Children.23.1.2022

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
...in the end the universe can only be explained in terms of celebration. 
It is all an exuberant expression of existence itself”

23 January 2022. Epiphany 3C. (Green).
Children Sunday
Celebrating Community in the tradition of the Meal

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 (N) Nation, past, present, and 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

And we recognise and give thanks that we humans
are creatures of the Earth living in the ecosystem
—flowers, trees and insects; land, waters and mountain range—
that is unique to (NN).
May we honour one another and honour life itself.

(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, teach us, Spirit of our God,
the language of your way,
the lessons that we need to live,
the faith for every day. 
Shirley Erena Murray

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
A Community Candle is lit

This is the light that is lit for everyone who comes into the world.
Bear this light to others, one by one.
Let the flame go from life to life
till all is lit with its warmth. 
(Elizabeth Strong)

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
At The Learning Curve's Beginning”   (Tune: Metre 87.87)
At the learning curve's beginning,
hardly knowing where we head,
finding how to learn, while living,
grasping all that's seen or said.

Looking through the sky that's soaring,
waiting at the ocean's shore,
filled with wonder at the seeing,
sensing God will offer more;

Filled with praise for revelation,
and for all we've yet to find.
Praise to God the source of wisdom,
and for each enquiring mind.  © Andrew Pratt 9/1/2008

OR

"Sing High to God"   (Tune: Woodlands', 10.10.10.10)
Sing high to God, who once upon a time
(Before all time!) Took love to shape a dream
And poured it into life creating words
That gave to all that is: a role, a name.

Give thanks to Christ who calls us to be one
And learn to use the future tense today
To keep the dream alive the vision clear:
A world at peace, the human race at play.

Pray that the Holy Spirit may proceed
Empowering us to see Christ's mission through
Transform the dream to speech, enact the word
Put flesh on hope, make God's intent come true.

Let not, O God, the vision we have caught
Fade as we rise, nor let it die away;
Give us the faith with passion to pursue
That dream's fulfilment in the light of day. 
Fred Kaan
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
May our time together renew our hope.
All  
May the stories we share refresh our courage.
May the songs we sing lift our spirits.
All  
May the words we speak invigorate us.
May the touch of hands, the sound of laughter,
the sight of faces new and familiar,
All  restore us in faith.
  C O Dame

Words of Awareness
It is good to be alive!
To share life with each other
in this wonder-filled and evolving universe.
We are most grateful.

May wisdom dawn in us
so we may see all things in clarity.

OR

We pray:
Spirit of life, we gather here in loving community.
Keep us in mind of the responsibilities of being human.
Give us the strength to endure, but more,
help us to bring strength to each other.

May we exclude no one intentionally,
but may our church be inclusive as we say it is.
May our coming and our going be blessed,
this day and forever more.
All   May it be so with us!

Hymn/Song   God’s Word, God’s World”  (Tune: ‘The Streets of Laredo’ - trad.)
Come people of faith from the bounds of Australia,
let’s share in the vision of what we might be:
a part of God’s world that is vibrant with colour,
a landscape for life that is open and free.

God’s world has one table for all kinds of people,
God's world is a home all are welcome inside,
God's way is the way beyond stigma and dogma,
God's Spirit the surfboard that dares us to-ride.

God's Word is alive in the challenge of Jesus:
to look with his eyes at the world that we know,
to stand with conviction, to care with compassion,
to make new connections, to pray as we go.

Let's relish the changes the Word rearranges,
with bushfires of bias stamped out from the start,
let's savour the flavour of full-bodied living,
the world of Christ Jesus, the way of the heart.   
Shirley Erena Murray
The people sit after the hymn

Welcome
Or in your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are gatheringg 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.
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.

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-LBelcher
(Silence)  

Music of Reflection

And Reflecting on Life as Australians...
Come to us, Creating God,
as the One who walks the way of ordinary people.
All 
 Come to us, as the One who weeps over the city.

Come to us,
as the One who deeply understands
the paradox of life which rises from death.
All 
 Come to us, in a language of grace
that we may approach you
in vulnerable hope.

Give us new life if the old has been destroyed in us.
All
  Give us openness if we have closed our hearts to your future.
Give us courage, if we tread this land in fear of bringing our gifts.
All
  Give us wisdom, when we forget to listen to the learnings of our history.
Give us joy when we see the breadth of your imagination
expressed in the differences between us.
All 
 Differences of race and culture,
differences of history and journey,
differences in our experience of you.

Bind us together as those
who feel your love under our feet
in the warmth of this, our holy ground.
All  
Dance within our life, O Spirit of God,
that we may be transformed by your eternal passion
for making all things new.   
Dorothy McRae-McMahon/bst

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)

• i Corinthians 12:12-14, 27  (Inclusive text)

Just as the human body, though it is made up of many parts,
is a single unit because of all these parts, though many,
make one body, so it is with Christ.

In the one Spirit we were all baptised,
Jews as well as Greeks,
slaves as well as free citizens,
and one Spirit was given to all to drink.

Nor is the body to be identified with any one of its many parts...

Now you together are Christ's body;
but each of you is a different part of it.

OR

“Honoring Children”
By Linda Olson Peebles

Sitting on the ground,
with the huge universe of sky and space all around,
may we let our eyes be open to the miracle of life
in every person whom we see.

May our hearts and minds not be numb
or unaware or unconcerned.
The vibrancy of life is all around.
The power of love and nurture
is ours to bring into being,
to help ourselves and every child we meet.

Who we are and how we are with one another matters.
May we bring blessing and witness to
the sacredness of our being human.

OR

• “Do not ask your children to strive”
By William Martin (Found on internet)

Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.

• Luke 4:14-21  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee.
And his reputation spread throughout the countryside.
He taught in the synagogues and everyone praised him.

Jesus came to Nazara, where he had been brought up,
and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did.

Jesus stood up to read and they handed him
the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Unrolling the scroll Jesus found the place where it was written:
The Spirit of God has been given to me, and has anointed me.

I have been sent to bring good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and to the blind new sight,
to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim God's year of favour.

Jesus then rolled up the scroll,
gave it back to the assistant and sat down.

And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him.

Contemporary Exploration and HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

For our community gathered here,
for the spirit that called us together and drew us to this place:
All  We give thanks this day.

For moments we have shared with others;
for times when we have reached out across barriers
of distance and fear;
for times when others have reached out to us;
for moments when we have discovered another along our path: