Lent4B.14.3.2021

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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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 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 March 2021.  Lent 4B. (Purple)
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering
“The Earth is full. The most scarce resources on the planet today
are wisdom and courage”
(Tim Rayner)

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/Video 

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

We have come from our own places to this special sacred place.
This is a place where we know
we can share community and be blessed.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

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 The people stand as they are able, to sing
Love Now Ascending(Tune: ‘Nicaea’, 11.12.12.10)
Holy, holy, holy, love now ascending
Early in the morning our song shall rise to you.
Holy, holy, holy, joy that has no ending
Giving, forgiving, breathing life anew.

Holy, holy, holy, love without a limit
Care that binds creation in sacred unity,
Holy, holy, holy, birthing every minute,
Christ, Love's revealer, sets our spirits free.

Holy, holy, holy, infinite compassion,
Makes a place for every soul in God's eternal reign,
Holy, holy, holy, truth beyond religion,
Love that endures should nothing else remain.

Holy, holy, holy, raise your voice in singing,
Join the cosmic chorus in praise of Love divine,
Holy, holy, holy, God beyond all naming,
Echoes our song in harmony sublime.
(Jim Burklo)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
This time is for us.
We step inside the sacred circle.
Wn  
We see our lives as part of the
continually astonishing mystery of life.
Mn  We know our lives are always lived connected
with other people, wider communities,
the eternal humanity.

This time is for us
All  To come closer to Creativity God.

Act of Awareness
Silently a flower blooms.
In silence it falls away.
Yet here now, in this moment, at this place,
the world of the flower,
the whole of the world is blooming.

This is the talk of the flower,
the truth of the blossom:
the glory of eternal life is fully shining here (Adapt. Zenkei Shibayama/lp)

OR

We pray:
In this season of Lent, may we become more aware of the presence of God.
May we see this presence in each other,
hear it in the music, and experience it,
as we give and receive gifts of love.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song Our Life Has Its Seasons(Tune: 'Kotuka')                                           113 AA
Our life has its seasons,
and God has the reasons
why spring follows winter,
and new leaves grow,
for there's a connection
with our resurrection
that flowers will bud
after frost and snow
So there's never a time to stop believing,
there's never a time for hope to die,
there's never a time to stop loving,
these three things go on.

There's a time to be planting,
a time to be plucking,
a time to be laughing,
a time to weep,
a time to be building,
a time to be breaking,
a time to be waking,
a time to sleep,
But there's never a time to stop believing,
there's never a time for hope to die,
there's never a time to stop loving,
these three things go on.

There's a time to be hurting,
a time to be healing,
a time to be saving,
a time to spend,
a time to be grieving,
a time to be dancing,
a time for beginning,
a time to end,
But there's never a time 
to stop believing,
there's never a time for hope to die,
there's never a time to stop loving,
these three things go on.  (Shirley Erena Murray)

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

v1  Let us now take a moment to settle into
the silence of this sacred place.
(Silence)

Song: Solo voice
Sing a Gentle Love Song”
Sing a gentle love song to the earth,
Fill the air with music for her healing.
Then be still and you will hear
Her love song forever sung for you.  (Kathy Sherman)

v1  Let us listen to the depths of being…
our busyness calling for quietness,
our emptiness calling for renewed strength,
our sadness calling for some consolation,
our joy calling for some celebration.

v2  May we touch again that strength and wisdom
that helps us to know again the helping resources
that are given to us. 
(Adapt/Francis Macnab/fwb)
(Silence)

Song: Solo voice
Sing a Gentle Love Song”
Sing a gentle love song to the earth,
Fill the air with music for her healing.
Then be still and you will hear
Her love song forever sung for you.  (Kathy Sherman)

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:  The delight of a story well-known fills our hearts
as we listen for its familiar end.
All
 May we hear in these stories, familiar and new,
both wisdom and meaning for the days ahead.

• "Homecoming"  (Based on Psalm 126)
By Bruce Prewer. More Australian Psalms/138.

When the Lord gave us liberty, it was a dream come true.
Laughter filled our mouths,
our tongues sang for joy.

Others could not help but exclaim:
'God is at work in them!'
Certainly God is at work in us, and we celebrate it!

Like outback rivers after rain,
flood us, Lord, with life.
May we who have sown many tears
now reap the songs of joy.

Those who leave home weaping,
carrying the seeds of sadness,
will return home laughing,
with a harvest of happiness!

• John 3:16-21  (Scholars Version/Inclusive Text)

This is how God loved the world: God sent the Beloved One,
so everyone who believes may not be lost
but have real life.

After all, God sent the Beloved One
so that the world might be rescued through the one sent.

Those who believe are not condemned.
But those who refuse to believe is condemned already,
because they have refused to believe
in the name of the Holy One sent by God.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced:
that though the light has come into the world,
some have shown they prefer darkness to the light. 

Their actions were evil, weren't they?
And indeed, everybody who does wrong
hates the light and avoids it, otherwise
their actions would be exposed.

But those who live by the truth come out into the light,
so that it may be plainly seen:
their deeds belong to God.

Contemporary Exploration
A sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book When Progressives Gather Together...

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A ‘Beatitudes’ Litany (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a special Lenten ‘beatitudes’ litany.
The people stand as they are able

Blessed are the poor
All  not the penniless, but those
whose heart is free.

Blessed are those who mourn
All  not those who whimper, but those