Trees.Pent11B.1.8.2021

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
1 August 2021.  Pentecost 11B. (Green).
National Tree Day

Worth Pondering:
“Life is not a problem to be solved,
but a mystery to be experienced”
Joseph Campbell

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

We live in between winter cold and summer heat:
in between birth and death.

In these perpetual between-times…  (Adapt. JM.Rickard)
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   The people stand as they are able, to sing
 Jesus Comes To Me…”  (Tune: ‘Joy”).                                                                             77 AA
Jesus comes to me as a springtime tree
and I receive him as a springtime tree.
Fragrant the blossoming of the child,
fresh with laughter, free and wild,
and carrying the green of summer.

Jesus comes to me as a summer tree
and I receive him as a summer tree.
Warm in the sun and richly laid
with patterns of growth through light and shade,
and carrying the fire of autumn.

Jesus comes to me as an autumn tree
and I receive him as an autumn tree.
Season of ripeness, brightly ablaze
like a torch in the quietness of closing days
and carrying the wood of winter.

Jesus comes to me as a winter tree
and I receive him as a winter tree.
Gentle the cross and gentle the snow,
gentle the path where he and I go,
carrying the buds of spring.  
(Joy Cowley)

OR

People Are God’s Language(Tune: ‘Ellers’, 10.10.10.10)                                       71 SNS2
People are language through whom God can speak;
Heard by the list'ners, found by those who seek;
Heard in a whisper, never in a roar;
Heard in compassion, not through formal law.

People are language through whom God can care
With words of comfort when we see despair;
Spoken in kindness, yet with certainty;
Heard with delight when calming misery.

People are language through whom God can plead
For peace and mercy, for the ones in need;
Spoken in strength, with poise and dignity,
Calling for justice and for liberty.

Sharing of love with acts of gentleness,
Sharing the load with deeds of thoughtfulness,
We can ensure the message can be heard;
For we are language of God's living word.  (George Stuart).
People remain standing

Opening Sentences
Come.  Let us be joined
in seeking the aspirations of the heart.

Come.  Let us be joined
in giving voice to those melodies
which can heal the wounded soul. 
All Come.  Let us be joined
in speaking the words which set us free.
  CODame 

Act of Awareness
Marvel at life!
Strive to know its ways!
Seek wisdom and truth,
the gateways
to life’s mysteries!

Wondrous indeed is life!  (Adapt. Rabbi Rami  M Shapiro/ep)

OR

We pray:
Gathered in this sacred place, may we
feel ourselves as integral parts
of God’s continuing growth of meaning
throughout the universe.
A kinship to all that is.
May it be so.
All  
May it be so with us.

Hymn/Song   We Are The Earth…(Tune: ‘Ein’ Feste Burg’, 87.87.66.66.7)                   30 SLT
We are the earth upright and proud;
in us the earth is knowing.
It’s winds are music in our mouths,
in us its rivers flowing.
The sun is our hearth-fire;
warm with the earth’s desire,
and with its purpose strong,
we sing earth’s pilgrim song;
in us the earth is growing.

We lift our voices, fill the skies
with our exultant singing.
We dedicate our minds and hearts,
to order, beauty bringing.
Our labor is our strength;
our love will win at length;
our minds will find the ways
to live in peace and praise.
Our day is just beginning.  (Kenneth L Patton)
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

Reflection
"Life-giving Possibilities”
By Peter Millar.
Waymarks/xiv.

Lord of every new day
when the road ahead is
totally scary
or far too comfortable,
reveal your
life-giving waymarks,
so that having made them our own,
we travel on with
risk,
vulnerability,
vision,
awareness,
passion,
struggle,
energy,
and compassion
as our constant companions.

OR

“When I Am Among the Trees”
By Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness,
and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
”and you too have come
into the world to do this,
to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

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

Now let silence gently enfold us.
(Silence)

Breathe deeply… unclench your hands
and let your shoulders and neck relax.

Allow your face muscles to relax and sit comfortable,
for side to side you are connected with those
who wish well for you.
(Silence)

Today is the beginning of the rest of our lives
and the world awaits the emerging wonders
we are and will yet be.
(Silence)

Deep peace to you all.  (Adapt. Rob Kleinheksel/C3Exchange, 2012)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Wisdom from the 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 reading.

All  
And may our minds be fertile soil

in which it may grow strong and true. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• Genesis 1: 1-9, 12
A C Grayling. The Good Book/1

In the garden stands a tree.
In 
springtime it bears flowers; in the autumn, fruit.

Its fruit is knowledge, teaching the good gardener
how to understand the world.

From it he learns how the tree
grows from seed to sapling,
from sapling to maturity,
at last ready to offer more life;

And from maturity to age and sleep,
whence it returns to the elements of things.

The elements in turn feed new births;
such is nature’s method,
and its parallel with the course of humankind.

It was from the fall of a fruit from such a tree
that new inspiration came for inquiry into the nature of things,
When Newton sat in his garden,
and saw what no one had seen before:
that an apple draws the earth to itself,
and the earth the apple,
Through a mutual force of nature that holds all things,
from the planets to the stars, in unifying embrace.

So all things are gathered into one thing:
the universe of nature, in which there are many worlds:
 the orbs of light in an immensity of space and time…

All other things, in their cycles and rhythms,
exist in and of themselves

OR

• John 6: 25-35 (NRSV)

When the crowd found that Jesus was on the other side of the sea, they said to him,
‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’

Jesus answered them:
‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me,

not because you saw signs, but because
you ate your fill of the loaves.

‘Do not work for the food that perishes,
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.

‘For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’

Then they said to him,
‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’

Jesus answered them,
‘This is the work of God, that you believe
 in him whom he has sent.’

So they said to him,
‘What sign are you going to give us then,
so we may see it and believe you?
What work are you performing?

‘Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written,
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

Then Jesus said to them,

‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven,
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.

‘For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’

They said to him:
‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

Jesus said to them,
'I am the bread of life.

'Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’.

Contemporary Exploration plus Faith for Forests HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

An Affirmation of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
a share an affirmation of faith.
The people stand as they are able

v1  I believe in God's World,
All  In beauty of earth and sky and sea;
In sunbeams playing on rippling water;
In moon and stars milking the midnight sky;

v2  I believe in God's World,
All  In green life pulsing through brown earth,
In miracle of bud and flower and fruit;
In great trees raising gnarled arms 'gainst rain and wind;

v1  I believe in God's World,
All  In cry of new born seeking the lifegiving breast;
In gnarled old age dozing in the sun;
In sweating backs bent over unyielding soil;

v2  I believe in God's World,
All  In the Man hung 'twixt earth and sky,
In the giving of one's life in the service of humanity,
I believe in God's World
(Adapt.GRose/lol)

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
O Slowly, Slowly, They Return”  (Tune: ‘Solothurn’, LM)                                                  342 SLT
O. slowly, slowly, they return
to some small woodland let alone:
great trees, out-spreading and upright,
apostles of the living light.

As patient stars they build in air
tier after tier a timbered choir,
stout beams upholding weightless grace
of song, a blessing on this place.

They stand in waiting all around,
uprisings of their native ground,
down-comings of the distant light;
they are the advent they await.

Receiving sun and giving shade,
their life’s a benefaction made,
and is a benediction said
o’er all the living and the dead.

In fall their brightened leaves, released,
fly down the wind, and we are pleased
to walk in radiance, amazed.
O light come down to earth, be praised.  (Wendell Berry)

OR

We Come by Many Different Paths”  (Tune: DLM)                                               84 WNC
We come by many different paths,
each certain that our way is true.
As sisters, brothers, let us talk,
a way to peace is overdue.
Caged in a creed, we think we’ve caught
the source of all that is to be,but God cannot be thus confined:
the Spirit’s flying, wild and free.

We think that we alone have found
the secret goal of all the earth;
we make our rules, oppress the weak,
with shackles hold them from their birth.
Within four walls we idolise
the treasures of our certainty.
We worship all that we have made.
Outside God sits in poverty.

So, prophets of this present age
disturb us in our arrogance
to let the Spirit freely blow,
to offer love’s extravagance.
For love can shake our self-conceit,
tear up each creed, each guarantee;
confronting cant and human pride,
God demonstrates love’s quality.  (Andrew Pratt)
People sit  

CELEBRATING

Offerings

Presentation
There is dignity here – we will exalt it.
There is courage here – we will support it.
There is humanity here – we will enjoy it.
Let them that have ears to hear, hear 
Let them that have eyes to see, see.  (Adapt. PAndrews/bot).

