Pentecost8B.18.7.2021

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”


18 July 2021.  Pentecost 8B. (Green).

Worth Pondering
“How can so many people spend their lives distracted by Other Worlds,
when This World has so much… so much Good, so much Beauty, so much to Enjoy…
mixed in with so much Pain and Destruction and so much that needs to be done!”
Chris Highland

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

Come into this place.
Together we make it a holy place
with our every act of celebration.

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
“Mothering God…” (Tune: ‘Winchester New’, 88.88)
Mothering God, you gave me birth
in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of every breath,
you are my wind, my rain, my sun.

Mothering Christ, you took my form,
offering me your food of light,
grain of life and grape of love,
your very body for my peace.

Mothering Spirit, nurturing one,
in arms of patience hold me close,
so that in faith I root and grow
until I flower, until I know.  
© J Jansen
People remain standing

OR

God, Composer and Conductor”  (Tune: Either ‘Regent Sq’ or ‘Westminster Abbey’)       34 HoS
God, composer and conductor
of earth’s matchless symphony,
makes from silence glorious music,
from discordance, harmony;
brings forth joy from deepest sorrow,
ecstasy from agony.

God, the architect and artist
of earth’s colours, textures, forms,
gives new wonder to our vision,
light in even darkest storms,
teaches that with understanding,
faith redeems and love reforms.

God of science, healer, teacher,
pushes out the boundaries
of capacity and knowledge,
challenges and gently frees
from the limits that restrain us,
offers opportunities.

God, creative spirit in us,
inspiration, force sublime,
leading us to new endeavour,
you, our living paradigm,
may we know your constant presence
now, and to the end of time. 
(Jocelyn Marshall)

Opening Sentences
Together, God in us, in human life,
Wn  Creating us, in our uniqueness,
Mn  Uniting us in our solidarity,
Wn  
Holding us in our belonging,
Mn  Cradling us in our vulnerability,

Seeking us in our searching for justice and peace,
All  Together, God in us, in our humanity. 
(Adapt.FBallantyne/tpp).

Act of Awareness
We are born to make manifest
the glory of the Sacred that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.  (Adapt.Marianne Williamson/ep)

OR

We pray:
May the joys and the concerns of this present day
move and jolt us to our greater selves
and our greater thoughts.  Adapt.Rob 
Kleinheksel/C3Exch
May it be so.

Hymn/Song O God Of Earth And Space(Tune: ‘Leoni’, 66.84D)
O God of earth and space,
of sea and fire and air,
Your providence surrounds us here
and everywhere.

In fruit and grain and tree,
in shelter from the cold,
In cooling breezes, flowing wells,
now as of old.

Where faithfulness is shown,
where love and truth abound,
Where beauty graces human life,
there you are found.

Inspirer of all thought!
Creative force of art!
The melody on every tongue,
in every heart!

Wherever freedom reigns,
where sin is overthrown,
Where justice fused with mercy rules,
there you are known.

Give us the courage clear,
to make the earth a home,
For all to live in harmony,
in Christ’s shalom.  
J P Huber/C3Exch

OR

Who Would Steal A Life?”  (Tune: 11.11.10.11)
A hymn to address human trafficking and the exploitation of children 
  

Who would steal a life to satisfy a greed?
Who would buy a life, despairing and in need?
        God, help us wipe away this evil trade,
        make it now your people's passionate crusade!

Who would hurt a child, lead innocents astray?
Who would do this thing and bear the light of day?
        God, help us wipe away this evil trade,
        make it now your people's passionate crusade!

Who would taint the young who look for love and care,
slake a lust for lucre, harm the unaware?
        God, help us wipe away this evil trade,
        make it now your people's passionate crusade!

Where the poor are punished, nothing left to sell
but their very bodies in a human hell,
        **let us hear the Gospel, heed its urgent pleas:
        as you would for Jesus, do for the least of these!  (Shirley Erena Murray 2015)

Interfaith version:

          ** God, help us wipe away this evil trade!
         Every faith and culture join in this crusade!

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
"To the God above God..."
By Gary Kowalski.
UUA Worship Web.

