PentecostB.23.5.2021

  Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
Make sure you Bookmark my Web site:
www.rexaehuntprogressive.com

Details on the availability of my books, supporting progressive religious thought, HERE
Suggestion:
’Refresh’ each page before reading to make sure to get my latest edition

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”


23 May 2021.  Pentecost  (Red).

Worth Pondering
“Awe is the beginning of wisdom”
Matthew Fox

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

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
"She Comes Sailing on the Wind"                                                                                                    51(v1-3) ISIT
Refrain:
She comes sailing on the wind, 
her wings flashing in the sun;
on a journey just begun, she flies on.
And in the passage of her flight,
her song rings out thro' the night,
full of laughter, full of light, she flies on.

Silent waters rocking on the morning of our birth,
Like an empty cradle waiting to be filled.
And from the heart of God the Spirit moved upon the earth,
Like a mother breathing life into her child.

Many were the dreamers whose eyes were given sight,
When the spirit filled their dreams with life and form.
The deserts turned to gardens, broken hearts found new delight,
And then down the ages still She few on.

(To a) gentle girl from Galilee, a gentle breeze She came,
A whisper softly calling in the dark,
The promise of a child of Peace, whose reign would never end,
Mary sang the spirit song within her heart.

OR

(Sing the additional/all verses of above hymn (printed below)

Opening Sentences
v1  Come, from every corner of the earth,
v2  from every time and place
v1  from south and north
v2  from east and west,
v3  gather...
v4  gather...
v5  gather...
v6  gather...

v1  For the spirit of God is being poured out upon us
v2  even now
v3 in this place
v4  upon the young and the old
v5  the women and the men
v6  straight and gay
All  upon each of us here.  
(SoS/Adapt)

OR

Water! Earth! Air! Fire!
v1
 Water: nurturer of life, sustainer of growth,
basic to every living thing;
v2
 Earth: where every seedling takes root;
the ground of our being,
our home and point of outlook;
v3
 Air: in every breath we acknowledge
the atmosphere wherein we live;
the elixir of our existence;
v4 
Fire: thwarter of cold, light against the darkness,
symbol of the burning human spirit. 

v1  Water! Earth! Air! Fire!
All
 These signify the larger unity of all life
and the glory of creation wherein our spirits
are embraced. 
(Paul Raible)

Act of Awareness
We come from different places to this sacred place
of communal caring and celebration.

In the time which we now share
may we be open to the creative spirit
of kindness and compassion.

And may we be enriched by the company of each other,
and drawn closer to the heart of life.

OR

We pray:
Come, Holy Spirit, come,
Breathe into our hearts this day.
Bless and inspire this time of celebration and fellowship,
that we may live Spirit-filled lives
of love and compassion for all.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song (Cont.) "She Comes Sailing on the Wind"                                                                    51(v4-5) ISIT
Refrain:
She comes sailing on the wind, 
her wings flashing in the sun;
on a journey just begun, she flies on.
And in the passage of her flight,
her song rings out thro' the night,
full of laughter, full of light, she flies on.

Flying to the rivers, She waited circling high,
Above the child now grown so full of grace.
As he rose up from the water, She swept down from the sky,
And She carried him away in her embrace.

(Long) after the deep darkness, that fell upon the world,
 After dawn return’d in flame of rising sun.
 The Spirit touched the earth again, again her wings unfurled,
 Bringing life in wind and fire as She flew on.  
Gordon Light
Seated after hymn

OR

As Wind that Dances”  (Tune: ‘Sursum Corda’)
As wind that dances lightly round the clouds,
As sighs that come from loving’s warm caress,
As rising air that lofts the soaring bird
God’s Spirit can empower what we express.

As cyclones smashing homes and breaking trees,
As fury dwelling in the wildest night,
As healing silence after raging storms
God’s Spirit can destroy and then unite.

As air that brings refreshing falls of rain
Yet turns to dust each arid part of earth,
As calm within both sunset hues and dawn
God’s Spirit comes as dying and as birth.

If we embrace the ebb and flow of life
With all the changes living can entail,
Our hearts, O God, will fill with joyful praise,
Our minds accept each truth which you unveil. (William L Wallace)
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

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 take a moment to settle into the silence.

Hear and feel your quiet breathing.
Hear and feel the quiet of this place
and this community of people.
Chant:
Sacred breath, holy breath, sacred holy breath.  (Kathleen Glennon/hs)

chant


In this quiet hour may our spirits be renewed.
In this gathering of old and new friends
may we be ready to extend ourselves to those in need, 
and with trust to receive the hand that is offered. 
Chant:
Sacred breath, holy breath, sacred holy breath.

In this time of celebration,
may our minds be open to new truth,
and our hearts be receptive to love,
 as we give thanks for this life we are blessed to share. 
E L Belcher
(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 open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom
that lies dormant in this/these reading/s.


All  And may our minds be fertile soil
in which it/they may grow strong and true.  (Gretta Vosper/ab)

• “The Wind”
By John O’Donohue. Divine Beauty/117-118

Movement is a sign of life.
It is intriguing that he presence which has the most grace and swiftness cannot be seen,
namely, the wind…

At times the wind has a haunting, poignant music.
When it rises in the night and shores against the walls of the house, it sounds out a great loneliness.
Perhaps the wind achieves poignancy because it has no name. 
        It is nothing and from nowhere.
        Yet its cry is almost a voice and sounds as if the sorrow of stone and clay, 
                of the dead or those seeking birth, has somehow become a force of emptiness...

At other times the wind is utterly buoyant, rousing and refreshing.
When you walk into that mood of wind, it cleanses your mind and invigorates your body.
        It feels as if the wind would love you to dance — let you surf its undulations
        and steal you away from the weight of your body,
                casting you hither and thither like the shimmer of dust. 

Such wind is wild with dream. 

One of the loveliest images of earthly movement is how a bird plays among the high geographies of wind-force,
soaring, sliding and balancing on its invisible hills and waves.
        Before ever the human mind became fascinated with the rhythm,
        structure and meaning of movement,
                the birds knew how to enjoy and play within the temporary landscapes of the wind.

OR

• Genesis 11: 1-8  (NRSV)

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.
And as the people migrated from the east,
they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar
and settled there.

And they said to one another,
'Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.'
And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.

Then they said, 
'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens,
and let us make a name for ourselves; 
otherwise we shall be scattered abroad
upon the face of the whole earth.'

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower,
which mortals had built.  And the Lord said,
'Look, they are one people, and they have all one language.
And this is only the beginning of what they will do;
Nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

'Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there,
so they will not understand one another’s speech.'

So the Lord scattered them all over the face of all the earth,
and the people left off building the city.

Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord
confused the language of all the earth.

OR

• Ezekiel 37 (Selected verses)  (NRSV)

The hand of the Lord God came upon me,
and brought me out by the spirit of the Lord
and set me down in the middle of a valley.

It was full of bones.

He said to me, “Human One, can these bones live?”
I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”

Then the Lord God said to me,
“Prophesy to these bones, and say to them:
O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord God...

I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you,
and cover you with skin, and put breath in you,
and you shall live.

And you shall know that I am the Lord.”

Igniting the Pentecost Flame
The spirit of imagination is a gift to all people.
All  
The spirit of faithfulness is the gift of the earth.
The spirit of hope breathes
in the homeless and marginalised in this city.
All  
The spirit of freedom
was announced by those who went before us
and we proclaim it again today.
The spirit of love is Christ’s gift to the church in every age.
All
  We see the flame of the Spirit of God.
The Pentecost flame is ignited.

The spirit is dancing, moving, struggling, rising and calling to the ends of the earth.
 All  
We have seen the flame of the spirit in our midst.  (Adapt.Dorothy McRae-McMahon/eoj)

Hymn/Song People stand as they are able, to sing
"Enemy of Apathy" (Tune: ‘Thainaky’ 11.11.11.11)                                                                             418 TiS
 She sits like a bird, brooding on the waters
 Hovering on the chaos of the world's first day;
 She sighs and she sings, mothering creation,
 Waiting to give birth to all the Word will say.

She wings over earth, resting where she wishes,
Lighting close at hand or soaring through the skies;
She nests in the womb, welcoming each wonder,
Nourishing potential hidden to our eyes.

She dances in fire, startling her spectators,
Waking tongues of ecstasy where dumbness reigned;
She weans and inspires all whose hearts are open,
Nor can she be captured, silenced or restrained.

For she is the Spirit, one with God in essence,
 Gifted by the Saviour in eternal love;
 She is the key opening the scriptures,
 Enemy of apathy and heavenly dove.  
(Bell & Maule)
People sit

OR

 “Lithe Spirit You’re Bounding and Leaping” (Tune: 9.8.11.8)                                                        85 WNC 
 Lithe spirit you’re bounding and leaping, 
 stars shimmer and flash from your heels, 
 until the whole world burns with pardon and praise, 
 until the lost know how love feels.

O harlequin dazzle by dancing,
let joy spring like sparks from a flame,
until every person consumed by your love
comes blithely to join in your game.

Come juggler, spinning and turning 
 our chances and dreams like a top, 
 until all our values are turned upside down 
 whirl on through the world, never stop. 
 Andrew Pratt

• Acts 2:1-4.  (Inclusive Text)

When Pentecost day came around, the apostles had all met in one room,
when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven.
The noise filled the entire house where they were sitting.

And something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire;
these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak foreign languages,
as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

OR

Inspiration: I hate Balloons!
By Marjorie Dobson.

I hate balloons!
Ever since that day
one horrid child
burst one behind me
at a party,
when I was only four,
or thereabouts -
I’ve hated balloons.

And yet ……

a street-seller
captivates children –
and me –
by making shapes and animals,
as he breathes life
into long, thin balloons
and curves and twists them
in his hands.
Then, suddenly, a dog!
And a delighted child
sees, not breath encased,
only a new friend
to carry home with glee.

Empty,
balloons are nothing.
Air-filled,
they live.

