TreesPent8C.31.7.2022

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”

31 July 2022. Pentecost 8C. (Green).
National Tree Day

Worth Pondering
“The desire for security can cause religious beliefs
to become oppressive, especially when they do not allow for
and encourage fresh, imaginative envisioning of a still better future”
(
Don Cupitt)

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/Video 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

v2  Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

v1  For gathering today in this sacred space, we light the flame. 
For the opportunity to be together as a community, 
to remember the past, 
to claim our future, 
to be alive in our present,
we light the flame.  (Adapt/DSorrells) 

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
xxx

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
A Firemist and a Planet(Tune: 'Aurelia', 76.76D)                                                        343 SLT
A firemist and a planet,
a crystal and a cell,
a starfish and a saurian,
and caves where ancients dwelt;
the sense of law and beauty,
a face turned from the sod
- some call it evolution,
and others call  it God.

Haze on the far horizon,
the infinite tender sky,
the ripe, rich tints of [wheat]fields,
and wild geese sailing high;
and over high and low-land,
the charm of golden rod
- some people call it autumn,
and others call it God.

Like tides on crescent sea-beach,
when moon's so new and thin,
into our hearts high yearnings
come welling, surging in,
come from the mystic ocean
whose rim not foot has trod
- some people call it longing,
and others call it God.

A sentry lone and frozen,
a mother starved for her brood,
and Socrates' dread hemlock,
and Jesus on the rood;
and millions, who, though nameless,
the straight, hard pathway trod,
- some call it consecration,
and others call it God. (William H Garruth)

Remain standing

Opening Sentences
God of all creation -
Be with each one of us,
All  
as growth, creativity and healing,
as light and wisdom.

Spirit of the living God -
Live within our community,
All  giving courage to dispel fear and resolve conflict,
giving fire to inflame with love.

Spirit of Peace -
Dwell with us so that we may
All  know your presence in silences and stillness,
know your vision for your people
(Margie Abbott/soc).

Words of Awareness
Inspired by the hands of hope
working, healing, holding, sustaining,
we gather this day to embrace
the task that is ours.

May our hearts be strong for the work we find.
May our minds be open to the challenges it will provide us.
May our bodies be ready when the call comes so that no one is ever left behind.

On this promise we stand
as those who see this world too clearly
and yet would see it
no other way (Gretta Vosper/wab)

OR

We pray:
God of the important and the common place,
you reach into our lives through story.

Open our hearts to be attentive:
that seeing, we may perceive,
and hearing, we may understand,
and understanding, we may act.
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn/Song   Faith is a Forest”  (Tune: ‘Mo-Li-Hua’, Irreg)                                                 194 SLT
Faith is a forest in which doubts play and hide,
insight can hear the still small voice deep inside.
Web of Life, may this thread I weave
strengthen commitment to all I believe.
Vision be my guide as I seek my way,
lead me into this tender day;
speak through me in all I do and say.

Seeds of both meek and strong are scattered in air
dignity shines undimmed by bigotry’s glare.
Web of Life, may this thread I weave
help me hear witness to all I believe.
Justice be my guide as I seek my way,
lead me into this tender day;
speak through me in all I do and say.

Fortune and famine ride the swift winds of change;
sorrow and pleasure seem united in dance.
Web of Life, may this thread I weave
mingle compassion with all I believe.
Mercy be my guide as I seek my way,
lead me into this tender day;
speak through me in all I do and say.  (Shelly J Denham)
The people sit after the hymn

Welcome  
 
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are gatherping 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 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 now take some time
to sit in comfort
to breathe deeply
to relax in the presence of God.
Silence

Music of Reflection

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

 “Trees are not our Servants; We are their Guests”
By Roland Faber

Let us begin simply again. Trees are vital elements of human experience with the world—either as present or absent.We climb trees not only for “causal” reasons, such as to secure food or a lookout, but also for fun, to measure our own strength, physically and mentally, or even more so to connect with this life-force that trees present to us: their fortitude, their age, their wisdom, their texture, their sovereignty, their majesty, their height and circumference, their stability and their patience. At the same time we can use them in many ways: for warmth, for food, for medicine, for paper, for furniture, for embellishment in our cities and gardens, for messages of love, for shade and protection—we are always reliant on their patience to serve us.

Only if you touch a tree, however, feel its texture, listen to the manifold voices of its leaves and needles in the wind, probe its vigor while climbing it or hanging from it, will you be admitted to its character beyond its use: the magnanimity and equanimity, the gentle patience of tolerating us, but also the seeming immunity to time. Such experiences, then, make us look closer. How many symbolic (not least religious) realms have been associated, measured, or made accessible with the appearances of trees, their roots and stems, branches and leaves, fruits and crowns, colors and textures of bark, their healing fluids and habitats for innumerable forms of life?