OR

“A Tree”
By Mary Trager. Canberra Quakers, August 2008

v1  May these gifts (and this tree) be a symbol of hope and love;
May its branches give shade to all those who seek the coolness of the earth below
May those same branches provide a safe haven to all those creatures who seek it
All  And when it bursts in heavenly profusion may it open the heart
and minds of all those who gaze upon it
For only God can make a tree
.

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 we have courage in uncertain times,
All  Let it all happen.  No mood is final.
May we recognise new beginnings
in what seem to be endings,
All  Let it all happen.  No feeling is final.  (3C Exchange)

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   Our Mother, whose body is the Earth,
Sacred is thy being. Thy gardens grow.
Thy will be done in our cities,
as it is in nature.

Thanks be this day
for food, and air, and water.

Forgive us our sins against Earth,
as we are learning to forgive one another.
And surrender us not unto extinction,
but deliver us from our folly.

For thine is the beauty, and the power,
and all life, from birth to death,
from beginning to end. Amen.
So be it.
Forever.
Blessed be
(Henry Horton/lp)

SCATTERING

Hymn/Song People stand as they are able, to sing
Of the Multitude of Words
(Tune: ‘Vienna’, 77.77)                                                16 (v1-3) TMT
Of the multitude of words
held within the Bible's wall,
some bring life and some spread death,
some can liberate us all.

Should our use of sacred words
put all other views to flight?
Does our inner certainty
justify abuse of might?

Are our ways of using strength
open for the world to see?
Do they hide behind the texts
masking our transparency?
Remain standing

OR

"O for a Thousand Trees”  (Tune: ‘Richmond', 86.86)
O for a thousand trees to sing
And join with us this day,
With ferns and frogs and butterflies:
A forest hymn of praise.

Come celebrate with all the land,
Let species rare begin,
With geese and owls and cockatoos:
A choir of country kin.

How can we hear creation groan,
The outback cry in pain?
With desert dragons we rejoice
When Earth is born again.

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

In our lives, may we know the holy meaning,
the mystery that breaks into it every moment.
All  May we live at peace with our world
and at peace with ourselves.

Words of Blessing
As the sun in its shining brings glory
As the stars in the night scatter dark
As the moon gives us hope in its radiance

So may the light of God
fill your heart
and your mind
and your life.
All  Amen! May it be so!

Hymn/Song  (Cont). Of the Multitude of Words”  (Tune: ‘Vienna’, 77.77)              16 (4-5) TMT
Loving God, the source of truth,
help us clearly to discern
what brings death and what brings life,
life for which our spirits yearn.

Then O God of spirit life,
we shall live with openness,
giving all the right to be
their true selves with graciousness.  
(William L Wallace)

OR

"O for a Thousand Trees”  (Tune: ‘Richmond', 86.86)
Let ev’ry stream and river flow
In song toward the sea;
With whale and seal and albatross
We thank God we are free.

O for a thousand trees to sing,
And join with us this day,
With ferns and frogs and butterflies:
A forest hymn of praise. (Norman Habel)

The people sit

'This Week' at (NN)
Notices
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Significant Events
Journey Candles

Music

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


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.
Hilton, D. (ed). Liturgy of Life. An Anthology. Birmingham. National Christian Education Council, 1991.
Holy Bible. NRSV
. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.

Millar, P.
Waymarks. Signposts to Discovering God’s Presence in the World. Norwich. Canterbury Press, 2000.
Morely, J. (ed).
Bread of Tomorrow. Praying with the World’s Poor. London. SPCK/Christian Aid, 1992.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle.
Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs Without Violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press, 2005. 
(WNC) Pratt, A. Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London: Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2002.
 Roberts, E. & E. Amidon.
Earth Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York. HarperCollins, 1991.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Life Prayers from Around the World. 365 Prayers, Blessings, and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey. New York. HarperCollins, 1996.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
(TMT) Wallace, W. L. The Mystery Telling. Hymns and Songs for the New Millennium. Kingston. Selah Publishing, 2001.
Ward, H.; J. Wild,  & J Morley. (ed). Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Rickard, Dame, UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Kleinheksel. C3Exchange, Spring Lake. MI. <www.c3exchange.org>
Brian Wren. Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site: hymns.uk.com
Norman Habel. “O for a Thousand Trees”. Direct from author

rexae74@gmail.com