Worship Materials: Celebrating the Cosmic Processes

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

WELCOME

Each person says to their neighbors:  “I GREET THAT OF THE COSMOS WITHIN YOU”


ORIENTATION TO THE COSMOS AND ITS PROCESSES

Pictures showing the extent of the Cosmos and illustrating the following processes.

  1. Creation and Destruction. (The flaring forth and a black hole.)
  1. Attraction and Repulsion. (Scattering and gathering.)
  1. The rhythm of light and darkness and light within darkness.
  1. Holding together. (The web of dark matter.)
  1. Emptiness and Fullness.
  1. Consumption and Conservation. (Placing limits on extremes.)
  1. Consistency and Variation


All: 
SONG: COME, JOIN THE COSMIC FAMILY

This amended text reflects more fully “The Canticle of the Sun” of St Francis than does the traditional hymn “All creatures of our God and King”. Text © World Library Publications, “Singing the Sacred Vol 1” (Tune: Lasst Uns Erfreuen)

Come, join the cosmic family,

Come praise creation’s Deity,

O praise God, Alleluia!

Dear brother sun with golden beam,

And sister moon with softer gleam,

O praise God, O praise God,

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Our Brother Wind who is so strong,

Who moves the clouds that sail along,

O praise God, Alleluia!

May breaking dawn with praises ring,

And Sister Night your glory sing:

O praise God, O praise God,

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

O Sister Water, pure and clear,

Make music for your God to hear,

O praise God, Alleluia!

Dear Brother Fire, both strong and bright,

Whose dancing gives us warmth and light:

O praise God, O praise God,

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

And dearest sister, Mother Earth,

The source of nurture and each birth,

O praise God, Alleluia!

The flowers and fruits that on you grow,

Let them God’s glory also show:

O praise God, O praise God,

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

For life and for our final breath,

Which comes as friendly Sister Death,

O praise God, Alleluia!

When death is viewed as mystery’s care

Love conquers every strangest fear:

O praise God, O praise God,

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Let all things their Creator bless,

And worship God in humbleness,

O praise God, Alleluia!

Praise God Creator, God the Son,

And God the Spirit, Three-in-One:

O praise God, O praise God,

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

 

Or

All:  CHARGE OUR HEARTS WITH WONDER 

 

  1. Charge our hearts with wonder,

God of sheer delight,

As we sense your presence

Filling day and night.

Help us now acknowledge

All the sacredness

Gathered as your process

Moulds this universe.

 

  1. Woven in our being

Lies a quantum thread

Reaching through the star dust,

Gifting Cosmic bread.

In that first explosion

Lies our primal birth

Found within the patterns

Shaping life on earth.

 

  1. Life unfolds in beauty

Linked by spiralled genes

Sharing in their genomes

Many common themes.

May we all remember

Being spins a web

Joining all the living,

Reaching all the dead.

 

  1. There is one Communion

Binding life on Earth –

Sacramental eating

Nurtures us from birth.

Other lives are given

To fulfil our need

As the sacred food chain

Let’s each death bear seed.

 

  1. Dance the flowing rhythm,

Sing the Cosmic song,

Song of total oneness,

Place where all belong.

Share with Mother Gaia

All her caring ways

Till her mutual sharing

Forms our hymn of praise.

 

AFFIRMATION of the fundamental goodness of each person.

We are all children of the Cosmos with our own particular element of the divine mystery.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT of our failures and our misuse of other people and of the planet.

A time of reflection, and a call to change what we can and accept what we cannot change.

 

WISDOM READINGS:

Each followed by a time for reflection.

 

The New Zealand poet Ruth Dallas said,  “Once I thought the land I had loved and known lay curled in my inmost self; but now I know it is I who exist in the land.”

 

Mechtild of Magdeburg said “The day of my spiritual awakening was when I saw and knew I saw all things in God and God in all things.

 

Nicholas of Cusa said, “Divinity is the enfolding of the universe and the universe is the unfolding of divinity.  Divinity is in all things in such a way that all things are in divinity,”

 

An eastern sage said, “When my house burnt down I could see the stars at night!”

 

Robert T Weston said, “Out of the stars have we come: Mystery hidden in mystery, back through all time.”

 

Edward Harrison said, “Beyond all systems stands the Universe in a cloud of unknowing and he will be more learned, the more he comes to know himself for ignorant”.

