Epiphany2B.17.1.2021

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
17 January 2021. Epiphany 2B. (Green).

Worth Pondering
“May life open to you, door by door; may you find in yourself
the ability to trust it, and courage to find
the most difficult confidence of all”
(Rainer Maria Rilke)


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

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

This day we shall let the hills embrace us,
the trees comfort us,
and the sun enlighten our minds.

This day we shall let the sap rise within us
and dance the music of the Cosmos.
  (Adapt.William L. Wallace/wb)

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

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
The Night Has a Thousand Eyes  (Tune: ‘Bourdillon’, 75.85 Irreg.)                            164 HCL
The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.

The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of the whole life dies
When love is done.  (Francis William Bourdillon, 1890)

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 hedge-row
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
Remain standing after hymn

Opening Sentences
Among us the spirit of Creativity God
conceives new life
All  
And we feel the life within us.

In our history Jesus the Sage
makes gentle entry
All  And we see the light before us.

Within our dreams the truth of our God is revealed
All  We await the hope of the world.

Act of Awareness
Sing out happiness upon the morning.
Celebrate the famous sun and the comely earth.
Think upon love, that it may grow within us,
and compassion, that it may call us to its service.  (Kenneth Patton/sscl)

OR

We pray:
As we gather, let us affirm the connection we have:
with each other, and
with that creative mystery we call God.

May we remain open to the unfolding of
all that can be celebrated,
all that can be learned,
all that can be done,
all that can be,
without diminishing the life of others.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  Here We Gather(Tune: ‘Holy Manna’)                                                     4 SiF
Here we gather, here we come together
Seeking wisdom, seeking truth.
Minds are ready, hearts are open
To receive what each can give,
   Drawing deep from wells of knowledge
   Sharing insights old and new,
As we gather, as we come together
Finding wisdom, finding truth.

As we gather, as we come together
Seeking comfort, seeking strength,
Minds are ready, hearts are open
To receive what each can give,
   Needs and fears expressed and honoured
   Care extended warm and free,
As we gather, as we come together
Finding comfort, finding strength.

Wide world over, we will come together
Seeking justice, seeking peace.
Minds are ready, hearts are open
To receive what each can give,
   Deep respect and deep compassion
   Lives committed to the cause,
Wide world over, we will come together
Bringing justice, bringing peace.  © Scott Kearns 2008

OR

In Southern Hemisphere:
"For This Great Sunburnt Land" 
(Tune: 'Nun Danket’)                                                   18 HH
For this great sunburnt land
We join in celebration,
With all its native life,
The joy of God's creation:
Fresh lakes and tall blue gums
Who raise their voice on high,
Black swans that sweep with grace
Across the morning sky.

Now thank we, God, this day
For pioneers with vision,
Who found this heritage
A gift from God's deep passion.
O God of this wide land,
Grant us the faith to see,
You filled its soul with song,
A sacred mystery.

With this great sunburnt land
We join in celebration,
With roos and cockatoos
And mobs from ev'ry nation;
Custodians God chose
For bush and billabong,
We join with grateful voice
To sing this country strong. 
(Norman Habel)

OR

In Northern 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)
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.
Fellowship hour following the Gathering.

CENTERING

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

In this time of silence may we move
from concerns and busy-ness, to quietness...
(Silence)

God of life
God of seasons
God of wonders that will not cease...

Present with us now.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

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: May we be struck by the wisdom of these words
and marked by hearing them.
All
 For within story lies meaning, and
within meaning, the wisdom for which we seek. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• Mark 1:14-20  (Inclusive Text)

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee.

There Jesus proclaimed the good news from God, saying,
'The time has come and the reign of God is close at hand.
Repent, and believe the good news.'

Walking along by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw Simon and Simon's brother Andrew
casting a net into the sea - for they were fishermen.

And Jesus said to them,
'Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men and women.'
And at once they left their nets and followed.

Going a little further, Jesus saw James son of Zebedee and Jame's brother John;
they too were in their boat, mending their nets.

Jesus called them at once, and,
leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the workers,
they went after Jesus.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

CELEBRATING

Litany for Australia (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, and on this Australia Day weekend,
let us stand and share together a special litany.
The people stand as they are able

Come to us, Creating God,
as the One who walks the way of ordinary people.
All  Come to us,
as the One who weeps over the city.

Come to us,
as the One who deeply understands
the paradox of life which rises from death.
All  Come to us, in a language of grace
that we may approach you in vulnerable hope.

Give us new life
if the old has been destroyed in us.
All  Give us openness
if we have closed our hearts to your future.

Give us courage, if we tread this land
in fear of bringing our gifts.
All  Give us wisdom, when we forget to listen
to the learnings of our history.

Give us joy
when we see the breadth of your imagination
expressed in the differences between us.
All  Differences of race and culture,
differences of history and journey,
differences in our experience of you.

Bind us together as those
who feel your love under our feet
in the warmth of this, our holy ground.
All  Dance within our life, O Spirit of God,
that we may be transformed by your eternal passion
for making all things new. 
Dorothy McRae-McMahon/bst

OR

A Celebration of Connectedness (Optional)
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'
v1   Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you… 
Kahlil Gibran.

v2  May a heart of peace rest with you. (David Galston/q)
All  And also with you

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  People stand as they are able, to sing
"May God's Wisdom"  (Tune: ‘Stuttgart, 87.87)
May God's wisdom deep within us
Shape the joy within our hearts,
Smooth the road we travel gently
Using all our loving arts.

May fair blossoms dropping petals
On the living path we tread,
Make a cushioned, glorious carpet,
Fragrancing the way ahead.

May we root our dreams and longings
In a true integrity,
Clearing out all that will hinder
Love's own creativity.  June Boyce-Tillman

OR

We Gaze in Wonder…(Tune: ‘Gaze in Wonder’, 11.10.11.9)                                       30 WNC
We gaze in wonder at the morning’s dawning,
positive witness to God’s faithful grace;
we turn our backs, and in the shadow standing,
shield the light we need to find our place.

In arrogance, in darkness we will stumble,
screening our eyes, we turn away from light.
We venerate our skill, the rocket’s rumble,
deadens sense, distorting wrong and right.

As stewards of love, let’s contemplate creation,
filigree frosting of a winter’s pain;
God hold in hand elation, desperation,
born in death that we might live again.  (Andrew Pratt)

OR

Yahweh, Breathe the Breath of God(Tune: ‘Te Rahui’. By Colin Gibson)                    158 HoS
Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the breath of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, draw the breath of God.
Fill me, empty me, catch the pulse of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the breath of God.

Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the life of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, draw the life of God.
Fill me, empty me, catch the pulse of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the life of God.

Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the love of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, draw the love of God.
Fill me, empty me, catch the pulse of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the love of God.  (Colin Gibson)
People sit

AFFIRMING

Offerings

Presentation
We are grateful that these gifts enable us
to share in the lives of others.

May we be empowered by the Spirit of Life,
to share more deeply in both
the sorrows and joys of others.

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

v2  May we find in this day