EvolutionB.14.2.2021

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


14 February 2021 (Season).  Colour: Green/Rainbow
Evolution Weekend
“The Web of Life"

Worth Pondering
“A form of religion unfit and unable to bring science into its service
will be unfit to give order, direction, and meaning to human life as now lived”
(Henry Nelson Wieman)

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 (N) 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

Look to the salutation to the dawn,
Look to this day for it is life, the very life of life.  (Adapt.Sanskrit/ep)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this candle for the web of life which sustains us,

For the sacred circle of life in which we have our being,

For the Earth, the Sky, Above and Below, and

For our Mother Earth, and for the Mystery. (Paul Sprecher/uuww)

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  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)

OR

“When Earth Wakes from Out of Sleep” (Tune: ‘Lucerna Laudoniae’, 88.88.88)
When Earth wakes from out of sleep
With a terrifying shake,
Does our faith lie torn apart
Like the dwellings we forsake?
Cosmic God, each process shows
Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

Once we thought that earthquakes came
From a god to punish wrong;
Now we know they place Earth’s plates
Where for now they should belong.
Cosmic God, each process shows
Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

If we think that all that comes
Is made solely for our good,
We have placed ourselves above
Cosmic ways and livelihood.
Cosmic God, each process shows
Parts of wisdom Earth well knows. 

If Earth’s plates now need to move,
Its great need exceeds our own,
And it does not take account
Where we choose to make our home.
Cosmic God, each process shows
Parts of wisdom Earth well knows. 

For the answers we return
To the Cosmos and its ways,
Ways that humble all our pride,
Ways that fill our hearts with praise.
Cosmic God of everything,
Your great mystery now we sing. (William L Wallace)
Remain standing after the hymn/song

Opening Sentences
v1 A morning mist, the gleam of a new day,
faintly we discern the possibilities
that are before us.
All Energy rising, plans turning to action,
we build our every yesterday
from the living of our days.

v2 May we live our hope into tomorrow.
All May we wrap our lives around
the challenges of today.

v1 And in the quiet of the sacred space,
may we listen at the centre of our being
for the truth of our inner voice
v2 that sets before us the purpose of this day. (Adapt.Gretta Vosper/ab)

Act of Awareness
It is good to be alive!
To share life with each other
in this wonder-filled and evolving universe.
We are most grateful.

May wisdom dawn in us
so we may see all things in clarity.

OR

We pray:
Steadfast God, you visit us in our aloneness
but we express you best in our togetherness.

May our time together express
that quality of fellowship, which is a
true expression of your presentness. (Adapt.D S Harrington/owos)

Hymn/Song  The Celebration of Life”  (Tune: ‘Von Himmel Hoch’, LM)                       55 SSCL
Life is our reverence and good;
Our dances voice the body’s praise;
Our temples house life’s theme and mood;
Our songs and poems tell its ways.

Now welcome every living hour;
Delight in every‘ newborn day.
Life is our fame; death has no power
Unless our fear gives death its way.

The pliant muscle fills and bends;
The flesh is soft and will not break,
And healing patiently amends
Endurance for the future’s sake.

The seed will fill the emptied spire,
And ebbing clear the sweep to thrive;
The ashes grow the woods to fire,
And death is food to all that live,

We have eternity in full
In this quick sample of our days;
No terror, then, can render null
The joy of all our life and praise.  (Kenneth L Patton, 1967)

OR

Nature’s Beauty(Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87.87.47 Extend.)                                        4 SNS3
Nature knows her sounds and movements
Heard and seen each day and night;
All her life in rich abundance
Fills my heart with great delight;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world so bright.

Fearsome winds cause trees to whimper;
Storms can force the clouds to cry;
Raindrops, snowflakes dance together;
Sun and moon wink in reply;
Celebrate with adoration
All the wonders of the sky.

Celebrate all hidden textures;
Value all the roots below;
Celebrate all covered spendour;
Value beauty not on show;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world we know.

Creatures bold and creatures timid
Offer beauty, each unique;
Trees and flowers paint a picture
On the plain and mountain peak;
Celebrate with adoration;
All revealed for those who seek.

We are blest with such profusion;
Beauty bursts out everywhere;
If we take the time to ponder
We may find a thankful prayer;
Celebrate with adoration
Thankful for the world we share.  (George Stuart).
People sit after the hymn/song

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 us be still for a few moments and co-create a space for
more gratitude,
greater compassion,
sensitive understanding,
soft human emotions,
and honesty…
(Silence)

Draw your deep breath, knowing
you are welcomed and valued now, here.

Be at peace and at one with yourself
and with those close by…
(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:  Let the horizons of our minds encompass
All   Those who came before us,
All those with whom we now share our planet,
All  And those who will come after us.

• “Deep Incarnation”
By Elizabeth Johnson

Out of the Big Bang the stars; out of the stardust the Earth;
out of the molecules of the Earth, life.

They were single-celled creatures at first, for millions of years.