Yet trees are not our servants; we are their guests. We can fall from a tree—to our death even. Wildfires can devastate human presence and reveal its fragility, being only tolerated in the vicinity of their realm. Trees are symbols of life and death, not bowing to human rules or projections. They are among the oldest living beings on Earth. They produce the oxygen that animal life needs to exist on Earth, but which they do not need to exist.

While we might assume that they are following simple evolutionary patterns of survival, that is, competition and self-interest, as all animal life seems to exhibit, if one applies the Darwinian mechanisms of speciation and diversification, they actually exhibit also contrary or expanded features of the evolutionary forces of cooperation and sacrifice. Through root networks, trees in a forest can connect to alert their neighbors or their colony of dangers, communicate their life-situation, and, on occasion, even sacrifice their own existence for the good of the community. As with the Pando Populous colonies, they can even connect to one grand organism of roots and shoots, to a rhizome of connectivity of becoming. While, religiously, we come symbolically from trees, scientifically, humanity came literally down from trees. We humans are transformations of tree-dwellers. Does our genetic makeup and our collective unconsciousness somehow remember?

OR

Redefining"
By Kathleen Reeves

trees stand tall
lined up in a row
what they know is whispered
carried on the wind
they shed
pink leaves and acorns
as I hang on
to each memory- infused photograph
or diamond ring

I inhale
eucalyptus scent
mingles
with campfire and ocean
spray
wrapping around me
in a comfortable blanket
of memories
the long pink leaves
like fingers tickle my soul
waking me from my dream

of a girl running
under yesterday’s shade
cast by trees
of my childhood
swimming in the creek
that emptied
last winter’s prodigal snow
to the forgiving sea
I would forgive

and returns like waves
with relentlessness
as coastline carvings
change
and redefine
cutting into the sandstone flesh
of the earth’s edges
like the topography of my face
the sea wait 

• Luke 12:13-21  (Inclusive Text)

A man in the crowd said to Jesus,
'Teacher, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.'

'My friend,' Jesus replied 'who appointed me your judge, 
or the arbitrator of your claims?'

Then Jesus said to them,
'Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind,
for people's lives are not made secure by what they own,
even when they have more than they need.'

Then Jesus told them a parable:
'There was once a rich man who,
having a good harvest from his land, thought to himself,
"What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops."

Then that man said,
"This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns
and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them,
and I will say to my soul:
My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come;
take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time."

But God said to him,
"Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; 
and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?"

So it is when people store up treasure for themselves
in place of making themselves rich in the sight of God.

Contemporary Exploration plus a Reflection on Trees HERE

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

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

The Womb of Stars
By Joy Atkinson. (No. 445, Singing The Living Tradition)

v1  The womb of stars embraces us;
remnants of their fiery furnaces
pulse through our veins.
All  We are of the stars, the dust of explosions 
cast across space.

v2  We are of the earth:
we breathe and live in the breath
of ancient plants and beasts.
All  Their cells nourish the soil; 
we build our communities on their harvest of gifts.

v1  Our fingers trace the curves carved
in clay and stone by forebears unknown to us.
All  We are a part of the great circle of humanity 
gathered around the fire, the hearth, the altar.

v2  We gather anew this day
to celebrate our common heritage.
All  May we recall in gratitude 
all that has given us birth.

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

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
Creative Love, Our Thanks We Give” (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 on 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)

CELEBRATING

Offerings

Presentation
We are called to make real
the sharing of the gifts God has given to us.

We offer what we have for the good of all.

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)

In Solidarity
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:
Each day brims over with possibility.

All  In every second lie choices, chances,

in numbers too great for us to comprehend.


May we ever strive to see beyond our limitations,

choose beyond our immediate needs,

All  and live into each day,

the fullness of its opportunity. 
(Gretta Vosper/hb)

And so we take this 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 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  O presence and pow’r within us,
Being and Life of all.
How we are filled, how we o’erflow
with infinite love and gladness!

We shall this day sow grace and peace,
and show mercy to all,
and gentle loving-kindness.

And we shall be not so self-serving,
but a constant source of giving.

For ours is the essence,
and the wholeness,
and the fullness forever. 
(Paul Alan Laughlin/4r)
Amen.

PARTING

Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Buried In My Being”  (Tune: ‘Cranham’, 65.65D)                                                               3(v1-2) TMT
Buried in my being many voices dwell,
sharing all the stories past and present tell;
deeper than these voices silence weaves as one
all the threads that form life's tapestries of sun.

Deeper than my thinking lies my wisdom spring-
ancient dream-time river - songs creation sings.
Yet beyond this wisdom dwells unknowing's cloud
holding all together in the mystery - God.
Remain standing

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

From all corners of the world: