Tree.Pent9A.2.8.2020

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
2 August 2020. Pentecost 9A. (Green).
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

National Tree Day

Worth Pondering
“To wonder is to perceive with reverence and love…
and in wondering we come close to the feeling
that the earth is holy”
(Sam Keen)

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

Life is meant to be an adventure;
change is a gift that we have to learn to use aright.
        Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence

OR

As we light our flame this morning:
we celebrate by its warmth the depth and breadth of our congregation;
we celebrate by its light the faith we share.

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
In the Midst of all our Living(Tune: ‘Nettleton’, 87.87D)                                       2 SiF
In the midst of every blessing
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
     May my words be filled with gratitude;
     may my glad heart humble be.
As a holder of a blessing
May I share it gratefully.

In the midst of every trial
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of comfort, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
     May I find the strength within me;
     may I sense it everywhere.
As I face what must be handled
may I find truth I can share.

In the midst of all our living
may our hearts be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
     May we seek and find encouragement;
     may our choices worthy be.
As we journey on together,
may we know integrity. Words © Scott Kearns 2008, inspired by those of Robert Robinson, 1758

OR

Creative Love(Tune: 'Truth from Above’ LM)                                                             289 SLT

Creative love, our thanks we give

that this our world, is incomplete,
that struggle greets our will to live,

that work awaits our hands and feet.

That we are not yet fully wise,

that we are in the making still -

as friends who share one enterprise
and strive to blend with nature's will.

What though the future long delay,
and still with faults we daily cope?
It gives us that for which we pray,
a field for toil and faith and hope.

Since what we choose is what we are,

and what we love we yet shall be,

the goal may ever shine afar -

the will to reach it makes us free.  (William deW Hyde)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
In the beginning, God made the world:
Wn  Made it and mothered it,
Mn  Shaped it and fathered it,
Wn  
Filled it with seed and signs of fertility,
Mn  
Filled it with love and its folk with ability.

All that is tender, firm, fragrant and curious,
All  God's is the hand that created you.
All that speaks, sings, cries, laughs or keeps silent,
All  
God's is the hand that created you.

The world belongs to Creativity God
All  The earth and all its people.  (Iona/St Hilda Communities/adapt)

Act of Awareness
Silently a flower blooms.
In silence it falls away.

Yet here now, in this moment, at this place,
the world of the flower,
the whole of the world is blooming.

This is the talk of the flower,
the truth of the blossom:
the glory of eternal life is fully shining here.  (Adapted. Zenkei Shinayama/lp)

OR

We pray:
Spirit of life and love, we have gathered in this sacred place, again.
May we create here a circle of love,
ever expanding,
ever growing.

A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  “Climate is Warming(Tune: ‘The Ash Grove’, 12.11.12.11D)                           44 SNS2
As climate is warming
Will bees keep on swarming
If we just continue to damage the earth?
Will birds and sea-creatures
With beautiful features
Forever be lost by denying their worth?
Will trees and each flower
Succumb to the power
Of poisons and toxins we put in the air?
As ice-caps diminish,
A sign of the finish,
We must meet this crisis and show that we care.

If we start to measure
Some things that we treasure
It may cause us anguish to let these things go;
For comfort and leisure,
Our life-style and pleasure,
We claim we have earned and don't wish to forgo;
But we can all ponder
And face what we squander,
Then start to make change in the way that we live;
We can curb excesses;
Each harms and oppresses
The poor and the weak; we take what they don't give.

To greenhouse emissions
We make our additions
And by them we foster some possible gloom,
But with perseverance
We can make a diff’rence;
We can work to limit the fuel we consume,
We'll tell each law-maker
That every green acre
Is ours to look after and not to destroy,
God's bounty possessing;
We're stewards of blessing;
We meet our commitment with challenging joy.

With nature so fragile,
Yet dazzling and fertile,
We ponder its beauty, its charm and its grace;
Evolving triumphant
With life so abundant,
Confounded we are with so much to embrace.
Yet these green-house gases
Pollute in their masses;
We need to decrease them; we know that we should!
When nature is bleeding
We hear urgent pleading
To change our behaviour; we know how we could!

If we stop this warming
Then bees will keep swarming
And sweetness of honey remains for our taste.
Then birds and sea creatures
And hills and sea beaches
Will stay in their magic, unharmed by our waste.
The charm every hour
Of trees and each flower
Will bring us to silence in wonder and awe.
With God so surrounding
In beauty astounding
We kneel in God's presence to praise and adore.  (George Stuart)

OR

"Faith has Set Us on a Journey(Tune: ‘Venture')                                                  14 FFS
Faith has set us on a journey
past the landmarks that we know,
taking risks with no insurance
but the Word that tells us "Go!"
Friend or job or home or lover
we may need to leave behind,
outworn truths and ways of thinking,
baggage to the past consigned.

