Revd Rex A E Hunt
For continuing access make sure you 'Favourite' or ‘Bookmark’ my web site:
My books, suitable for progressive religious thinkers…
• Against the Stream: Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew. Preston: Mosaic Press, 2012.
• Cards, Carols, and Claus. Christmas in Popular Culture and Progressive Christianity. Preston: Mosaic Press, 2013.
• (Edited with John W Smith) Why Weren’t We Told? A Handbook on ‘progressive’ Christianity. Salem: Polebridge Press, 2012.
• (Edited with John Smith) New Life: Rediscovering Faith. Stories from Progressive Christians. Preston: Mosaic Press, 2013.
Should you wish to purchase any, contact me direct at:
I offer them at discounted prices plus postage. (RAEH)
LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
2 February 2014. Epiphany 4A. (Green).
Celebrating Community: The Sacrament of the Lord's Style of Supper
Acknowledgement of Country
(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
Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times
As we gather together in this sacred place
may we recognise and affirm:
the pieces of possibility,
the bits of good, we bring,
allowing our individual gifts to weave a patchwork of peace.
So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.
Lighting of the Community Candle
The candle is lit
May this dancing flame inspire us to fill our lives with
the ideals of love, justice and truth (JLQuarles).
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
“Let All Beauty…” (Tune: ‘Danby’, (LM) 88 88) 46 SiF/326 SLT
Let all the beauty we have known
illuminate our hearts and minds.
Rejoice in wonders daily shown,
in faith and joy, and love that binds.
We celebrate with singing hearts
the loveliness of sky and earth,
the inspiration of the arts,
the miracle of ev’ry birth
Life’s music and its poetry
surround and bless us through our days.
For these we sing in harmony,
together giving thanks and praise. (DMcLGreeley)
"The Ceaseless Flow of Time" (Tune: 459(i) TiS, McKee 86 86) 350 SLT
The ceaseless flow of endless time
no one can check or stay;
we'll view the past with no regret,
nor future with dismay.
The present slips into the past,
and dream-like melts away;
the breaking of tomorrow's dawn
begins a new today.
The past and future ever meet
in the eternal now:
to make each day a thing complete
shall be our new year vow. JStorey
From the corners of this city,
from the confusion of life,
from the loneliness of our hearts
All Gather us, O God.
To feed our minds,
to fire our imagination,
to free our hearts
All Gather us, O God (Burgess & Polhill/e&a)
Act of Awareness
The sacred is everywhere,
At the heart of everything
That was, is, or to be...
It isn't what one says
But in what one does
That we discover where the sacred is
And is marked by peace and love. (Adapt.RHalsey)
God of surprises,
startle us with truth we do not see,
amaze us with your power and grace,
beckon us, and lead us
far above restricted hope and narrow faith.
May it be so.
Hymn “Celebrate a New Day Dawning" (Tune: 152 TiS, Joyful joyful)
Celebrate a new day dawning,
sunrise of a golden morn;
Christ Sophia dwells among us,
glorious visions now are born,
Equal partners 'round the table,
we make dreams reality;
Calling out our gifts we nurture
hope beyond all we can see.
Christ Sophia lights the pathway
to a world of harmony;
Sister Brother love surrounds us,
nourishing our synergy.
Earth joins in our rich communion,
grateful for our healing care;
Leaping deer and soaring eagles,
all earth's fullness now can share.
Sing a song of jubilation,
dance with joyous revelry,
Clapping trees and laughing rivers
join our call to liberty.
Free at last to blossom fully,
flow'ring forth in beauty bright.
We become a new creation,
bursting open into light. JAldredge-Clanton/ctl
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.
Let us take a moment to settle into the silence.
Hear and feel your quiet breathing.
Hear and feel the quiet of this place
and this community of people.
In this quiet hour may our spirits be renewed.
In this gathering of old and new friends
may we be ready to extend ourselves to those in need,
and with trust to receive the hand that is offered.
In this time of celebration, 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
Music of Reflection
Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two reading from our broad religious tradition shall be read by (NN).
From the World around us:
"Jesus: Holy Compassion"
Cynthia Langston Kirk. Living the Questions/209
Cumulus lover of all souls
Moved by agony's mountain
And those who live in the valley of despair.
Cloudlike drifter, grief stricken at a friend's tomb
Tear puddle in ancient sand.
Mindful of hidden potential, long concealed by choices and isolation,
Showering living water upon a life-parched woman.
Mist of restoration and hope
Even through the crowd's fear-induced fog,
Connecting with a woman's faith filled-touch.
Weeping, raising wing formations over Jerusalem
Inviting fledglings to find their home.
Sprinkling mercy on thieves, cowards, the hard-hearted,
And those who execute an Empire agenda.
Bursting with care and prodding over Beth-zatha
Spraying a man poolside with healing invitation.
Sweet Jesus, rain on me
Drench my soul with your heart of compassion.
Matthew 5:1-11 (Inclusive Text)
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill.
There he sat down and was joined by the disciples.
Then Jesus began to speak. This is what he taught them:
How happy are the poor in spirit:
theirs is the unfolding of the divine dream.
How happy the gentle:
they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn: they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
they shall be called beloved of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the unfolding of the divine dream.
Silence for Personal Reflection
A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
a share a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able
We celebrate that we are safe in the hands of God.
That God does not leave us alone,
All who breathes within us our life
and walks within our way.
We affirm that Jesus as Companion
truly lived as we do:
All cried out with our cry,
laughed with our laughter.
We believe that we are not defined
by the deaths that others deal us,
All and we need not be defeated
by the powers which stand against us.
We claim this peace in Christ.
All We receive this miracle from Creator God.
We celebrate this hope from Empower Spirit. (Adapt.DMcRae-McMahon/bst)
Sharing 'The Peace'
Let us take some time to celebrate each other
May a heart of peace rest in you (DGalston/q).
All And also with you.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.
Hymn “Imagining Stars” (Tune: ‘Stuttgart’, 87 87. 291 TiS) 21 SNS2
When, at night, the stars shine on us
Light years from our tiny earth,
Songs and psalms provoke the questions
Of our fragile human worth.
These gigantic specks are burning,
Balls of fire, as at play;
Stars in billions share their light and
Thus create a Milky Way.
We still gaze in raw amasement,
Contemplating timeless space;
Numerless, the stars keep stories
Hidden from our human race.
Tiny holes in heaven’s flooring
Letting light beyond shine through;
Stars invite us to imagine
What it is we cannot view.
Myst’ry strides across the canvas
Of the picture we might paint;
Sacredness is grandly present;
Let us praise without restraint (GStuart).
A COVENANT FOR NOW AND TOMORROW (Optional)
In former days, so our tradition reminds us,
God chose Israel as a people
and made a covenant with them.
In times past the early followers of Yeshua bar Yoseph
glimpsed within his life and his teachings the spirit of God.
And they covenanted together to live as he would live,
allowing that same spirit of God to be reflected in their lives.
Today we meet, as generations before us have met,
to renew all that which links us to each other,
to our community, and to that creativity we name God.
The people stand
We open our minds and hearts to the presentness of God-in-us,
Source and Sustainer of all that exists.
May God-in-us find generous and courageous expression
in our words and actions as we undertake
to make the reign of God
evident in our world
All We will value each other and seek to be
an inclusive community in which every member
is given full justice, dignity, and respect.
We give thanks for the insights we have gained
from people of various times, places, cultures and religions
whose lives have been characterised by
gratitude, compassion, generosity and forgiveness.
All We will seek to be sensitive to the lure of God
in all aspects of our personal life,
and open to discovering new hopes and dreams
for our corporate life.
Thus we commit ourselves to deepen our experience
of God’s presentness within and around us.
All We will do this in solidarity with one another,
through our communal worship,
through our spiritual journey,
through faithful action in the local community
and in honest fellowship with each other.
We commit ourselves to this congregation called (NN),
for we believe it is with and through each other
that we have been called in love to serve.
And we commit ourselves to act upon our discoveries in the faith,
for we believe we are partners together
with the Source and Sustainer of all that exists (Adapted.Morwood/pns)
Reflections and Prayers
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.
In this abundant blessing
All We share the joy.
In this, our time of need,
All May love abound (GVosper/wwg)
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 Care candle is lit
The 'Abba' Prayer:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate
All O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos
you create all that moves in light.
Hear the one Sound that created all others,
in this way the Name is hallowed in silence.
Your rule springs into existence
as our arms reach out to embrace all creation.
Let all wills move together
in your vortex, as stars and planets
swirl through the sky.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight:
subsistence for the call of growing life.
Lighten our load of secret debts as
we relieve others of their need to repay.
Keep us from hoarding false wealth,
and from the inner shame of
help not given in time. (MFox/ormw)
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of brad and wine, shall now be received.
May what we give today be blessed.
May all that we receive today
enrich our lives
and the lives of others.
CELEBRATING COMMUNITY: SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S STYLE OF SUPPER
Jesus invited all to the feast of peace and new life.
