Pentecost20C.2.10.2016

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
2 October 2016. Pentecost 20C. (Green).
Celebrating Community: The Jesus Banquet

Pet Sunday

Worth Pondering
“If we can go to special places, built by humans, which are designated as sacred,
surely we can go to special places, shaped naturally, which are recognized as sacred… 
There is a strong monotheistic tradition of cutting down the sacred groves.
What we need is to realise that to have a sense of sacred place is not tree worship… but
is rather the acknowledgement of the awesome,
and the overriding and the overwhelming”
(Jerome Stone)

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 or 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

Jesus calls us to an inclusive community.
Yet he promises no greatness and no soft beds.
He calls us only to follow.

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 The people stand as they are able, to sing
"
Dreaming of a New Faith"  (Tune: 'Mainzer’ 88.88)                               33 SNS2
We seek a faith community,
One which promotes inquiry,
And which eschews rigidity,
Yet opens to the mystery.

For God cannot be held inside
The thoughts and words that we provide;
Nor in our creeds which can divide;
Nor dogma that is glorified.

But dreams can challenge and correct;
Can prompt us question and reflect;
And with sincerity, to respect
The other faiths which some reject.

Our common dreams can be the seeds
Growing new truths a new age needs;
Our dreams can quash divisive creeds
From which exclusiveness proceeds.

Our common dreams can then ignite
Flames which can burn with wisdom's light;
And then responding with delight
Uncover more divine insight.  (George Stuart)

Remain standing

Opening Sentences
As surely as we belong to the universe
, we belong together.

All 
We gather here to transcend the isolated self.
To reconnect,
To know ourselves to be at home,
Here on earth, under the stars,
Linked with each other. 
(Margaret A Keip)

Act of Awareness
We are part of all that sustains or destroys life.
Creation and destruction occur in continually unfolding ways.
And so may we open our ears to the continually unfolding Word.

Life speaks to us in new and vital and imperative ways.
With all the power we have been given,
let us be silent and open to listening…
for nourishment,
for comfort,
for challenge and new focus.  (St Stephen’s Project).

OR

We pray:
God, source of life, may we be blessed with your presentness.

Each day may we be transformed so we become
more human, more friendly
towards our neighbour and all of creation.
May it be so.

Hymn  Maker of Mystery” (Tune: By Colin Gibson)                                   47 FFS
Maker of mystery,
dreamer of what will be,
well-spring and fertile ground of all our growing:
tending the buried seed,
foreseeing every need,
you draw us into life beyond our knowing.

Christ, strong and living vine,
spreading through space and time,
deep rooted in the love of God our mother:
dying, you live and share
your strength with us, to bear
ripe fruit in season for the life of others.

Wild Spirit, springing green,
coiled in the depths unseen,
promise of fruit within the seed maturing:
new life, you grow and swell,
burst from the outgrown shell,
hundredfold yield in every age ensuring.

Living and loving God,
sing in the pulse of our blood,
help us to know you in your own creation,
love you, the life of all,
serve you and hear your call
from our first forming to our full salvation.  
Marnie Barrell

OR

"Spring Has Now Unwrapped..." (Tune: 'Blackburn', 76.76D)                              63 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.

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)
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.

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)

Reflection
“Robust Spirit”
By Bruce Prewer.
More Australian Prayers/53

O robust Spirit!
Enemy of sentimental delusions!

Come with your cyclonic love
and blow away our tents,
so that we may once more
look upon the midnight stars
and shiver with wonder
at your love for us
who love each other selectively
and worship you but fitfully.

O robust Spirit!
Friend of pilgrims and cross-bearers!
Toughen us for the journey
that awaits the pure in heart.

Music of Celebration

Centering Silence
Let us gather together in the silence of this place,
which now we make holy
by our every act of worship.  Bob Holmes/adapted
(Silence)

EXPLORING

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

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 the World Around us:
“The Longing of Nature”
John O’Donohue. Eternal Echoes/14-15.

Celtic spirituality reminds us that we do not live simply in the thoughts, feelings or relationships.
We belong on the earth.
The rhythm of the clay and its seasons sings within our hearts.
The sun warms the clay and fosters life.
The moon blesses the night.
In the uncluttered world of Celtic spirituality there is a clear view of the sacrament of nature as it brings forth visible presence.
The Celts worshipped in groves in nature and attended to the silent divinity of wild places.
Certain wells, trees, animals and birds were sacred to them. 

Where and what a people worship always offers a clue to where they understand the source of life to be.
Most of our experience of religion happens within the walled frame of church or temple.
Our God is approached through thought. word and ritual.

The Celts had no walls around their worship.
Being in nature was already to be in the Divine Presence.
Nature was the theatre of the diverse drama trudges of the Divine Imagination.
This freedom id beautifully echoed in the lyric poem: 
      Ah blackbird it is well for you,
      Wherever in the thicket you next,
      Hermit that sounds no bell,
      Sweet, soft fairylike is your note
. (Trans. Myles Dillion)

The contemplative presence of nature is not ostentatious or cluttered by thought.
Its majesty and elegance drift into voice in the single, subtle note of the blackbird.

Traditional Gospel:
Luke 17:5-10 (Inclusive Text)

The apostles said to Jesus, "Increase our faith.”
Jesus replied,
"Were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree,
'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

"Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep,
would say when the servant returned from the fields,
'Come and have your meal immediately'?

“Would you not be more likely to say,
'Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You can eat and drink yourself afterwards'?

“Must you be grateful to the servant for doing your bidding?
So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say,
'We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty."

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 as they are able

The people of God have a human face.
All  We laugh, we weep, we wait in hope.
We lift our eyes
All  
and stub our toes,
we love,
All  
and struggle,
we fail,
All  
we stand and always we stand on trembling ground.

But God is God
and Jesus is the Christ
and the Spirit will lift up our feet.
All  God is in the centre,
God is at our endings.
Nothing lies beyond the love of God in Christ.
  (Adapt.Pitt St. Uniting/eoj)

OR

CELEBRATION AND BLESSING OF PETS
Remembering
Every part of this earth is sacred.
All   Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, 
every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, 
and every humming insect is holy.

We are part of the earth and it is part of us.
All  The perfumed flowers are our sisters; 
the deer, the horse, the great eagle - these are our brothers
.

The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony,
humans - all belong to the same family.
All   This we know: the earth does not belong to humans; 
humans belong to the earth.

This we know: all things are connected like the blood which unites one family.
All   Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.

We did not weave the web of life; we are merely a strand in it.  
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All   What are humans without the beasts?

If all the beasts were gone, humans would die
from a great loneliness of spirit.
All   For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to humans.  
All things are connected
.
(Adapted from statements of Chief Sealth, better known as Chief Seattle, from a speech delivered in 1854.)

v1  Today we are surrounded by the animals we love.
We remember with gratitude the pets, protectors, and animal companions
who have blessed our lives.

We give thanks for our childhood pets,
who taught us to love and to cry. 

We give thanks for our children's pets,
who help us to teach them responsibility and relationship,
and we give thanks for the pets who brighten our days and comfort our nights.

v2  Today we are surrounded by the animals we love.
We acknowledge that many animals contribute to our lives.
We give thanks for all those animals who help us:
working animals who guard us and find our lost and guide the blind,
the animals who provide us food and clothing,
who tote our burdens and entertain us with their antics,
and for animals who give their lives to help us learn.

v1  But we also remember that many animals suffer.
We remember that some animals are hunted or deserted or tortured or hungry.
We remember that nature can be cruel and that people can be mean. 
(Silence)

So today we bless these animals…
Animals we love.
Animals who are the companions of our lives.
We pledge to care for them tenderly and faithfully,
and to remember that we are not alone on the earth.  (Adapt/Christine Robinson)

Circle of Blessing
Beginning with the back rows, please bring your companion animals to the front of the Gathering space, forming a circle.
After the Blessing, walk in a circle around the Gathering space before returning to your seat

[Pet’s name], may the Spirit of Life be with you and your human friends.
May you have a long life and a happy home.
Amen!  Shalom!  Salaam!  Peace! 

Thanksgiving
When all have returned to their seats

v1  Abundant Earth, mother of all that is natural,
mother of all that is human, for everything you freely give us,
All   We express our gratitude and dedicate ourselves 
to being faithful stewards of your abundance.

v2   For the air we breathe, and for all creatures of the air,
All   We give thanks, and pledge ourselves to preserve your purity.

v1  For the water we drink, and in which we bathe and swim,
and for all creatures of the oceans, lakes, rivers, and creeks,
All   We give thanks, and commit ourselves to keeping you clean and pure.

v2  For the soil we walk upon, for all life rooted in the soil,
for cultivated trees, wild trees, food plants,
flowers, grasses, and growing things of all kinds,
All   We express our gratitude and pledge ourselves to your preservation.

v1  For all the animals of the earth, for all creatures great and small,
All  We give thanks and pledge our loving protection.
v2  For all the great earth gives us, for all that graces and blesses our lives,
All  Let our words and our works express our gratitude and praise (Bruce A. Bode)

Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace be with you.
All And also with you.  (David Galston/q)
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
A Hymn of Exploration(Tune: ‘Northbrook’, 11.10.11.10)
We take the path that leads beyond this moment, 
while seeking all the hope faith has to give; 
we walk so near the edge of understanding,
while grasping what we need to know to live.

This is no abstract whim that we are tracing, 
this story of God’s free, creative grace; 
this is no empty, useless recitation, 
but God’s own love that nothing can erase.

The vision that you give, each new disclosure, 
will bring us closer to our common goal, 
the point where you assure us of salvation,
for us and every other living soul. © Andrew Pratt 23/6/2010

OR

The Lone, Wild Bird(Tune: ‘Prospect’, LM)                                       15 SLT
The lone, wild bird in lofty flight
is still with thee, nor leaves they sight.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great spirit come and rest in me.

The ends of earth are in thy hand,
the sea’s dark deep and far off land.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great spirit come and rest in me.  (H R MacFayden, 1877-1964)

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:
May we have courage in uncertain times,
All  Let it all happen.  No mood is final.