Some are swags of easy conscience
who with others hitch a ride,
some are tourist-package Christians,
dollar-safe, with Book and guide.
There are others on this journey -
those who long and pray and search,
heave the stones to free the structures,
love the Christ and leave the Church.

We are this unlikely people
in the Body knit as one,
company of clowns and cripples -
some are wise and some can run.
Prophets are our travel agents,
gospel-makers lay this road:
to the place of peace and promise
faith will take us into God.
   Shirley Erena Murray
The 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 1
May the silence of this place which now engulfs us,
be for us a time of reflection, prayer and meditation…
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

Centering Silence 2
Great possibilities do await us.
The grandeur of life, of which we are a part,
fills us with hope… if we seek to choose it.
(Bob Holmes)
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Wisdom from the Religious Traditions
Reader:  The delight of a story well-known fills our hearts
as we listen for its familiar end.
All  May we hear in these stories, familiar and new,
both wisdom and meaning for the days ahead.

•  “When I Am Among the Trees”
By Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust, 
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness, 
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself, 
in which I have goodness,
and discernment,

and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leave s
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
” and you too have come 
into the world to do this,
to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.” 

OR

• “Sign for a Tree”
By Jim Burklo. Musings. December 2009

As I rounded the bend on the trail up Sonoma Mountain, I read the sign: ‘TRAIL CLOSED AHEAD DUE TO TREE FAILURE’

I stood and meditated on its implications.

By its logic, the gracefully shaped brown nuts scattered on the trail must have resulted from acorn stem failure.  The lovely medallions of yellow and orange on the ground were the result of leaf atrophy.  The blue feather of a Stellar’s Jay, lying on a bed of fallen redwood needles, was the consequence of plumage dislocation.  The bleached bones of the opossum lying in the dry grass of the meadow were the result of insufficient coyote evasion.  
And the mountain upon whose flanks I walked was the result of a fault.

It seemed to me that the tree’s passing merited a different sign: 
‘At the kink in the trail ahead, you will circumambulate the remains of a tall tanbark oak which from a pretty acorn grew, many decades ago.  For years of seasons, wet and dry, it lifted branches and serrated leaves skyward, communing with sun and wind.  Old and full of days, it died with flourish, dropping in one grand whoosh to the ground. 
Walk around it and wonder.  
May your footsteps be prayers of thanksgiving for its life.  
And may this kink in the trail remain as a memorial to it, long after its trunk crumbles into rich forest soil’.

OR

• "The Heart of the Tree"
By Century.

What does he plant who plants a tree?

He plants the friend of sun and sky;

He plants the flag of breezes free,

The shaft of beauty, towering high;

He plants a home to heaven anigh;

For song and mother croon of bird
I
n hushed and happy twilight heard—

The treble of heaven's harmony—
These things he plants who plants a tree.


What does he plant who plants a tree?

He plants cool shade and tender rain.

And seed and bud of days to be,

And years that fade and flush again;

He plants the glory of the plain;

He plants the forest's heritage—

The harveat of a coming age;

The joys that unborn eyes shall see—

These things he plants who plants a tree.


What does he plant who plants a tree?

He plants in sap and leaf and wood,

In love of home and loyalty

And far cast thought of civic good—

His blessing on the neighborhood

Who in the hollow of his hand

Holds all the growth of all our land—

A nation's growth from sea to sea

Stir in his heart who plants a tree.

• Matthew 14:13-21  (Inclusive Text)

When Jesus received the news of John the Baptist's death
he withdrew by boat to a lonely place
where they could be by themselves.

But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after Jesus on foot.

So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd;
and he took pity on them and healed their sick.

When evening came, the disciples went to Jesus and said,
'This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by;
so send the people away and they can go to the village
to buy themselves some food.'

Jesus replied,
'There is no need for them to go:
give them something to eat yourselves.'

But they answered,
'All we have with us is five loaves and two fish...'

• "Just a Housewife” (Unannounced)
By Cordelia Baker-Pearce.
Celebrating Women/44.

v2  I packed five cakes of bread and two small fishes,
Sent him off, my youngest lad,
To take his father's dinner to the field.

Came back alone he did, all goggle-eyed.

My fresh-baked bread that varmint gave away
To some young travelling preacher out of Galilee.
It fed five thousand people.
What a tale!

It can't be true... but if it is.
What kind of dough did these hands knead
This morning?

• Matthew 14:13-21  (Cont)
'Bring them here to me,' Jesus said.

Giving orders that the people were to sit down on the grass,
Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish,
raised his eyes to the heaven and said a blessing.

And breaking the loaves he handed them to the disciples
who  gave them to the crowds.

They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected
the scraps remaining, 12 baskets full.
The number who ate were many more than five thousand.

Contemporary Exploration
And some 'fascinating facts’ on Trees HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany  (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

The chorus of suns and planets announce
the beginning of a new day.
All  Each morning births new possibilities
and beckons fresh challenges.

The cycle of morning music and starry silence
promise second chances.
All  Each day provides new vistas
and promotes further exploration.

