Lent1C.6.3.2022

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 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”

6  March 2022.  Lent 1. (Purple).
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, 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

Refreshment Station/Water Basins
Pottery basins are set on stands near the entrance to the Gathering space. 
Attendees are invited to dip their hands in the cool water in the basins as they arrive. 
Or to rinse each other’s hands. 
That we may relax, be refreshed, and prepare for this time together.

(Note: A small sign is placed above the basin explaining that as they dip their hands in the water, they are invited to relax and try to mindfully set aside or release for a time anything that might be preventing them from being fully present—each traveller rinsing the “dust from the road”).

OR

(A suggestion of other words)
We come together from our separate lives,
each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,
our hopes, and our dreams.

We are not yet fully present.
The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us.
Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.

It is now time to let go of these pressures
and really arrive…   

When you are ready, repeat silently to yourself: ‘Hineini’ or ‘Here I am’.
Hineini is used in the Torah to signify being present
in body, mind, and spirit.
It means settling into where we are and simply being “here”. (Adapted/Nan Fink Gene)

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

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning is a new arrival.  
(Rumi/lp).

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
A Community Candle is lit

We light our candle to illuminate the world we seek.
In the search for truth, may we be just.
In the search for justice, may we be loving.
And, in loving, may we find peace.
  EMcMaster

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
"We're Standing Here on Holy Ground" (Tune: 'Ellacombe(2)', 86.86D)
We're standing here on holy ground,
on land your hand has made;
Your art displayed in timeless rocks,
in purple haze and space;
Its mighty gums and feathery ferns
your beauty magnify.
Tread softly then, in awe reflect,
and listen to the land.

We're standing here on holy ground,
on land which ancients trod.
They wrote your law in hills and streams
in rocks and caves and trees;
A law to tell us who we are,
to guide and make us strong.
Tread gently then, respect the earth,
remember whence we've come.

We're standing here on holy ground,
on land that toil has shaped.
It's fertile plains will feed us all,
when tilled with care and love.
But mindless greed and drought and flood
wreak havoc in the land.
Then let us tread with love the earth,
that's fed us faithfully.

We're standing here on holy ground,
on land we long to share,
Where each has space and equity,
and neither want nor fear
But demons fierce are dancing here
of race and greed and hate.
Engrave upon our wills, we pray,
your ancient covenant law.

We're standing here on holy ground,
we seek your rule on earth;
Your will be done in politics,
in law court, market, church;
Your gentleness among us reign,
and each one dwell secure;
May generations yet unborn,
live here in harmony.   © John Brown. (Adapted - Verses 1-2, 4-6)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
In hope, in longing
All  
We're glad to come together.
In trust, in community
All  
We're glad to come together.
In many moods, in many shapes and sizes
All  
We're glad to come together in this Lenten season(Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Words of Awareness
The earth turning…
Exploding orb of helium and hydrogen,
firing our lives into existence.

We are here.
We mindfully take our places in life again.

OR

We pray:
Remind us, O Spirit, that life is worth living.
Remind us, O Creator, that the struggle for justice is worth undertaking.
Remind us, O Mercy, that love and action are one.
May it be so.  (Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer/wsj)

Hymn/Song   "Love Will be our Lenten Calling(Tune: 'Picardy', 87.87.87)                            684 TiS
Love will be our Lenten calling,
love to shake and shatter sin,
waking every closed, cold spirit,
stirring new life deep within,
till the quickened heart remembers
what our Easter birth can mean.

Peace will be our Lenten living
as we turn for home again,
longing for the words of pardon,
stripping off old grief and pain,
till we stand, restored and joyful,
with the Church on Easter day.

Truth will be our Lenten learning:
hear the Crucified One call!
Shadowed by the Saviour's passion,
images and idols fall,
and, in Easter's holy splendour,
God alone is all in all.  (Elizabeth Smith)
People sit after the hymn

OR

Creative Love(Tune: 'Truth from Above’, LM)                                                                     289 SLT

Creative love, our thanks we give

that this our world, is incomplete,
that struggle greets our will to live,
that work awaits our hands and feet.

