Revd Rex A E Hunt

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25 September 2013. Season of Creation4/Pentecost 19C. (Green).
Theme: Cosmos Sunday

Worth Pondering
“Nature fills us with wonder and humility.
As we try to make sense of it through science, or engage with it
in a river with rod in hand or running up a mountain trail,
we learn that what we grasp is but a tenuous thread
connected to an invisible wholeness”
(Marcelo Gleiser)

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 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 Music

The gong is sounded three times

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.

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.
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.

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 the 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

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"God of the Galaxies" (Tune: Cheam)   54 (v1-3) AA
God of the galaxies spinning in space,
God of the smallest seed, our living source,
yours is the gift of this beautiful place.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.

Careless and covetous, gross are our greeds,
taking the riches the garden provides,
wasting its goodness, forgetting its needs.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.

Forests and rivers are ravaged and die,
raped is the land till it bleeds in its clay,
silenced the birdsong and plundered the sea.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
The spirit of Creativity God has hovered over the waters…

We invite the cosmos to worship with us:
  We invite glittering galaxies high in the sky
to radiate the splendour of God’s presence.

We call distant domains of space to celebrate with us.
All  We invite nebula, nova and black holes
to thank God for their fascinating formation.

We summon that piece of stardust called Earth,
To pulse with the rhythm of God's presence
and celebrate God's glory in this planet garden.

We invite millions of living species to dance with life,
The turtle, the toad and the elephant,
the earthworm, the ant and the dragonfly

We invite every creature in the web of creation
To consciously connect with others
in this community called the cosmos

Dance creation, dance!
All  Dance with cosmic energy! (Norman Habel/soc)

Act of Awareness
In the midst of our everyday
when life is full
and we are about all those things we are about,
we scarcely have time to fit it all in.

And yet, here we are,
squeezing into this not-so-special-anymore day
a moment to glimpse the Holy,
to step out of time
into a timelessness of awe.

With those who have gone this way before,
and those who have yet to venture forth,
we travel roads of wonder
and give thanks
(Gretta Vosper/hb).


We pray:
As we reflect on the mysteries of the cosmos,
we celebrate our connectedness to this vast web of life.

May we connect with all living beings.
May we sense the presentness of God in the stars and the planets.
May we care for the oceans, the earth and the air.
May it be so.

Hymn (Cont.) "God of the Galaxies"  (Tune: Cheam)  54 (v4-5) AA
Let there be beauty, and let there be air
fragrant with peace, never poisoned with fear,
freed from the plagues of pollution and war.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.

Life is a holy thing, life is a whole,
linking each creature and blessing us all,
making connections of body and soul.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.  Shirley Erena Murray
The people sit after the hymn

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.


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)

This morning we conclude the celebration called Season of Creation.
Today’s theme is Cosmos Sunday.

A eucalyptus leaf was given to you as you entered.
Smell the leaf and rub it between your fingers,
and share with the person next to you
times when you were acutely conscious
of the vast world of time and space.


We remember moments of wonder,
sensing the infinite world of space,
feeling the mystery of the moment.
We remember and rejoice.

Now away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this sacred place,
let us give thanks for the gift of life,
and the mystery of an endless horizon
stretching out across the universe.

Dance, creation, dance!
All W
e give thanks for living cosmos
so much a part of who we are!

Music of Celebration


Reading from our broad Religious Tradition
A story from our biblical tradition will be told by (NN).

Reader:  In effortless phrases, well-worn upon our lips,
simple forms of inspiration catch us, and call to us again.
All  As these words settle into our minds,

may we feel them stir and lift our hearts. (Gretta Vosper/ab)

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.”


“Renewing Earth: From Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism
By Thomas Berry

The task of renewing Earth belongs to Earth, as the renewal of any organism takes place from within.
Yet we humans have our own special role, a leading role in the renewal,
just as we had the dominant role in the devastation.
We can fulfil this role, however, only if we move our basic life orientations
from a dominant anthropocentrism to a dominant ecocentrism.
In effecting this change we need :to listen to the voices of Earth and it multitude of living and non-living modes of expression.

We should be listening to the stars in the heavens and the sun and the moon,
to the mountains and the plains, to the forests and rivers and seas that surround us,
to the meadows and the flowering grasses, to the songbirds and the insects and to their music,
especially in the evening and the early hours of the night.
We need to experience, to feel, and to see these myriad creatures all caught up in the celebration of life.

Season of Creation4 Gospel: (Open English Bible/A New New Testament)
John 6: 41-44, 47-51

The Judeans began murmuring against Jesus for saying: 'I am the bread which came down from heaven'.
"Is this not Jesus, Joseph's son," they asked, "whose father and mother we know?
How is it that he now says that he has come down from heaven?"

"Do not murmur among yourselves," said Jesus in reply.
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me
draws him to me; and I will raise that one up
at the last day...

"In truth I tell you, the person who trusts in me has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, and yet died.
The bread that comes down from heaven is such that
whoever eats it will never die.

"I am the living bread that has come down from heaven.
Anyone eating of this bread will live into the ages;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh,
which I will give for the life of the world."


New Gospel:
The Gospel of Truth 19: 1-7 (Open English Bible/A New New Testament)

For the Father is sweet and within his desire is goodness.
He knows what is yours in which you might find rest.
For by the fruits one knows what is yours.

The Father's children are his fragrance
for they are from the beauty of his face.
Because of this, the Father loves his fragrance
and discloses it everywhere,
and when it mixes with matter it gives his fragrance to the light.
And in his tranquility he makes it surpass every form and every sound.
For ears do not smell the fragrance,
but it is breath and spirit that smells
and draws the fragrance to itself.

Contemporary Exploration
A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

Silence for Personal Reflection


A Litany (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, and in solidarity with the Universe
and all who dwell therein,
let us stand and share a contemporary litany.
The people stand as they are able

Out of the stars in their flight,
out of the dust of eternity,
here have we come,
Stardust and sunlight, mingling
through time and through space.

Out of the stars have we come, up from time;
Out of the stars have we come.
Time out of time before time
in the vastness of space,
earth spun to orbit the sun,

Earth with the thunder of
mountains newborn, the boiling of seas.
Earth warmed by sun, lit by sunlight:
This is our home;
Out of the stars have we come.

Mystery hidden in mystery, back through all time;
Mystery rising from rocks in the storm and the sea.
Out of the stars, rising from rocks and the sea, 
kindled by sunlight on earth, arose life.

Ponder this thing in your heart; 
ponder with awe:
Out of the sea to the land,
out of the shallows came ferns.

Out of the sea to the land,
up from darkness to light,
Rising to walk and to fly, 
out of the sea trembled life.
Ponder this thing in your heart, life up from sea:
Eyes to behold, throats to sing, mates to love.

Life from the sea,
warmed by sun, washed by rain,
life from within, giving birth, rose to love.

This is the wonder of time;
this is the marvel of space;
out of the stars swung the earth;
life upon earth rose to love.

This is the marvel of life,
rising to see and to know;
Out of your heart, cry wonder:
sing that we live. Robert Weston/slt


A Cosmic Credo
v1  I believe in the Cosmos and its processes 
as a reflection and embodiment of the Mystery within and beyond it, 
the nameless Mystery which I dare to call God.

All  I celebrate the creative, transforming and empowering processes 
and discern these both in the life and death of Jesus Christ 
and in the continuing celebration of his existence.

v2  I believe that forgiveness is of the essence of love,
that change is of the essence of life,
and that the individual only finds complete fulfillment in community.

