Pent21C.Flower.3.11.2019

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  rexae@optusnet.com.au
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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
3 November 2019. Pentecost 21C. (Green).
Flower Sunday
Celebrating Solidarity: Flower Communion

Worth Pondering
“Because the relationship between self and world is reciprocal,
it is not a question of first getting enlightened
or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth,
the earth heals us”
(Robin Wall Kimmerer)

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, and emerging leaders,
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


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

We gather here
to wonder at the mystery that gave us birth;
to find courage for life’s journey;
and to listen for the wisdom that guides us
in the quietness of this moment.  Gary Kowalski

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

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/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Noble, Yet Mystical Ground…” (Tune: ‘Was Lebet’, 11.10.11.10D)                                    115 WNC
Noble, yet mystical, ground of creation,
star-fire and sun shower, and darkness and dreams;
all that through senses draws forth adoration,
God, we would worship, the love that redeems.

Human, yet awesome, the Christ, our relation,
offers a spirit: we learn to forgive.
Conquering our will this divine annexation
offers a way for us simply to live.

Spirit of living gives hope for our dying,
something transcending this life and its frame,
onward and upward in faith we are flying,
goal of existence, your love is our aim. (Andrew Pratt)

OR

"God Has Called Us" (Tune: ‘Duke Street’. 88.88)
God, you have called us to this hour:
now two or three or many claim
the promised gift of living power,
as your church meets in Jesus' name.

Open our minds and set us free
from spite and hurt, that we may face
the dread responsibility
of your church, meeting in this place.

Encouraged by the risk you take
in trusting us to do your will,
we dare to offer, for your sake,
all this church gath'ring can fulfil.  Janet Wootton. © Stainer & Bell Ltd
Remain standing (Title & last line adapted/ RAEHunt)

Opening Sentences
Spirit of God brooding over
the waters of our chaos,
All  
inspire us to generous living.

Wind of God dancing over
the desert of our reluctance,
All  
lead us to the oasis of celebration.

Breath of God inspiring
communication among strangers,
All  make us channels of your peace.  (Kate McIlhagga/cw)

Act of Awareness
In the seed is the flower,
In the weed and the apple tree,
In the chrysalis hides a promise
Of life that soon will be free.

In the deadly cold of winter storms
Waits the spring for you and me,
In the silence is the song
In which dreams come alive.  (Robert Hasley/vv)

OR

We pray:
Loving God, we gather in this place,
coming from our varied concerns and competing views,
yet seeking our common humanity.

May our eyes be opened,
May our hearts be touched,
May our wills be empowered... now.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  In A Grain…” (Music: D A Barker)                                              8 TEN
In a grain behold the planet.
In a tear drop taste the sea.
Look within and there discover
depthless soul, infinity.
Sound a note of deepest longing:
hope within for all without.
In the stillness, hear a roaring.
Silence bears a joyful shout.

In the chaos find an order.
Will it with a keening mind.
Fill the cosmos with high meaning.
Render holy all you find.
Paint the universe with colour.
Daub it with a passion true.
You the brush, your heart the palette,
you the ever-loving hue.

In the warm dark earth beneath us,
In the flower’s brief unfolding,
There, the universe’s life.
Dance your footfalls to the rhythm
of the planet’s beating heart.
Tumble breathless at its ending,
which was known before its start.

In the whirlwind find a centre.
Keep the howling at the door.
How the rantings sound poetic!
Madness is creation’s womb.
Jot your words within the notebook
of the planet’s beating heart.
With the dot of your last sentence,
offer up your wisdom’s store.  (D A Barker. Additional words: RAEHunt)

OR

"Wake, Now My Senses" (Tune: ‘Slane', 10.10.10.10)                                              298 SLT
Wake, now my senses, and hear the earth call;
feel the deep power of being in all;
keep, with the web of creation your vow,
giving, receiving as love shows us how.

Wake, now my reason, reach out to the new,
join with each pilgrim who quests for the true;
honour the beauty and wisdom of time;
suffer your limit, and praise the sublime.

Wake, now compassion, give heed to the cry;
voices of suffering fill the wide sky;
take as your neighbour both stranger and friend,
praying and striving their hardship to end.

Wake, now my conscience, with justice your guide;
join with all people whose rights are denied;
take not for granted a privileged place;
God's love embraces the whole human race.

Wake, now my vision of ministry clear;
brighten my pathway with radiance here;
mingle my calling with all who will share;
work toward a planet transformed by our care. Thomas J S Mikelson
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.

Reflection
“Name Unnamed”
By Giles David. The Pattern of Our Days/109.