That we are not yet fully wise,

that we are in the making still -

as friends who share one enterprise
and strive to blend with nature's will.

What though the future long delay,
and still with faults we daily cope?
It gives us that for which we pray,
a field for toil and faith and hope.

Since what we choose is what we are,

and what we love we yet shall be,

the goal may ever shine afar -

the will to reach it makes us free.  (Wde W Hyde)
People sit

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.

CENTERING

Presentation of Water Basins
Words which acknowledge that the dust of many roads and many life experiences has been rinsed into the basins, and calls for the contents of the basins and the gathering to be transformed, renewed, and more fully alive

The dust of many roads and may life experiences
has been washed in this refreshing water.
For this place is a sacred place.

May we
greet one another with open hearts and minds;
inspire each other to consider new questions
and seek deeper meaning;
and cultivate both wisdom and compassion.

And may this time together empower us to take some new steps
so all our living is transforming and the
yearning of our hearts become reality.
The bowls of water are removed from the Gathering space and placed on an outside garden

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.
(The charka is sounded)

Silence

Sung response:Bless the Lord my Soul” (2)                  706 TiS
Bless the Lord, my soul,
and bless God's holy name.
Bless the Lord,
my soul, who leads me into life.
(The charka is sounded)

Silence

In these brief moments of silence and meditation
may we find strength.

May our lives be rich in affection,
deep in understanding and
sympathy for each other.

Sung response:Bless the Lord my Soul” (7)

May the blessings of life be known to all.   (Bob Holmes/adapted)
(The charka is sounded) 

Silence 

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)

• “At the Margin
By Stephen M Shick. Consider the Lilies

At the margin of a newly cut field,
where every blade still stands secure,
where every bud is fearless now,
a lily
turns to the dawn
and opens.

Here, in the kingdom of the living,
danger has passed,
and clustered buds,
moist and swollen,
choose their day.

We too grow at the margins,
where our fear of cutting is faced,
where we accept our lowly place,
where we explode in the dawn,
with the brilliance
of a flower.

OR

• “For Waiting in the Wilderness
By Keri Wehlander. A World of Blessing/142

This is the wilderness time,
when every path is obscure
and thorns have grown around the words of hope.

Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.
This is the time of stone, not bread,
when even the sunrise feels uncertain
and everything tastes of bitterness.

Be the Wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.
This is the time of ashes and dust,
when darkness clothes our dreams
and no star shines a guiding light.

Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.
This is the time of treading life,
waiting for the swells to subside
and for the chaos to clear.

Be the wings of our strength, O God,
in this time of wilderness waiting.

• Luke 4: 1-13  (Inclusive Text)

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness,
being tempted there by the devil for 40 days.

During that time Jesus ate nothing and at the end was famished.

Then the devil said,
'If you are the One born of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.'

But Jesus replied,
'Scripture says: No one lives on bread alone.’

Then leading Jesus to a height,
the devil
showed him in a moment of time all the nations of the world and said,
'I will give you all this power and the glory of these for it has been committed to me,
and I give it to anyone I choose.

'Worship me, then, and it shall all be yours.'

But Jesus answered,
'Scripture says: you must worship your God, whom alone you must serve.'

Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple.
'If you are the One born of God', the devil said,
'throw yourself down from here,  for Scripture says,
"God will put angels in charge of you to guard you,"
and again,
"On their hands they will bear you up in case
you will hurt your foot against a stone".

But Jesus answered the devil,
'It has been said, "You must not put your God to the test".

Having exhausted all these ways of tempting Jesus,
the devil left to return at a more opportune time.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

Litany for Lent (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on
let us share together a litany celebrating Lent.
The people stand as they are able

O Sustainer and giver of life,
free your people from the temptations of power,
from the urge to control rather than enable.
All  Come, Spirit, liberate us from the forces of domination.

O Loving Empowerer,
help us to challenge abuse of authority wherever it is to be found,
including in ourselves.
All  Come, Spirit, give us strength not to walk by on the other side.

O Still Small Voice,
help the People of God to learn to listen to each other,
and those in authority to understand the strength
that comes from true consultation.
All  Come, Spirit of Understanding, deepen our insights.

O Loving Creativity,