Epiphany5C.13.2.2022

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”

13 February 2022. Epiphany 5C. (Green).
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

We gather here to celebrate life's beauty
and find healing for its pain;
to honour our kinship with each other and with the earth;
to create a more compassionate world,
beginning with ourselves.  
Gary Kowalski

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community candle
A Community Candle is lit

For gathering today in this sacred space, we light this flame.

For the opportunity to be together as a community,
to remember the past,
to claim our future,
to be alive in our present,
we light this flame.  (Adapt.DSorrells)

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
"I am that Great and Fiery Force(Tune: 'Duke St’, 88.88)                                                    27 SLT
I am that great and fiery force
sparkling in every thing that lives;
in shining of the river's course,
in greening grass that glory gives.

I shine in glitter on the seas,
in burning sun, in moon and stars.
In unseen wind, in verdant trees
I breathe within, both near and far.

And where I breathe there is no death,
and meadows glow with beauties rife.
I am in all, the spirit's breath,
the thundered word, for I am Life. 
Hildegard of Bingen, 12th Cent.
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
Empowering God, when the road ahead looms endless,
All  
empower us to be companions
for one another along the road.

Inspiring God, when the road forward is blocked,
All   inspire in us creative responses
that move us beyond the barriers.

Enabling God, when the road before us divides,
All  enable us to feel your presence luring us on.

Words of Awareness
We are part of all that sustains or destroys life.
Creation and destruction occur in continually unfolding ways.
And so may we open our ears to the continually unfolding Word.
Life speaks to us in new and vital and imperative ways.
With all the power we have been given,
let us be silent and open to listening…
for nourishment,
for comfort,
for challenge and new focus. (St Stephen’s Project)

OR

We pray:
May we feel ourselves integral parts
of the continuing growth of meaning
throughout the universe.

And may we be bound in kinship to all that is.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  Spirit who Broods  (Tune: 'Song to the Spirit')                                          126 AA
Spirit who broods,
Spirit who sings,
mothering bird,
peace in your wings,

Refrain
Come from within,
come make us one,
come and renew
the face of the earth
.

Spirit of truth,
laser and light
searching the path,
seeking the right,
Refrain

Spirit of love
larger than law,
quick to forgive,
keeping no score,
Refrain

Spirit of hope
never subdued,
Spirit of God,
Spirit of Good,
Refrain    © Shirley Erena Murray
People sit after the hymn

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

OR

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who may be joining us for a first time.

Your presence enriches this gathering and contributes to
the creative evolution of community. 
Thanks for the gift of you!  (Central United, Moncton, Canada)

CENTERING

Meditation
"Lord of this Day"
By  Corrymeela Community.
Entertaining Angles/161.

Lord of this day and of our whole life
thank you that each day
we can change our ways to your way.

Thank you for the people we have met today;
those who challenge how we think;
those who accept us as we are;
those who forgive us.

Thank you that their response to us
helps us to accept ourselves and others
and to find new ways to love our neighbours and ourselves.

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 claim some silence
in the midst of the busyness of our lives.
(Silence)

May we look with gratitude upon this day,
for the beauty of the world,
for the first radiance of dawn
and the last smoldering glow of sunset. 
(Adapt.M R. Leduc)
(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:  Into this day will break moments of awareness,
tiny shards of light that illumine
the whole reality of existence.
All   May these readings be such a moment
and may we be blessed by their gift. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

• “Follow"
By Bill Rush. Eureka Street Vol 28, No. 6  (28 March 2018)

It's a hard life
and the whipped sea's a terror.
Sometimes though, its slate beauty
lifts my heart.

It's hard work casting and hauling,
and net-mending's endlessly boring
except for the back and forth
with the boys.

And now, this stranger.
What is it?  Something in his voice? 
The way he stands against the sky?
Eyes that sum us up in a flash?

A word and the world is changing,
and fishing is not what we thought.

Follow, he says. 

• Luke 5: 1-11  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret,
with the crowd pressing round,
listening to the word of God,
when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank.

The fishers had gone out on them and were washing their nets.
Jesus got into one of the boats - it was Simon's - and asked Simon
to put out a little way from the shore.

Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

When Jesus had finished speaking he said to Simon,
'Put out into the deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.'

'Teacher', Simon replied, 'we worked hard all night long
and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.'

And when they had done this
they netted such a large number of fish
their nets were beginning to tear,
so they signaled to their companions in the other boat
to come and help them.

When these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

Seeing this Simon Peter fell at the knees of Jesus saying,
'Leave me, for I am a sinful.'

For Simon and all the companions were completely overcome
by the catch they had made.
So also were James and John, sons of Zebedee,
who were Simon's partners.

But Jesus said to Simon,
'Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catch.'

Then, bringing their boats back to land,
they left everything and followed Jesus.

Contemporary Exploration

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

We celebrate
that where people are gathered together in love
All  God is present and good things happen and life is full.

We celebrate
that we are immersed in mystery
that our lives are more than they seem
All  that we belong to each other
and to a universe of great creative energies,
whose source and destiny is God.

We celebrate
that the spirit of God beat in the heart of Jesus of Nazareth
All  and God's good news was heard
by the broken and wounded.

