Epiphany4B.31.1.2021

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
Remember to Bookmark or Favourite my web site: 
www.rexaehuntprogressive.com

Details on the availability of my books, supporting progressive religious thought, HERE
Suggestion:
’Refresh’ each page before reading  to make sure to get my latest edition

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.”


31 January 2021. Epiphany 4B. (Green).

Worth Pondering
“To be human is to belong.
Belonging is a circle that embraces everything;
if we reject it, we damage our nature”
(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) 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 gather regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

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

There is, under the mystery that is ‘us’,
a deep, abiding sense of oneness.

As we gather and celebrate today,
may we be filled with an awareness of that oneness,
and may it soak into and through
the whole of our living.  (Adapt.Gretta Vosper/hb)

OR

The presence of Creativity God fills this place of gathering.
The whole earth is full of God's glory.

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

With heat and light, the Great Radiance blazed forth
With heat and light, ancestral stars fused atoms, exploding in awesome power
With heat and light, the fire on our Ancestors’ hearth cooked their food
With heat and light, modern scientists harnessed new energy sources

With heat and light, we light our flame today,
looking toward a sustainable future.  (Adapt.JCH. Public domain)

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
Santo, Santo” 
(Tune: ‘Santo Santo’)                                                                                   723 TiS
Santo, santo, santo.
Mi co razon te a do ra!
Mi co ra zon te sabe de cir:
Santo eres Senor.

Holy, holy, holy,
My heart, my heart adores you!
My heart knows how to say to you:
Holy are you, Lord.

OR

"Pulsing Spirit" (Tune: ‘Beach Spring’, 87.87D)
Pulsing Spirit, rippling river,
Source of mercy’s tender might,
gentle power, humble glory,
subtle, ever dancing light:
healing Wisdom in us flowing,
now reveal our human worth.
Play beneath the muddied waters:
Come renew the face of earth!

Spirit, free, unbounded motion,
beauty’s mirror, heart’s delight,
gift abundant all around us,
flood the world with life and light.
Fountain ancient, ever springing,
play in new creative ways.
Lift us, stream of lavish loving,
high on waves of joyful praise!  © Delores Dufner
Remain standing after hymn

Opening Sentences
To worship is to stand in awe under a heaven of stars,
before a flower, a leaf in sunlight, or a grain of sand.
All
To worship is to sing with the singing beauty of the earth.
To pause, to be silent... and receptive.
  (Jacob Trapp/adapt)

Act of Awareness
Light and colour… We are surround by beauty.
May we express our gratitude
for all the glories of sun, sand, sea, and surf:
all the wonder of this summer season.

May our lives be lived in appreciation
of all that life offers us.

OR

We pray:
Spinner, weaver of our lives, your loom is love.

May we who are gathered here be empowered by that love
to weave new patterns of truth and justice
into a web of life
that is strong, beautiful, and everlasting.
May it be so.  (Adapt.Barbara Wells/slt)

Hymn/Song "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.
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

Now, in shared quietness, we shall listen to the wisdom
of our inner hearts and minds as we join in this time
of silence and meditation.

Let us give thanks for our personal journeys…
sometimes long and hard journey...

Let us seek forgiveness for times when our fears
have outweighed our love...

Let us be mindful of the greed which so often rules us...

Let us remember, in silence... and wonder.
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:  Into the silence of our hopes and dreams,
words work upon us to break, crack, open us to new understanding.
All  
May we experience, in these words,
a seeking after truth, that we may lift ourselves
to this same desire.
  (Gretta Vosper/ab)

• i Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23 (Inclusive Text)

I do not boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me;
I should be punished if I did not preach it!  

If I had chosen this work myself, I might have been paid for it,
but as I have not, it is a responsibility which has been put into my hands.

Do you know what my reward is?
It is this: in my preaching, to be able to offer the good news free,
and not insist on the rights which the gospel gives me.

So though I am not a slave to anyone 
I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could...
For the weak I made myself weak.
I made myself all things to all people in order to save some at any cost;
for the sake of the gospel, to have a share in its blessing.

OR

• i Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23 (Scholars Version)

If I proclaim the news about God's Anointed,
that's not something for me to be proud of.
I was compelled to do it.
I would be in terrible trouble if I refused to proclaim that news.

