Revd Rex A E Hunt
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8 July 2018.  Pentecost 7B. (Green).

Worth Pondering
“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet.
Try to make sense of what you see,
and wonder about what makes the universe exist.
Be curious”
Stephen Hawking

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


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 dare to dream.
We dare to hope…
In a new day – starting today.

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
A Moment of Wonder”  (Tune: St Catherine’s Court’, 12 11 12 11)     1 MTH
A moment of wonder, amazement and grandeur,
a time when God’s glory shines clear through our lives,
God’s grace is beyond us, yet lives in each heartbeat,
the source of creation from which peace derives.

The eyes of our minds are enlightened with splendour,
inherited glory, the song of the saints
is ours for the asking, by faith becomes present
as life is set dancing, devoid of restraints.

O this is the spirit of joy and obedience,
it’s bending our pride to the purpose of God,
the rhythm, the harmony, gracefully springing:
our feet follow faithfully where Jesus trod.  (Andrew Pratt. © Stainer & Bell Ltd)


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 senseful keen awareness-
Form and sound, scent, taste and hue.
High achieving, passing, transient-
Living, dying born anew.  (Ian Cairns)

Opening Sentences
We have come to celebrate
the God of creation,
the God of justice,
and the God of profound inspiration
and source of all creativity and living.

Act of Awareness
Each morning brings a newness that we need but step into.
It can wash us,
lift us,
heal us,
hold us
just as each of us has need.

May we be open to the power that lies dormant within us.
May we be full with a confidence in our own strength.
May we move from the routines that we follow
to the fullness of life that we might live.  (Gretta Vosper/hb)


We pray:
Creativity God
you have made us one with this earth,
to tend it and bring forth fruit;
may we share in the labour of all creation
to give birth to your hidden glory.
May it be so.

Hymn "One In Love, We Meet Together" (Tune: ‘Hyfrydol’ 87 87D) 
One in love, we meet together,
one in time, and never apart.
We in flesh as brother, sister,
makes us one in mind and heart.
All incarnate, we would offer,
all we most sincerely prize,
Learning though traditions differ
how they join to make us wise.

One in outlook, always searching,
not to bind in common creed,
As a people, be more ready
to respond to other’s need.
Here we are so finely fashioned,
understanding, here to serve,
Never narrow in compassion,
empathy without reserve.

As in Christ, may we discover
that to give is to receive,
That in God the good is present,
ever, always we perceive.
Not by chance the world’s creation,
not by chance was life begun,
God is love and our vocation
is to love ‘til love has won.  (Adapted by Betty Van Till/C3Ex)

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.


A Green Heart"
By Kate McIlhagga. The Green Heart of the Snowdrop

Into a dark world
a snowdrop comes,
a benison
of hope and peace,
carrying within it
a green heart,
symbol of God's renewing love.

Come to inhabit our darkness
Lord Christ,
for dark and light
are alike to you.

May nature's white candles of hope
remind us of your birth
and light our journey 
through these winter days and beyond.

Centering Silence
In the moment of silence which we now share,
may each speak a personal prayer...

Whether to seek forgiveness
To renew strength to do rightly
To commend a loved one to God
Or to quest for a greater knowledge of the spirit.

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


Our thoughts we now centre on all that is good,
on all that we know is worthy,
so we may focus attention on the richness of truth
restoring our inner-selves for the journey.

To all that is worthy,
to all we believe is true,
to all we deeply value,
we commit ourselves anew.  (Adapt.Scott Kearns/wol)

Music of Reflection


Readings from broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be offered.

Reader   May we be struck by the wisdom of these words
and marked by hearing them.
All For within story lies meaning, and
within meaning, the wisdom for which we seek. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

The World Around Us:
"A Journey of Questions"
By Edward Cox. Dare to Dream/119.

Christian questions question Christians,
so Christians shy away from questions.
Catchphrase Christians carry answers:
…the cow jumped over the moon.

Jesus had a life to live:
loving, hating, eating, sleeping, dying (rising),
So a boy from (name town) joins a Jew from Nazareth
on a journey of questions,

Don't worry about answers, keep asking 'why?'

Traditional Gospel:
Mark 6:1-13 (Inclusive Text)

Jesus went to his hometown, accompanied by the disciples.
With the coming of the sabbath Jesus began teaching in the synagogue, 
and most of them were astonished.

They said,
'Where did this one get all this?
What is this wisdom that has been granted him,
and these miracles that are worked through him?

'This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary,
the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon?

'His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’
And they would not accept him.

And Jesus said to them,
'Prophets are only despised in their own country
among their own relations and in their own house.'

And he could work no miracle there,
though he cured  a few sick people by laying hands on them.

Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.
Then Jesus went to other villages, teaching.

Jesus summoned the Twelve
and began to send them out in pairs
giving them authority over the unclean spirits.

And Jesus instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff,
no bread,
no haversack,
no coppers in their purses.

They were to wear sandals, but Jesus added,
'Do not take a spare tunic,' and said to them,

'If you enter a house anywhere, stay there
until you leave the district.

'And if any place does not welcome you
and people refuse to listen to you,
as you walk away shake off the dust from under
your feet as a sign to them.'

So they set off to preach repentance.
And they cast out many devils,
and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.


The World Around Us:
"Earth Praises"
By Mary de La Valette
. Earth Prayers/398.

I do not have to go
To Sacred Places
In far-off lands.
The ground I stand on
Is holy.

Here, in this little garden
I tend
My pilgrimage ends.

The wild honeybees
The hummingbird moths
The flickering fireflies at dusk
Are a microcosm
Of the Universe.

Each seed that grows
Each spade of soil
Is full of miracles.

And I toil and sweat
And watch and wonder
And am full of love.

Living in place
In this place.
For truth and beauty
Dwell here.


Alternate Gospel:
Mark 4: 1-9

Jesus began to teach beside the sea.
Such a very large crowd gathered around him that
he got into a boat on the sea and sat there,
while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.

He began to teach them many things in parables,
and in his teaching he said to them:
'Listen!  A sower went out to sow.

‘And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate it up.

‘Other seed fell on rocky ground,
where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly,
since it had no depth of soil. 
And when the sun rose, it was scorched;
and since it had no root, it withered away.

‘Other seed fell among thoms, and the thorns grew up
and choked it, and it yielded no grain.

‘Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain,
growing up and increasing and yielding
thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’

And he said,
‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

Contemporary Exploration1
 • A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

Contemporary Exploration2

Silence for Personal Reflection


Litany: ‘Web of Life’  (Optional)
People stand as they are able

All  We create a web of life.
This is finally the time to let go of that crazy notion
that we can live separate and aloof from one another.

All  We create a web of life.
This is the time at last
that we can come home to each other,
to our mutual belonging.

All  We create a web of life.
And we create a web of life
out of which every single one of us
can use everything our stories have given us.

All  We create a web of life.
Every part of our lives... even the cruelty,
even the abuse, even the addictions,
even the loneliness, even the failures...

All  We create a web of life.
A web of life is created within
which you can rest in that knowing.

Because out of that you can act.
Out of that, all power is yours.
Out of that, you travel light.
Out of that, you can step forward. 
All  We create a web of life.
Let every encounter be a homecoming
as we step forward now for the healing of our world.

The world is not going to be saved by good people or noble people.
The world is going to be healed by ordinary people,
like you and me,
who are not afraid of pain and who are not afraid
to love each other.

Sharing 'The Peace'
God makes peace within us.  Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us.  Let us share it.  
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace.

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
God Who Fills the Universe(Tune: ‘Francis David’. 77 66 7)         37 SLT
God who fills the universe
from the atom to the stars,
make firm my changeful heart
so I may do my part
and bring joy to all the earth.

God who webs the universe
with amazing mysteries,
make glad my fragile soul
so I can see life whole
and bring hope to all the earth.

God who keeps the universe
by the truths of living love,
make strong that love in me
so I can set it free
and bring peace to all the earth.  (Carl G Seaburg)

Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,
shall now be received

Valuing God, help us to find a meaning in life,
a purpose,
a belonging.

Help us to find pleasure in receiving from life
and satisfaction in enriching life.  (Francis Macnab/h).


Conversation with the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat


"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?

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 joy and in sorrow
All We do not walk alone. 
(Gretta Vosper/wwg)

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 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 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)


Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
"Let Justice Roll Down"   85 (v1-2) AA
Let justice roll down like a river,
let justice roll down like a sea,
let justice roll down like a river,
let justice begin through me.

Justice for all who go hungry,
crying to God to be fed,
left in a world of abundance
to beg for a morsel of bread.

Justice for those who are homeless,
victims of warfare or need,
trapped on the borders of no-where,
lost in the canyons of greed.
Remain standing

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space
where we have worshipped together, let us return to
our work and school enlivened and renewed...
The Community Candle is extinguished

May God the source of all good things, bless us with
All the understanding of friends,
the lessons of experience,
the questionings of seekers,
the wisdom of thinkers, and
the service of helpers, now and always. 
(Henry Rack/wob)

Words of Blessing
Let there be peace in your lives as you go from this place;
Let there be peace in the sky and in the atmosphere;
Let there be peace in the plant world and in the forests;
Let all the world be at peace and may we live as if we were one
Amen! May it be so!  (ILawton.C3Exch).

Hymn (Cont). "Let Justice Roll Down"   85 (v3) AA
Let justice roll down like a river,
let justice roll down like a sea,
let justice roll down like a river,
let justice begin through me.

Justice for all who are powerless,
yearning for freedom in vain,
plundered, and robbed of their birth-right,
silently bearing their pain. 
 (Colin Gibson)
The people sit

'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.
Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Courage to Love. An Anthology of Inclusive Worship Material. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2002.
Duncan, G. (ed).
A World of Blessing. Benedictions from Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2000.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Dare to Dream. A Prayer and Worship Anthology from Around the World. London. Fount/HarperCollins, 1995.
Holmes, R. H. The Bob Holmes Worship Materials. Vol 1. Little Falls. Self published, 1972. 
Holy Bible. NRSV. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989.
Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
McIlhagga, K.
The Green Heart of the Snowdrop. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2004.
Macnab, F. Hope: The Deeper Longings of the Mind and Heart.
 Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 1996.
Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London. Stainer & Bell, 2015.
Roberts, E. & E. Amidon. Earth Prayers From Around the World. 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. New York. HarperCollins, 1991.
(SLT) Singing The Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
The St Hilda Community.
The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK, 1996.
Uniting in Worship 2. NSW: 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.
Holy Breath. Prayers for Worship and Reflection. New & Revised edition. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2004/2010.
Vosper, G.
With or Without God. Why the Way we Live is more Important than What we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.

Web sites/Other:
Lammer. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <>
van Til, Lawton. C3Exchange, Spring Lake. MI. <>
Scott Kearns. "Our Thoughts We Now Centre" in The Wonder of Life. Songs for the Spirit, 9. Toronto. 2009
Ian Cairns. "Celebrate the Cosmic Birthing". From a Liturgy, St Andrew's on the Terrance, Auckland, NZ.