To the God above God we turn our thoughts in meditation.
To the God above the god of any single nation,
who unites the people of the world
in the bonds of kinship and peace;
To the God above the god of any single ideology,
who knows that one human life
is more valuable than all the systems in the world;
To the God above the god of any single religion,
whose goodness and inspiration
are the possession of people of all faiths;
To the God above God
who brings humility to our minds
and reverence to our hearts...

We dedicate ourselves in work and in prayer.

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 be still and know that all will be well,
that in all manner of things it will be well...
(Silence)

Draw your deep breath, knowing
you are welcomed and valued now, here.

Be at peace and at one with yourself
and with those close by…
(Silence)

Let us be guided by love and imagination for what is yet to be:
this winter and for the rest of our lives.  (Rob Kleinheksel/C3Exchange, 2010)

OR

Now let silence gently enfold us.
(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: Even as we seek understanding, our minds,
too often, shelter us from the realities we might uncover.
All:  May we have the courage to hear and hold truths
found within these words. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• “Meditation Song” (To be spoken)
© Gretta Vosper (2015)

In this passing moment,
be, my heart, at rest
that I might consider
love’s undaunted quest.

Might I sense around me
naught to cause me harm;
love, my true foundation,
‘neath me, sure and firm.

Might my days be joy-filled,
and my evenings sweet,
every ending, happy,
every day, complete.

Might I lean more surely
in t’wards what is good,
caring for my body,
as I know I should.

And as each day opens,
bridging all that’s been,
might I stand within it,
peaceful and serene.

Then, as evening’s mantle
billows o’er the land,
might I rest rememb’ring
all love can withstand.

• Mark 6: 30-34 (Inclusive Text)

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told all they had done and taught.
Then Jesus said to them, 
‘You must come away to some lonely place
all by yourselves and rest for a while';
for there were so many coming and going
that the apostles had no time even to eat.

So they went off in a boat to a lonely place
where they could be by themselves.

But people saw them going, and many could guess where; 
and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot
and reached it before them.

So as Jesus stepped ashore, he saw a large crowd,
took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, 
and began to teach them at some length.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Litany: Life In All Its Fullness (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

Bless you Wise and Holy One,
for your down-to-earth vision
of the best of what human life can be.
All  Bless you Wise and Holy One,
for your call to life in all its fullness…

v1  when we honour who we are as easily
as we are enthralled by what others
want us to be;
v2  when we stop pursuing happiness
and let it embrace us;
v3 when we love
not in the hope of getting
but for the joy of giving;
v4   when love is not
what-you-can-do-for-me
but what-we-can-be together;
v5  when we choose our leaders
not for their image
but for their imagination,
not for the politics they play
but for the principles they live;
v6  when our economy thrives
on our expressing who we are
not on our spending what we have;
v7  when the earth itself
is our communion table;
v8  when we bite into theology's questions
as readily as we swallow technology’s answers;
v9  when we celebrate today as not just all we have
but all we need.

Bless you Wise and Holy One
All  for calling us to life in all its fullness,
not just hereafter, but here and now.
  (NSD Esdon.edited/ea)

OR

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 grapevines.

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 ‘Sharing the Peace' this morning,
nuts and fruit will be distributed, symbolising
the promise of mid-winter in our time and place.

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
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
May these offerings which we now present, be a sign of our gratitude
and a sign of our hope
for life and the world.  
(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:
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
All  May our words reflect the yearnings of our hearts.
And may the spirit that binds within us as we gather

All  Hallow each and every passing moment
we know here together. 
(Adapt.Gretta Vosper/ab)

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)

SCATTERING

Hymn/Song People stand as they are able, to sing
Reckless Extravagance, Laughter and Daring”  (Tune: ‘Was Lebet’, 11.10.11.10. Dactylic)    134 (v1-2) WNC
Reckless extravagance, laughter and daring,
lavish exuberance, thunder and light;
burning compassion and love, un-exhausted,
pouring from God with all passion and might.

Artist, explorer, composer and scholar
fathom the wonder of being and need,
piercing the mystery of love and creation,
take us where hope and existence would lead.

OR

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