping in the icy air.
Wm   It is a time for boldness and resolve.It is a time for courage.
All   We are the garden, and we are the gardener.
We are the tree, and we are the pruner.
We are the winter, and we are the promise beyond winter.

v2  Winter is the season of opportunity.
To prune and shape and throw away,
to open up, to let the light in,to feel the new air circulate.
Mn  
It is a time to let the new buds form.
It is a time to wait with eagerness for spring.
All   We are the garden, and we are the gardener.
We are the tree, and we are the pruner.
We are the winter, and we are the promise beyond winter.  (Jill & Ian Harris/el2)

OR

If celebrating the 43rd Anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia
‘A Call to Celebration’
v1  We celebrate the church where we gather together in God’s name 
and touch this world with the amazing good news that somebody cares, 
that God’s spirit of love is present within our community 
so that some day this world will be loved to wholeness.
All  
We celebrate this community, 
where people say Yes in the face of No, 
and where they light candles in the darkest night.

v2  We celebrate the church, where we dare to stand up, 
where risk runs rampant, and where we are called upon to follow 
in the legacy of the historical Jesus even when it costs us something, 
something precious, like our friends and our respectability.
All  We celebrate the church, 
where we are summoned to commitment to a God 
who calls us to change our direction, 
to be reborn to a way of life where others are significant.

v1  We celebrate the church, where every child of God is hailed as unique and valuable, 
where arms are opened to the world’s outcasts, 
where the tired, beaten, disillusioned world is invited in.
All  We celebrate injustices righted, 
protests made on behalf of the battered. 
We celebrate the awareness and awakening to humanity’s suffering, 
the pain alleviated, the scars erased.

v2  We celebrate the mercy and forgiveness, 
the tears wiped away, the hands held, 
the gifts given, the children treasured and nurtured.
All  We celebrate the church 
whose supportive community holds us when we’re tempted to give up, 
enfolds us when we’re hurting, 
affirms us, reaches out to us, 
gives to us, receives from us.  
(Adapted from Ann Weems by Jerry Stinson)

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

May a heart of peace rest with you.
All
And also with you.  (David Galston/q)
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.

CELEBRATING

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Touch the Earth, Reach the Sky” 
(Tune: ‘Touch the Earth’, 6.7.9.8)                                       301 SLT
Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Walk on shores while spirits fly
over the ocean, over the land,
our faith a quest to understand.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Children ask the reasons why.
In our lives the answers show,
and by our love they learn and grow.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
All are born and all shall die;
Life’s the time left in between,
to follow a star, to build a dream.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Hug the laughter, feel the cry.
May we see where we can give,
for this is what it means to live.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Soar with courage ever high;
spirits joining as we fly,
to touch the earth, to reach the sky. 
Grace Lewis-McLaren.
People sit

OR

If celebrating the 43rd anniversary of the UCA:
"Your Church, O Lord, Uniting”  (Tune: ‘Aurelia’, 76.76D)
Your church, O Lord, Uniting,
Australian by its birth,
the trials of time are testing,
the gold reveals its worth.
On firm and sure foundations,
proclaim with one accord,
we build with strength and wisdom,
one Church, one faith, one Lord.

Now comes the time of growing,
with God's great gift of power,
renewing us in spirit
to go forth in this hour.
Forgiven, strengthened, guided,
your Spirit be outpoured
on all of us proclaiming,
one Church, one faith, one Lord.

Our varying gifts we bring you,
and e'en diversity,
to keep us ever wakeful
and teach humility.
Lord, may your love flow through us,
break bounds and spread abroad;
one world proclaim triumphant,
one Church, one faith, one Lord.  
(Elizabeth Guy)

OR

We Thank You for the Heritage of Faith”  (Tune: ‘Whitby Street, Colin Gibson. 14.14.14.14.14.14 possible)       144 HoS
We thank you for the heritage of faith we have received,
for all that in the name of Christ was dreamed of and achieved.
For lives begun and ended well with gracious words of grace,
for hopes and fears, for joy and tears laid down before your face.
We bring ourselves, and give our trust, in confidence that you
will be, O God, our guide, our goal, in all we seek to do.

Here generations have explored the mysteries of faith,
and found for open, questing minds a hospitable place.
We thank you for the heritage of thought we have received,
for all that challenged, comforted, was questioned and believed.
We seek for yet more light and truth, in confidence that you
will be, O God, our guide, our goal, in all we seek to do.

Down through the years your gracious feast has welcomed all who came,
and open to the needy world our table shall remain.
We thank you for the broken bread, the wine for all outpoured,
the young and old who gathered round this table of the Lord.
Outcasts and strangers, join us here, in confidence that we
together share an honoured place in God's community.

As dawn lights up the shadowed peaks, and mountains learn the day,
our children here have learned of Christ, set foot upon his way.
Each smallest one is precious, Lord, and brings a special joy;
the Holy Spirit dances on in every girl and boy.
The generations have rejoiced and will rejoice to know
your presence sure, your love with us wherever we may go.

We worship as your gathered church: ancestral voices sing
with us, as in our turn, O God, our grateful praise we bring.
We thank you for this heritage of witness, love and prayer,
of selfless service, hope renewed, of fellowship and care.
The story now is ours to write; we raise new songs to you,
from age to age our guide, our goal, in all we seek to do.  (Colin Gibson)
People sit

Offerings

Presentation
God of all times and places,
may our offerings reflect confidence and inclusiveness.

And may the programs and concerns we undertake
build up the church among us
and far beyond us.

Conversation 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:
As one heart is lifted
All  May we share its celebration
As one heart is burdened
All  May we share the pain it knows.  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take a 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 the 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  Indwelling God,
infused throughout all existence,
we honour you with many names.

Your realm is within the human heart.
We accept life for all that it can be,
on earth as throughout all creation.

May we continue to draw sustenance from this earth,
and may we receive forgiveness equal to our own.

May we ever move from separation toward union,
to live in grace, with love in our hearts,
forever and ever.  Amen.
  Fred F. Keip

SCATTERING

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
It All Depends” 
(Tune: Te Horo)                                                                                                 39(v1-2) FFS
It all depends on where I'm going
if I reach my anywhere,
but this I'm surely, surely knowing,
that I'll never leave God's care;
it all depends on when I'm travelling,
maybe now or maybe then,
but the Son of God will lead me
through each where and why and when.

It all depends on how I'm choosing
for the life that is in me,
but I will never lose the hand of Christ,
the one who walks with me;
if I stumble or I falter
he will steady me once more,
for there is no darkest pathway
that we cannot both explore.
Remain standing

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space
where we have worshipped together,
let us return to our work, our home, our school,
enlivened and renewed...
The Community Candle is extinguished

May this ending be our beginning.
All  Let us begin, again and again,
to wonder, and to cherish, and to act,
so that at day's end we will be content 
knowing that we have given our all to life.
  M Hachten-Cotter

Words of Blessing
May God's love sustain, comfort and uphold you
this day and every day.
All  
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn/Song (Cont)It All Depends”  (Tune: Te Horo)                                                            39(v3) FFS
It all depends on who comes with me
if I break or if I bend,
but this I'm surely, surely knowing,
God will be there at the end
in the laughter and the sadness,
in the pleasure or the pain,
by my side and all about me
God's own Spirit will remain.  (
Colin Gibson)
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles

Music

Fellowship
Morning tea is now served.