BapJesusB.2021

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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www.rexaehuntprogressive.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

“There is a need for the religious traditions… to appreciate that the primary sacred community
is the universe itself, and that every other community
becomes sacred by participation in this primary community.”


10 January 2021. Baptism of Jesus B. (White).

Worth Pondering
“Imagination is the great friend of possibility.
Where the imagination is awake and alive fact never hardens or closes
but remains open, inviting you to new thresholds
of possibility and creativity”
(John O’Donohue)

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) People, 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 gather regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Refreshment Station/Water Basins
Pottery basins are set on stands near the entrance to the Gathering space. 
Attendees are invited to dip their hands in the cool water in the basins as they arrive. 
Or to rinse each other’s hands. 
That we may relax, be refreshed, and prepare for this time together.

(Note: A small sign is placed above the basin explaining that as they dip their hands in the water, they are invited to relax and try to mindfully set aside or release for a time anything that might be preventing them from being fully present—each traveller rinsing the “dust from the road”).

OR

(A suggestion of other words)
We come together from our separate lives,
each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,
our hopes, and our dreams.

We are not yet fully present.
The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us.
Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.

It is now time to let go of these pressures
and really arrive…   

When you are ready, repeat silently to yourself: ‘Hineini’ or ‘Here I am’.
Hineini is used in the Torah to signify being present
in body, mind, and spirit.

It means settling into where we are and simply being “here”. (Adapted/Nan Fink Gene)

Gathering Music

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)
          Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Video 

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

May the light of this candle remind us
of the possibility for everyone to achieve
truth and goodness in our lives,
if we only seek it 
(B Bullmer/icuu)

OR

In faith, together, we light this small scrap of light,
Symbol of the Sun's enormous power,
Whose energy burns so brightly.

In these days of deep Summer,
Catapulting the leaves and vines,
vegetables, flowers and fruits,
to astonishing size, lengths and heights…

Spilling over the tops of cages, walls and trellises…
Delighting and nourishing all beings…

We bask in the warmth and the heat of these days,
With lightened hearts and quickened senses,
In gratitude and in faith.  (E Hamilton)

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
We Laugh, We Cry
(Tune: ‘Credo’, Irreg.)                                                                        354 SLT
We laugh, we cry, we live, we die;
we dance, we sing our song.
We need to feel there’s something here
to which we can belong.
We need to feel the freedom
just to have some time alone.
But most of all we need close friends
we can call our very own.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a need to be together.
We have our hearts to give,
we have our thoughts to receive;
and we believe that sharing is an answer.

A child is born among us and
we feel a special glow.
We see time’s endless journey
as we watch the baby grow.
We thrill to hear imagination
freely running wild.
We dedicate our minds and hearts
To the spirit of this child.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a time to be together.
And with the grace of age,
we share the wonder of youth;
and we believe that growing is an answer.

Our lives are full of wonder and
our time is very brief.
The death of one among us
fills us all with pain and grief.
But as we live, so shall we die
and when our lives are done
the memories we shared with friends,
they will linger on and on.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a place to be together.
We have the right to grow,
we have the gift to believe;
that peace within our living is an answer.

We seek elusive answers to
the questions of this life.
We seek to put an end to all
the waste of human strife.
We search for truth, equality,
and blessed peace of mind.
And then, we come together here,
to make sense of what we find.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a joy being together.
And in our search for peace,
maybe we’ll finally see;
even to question, truly, is an answer. 
(Shelly J Denham)

OR

"When the Summer Sun is Shining(Tune: 'Nettleton', 87.87D)                                        66 SLT
When the summer sun is shining
over golden land and sea,
and the flowers in the parklands
welcome butterfly and bee,
then my open heart is glowing,
full of warmth for every one,
and I feel an inner beauty
which reflects the summer sun.

When the summer clouds of thunder
bring the long awaited rain,
and the thirsty soil is moistened
and the grass is green again;
then I long for summer sunshine,
but I know that clouds and tears
are a part of life's refreshment,
like the rainbow's hopes and fears.

In the cool of summer evening,
when the dancing insects play,
and in garden, street, and meadow
linger echoes of the day;
then my heart is full of yearning;
hopes and mem'ries flood the whole
of my being, reaching inwards
to the corners of my soul.   Sydney H Knight
People remain standing

Opening Sentences
We gather to celebrate, not just by words spoken,
but also by miracles recalled:
All  
a baby's first cry,
the petals of a rose,
mist-covered hills,
the restless tides of the seas,
human love, human hope.

We respond:
All  with gratitude and with joy
at life's boundless possibilities.  (Adapt. Gordon B McKeeman)

Act of Awareness
The eastern sky announces to creation, the new day dawned;
Magpie warbling, young lambs bleating,
Awakening hunter instincts in crow and hawk.
All All the earth invites wonder and awe.

OR

We pray:
As we gather in this place of reflection and celebration,
challenge us, O God, with your truth and inspire us with your love.

Then as we return to our worlds of work and learning and living,
enlighten us with your wisdom,
and empower us with your strength.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  "We Dream our Dreams”  (Tune: 11.11.11.11)
We dream our dreams and nurture aspirations,
 illusions grasp attention, hopes unfold.
 We drown in visions of a holy city 
 where tears are dried and streets are paved with gold. 

We scheme our schemes, manipulate our futures. 
While imitating faith and losing sight 
of those who need our primary attention
we wander, letting go of what is right.

We need the vision of a holy heaven, 
where love can overcome what would resist.
We need to find the song that carries living 
begun within our time, where we exist.

We need to grapple with each situation 
that contradicts the rule of Godly care; 
to offer justice tempered with God’s mercy;
to find new ways to liberate and share.

