Easter2C.24.4.2022

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 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”

24 April 2022. Easter 2C.  (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, 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 as the human ones of creation.
We name ourselves threads in the web of life.
We give thanks for connection,
        that we are all part of one another
        and that we are part of the sacred.  (StAndrew’s, Auckland, NZ)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

For this new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends…
We give thanks. (Ralph Waldo Emerson/li)

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
Travelling the Road to Freedom”  (Tune: ‘Travelling’).                                                          52 EOA
Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Feted by noise and branches
And banners hanging from every tree;
Cheered on by frenzied people,
Puzzled by what they hear and see:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Partnered by staunch supporters
Who, come the dark, will turn and flee;
Nourished by faith and patience,
Neither of which is plain to see:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
Who wants to travel the road with me?
Tipping the scales of justice,
Setting both minds and captives free;
Suffering and yet forgiving,
Even when my friends most disagree:
Travelling the road to freedom,
Who wants to travel the road with me?

Travelling the road to freedom.
I am the Way, I’ll take you there.
Choose to come on the journey,
Or choose to criticise and stare.
Earth’s mesmerising evil
Only a traveller can repair.
Travelling the road to freedom,
I am the Way, I’ll take you there. 
(Bell/Maule)
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
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:
God of time and eternity,
help us look to the future with hope.

May we be unafraid of hopes and dreams.
May we be realistic about our limitations
but never to lose hope
in our potential to transcend them.

Grant us courage for today and tomorrow.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song "God Comes to Us as One Unheard(Tune: 'Irish’ 86.86)                           42 HoS
God comes to us as one unheard
in silences profound,
or marvels of a symphony,
sublimity of sound.

God comes to us as one unseen
in beauties of the earth;
a seagull's flight, a sunset sky,
the miracle of birth.

God comes to us as one unknown
to share our joys, our pain;
that presence felt, the gift of grace
our peace and hope sustain.

God comes to us at every hour
when strength and faith are weak;
the smiles of friends, encircling arms,
of reassurance speak.

God comes in unexpected ways,
surprising us with joy,
reminding that the light of love
no darkness can destroy.

Teach us, O God, to recognise
your spirit everywhere;
make us aware, responsive, keen,
your love for all to share.  (Jocelyn Marshall) 
The 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)

Music of Celebration

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)

xxx

• “Blessed is our mother Earth
By Glynn Cardy. A Book of Blessings/52

Blessed is our mother Earth
when she knows that she is deeply loved,
not a ‘thing’, a ‘resource’, to be used,
but our papakainga,*
our only home.

Blessed is our mother Earth
when indifference is countered by passion,
and the parched and abused ground
is tended by our tears,
and resolve to restore.

Blessed are we when finding
wisdom and courage,
memory and resilience,
and non-compliance,
for the facing of these hours.
* papakainga is a Maori word for original home village, home base.
(Final verse reflects Verse 1 of ‘God of Grace and God of Glory’ by Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969))

• “The Freedom Within”
By Kenneth Patton. 
Songs and Services for the Celebration of Life/82-83

A man once lived who changed his mind about the world.

He made a new set of answers about the heavens.
He changed the location and the significance of mankind in the scheme of things.
His mind was his free world, where he lived unmolested with his new answer’s.
He lived in a new world, while all of his fellows lived in the old world still.
He was not only wise; he was cagey.
He knew that the world of religion and politics was not as free
        as the world he maintained in his head.
He knew that his own mind was a roomier, saner,
        more charitable world than human society.
So he kept his freedom and his answers to himself.

His theories were published as he lay dying,
        when the angry priests and their torturers could not get to him.
After all, why should he make himself the victim of other men’s stupidity and cruelty?
They raged against him, but he was safe within the fortress of the grave.
But while he lived, he maintained his freedom and chance
        to do his work by living within the fortress of his own mind.

Since there was no freedom outside, he kept to his freedom within.

His name was Copernicus.
We named the universe after him.

