Creation5.Pent16C.29.9.2019

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
29 September 2019. Creation5.Pentecost 16C. (Green).
Climate Sunday

Worth Pondering
“The natural world can offer us more than the means to survive, on the one hand,
or mortal risks to be avoided, on the other: it can offer us joy”
(Michael McCarthy)

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.

(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/Slides 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Entry into the Celebration
v2  Fountain of life…
Pulse of life…Breath of life…
All  
Earth is filled with the presentness of God.

v1  Holy! Holy! Holy!
The cosmos is filled with the presentness of God.
All  
Holy! Holy! Holy!
Earth is filled with the presentness of God.
v2  Together this day, let us sense
the face of God in all creativity.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community candle is lit

This flame is warm as the companionship of friends is warm.
Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

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) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism
HERE

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Climate is Warming” (Tune: ‘The Ash Grove’, 12.11.12.11D)                                 44(v1-3) 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
Will stay in their magic, unharmed by our waste.
The charm every hour
Of trees and each flower
Will bring us to silence in wonder and awe.
With God so surrounding
In beauty astounding
We kneel in God's presence to praise and adore.  (George Stuart)

OR

The Changes” (Tune: ‘Christus Urunknak’, 11.11.11.5)                                            303 HCL
Bells in the high tower, Ringing o’er the white hills,
Mocking the winter, Singing like the spring rills;
Bells in the high tower, In the cold fore-telling.
The spring’s up-welling.

Bells in the old tower, Like the summer chatter
From darting bright birds, As the grapes turn redder;
Bells in the old tower, Now the wine is brimming,
New life beginning.

Bells in the stone tower, Echoing the soft sound
Of autumn’s mill wheel, As the wheat is spun round;
Bells in the stone tower, See, the bread is yeasting
For time of feasting.

Bells in the cold tower, ‘Midst the snow of winter
Sound out the spring song, That all may remember;
Bells in the cold tower, After the long snowing
Come months of growing.   (Howard Box)
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
The Spirit of God has hovered over the waters…

We invite the weather to gather with us,
All  thunderstorms and wild lightning,
rain clouds and soft summer skies.

We invite the ocean currents to praise Creativity God,
All  deep currents that circle in the Pacific Ocean,
swirling waters that warm the Atlantic.

We join with the movements of Earth in celebration,
All  rotations that create atmospheric movement,
weather cycles moving Westward from dawn to dusk.

We call the ecosystems of nature to celebrate with us,
All  connecting us with diverse climates
that nourish and sustain all life on Earth.

We celebrate the songs of our climate!
All  Sing! Climate! Sing!
(Silence)

Act of Awareness
How did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
all its beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its Being.
Otherwise, we all remain
too frightened.  (Hafiz'/ifl)

OR

We pray:
Holy One of many names,
whose presence we most often recognise only in retrospect,
bless us this day.
May it be so.

Hymn  "Cosmic Wisdom  (Tune: Praise My Soul’)                             16HH3
Wisdom has a secret message:
Do you know where I am found?
Can you find the deepest myst’ry
In the sky or underground?
Listen to the voice of Wisdom
Calling us to find her place.

Wisdom is the primal blueprint,
There before the world began,
Chosen by a cool Creator
To design the cosmic plan.
Listen to the voice of Wisdom
Call before the first Big Bang.

Wisdom is a silent impulse
Hidden deep in nature’s law,
Guiding wind and cloud and weather
Making ripples on the shore.
Listen to the voice of Wisdom
Calling us to feel her pulse.

Wisdom fills the world with wonder,
Time and space with wild surprise,
Guiding gentle genes through hist’ry,
Spinning stars across the skies.
Listen to the voice of Wisdom.
In and under ev’rything.

I am Wisdom, I am wonder,
I was at creation’s birth.
Now I’m calling you to listen
To the cries of Baby Earth.
Listen to the voice of Wisdom,
Mid-wife of our precious Earth.  (Norman Habel, 2014)
The people sit after the hymn

Welcome   In your own words
A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are worshipping 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 worship.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

Remembering
Today we conclude our celebrations around Spring and the Season of Creation…

As you arrived you were given a map of our country and our region on the map.
In so doing we recognise the climate of our place
and recall how climate has been a crucial part of our lives.

Take your map and share with the person next to you
a special memory of a climate pattern or climate extreme that stirs you.
Conversation

We remember the weather cycles of our youth, 
the fierce storms of Winter and vibrant colors of Spring
the hot winds of Summer and peaceful skies of Autumn.

We remember and rejoice,
aware of the wisdom of God in nature
that balances our climate and sustains our planet.
All  We give thanks for the wonders of the weather,
the cycles of nature that sustain us
and the mysteries of the climate that surround us.

Meditative Silence
How good it is to be alive!

Yes, we feel the beat of our own hearts,
the pulsing of life in our veins,
the rhythm of our breathing.

