PluralismB.2.5.2021

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
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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”

2 May 2021  Pluralism Sunday
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion

Worth Pondering
“Imagine how differently history would have evolved if every Inquisitor or Jihadist
could tolerate wonder, instead of forcing personal conclusions onto others”
Paul Fleischman

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

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

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
"O God of Stars and Sunlight" (Tune: 'Munich', 76.76D)                                              11 SLT
O God of stars and sunlight,
whose wind lifts up a bird,
in marching wave and leaf-fall
we hear your patient word.
The colour of your seasons
goes gold across the land:
by green upon the tree-tops
we know your moving hand.

O God of cloud and mountain,
whose rain on rock is art,
your plan and care and meaning
renew the head and heart.
Your word and colour spoken,
your summer noons and showers
by these and by your day-shine,
we know your world is ours.

O God of root and shading,
of boughs above our head,
we breathe in your breathing,
our spirit spirited.
We walk beneath your blessing,
your seasons and our way,
O God of stars and sunlight,
O God of night and day.  (John Holmes/Adapted)

OR

Rainbow Colours”  (Tune: ‘Halton Holgate’, 87.87)                                                     112 MTH
Help us trace your rainbow colours
through these days of change and choice,
holding firmly to your promise:
all the world can praise, rejoice.

In a world of contradictions
let your justice change our ways,
then with mercy fire compassion,
let no bias mar our praise.

Let us nurture fresh expressions,
different ways of being church,
sharing love and understanding,
joining people in their search.

Let us go with common purpose,
though distinctive from our birth;
welcome all to share our vision,
go as one to all the earth.

Through diversity and difference,
rainbow colours of our race,
let us share without distinction
God’s demanding, loving grace.  (AndrewPratt. © Stainer & Bell)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Among us the spirit of Creativity God conceives new life
All  
And we feel the life within us.
In our history Jesus the Sage makes gentle entry
All  
And we see the light before us.
Within our dreams the truth of our God is revealed
All  
We await the hope of the world.

OR

Out of a community of diverse heritage and belief,
All 
we come together to share our hope, 
and to create good in the world

The teachers of all traditions and times
have taught that we are called to mercy, generosity,
and mutual care
All
  and that to be good is to serve. 

We know that there can be no enduring happiness for humanity
so long as suffering and want go unrelieved;
All
 until all may be sheltered, none of us is truly at home.

May the power of our various faiths
sustain us in this work, that we may be
the hands of holy creativity and justice;
All
 and together build a better world.   (Adapted.Kendyl Gibbons)

Act of Awareness
We stand before our sisters and brothers,
the named and the unnamed,
the known and the unknown,
with thanksgiving for all the bounties of the human world:
for the arts,
for the sciences,
for mercies shown and given.  (Adapt.Kenneth Patton/sscol)

OR

We pray:
Be with us, O God, in 
our thinking,
our feeling, and
our being.

Touch us where we need to feel your presence
and encourage us where we need your inspiration.
May it be so.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

At times our own light goes out
and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude
of those who have lighted the flame within us.  (Albert Schweitzer)

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
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Hymn/Song  Progressive Hymn”  (Tune: 87.87)
When life juggles with our learning,
with the things we thought secure,
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.

In the wash of different colours,
as we seek for shape and form,
others paint their faith by numbers
forcing God to fit some norm.

But when life has torn the canvas,
when the numbers twist and slip;
then we need to find an image
that will help our hope to grip:

holding us, when we're past holding,
grounding when we're insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure.  © Andrew Pratt 28/5/2010

OR

Our World Is One World”  (Tune: ‘Chernobyl’, 58.86.4)                                               134 SLT
Our world is one world
what touches one affects us all:
the seas that wash us round about,
the clouds that cover us,
the rains that fall.

Our world is one world
the thoughts we think affects us all:
the way we build our attitudes,
with love or hate, we make,
a bridge or wall.

Our world is one world
it’s ways of wealth affects us all:
the way we spend, the way we share,
who are the rich or poor,
who stand or fall.

Our world is one world
just like a ship that bears us all:
where fear and greed make many holes,
but where our hearts can hear,
a different call.  (Cecily Taylor)

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

Centering Silence
Let us again listen to the silence of this sacred space.
A space made ready for us by willing hands.
(Silence)

Amid all the noise in our lives,
we take this moment to sit in silence:
to give thanks for another day;
to give thanks for all those in our lives who have brought us warmth and love;
to give thanks for the gift of life. 
(Tim Haley)
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Wisdom from the World/Religious Traditions
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• From the Jewish Tradition:
"No Religion Is an Island”
By Abraham Joshua Heschel. I Asked for Wonder/96-97

... No religion is an island. We are all involved with one another.
Spiritual betrayal on the part of one of us affects the faith of all of us.
Views adopted in one community have an impact on other communities. 

Today religious isolationism is a myth. For all the profound differences in perspective and substance,
Judaism is sooner or later affected by the intellectual, moral, and spiritual events
within the Christian society, and vice versa.

We fail to realize that while different exponents of faith in the world of religion continue to be wary of the ecumenical movement,
there is another ecumenical movement, worldwide in extent and influence: nihilism.
We must choose between interfaith and inter-nihilism.

Cynicism is not parochial.
Should religion insist upon the illusion of complete isolation?
Should we refuse to be on speaking terms with one another and hope for each other’s failure?
Or should we pray for each other’s health, and help one another in preserving ones respective legacy,
in preserving a common legacy?

• Hindu Scriptures:
"The Stream of Life"
Rabindranath Tagore

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world
and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy
through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked
in the ocean-cradle of birth and death,
in ebb and in flow.

I feel  my limbs are made glorious
by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages
dancing in my blood this moment.

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Children of the Human Race”  (Tune:  ‘Aberystwyth’, 77.77D)   302 SLT
Children of the human race,
off-spring of our Mother Earth,
not alone in endless space
has our planet given birth.
Far across the cosmic skies
countless suns in glory blaze,
and from untold planets rise
endless canticles of praise.

Should some sign of others reach
this, our lonely planet Earth,
differences of form and speech
must not hide our common worth.
When at length our minds are free,
and the clouds of fear disperse,
then at last we’ll learn to be
Children of the Universe.  (John A Storey)
People sit

• Gospel of Jesus:
Selected from the writings of the storyteller we call Luke

The Reign of God is not coming as you hope to catch sight of it.
No one will say "Here it is" or "There it is"
for the Reign of God is now in your midst...

Look how the lilies neither spin nor weave,
and yet I tell you Solomon in all his grandeur
was never robed like one of them...

Where your treasure lies, your heart will lie there too...

No one lights a lamp to put it under a bowl, but on a stand,
so that those who come in can see the light...

Wisdom is vindicated by all her children...

Figs are not gathered from thorns,
and grapes are not picked from a bramble bush...

Do unto others as you would have them do to you

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Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Affirmation for Pluralism Sunday
The people stand as they are able

We affirm the unfailing renewal of life.
All  Rising from the earth, and reaching for the sun,
all living creatures shall fulfill themselves.

We affirm the steady growth of human companionship.