Then moving onward, we will move together.
We’ll build God’s holy city here below;
not paved with gold, nor with our good intentions, 
but where the grace and love of God can grow.  © Andrew Pratt 9/1/2008

OR

In Non-bushfire areas... The images may be a bit raw even though this is not what the author has in mind
"
Human Touch Can Light the Flame" (Tune: ‘Dunedin'. 88.88)                                            307 SLT
 The human touch can light the flame
 which gives a brightness to the day,
 the spirit uses mortal flame,
 life's vehicle for work and play.

The lover's kiss, the friends embrace,
the clasp of hands to show we care,
the light of welcome on the face
are treasured moments all can share.

May all who come within our reach
be kindled by our inner glow,
not just in spirit's words we preach,
in human touch love's faith we show.  John Storey
People sit

Welcome
In your own words

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

CENTERING

Presentation of Water Basins
Words which acknowledge that the dust of many roads and many life experiences has been rinsed into the basins,
and calls for the contents of the basins and the gathering to be transformed, renewed, and more fully alive

The dust of many roads and may life experiences
has been washed in this refreshing water.
For this place is a sacred place.

May we
greet one another with open hearts and minds;
inspire each other to consider new questions
and seek deeper meaning;
and cultivate both wisdom and compassion.

And may this time together empower us to take some new steps
so all our living is transforming and the
yearning of our hearts become reality.
The bowls of water are removed from the Gathering space and placed on an outside garden

Centering Silence
          Centering silence has its roots in the earliest of monastic traditions of the ‘desert Fathers (abbas)/Mothers (ammas)’
          and the Christian mystic tradition… 
Relaxing into ‘quietness’ creates the space for deep listening and draws you into yourself

"Awareness"
By Cynthia Brown. 
Space for God's Glory. Mission Prayer Handbook/33.

Small feet taste the wave-washed sand.
Black and white, white and black –
What matter?
It's another friend.

The sea, deep turquoise, meets
azure sky arching high above.
The sun is warm, it sparkles on the ocean.
Space.  Peace.  Timelessness.

Two children meeting.

I watch and am touched by
the Glory of God...

Let us gather together in the silence of this place,
which now we make holy
by our every act of worship.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

CELEBRATING

If local Baptisms… A Liturgy can be found HERE

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:  We listen for truth, yet it is elusive - a thought here, a verse there.
All
  May we collect it all, write what is worthy on our hearts,
and let the rest spill past our consciousness
leaving us clear and whole. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• Mark 1:4-11  (Scholars Version)

So, John the Baptiser appeared in the wilderness calling for baptism
and a change of heart that lead to forgiveness of sins.

And everyone from the Judean countryside
and all the residents of Jerusalem, streamed out to him
and were baptised by him in the Jordan river, admitting their sins.

And John was dressed in camel hair
and wore a leather belt around his waist
and lived on locusts and raw honey.

And he began his proclamation by saying:
‘Someone more powerful than I will succeed me,
whose sandal straps I am not fit to bend down and untie.

‘I have been baptising you with water,
but he will baptise you with holy spirit.’

During that same period Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee
and was baptised in the Jordan by John.

And just as he got up out of the water,
he saw the skies torn open and the spirit coming down
toward him like a dove.

There was also a voice from the skies:
‘You are my favoured son.  I fully approve of you.’

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Litany: ‘Travelling On…” (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together a special litany.
The people stand as they are able

When hope invites us to journey
elusive, beckoning onward
but never in our grasp:
All God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on.

Wn  When dreams glimmer in the distance,
fading, clouded and hidden
or shining with new brightness:
All  God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on.

Mn  When established patterns collapse
into the uncertainty of the unknown
and security dissolves into a memory:
All  God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on.

Wn  When the illusion of success
threatens to divert us
and silence our souls' yearning:

All  God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on.

Mn  When we think our journey has ended
in the star-lit glow only to find
the end is a new beginning:
All  God of wisdom and promise
give us courage to travel on. 
Jan Berry/ssb

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.

Hymn/Song  "O River Mother, Spirit of Creation"  (Tune: ‘Highwood’, 11.10.11.10)
O river mother, spirit of creation,
flowing so freely since the dawn of time,
source of all life and onward propagation,
summer's bright warmth and winter's frozen rime.

Once from a riven altar, out through history,
your source of life flowed on to all the earth;
then cosmic letters formed the timeless story,
charged with your passion, grace and love and worth.

Now at the point in time of our existence,
through faith and science we discern our place.
We understand your gentle, calm persistence
folding around us with your love and grace.

O river mother, flowing to the future,
on past the present that we see and feel,
take us, flow with us, kindly love and  nurture
virtues that make your presence strong and real. 
© Andrew Pratt 25/1/2004

Offerings

Presentation
As we have received, so we give:
freely, cheerfully and liberally.

AFFIRMING

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 the light and beauty of day
All  We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night
All  
We dream of healing and hope  (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.

v2  May we find in this day
an awareness of the freedom we are given
to know life unshackled from fear,
v3  and embrace the possibilities of the present,
with every breath we take.  (Gretta Vosper/ab)

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

All  Father, may your name be holy.
May your rule take place.
Give us each day our daily bread.

Pardon our debts, for we ourselves pardon
everyone in debt to us.

And do not bring us to trial
into a trying situation.  (Burton Mack/Q) 

SCATTERING

Hymn/Song People stand as they are able, to sing
Peace From Justice”  (Tune: “St Gertrude”, 65.65D, 535 CH)                                                    50(v1-2) SNS2
Peace from Justice” is our cry for every faith and race;
We can be inclusive; each can have their place;
We can call for justice: we can all unite;
We can strive for freedom; struggle for the right;
‘Peace from justice - now and forever’; this is where we stand;