Come Holy Spirit,
pour new life into me,
that I may fill
and change
and live and grow,
transformed
by the very breath of God. (Marjorie Dobson © Words © 2004 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk)

Contemporary Exploration HERE or HERE
• A Sermon suitable for this day can also be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Pentecost Litany (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

v1  On this day of Pentecost, our stories tell how God sends the Holy Spirit
v2  to come among us:
v1  as dove
v2  to move us,
v1  as wind
v2  to cleanse us,
v1  as fire
v2  to consecrate us.
All  Spirit of the living God, come upon us.

v3  Fill us with your empowering strength,
v4  empower us with your full love;
v3  send us into the world
proclaiming your mighty works in every tongue.
v4  Help us be the church that goes forward
to where there is need.

v1  Build us into a place that makes a haven for those discriminated against.
All  
Make us a church of disciples filled with the
wonder and creative imagination
of your love for ever more!
  (Lisa Withrow/sp)

OR

A Litany of Beauty (Optional)
People stand as they are able...


v1  Blessed be Creative Flame in the darkness.
All   Blessed all who are awake to justice.

v2  Blessed be Creative Flame in the darkness.
All   Blessed be songwriters and musicians who lead us to think.

v3  Blessed be the “crack that lets the light in”.
All   Blessed be agents of change in a sometimes-hostile world.

v1  Blessed be Creative Flame, flowing through me in ever surprising ways.
v2  Blessed be Infinite Beauty, flowing in me that I may live freely, happily and justly.
All   Blessed be Beauty before me.
        Blessed be Beauty behind me.
        Blessed be Beauty below me.
        Blessed be Beauty above me.

v1, v2, v3   Blessed be Beauty.  (Margie Abbott/cs)

OR

For those in the USA (Optional)

Who Can’t Breathe?
Three Outcries and a Prayer

Woven by Rabbi Arthur Waskow. The Shalom Cente

I. I Can’t Breathe
Again and again,
With gun or choke-hold.
Police have stolen the breath of Black Americans.
The police are not merely police
For they hold a national authority
To use violence on behalf of the nation:
To serve us all, protect us all.
When they subjugate the Black community
They implicate us all,
They make us all Subjugators
And they subjugate us all.
But their misdeeds have stirred
A great Uprising against racism.
We will let no ruler pretend
The protest is the danger.

II.  We Can’t Breathe
All humanity is choking
From a virus that invades our lungs
We have left no space for other species
And the virus leaps into our lives.
If our rulers minimize the danger
It becomes still worse
Choking our societies, our jobs, our businesses,
Our democracy. Our lives.

III. Earth Can’t Breathe
All life on Earth depends on Interbreathing.
We breathe in what the trees breathe out;
The trees breathe in what we breathe out.
Our Interbreathing is the Breath that keeps all Earth alive.
Our Interbreathing is the very Name we call You,
For YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh
Is the still small voice of simply breathing.
But the Flood of CO2
That we call the “climate crisis”
Chokes our breathing.
Chokes Your Breathing,
All Earth is scorched by burning fossil fuels
And Carbon Pharaohs burn their way to faster wealth.
Earth can’t breathe and Your Name rattles in our throats.

IV. A Prayer and a Response 
You Who are the Breath of Life,
At Sinai You taught us,
You shall not take My Name with an empty heart.
You shall not breathe My Name with empty Spirit.
Every breath we take
is Itself Your Name,
Part of that great Breath that is the Holy One.
You Who are the Breath of Life,
Heal us to breathe.
I Speak
I Who free you from choking
In the Tight and Narrow Place:
I Who send you Broad Spaces
Where My breath,
My wind, blows free:
No one shall rob you of My Name,
My Breath, My Holy Spirit.

Embody Me!

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 (Several times)
Make Spaces for Spirit. Pentecost Song”  (Tune: 12.11.12.11)                                                      96 HoS
Make spaces for Spirit! For energy rising,
for Pentecost presence, the wind and the fire,
a new kind of language, a voice and a vision
to shift and uplift us, to rouse and inspire.

Make spaces for action by spirited people:
the leader, the teacher, the healer of ill,
the builder, the artist, the bringer of laughter,
the melding and welding of spirit and will.

Make spaces for graces, the gifts of the Spirit,
the fruit of the garden where love is the spring,
the water of blessing, the incense of worship,
the wine poured for sharing, the hope that will sing.

Make spaces for Spirit by changing of systems,
by opening prisons, by debtors' release,
the flaming of courage, the firing of justice,
the Spirit of Jesus, the coming of peace.
(Shirley Erena Murray)

OR

Blow Through Me Breath of God
Blow through me breath of God
Blo-----w through me
Like a pipe, like a flute, like a reed, making melody
The cosmic song in me, breath of God. (Miriam T Winter)
People sit

Offerings

Presentation
As we have received, so we give:
freely, cheerfully and liberally.

CELEBRATING

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:
As one heart is lifted
All  May we share its celebration
As one heart is burdened
All  May we share the pain it knows. 
(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.

OR

May we be blessed as we embrace the future.
Blessed as we lay down the past.
And blessed in the present moment
with lively hope and unexpected wonder.  (Adapted. Kate McIlhagga/bb)

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