Revd Rex A E Hunt
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Other Resources for the Season:

16 September 2018.  Season of Creation 3B/Pentecost 17B. (Green).
Celebrating Community: Sacrament of Holy Communion
Sky Sunday

Worth Pondering
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than s/he seeks”
(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 and their stewardship
of this land throughout the ages.

(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


Refreshment Station/Water Basins
Pottery basins are set on stands near the entrance to the Gathering space. 
Attendees are invited to dip their hands in the cool water in the basins as they arrive. 
Or to rinse each other’s hands. 
That we may relax, be refreshed, and prepare for this time together.

(Note: A small sign is placed above the basin explaining that as they dip their hands in the water, they are invited to relax and try to mindfully set aside or release for a time anything that might be preventing them from being fully present—each traveller rinsing the “dust from the road”).


(A suggestion of other words)
We come together from our separate lives,
each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,
our hopes, and our dreams.

We are not yet fully present.
The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us.
Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.

It is now time to let go of these pressures and really arrive…   

When you are ready, repeat silently to yourself: ‘Hineini’ or ‘Here I am’.
Hineini is used in the Torah to signify being present
in body, mind, and spirit.

It means settling into where we are and simply being “here”. (Adapted/Nan Fink Gene)

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/Slides 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

With respect and gratitude for the original custodians of this land,
we gather together this day
to affirm in hope and faith,
that we can create a sacred space of welcome
for all who live in Australia.

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

v2  Fountain of life…
Pulse of life…
Breath of life…
Earth is filled with the presentness of God.

v1  A planet filled with the presence of God
a living green blue planet,
peoples from every corner of creation,
the vast reaches of space above us,
and the rocks and hills and wonders of the wild.
v2  Together this day,
let us sense the face of God in all creativity.

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) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism 

Hymn  The people stand, as they are able, to sing
"Song of Sky" (Tune: 'Abbot's Leigh', 87.87D)              2 (v1-2) SCC
Lord of suns and star exploding
Galaxies and swirling skies,
Where you chose to show your glory
Took the heavens by surprise.
Lord of solar winds and wisdom,
Super stars that blow our mind,
Choosing such a fragile planet
Hardly seems a grand design.

On this piece of stardust swirling,
On this spinning spot in space,
Life itself was born like music,
When you showed your hidden face.
What an honour to be chosen,
Silent planet blue and green,
Filled with glory, grace and gardens,
Where the breath of God is seen.
What is even more amazing

We have poisoned Earth like fools.
Help us change our way of living,
Love the Earth and love her rules.
Help us stem the tide of traders
Leaving Earth an empty store;
Join us now Creator Spirit,
Come renew your Earth once more. © Norman Habel


Stars and Planets  (Tune: ‘Triumph’, 87.87.87)      186(v1-5) TiS
Stars and planets flung in orbit,
galaxies that swirl through space,
powers hid within the atom,
cells that form an infant’s face:
these, O God, in silence praise you;
by your wisdom they are made.

Skies adorned with sunset splendour,
silent peaks in calm repose,
golden fields awaiting harvest,
foaming surf and fragrant rose:
earth, its bounty clothed with beauty,
echoes all creation’s praise.

Life in wondrous, wild profusion,
seed and fruit, each flower and tree,
beast and fish and swarming insect,
soaring bird, rejoicing, free:
these, your creatures, join in chorus,
praising you in wordless song.

Humankind, earth’s deepest mystery,
born of dust but touched by grace,
torn apart by tongue and colour,
yet a single, striving race:
we, in whom you trace your image,
add our words to nature’s song.

Gracious God, we bring before you
gifts of human life alone,
truth that throbs through song and story,
visions caught in paint and stone:
these, O God, we gladly offer,
gifts to praise the Giver’s name.  
(Herman G. Stuempfle)
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
We invite the skies to worship with us:
All the subtle orange skies at dawn
and the bold red skies at sunset.

We join the heavens in praising God:
proclaiming God’s glory across the globe
and hailing God’s name with the evening stars.

We join with the atmosphere in worship:
the air, the moisture, the oxygen,
the wind and all the expressions of God’s Spirit.

We call the clouds to celebrate with storms:
to carry the life giving drops of rain,
that give hope and healing to Earth.

