EasterDayB.4.4.2021

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

GATHERING 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.”

4 April 2021.  Easter Day B. (White)
Celebrating Community
 the Tradition of the Meal

We need a new configuration of liturgy and climate to celebrate Easter in Australia.
In the southern hemisphere we cannot exploit the theme of Spring’s new life. 
Perhaps the theme of refreshing coolness would be an excellent substitute to enrich our appreciation of the Easter event.
April in Australia is a pleasant, refreshing month.
Its arrival brings a sense of relief from the thick blanket of summer
as we are rejuvenated by a touch of coolness. 
For us, this is Eastertime...

Worth Pondering
“The point of teaching is to invoke wonder (which is the main ingredient in the art of wisdom),
and the parable form is indeed highly suited to this task”
(David Galston)

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/Videos

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

v1 Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
(Silence)

Life is a gift for which we are grateful.
All  We gather in community to celebrate
the glories and mysteries of this great gift.  MMontgomery/slt

v2  Today we celebrate:
new life,
new joy,
new possibilities.
All  We give thanks for the Spirit of Life
visible in Jesus,
visible in us,
visible in people in all walks of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this flame and give praise for
the gifts that lift and inspire our living:
   music, art, creativity and all beauty.

Act of Awareness
The world is always radiant.
Whether at night under the dimmest starlight,
or at noon under the brightest sun,
the world is giving forth a vast legend.

It only awaits the involvement of the eye,
the engagement of the ear.

So let us live this moment in all its fullness,
for in it is all realisation, all time.  (Adapt.Kenneth Patton/sscl)

OR

We pray:
God of terror and joy, you arise to shake the earth.

Open our graves and give us back the past;
so that all that has been buried
may be freed and forgiven,
and our lives may return to you.
May it be so.

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
All People That On Earth Do Dwell
(Tune: ‘Old 100th, 88.88)                                     59 TiS
All people that on earth do dwell.
sing to the Lord with cheerful voice:
him serve with mirth, his praise forth tell;
come ye before him and rejoice.

Know that the Lord is God indeed;
without our aid he did us make:
we are his folk, he doth us feed,
and for his sheep he doth us take.

O enter then his gates with praise,
approach with joy his courts unto;
praise, laud and bess his name always,
for it is seemly so to do.

For why the Lord our God is good;
his mercy is for ever sure;
his truth at all times firmly stood,
and shall from age to age endure. (Wm Kethe, 16th century)

OR

Where Are You Going?(Tune: ‘Pilgrim Tune’, 97.66.7)                                               86 RP
Where are you going?  God only knows.
Walk on pilgrim, pilgrim sing.
It's not where you're going.
It's how you are changing.
Come on pilgrim!  Pilgrim sing!

Walk with another, walk on as one.
Come on pilgrim, pilgrim sing.
Your friends will walk with you,
and others will join you. 
Walk on pilgrims!  Pilgrims sing!

Walk midst the water, walk through the fire.
Walk on pilgrims, pilgrims sing.
Your God will walk with you,
your God will protect you.
Come on pilgrims!  Pilgrims sing! 

Climb up the mountain, follow the sun.
Come on pilgrims, pilgrims sing.
The leaves turn to auburn
to welcome the autumn.
Walk on pilgrims!  Pilgrims sing!

God is behind you, God is ahead.
Walk on pilgrims, pilgrims sing.
The winter may chill you,
the spring will enchant you.
Come on pilgrims!  Pilgrims sing!

Summer is coming, spirit of joy.
Come on pilgrims, pilgrims sing.
Then dance as you travel,
sing 'hail resurrection'.
Walk on pilgrims!  Pilgrims sing!  (Andrew Pratt)

OR

If in Northern Hemisphere
Lo, the Earth Awakes Again”  (Tune: ‘Easter Hymn’, 77.77 with alleluias)                   318 HCL
Lo, the earth awakes again
Alleluia!
From the winter’s bond and pain.
Alleluia!
Bring we leaf and flower and spray
Alleluia!
To adorn this happy day.
Alleluia!

Once again the world comes true,
Alleluia!
All the earth shall be made new.
Alleluia!
Now the dark cold days are o’er,
Alleluia!
Light and gladness are before.
Alleluia!

Change, then, mourning into praise,
Alleluia!
And, for dirges, anthems raise.
Alleluia!
How our spirits soar and sing,
Alleluia!
How our hearts leap with the spring!
Alleluia!   (Samuel Longfellow, 1887)

Welcome
 
In your own words


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

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

How good it is to be alive!
Yes, we feel the beat of our own hearts,
the pulsing of life in our veins,
the rhythm of our breathing.

We come into the silence of this time with gratitude for this day.
(Silence)

We come with our needs.
And we come because we have gifts to share.

In our coming and in our going
may we be strengthened
in our bonds of love and peace.
Silence

Hymn/Song People stand as they are able, to sing
"We Are An Easter People" (Tune: Irregular)                                                                 146 AA
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
the yeast is rising in our hearts,
our wine has vintage taste.
Refrain:
Christ is risen,
Christ is risen,
risen in our lives.

We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our tears are freed to flow and heal
our shattered hopes and hearts.
Refrain:

We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our fears have died, we rise to dream,
to love, to dance, to live.  (William L Wallace)

Refrain:

RECOLLECTION OF BAPTISM
v1   In very early Christianity,
when the people gathered to worship on Easter morning,
they would be reminded of their baptism
as they witnessed the baptism of others.

This morning we, more than 20 centuries later, follow in that tradition.
Water is poured into the font

Come, Spirit of Life, Beyond all Names,
enfold us, impel us, refresh us
As water is sprinkled over the congregation...

Always remember you are baptised and be thankful...

v2   Baptised into a new way of being,
a new humanity,
fit for the glory and dignity
of this one Earth community…

And raised up,
a new creation grasping for life,
that we might grasp the full extent
of the mystery of being –
Alive! Creative! Compassionate! (Adapted from Bruce Sanguin/idp)

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 be struck by the wisdom of these words
and marked by hearing them.
All 
For within story lies meaning, and
within meaning, the wisdom for which we seek. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• "Easter Morning"
By Bruce Prewer. More Australian Psalms/151. 

Black light transforms
the clouds in the east,
the swamphens wake
at this new dawning.

Against the sky
sacred ibis wend
like angel forms,
to hopeless mourning.

The sun comes up
and the magpies sing.

God is alive
in everything this Easter morning.

OR

• “Thank God for Bursting Life!”
By Shirley Erena Murray. A Place at the Table/37

Thank God for bursting life, for greening leaf, for sign of Spring’s sowing!
The Easter sunrise brings the light that can illumine all our knowing!
What crucifixion failed to kill, is well alive this Day:
   a peace-determined Way,
   God’s realm of hope and promise,
   of peace lived in promise,
as Jesus lived this promise.

Thank God for courage raised to roll away the stones of dead traditions,
to crack the codes of death, to give the fearful powers no free permission!
What crucifixion failed to kill, is well alive this Day:
   a fairer, kinder Way,
   a signatory to justice,
   commitment to justice,
as  Jesus lives this justice.

Thank God for feisty souls who let no weight of history deter them!
Who liberate the faith, who let the Easter air revive and stir them!
What crucifixion failed to kill, is well alive this Day:
   non-violent, this Way,
   a charter for compassion,
   the power of compassion,
as Jesus lived compassion.

Thank God for fresh-baked bread, the loaf we share,
the yeasty fragrance rising.
The bubbling up of hope, the wine outpoured in joy of God’s devising!
What crucifixion failed to kill, is well alive this Day:
   the Gospel-driven Way;
   the human spirit’s freedom,
   the risen life’s freedom,
as Jesus lived this freedom.

• John 20: 1-18  (NRSV)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone
had been removed from the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple,
the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.
The two were running together,
but the other disciple outran Peter
and reached the tomb first.

He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there,
but he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb.
He saw the linen wrappings lying there,
and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head,
not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first,
also went in, and he saw and believed;
for as yet they did not understand the scripture,
that he must rise from the dead.

Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb;
and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying,
one at the head and the other at the feet.

They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord,
and I do not know where they have laid him.”

When she had said this,
she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
but she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him,
“Sir, if you have carried him away,
tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 

Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me,
because I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and say to them,
I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord”; and she told them
that he had said these things to her.

OR

• Mark 16: 1-8. (Inclusive Text/NRSV)

When the sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome,
bought spices with which to go and anoint Jesus.

And very early in the morning on the first day of the week
they went to the tomb, just as the sun was rising.
They had been saying to one another,
'Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?'

But when they looked they could see that the stone - which was very big -
had already been rolled back.

On entering the tomb they saw a youth in a white robe
seated on the right-hand side,
and they were struck with amazement.

But the youth said to them:
'There is no need for alarm.
You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: 
Jesus has risen, and is not here.

'See, here is the place where they laid him.

'But you must go and tell the disciples and Peter:
Jesus is going before you to Galilee;
it is there you will see him, just as he told you.'

So they went out and fled from the tomb,
for both terror and amazement had seized them.

And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Contemporary Exploration and HERE
 
And an article on 'Communal Resurrection' by Dom Crossan
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-dominic-crossan/the-communal-resurrection-jesus_b_847507.html

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Easter Litany: ‘Out of the Depths'  (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

When we are all despairing;
when the world is full of grief;
when we see no way ahead,
    and hope has gone away:
All   Roll back the stone.

Although we fear change;
although we are not ready;
although we’d rather weep
    and run away:
All  Roll back the stone.

Because we’re coming with the women;
because we hope where hope is vain;
because you call us from the grave
    and show the way:
All  Roll back the stone.  (Janet Morley/cw)

OR

An Affirmation of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share an affirmation of faith.
The people stand as they are able

v2  Beckoning Christ, you call us
out of our comfortable ghetto of 'us' and 'them'
to risk discipleship without walls.
All  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where God is worshipped above all other.

Wn  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where prayer is offered day and night.
All  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where we can share what we are
with others who love you.

Mn  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where each person has something to give to the whole.
All  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where compassion and respect
shape missionary endeavour.

v1  Keep on beckoning us out of our safe havens
into your rich fellowship of challenge and reconciliation,
faith and hope.  (Kate Compston/sco)

OR

A Litany: “Life in All its Fullness” (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

Bless you Wise and Holy One,
for your down-to-earth vision
of the best of what human life can be.
All  Bless you Wise and Holy One,
for your call to life in all its fullness…

v1  when we honour who we are as easily
as we are enthralled by what others
want us to be;

v2  when we stop pursuing happiness