Pet.Pent18A.4.10.2020

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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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
4 October 2020. Pentecost 18A. (Green).
Pets Sunday
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Flower Communion

Worth Pondering
“The present is not a time for desperation but for hopeful activity”
(Thomas Berry)

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

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence
Followed by the words...

And let us rejoice in the company of this gathered people.

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) Specific resources on Terrorism
HERE
(iv) On Wonder, Awe, and Nature HERE

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Children of the Human Race(Tune: ‘Aberystwyth’, 77.77D)                                      302 SLT
Children of the human race,
off-spring of our Mother Earth,
not alone in endless space
has our planet given birth.
Far across the cosmic skies
countless suns in glory blaze,
and from untold planets rise
endless canticles of praise.

Should some sign of others reach
this, our lonely planet Earth,
differences of form and speech
must not hide our common worth.
When at length our minds are free,
and the clouds of fear disperse,
then at last we’ll learn to be
Children of the Universe.  (John A Storey)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
As the curtain of night is drawn back,
and the golden robes of the day arrive over hill and sea,
All
may there be expelled from our minds all sour thoughts
so we might greet this new day as a gift,
All
fresh from the rhythm of creation,
and filled with hope.

Act of Awareness
From the earth we have come.
By its fruits we live.
This earth is our home.

We celebrate the beauty of our days,
and all their splendid avenues of love and hope.

OR

We pray:
The Spirit of Creativity is all around us.
We are grateful for the possibility of being
ever more aware, human and alive.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  "Celebrate a New Day Dawning(Tune: ‘Joyful Joyful’)
Celebrate a new day dawning,
sunrise of a golden morn;
Christ Sophia dwells among us,
glorious visions now are born,
Equal partners 'round the table,
we make dreams reality;
Calling out our gifts we nurture
hope beyond all we can see.

Christ Sophia lights the pathway
to a world of harmony;
Sister Brother love surrounds us,
nourishing our synergy.
Earth joins in our rich communion,
grateful for our healing care;
Leaping deer and soaring eagles,
all earth's fullness now can share.

Sing a song of jubilation,
dance with joyous revelry,
Clapping trees and laughing rivers
join our call to liberty.
Free at last to blossom fully,
flow'ring forth in beauty bright.
We become a new creation,
bursting open into light.  (
JAldredge-Clanton/ctl)
People sit

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
Gathering as we do in this sacred place,
we pause again to reflect, to feel, and to commit
to thoughtful and mindful intention.
(Silence)

We wonder again about the ebb and flow
of this living, breathing, expanding universe…
And of this community.
(Silence)

We give our attention right now
to each other,
to new beginnings,
to this time,
to this season.

We celebrate this new early Spring day,
and the new challenges and possibilities it brings.
The universe is beginning to bloom again.
Amazing!
(Silence)

May this time spent in sacred silence, empower us
to once again be open-eyed and open-sensed
to the beauty and the oneness
of all people and things.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Wisdom from the Religious Traditions
Reader:  Into this day will break moments of awareness,
tiny shards of light that illumine
the whole reality of existence.
All   May these readings be such a moment
and may we be blessed by their gift.  (Gretta Vosper/ab)

If celebrating St Francis Day/Pets Sunday:
• ‘Peace, Birds, Peace!’
From a sermon by St Francis

My brother and sister birds,
you should greatly praise your Creator
and love him always.
He gave you feathers to wear, and wings to fly,
and whatever you need.

God made you noble among his creatures
and gave you a home in the purity of the air,
so that, though you do not sow nor reap,
he nevertheless protects and governs you
without your least care.

OR

• “Blessing of the Animals - St Francis Day”
By Thomas Rhodes

You Birds of the Air,
Hawk, Sparrow, and laughing Jay
You embody freedom itself,
delight us with your song, astound us with feats of migration
Grant us your perspective,
for too often our horizon is limited
and we are blind to the full results of our actions.

You Worms of the Earth,
Ants, Beetles, Spiders and Centipedes
You are the essential but oft-forgotten strand in nature’s web.
Through you the cycle is complete;
through you new life arises from old.
Remind us of our humility.
For the wheel of live does not turn around us;
we are not the axle, but merely spokes
no less than unseen, unknown and shunned companions
such as yourselves.

