Earth.Easter4B.25.4.2021

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
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 worship 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)

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 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)

• 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
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
and I’ll live in God’s  house all my days.
All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

Quieter

All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
Whisper

All  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.  (WPoG)
Silence

• John 10:11-18 (Inclusive Text)

Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd.
Good shepherds lay down their lives for their sheep.

"The hirelings, since they are not the shepherds
and the sheep do not belong to them,
abandon the sheep and run away
as soon as they see a wolf coming,
and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep.

"I am the good shepherd.
I know my own and my own know me,
just as God, who sent me, knows me, and I know God.

"And I lay down my life for the sheep.
There are other sheep I have that are not of this fold,
and these I have to lead as well.

"They too will listen to my voice,
and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.

"God loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.

"No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will,
and as it is in my power to take it up again.

"And this is the command I have been given
by the One who sent me." 

Contemporary Exploration and HERE and HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Earth Litany (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, and in celebration of the season of Autumn, 
let us share a special Earth litany.
The people remain seated

v1  After the sun of Summer has done its work, 
people gather in threshing fields,
vineyards,
orchards and
home vegetable gardens,
to celebrate their reward.

v2  The seeds entrusted to Mother Earth in the Spring
have been watched, watered and weeded
until the time of harvest is at hand.

This morning, we celebrate the season of change and reward - Autumn.  
And witness it daily in the changing colours of the leaves.

v1  But let us also remember the earth and our attachment to it.

Welcome are all earth’s lands, each for its kind.
Wm  Welcome are lands of pine and gum tree,
welcome are lands of the lemon, coconut and fig.

Mn  
Welcome are lands of gold.
All  Welcome are lands of rye and oats,
welcome those of the grape and nut.

v1  Welcome are lands of sugar and rice.
Welcome the cotton lands,
Wm  welcome those of the onion and potato.
Mn  Welcome are mountains, valleys, sands and forests.
All  Welcome the rich river flats, 
open paddocks and grassed park lands.

v1  Welcome the measureless farmlands,
welcome the teeming soil of orchards, pineapple and honey.
Wm  Welcome just as much the other more hard-faced lands,
Mn  lands rich as lands of vegetables or wheat and fruit lands,
lands of mines, lands of rugged ores,
Wm  
lands of coal, copper, lead, tin and iron.
All Welcome are all earth’s lands, each for its kind. 
(WWhitman. Adapted RAEHunt)

OR

Celebrating the Earth (Optional)
v1  We light this candle for the land, sea and sky.
A Candle is lit
v2  We remember the richness of Planet Earth:
All  mountains unfolding to desert and plain,
seas swaying to the rhythm of tides,
skies reflecting the colours of light.

v3  We light this candle for the creatures of Earth.
A second Candle is lit
v2  We remember creatures of land, air and sea:
All  horses running for the joy of living,
parrots chatting on roofs and branches,
dolphins leaping from sea to sky.

v4  We light this candle for the fruits of Earth.
A third Candle is lit
v2  We remember fruits of the land:
All  grasses bursting with nourishing grain,
flowers exuding colour and fragrance,
trees renewing the sweetness of air.

v5  We light this candle for humanity.
A fourth Candle is lit
v2  We remember all sages and prophets:
Al l through them recalling the power of love;
through them reclaiming a spirit of compassion;
through them embracing Earth and each other. 
 (Adapt.PCNV Earth Liturgy)

OR

“Simply Cherish The Earth
By William F Schulz

Regardless of our differences, there are a host of affirmations
that we embrace as the basis for our faith.
Whatever we think the holy may be,
Creation itself is holy.
All  We make no distinctions between the natural and the supernatural, 
the secular and the sacred. 
We simply cherish the earth and all its creatures, 
the stars in all their glory.

Life’s gifts are available to everyone,
not just the chosen or the saved.
All  Only human artifice or blind ill fortune can separate us 
from the source of our blessings.

That which is Divine, Precious, or Profound
is made evident not in the miraculous or otherworldly,
but in the simple and the everyday.
All  We look not to the heavens 
or an afterlife for our meaning, 
but to the exuberance of this life's unfolding.

Human beings themselves are responsible
for the planet and its future.
All  Social and environmental justice is a religious obligation. 
The future is never fated.

Every one of us is held in Creation's hand.
We share its burdens and its radiance.
Hence strangers need not be enemies.
All  The earth is our cherished home; 
all its inhabitants our companions.

Although death confronts us all,
we love life all the more,
perhaps because we loose it.
All  An honourable and impassioned life 
may not deny death its due, 
but it can surely deny it of its victory.

If Remembering ANZAC Day:  (A Reflection followed by Silence)
“Robyn”
By Jena Woodhouse
(Published in Eureka Street, Vol 27 No. 8. 25 April 2017)

Getting off the bus at Woden,
I fell into conversation
with another passenger called Robyn,
who then waited with me
for the bus to Manuka, to see
me off, the way friends will,
or people who are closer: family, kin.

I told her I had visited
the War Memorial.
She said she'd never known
her father, who'd been killed
in action, somewhere. No,
she couldn't tell me where,
she'd been only three. She'd not
been out to view his name,
embossed in metal on the wall.
Her health was poor, she wasn't sure
she'd manage all the walking.
But growing up, she'd missed the father
she had no remembrance of.
She'd always felt the lack of him —
an ache time could not ease

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
All Creatures of Our God”  (Tune: ‘Lasst Uns Erfreuen’, 88.88. Alleluias)
(Leader spoken, Sung response)

v1  Praise God, you holy ones…
Praise Wisdom Sophia, all shining stars.

All creatures of our loving God,
Lift up your voice with praise and laud,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
You blazing sun with golden beam.
You silver moon with softer gleam!
O praise God! O praise God!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

v2  Praise God, highest heavens…
She established you forever and ever.

