Lent2B.28.2.2021

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

“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”


28 February 2021.  Lent 2B. (Purple)
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering
“Cherish your doubts, for doubt
is the handmaiden of truth”
(Robert T Weston)

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)

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 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

We gather here to celebrate life's beauty
and find healing for its pain;
to honour our kinship with each other and with the earth;
and to create a more compassionate world,
beginning with ourselves.
  (Adapt/Gary Kowalski)

OR

From the summer, now past, with its cordial good weather
we turn toward autumn with energy and enthusiasm renewed.

As we take a new look at the new situation
we hope to have knowledge sufficient
to meet the new problems and perplexities of our lives.

May our hope and courage be sustained,
and ou faith in the nature of humanity
be confirmed by every act of human kindness. (Bob Holmes/Resources)

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

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence

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  The people stand as they are able, to sing
God Gives The Song” 
(Tune: Kingsfold’ 86.86D)                                                            20 TMT
God gives the song which we shall sing
Of freedom for us all
To leave behind our guilt and fears
And break our narrowness
Refrain:
Come share your tears of joy with me.
Dance like the Autumn leaves;
Life is for loving, joy and fun,
God is the lively one.

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of laughter for us all
Of twinkling eyes replacing frowns
And structures freed by clowns.
Refrain:

God gives the song which we shall sing
Of justice for us all
Of sharing with the hungry poor
What they should own by right. 
(William Wallace)
Refrain:
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
There is a time for everything in creation:
Mn  a time for light and a time for darkness,
Wn  a time for sound and a time for silence,
Mn  a time for action and a time for reflection,
W
n  
a time for others and a time for oneself.

But all these times are God’s time
All  and now is the time to be aware(Adapt. William Wallace/htw)

Act of Awareness
From the earth we have come.
By its fruits we live.
This earth is our home.

We celebrate the beauty of our days,
and all their splendid avenues of love and hope.

OR

We pray:
Spirit of Life and Love, we have gathered
in this sacred place, again.
May we create here a circle of love,
ever expanding,
ever growing.

A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of hope.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  Imagining Stars(Tune: ‘Stuttgart’. 87.87)                                                 21 SNS2
When, at night, the stars shine on us
Light years from our tiny earth,
Songs and psalms provoke the questions
Of our fragile human worth.

These gigantic specks are burning
Balls of fire, as at play;
Stars in billions share their light and
Thus create a Milky Way.

We still gaze in raw amazement,
Contemplating timeless space;
Numberless, the stars keep stories
Hidden from our human race.

Tiny holes in heaven’s flooring
Letting light beyond shine through;
Stars invite us to imagine
What it is we cannot view.

Myst’ry stride across the canvas
Of the picture we might paint;
Sacredness is grandly present;
Let us praise without restraint.  (George Stuart)

OR

God Who Sets Us On A Journey”  (Tune: ‘Canvas’’)                                                   32 FFS
God who sets us on a journey
to discover, dream and grow,
lead us as you led your people
in the desert long ago;
journey inward, journey outward,
stir the spirit, stretch the mind,
love for God and self and neighbour
marks the way that Christ defined.

Exploration brings new insights,
changes, choices we must face;
give us wisdom in deciding,
mindful always of your grace;
should we stumble, lose our bearings,
find it hard to know what's right,
we regain our true direction
focused on the Jesus light.

End our longing for the old days,
grant the vision that we lack –
once we've started on this journey
there can be no turning back;
let us travel light, discarding
excess baggage from our past,
cherish only what's essential,
choosing treasure that will last.

When we set up camp and settle
to avoid love's risk and pain,
you disturb complacent comfort,
pull the tent pegs up again;
keep us travelling in the knowledge
you are always at our side;
give us courage for the journey,
Christ our goal and Christ our guide. 
Joy Dine
The people sit

Welcome
In your 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

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

As we gather let us claim
some stillness,
some silence.

A space and time to wonder…
(Silence)

The curious thing about wonder is that it sets human beings
apart from all other life forms.

Wonder gives us not only the capacity
to enjoy and respect nature, but also
the sense that we are part of a wider world.

Wonder excites us to look beyond immediate survival needs
to broader and far reaching contexts.  
(Ian Lawton)
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

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:  We listen for truth, yet it is elusive - a thought here, a verse there.
All
  May we collect it all, write what is worthy on our hearts,
and let the rest spill past our consciousness
leaving us clear and whole. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• “Jesus as Itinerant Artisan and Sage”
From The Wisdom of Jesus by Charles W Hedrick/188

Jesus was an itinerant artisan who had a marketable skill related to a building trade of some sort.
He was neither formally educated nor lettered beyond what training he may have received for his craft.
Nevertheless, he had an uncommon knowledge of human behavior based on shrewd observation of life in Galilean villages;
        and he was able to recreate what he observed in memorable realistic secular narratives,
        which he recounted as audiences presented themselves to listen.

His discourse was in the language of the secular world,
and his ideas put him at odds with the prevailing religious and secular powers,
        and even human self-interest.

Because of his abilities, however, he came to be regarded as a wise man.
Certainly he was not a professional scribe or sage, but in regarding him as wise
        he came to be included among those holy souls into whom the spirit of wisdom
        was thought to pass in every generation—men and women who became friends of God

OR

• "Like a Plover"
By Bruce Prewer. Australian Prayers/73.

God, tender and strong,
as the plover defends her young
against their enemies,
so defend me
against those anxieties and nameless fears
which are my enemies.

Save me in the hour of trial,
and deliver me from evil.

Under your wings
let me shelter
until faith and courage return...

• Mark 8:31-38 (Scholars Version)

Jesus started teaching [the disciples] that the son of Adam was destined to suffer a great deal,
and be rejected by the elders and the ranking priests, and the scholars,
and be killed, and after three days rise.
And he would say this openly.

And Peter took him aside and began to lecture him.
But he turned, noticed his disciples, and reprimanded Peter verbally:
'Get out of my sight, you Satan, you,
because you're not thinking in God's terms, but in human terms.'

After [Jesus] called the crowd together with his disciples, he said to them,
'Those who want to come after me should deny themselves,
pick up their cross, and follow me!

'Remember, those who try to save their life are going to lose it,
but those who lose their life [for my sake and]
for the sake of the good news are going to save it.

'After all, what good does it do a person to acquire the whole world and pay for it with life?
Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?

'Moreover, those who are ashamed of me and of my message...
of them the son of Adam will likewise be ashamed
when he comes in his Father's glory accompanied by h
oly angels.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany Celebrating Community (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a litany celebrating community.
The people stand as they are able

We gather together in the awe of life