Pentecost4B.20.6.2021

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”


20 June 2021.  Pentecost 4B. (Green).

Worth Pondering:
“The trouble with doing nothing is that
you never know when you are finished”
Michael Roth

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 or 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

We gather in community
to rest from our labours,
to greet our neighbours,
and to open our being to insight and intuition
of that greater reality of which we are a part.

May we find in our time together inspiration and renewal.
May we touch the holy in each other
and be touched by the graciousness of life.
May we find here a calm peacefulness
that will carry us through the days ahead.

We are the sisters and brothers of all that is,
cherishing the earth,
embracing its life.

v2  Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
(Silence)

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
Nature’s Beauty(Tune: ‘Regent Square’, 87.87.47 Extend.)                                               4 SNS3
Nature knows her sounds and movements
Heard and seen each day and night;
All her life in rich abundance
Fills my heart with great delight;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world so bright.

Fearsome winds cause trees to whimper;
Storms can force the clouds to cry;
Raindrops, snowflakes dance together;
Sun and moon wink in reply;
Celebrate with adoration
All the wonders of the sky.

Celebrate all hidden textures;
Value all the roots below;
Celebrate all covered spendour;
Value beauty not on show;
Celebrate with adoration;
Thankful for the world we know.

Creatures bold and creatures timid
Offer beauty, each unique;
Trees and flowers paint a picture
On the plain and mountain peak;
Celebrate with adoration;
All revealed for those who seek.

We are blest with such profusion;
Beauty bursts out everywhere;
If we take the time to ponder
We may find a thankful prayer;
Celebrate with adoration
Thankful for the world we share.  (George Stuart)

OR

In The Bulb There Is A Flower(Tune: “Maria’s Tune”, 87.87D)
In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise;
butterflies with soon be free!
in the cold and snow of winter
there's a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

There's a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody.
there's a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future,
what it holds, a mystery;
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning;
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing;
in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection;
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see. 
Natalie A Sleeth
People remain standing

Opening Sentences
In darkness seeds are drawn to germinate,
flowers prepare to bloom and our dreams unfold.
All  Darkness is gift.

In darkness, the edges blur.
Boundaries between reality and fantasy,
between friend and stranger become fluid,
opening new possibilities.
All  Darkness is gift.

In darkness, when our eyes rest, our ears
become more attentive to the sounds
of story, of lullaby, of wind, of loved ones breathing in the night.
All  Darkness is gift.

In the darkness, we find space for reflection;
for deep, dream filled and refreshing sleep.
We are bidden to journey into the unconscious.
All  Darkness is gift.

In the darkness of the womb, we were formed in great complexity.
Under the cover of darkness, many creatures have their being.
Only in the deepest darkness, can we see the star- studded sky.
All  
Darkness is a gift of grace.

As we think back on the shortest day,
may we also celebrate the many gifts of darkness
during this season of winter.   (Adapt. Nancy L Steeves/St Stephens Project)

OR

Southern Hemisphere Winter Equinox
v1  Darkness is a blessing.
All   It helps me fall asleep.

v2   Darkness is a blessing.
All  Only when a seed is in the dark will it sprout.

v3  Darkness is a blessing.
All  Some of my best visions come when I close my eyes.

v4  Darkness is a blessing.
All  Only in the darkest parts of the country can I see the stars clearly.

v5  Darkness is a blessing.
All  It brings relief from heat as I cross a desert.

v6  Darkness is a blessing.
All  Only when it is really dark can our body
produce the hormone melatonin which fights diseases.

v7  Darkness is a blessing.
All  Many animals thrive within the protective cover of darkness.

v8  Darkness is a blessing.
All  
We developed in the darkness of our mother's womb.
Truly darkness is a blessing.
 (Charles Bidwell/St Stephen’s Project) 

Act of Awareness
In each moment of this day resides incredible power:
new life,
healing,
opportunity.

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.

OR

We pray:
Surprising God,
whose love leads us to new experiences,
help us to be open to your presence
among us and within.

Let us sense your glory in the sights
and sounds and celebrations of this winter day.
May it be so.
All   May it be so with us.

Hymn/Song   Celebrate Each Difference“”  (Tune: ‘Intercessor’, 11.10.11.10)
We cannot make an easy, safe distinction,
all people are our neighbours, none denied.
The voices of all nations heard beside us:
all sisters, brothers, none we should deride.

The wall between the peoples has been broken.
In love of God divisions disappear.
As seen in Christ, we recognise our neighbours.
We greet unusual faces without fear.

We celebrate each difference God has given.
Each nation, black and white, both straight and gay,
the able and the challenged, God has offered,
that we might share together, learn and pray

We meet with those who paint a different picture,
who value God in words not yet our own.
In dialogue we offer one another
a vision we could never find alone.

This God we seek is greater than each difference;
the source and ground of all variety,
the centre and the soul of all creation,
erasing hate with love, to set us free.   
Andrew Pratt/ea

OR

Colour and Fragrance(Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’, 55,55,11,11)                                        78 SLT
Colour and fragrance, magical rhythm,
sweet changing music will change us with them:
life within life, inner light gently glowing,
surely you seem to be God’s vision growing.

O starry heavens, worlds of all splendour,
suns without number, new life engender:
wheel in a wheel with the light brightly glowing,
moving in harmony, God’s vision growing.

Handful of pebbles, high mountain passes,
depths of the ocean, dew on the grasses:
great things and small, with the light gently glowing,
word of the wordless song, God’s vision growing.

Delicate beings, lace-wing and sparrow
in field and forest, clover and yarrow:
life greeting life with the light brightly glowing,
none are too small to be God’s vision growing.

In human eyes burns the soul of living,
illumines altars of loving giving:
greeting, we meet, seeing light brightly glowing,
share in a greater life, God’s vision growing.

Shaper of all things, to us you’ve given
our chance to keep here on earth, a heaven.
Moving in harmony, light gently glowing,
may we be, gratefully, God’s vision growing.  (NFCapek/GUlp)

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
"Ladders"
By Jennifer Brooks.
For All That Is Our Life, 56-57.

Two men walked casually, each with a wooden ladder,
carried unceremoniously over the shoulder
as if the long and awkward burden
were no more than a sweatshirt,
or half-full bag, or at most a child of two
draped there for a few laughing moments.

But they went on from one job to another, 
the bucket one held (and waved in careless gesture)
suggesting window-washers headed for the next pane.

The little puzzle of why they carried ladders
along the busy road was nothing to the beauty of their walking,
the unconscious grace  as they kept the long tools in parallel
(all the while talking, shrugging, chuckling)
and seemingly unaware of the swathe they cut
without harm to passers-by.

No pas-de-deux at center stage could capture so lovingly
the rapture of ordinary life made remarkable
by mastery and unselfconscious pride.

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

Let us now settle into silence and stillness.
(Silence)

Let us attune ourselves to this season called Winter...
Let us listen to the sounds of nature.
Let us get in touch with the rotation of the earth under our feet.
Let us imagine our place on the earth as it rotates around the sun.
Let us ground 
ourselves on the soil of this sacred place.  (Adapt/Kathleen Glennon/hs)
(Silence)

Music of Celebration

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:  Into the silence of our hopes and dreams,
words work upon us to break, crack, open us
to new understanding.
All 
May we experience, in these words,
a seeking after truth, that we may lift ourselves
to this same desire.
  (Gretta Vosper/ab)

• "The Big Storm"
By John Bell.
Present on Earth/43-44.

Narrator     He was sleeping.

Je  (Snores)

Na  …sleeping in the bow of the boat,
the sleep of a child... 
the sleep of a happy child…

A  Jesus, did you see that wave?

Je  (Snores)

Na  He was sleeping,

Je (Snores)

Na  and nothing disturbed him…
not the wind...
not the weather…

B  Jesus, this is getting rough!

C  Jesus, this is getting really rough!

D  Jesus, did you see that wave?

Je  (Snores)

Na  The sound of the sea…
the sound of the pounding...
the break of the waves...
the creak of the boat…

B  Jesus, I'm scared!

C  Jesus, I'm terrified!

A  Jesus, I'm going to spew (be sick)!!!