Jesus risked everything in compassion.
Jesus promised to make himself known
in the breaking of the bread.
v1 We give thanks for the wonderful gift of reflective awareness
that allows us to recognise and name
the presence of a Creative Spirit
beyond all imagining, in our universe.
All And we give thanks.
v2 Everything we have
Everything we see
Everything we do
Everyone we love and everyone who loves us
reveals this sustaining Presence
and our total dependence on it.
v3 We marvel and wonder at the size
and complexity of our universe…
We marvel and wonder at the development
of life on this planet…
We give thanks for the creative Presence
that 'energises' this life and all that exists…
v4 We recognise that human life gives this Presence
a particular way of coming to expression,
and that in us the Presence can
sing and dance,
speak and write,
love and create.
v1 Conscious that we live, move, and have our being in this Presence,
we give thanks for people throughout history
who have affirmed this loving presence in all people.
All For those who have invited people to give witness to this
by lives characterised by
generosity and forgiveness.
v1 Especially we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth.
He loved so greatly and taught so clearly and courageously,
he was able to set people free from images
and ideas and religious practices
that bound them into fear
and a false sense of separation from the Spirit of all Life.
Through him we have learned how our loving
is a sharing in the life of this Spirit.
All In him we see this Presence urging all of us
to make its creativity on earth more visible (Adapt.MMorwood/pns)
We also remember the night before he died
Jesus again shared a meal with his friends.
Through grain and grape, bread and wine,
and in fellowship together,
Jesus spoke of his enduring love for each of them.
So we take this bread and this wine
mindful of the Presence at work in our lives,
in the ordinary,
in the everyday.
Bread and Wine
Bread is broken
We break this bread in celebration of the great truth
that on this tiny planet,
hurtling through cold, empty space,
death is made the servant of life,
and out of death life is forever resurrected.
Wine poured out
This cup with its fruit of the vine,
is a celebration that things are not always as they seem:
that out of faithfulness and steadfastness,
out of suffering and sorrow,
may come unsought blessings.
The bread and the wine will be served
God of love, God of compassion,
may the celebration of the wonder
and the mystery of your Presence,
All strengthen and enable us
to be your body the church in the world.
Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"Deep in the Heart of God" (Tune: 'Tyrolese', 86 86 86 86. 235 TiS )
Deep in the heart of God there lurks
A mischief making note,
A gurgle of suppressed delight
A chuckle in the throat.
Deep in the heart of God there lies
A reservoir of pain,
A cross-marked agony of love
Filled and refilled again.
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.
So go and travel with the God
who is found in ordinary and surprising places.
The community candle is extinguished
May the quality of our lives be our benediction.
All And a blessing to all whom we touch. (PRGiles)
Words of Blessing
Go now, into the world God loves so much,
to bear the fruit of love.
Go in peace and with delight
for God the source of life and love goes with us.
In this is great blessing!
All Amen! May it be so in us!
Hymn (Cont) "Deep in the Heart of God" (Tune: 'Tyrolese', 86 86 86 86. 235 TiS )
God of our laughter and our tears,
Transcending human thought,
You share our fun in life, our fears,
By incarnation brought:
Father of Jesus Christ, the clown,
Whose Spirit gives us breath,
Hear us, who look to you to crown
Our merriment, our death. IFraser/ea
The people sit after the hymn
'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in the moment 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:
Burgess, R; C. Polhill. 2004. Eggs and Ashes. Practical & liturgical resources for Lent and Holy Week. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2005. Entertaining Angels. A worship anthology on sharing Christ’s hospitality. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2002. Courage to Love. An anthology of inclusive worship material. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
Duncan, G. (ed). 2001. Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A worship resource for advent, christmas and epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Fox, M. 2000. One River, Many Wells. Wisdom springing from global faiths. New York. Tarcher/Penguin Publishing.
Halsey, R. Voices from the Void. Singapore: Trafford Publishing, 2012.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. 2004. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed). 2009. Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-Exclusive Communities. In circulation from the author.
McRae-McMahon, D. 2003. Rituals for Life, Love and Loss. Paddington. Jane Curry Publishing.
Morwood, M. 2003. Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993. Boston. UUA.
(SNS2) Stuart, G. 2009. Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Volume 2. NSW: Toronto. G Stuart.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Ward, H.; J. Wild, J Morley. (ed). 1995. Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK.
Quarles, Giles, Belcher. UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
"Jesus: Holy Compassion" By Cynthia Langston Kirk. Published in D M Felten & J Procter-Murphy. Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity. NY: HarperOne, 2012.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <http://www.questcentre.ca/>