OR

• Psalm 150
By Francis Macnab. A Fine Wind is Blowing/54.

Consider the wonder of the ocean, the heavens, the mountains and the wind.
Consider the mystery of the greatest joy and the strength of the best care.
And consider the source of all these gifts - the God we try to know, but can never really know.

Gather therefore in the sanctuary,
bring together all the positive feelings you can muster,
all your best affirmations and express them all to him.

Get hold of every instrument you can find -
the trumpets, the lute, the harp,
strings and flutes, cymbals and drums.
Bring them all to life - so that
they will in one massive and marvellous sound say YES,
to the God beyond us.

Let everyone who can dance, dance with gladness.
Let all who can sing, sing aloud.
Let everything that has breath pour out
their hope and their happiness,
their gratitude and generosity.

Put of the depths of our experience
we celebrate the mystery of God's healing presence.

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
We Are An Easter People” 
(Tune: ‘Alive')                                                                    146 AA
We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
the yeast is rising in our hearts,
our wine has vintage taste.
Refrain:
Christ is risen,
Christ is risen,
risen in our lives.

We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our tears are freed to flow and heal
our shattered hopes and hearts.
Refrain:

We are an Easter people,
ours is an Easter faith,
our fears have died, we rise to dream,
to love, to dance, to live. 
(William L Wallace)
Refrain:

• John 20:19-27 (Inclusive Text)

In the evening on that same day, the first day of the week,
the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were,
for fear of the people.

Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,
‘Peace be with you,’
and showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw The Risen One,
who said to them again,
‘Peace be with you. As God sent me, so I am sending you.’

After saying this Jesus breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven.
For those whose  sins you retain, they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.

When the disciples said,’We have seen the Risen One’,
Thomas answered,
‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands
and can put my finger into the holes they made,
and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’

Eight days later the disciples were in the house again
and Thomas was with them.

The doors were closed, but Jesus came in
and stood among them and said,
‘Peace be with you.’

Then speaking to Thomas,
‘Thomas, put your finger here; look, here are my hands.
Give me your hand; put it into my side.
Doubt no longer but believe.”

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

All  With faith to face our challenges,
With love that casts out fear,
With hope to trust tomorrow,
We accept this day as the gift it is:
a reason for rejoicing.  
(Gary Kowalski)

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
"Climate is Warming"  (Tune: 'The Ash Grove", 12.11.12.11D)                                          44 SNS2
As climate is warming
Will bees keep on swarming
If we just continue to damage the earth?
Will birds and sea-creatures
With beautiful features
Forever be lost by denying their worth?
Will trees and each flower
Succumb to the power
Of poisons and toxins we put in the air?
As ice-caps diminish,
A sign of the finish,
We must meet this crisis and show that we care.

If we start to measure
Some things that we treasure
It may cause us anguish to let these things go;
For comfort and leisure,
Our life-style and pleasure,
We claim we have earned and don't wish to forgo;
But we can all ponder
And face what we squander,
Then start to make change in the way that we live;
We can curb excesses;
Each harms and oppresses
The poor and the weak; we take what they don't give.

To greenhouse emissions
We make our additions
And by them we foster some possible gloom,
But with perseverance
We can make a diff’rence;
We can work to limit the fuel we consume,
We'll tell each law-maker
That every green acre
Is ours to look after and not to destroy,
God's bounty possessing;
We're stewards of blessing;
We meet our commitment with challenging joy.

With nature so fragile,
Yet dazzling and fertile,
We ponder its beauty, its charm and its grace;
Evolving triumphant
With life so abundant,
Confounded we are with so much to embrace.
Yet these green-house gases
Pollute in their masses;
We need to decrease them; we know that we should!
When nature is bleeding
We hear urgent pleading
To change our behaviour; we know how we could!

If we stop this warming
Then bees will keep swarming
And sweetness of honey remains for our taste.
Then birds and sea creatures
And hills and sea beaches