We invite the winds to join our petitions:
to carry our prayers to God above
and breathe our hopes to Christ in person.

We celebrate the song of the skies!
All  Sing! Skies! Sing!  (Adapt.Norman Habel/soc)

Act of Awareness
The earth turning…
Exploding orb of helium and hydrogen,
firing our lives into existence.
We are here.
We mindfully take our places in life again.

Imagine… we are one, connected, human family.
Be and know that you are the ones the world awaits.

Each of you here and now:
a difference,
a beautiful presence.
Each… of you.  
(Adapt.Rob Kleinheksel/C3Exch).


We pray:
Creativity God, whose renewing breath fills our planet,
may we discern your vibrant, creative presence among us.
And may our spirits be lifted as we celebrate
with the clouds, the winds, the dusk and the dawn.

We stand in awe before the vast reaches of space above us
and give thanks for the fragile piece of stardust we call Earth.
May it be so.

Hymn  “Chant for the Seasons”  (Tune: ‘Praha’, Irreg.)   73(v3) SLT
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us. (Repeat)
Sharp the smell of loam,
bursting in our eyes
the turrets of the tulip.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.
Greening is the grass,
soft upon our brows
the sunlight warm caresses.
Winter rains have turned the star-wheel,
spring-time is upon us.  (Mark L Belletini)


Down the Ages(Tune: ‘Woodland’ 77 77)    2 SLT
Down the ages we have trod
many paths in search of God,
seeking ever to define
the Eternal and Divine.

Some have seen eternal good
pictured best in parenthood,
and a Being throned above
ruling over us in love.

There are others who proclaim
God and Nature are the same,
and the present God-head own
where creation’s laws are known.

There are eyes which best can see
God within humanity,
and God's countenance there trace
written in the human face.

Where compassion is most found
is for some the hallowed ground,
and these paths they upward plod
teaching us that love is God.

Though the truth we can't perceive
this at least we must believe,
what we take most earnestly
is our living Deity.

Our true God we there shall find
in what claims our heart and mind,
and our hidden thoughts enshrine
that which for us is Divine.  
(John A Storey)
The people sit

Welcome  In your own words
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are worshipping 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 worship.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.


Presentation of Water Basins
Words which acknowledge that the dust of many roads and many life experiences has been rinsed into the basins, and calls for the contents of the basins and the gathering to be transformed, renewed, and more fully alive

The dust of many roads and may life experiences
has been washed in this refreshing water.
For this place is a sacred place.

May we
greet one another with open hearts and minds;
inspire each other to consider new questions
and seek deeper meaning;
and cultivate both wisdom and compassion.

And 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.
The bowls of water are removed from the Gathering space

Take the symbol (rosemary/gum leaf/lavender)
you received at the door, rub it between your fingers,
smell it, and share with the person next to you a memory 
of an outback dawn or a glorious evening sky.


We remember the wonders of the worlds that surround us:
of lingering sunset and early dawn.
And we celebrate our kinship one with another
and with the whole of creation.
We remember and rejoice.

Now away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this place,
let us give thanks
for the gift of beauty all around us!

We celebrate the song of the sky!
All  Sing, peoples, sing! (Norman Habel/soc)

Music of Celebration


Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
A reflection and a story from our broad religious tradition shall now be offered.

From the World Around us:
"I still believe…”
By Anne Frank.
Life Prayers /125.

In spite of everything, I still believe that people
are really good at heart.

I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation
consisting of confusion, misery, and death.
I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness,
I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us, too,
I can feel the suffering of millions, and yet,
if I look up into the heavens,
I think that it will all come right,
that this cruelty will end,
and that peace and tranquility will return again.

In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals,
for perhaps the time will come
when I shall be able to carry them out.


“On Beauty”
By Kenneth Patton. Services & Songs for the Celebration of Life/158

Over the mountains, through the haze,
The moon breaks through the green pine trees.
Its light falls in a silver shower
On maiden under a plum in flower.
Which is the loveliest of three,
The maiden, moon, or flowering tree?

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 10:41-45a (Inclusive Text)

When the other ten heard [what James and John had been talking about]
they began to feel indignant with [them], so Jesus called them and said,
'You know that among the gentiles their so-called rulers
lord it over them, and their great ones
make their authority felt.

'This is not to happen among you.
No; anyone who wants to become great among you
must be your servant, and anyone
who wants to be first among you must be slave of all.

'For the Human One did not come
to be served, but to serve…'

Alternate - Season of Creation
Traditional Gospel:
Mark 9:33-37 (Inclusive Text)

Jesus and the disciples made their way to Capernaum.

And when Jesus was in the house he asked them,
'What were you arguing about on the way?'

They said nothing because they had been arguing
which of them was the greatest.

So Jesus sat down, called the Twelve and said,
'Whoever wants to be first must be last of all
and servant of all.'

Jesus then took a little child, set it in front of them,
put his arms around it, and said to them,

'Anyone who welcomes one of these little children
in my name, welcomes me;
and anyone who welcomes me
welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection


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

v1 The sky does it simply, naturally
day by day by day
v2  the sun does it joyfully
like someone in love
like a runner on the starting-line
v1  the sky, the sun,
they just can't help themselves
v2  no loud voices, no grand speeches
but everyone sees,
and is happy with them.
Make us like that, Lord,
so our faith is not in our words but in our lives,
not in what we say but in who we are,
passing on your love like an infectious laugh:
not worried,
not threatening,
just shining
like the sun, like a starry night,
like a lamp on a stand,
light for life –
your light for our lives. (Kate Galloway/pod)

Sharing 'The Peace
Let us take some time to celebrate one another.

The peace of God is here... to stay. (Iona)
All  Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn  The people stand, as they are able, to sing
God Who Fills the Universe(Tune: ‘Francis David’, 77.66.7)        37 SLT
God who fills the universe
from the atom to the stars,
make firm my changeful heart
so I may do my part
and bring joy to all the earth.

God who webs the universe
with amazing mysteries,
make glad my fragile soul
so I can see life whole
and bring hope to all the earth.

God who keeps the universe
by the truths of living love,
make strong that love in me
so I can set it free
and bring peace to all the earth. (Carl G Seaburg)


Just as the Rainbow(Tune: ‘Colours of Hope’,  D C Damon)    22 PaT
Just as the rainbow, bright with its promise,

holds in its prism spectrums of light,
so do our human cultures and colours
bring to each other depth and delight.

Colours adorn us, colours define us,

colours enliven nature's own art,

colours divide us, stark in their meaning,
black and white judgments tear us apart.

Fear of the stranger, unspoken anger,

shades of misgiving show in our face,

colours of blood have stained our traditions,

led us to conflict, race against race.

God give us eyes to value our neighbour,

judging no colour, image or skin,
but where the heart is, open to friendship,
care and connection making us kin.

God give us wisdom, luminous thinking,
prizing this rainbow, sensing its scope,
finding the gold in icons of others,

working to paint the colours of hope. (Shirley Erina Murray)


Conversation with the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat


"Somewhere someone:"

The kingdom of love is coming because:
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)

Reflections and Prayers
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
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  Good caring presence within us, around us, and above us;
Hold us in a sense of mystery and wonder.

Let the fullness of your goodness be within us and around us.
Let all the world know your ways of caring and generosity.
May we find we have all we need
to meet each day without undue anxiety.

Overlook our many stupidities,
and help us to release everyone from their stupidities.
May we know we are accepted.
Strengthen us that we will reach out to the best,
always with the faith
to rise above the ugly realities of our existence.

And we celebrate the gifts you have given us:
the rich kingdom of life’s possibilities,
the power to do good and the triumphs of good,
and the moments when we have seen
the glory and wonder of everything.

You are life’s richness.
You are life’s power.
You are life’s ultimate meaning.
And for everyone.
And for ever more.  Amen.  (Francis Macnab/fwb)

Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.

The riches of God's gracious love have been entrusted to us.
May we share the beauty of God
with all who walk with us, in caring service.

No matter who you are, or where you are
on life's journey, you are welcome
at this table with it's symbols of God's Creative Presence.
In company with all who seek nourishment at this table,
we come to celebrate community, and to share
these life-giving symbols.  (Jerry Stinson/adapted)

In this time we call spring it is right and our joy
to pause in wonder and awe.

This day we celebrate the changing mood of nature:
for sunshine and showers of a spring day,
for the nesting and cheerfulness of birds,
and the flowers of bush and garden…
wattle, heath, and bottle brush.
We pause, we celebrate, we give thanks.

We who hold all such good things in trust,
in the company of each other,
and in company with people throughout the world
declare as generations before us have declared:
Holy, holy, holy, hope-breathing God, 
heaven and earth are full of your glory

And we celebrate our knowledge of Jesus, a peasant sage,
who taught all to care for the birds of the air,
and the grass of the paddock;
living expressions of the Spirit of Life in our midst.

We remember our tradition…
When on that night among friends, reclined at table...
Jesus again shared a meal with them.

Through grain and grape, bread and wine,
and in fellowship together,
he spoke of his enduring love for each of them.

So we take this bread and this wine
mindful of the Spirit at work in our lives.
Thus making our living a source of renewal and hope.
May it be so with us.

Breaking of the Bread/Pouring of the Wine
Bread is broken

  We break this bread in celebration of the great truth
that on this tiny planet, hurtling through cold, empty space,
death is made the servant of life,
and out of death, life is forever resurrected.

Wine poured out
This cup with its fruit of the vine,
is a celebration that things are not always as they seem:
that out of faithfulness and steadfastness,
out of suffering and sorrow,
may come unsought blessings.

To eat and drink together reminds us
of the deeper aspects of human fellowship,
for from time immemorial
the sharing of bread and wine has been
the most universal of all symbols of community.

Bread and Wine served


Hymn  The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Colour and Fragrance(Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’,     78(v1-4) 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’ 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.
Remain standing


The Arching Sky of Morning Glows  (Tune: ‘Tallis’ Canon’, LM.)       330(v1-2) SLT
The arching sky of morning glows
like frescoes high in vaulted rows.
The ragged hills of greening spring
like chorus masters bid us sing.

The colours of our contoured land
no artist born could hue as grand,
but contours of the human heart
sole groundings are for every art.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us embrace the wonder of this week
with expectation and imagination…
The Community Candle is extinguished

Hold again the fragrant symbol in your hands
and go forth to serve.

v2  Will you care for Planet Earth?
We will remember our planet home!
We will nurture our planet!
We will act graciously to all humanity!
We will wonder at the beauty of dawn and sunset!
We will celebrate life!

Words of Blessing
May the God you see in all the colours of creation
arouse in you a sense of awe and wonder.
May the God who is a sacred presence be real to you.
May the God who is a source of inspiration and courage
keep calling you forward.
May your God go with you, and bless you.  (Francis Macnab/StMichael's web site)
All  Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont). Colour and Fragrance(Tune: ‘O Barvy Vune’,    78(v5-6) SLT
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.  (Norbert F Capek/GUlp)
The people sit


The Arching Sky of Morning Glows  (Tune: ‘Tallis’ Canon’, LM.)       330(v3) SLT
When ever sounds the sacred sigh
beneath this gable of the sky,
the forms of art and spirit blend,
by craft and morn our hearts transcend.  (Mark L. Belletini)
The people sit

'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles


Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in the 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.

I recommend the use of
LicenSing - Copyright cleared music for churches.

Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
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.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Galloway, K. (ed).
The Pattern of Our Days. Liturgies and Resources for Worship. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 1996.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Macnab, F.
A Fine Wind Is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in Words that Blow you Away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2006. 
(PaT) Murray, S. E. A Place at the Table. New Hymns written between 2009 and 2013. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2013.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon.
Life Prayers From Around The World. 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey. New York. HarperCollins, 1996.
Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Stinson, J. “The Encounter of Progressive Christian Theology with the Language of Prayer and Ritual on Sunday Morning”. Westar Institute/Liturgy and Literacy  Seminar. March 2006.
The St Hilda Community.
The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK, 1996.
Vosper, G.
With or Without God. Why the Way we Live is more Important than What we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.

Web Sites/Other:
Norman Habel. Creation Liturgies. <>
B Kleinheksel. C3 Exchange. <>.
Francis Macnab. St Michael’s Uniting Church Web site. VIC Melbourne.
Refreshment Station
Words by Nan Fink Gefen, taken from an Evolutionary Passover Haggadah by Tree Bressen.