We are glad that the spirit of peace
is present with us, the church,
All  as we gather to celebrate our common existence,
and the fidelity of God.

And most deeply we believe
that in our struggle to love,
All  we incarnate God in the world.

And so aware of mystery and wonder,
caught in friendship and laughter,
All  we become speechless before the joy in our hearts
as we celebrate the sacredness of life.  (Adapt.John Shea/thu)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us now 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 The people stand as they are able, to sing
Life into Life, the Threads are Woven”  (Tune: ‘Stanley Street’)                                      28 TEL
Life into life, the threads are woven,
parent and child,
partner and friend;
tokens of love received and given:
joy at each birth,
grief at each end.
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our hearts' thanksgiving.

Life into life, our ways cross over,
culture and place,
neighbour and race;
in your good world help us discover
imprint of grace
in every face.
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our heart's thanksgiving.

Life into life, when love is spoken,
everyday things
give our heart wings,
life-changing ills when things are broken,
turn us to you,
seeing what's true,
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our heart's thanksgiving.

Life into life, your Holy Spirit
quickens the mind,
lifts humankind,
gives to our stream of days its current,
livens the slow,
charges the flow,
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hear as we bring our heart's thanksgiving.

Life into life, the world goes spinning,
catching your light,
gaining new sight;
you give us hope, a fresh beginning,
life's very breath,
life out of death.
God of all time, all loves, all living,
hears as we bring our heart's thanksgiving. (Shirley Erena Murray)
The people sit

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:
In this abundant blessing
All
 We share the joy.
In this, our time of need,
All  May love abound.  (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  Loving Presence, luminous in all creation,
hallowed be your name.
Thy kin-dom come.
May we reflect on earth
the yielding perfection of the heavens.

Help us to receive an illumined measure from the earth this day.
Forgive us when we trespass against others,
human and other than human,
as we forgive others who trespass against us.

Keep us on the path of wisdom
when we are tempted to take the selfish path.
May it be your rule we follow,
 your power we exercise,
and your radiance that allures.

May this be the truth that guides our lives,
the ground from which our future will grow,
until we meet again.  (Bruce Sanguin/dddc)

CELEBRATING

Conversation with the Children
Children gather on the storytellers 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)

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
The Offering

The Presentation
May these gifts be brought to life in and beyond this place:
new hope of healing;
fresh ways of coping;
a chance to rest;
a chance to work;
a way to live gracefully.

Invitation
In all the colours and scents and sounds of the world,
In all growing things,
In all creatures and people and their joy,
In the chorus of suns and planets and stars,
We would see God's signature
as the beauty of things.  (Adapte.JTrapp)

Thanksgiving
God of the summer’s day,
All  
Praise and wonder be.
God of the lingering sunset and early dawn,
All  
Praise and wonder be.

God of the hot north wind and the refreshing shower,
God of the shady tree and the cool water bag,
God of the ripening harvest and sparkling sea,
All  Praise and wonder be.

We gather together
conscious that raising our hearts and minds
is a gift of the Spirit of Life at work
in the depths of our being.
All  For the presence of that Spirit in us, we give thanks.

We gather together
conscious that our living
gives the Spirit a way of breaking into word and song
unique in all the universe.
All  For the words and songs within each of us, we give thanks.

We gather together
mindful of men and women throughout human history
who allowed the Spirit of Life to work in them
for the betterment of our world and humanity.
All  For their lives and their inspiration, we give thanks.

And so we offer our thanks and praise
inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness
to move freely in our words and actions.
All  Holy, holy, holy, celebrating God,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
All  Hosanna in the highest.

Jesus is the story we gather around and give thanks for.

Human like us, he discerned where this Spirit of Life is found:
in the everyday,
in human interaction,
in caring,
in sharing,
in being neighbour.

He urged people to work together to establish the 'reign of God'
by wholehearted generosity,
by eliminating boundaries between people,
by trust in the goodness of people,
and by working for peace and justice
in all human endeavours.
All  We remember his total commitment
to living fully and loving totally
and his faith in a God to be trusted
whatever twists life could take
in this imperfect world.  (Adapt.Michael Morwoodpns)

We also remember the tradition...
On the night before he was handed over
Jesus again shared a meal with his friends.

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

Hymn/Song (unannounced, people to remain seated)
Crowded Table, Urgent Faces”  (Tune: ‘Maria’s Tune’ 87.87D)
Crowded table, urgent faces,
people longing for the bread,
bread of life and bread for living,
bread for rising from the dead;

Young and old, both men and women,
those for whom this life is hard,
those who live in warmth and comfort,
those whose life is stained or tarred;

All are welcome, wise or foolish,
at this table all are fed,
sharing wine in celebration,
eating Christ’s communion bread.

Then in costly life and giving
we will share what we receive,
demonstrate in daily living
all that we affirm, believe.
  (© Andrew Pratt 2005)

Breaking of Bread/Pouring of White wine
Bread is broken and Wine is poured during the singing of the above hymn

Communion
Everyone is welcome to be here.
All  
In this way, we lift up a world of generosity,