The laughter of oceans and the wailing of winds
reflect the human condition.
All  Each week declares we are in the world
and determines we are of the world.

The praises and prayers of all living things
affirm our connectedness.
All  Each month begs for our nurture
and betrays our own nature.

What can ever separate us?
Only the self-imposed isolation
of arrogance or ignorance.
All  What can draw us homeward?
Only the self-possessed compassion
of radical hospitality.

It begins with us.
It begins right now.
All  It embraces morning.
It bursts forth in music. (George Stewart/www.uusf.org)

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)

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
Name Unnamed(Tune: ‘Samuel’, Irreg.)                                                                       31 SLT
Refrain:
Name unnamed,
hidden and shown,
knowing and known,
Gloria!

Beautifully moving, ceaselessly forming,
growing, emerging with awesome delight,
Maker of Rainbows, growing with colour,
arching in wonder,
energy flowing in darkness an light:
Refrain:

Spinner of Chaos, pulling and twisting,
freeing the fibers of pattern and form,
Weaver of Stories, famed or unspoken,
tangled or broken,
shaping a tapestry vivid and warm:
Refrain:

Nudging Discomfort, prodding and shaking,
waking our lives to creative unease,
Straight-talking Lover, checking and humbling
jargon and grumbling,
speaking the truth that refreshes and frees:
Refrain:

Midwife of Changes, skilfully guiding,
drawing us out through the shock of the new,
Woman of Wisdom, deeply perceiving,
never deceiving,
freeing and leading in all that we do:
Refrain:

Daredevil Gambler, risking and loving,
giving us freedom to shatter your drams,
Lifegiving Loser, wounded and weeping,
dancing and leaping,
sharing the caring that heals and redeems.  (Brian Wren)

CELEBRATING

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 other 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:
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
All   May our words reflect the yearnings of our hearts.
And may the spirit that binds within us as we gather

All   Hallow each and every passing moment
we know here together.   (Adapt.Gretta Vosper/ab)

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

When we are grieving or sad,
When we are challenged,
When we need help,
All   This flame guides us out of the darkness.

When we are cheerful,
When we celebrate,
When we accomplish a great task,
When we return to a place that makes us happy,
All   This flame reminds us to share our happiness with others.  (Adapt/APalmer)

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

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
Offerings

Presentation
The stories of God's gracious love have been entrusted to us.
May we share the beauty of Creativity God
with all who walk with us, in caring service.

Thanksgiving
May it be well with you.
All  And also with you.
Life is a gift and we its celebration.
All  May we rejoice in the beauty that we are.  Gretta Vosper/wwg

v1   In faith and love, gathered in this place,

we celebrate the brightness of community

and the season of late Winter/early Spring called 'Larneuk'
 (Season of Nesting Birds)
by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwidjarli People.

v2   We give thanks and praise for all that is good in the world.
For that mystery we name Creativity God…
For the sage we name Jesus…
For the renewing strength and freedom of the Spirit…
(Silence)

v1   God of winter, the unpopular, slandered season;
God of lightning, wind and storm;
God of brisk winter mornings, frosted back lawns
and stark hillsides; of warm socks, coats and gloves,
raincoats, umbrellas and warm fires,
we open ourselves to all the possibilities life offers us.

So we join our celebration to all people, saying:
All  Holy, holy, holy, Re-creating God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
All  Hosanna in the highest.

Bread and Wine
We remember the times when Jesus faced
difficult decisions and destructive forces:
- in the days and nights of his searching,
- in finding ways to free others from images and ideas
that kept them captive and dependent and fearful of God,
- in breaking down social and religious barriers,
- in facing failure,
- in facing death.  (Michael Morwood/pns)

When we too experience the winter of our lives
may we find the courage to let go
and trust in your guiding, warming light.
(Silence)

And as we eat together at this table
we remember 
the importance and the words
and the actions of all meals
 in the tradition of Jesus…

When he took and blessed bread, he used his traditional Jewish prayers, saying:
All  Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth

the bread from the ground.

And when he took and blessed wine, he said:
All  Blessed is the Holy One of Israel,
sovereign of all that is who brings forth

grape from the vine.

Response
Everyone is welcome to be here.
All  In this way, we lift up a world of inclusion,
where all people live with respect and dignity.

Everyone present will receive a share.
All  In this way, we lift up a world of generosity,
where, as in the examples of Jesus,
abundance overcomes scarcity so all are fed.

Everyone is invited now to take a portion,
and to see others also receive.
All  In this way, we lift up a world of sufficiency,
where entrenched systems of privilege are challenged,
wealth is shared equally, and all are satisfied with enough. 
(Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Communion
So in the meal tradition of Jesus
we break and share bread and drink wine,
pledging ourselves to allow the spirit that moved in Jesus
to move freely in our lives.
The Bread and Wine is served

SCATTERING

Hymn/Song  "This Love, This Life, This Enterprise "  (Tune: 'O Waly, Waly’, 88.88)    72(v1-2) WNC