But if I do this involuntarily,
it is because I have been entrusted with a responsibility.

So what is my reward for this?
That when I preach I get to offer the news that I proclaim free of charge,
and make no use of the legitimate claims to which
proclaiming this news entitles me.

Although I am free from servitude to anyone,
I have made myself the servant of everyone
in order to win over as many as I can...

To the weak I behaved as if I were weak,
so that I could win over the weak.
I have accommodated myself in all sorts of ways to all sots of people
so that by all these means I might save some.

I do all of this for the sake of God's world-transforming news,
so that I might have a share in its benefits.

• Mark 1:29-39  (Inclusive Text)

On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John
straight to the house of Simon and Andrew.

Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever,
and they told Jesus about her straightaway.

Jesus went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up.
And the fever left and she began to minister to them.

That evening, at sunset, they brought to Jesus all who were sick and those
who were possessed with devils.
The whole town came crowding round the door,
and Jesus cured many who were suffering
from diseases of one kind or another.

Jesus also cast out many devils, but would not allow them to speak,
because they knew who Jesus was. 

In the morning, long before dawn, Jesus got up and left the house,
and went out to a lonely place and prayed there.

Simon and the others set out in search of Jesus,
and when they found him, they said, 'Everybody is looking for you.'

Jesus answered,
'Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring towns, so that I can preach there too,
because that is why I came.'

And Jesus went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

CELEBRATING

A Creation Litany (Optional)
People stand as they are able

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 proclaims God's wonder.

Mountains outlined against the morning sky
proclaims your steadfastness and majesty;
pink heath, flannel flower, wet with dew;
Deer and kangaroo quietly grazing.
All  All the earth proclaims God's wonder.

The western plains stretch far,
the western plains stretch wide,
Proclaiming the wideness of God's mercy;
Freshwater dam, salt lake and swampland,
Home of the pelican, swan and crane,
The fox in his lair, enemy of stock and farmer.
All  All the earth proclaims God's wonder.

When day is done the sky proclaims God's timeless beauty;
In fiery sunset's glorious hue;
Amid this mix of beauty and destruction,
Creating, re-creating, 
Dusk comes quietly, 
Broken only by corellas 
Their calls filling the faded light. 
All  All the earth proclaims God's wonder. Pam Wyley/grpe

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 greet/share the peace with 
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
We Celebrate the Web of Life" (Tune: CM)                                                                       175 SLT
We celebrate the web of life
its magnitude we sing;
for we can see divinity
in every living thing.

A fragment of the perfect whole
in cactus and in quail,
as much in tiny barnacle
as in the great blue whale.

Of ancient dreams we are the sum;
our bones link stone to star,
and bind our future worlds to come
with worlds that were and are.

Respect the water, land, and air
which gave all creatures birth;
protect the lives of all that share
the glory of the earth. (Alicia S Carpenter)
People sit

CELEBRATING

Conversation with the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat

Conversation:

Meditation:
As we welcome the children back to the Sunday Club,
let us recommit ourselves to their nurture…

Let us also remember the children we once were
and who still live within us.
    Let us love them now, in this quiet moment.

Let us remember the children of our own families
and the children of our friends.
    Let us love them now, in this quiet moment.

Let us remember the children who are homeless
children who are separated from their families
children who are hungry or in pain
children whose lives are threatened by
drugs, crime, lack of health care.
    Let us love them now, in this quiet moment.

Let us remember all children and commit ourselves
to their growth and safety,
their health and education,
their uniqueness and their unfolding beauty.
    Let us love them now, in this quiet moment.
    And forever more. (CSternberg) 

Offerings

Presentation
We are here that we might have life and have it more abundantly,
so that we might share it with others.  (JCMorgan)

These gifts and our lives enable us
to be a generous people.

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:
Let each of us find a window
All  To see beyond our own enclosures.
Let each of us find a door
All  To open ourselves into new being.  (Adapt.Kenneth Patton/sscl)

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

v2  May we find in this day
an awareness of the freedom we are given
to know life unshackled from fear,
v1  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, and in your original language, as appropriate

All  God, lover of us all, most holy one.
Help us to respond to you.
To create what you want for us here on earth.

Give us today enough for our needs.
Forgive our weak and deliberate offences,