Transfiguration.27.2.2022

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
To stay connected make my web site a Bookmark/Favourite: 
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

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


27 February 2022  Transfiguration of Jesus.  (White)

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 and present,
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

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this Candle today in recognition of the energy that allows life to occur:
The energy of atomic fusion
The energy of photosynthesis
The energy of primitive metabolisms,
still active in our cells today
The energy of campfires, labor, and growth

And, the energy of our community. (Adapt.JCH, public domain)

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
Praise Death and Birth Amid the Stars”  (Tune: ‘Lasst Uns Erferuen’, 88.88 Alleluia)
Praise birth and death amid the stars
Whence came all atoms that we are
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise cosmic temporality
Each moment precious as can be
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Praise birth and death upon this Earth
Rejuvenation and rebirth
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise beauty, rise, and then depart
Fullness of spirit, breaking heart
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia!  (Connie Barlow)

OR

For the Music of Creation   (Tune: ‘Rustington’)                                                            41 AA
For the music of creation,
for the song your Spirit sings,
for your sound's divine expression,
burst of joy in living things:
God, our God, the worlds composer,
hear us, echoes of your voice:
music is your art, your glory,
let the human heart rejoice!

Psalms and symphonies exalt you,
drum and trumpet, string and reed,
simple melodies acclaim you,
tunes that rise from deepest need,
hymns of longing and belonging,
carols from a cheerful throat,
lilt of lullaby and lovesong
catching heaven in a note.

All the voices of the ages
in transcendent chorus meet,
worship lifting up the senses,
hands that praise and dancing feet;
over discord and division
music speaks your joy and peace,
harmony of earth and heaven,
song of God that cannot cease!  (Shirley Erena Murray)
Remain standing after the song

Opening Sentences
Let us acknowledge the awesome mystery
embodied in every person.
All  Through us God comes to unique and personal expression. 

Let us give thanks for the abundance
of life on this earth.
All  Through it we and all people may be nourished.

Words of Awareness
In all our living, may we be freed
to see things afresh,
to be more fully alive,
and have the courage to keep faith in the future of humanity.

OR

We pray:
Come into this gathering place!
Come in and find peace and rest,
inspiration and aspiration,
fellowship and love.

Come in and find light for your darkness,
a friend's touch for your loneliness,
and music for your soul.
All  Come in and let our hearts sing
for all the blessings that are ours this day.

Hymn/Song   The Arching Sky of Morning Glows  (Tune: ‘Tallis’ Canon’, LM.)          330 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.

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)
People sit after the song

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

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 open ourselves to the sacred silence of this place.
(Silence)

May the strength of silence support our courage
to endure, and open to us
creative channels of the spirit. (Bob Holmes/bhwm)

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: Until we see ourselves in the words we read
and the stories we hear,
it is easy to remark on the rest of the world.
All  May the light of these words fall strong upon each of us,
that we can find the truth they reveal 
in our own hearts.
  (Gretta Vosper/ab)

• "Taking Stock" --A Reflection
By Dennis McCarty.
Thoughts from a Gentle Atheist/19

To every one of us, there come those times
We need to clean the disheveled closets
Otherwise known as our lives.
Pull out the old anxieties, antagonisms, disappointments,
And if we don't completely throw them in the trash,
At least re-examine them. Re-stock, re-store,
So they are no longer in the way
Of all those items we can actually put to use.
Those most beloved to us--
Loved ones,
Gifts we find most joy in sharing,
Little bits of wisdom
We must surely have acquired along the way--
Store those in front.
There's only so much shelf space.
Let us not waste it
With the worn-out refuse of our lives.
Pull out those necessaries proven useful:
All the best
We have to offer to ourselves and to the world.

OR

• “The Womb of Stars”
By Joy Atkinson. Singing the Living Tradition/#445

The womb of stars embraces us;
remnants of their fiery furnaces
pulse through our veins.
We are of the stars,
the dust of the explosions
cast across space.

We are of the earth:
we breathe and live in the breath
of ancient plants and beasts.
Their cells nourish the soil;
we build our communities
on their harvest of gifts.

Our fingers trace the curves
carved in clay and stone
by forebears unknown to us.
We are a part
of the great circle of humanity
gathered around the fire, the
hearth, the altar.

We gather anew this day
to celebrate our common heritage.
May we recall in gratitude
all that has given us birth.

• Luke 9:28-36 (Inclusive Text)

Jesus took Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray.
As Jesus prayed, the aspect of his face was changed
and his clothing became brilliant as lightning. 

Suddenly two others - Moses and Elijah - appeared in glory.
They were talking with Jesus
and they spoke of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. 

Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep,
but they kept awake and saw the glory of Jesus
and the two standing with him. 

As these were leaving, Peter said to Jesus,
'It is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’

Peter did not know what he was saying. 

As he spoke, a cloud came and covered them with shadow;
and when they went into the cloud the disciples were afraid.
And a voice came from the cloud saying,
‘This is my Beloved, the Chosen One. Listen to him.’ 

And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. 

The disciples kept silence and, at that time,
told no one what they had seen.

OR

• Wisdom 6:1-6
A C Gayling The Good Book/15

The meditation of the wise man is a meditation on life,
not on death.

The wise see the necessity of things, and by this
they free themselves from distress:

For the pain arising from loss is mitigated
as soon as its inevitability
is perceived;

And likewise no one pities a newborn baby
for being unable to speak or walk,
because this is natural to its state.

Thus the recognition of necessities is a liberation,
and the wise are those who distinguish between
necessity and contingency.

Emotion is bad if it hinders the mind from thinking.
An emotion that opens the mind to contemplate several aspects of things at once
is better than one that fixes thought to an obsession.

Contemporary Exploration  (From previous years  HERE and HERE and HERE)

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration/Affirmation of Faith  (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

God is Love, the cosmic creativity
present everywhere and in everything,
Gently urging all toward the good.
All  To Love we raise our awestruck praise!

Jesus embodied the Love that is God.
Mn  He loved the poor, the sick, the outcast,
Wn  He loved the unpopular, and even his own enemies.
He loved so completely, he loved so dangerously,
That it cost him his life.
All  As Christians we aim to serve humbly, as he did,
Resurrecting his life of Love
through communion with others.

The texts and traditions of Christianity
give voice to our souls,
Mn so that we may support each other
in our quests of compassion.
Wn  Love is the measure of what is worth following,And what is not, in all religions.
All  So we pray for a Holy Spirit of discernment
To express our faith afresh in new times and places.
(Jim Burklo)

OR

‘Light of the World’

v1  Our tradition says that Jesus is the light of the world…
v2  We all can be the light of the world
if we seek to act in ways that enlarge
the realms of love and justice.

v1  When we share another's pain or offer
a comforting ear to a friend in need,
All  We are the light of the world.

v3  When we give bread to the hungry
or support ways to house the homeless,
All  We are the light of the world.

v4  When we fight temptations to wrongdoing within ourselves
and treat our neighbours with respect,
All  We are the light of the world.

v1  When we try to overcome differences with understanding
and solve conflict with peaceful means,
All  We are the light of the world.

v2  When we look for the good in other people and in ourselves,
All  We are the light of the world.

v3 When we do not stay quiet in the face of prejudice,
but speak our minds firmly and gently,
All  We are the light of the world.

v4  When we fight despair within ourselves and side with hope,
All  We are the light of the world.

v1  When we use our powers justly and in the service
of love for humanity,
All  We are the light of the world.

v2,3,4  We are the light of the world!
All  Amen and Amen.  (Adapt.Rebecca A. Edmiston-Lange).

Sharing ‘The Peace’
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you.  (David Galston/q)
All  And also with you.
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
Brighter Than a Thousand Suns”  (Tune: Abingdon’, 88.88.88)                                         30 MTH
Much brighter than a thousand suns,
the source of life, eternal grace;
light of the cosmos and this world
now shining from a saviour’s face.
Upon the mountain’s towering height
they saw transfiguration’s light.

This man, this Jesus, they had known,
who called them once by Galilee,
now stood upon the mountaintop,
he seemed exalted, shining, free.
Disciples caught in stark surprise
had shielded dazzled, blinded eyes.

Free of the bonds of human life
and distanced by some greater power,
a strange yet mystic harmony
joined earth and heaven in this hour.
It seemed that God was very near,
inspiring awe, dispelling fear.

The height of love, the depth of grace,
the dazzling birth of something new,
a supernova magnified,
a stunning, startling, shining view,
for God affirmed Christ’s human worth
illuminating all the earth.  (Andrew Pratt. © Copyright 2012 Stainer & Bell Ltd)
People sit

CELEBRATING

Offerings

Presentation
As we bring our gifts forward,
may our whole life move forward,
in good faith, with good feelings,
and with a good belief about the future.

May what we give today, and all that we receive
be for the enrichment of our life
and the lives of others.

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 safe space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared.

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
Let each of us find a window
All  To see beyond our own enclosures.

