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
“Covid has been beyond horrific, but a silver lining has been the slowing down,
the looking around, the doing without,
that most of us have also experienced”
(Ursula Goodenough)

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
v1  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.

v1  All that is tender, firm, fragrant and curious,
All  God's is the hand that created you.
v1  All that speaks, sings, cries, laughs or keeps silent,
All  
God's is the hand that created you.

v1  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)

OR

Reflection and Silence
“I…We…Earth… Can’t Breathe”
By Rabbi Arthur Waskow. The Shalom Centre. July 2020

I can’t breathe
Again and again,
With gun or choke-hold.
Police steal the breath of Black Americans
The police are not merely police
For they hold a national authority
To use violence on behalf of the nation:
To serve us all, protect us all.
When they subjugate the Black community
They implicate us all,
They make us all Subjugators
And their misdeeds have stirred
A great Uprising against racism.

We can’t breathe.
All humanity is choking
From a virus that invades our lungs.
We have left no space for other species
And the virus leaps into our lives,
And then when our rulers ignore the danger
It becomes still worse--  
Choking our societies, our jobs, our businesses,
Our democracy. Our lives. 

Earth can’t breathe
All life on Earth depends on Interbreathing
Plants breathe in Carbon dioxide, breathe out Oxygen.
Animals breathe in Oxygen, breathe out Carbon dioxide.
Our Interbreathing is the Breath that keeps all Earth alive.
Nishmat kol chai, tivarekh et shimcha: Yahhhh elohenu:
The breath of all life praises Your Name;
For your Name in truth whispers all life.
YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh/ Yah, is our God.
The God of all life.
But too much CO2 is the “climate crisis” --
Chokes our breathing.
Earth can’t breathe.

"You shall not take My Name with an empty heart."
Every breath we take
Is Itself the Name,
Part of that great Breath that is the Holy One.
You shall not rob My peoples
And My life-forms
Of My Name, My Breath.
We must breathe.
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Wisdom from the Religious Traditions
          “Wisdom is not just special knowledge about something.
          Wisdom is a way of being, a way of inhabiting the world.
          The beauty of wisdom is harmony, belonging and illumination of thought, action, heart and mind.”
(John O’Donohue)

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,