Name Unnamed,
whose intriguing presence
is closer to home
than we dare imagine,
fill us with wonder of you
that we may be filled with wonder of ourselves.

Name Unnamed,
whose creativity is a river running,
startle us with diversity
and surprise us with difference
that we may be filled with wonder of others.

Name Unnamed,
whose mystery and concern is
revealed in Jesus
reshape our perceptions,
reshape our patterns of living,
reshape our politics and prayer
that we may be filled with wonder of a world made whole.

Music of Reflection

Centering Silence
Amid all the noise in our lives,
we take this moment to sit in silence:
to give thanks for another day;
to give thanks for the gift of life.
(Silence)

And let us open ourselves to the process of becoming more whole: 
of living more fully; 
of understanding more completely 
the meaning of our lives here on this earth.  (Adapt.Tom Haley)
(Silence)

EXPLORING

Reading from our broad Religious Tradition
Reader:  May we open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom
that lies dormant in this reading.
All   
And may our minds be fertile soil
in which it may grow strong and true. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

From a Mystic:
“Song of the Flower”
By Khalil Gibran

I am a kind word uttered and repeated 
By the voice of Nature; 
I am a star fallen from the 
Blue tent upon the green carpet. 
I am the daughter of the elements 
With whom Winter conceived; 
To whom Spring gave birth; I was 
Reared in the lap of Summer and I 
Slept in the bed of Autumn. 

At dawn I unite with the breeze 
To announce the coming of light; 
At eventide I join the birds 
In bidding the light farewell. 

The plains are decorated with 
My beautiful colors, and the air 
Is scented with my fragrance. 

As I embrace Slumber the eyes of 
Night watch over me, and as I 
Awaken I stare at the sun, which is 
The only eye of the day. 

I drink dew for wine, and hearken to 
The voices of the birds, and dance 
To the rhythmic swaying of the grass. 

I am the lover's gift; I am the wedding wreath; 
I am the memory of a moment of happiness; 
I am the last gift of the living to the dead; 
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow. 

But I look up high to see only the light, 
And never look down to see my shadow. 
This is wisdom which man must learn. 

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 19:1-10  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town
when a wealthy person whose name was Zacchaeus appeared.
          Zacchaeus was one of the senior toll collectors.

Zacchaeus was anxious to see what Jesus was like,
but was too short and could not see Jesus for the crowd;
so Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree
to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way.

When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke:
'Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.'

And Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed Jesus joyfully.

They all complained when they saw what was happening.
'He has gone to stay at a sinner's house,' they said.

But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to Jesus,
'Look, I am going to give half my property to the poor,
and if I have cheated anybody
I will pay back four times the amount.' 

And Jesus said to Zacchaeus,
'Today, salvation has come to this house,
because you too are a descendant of Abraham;
for the Promised One has come to seek out and save what was lost.'

(For those interested…
You can purchase a copy of the Inclusive Texts/Readings (AU$50) from:
Inclusive Language Project
PO Box 1303
Toombul QLD 4012 Australia)

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

CELEBRATING

Litany: We Believe in a Sacred Power... (Optional)
The people stand as they are able

v1  We believe in a sacred power within and around us.
A divine spirit that we call by many names
and experience in many ways,
that empowers and heals,
that calls us forth.

All  We believe in our creativity.
v2  Making and transforming beauty
out of words and notes,
images and colours,
lines and pictures
… and silence.

All  We believe in doing justice.
v1  Justice that compels and empowers us
to risk whatever we must risk
to create a climate
in which all people can be who they are.

All  We believe in our dreams.
v2  We experience the world as it is,
in both its ugliness and beauty,
and we see what it can become.

All  We believe in making peace.
v1  A peace that is based on openness,
honesty and compassion.

All  We believe in hope.
v2  We expect change to continue to occur in our world.
We rely on our courage to continue
to bring about these changes.

All  We believe in love.
v1  A passionate love within and around us
that laughs and cries,
challenges and comforts,
a healing love that perseveres.

All  We believe in potential.
v2  We know who we are,
painful as that can be at times,
yet we continue to call each other
to become more of who we are.

All  We believe in celebrating.
v1  We remember and we commemorate.
We create rituals.
We play and dance,
and sing and love well.

All  We believe in our diversity.
v2  We affirm our many shapes and sizes,
colours and traditions,
emotions and thoughts,
differences and similarities.

All  We believe in life.
v1  Life that wells up within
and flows out of us
like a streaming fountain.
All  
We believe we are good and holy,
a sacred part of all creation. Susan Kramer/cl

Sharing 'The Peace
This is a house of God.  A place of peace.
A place where we befriend one another. (RMitchell/bb)
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace
and of our shared friendship.

The peace of God is here... to stay (Iona).
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Oh, Give us Pleasure in the Flowers (Tune: ‘Coolinge’, 10.10.10.10)                       64 SLT
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
and give us not to think so far away
as the uncertain harvest; keep us here
all simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white
like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
and make us happy in the happy bees,
the swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
that suddenly above the bees is heard,
the meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
and off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
the which it is reserved for God above
to sanctify to what far ends he will,
but which it only needs that we fulfilled.  (Robert Frost, 1875-1963)

OR

I Will Talk To My Heart (Tune: ‘Stillness’, Barry Brinson)                                     69 HoS
I will talk to my heart in the stillness,
I will talk to my heart when I pray,
I will let go of all my resentment
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:
Trust the stillness,
trust the oneness,
trust the Way on inner prayer;
trust the stillness
trust the oneness,
trust the life of God we share.

I will watch all my thoughts in the stillness
I will watch all my thoughts when I pray,
I will watch all the stream of my thinking
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:

I will dwell in the space of my oneness,
I will dwell in that space when I pray,
I will let go of all my divisions
till compassion is my inner Way.
Refrain:  (William L Wallace)

AFFIRMING

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)

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 the light and beauty of day
All  
We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night
All  We dream of healing and hope.  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take a 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 us,
and to see the 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 that is appropriate

All  Life-Giver, Pain-Bearer, Love-Maker.
Source of all that is and that shall be.

Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed
by all peoples of the world!

Your heavenly will be done
by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever.  Amen. (UIW2)

CELEBRATING

CELEBRATING SOLIDARITY: FLOWER COMMUNION
The Flower Communion service had its origins in 1923 when Dr Norbert Capek, a former Baptist and founder of the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia, introduced it to his congregation.  This liturgy is shaped by sections of two similar modern liturgies, written by Dr David Bumbaugh.

Welcome to Table
v1  Enter into this sacred time.
Enter with joyful hearts.
Enter with reverent thoughts.

v2  It has taken long months beneath cold ground
for flowers to prepare their blooming.
It has taken each of us long times of growth,
through sorrow and joy,
to prepare for our living now.

v1  The blooming season is short.
Flowers stay only a brief time.
We are travellers upon the earth:
travellers through all too brief life times.

v2  Therefore let our moments together be bountiful.
And let us rejoice in our unique colours, aromas, and sounds. 
(Elizabeth Strong/adapted)

Offerings

Presentation
The landscape of life is full of the presentness of Creativity God:
a daffodil in bloom,
a single green leaf,
the red and green flash of a parrot.

May we too be a people of adventure and life,
grace-filled companions, offering
courage and hope in unexpected places.

Thanksgiving
Have you considered the flowers, the lilies of the fields?
All  They spin not, neither do they sew,
yet Solomon, in all his glory
Al  
was not arrayed as one of these.

Say what you will about the economy of life,
flowers are irrefutable proof
of nature’s extravagance.

Flowers do not bloom for us.
They do not care whether or not we see them.
They grow and bloom because they are full of life.
They are a gift of grace.
They invite us to seek the beauty in each moment.
They encourage us to find fulfilment in life and the living of it.

As you came into this sacred place this morning,
you brought with you a flower,
from your yard,
from along your street,
from a florist,
from your neighbour’s flower bed,
from the basket in the entrance.

From many different sources
these many different flowers have come.

Together on this table they symbolise the extravagance of nature,
for as various as these flowers are,
they do not begin to exhaust
nature's inventiveness
in creating forms
and colours
and beauty.

And what nature has done for flowers,
nature has done for us.

Bread and Wine
v1  In all the colours and scents and tastes and sounds
of the world, we see the beauty of the universe.
v2  In this season of spring it is fitting we should celebrate
the renewal of life and hope using
the symbols of bread and wine and flowers.

Time out of mind we have watched grain buried in the dark soil.
Time out of mind we have watched sprouting seeds
break through the soil, reaching towards the warm sun.
Time out of mind we have watched grain broken,
ground into dust-like flour.

Yet mixed with water and leavening,
it stirs, rises, becomes bread,
the sustainer of our lives.

For longer than we can remember
the fruit of the vine has been our companion.
It’s clustered fruit is harvested and crushed,
and juice is stored and fermented
saved for festive occasions.

We have shared the fruit of the vine
in moments of joy and sorrow,
and to mark momentous turnings.  (David Bumbaugh/hc)

OR

Bread and Wine
Bread is broken

We break this bread in celebration of the great truth
that on this tiny planet, hurtling through cold, empty space,
death is made the servant of life,
and out of death, life is forever resurrected.

Wine poured out
This cup with its fruit of the vine,
is a celebration that things are not always as they seem:
that out of faithfulness and steadfastness,
out of suffering and sorrow,
may come unsought blessings.

Communion
Remembering the tradition surrounding Jesus…
we break this bread and fill this cup with wine.
Bread broken. Wine poured out

We give thanks
All  
And seek to live in harmony with all about us.
We give thanks
All  And take our place in the human story,
struggling for the unity of humankind.
We give thanks
All  
And join with all in a quest for justice.
We give thanks
All  
For all that Jesus, human like us, means to us.
Bread and Wine served

After Communion
And now we prepare to leave this place.
As you do, you are invited to take one of the flowers.
Take a different one than the flower you brought.
Take it not to keep forever and forever.
Nothing is forever.

Take a flower as a symbol of gratitude
for beauty we did not create,
for joys which come when unexpected.

Take a flower as a symbol of your participation
in the community of this congregation,
in the community of human kind,
in the community of all living things,
in the universal community.

Take a flower as a symbol that beauty
and grace
and joy
and love
are not matters of reciprocity.

In this world we cannot earn or deserve
that which is most important.
It comes to us as a gift.  (David Bumbaugh/hc)

PARTING

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Spring Has Now…(Tune: ‘Blackburn’, 76.76D)                                                   63(v1) SLT
Spring has now unwrapped the flowers,
day is fast reviving,
life in all her growing powers
toward the light is striving.
Gone the iron touch of cold,
winter time and frost time,
seedlings working through the mold
now make up for lost time.

OR

Come, Teach Us, Spirit of God(Tune: ‘Educate’)                                        11(v1-3) FFS
Come, teach us, Spirit of God,
the language of your way,
the lessons that we need to live,
the faith for every day.

Excite our minds to follow you,
to trace new truths in store,
new flight paths for our spirit space,
new marvels to explore.

Engage our wits to dance with you,
to leap from logic’s base,
to capture insight on the wing,
to sense your cosmic grace.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.

So go and travel with the God who is found
in ordinary and surprising places.
The Community Candle is extinguished

Go out and live as citizens of God’s realm.
All  
Into God’s hands, we commit our spirits.

You are a chosen people.
Through you, the family of faith may grow.
All  
Others will know they are God’s own through us.

Be empowered as you tell
of the wonderful deeds of God in your life.
All  
We will share the love
we have received, with others.

Words of Blessing
God’s blessing be yours and well may it keep you.
Christ’s blessing be yours and well may it heal you.
Spirit’s blessing be yours and well may it warm you.
Now and ever more.
All  Amen! May it be so! (Adapt/ Celtic blessing)

Hymn/Song  (Cont) Spring Has Now…(Tune: ‘Blackburn’, 76.76D)                          63(v2) SLT
Herb and plant that, winter long,
slumbered at their leisure,
now be stirring green and strong,
find in growth their pleasure.
All the world with beauty fills,
gold and green enhancing;
flowers make glee among the hills,
set the meadows dancing
. (Piae Cantiones, 1582)

OR

Come, Teach Us, Spirit of God(Tune: ‘Educare’)                                                      11(v4-5) FFS
Inspire our spark to light from you,
to catch creation’s flair,
new artistry to celebrate,
new harmonies to dare.

Delight our hearts to worship you,
to learn compassion’s code,
to live in context of your love,
great teacher who is God.  
(Shirley Erena Murray)
The people sit after the hymn

'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

I recommend the use of
LicenSing - Copyright cleared music for churches


Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
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.
Duncan, G. (ed). Courage To Love. An Anthology of Inclusive Worship Material. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2002.
(FFS)
Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Galloway, K. (ed).
The Pattern of Our Days. Liturgies and Resources for Worship. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 1996.
Halsey, R.
Voices from the Void. Singapore: Trafford Publishing, 2012.
(HoS)
Hope is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. 2009. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Mitchell, R. C. & G. A. Ricciuti.
Birthings and Blessings. Liberating Worship Services for the Inclusive Church. New York. Crossroads, 1992.
(WNC) Pratt, A.
Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2002.
Seaburg, C. (ed).
The Communion Book. Boston. UUMA, 1993.
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Uniting in Worship 2. Sydney. Uniting Church Press, 2005.
Vosper, G.
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Vosper, G.
With or Without God. Why the Way we Live is more Important than What we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, & J Morley. (ed).
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

Web sites/Other:
Kowalski, Haley. UUA Worship Web. Boston. UUA. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
J Wooton. "God Has Called Us". Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site:
hymns.uk.com
(TEN) 
Barker, David A. Ten! New Songs for a New World. Canada: From the author, 2008. 

rexae74@gmail.com