Let each of us find a door
All 
To open ourselves into new being. (Adapt.Kenneth Patton/sscl)

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 and within 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   Ground of all being, we honour
the many names for our experience of the sacred.

May we build a community
faithful to the dream of heaven on earth.

May there be food for all who hunger this day.
May we be forgiven for the falseness of what we have done
as we forgive those who have been untrue to us.
May we not feel abandoned in hard times
but find strength to meet each moment.

For the light of life, the vitality of being
is within us and beyond us,
now and forever.
  (Nancy L Steeves/StSC.N-TL)

PARTING

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
In The Midst Of All Our Living”  (Tune: ‘Nettleton’, 87.87D)                                          2(v1-2) SiF
In the midst of every blessing
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
May my words be filled with gratitude;
may my glad heart humble be.
As a holder of a blessing
May I share it gratefully.

In the midst of every trial
may my heart be filled with grace.
Streams of comfort, ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
May I find the strength within me;
may I sense it everywhere.
As I face what must be handled
may I find truth I can share.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us take on this week’s life
with renewed hope and imagination…
The Community Candle is extinguished

General use:
Now may our wisdom show itself
in deeds of compassion
and in acts of understanding.
All  May the fruits of the spirit
be apparent in our lives. 
(Adapted/Philip R Giles)

 OR

In the Southern Hemisphere:
 Today, so our yearly calendar says, marks the end of summer liturgies. 
 When we begin to celebrate a time of transition, 
 a season of change - one of the hinges of the year.

We also welcome each other back
to the world of responsibilities and duties
to the home-bound, work-bound joys and duties
of autumn followed by winter followed by spring.

The work and the promise of another year intrude
even though our hearts still cling
to warm sunlight, blue skies...
to long days and short nights.

On this last Sunday of summer then, I would share with you a summer gift.
Gifts are distributed - flowers, herbs, twigs, etc.

In these baskets are some tiny fragments of summer remains:
captured sunlight, quiet herb gardens, bbq conversations,
walks in the bush or along the beach.

As we end one season - summer, and begin another - autumn,
you are invited to take one of these gifts.
Take it home with you, put it away somewhere special -
a place where you will not encounter it every day,
but at frequent intervals,
when you are most in need of a bit of summer.

Then, in the midst of hectic activity,
may it give you pause to relive for a moment
the relaxed and lazy hours of summer
when life gather strength and renews itself.  (Adapt.David Bumbaugh/tcb)

Words of Blessing
As you prepare to leave this sacred space
Pack away a piece of this church in your heart.

Wrap it carefully like a precious gem.
Carry it with you through the joys and sorrows of your days…
Let its gentle glow strengthen you, warm you,
remind you of all that is good and true
Until you gather here again in this place of love.  (Andrew Pakula)
All  AmenMay it be so with us.

Hymn/Song  (Cont).   “In The Midst Of All Our Living”  (Tune: ‘Nettleton’, 87.87D)        2(v3) SiF
In the midst of all our living
may our hearts be filled with grace.
Streams of goodness ever flowing
call for songs of highest praise.
May we seek and find encouragement;
may our choices worthy be.
As we journey on together,
may we know integrity.  (Words © Scott Kearns 2008, inspired by those of Robert Robinson, 1758)
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

Please include any reproduction of hymns/songs for local church use
on your Music Licence returns, as appropriate

Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all Churches. Raumati: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
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, 2002.
Burklo, J. Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians. Saint Johann Press, 2008.
Grayling, A. C. The Good Book. A Secular Bible. London. Bloomsbury, 2011
Holmes, R. H. The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1. Little Falls: Self published, 1972.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2013.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed). Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-Exclusive Communities. In circulation from the author, 2009.
McCarty, D. Thoughts from a Gentle Atheist. Religious Readings for the Skeptical. USA. Dennis McCarty, 2019
Patton, K. Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1967.
(MTH) Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London. Stainer & Bell, 2015.
Seaburg, C. (ed). The Communion Book. Boston. UUMA, 1993.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Vosper, G. Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.

Web sites/Other:
Edmiston-Lange, Giles, Pakula. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. < www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. http://www.questcentre.ca/
Connie Barlow.  www.thegreatstory.org/songs.html (Songs and Hymns of the Universe)
Nancy L Steeves. “Praying in the Spirit of Jesus”. One of several non-theistic resources found at: http://stephen.srv.ualberta.ca/publications/non-theistic-liturgy-resources/#sthash.0Sd5KwzN.wLO2Tlw4.dpb

rexae74@gmail.com