All  I see death as part of a process of the recycling of life 
and the transformation of memory 
and the unity of energy 
as part of the heaven of the eternal NOW.

v3  This is the way which I seek to walk 
with courage, compassion and with a song in my heart.
All  So be it. (William L Wallace)

Sharing 'The Peace
God makes peace within us.  Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us.  Let us share it. (nwi)

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 People stand as they are able, to sing
Celebrate the Cosmic Birthing
(Tune: ‘Hymn to Joy’)
Celebrate the cosmic birthing,
Flash of primal energy:
Swirling gases, densing matter
Stuff of galaxies to be.
Celebrate the life-force pulsing
through these 15 billion years,
Trillion, trillion stars emerging
From the cradle of the spheres.

Celebrate the white-heat furnace-
life evoking mother sun;
Celebrate her planet-offspring
Nine, in cosmic dance as one.
Celebrate her favoured daughter,
Earth, in cloak of fragile green;
Cragging rocks, and sounding ocean-
Surface-lashed, beneath serene.

 Join the mystic dance of species,
Chaining, weaving, circling, one
Strong-competing, close depending,
Life swift ending, new begun.
Sing our sensefull keen awareness-
Form and sound, scent, taste and hue.
High achieving, passing, transient-
Living, dying born anew.
(Ian Cairns)

Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
shall now be received.

Freely have we received of gifts
that minister to our needs of body and spirit.
We give thanks for moments when we feel we live in a world
that is not indifferent to our needs.

May we continue to live and be with each other
in a way that shows we are also
not indifferent to others needs.


With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat


"Somewhere someone:”
The kingdom of love is coming because:
  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?  (jke)

Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
When we are grieving or sad,
When we are challenged,
When we need help,
All  This flame guides us out of the darkness.

When we are cheerful,
When we celebrate,
When we accomplish a great task,
When we return to a place that makes us happy,
All  This flame reminds us to share our happiness with others (Adapt/APalmer)

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 Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All  Loving Presence, luminous in all creation,
hallowed be your name.
Thy kin-dom

May we reflect on earth
the yielding perfection of the heavens.
Help us to receive an illumined measure from the earth this day.

Forgive us when we trespass against others,
human and other than human,
as we forgive others who trespass against us.
Keep us on the path of wisdom
when we are tempted to take the selfish path.

May it be your rule we follow,
your power we exercise,
and your radiance that allures.
May this be the truth that guides our lives,
the ground from which our future will grow,
until we meet again.


Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
A Firemist and a Planet(Tune: 'Thornbury', 76 76D, 15 TiS).  343 (v1-2) 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.
Remain standing

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

Remembering again the wonder and the mystery of the Cosmos…

Will you care for Planet Earth?
We will empathise with the oceans.
We will care for the fauna.
We will be sensitive to the cries of creation
in song and storm.
And we will celebrate life!

Words of Blessing
The blessing of God:
Star maker,
Friend maker,
Wisdom maker,
make and remake you all
in the image of God. (Ruth Burgess/bb)
All Amen! May it be so.

Hymn (Cont)A Firemist and a Planet(Tune: 'Thornbury', 76 76D, 15 TiS).  343 (v3-4) SLT
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 Carruth
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles


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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all Churches. Raumati: New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. 2001. 
Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
Burgess, R. 2001.
A Book of Blessings. Scotland: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications
Inclusive Readings. Year C. 2013. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Scotland: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Sanguin, B. If Darwin Prayed. Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics
. Vancouver: EOS, 2010.
Singing the Living Tradition. 1993.  Boston. UUA.
Taussig, H. (ed).
A New New Testament. A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts. NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
The St Hilda Community. 1996.
The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK.
Tucker, M. E. & J. Grim. (ed). Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community. Maryknoll. Orbit Books, 2014.
Vosper, G. 2004/2010. 
Holy Breath. Prayers for Worship and Reflection. New & Revised edition. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010.  
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, Brisbane.

Web sites/Other:
Norman Habel Creation Liturgies. <>
"Celebrate the Cosmic Birthing" Ian Cairns.  Stainer & Bell Ltd. Web site:
'Cosmic Credo'. William L Wallace. Direct from the author.