Epiphany5B.7.2.2021

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
7 February 2021.  Epiphany 5B. (Green).
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering
“How is that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded,
‘This is better than we thought! The universe is much bigger
than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant.
God must be even greater than we dreamed…'”
(Carl Sagan)

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 Video

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Here we have gathered the elements of our lives and brought them to this place –
the joy of waking and living,
the blush of health,
the pain of illness,
the grief of loss,
the gift of love.

Some of these we have carried a long way.
All  All we have carried through the seasons of our lives
has brought us here to this place
which we make sacred
by our coming together.
Come, you are welcome here  (Adapt.Stephen Shick/ctl)

v2   So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this candle today in recognition of the energy

that allows life to occur:
The energy of atomic fusion
The energy of photosynthesis
The energy of primitive metabolisms, still active in our cells today
The energy of campfires, labor, and growth

And, the energy of our community (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) Some specific resources on Terrorism
HERE
(iv) On Wonder, Awe, and Nature HERE

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"O Brother Sun" (Tune: 'Ye Banks & Braes', 88.88D)                                                  1066 STJ
O Brother Sun, you bring us light,
all shining 'round in fiery might.
O Sister Moon, you heal and bless,
your beauty shines in tenderness.
O Brother Wind, you sweep the hills,
your mighty breath both freshens and fills.
O Sister Water, you cleanse and flow
through rivers and streams, in ice and snow.

O Brother Fire, you warm our night,
with all your dancing coloured light.
O Sister Earth, you feed all things,
all birds, all creatures, all scales and wings.
O Sister Death, you meet us here
and take us to our God so near.
O God of Life, we give you praise
for all your creatures, for all your ways.
Remain standing (Adpated/St Francis of Assisi/Sanway)

Opening Sentences
In our humanity we bring our desire:
for relationship with God,
for relationship with others.
All
We bring our differences and diversity.
And celebrate them.
We are church.

Act of Awareness
Today we celebrate a dream awakening.
Today we celebrate with renewed hope in our hearts.
Today we act on an audacity of hopes and dreams for the future.

Today we begin the hard work for justice, equity and
compassion in all human relations,
for today is a day like no other and
it is ours to shape with vision and action.

Let us be together and celebrate a dream awakening (Adapt.Elizabeth M Strong).

OR

We pray:
Illuminating God, each sunrise and sunset
reminds us of your constant presentness.
Awaken in each of us
the possibility for new life, new vision
and renewed energy. 
(Tricia Watts/s)
May it be so.

Hymn/Song For the Music of Creation(Tune: ‘Russington’, 87.87D)                  41 AA
For the music of creation,
for the song your Spirit sings,
for your sound's divine expression,
burst of joy in living things:
God, our God, the worlds composer,
hear us, echoes of your voice:
music is your art, your glory,
let the human heart rejoice!

Psalms and symphonies exalt you,
drum and trumpet, string and reed,
simple melodies acclaim you,
tunes that rise from deepest need,
hymns of longing and belonging,
carols from a cheerful throat,
lilt of lullaby and lovesong
catching heaven in a note.

All the voices of the ages
in transcendent chorus meet,
worship lifting up the senses,
hands that praise and dancing feet;
over discord and division
music speaks your joy and peace,
harmony of earth and heaven,
song of God that cannot cease! 
Shirley Erena Murray
The 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.
Fellowship hour following the Gathering.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

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

Let silence be placed around us now, like a mantle.
 Let us enter into it, where stillness reigns
 and the sacred is 
experienced.
(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 open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom
that lies dormant in this/these reading/s.
All
 And may our minds be fertile soil
in which it/they may grow strong and true. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

 “The Stream of Life”
By Rabindranath Tagore.
SLT #529

The same stream of life that runs
through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances
in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy
through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass and
breaks into tumultuous waves of
leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in
the ocean-cradle of birth and death,
in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by
the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages
dancing in my blood this moment.

OR

“Fireballs and Photons and Light”
By Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. The Universe Story/7, 47

Fifteen billion years ago, in a great flash,
the universe flared forth into being.
In each drop of existence
a primordial energy blazed with an intensity
never to be equalled gain…

In the beginning the universe is a great shining
that expands rapidly and then explodes into hundreds of billions of dark clouds…

[Later] a hundred billion galaxies light up with a spendor
new to the universe.
The beginning of the universe is a smooth, intense flame.
A few billion years later the large-scale structure of the universe
glows in great sheets of galaxies
and in their intersections in long,
spidery filaments of sparkling worlds

• Mark 1:40-45  (Inclusive Text/NRSV)

A leper came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling he said to him,
'If you choose, you can make me clean.'

Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him,
'I do choose. Be made clean!'

Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

After sternly warning him Jesus sent him away at once, saying to him,
'See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest,
and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded,
as a testimony to them.'

But he went out and began to proclaim it freely,
and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly,
but stayed out in the country;
and people came to him from every quarter.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Litany: ‘Heart of Matter’ (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand and share a special litany for today.
The people stand as they are able

Blessed be you, harsh matter, barren soil, stubborn rock:
you who yield only to violence;
All  You who force us to work if we would eat.

Blessed be you, perilous matter, violent sea, untameable passion:
All  You who unless we fetter you will devour us,

Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever new-born;
All  You who, by constantly shattering our mental categories,
force us to go ever further and further
in our pursuit of the truth.

Blessed be you, universal matter, unmeasurable time,
boundless ether, triple abyss of stars
and atoms and generations; 
All  You who by overflowing and dissolving
our narrow standards of measurement
reveal to us the dimensions of God 
(Teilhard de Chardin/slt)

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  People stand as they are able, to sing
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)
People sit

Conversation 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 others 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)

CELEBRATING

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:
Creation thrums with Being

and peals the Word - 'I am'.
All   We sometimes remember
to whisper the antiphon, 'We are'. (V Arnold/es)

And so we take a flame and light our special Care candle.
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…
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:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the 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,
just as we must forgive others when they hurt us.

Help us to resist evil and to do what is good.
For we are yours, endowed with your power
to make our world whole.
Amen.  
(LWinkley/cw)

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
Offerings

Presentation
As a river without an outlet becomes stagnant,
so life which receives but does not give
becomes polluted and sour.
All  As we give, we know we will be refreshed and cleansed
as well as being a blessing to others.

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

God of the summer’s day and this "whirling, expanding, living, dying, cosmos", (BSanguin/idp) 
All  Praise and wonder be.
God of the lingering sunset and early dawn, 
All  
Praise and wonder be.

God of the hot north wind and the refreshing shower,
God of the shady tree and the cool water bag,
God of the ripening harvest and sparkling sea, 
All  Praise and wonder be.

All creation blesses this creativity, the Source of Energy and Life.
For all things bright and beautiful.
For all things dark and mysterious and lovely.
For all things green and growing and strong.
For all things weak and struggling to push life up through rocky earth.
For all human faces, hearts, minds, and hands which surround us.

And for all non human minds and hearts, 
paws and claws, 
fins and wings...  (G A Ricciuti/bb)
All  Praise and wonder be.

So we join our praise with all your people 
across the generations, saying
All  Holy, holy, holy, Celebrating God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory!

In our praise and thanksgiving
we also remember the ways of Jesus
who walked the dusty roads of Galilee,
who taught from seashore and mountainside,
who told stories of the sower and the seed,
the lilies of the field,
and the birds of the air.

May we, too, know your presentness
in this evolving miracle of life.

And we remember our tradition...
On the night of his arrest, Jesus shared a meal with his disciples.

Bread taken, blessed, broken in silence
Wine taken, poured out in silence

Be present with us now, Enfolding God, as we share this sacrament.
Let your Spirit brood among us...
as it is through this bread and wine.
All   May we be blessed with a desire to praise in song and story and poetry.
May we be blessed with a sharpened awareness of the Sacred in all.
May we be blessed with deep compassion.
May we be blessed with the patience and daring of the mystics.
(Adapt.MAbbott/sc)

Communion
Served according to local custom 

This is an open table.
This Bread and Wine is available to all

SCATTERING

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
The Cosmos is Revolving”  (Tune: 13.13.13.13, Sprowston')                                          147 (v1-2) RP
The cosmos is revolving with endless rhythmic rhyme,
the circle keeps on turning to mark off chance and time;
and through the life we're living and images we see
we plot the hopeful story of God's eternity.

The summer sheds its harvest as autumn turns to gold,
the springtime and its newness are lost in time, grown old;
the cold of winter beckons, the trees are crippled, bare,
but seeds of hope are hidden, await the spring's repair.

Parting Words
The presentness of God reaches beyond this place...
The Community Candle is extinguished

Remembering that the universe is much larger 
than our ability to comprehend,
All  let us go from this time together 
with the resolve to allow wonder,
- that sense of what is sacred -
to find space to open up our minds and illumine our lives
  MNLeaming

Words of Blessing
Walk softly.
Speak truthfully.
Love gently.
Breathe deeply.
Live wisely.
Go in peace 
EGehrmann.
All  
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn/Song  (Cont).The Cosmos is Revolving”  (Tune: 13.13.13.13, Sprowston')           147(v3) RP
This broadens expectation, the life for which we hope,
the gift of resurrection, the faith for which we grope,
are found within our compass and not beyond our grasp,
these gifts of grace and loving are sown in us to last. 
APratt
The people sit

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