Then out of their life and death an advancing tide, fragile but unstoppable:
creatures that live in shells, fish, amphibians, insects,
lowers, birds, reptiles, and mammals…

In the human species, nature becomes conscious of itself
and open to fulfillment in grace and glory.

As rabbi Abraham Heschel (1907–1972) notes,
this makes human beings the cantors of the universe.

OR

• “Our Wonderful World”
An edit of several texts based on
SueEllen Campbell, et.al. The Face of the Earth. Natural Landscapes, Science, and Culture. Berkeley. University of California Press, 2011.

Besides being an incredibly beautiful image,
the Pale Blue Dot [photo from space] gives us some perspective on the scale of our world.

What’s more, we all share that same Pale Blue Dot.
And we carry in our bodies the products of an alchemy, forged in stars billions of years ago. 

Earth is a special planet.
But that same Earth is changing all the time.
It is dynamic.
It is our home and one that we should treat with reverence, care, and respect. 

Especially in the face of the climate crisis.
The more we understand our Earth and its part in the 14 billion-year old cosmos,
the more reason we have to stand in awe and reverence
at the process which lured and shaped its evolution,
our evolution, wherein our existence is rooted…

It streaks through space with the galaxy and with the solar system.
It loops around the sun.
It moves through sunlight, around and around, north to south to north.
It spins, wobbles, and tilts…

This—this wonderful moving kaleidoscope—is earth.
Our world.
And this world invites our endless wonder.

OR

• Proverbs108. “Nature: 1-10.”
By A C Grayling. The Good Book/386-387

To know nature, consult nature.
It cannot be nature, if it is not sense.
Nature is the true law.
Nature obeys necessity.
Nature pardons no mistakes.
Two command nature one must obey it.
The volume of nature is the book of knowledge.
Wisdom and nature never say different things.
Nature always returns.
Nature does nothing in vain.

Contemporary Exploration
Statement on Evolutionary Christianity HERE
Clergy Letter Project statement on Climate Change HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith  (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

The Web of Life
By Robert T Weston. Day of Promise: Collected Meditations, Vol. 1 (Ed. Kathleen Montgomery)

There is a living web that runs through us
All   To all the universe
Linking us each with each and through all life
On to the distant stars.

Each knows a little corner of the world, and lives
As if this were his all.
All   We no more see the farther reaches of the threads
Than we see of the future, yet they’re there.

Touch but one thread, no matter which;
The thoughtful eye may trace to distant lands
All  
Its firm continuing strand, yet lose its filaments
as they reach out,
But find at last it coming back to him from whom it led.

We move as in a fog, aware of self
All   But only dimly conscious of the rest
As they are close to us in sight or feeling.

New objects loom up for a time, fade in and out;
All   Then, sometimes, as we look on unawares, the fog lifts
And then there’s the web in shimmering beauty,
Reaching past all horizons.

We catch our breath;
Stretch out our eager hands, and then
All   In comes the fog again, and we go on,
Feeling a little foolish, doubting what we had seen.

The hands were right.  The web is real.
All  Our folly is that we so soon forget.

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
From Atoms to Planets(Tune: ‘Kemeza’, 12.11.12.11)                                                      108 WNC
From atoms to planets eternity changes;
the hues and the colours that cover the earth,
through seasons and cycles, the world rearranges,
but sure is the love that has brought us to birth.

The wind and the weather distort vegetation,
the breakers are pounding and shaping the shore.
Our lives are spun round as each grief re-determines
the things that are doubtful and those that are sure.

Amid all this turmoil, this change and mutation,
the strained intertwining of living and strife,
one thing remains constant, relentless, determined:
that God goes on loving in death as through life.  (© Andrew Pratt)
People sit

CELEBRATING

Offerings

Presentation
In a world so full of what is wonderful,
ever changing, ever surprising us with life’s
power and beauty, may we accept with gratitude,
all that gladdens us, and with fortitude
all that brings us grief.

Let us be learning always,
from all that we see and do, and
from all that happens to us.  (Adapt.A Powell Davies/lth)

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)

In Solidarity
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this safe space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared.

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
From all the world that we have seen
All   From all the life that we have known
We here claim all that has been
All   And name tomorrow for our own(Kenneth Patton/sscl)

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…

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among and within us,
and to see new possibilities of the now.

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  Our Mother, whose body is the Earth,
Sacred is thy being. Thy gardens grow.
Thy will be done in our cities,
as it is in nature.

Thanks be this day
for food, and air, and water.

Forgive us our sins against Earth,
as we are learning to forgive one another.
And surrender us not unto extinction,
but deliver us from our folly.

