Pentecost11B.8.8.2021

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”

8 August 2021.  Pentecost 11B. (Green).

Worth Pondering
“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop,
striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars
all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears
as an infinite storm of beauty” 
(John Muir)

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

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

Life is not what I thought it’d be.
It is just what it is.  (DSneed/C3Ex)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of this 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) Specific resources on Terrorism HERE
(iv) On Wonder, Awe, and Nature  HERE

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Praise To God, The World’s Creator(Tune: "Abbot's Leigh")
Praise to God, the world’s creator,
Source of life and growth and breath,
Cradling in her arms her children,
Holding them from birth to death.
In our bodies, in our living,
Strength and truth of all we do,
God is present, working with us,
Making us creators too.

Praise to God our saving Wisdom,
Meeting us with love and grace,
Helping us to grow in wholeness,
Giving freedom, room, and space.
In our hurting, in our risking,
In the thoughts we dare not name,
God is present, growing with us,
Healing us from sin and shame.

Praise to God, the Spirit in us,
Prompting hidden depths of prayer,
Firing us to long for justice,
Reaching out with tender care.
In our searching, in our loving,
In our struggles to be free,
God is present, living in us,
Pointing us to what shall be.  Jan Berry/cw.

OR

We Gaze In Wonder…(Tune: ‘Gaze in Wonder’, 11.10.11.9)                                             30 WNC
We gaze in wonder at the morning’s dawning,
positive witness to God’s faithful grace;
we turn our backs, and in the shadow standing,
shield the light we need to find our place.

In arrogance, in darkness we will stumble,
screening our eyes, we turn away from light.
We venerate our skill, the rocket’s rumble,
deadens sense, distorting wrong and right.

As stewards of love, let’s contemplate creation,
filigree frosting of a winter’s pain;
God hold in hand elation, desperation,
born in death that we might live again.  
(Andrew Pratt)

Opening Sentences
Life rises in our midst:
All  sometimes hard-won life.
It surprises us when it blossoms forth at unexpected times:
All  
and in unexpected places.
It comes with power stronger than death:
All  
life born of faithfulness,
life born of courage,
life born of God.
Thanks be to God.  Dorothy McRae-McMahon/plpm

Act of Awareness
Gathered here, we sense the Sacred in this place.
May we be awakened again to
the mysteries that humble us,
the realities that orient us,
the beauty that informs us,
the fellowship that sustains us,
and the creativity that heightens and deepens our living,
that we may give ourselves in honesty and openness
to the larger life before us.  
(Adapt/Clarke Wells) 

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. 
All  
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  Come and Find the Quiet Centre”  (Tune: ‘Sanctum'/Jullian Bray)               10 FFS
Come and find the quiet centre
in the crowded life we lead,
find the room for hope to enter,
find the frame where we are freed:
clear the chaos and the clutter,
clear our eyes, that we can see
all the things that really matter,
be at peace, and simply be.

Silence is a friend who claims us,
cools the heat and slows the pace,
God it is who speaks and names us,
knows our being, touches base,
making space within our thinking,
lifting shades to show the sun,
raising courage when we're shrinking,
finding scope for faith begun.

In the Spirit let us travel,
open to each other's pain,
let our lives and fears unravel,
celebrate the space we gain:
there's a place for deepest dreaming,
there's a time for heart to care,
in the Spirit's lively scheming
there is always room to spare!  Shirley Erena Murray
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

Reflection
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning. (John O’Donohue)
Excerpt from his books, To Bless the Space Between Us (US) / Benedictus (Europe)

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

Come apart from the busyness of family and work,
and dwell in the presentness of God
who is our source of being.
(Silence)

May the silence which we now share
quieten us,
touch our need,
refresh our courage,
enlarge our wonder.
(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:  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)

• “Seeds” 
By Thom M. Shuman. 

it's the
word of confidence
to a 9-year-old
which one day leads to
the winning goal 
in a World Cup match;

it's the 
extra practice sessions
after school,
going over word after word,
which bolsters
a young girl
at the Spelling Bee Nationals;

it's the gentle touch
of a mother
in the terror of
a midnight thunderstorm
which leads a child
into nursing;

in a world
which idolizes
success, greatness,
biggie-sized achievements,
remind us
of those mustard seeds
planted deep within us
by so many over the years,
which help to shape us
into the people
you mean us to be,
Tender God.  © 2006  Thom M. Shuman

• John 6: 41-51 (Inclusive Text)

The Jewish people were complaining to one another about Jesus, because Jesus had said, 
I am the bread that came down from heaven.

'Surely this is Jesus son of Joseph and Mary', they said.
'We know his father and mother.  How can he now say:
‘I have come down from heaven?'

Jesus said in reply,
'Stop complaining to one another.

'You can not come to me unless drawn by the One who sent me,
and I will raise you up at the last day.

'It is written in the prophets:
They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of God, 
and learn from it, is to come to me.
Not that anybody has ever seen God,
except the one who comes from God.

'I tell you most solemnly, everybody who believes has eternal life.