Je  (Snores)

Na  I will keep him,
keep him in perfect peace whose mind is set on me…
waking or sleeping…
waking or sleeping…

B  Jesus, can you swim?

C  Jesus, we're sinking!

A  Jesus, do something!

A,B,C  Waken up!  Jesus, Jesus!  Come on!  Help us!

Je  (Loudly)  Shshshsh…
(Quieter)  Shshshsh…
(Sternly)  …Oh where's your faith?
…even your little faith?

In the storm, in the darkness,
I am with you.
Let the waves roar,
but don't be distressed.

Otherwise you may never hear me saying,
'Peace!
Be Still.'

• Mark 4: 35-41 (Inclusive Text)

With the coming of evening, Jesus said to the disciples,
'Let us cross over to the other side.'

And leaving the crowd behind they took Jesus,
just as he was, in the boat;
and there were other boats were with them.

Then it began to blow a gale and the waves 
were breaking into the boat so that the boat was almost swamped.

But Jesus was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep.

They woke Jesus up and said,
'Teacher, do you not care? We are going down?'

And Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea,
'Quiet now! Be calm!'

And the wind dropped, and all was calm again.
Then Jesus said to them,
'Why are you so frightened? 
How is it that you have no faith?'

They were filled with awe and said to one another,
'Who can this be?

Even the wind and the sea obey him?

(For those interested…You can purchase a copy of the Inclusive Texts/Readings (AU$50) from:
Inclusive Language Project
PO Box 1303
Toombul QLD 4012 Australia)

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Lighting of the UCA Anniversary Candles (If appropriate)
In June 1977, the then members of this congregation,
along with people from all over (NN),
shared in the inauguration of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Since that time we have been enriched
by the vision of this fellowship - 
as a pilgrim people,
always on the way towards a promised goal.

v1  A candle is lit
We light this candle for our heritage in the
Congregational tradition,
with its commitment to freedom
and to the power of the priesthood of all believers .
All We stand in that great tradition.
And we affirm that the Uniting Church
has moved on in its journey as a pilgrim people of God.

v2  A second candle is lit
We light this candle for our heritage in the
Methodist tradition,
with its commitment to social justice
and its enthusiasm in communicating the gospel.
All We stand in that great tradition.
And we affirm that the Uniting Church
has moved on in its journey as a pilgrim people of God.

v3  A third candle is lit
We light this candle for our heritage in the
Presbyterian tradition,
with its respect for scholarship and its deep
understanding of the nature of the church.
All We stand in that great tradition.
And we affirm that the Uniting Church
has moved on in its journey as a pilgrim people of God.

v4  A fourth candle is lit
We light this fourth candle to celebrate the other great traditions,
which are now joined with us in this congregation:
Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, AOG, Lutheran, Orthodox,
‘church alumni’, Home church:
in all their diversity and all their faith.
All We stand in these great traditions too
while moving on as a pilgrim people of God.

In Christ we are one.
In Christ everything is made new.
Thanks be to God!

OR

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together, a celebration of faith…
People stand as they are able

v1 The creativity of God fills the universe.
v2  Like rain falling upon the earth
and sun warming the rocks,
All the heart of God flows over us all in renewing grace and love.

v1 The generosity of Christ fills our lives.
v2  With company on the journey
and mercy in understanding,
All the Bread, the Way and the Truth set us free to live again.

v1 The faithfulness of the Spirit fills our future.
v2  It surrounds us with a cloud of hope
and lifts our tired feet once more.
All  In courage born of costly life, it calls and sings and dances on.

v1 We are the people of freedom.
v2  We lay down our past in God’s forgiveness.
All  We will walk on into God’s new day.

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

May a heart of peace rest with you.
All
And also with you. (David Galston/q)
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
I Will Talk To My Heart”  (Tune: ‘Stillness’)    69 HoS
I will talk to my heart in the stillness,
I will talk to my heart when I pray,
I will let go of all my resentment
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:
Trust the stillness,
trust the oneness,
trust the Way on inner prayer;
trust the stillness
trust the oneness,
trust the life of God we share.

I will watch all my thoughts in the stillness
I will watch all my thoughts when I pray,
I will watch all the stream of my thinking