We come into the silence of this time with gratitude for this day.
(Silence)

We come with our needs.
And we come because we have gifts to share.

In our coming and in our going
may we be strengthened
in our bonds of love and peace.
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
A story from our broad religious tradition shall be read by (NN).

Reader:  Until we can 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 this day. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

From the World Around us:
“When I Am Among the Trees”
By Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees, 
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 16:19-31 (Inclusive Text)

Jesus told the following story:
'There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen
and feast magnificently every day.

And at the gate there lay a beggar called Lazarus,
covered with sores, who longed to fill himself
with the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. 

Dogs even came and licked his sores.

Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels
to be in the company of Sarah and Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried.

In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Sarah and Abraham a long way off
and Lazarus resting in their company.
So the rich man cried out,
"Sarah and Abraham, pity me
and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am in agony in these flames." 

"My child," they replied, "remember that during your life
good things came your way,
just as bad things came the way of Lazarus.

“Now Lazarus is being comforted here
while you are in agony.  But that is not all:
between us and you a great gulf has been fixed,
to stop anyone wanting to, crossing from our side
to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours."

The rich man replied,
"I beg you then to send Lazarus to my family house,
since I have five brothers, to give them warning
so they do not come to this place of torment too."

"They have Moses and the prophets," they replied,
"let them listen to them."

"Ah, no, Sarah and Abraham," said the rich man,
"but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent."

Then they answered,
"If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets,
they will not be convinced even if someone
should rise from the dead.

OR

Season of Creation5 Gospel: 
Matthew 16:1-4  (A New New Testament)

The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and, to test Jesus, requested him
to show them some sign from the heavens.
But he answered: “In the evening you say,‘It will be fine weather, for the sky is as red as fire?
But in the morning you say, “Today it will be stormy, for the sky is as red as fire and threatening’
You learn to read the sky; yet you are unable to read the signs of the times!

A wicked and unfaithful generation is asking for a sign, but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah.’ 

So he left them and went away.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and join together in a celebration of faith.
The people stand a they are able

We are a cloth of diverse colours
made from many gifts and graces.
All  We are the people flowing forth from Creator God,
surprising ourselves with the things which can be done.

We are raw material for rewarding reltionships
as our lives interweave,
All  contributing one to the other,
holding each other firm
when one is weak or breaking.

We are each worthy of being respected and cared for
All  essential to the pattern, skilled in our appointed tasks,
sources of laughter and sharers of tears.

We commit ourselves to work together,
All  that one day, this world may be a place
where all people live in justice, freedom and peace.  (Adapt.Dorothy McRae-McMahon/bst)

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.

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"How Can We Confine?" (Tune: 'Wentworth', 55.55)                                         69 WNC
How can we confine
God within our mind,
held within a creed,
humanly designed.

How can we be sure
that the way we know
is the only path
that this God might show?

Surely such a joy
cannot be contained
by a simple plan,
humanly explained.

People of all faiths
let us all conspire;
source and ground of life
answer our desire.

As we long to know
answers to our plight,
take us, lead our quest,
dancing to the light. (Andrew Pratt)

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)

Offerings

Presentation
Source of all our best imagination,
may we be infused with that energy and desire
to step beyond our safe boundaries and zones of comfort,
to see new possibilities, and
to have the courage to pursue them.  (Francis Macnab/fwb)

Reflections and Prayers
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 joy and in sorrow
All  We do not walk alone.  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

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 the new possibilities of the now.
The Care Candle is lit

The 'Abba' Prayer:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All  Most compassionate Life-giver,
may we honour and praise you: 
may we work with you to establish
your new order of justice, peace and love.

Give us what we need for growth,
and help us, through forgiving others,
to accept forgiveness.
Strengthen us in the time of testing,
that we may resist all evil.

For all the tenderness, strength and love are yours,
now and forever.  Amen.  (William L Wallace)

PARTING

Hymn   The people stand as they are able, to sing
"God Given Energy, Flaring and Fiery"  (Tune: ‘Spean’, 11.10.11.10)
God given energy, flaring and fiery,
stella collisions of fury and pace;
shafts of the light from the cosmic conception
searing to earth from infinity's space.

Stars from eternity, driven by forces
formed at the birthing of matter and time;
mystical sinews restraining the planets,
elegant science and God's hidden rhyme;
Remain standing

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

With faith in the creative powers of life,
With hope for the future of life in this world,
With love for all others who share this life with us,
Let us go forward together in peace.
All  This celebration in this sacred space has ended.
Let our service begin.

Words of Blessing
Go in peace, embraced by the light and warmth of our gathering.
Go in love, ready again to struggle on.
Go in beauty, shining forth like a lamp for freedom.  SLammert 
All  
May it be so. Amen!

Hymn (Cont) "God Given Energy, Flaring and Fiery"  (Tune: ‘Spean’, 11.10.11.10)
These are the visions of wonder and rapture,
signs of significance, pointers to place,
drawing us out from our narrow discernment,