AshWednesdayC.2.3.2022

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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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
ASH WEDNESDAY

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


2 March 2022  (Purple)

Worth Pondering
“Jesus was born a pilgrim,
and from the very beginning until the very end of his [life],
he always seemed to be on the road or on the verge of moving on”
(Donald Burt)

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



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
As people enter they are to collect a tea-candle

Entry into the Celebration
v1  Let us acknowledge the awesome mystery
embodied in every person.
All  
Through us God comes to unique
and personal expression.

v2  Let us give thanks for the abundance of life on this earth.
All  
Through it we and all people may be nourished.

Silence
Let us be in silence together.
(Silence)

Lighting of the Community Candle
We light this flame to affirm that new light
is ever waiting to break through to enlighten our ways:
that new truth is ever waiting
to break through to illumine our minds,
and that new love is ever waiting
to break through to warm our hearts.  (C 
A Howe/adapted)

Lighting of the Personal Candles
People come forward to light their tea candle
and place it on the table around the Community Candle

Response
Out of nothingness we came through birth into life:
All  With the Spirit of God within us.

From the life of God the universe unfolded into being
All  
With the Spirit of God within it.

From the heart of God creation goes on till the end of time
All  
With the Spirit of God within it
and with our spirit within it.

Let us embrace the God who enfolds us
All  We delight in God.  (Pitt St Uniting Church)

Welcome
In your own words

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

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:  Bless the breath of life.
Sing of the hidden patterns.
All  
Weave the web of peace.

• “To Reflect On . . .”
By William L Wallace.
Courage to Love/19

There is no pain greater than not being able to be yourself.

True humility is not the putting down of the self
but the putting down of roots into the earth,
the cultures of the earth
and the mystery which we call God.

To enter the wilderness
is to discover one’s true home.

What you are seeking lies within you.
No one can give it to you.
All you have to do is to own it.

The greatest achievement is to learn
to be
and to rest in that awareness.

Abandon yourself to the otherness
and you will find yourself in the process.

Nurture the mystic within you
for she is the guardian of the most sacred mysteries.
She alone is the ‘you’ that cannot be destroyed;
for her name is compassionate wisdom
and her aspect is divinity.

When you can see the divine in yourself
You will be able to see the divine everywhere.
When you reverence the divine in yourself
You will be able to reverence the divine everywhere.
When you nurture the divine in yourself
You will be able to nurture the divine everywhere.

OR

• "Feast and Fast”
Jim Burklo

So let us feast on simple pleasures, and fast from all that gets our bodies and souls out of balance. 
Let us feast on kindness, and fast from sarcasm. 
Let us feast on compassion, and fast from holding grudges. 
Let us feast on patience, and fast from anxiety. 
Let us feast on peace, and fast from stirring up needless conflict. 
Let us feast on acceptance, and fast from judgment. 
Let us feast on joy, and fast from jealousy. 
Let us feast on faith, and fast from fear. 
Let us feast on creativity, and fast from all that deadens our souls. 
Let us feast on social justice, and let us fast from negligence of the most vulnerable. 
Let us feast on service to others, and fast from selfishness. 
Let us feast on delight, and fast from despair. 
Let us feast on bread and wine in spiritual communion,
and fast from all that keeps us from communing deeply with each other and with God.   

So that our lives might be sufficient, fulfilled, complete, whole, enough. 

• Matthew 6 (Selected verses, Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
Be careful not to parade your good deeds before others to attract their notice;
by doing this you will lose all heavenly reward.

So when you give alms,
do not have it trumpeted before you:
this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues
and in the streets to win the admiration of others.
I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward...

And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites:
they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues
and at the street corners
for people to see them.
I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward...

When you fast
do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do:
they pull long faces
to let others know they are fasting.
I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward...

Silence

Response
v1  Let us enter the journey of Lent.
We are people who stand among others as truly human -
no better, no worse -
simply offered the grace of God as we go.

v2  We are connected in creation
by water which gives us life…
Let us respect the sacredness of water:
a blessing from Holy God.
A jug of water is placed on the table

v1  The pain of the earth is raw,
like the pain of a mother
whose children are torn
from the softness and warmth of her breast.
May creation be healed.
Bread and Wine is placed on the table

v2   People are harmed by water exploitation, pollution,
drought, erosion and flood.
Lives are put at risk.
Lives are robbed of dignity.
May our concern and our lament be real.
A bowl of Ashes is placed on table

SERVICE OF THE ASHES
The Ashes
Ash Wednesday invites us to come back to earth.
To wonder at the gift of life,
my life
our life
with the earth, the shared body of our existence.

These ashes were once trees and shrubs,
and places where life was lived to its fullest.
Once they were full of life.
Now they are black and grey.
Dry.
Lifeless.

But mixed with the oil and water of our baptism
make good fertiliser:
it will help the seeds of the gospel take deeper root in us
and bring forth the fruits,
the harvest of justice, peace, and generosity.

These are ashes worth wearing.
For from the burnt ashes will spring the green shoot of life
and the purple flower of attentiveness to God.

Preparation of Ashes

Blessing
We pray:
May these ashes be blessed in our wearing.
May they be for us a symbol of our return to the earth.

May we be blessed.
May we be earthed in everlasting love,
as forgiven and forgiving people.
May it be so..

Distribution
Those who wish to be marked are invited to come forward

Receive the mark of our humanness...

Prayer
We pray:
We are thankful for forgiveness and healing.

Mindful of faith that sees possibilities,
faith that endures,
faith that inspires...

Mindful of love’s call
to be faithful,
to endure,
to be generous and forgiving whatever the cost.

Mindful of the hope of new life
as we follow Jesus during this Lenten journey.
May it be so.

Silence

CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
The Invitation
v1  Our tradition says at a supper, Jesus, sharing bread and wine,
invited the disciples to share his journey.

Here tonight, through bread and wine,
we renew our journey with Jesus and his disciples.

Here tonight, through bread and wine,
we renew our unity with one another, with the earth,
and our interwovenness
with the broken ones of the world.

The Story
We are reminded again of the tradition that surrounds this story.

Long ago,
on the night he was handed over, Jesus took bread,
gave thanks, and broke it:
'This bread is broken, as my body will be'.

And he gave it to his friends, inviting them to eat:
v2  'Remember all that I have been to you'.

Long ago, on that same night,
Jesus poured a cup of wine, offered thanks for it,
and gave it to his friends:
v2  'This wine is poured out, as my life will be.
Remember me and give thanks for all I have given'.

Thanksgiving
v1  Creating God, Source of Life, we offer our thanks.

The smell of gums after rain,
The surprise of ducks in flight,
The taste of peach and plum and nectarine,
For all gifts simple and profound,
in country and city,
in paddock, or back yard and on lake:
We give thanks.
All  
We give thanks.

v2  In this season of transition
as the leaves prepare to begin their subtle change of colour
and our hearts cling to the warmth as the days shorten,
once again we are reminded,
that new possibilities can rise from our failures
or disappointments
or what has come to an end.

We give thanks for all the influences in our lives
that have helped us to see beyond the present:
that teach us to combine labour and rest,
that bring us the cycles of time and season,
that sustain us when we are in need.
All  
God loves in us;
God cares through us;
God laughs in us;
God cries in us as nowhere else.  (Michael Morwood/pns)

v1  Especially we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth,
gatherer of folk,
teller of stories,
breaker of bread,
pourer of wine,
weaver of lives.

In his life, wisdom, stories and social vision
we recall the words he spoke
to call forth in us love, care and respect for one another:
All  
And we believe the same Spirit of God
that came to visibility in Jesus
yearns for visible expression in us.

Bread and White Wine
The Bread is broken... the Wine poured, in silence.

Communion
So come, taste of this same bread and wine…
Gifts of the earth.
Work of human hands.
Distribution of Bread and White Wine, continuous lines

After Communion
v2  May the bread and the wine and the remembering
be a blessing on us all.

Sharing of '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  Forty Days and Forty Night”  (Tune: ‘Intercessor’, 11.10.11.10)                           28 MTH
Wild wilderness, pathetic desolation,
as Jesus walked, then rested for the night,
for forty days his strength was tried and tested,
for forty days he sifted wrong and right.

He woke to hunger tangled in his being,
what miracle might turn these stones to bread?
But God within the centre of his spirit
was food enough to keep his body fed.

His faith was such that it could move a mountain
and God could save him from the greatest fall.
But faith like this need not be tried or tested;
the love of God will never slip or stall.

He climbed the mountain, saw the world in splendour,
then thought of ruling all his eyes could see;
yet power like this was not the thing he needed -
devoid of wealth he’d set the people free.

Beyond temptation love would live incarnate,
his human flesh would laugh and cry and weep,
in Christ God’s love and grace would not diminish,
dynamic Love would never die nor sleep.  (Andrew Pratt. © Copyright 2015 Stainer & Bell Ltd)

OR

"The Man Who Lived in Galilee”  (Tune: ‘Tyrolese’, 86.86D)                                               77 SNS4 
The man who lived in Galilee
Two thousand years ago,
Lived life like humble, lowly folk;
To riches he said “No.”
He owned no house; he wrote no book;
Did not invent a thing!
He lead no army into war.
Taught outcasts how to sing. 

The man who lived in Galilee
Two thousand years ago,
Did not obey the temple law;
He scorned the status quo;
He was not of the ruling class;
He did not covet fame;
Instead he mixed with those ‘unclean’,
Whose lives were full of shame. 

This man who lived in Galilee
Two thousand years ago,
Points to a new humanity
Where love has constant flow;
His life revealed what love can do;
He did not want to die;
But when he did his death proclaimed
That love will never die.  (George Stuart)

Words of Blessing
May the blessing in the strength of the Brindabellas,
the calm of Lake Burley Griffin
the freshness of gum tree and wild flower
remain with you...

And may God's strength, peace and creativity
go with you always. 
All
 Amen! May it be so!
People leave as they wish

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:
Abbott, M. Sparks of the Cosmos. Rituals for Seasonal Use. Unley. MediaCom Education, 2001.
xxx
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane: Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
McRae-McMahon, D. Echoes of Our Journey. Liturgies of the people. Melbourne. JBCE, 1993.
Morwood, M. Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2003.
(MTH)  
Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London. Stainer & Bell, 2015.
Seaburg, C. (ed). The Communion Book. Boston. UUMA, 1993.
(SNS4) 
Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 4. Toronto. G Stuart, 2013.
Withrow, L. Seasons of Prayer. Resources for Worship. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Howe. UUA Worship Web. Boston. http://uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/index.php
Bruce Prewer Web Site. VIC: Bendigo.
L Bruce Miller. Edmonton, Canada.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>
Jim Burklo. “Feast and Fast. Direct from the author.

rexae74@gmail.com