PalmSB.28.3.2021

Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail:  rexae@optusnet.com.au  OR  rexae74@gmail.com
Keep up-to-date… Remember to Bookmark or Favourite my Web site:
www.rexaehuntprogressive.com

Details on the availability of my books, supporting progressive religious thought, HERE
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

“There is a need for the religious traditions… to appreciate that the primary sacred community
is the universe itself, and that every other community
becomes sacred by participation in this primary community”

28 March 2021.  Palm B. (Purple).

Worth Pondering
“Surely it is the way a person lives and practices, or treats his/her neighbour
or those in need, that is more expressive of religious living
than the conventional markers of affiliation and action”
(James Davies)

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, emerging,
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 gather regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Refreshment Station/Water Basins
Pottery basins are set on stands near the entrance to the Gathering space. 
Attendees are invited to dip their hands in the cool water in the basins as they arrive. 
Or to rinse each other’s hands. 
That we may relax, be refreshed, and prepare for this time together.

(Note: A small sign is placed above the basin explaining that as they dip their hands in the water, they are invited to relax and try to mindfully set aside or release for a time anything that might be preventing them from being fully present—each traveller rinsing the “dust from the road”).

OR

(A suggestion of other words)
We come together from our separate lives,
each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,
our hopes, and our dreams.

We are not yet fully present.
The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us.
Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.

It is now time to let go of these pressures and really arrive…   

When you are ready, repeat silently to yourself: ‘Hineini’ or ‘Here I am’.
Hineini is used in the Torah to signify being present
in body, mind, and spirit.

It means settling into where we are and simply being “here”. (Adapted/Nan Fink Gene)

Gathering Music

LITURGY OF THE BRANCHES
Introduction
For the past five weeks of the Season of Lent we have been preparing... 
preparing for this moment in the story of Jesus' journey.

Now we are one week from Easter!

Today is what has traditionally been called 'Palm Sunday'. 
But you won’t hear about “palms” in this story from Mark. 
The gospel of John, written 30-40 years later, is the only one that says
people waved 'palm' branches for Jesus.

Anyway...  This is the day on which, our tradition tells us,
Jesus entered Jerusalem, and just days before his death.

So I invite you to reflect on
some of the feelings associated with Holy Week.
(Pause)

Let’s imagine we have come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
We begin by listening again to Mark's story: 
to Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, his own city,
to encourage the people to see 
and experience God in new ways.

• Mark 11:1-11 (NRSV)

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples and said to them:
‘Go into the village ahead of you,
and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there
a colt that has never been ridden.

‘Untie it and bring it.  If anyone says to you,
‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this,
‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’

They went away and found a colt tied near a door,
outside in the street.

As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them:
‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’
They told them what Jesus had said,
and they allowed them to take it.

Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it.
And he sat on it.

Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.

Then those who went ahead
and those who followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

Then Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple.

And when he had looked around at everything,
as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Silence

Gong sounded once
Jesus dared to live God’s way
in the midst of all the 'ups' and 'downs' of life.

We too are called to proclaim our faith faithfully
by the way we live, and treat one another.

Silence

Gong sounded a second time
Jesus wanted his disciples to live passionate,
justice seeking, God centred lives.

Silence

Gong sounded a third time
Jesus, as human face of God, shared his life
that others might sense the new signs of hope
in their everyday lives.

Silence

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) Some specific resources on Terrorism HERE
(iv) On Wonder, Awe, and Nature
HERE

Hymn/Song In solidarity with those for whom standing is not easy or possible we will remain seated to sing...
To Bring a City to its Sense(Tune: ‘Fingal’, ‘Detroit’, CM)                                                 109 WNC
To bring a city to its sense,
a nation to its knees,
they welcomed Nazareth’s carpenter,
waved palms cut from the trees.

Hosannas filled the quiet air,
they strained to glimpse a view;
‘Messiah’ they acclaimed this man
whom Pharisees would sue.

He turned the table upside down,
he spun their world around,
he challenged preconceived ideas,
flung hatred to the ground.

This man had learnt too much, it seemed,
knew ways of right and wrong,
his ear attuned to righteousness
sensed discord in their song.

The politicians and the priests
were threatened by his choice;
the hypocrites would silence him,
and still we shun his voice.  (Andrew Pratt)

OR

Here in the Busy City(Tune: 76.76)                                                                                    166 AOV2
Here in the busy city 
now let the church be seen
where lesser gods are worshipped
in money and machine;
where news is but sensation,
the Good News hardly heard
now let the church take action
in living out the word!

In policies and planning
the church be there to speak
to moderate the powerful,
to argue for the weak:
where law must sit in judgement
and love is little known,
there at the crisis centre
the Christ concern be shown.

Where litter chokes the gutter
and people go to waste,
where joblessness is bitter
and living lost its taste
to underlevened people
be proof of rising yeast,
in lives devoid of flavour
be saltiness released!

Here in the busy city
God walks on every street
in generous or greedy,
the honest or the cheat,
and daily we must offer
the good that goes unpriced
with vigour and with vision
the lifestyle of the Christ.  (Shirley Erena Murray)

Welcome
In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are gathering 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

Presentation of Water Basins
Words which acknowledge that the dust of many roads and many life experiences has been rinsed into the basins,
and calls for the contents of the basins and the gathering to be transformed, renewed, and more fully alive

The dust of many roads and may life experiences
has been washed in this refreshing water.
For this place is a sacred place.

May we
greet one another with open hearts and minds;
inspire each other to consider new questions
and seek deeper meaning;
and cultivate both wisdom and compassion.

And may this time together empower us to take some new steps
so all our living is transforming and the
yearning of our hearts become reality.
The bowls of water are removed from the Gathering space and placed on an outside garden

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 a moment to settle into the silence.
Silence

Hear and feel your quiet breathing.
Hear and feel the quiet of this place
and this community of people.
Silence

In this quiet hour may our spirits be renewed.
May our minds be open to new truth,
and our hearts be receptive to love,
as we give thanks for this life we are blessed to share. E-LBelcher
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)

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

• "Tough Faith"
By Bruce Prewer. More Australian Psalms/86.

It was never easy!

This life of faith,
lived freely and lovingly
despite contemporary pride
and age-old enigmas,
has always been tough,
for Abraham, Sarah, Job,
Thomas, Mary, Augustine,
Luther, McKillop, Flynn.

Lord, we believe; 
save us from unbelief!

Pity the overt arrogance
of modern culture,
drunk on small achievements,
thinking that our era
has put paid to faith,
throwing away God
as a superstition
clutched by the ignorant.

It was never easy!
Choice, commitment,
whether to gamble one's all
on current self-adulation,
or to plunge into the Under-Swell
of hope and faith, spirit and truth,
flowing with creative love,
rampant with celebration
and the glory of Christ.

Lord, we believe; save us from unbelief.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

AFFIRMING

A Palm Sunday Reflection: Twenty Centuries Past  (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share an affirmation of belief.
The people stand as they are able

Twenty centuries past, what city has not heard of your coming?

From Beijing to Berlin, from Jerusalem to Johannesburg, 
from New York to New Delhi
surely the word has spread that you've come in peace, not violence
to enrich, renew, transform our lives and bring us to shalom?
All  Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of God.  Hosanna in the highest.

Twenty centuries past, what city has not heard of your church?

From Catholic, Orthodox, Uniting or Anglican,
Evangelical, Progressive or Pentecostal
surely the message of acceptance, healing, confidence
in your royal advent, has been passed on through faithful living?
All  Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of God.  Hosanna in the highest.

Twenty centuries past, what city has not rejected you?

From penthouse to tenement, from factory to leisure centre,
from theme park to concert hall,
surely the news is that this life is for taking, not giving
and what stands in the way of this lifestyle
must now be removed?
All  Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of God.  Hosanna in the highest.

Twenty centuries past, what city does the Christ seek to enter?

From leafy suburb to shanty town, from housing estate
to West-End flat, from salon to slum,
surely the sign of the church free from pride, united in deed,
must be the welcome the Christ longs for as he enters our city?
All  Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of God.  Hosanna in the highest.
(Adapt.J Young/lird)

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

May a heart of peace rest with you.
All And also with you. (David Galston/q)
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
O Life That Maketh All Things New”  (Tune: ‘Truro’, LM)                                                    54 HCL
O life that maketh all things new,
The blooming earth, our thoughts within!
Our pilgrim feet, wet with thy dew,
In gladness hither turn again.

From hand to hand the greeting flows,
From eye to eye the signals run,
From heart to heart the bright hope glows;
The seekers of the Light are one.

One in the freedom of the truth,
One in the joy of paths untrod,
One in the soul’s perennial youth,
One in the larger thought of God;

The freer step, the fuller breath,
The wide horizon’s grander view,
The sense of life that knows no death,
The Life that maketh all things new.  (Samuel Longfellow/Revised by D S Harrington)

OR

"Simply To Be" (Tune: "Kapiti")                                                                                               118 HoS
Simply to be, to be in stillness,
simply to trust that God is here,
simply to know the Holy Presence,
is to be blessed:
so am I blessed.

Simply to hold the given moment,
simply to lay concern aside,
simply to to let the heart be speaking,
is to be blessed:
so am I blessed.

so am I blessed within God's keeping,
so am I freed from pointless stress,
steadied to feel the soul replenished,
given this grace,
folded in peace.  (Shirley Erena Murray)

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:
Holy God, as you have touched us
All  May we now touch others
with your love in us.
  (Adapt.Kate Galloway/cw)

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 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 appropriate

All  God, who cares for us,
The wonder of whose presence fills us with awe.

Let kindness, justice and love shine in our world.
Let your secrets be known here as they are in heaven.
Give us the food and the hope we need for today.

Forgive us our wrongdoing
as we forgive the wrongs done to us.
Protect us from pride and from despair
and from the fear and hate which can swallow us up.

In you is truth, meaning, glory and power,
while worlds come and go.
Amen.  (MFurlong/nwi)

Conversation 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)

CELEBRATING

If it is your tradition to celebrate Holy Communion on Palm/Passion Sunday...
CELEBRATING COMMUNITY IN THE TRADITION OF THE MEAL
Offering

Presentation
As the many threads are made one in the cloth,
as the many grains are made one in the bread,
as the many grapes are made one in the wine,
so we who are many are made one
when we gather at this table.  NSlee/bb

The Invitation
Here today, through bread and wine,
we renew our unity with one another,
and with all those who have gone before us in this place.

Here today, through bread and wine,
we renew our communion with the earth
and our interwovenness with the broken ones of the world.

OR

Invitation
(Late March to June)

In faith and love, gathered in this place,
we celebrate the brightness of community
and the season of Autumn called 'Gwangal Moronn’ (Season of Honey Bees)
by the Djab Wurrung and Jardwidjarli People.

The Story
We are reminded again of the tradition that surrounds this story.

Long ago, on the night of his arrest,
Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it:
v2  'This bread is broken, as my body will be'.

And he handed it to his friends, inviting them to eat:
v2  'Remember all that I have been to you'.

Long ago, on that same night,
Jesus poured a cup of wine, offered thanks for it,
and gave it to his friends: