Pentecost7B.11.7.2021

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”


11 July 2021.  Pentecost 7B. (Green).
Celebrating Community in the Tradition of the Meal

Worth Pondering
“Life, even if sacred, is a tricky bastard” 
C Jack Pearce

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 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 an indescribable gift.
Our gathering together in this sacred place
is a celebration of that gift.

So 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
“Perfect Singer
”  (Tune:  ‘Catherine’, 77.77)                                                                      332 SLT
Perfect Singer, songs of earth
rise on every field and hearth;
let our voices sound again
ancient songs of joy and pain.

All your creatures strive for life
suffer hurt in angry strife,
seek compassion, find release
in the covenant of peace.

Sing a sacred melody
for the justice that shall be;
let our harmonies resolve
dissonance in steadfast love.

Steadfast Seeker, find our song
woven into lives made strong;
let the patterns of surprise
kindle hope with each sunrise.  
(George K Beach)

OR

Come, Teach Us, Spirit of God(Tune: ‘Educare’)                                                        11 FFS
Come, teach us, Spirit of God,
the language of your way,
the lessons that we need to live,
the faith for every day.

Excite our minds to follow you,
to trace new truths in store,
new flight paths for our spirit space,
new marvels to explore.

Engage our wits to dance with you,
to leap from logic’s base,
to capture insight on the wing,
to sense your cosmic grace.

Inspire our spark to light from you,
to catch creation’s flair,
new artistry to celebrate,
new harmonies to dare.

Delight our hearts to worship you,
 to learn compassion’s code,
 to live in context of your love,
 great teacher who is God.  (Shirley Erena Murray)

Opening Sentences
We give thanks for the life that pulsates within us
All
  breath and heartbeat, joy and sorrow, dance and stillness.
We give thanks for the life that ebbs and flows between us
All  
loving, understanding, creating, embracing and letting go.
We give thanks for the web of life that surrounds and sustains us
All  
feeding, protecting, teaching, inspiring mutual care.
We give thanks for the source of all life,
All  
this living universe, of which our lives are an expression.  (Ian Lawton.c3Exch)

Act of Awareness
The thought manifests as the word.
The word manifests as the deed.
The deed develops into habit.
And habit harden into character.

So watch the thought and its ways with care.
And let it spring from love
born out of concern for all beings.  (The Buddha/lp)

OR

We pray:
God of the important and the common place,
may our hearts be opened to be attentive:
that seeing, we may perceive,
and hearing, we may understand,
and understanding, we may act.
May it be so.
All  
May we make it so with us.

Hymn Here Stands A Stranger, Who Is She?(Tune: ‘Saffron Walden’, 88.86)
Here stands a stranger, who is she?
We do not know.  What do we see,
someone who threatens you and me?
Is she a foe, or friend?

Here stands a person, young or old,
seeking asylum, so we're told.
How does he fit your frame or mould?
Is he your foe or friend?

Here stands a child: assess her need.
What should we offer so we heed
her cry of hunger, so we feed
this child?  This foe?  This friend?

Here stands a person, this time, you.
The choice is yours.  What will you do
to ask this stranger in, or sue
this foe, who could be friend?

Here is a mirror, see your face.
What do you offer; hatred, grace,
now in this very time and place,
to Christ you call your friend.
 (Andrew Pratt/ssb)

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
"Love"
By Anna Compston.
Dare to Dream/127.

Love is a whisper,
Not a tornado.
Love is a drift of petals,
Not a mighty oak tree.
Love is the song of a flute,
Not the blast of a trumpet.
Love is a beckoning finger,
Not a pair of handcuffs.

This is its strength.
It invites,
It does not force.
It’s like a camp fire.
We gather round,
And are warmed.

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

Gathering as we do in this sacred place,
we pause again to reflect, to feel, and to commit
to thoughtful and mindful intention.
(Silence)

We wonder again about the ebb and flow
of this living, breathing, expanding universe…
And of this community.
(Silence)

We give our attention right now
to each other,
to new beginnings,
to this time,
to this season.

OR

Let us now be ‘gathered round’ and allow this sacred space,
to offer its ‘warmed’ care to us.

Let us rest in its quiet, away from the
hustle and demands of everyday life.
And let us lay down our concerns
and matters for decision.  (Adapt. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/ith)
(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   Into this day will break moments of awareness,
tiny shards of light that illumine
the whole reality of existence.
All  May these readings be such a moment
and may we be blessed by their gift. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• "Homeless in Egypt"
By John Johansen-Berg. Entertaining Angels/121
.

When people flee from scenes of war and carnage,
when people know terror because of violent rage,
where is the place of sanctuary?

When families are split by conflict,
when wounded victims escape from bloodshed,
where will they find a refuge?

Wounded Healer,
you inspire us to welcome the asylum seeker,
you encourage us to open our hearts and homes
to the refugee.

When we offer sanctuary to such as these,
we open the door to the child whose family fled to Egypt.

• Mark 6:14-16

v1  King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known.
Some were saying:
"John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason
these powers are at work in him."

But others said, "It is Elijah.”
And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.
”But when Herod heard of it, he said...

 “Have I Made Another Blunder?” (Herod) 
By Diarmuid O’Murchu

v2  Don’t tell me its John come back to life!
How many more errors will I contrive;
How many more posing as new Messiahs;
Will somebody tell me what the hell’s going on?
I can’t control this crazy plot,
Am I in charge or am I not?
If the dead come back to haunt me,
What will the living do?

Is this revenge for my conjured trick
Trying to rid the world of a godless freak
Who’s turning the tables making my power weak;
Will somebody tell me what the hell’s going on?
I’m not in control as I used to be,
Other forces question my due decree.
If the dead come back to haunt me
What will the living do?

I wish Herodias with her stupid prank
Had chosen another one to attack
Instead of that silly ascetical wank.
I wish I knew what the hell’s going on!
And halt this messianic fervour,
With a firm hand of real endeavour.
So that the dead no longer haunt me
And Messiah upstarts no longer flaunt me.
After all, by God’s decree I rule;
I know what I’m about – I’m not a fool!

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

If in Southern Hemisphere
A Litany Celebrating ‘Winter’  
(Optional)
People stand as they are able

Winter, a time of snow and wetness.
All  The days are short and cold,
the deciduous trees are bare.

Winter, a time for cutting away
dead wood from roses,
All  and pruning unwanted branches
from grape vines.

Winter, a time of shaping things
All  and tying up the waste,
a time for clearing, cool and passionless.

v1  Yet, in this time, there is still growth:
the flower withers to form the seedcase,
just as souls need to be empty
before they can be filled to overflowing.
v2  Under the earth, tubers shrink
and turn inside out, sending up
the shafts of stem and sending down
the anchoring roots.
All  Underneath everything, in the darkness,
new life is seething, yearning
to break through the surface.

v1  The husks fall away from the seed
All  and the ticking kernel starts to shoot. 
(Adapt.Trish Watts/s).
Silence

v2  There is a modern Jewish Seder service, which celebrates
the regeneration in the world of trees and plants.
It is held at this time – at mid-winter.

Likewise, nuts and fruit, used in this service, being the rebirthing aspects
of a plant's life-cycle, are the only foods
that require no death,
not even the death of a plant.

Our living trees send forth their fruit and seeds
in such profusion that they overflow
beyond the needs of the next generation.



In honour of that celebration, during The Peace this morning,
nuts and fruit will be distributed, symbolizing
the promise of mid-winter in our time and place.

If Northern Hemisphere:
"The Summer Day”
By Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth
instead of up and down -
who is gazing around
with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms
and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:

I will dwell in the space of my oneness,
I will dwell in that space when I pray,
I will let go of all my divisions
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:   (William L Wallace)
People sit

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 & McKee/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 joy and in sorrow
All  We do not walk alone. 
(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  Life-Giver, Pain-Bearer, Love-Maker.
Source of all that is and that shall be.

Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo
through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed
by all peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done
by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever.  Amen.  (UIW2)

CELEBRATING

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
The Invitation
Jesus invited all to the feast of peace and new life.
Jesus risked everything in compassion.
Jesus promised to make himself known in the breaking of the bread.

Offerings

Presentation
O God, life-giving Spirit,