For thine is the beauty, and the power,
and all life, from birth to death,
from beginning to end. Amen.
So be it.
Forever.
Blessed be. 
(Henry Horton/lp)

PARTING

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Blue Boat Home”  (Tune: ‘Hyfrydol’, 87.87D)                                                                   207(v1-2) STJ
Though below me, I feel no motion 
Standing on these mountains and plains 
Far away from the rolling ocean 
Still my dry land heart can say 
I’ve been sailing all my life now 
Never harbor or port have I known 
The wide universe is the ocean I travel 
And the earth is my blue boat home 

Sun, my sail and moon, my rudder
As I ply the starry sea
Leaning over the edge in wonder
Casting questions into the deep
Drifting here with my ship’s companions
All we kindred pilgrim souls
Making our way by the lights of the heavens
In our beautiful blue boat home

OR

Earth is our Homeland”  (Tune: ‘Symphony’, 11.11.8.6.5)                                              309(v1-2) SLT
Earth is our home-land: a song of stars, a grace
wrought of the ages, an opal spun in space!
Dawn’s far blue hill, soft night-time still,
dark ocean depth, smooth stone —
for gifts sublime that hallow time
we’ll sing, making deep thanks-giving known.

Word is our glory, our breath of air, our cry!
Parables, letters, or star-names in the sky,
or myths that play as poets pray
bring meaning to our lives.
For ev‘ry praise that hones our days
we'll sing till the final day arrives.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The Community Candle is extinguished

v1  Let us be thankful for the universe which s our home:
For its grandeur, beauty, and abundance.

v2  Let us be thankful for our senses,
by which we see the splendours of morning and evening,
hear the laughter of children and songs of birds,
and taste the richness of life.

v1  And let s be thankful for our fellow human beings,
with whom we share love, loss, celebration, sorrow:
the sacred deepness
of our interconnected lives.  (Dennis McCarty/tga147)

OR

Let us join with the Earth and with each other.
To bring new life to the land
To restore the waters
To refresh the air

To protect the animals
To treasure the trees
To gaze at the stars

To cherish the human community
To heal the Earth
To remember the children.

Let us go forth to put our words into action. (Diann L Neu/rb)

Words of Blessing
May the firmness of the earth be yours.
May the flow of the water be yours.
May the freedom of the air be yours.
May the fierceness of the fire be yours.

May all of the gifts of this life,
The Below and the Above,
Be with you now and remain with you always.  (Eric Williams/uuaww)
All  Amen. Blessed be.

OR

May the freshness of the dawn enliven our spirits
May the rising of the sun enlighten our minds
May the noon-tide of the day warm our hearts
May the sunset clothe us with restfulness.  (William L Wallace/wb)
All   May it be so with us.

Hymn/Song  (Cont).Blue Boat Home”  (Tune: ‘Hyfrydol’, 87.87D)                               207(v3) STJ
I give thanks to the waves upholding me 
Hail the great winds urging me on 
Greet the infinite sea before me 
Sing the sky my sailor’s song 
I was born upon the fathoms 
Never harbor or port have I known 
The wide universe is the ocean I travel 
And the earth is my blue boat home.  
(© Peter Mayer.)

OR

Earth is our Homeland”  (Tune: ‘Symphony’, 11.11.8.6.5)                                            309(3-4) SLT
Music is wonder, an alchemy of art,
love's pure enchantment, communion for the heart!
From chants to Psalms, from jazz to Brahms,
no soul may stay at rest.
For starry choir in sky a-fire
we'll sing, joined with them in an-them blessed.

Hope is our high star, the certitude love brings,
silence our center, our living water’s spring.
Though aching heart know self apart from
Whole and Mystery,
for gatherings of strengthening
we'll sing, through-out human history.  (Mark Belletini/Helen Picket)
The people sit after the hymn/song

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Significant Events
Journey Candles

Music

Fellowship
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in this time of fellowship

You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend


Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy
Davies, A. P. The Language of the Heart. A Book of Prayers. Washington, DC: All Soul’s Church, 1956.
Duncan, G. (ed). A World of Blessing. Benedictions From Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2000.
Grayling, A. C. The Good Book. A Secular Bible. London. Bloomsbury, 2011Harrington, D. S. Outstretched Wings of the Spirit. On Being Intelligently and Devotedly Religious. Boston. UUA, 1980.
Johnson, E.  “Deep Incarnation: Prepare to be Astonished”, UNIFAS Conference, Rio de Janeiro, (7-14 July 2010).
Neu, D. L. Return Blessings: Ecofeminist Liturgies Renewing the Earth. Cleveland. Pilgrim Press, 2002.
(SSCL) Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
(WNC) Pratt, A.
Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2002.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon.
Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York. HarperCollins, 1991.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon.
Life Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey. New York. HarperCollins, 1996.
(StJ)
Singing The Journey. Boston. UUA, 2005.
(SLT)
Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS3) Stuart, G.
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 3. Toronto. G Stuart, 2011.
Vosper, G.
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.

Web sites/Other:
Williams, Sprecher. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Wallace, W. L. One of several Worship Resources available from
ProgressiveChristianity.Org  < https://progressivechristianity.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/0.-CELEBRATING-MYSTERY-Index-with-Links-New.pdf>
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/

rexae74@gmail.com