You creatures of the field and wood and field, marsh and desert—
Bear and Bison, Skunk and Squirrel, Weasel and Wolf
Too often we have sacrificed your homes in the name of progress,
clear cutting the forests to fill our desire,
or covering the earth with tarmac, cement, and suburban lawns.
Pray that we may remember that the earth was not given for our needs alone,
and what we do to you, we eventually do to ourselves.

You animals of the farm—
Horse and cow, pig and fowl
Willingly or not, you give your very lives for us,
your milk for our nourishment, your flesh for our sustenance,
Yet too often we forget that the meat on our tables was once as alive as we are.
Forgive our willful ignorance,
and remind us constantly to give thanks for your sacrifice.

You Dearest Companions in our lives
Dogs and Cats, Hamsters and Goldfish
You who are with us today
and you who always be present in our memories
You have enriched our lives in so many ways
endured our shortcomings with calm acceptance
taught us something of our humanity
taught us how to love.
May we hold you in our hearts throughout the days of our lives.

OR

• “The Animal World’
By John O’Donohue. Walking in Wonder/8

I feel that animals are maybe more refined than us, and that part of the recognition and respect for the animal is to acknowledge that they inhabit a different universe from us. There are sheep and rabbits and cows in the village I live in, in Connemara, and none of them know anything about Jesus, about the Buddha, about Wall Street, about zero tolerance. They are just in another world altogether. Part of the wonder of the human mind is when you look towards animals with respect and reverence, you begin to feel the otherness of the world that they actually carry.

It must take immense contemplative discipline to be able to hold a world stirring within you and to have no means to express it, because animals in the main are silent and they don’t have access to the paradoxical symbolic nuance of language as we have…

For me, they are a source of a great kind of wonder.

• Genesis 2:18-23b  (Adapt.NRSV)

Then Yahweh Elohim said, "It is not good that the (hu)man should be alone;
I will make him a helper as his partner."

So out of the ground Yahweh Elohim formed
every animal of the field
and every bird of the air,
and brought them to the (hu)man to see what he would call them;
and whatever the (hu)man called every living creature,
that was its name.

The (hu)man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air,
and to every animal of the field;
but for the (hu)man there was not found a helper as his partner.

So Yahweh Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall upon the (hu)man, and he slept.
Then Yahweh took one of the (hu)man’s ribs and closed up its place with flesh.

And the rib that Yahweh Elohim had taken from the (hu)man
Yahweh made into a woman and brought her to the man.

Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman…

OR

• Matthew 21:33-46  (Inclusive Text)

‘Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
Listen to another parable. 

There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, 
put a fence around it, 
dug a wine press in it, 
and built a watchtower. 

Then the landowner leased it to tenants 
and went to another country.

When the harvest time had come, 
the owner sent slaves to the tenants to collect his produce.

But the tenants seized the slaves and 
beat one, 
killed another, and 
stoned another.

Again the owner sent other slaves, more than the first; 
and they treated them in the same way.

Finally the owner sent his son to them, saying, 
‘They will respect my son.’

But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, 
‘This is the heir; come, 
let us kill him and get his inheritance.’

So they seized the son, 
threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, 
what will he do to those tenants?/

The chief priests and elders said to Jesus,
'The owner will put those wretches to a miserable death, 
and lease the vineyard to other tenants 
who will give the produce at the harvest time.' 

Jesus said to them,
'Have you never read in the scriptures: 
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 
this was God’s doing, 
and it is amazing in our eyes?

'Therefore I tell you, the realm of God 
will be taken away from you and given to a people 
that produces the fruits of it'.

Contemporary Exploration (Francis of Assisi)

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

If celebrating Spring
A Reflection (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

Spirit of life, bring to us beauty:
All  the beauty of magnolia and tulip.

Bring to us strength:
All  the strength of flowing Spring creeks
and the quiet strength of roots
pushing deep into the ground for nourishment.

Bring to us pleasure:
All  the pleasures of toffee apples sweet on our tongues