You rushing wind, air, clouds, and rain,
By which all creatures you sustain.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
You rising morn, in praise rejoice,
You lights of evening, find a voice
O praise God! O praise God!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

v3  Praise Wisdom Sophia, all the Earth…
Storm winds that fulfill God’s word.

You swirling water, flowing clear,
Make music for your God to hear,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
You glowing fire who lights the night,
Providing warmth, enhancing sight…
O praise God! O praise God!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

v1  You mountains and all you hills.
You creeping things and flying birds.

Dear gentle Earth, who day by day
Unfolds your blessings on our way,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruit that in you grow,
Let them God's glory also show!
O praise God! O praise God!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

v2  Let God be praised by all the faithful ones,
By the people/women of (name your group), the people close to God.

Let all on Earth our Creator bless,
And praise our God in holiness,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!’  (Adapted from the original by Diann Neu)

OR

God The One Forever Making(Tune: ‘Making New’, Wm Wallace/Suxanne Lennon. Alternate Tune: ‘Deerhurst’, J Langran)
God the One forever making
All the old into the new,
Source of all creative passion
Found in each emerging view,
You are God forever dreaming,
You are Spirit in each part,
You are Christ the Sacred Presence
Found within each human heart.

Through our worship, with its rituals,
We can shape new songs of praise,
We can touch without molesting,
Share in all God’s pictured ways.
Every person is creative
Like the God who gives us birth;
As God’s priests and as God’s prophets
We hold power to change this Earth.

When we pray for other people,
When we meet them face to face,
Our imagination helps us
Share the others’ pain with grace.
Every person is creative
Like the God who gives us birth;
As God’s movers and God’s shakers
We hold power to change this Earth.

In a world of many viewpoints,
Many shapes of social norms,
We will value our own vision
While respecting other forms.
Every person is creative
Like the God who gives us birth;
As God’s movers and God’s shakers
We hold power to change this Earth.

Every day has new beginnings,
Every heart creative fire,
Waiting, waiting for the fanning
Sparked by Spirit’s deep desire.
You are God forever dreaming
You are Spirit in each part,
You are Christ the Sacred Presence
Found within each human heart. (William L Wallace)

OR

Take Off Your Shoes”  (Tune: ’Take Off Your Shoes’)                                                           651 TiS
Refrain:
Take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on holy ground;
take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on holy ground.
Well, the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof
from the waters beneath to the heav’ens above,
so take, take, take off your shoes,
you're standing on my holy ground,
you’re standing on my holy ground.

On the eighth day of creation, well, the Lord looked around
at the power stations, freeways and the junk on the ground,
the factories with their waste-dumps and their chimneys so high,
you couldn't see the sun for all the smog in the sky.
Well, kids, you really filled the earth and then you subdued it,
but there's nothing in my book that says you've got to pollute it.
So,

Take, take off your shoes

You've heated up my rivers with industrial mills,
you're killing off my oceans with your wastes and your spills,
you're fishing like there'll always be an endless supply,
and fighting one another for what's left to divide.
You didn't want advice when I first gave you dominion,
but maybe now it's time to get a second opinion.
So,

Take, take off your shoes

Your scientific minds - make sure you use them with care:
you're breaking down my ozone layer up in the air,
your fertilizer's turning mighty rivers bright green.
some folks are getting fatter while so many grow lean.
I told you to be fruitful and you sure multiplied,
but the rich took all the land and never learned to divide.
So,

Take, take off your shoes 
(James K. Manlev 1940. A version for Australia)

OR

If remembering ANZAC Day
A Century Passes”  (Tune: ‘Engelberg’, 10.10.10.6 or’Sine Nomine’, 10.10.10.10)             127 MTH 
When using SINE NOMINE the alternative verse endings shown in square brackets should be sung.

A century passes, memories will fade;
war’s sun goes down, sharp pain is hid in shade.
Yet still we pray for peace, as those men prayed;
we will remember them. [we will remember, we will remember.]

Ten times ten thousand fell amid that rage.
What is the gain we measure from that age,
once reaped from carnage on that harrowed stage?
We will remember them. [We will remember, we will remember.]

While some were buried, others have no grave,
unmarked they fell, yet all, we say, were brave,
and still we stand in thanks for all they gave:

we will remember them. [we will remember, we will remember.]

Then let us work and move and strive for peace
until the grace of God can bring release,
and then all nations sing and never cease:
Alleluia! [Alleluial Alleluial]  (Andrew Pratt. © Copyright 2014 Stainer & Bell Ltd)

OR

Honour the Dead”. Hymn for Anzac Day(Tune: ‘Anzac’, 10.10.10.10)                       61 HoS
Honour the dead, our country's fighting brave,
honour our children left in foreign grave,
where poppies blow and sorrow seeds her flowers,
honour the crosses marked forever ours.

Weep for the places ravaged by our blood,
weep for the young bones buried in the mud,
weep for the powers of violence and greed,
weep for the deals done in the name of need.

Honour the brave whose conscience was their call,
answered no bugle, went against the wall,
suffered in prisons of contempt and shame,
branded as cowards, in our country's name.

Weep for the waste of all that might have been,
weep for the cost that war has made obscene,
weep for the homes that ache with human pain,
weep that we ever sanction war again.

Honour the dream for which our nation bled,
held now in trust to justify the dead,
honour their vision on this solemn day:
peace known in freedom, peace the only way.  (Shirley Erena Murray)
People sit

Offerings

Presentation
Here today, 
we renew our unity with one another,
and with all those who have gone before us in this place.

Here today, 
we renew our communion with the earth
and our interwovenness with the broken ones of the world.

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,