EarthB.25.4.2021

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
Remember to bookmark or Favourite my web site to get the latest edition:
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 copy of The Earth Charter  HERE

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”

25 April 2021.  Easter 4B. (White).
World Earth Day

Worth Pondering
“The Earth is full… It is full of us, it’s full of our stuff, full of our waste,
full of our demands. Yes, we are a brilliant and creative species,
but we’ve created too much stuff — so much that our economy
is now bigger than its host, our planet”
(Paul Gilding)

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

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/Slides 

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

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  People stand as they are able, to sing
The Arching Sky of Morning Glows  (Tune: ‘Tallis’ Canon’, L.M.)                               330 SLT
The arching sky of morning glows
like frescoes high in vaulted rows. 
The ragged hills of greening spring 
like chorus masters bid us sing.

The colours of our contoured land
no artist born could hue as grand,
but contours of the human heart
sole groundings are for every art.

When ever sounds the sacred sigh
beneath this gable of the sky,
the forms of art and spirit blend,
by craft and morn our hearts transcend.  (Mark L. Belletini)

OR

God of Diversity(Tune: ‘Margaret’. By Colin Gibson)                                                     40 HoS
God of diversity, vibrant creation
is bursting with signs of extravagant joy.
In riot of blossom, in species unnumbered
we see that all difference is ours to enjoy.

God of diversity, nations and cultures
tell of the richness life offers to all.
In language and symbol, in story and doctrine
we clothe our experience, respond to your call.

God of diversity, humans embody
the interdependence of ear, eye and hand;
we struggle to learn, in this globe-become-village,
our need of each other in every land.

God of diversity, help us to honour
our different perspectives on things that are true,
as, knowing more deeply the God in Christ Jesus,
we learn how to worship with all who love you. (Margaret Bond)

Opening Sentences
As we enter into this sacred place,
put away the pressures of the world that ask us
to perform,
to take up masks,
to put on brave fronts.
Silence the voices that ask you to be perfect.
This is a community of compassion and welcoming.
(EAHewitt/adapt)
All We bring all that we are and all that we yet can be,
to this safe and holy place.

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/sscol)

OR

We pray:
God of sky and God of earth, we honour
your presence within us and beyond.

May we be empowered with a loving and just peace.
May it be so.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

Hymn/Song   "Song of Faith"  (Tune: Abbeyfield, 87.87.87.87)                                             57 FFS
Song of faith that sings forever
through God's people, ages long,
Word that holds the world together
when our hearts take up the song,
always, always somewhere sounding,
though the source we do not see,
counterpoint to all despairing
it is hope that sets the key.

Song of faith in exultation,
rising through the vaults of prayer,
tune of simple celebration
offered up in open air,
song in chapel and cathedral,
descant to our daily tone,
song from sickbed or in prison:
faith must often sing alone.

And when life would overwhelm us,
when there seems no song to sing,
hear the constant voice of courage
out of fear and suffering:
all who've loved and trusted Jesus,
all who lift us to be strong,
endless, endless are the voices
of the faith that makes the song. 
(Shirley Erena Murray)

OR

The Earth Is Home”  (Tune: ‘St Petersburg’, 98.98.99. Irreg)                               56 HCL
The earth is home and all abundant,
Source of what was before we were,
And will be, till, all life in ending,
The final seed shakes in its burr.
We suckle from the fount untiring,
Children born of earth’s desiring.

She is our friend, our ancient mother;
Her fate and all her ways are ours;
Each atom proves our common journey,
Bred as we were of dust and stars.
For we and all our forward yearning
Are yet a spark in natures’s burning. (Kenneth L. Patton)

Welcome  
In our own words


A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are gathering 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

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

Meditation
Earth our Home
v1    We acknowledge Earth in all her fragility and beauty.
        We give thanks for her generous giving of life
        so that all humans and non-humans may live.

        Let us remember to tread consciously with reverence and gratitude…

v1     We belong to the universe, not the universe to us.
v2     Blessed be Earth.
All    Blessed be Earth.
       (
Become aware your surrounds and several deep breaths)

v1     Blessed be wondrous spinning jewel.
v2     Blessed be wondrous spinning jewel.
All    O Earth, beautiful one!
         O Earth, awesome and good.
         Earth, our Home
. (Adapt/ Margie Abbott/cs)

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 let silence gently enfold us.
(Silence)

In this day made fresh,
In the chorus of birds,
In the scent of wild flowers,
We embrace this day in hope.
(Silence)

Reflective Music

EXPLORING

Wisdom from the World/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:  Even as we seek understanding, our minds,
too often, shelter us from the realities we might uncover.
All  
May we have the courage to hear and hold truths
found within these words. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• “Earth”
By Jim Gronvold

Our rolling home spins
in an endless expanse

of wheels within wheels
with wheels of their own.

The birthplace of
our existence

a speck afloat
on seas unknown

a drop in an ocean
floating on oceans

where I have felt
stars at my feet

and echoes of you
in my own heartbeat.

OR

• Psalm 23 (Accompanied by drum beat)

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
The Lord lets me rest in green pastures
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
by still waters he leads me, restores my soul.
All  God leads me in paths that are right and true
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
for the sake of the name of my Shepherd, the Lord.
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

Silence

No drum beat
Even though I walk through the valley,
the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, - they comfort me.
Silence

Drum beat
You prepare a table before me,
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
and I’m safe from those who would harm me.
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
With oil on my head you anoint me.
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
My cup overflows with God’s goodness,
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life