 

Rabbi Joseph Gelberman tells the following story:

“A great philosopher came to Jerusalem and stopped a little child on the street. ‘Son I’ll give you a gold coin if you tell me where God is.’

The child looked up at the tall stranger and replied,

‘Mister, I’ll give you two gold coins if you tell me where God is not.’”

 

“Where duality is transcended peace reigns. This is the Dharma’s ultimate truth.”
Maxims of Master Han Shan Te’Ch’ing

 

“One thing, all things move among and intermingle, without distinction……….. To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.”
Verses On The Faith Mind By Seng T’san, Third Zen Patriarch

 

Hazrat Ali the Sufi mystic said, “You thought yourself apart, small; whereas in you there is a Universe (that is) the greatest.”

 

Brian Swimme (Cosmologist) says, “To examine the nature and structure of a child’s hand is to examine all twenty billion years of cosmic creativity back to the fireball explosion at the beginning of things.”

 

IMMERSION IN AND THANKSGIVING FOR THE PROCESSES OF THE COSMOS:

  • The process of Creation and Destruction
  • The process of Attraction and Repulsion
  • The process of Emptiness and Fullness
  • The process of Consumption and Conservation.
  • The process of Consistency and Variation

 

All:  CHANT           THE COSMOS IN ALL ITS WONDER

 

The Cosmos in all its wonder

Sings a magic song

 

The Sun and the Moon and all the stars

Join the cosmic song

 

The ice and the rain, the snow and fog

Join the cosmic song

 

The Fire and the Wind, the Earth & Sky

Join the cosmic song

 

The plants and the creatures, birds & fish

Join the cosmic song

 

Our beating heart and our rhythmic breath

Join the cosmic song

 

With all of the other parts we now

Join the cosmic choir.

 

A LITANY OF LETTING GO as we seek to sense our connections with the reality that lies beneath the surface, from which we are alienated by our illusions.

 

All:   IN THE LETTING GO WE FIND LIFE 

In the letting go we find life,

For deeper than the striving is the flowing,

Deeper than the searching is the knowing

And deeper than the grieving is the mystery

In which darkness and light are one.

 

SYMBOLIC ACTION AND REFLECTION

We use what we can see and feel to discern our connection with all that is.

THE FIRE

(Candles are lit)

See the Fire and imagine its warmth.

Look at the flame and reflect on the origin of the Cosmos in its

flaring forth which is our original birthing …

Remember that without the fire there would be no life

and that the fire that lights the heart is that same fire.

The strangely warmed heart is the nursery of a new world

 

From a Maori poem: “Let the hand tremble gently for the fire appears.”

 

Georg Friedrich Hegel, Philosopher, said “Of this I am certain, nothing great was ever accomplished without passion.”

 

Don Miguel Ruiz said: “Love is the opposite of fear. Love is that fire that does not destroy, whereas fear is that fire that burns everything that it touches.”

 

Hildegard of Bingen said “The Holy Spirit is a Burning Spirit.  It kindles the hearts of humankind.”

 

Jesus said (Luke 12:49) “I came to set the Earth on fire and how I wish it were already kindled.”

 

We allow this fire to burn in our heart singing:

All: ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! AMEN.

 

THE ROCK

(Each person holds in their hands the stone which they have been given)

 

Touch the Rock and be touched by the substance of the Cosmos.

 

Jesus said, “Lift the stone, and I am there” (The Gospel of Thomas saying 77).

The writer of I Peter 2:5 urges us to “become as living stones.”

 

Jan Haag said “Feel the weight of the rocks and the trees of this earth, as if their roots grew right down through your heart.”

 

Dan Snow (stonemason) said, “The same inscrutable mystery lies at both the centre of the stone and the core of the Earth.  Standing in a hollow interior the mystery comes alive for me.”

 

Teilhard de Chardin said, “I bless you matter and you I acclaim……. as you reveal yourself to me today, in all your totality and true nature.”

 

Rabbi Jill Hammert said of God “You who dwell in the pebbles of the earth and in the furnace of the stars where stone is made, put in my heart the strength, persistence, and humility of stones.”

 

Humans have a special bond with stones.  The Hebrew book of Job says: “Your covenant shall be with the stones of the field.”

 

The poet William Blake said:
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.”

 

We allow ourselves to be embraced by the mystery of stillness and oneness and give thanks singing:

AllALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! AMEN.

 

 

THE AIR

Breathe the Air

We breathe in Life and breathe out Love.

We breathe the Air which we cannot capture or own but which we share with other people, plants and animals, indeed with the whole ecosystem.

We give thanks for gentle zephyrs and solar wind.

We give thanks for the breath of new ideas, new awareness, new wholeness and enlightenment.

All these are part of the wind of God’s refreshing activity.

 

Kahlil Gibran said “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

 

Hildegard of Bingen said “Prayer is breathing in and breathing out the one breath of the universe.”

 

Kabir said “What is God? (S)he is the breath within the breath.”

 

Haven Trevino said
“Quiet the mind
Be still
And watch the breath of God
Rise and fall
In all things.
Allow God’s breath
To be your breath;
Allow God’s nature
To be your nature.”

 

In John 3:8 Jesus is recorded as saying that the wind breathes where it wills and in the same way there is an invisible and unpredictable power in everyone who undergoes a spiritual re-awakening (rebirth). (Composite translation).

 

We seek to be open to the Wind of the Spirit singing:

All: ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! AMEN.

 

OFFERING:

As fire, rock and water are brought forward we sing:

All: (3x) In the Letting Go we find Life

For deeper than the striving is the flowing
Deeper than the searching is the knowing
And deeper than the grieving is the mystery
In which darkness and light are one.

 

We all come forward to offer thanks bringing the stone which we have been given and placing it on the table.

We stand in a group to hear sayings about water.

 

 

THE WATER

Between the stillness of the rock and the flowing of the stream I am, I AM.

 

Rabindranath Tagore said, “The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.”

 

Sheng-yen said “Be gentle in your practice.  Think of it as a fine silvery stream not a raging waterfall.  Follow the stream, have faith in its course.”

 

The Hebrew prophet Amos said “Let justice flow down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

 

In John 4:13 Jesus said “the water that I give you will be a life-giving inner spring welling up from within you.” (Composite translation)

 

(All receive water poured from a common container into individual ones).

Leader: Drink the water and be in touch with your inner well of Spirituality,

the Inner Christ, the Buddha nature, that of God, your I AM.

Drink this water and recall that we and the Cosmos are one.

Rejoice in the ocean, the rivers, the lakes, and the rain.

Rejoice in the waters of your mothers’ womb.

Feel the water in your blood pulsing in your heart and veins singing:

AllALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! AMEN.

 

We do all this to remember the Prophets and Mystics, to remember our own spiritual pilgrimage and the spiritual pilgrimage of the whole human race.

We allow ourselves to be embraced by the mystery and give thanks singing:

AllALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! AMEN.

 

We return to our seats and sing

All:  WE ARE CHILDREN OF THE COSMOS

 

  1. We are children of the Cosmos,

We are subject to its laws,

subject to its laws.

We will make their celebration

Our most joyful sacred cause,

Our most joyful sacred cause.

 

  1. Every dying in the Cosmos

Forms a prelude to new birth,

prelude to new birth.

Every portion of the Cosmos

Links with all the life on Earth,

Links with all the life on Earth.

 

  1. Every star within the Cosmos

Lives within dark matter’s web,

in dark matter’s web.

We will venerate its darkness

Both its growing and its ebb,

Both its growing and its ebb.

 

  1. Each time two share a joining

Something greater has its birth,

greater has its birth,

From uniting of the atoms

Comes the substance of the Earth,

Comes the substance of the Earth.

 

  1. All the justice of the Cosmos

Acts to limit each extreme,

limit each extreme.

But the greed of our consumption

May soon kill life’s sacred stream,

May soon kill life’s sacred stream.

 

  1. As we think of all the Cosmos,

Every process and each part,

process and each part,

We decide to heed its wisdom

And plant sharing in our heart,

And plant sharing in our heart.

 

REFLECTIVE PRAYER: We link with each other by touching our neighbor on the shoulder, sharing our life-force and enfolding within it the people and causes that reflect our deep concern.

 

BLESSING:

The Earth itself is a blessing,

And we are part of Earth.

Let us rejoice in our life

and share it as a blessing with other people,

with the eco-system and the Cosmos.

For in giving blessing, we receive blessing

and in that blessing we will rest.

 

AllALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! AMEN.

Celebrating Mystery Logo

LOGO NOTE: At the heart of the mystery all the separate boxes disappear and all is one, all is love.          

Text and graphic © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

 

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