'I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert and they are dead, 
but this is the bread that comes down from heaven,
so that one may eat it and not die.

'I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
a share a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

God of all living, we have seen your presence
in the rhythm and surprises of our years.
All  
You have accompanied us through all that is past.
So we thank you
.

We recognise your closeness in this day.
All  
You challenge and encourage us
in each act and decision.
So we praise you.

Now we look to you
in the promises which stretch before us.
All  
You meet us with hope and call us to freedom
to live as your new people.
So we trust you and commit ourselves again,
to live as passionate people in this place.  (Adapt.MDurber/sco)

Sharing 'The Peace
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you.  (David Galston/q)
All  
And also with you.
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
Yahweh, Breathe the Breath of God(Tune: ‘Te Rahui’. By Colin Gibson)                      158 HoS
Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the breath of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, draw the breath of God.
Fill me, empty me, catch the pulse of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the breath of God.

Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the life of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, draw the life of God.
Fill me, empty me, catch the pulse of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the life of God.

Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the love of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, draw the love of God.
Fill me, empty me, catch the pulse of God.
Yahweh, Yahweh, breathe the love of God.  
(Colin Gibson)

CELEBRATING

Offerings

Presentation
By our smallest actions,
we become part of a bigger world.
The smallest giving can be an expression
of the good spirit of generosity and caring.

May we carry through the doorway of each new day
this good spirit of generosity and caring.  
(Adapt.Francis Macnab/h)

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,
somewhere someone is calm in a storm,
somewhere someone is loving everybody.
Is that someone you?  (Binkley & McKeel/jke)

In Solidarity
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
In the light and beauty of day
All  
We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night
All We dream of healing and hope.  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take this flame and light our special care candle…
The Care candle is lit

For ourselves, for those named or remembered, and in solidarity with those
who have not the freedom to express their concern or celebration
for fear of discrimination or condemnation.

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among us,
and to see new possibilities of the now.

The 'Abba Prayer:  (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate

All  Loving Presence, luminous in all creation,
hallowed be your name.
Thy kin-dom come.

May we reflect on earth
the yielding perfection of the heavens.
Help us to receive an illumined measure from the earth this day.

Forgive us when we trespass against others,
human and other than human,
as we forgive others who trespass against us.

Keep us on the path of wisdom
when we are tempted to take the selfish path.

May it be your rule we follow,
your power we exercise,
and your radiance that allures.
May this be the truth that guides our lives,
the ground from which our future will grow,
until we meet again.  (Bruce Sanguin/dddc)

SCATTERING

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Travelling the Road to Freedom
(Tune: ‘Travelling’).                                                         52(v1-2) EOA
Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Feted by noise and branches
And banners hanging from every tree;
Cheered on by frenzied people,
Puzzled by what they hear and see:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Partnered by staunch supporters
Who, come the dark, will turn and flee;
Nourished by faith and patience,
Neither of which is plain to see:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us take on this week’s life
with renewed hope and imagination…
The Community Candle is extinguished

Go in peace.
Hold in your heart the certainty
that the spirit of life is with you always.
All  
When our hearts are torn asunder
or when we soar with sweet joy,
we are never alone,
never apart,
from the spirit that resides within us,
that guides our lives and cherishes us always.

Take comfort.
Blessed be.  Adapt/E. A.Virago

Words of Blessing
As the sun in its shining brings glory
As the stars in the night scatter dark
As the moon gives us hope in its radiance...

So may the light of God fill
your heart and your mind and your life.
All  
Amen! May it be so!

Hymn/Song (Cont). Travelling the Road to Freedom(Tune: ‘Travelling’).                    52(v3-4) EOA
Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Tipping the scales of justice,
Setting both minds and captives free;
Suffering and yet forgiving,
Even when my friends most disagree:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
I am the Way, I’ll take you there.
Choose to come on the journey,
Or choose to criticise and stare.
Earth’s mesmerising evil
Only a traveller can repair.
Travelling the road to freedom,
I am the Way, I’ll take you there.  (Bell/Maule)
The people sit

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Significant Events
Journey Candles

Music

Fellowship
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in this time of fellowship.


You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend

Please include any reproduction of hymns/songs for local church use
on your Music Licence returns, as appropriate


Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
(EOA) Bell, J. & G. Maule. Enemy of Apathy. Wild Goose Songs Vol. 2. Revised edition. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 1990.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Seeing Christ in Others. An Anthology for Worship, Mediation and Mission. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 1998.
(FFS)
Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
(HoS)
Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
McRae-McMahon, D.
Prayers forLife's Particular Moments. Thornbury. DesBooks, 2001.
Macnab, F.
Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
(WNC) Pratt, A.
Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2002.
Sanguin, B.
Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos. An Ecological Christianity. Canada: Kelowna. CopperHouse, 2007.
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed). Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Wells, Virago. UUA Worship Web. Boston. www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Thom M Shuman.  [w-rcl] Liturgy web site. 2009.
Sneed. C3 Exchange, Spring Lake. MI. <www.c3exchange.org/>
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/

rexae74@gmail.com