Epiphany4A.2.2.2014

Revd Rex A E Hunt


eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au

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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:

rexae74@gmail.com


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



GATHERING

Gathering Music


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)


OR


"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

Remain standing


Opening Sentences

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)


OR


We pray:

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


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.


Silence

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


EXPLORING

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.


Traditional Gospel:

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.


Contemporary Exploration HERE and HERE


Silence for Personal Reflection


AFFIRMING

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)

Introduction

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)

People sit


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:

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)



CELEBRATING

Offerings

Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,

and our gifts of brad and wine, shall now be received.


Presentation

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

The Invitation

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.


Thanksgiving

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

gratitude, compassion,

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.


Communion

The bread and the wine will be served


After Communion

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.

SCATTERING

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.

Remain standing


Parting Words

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)

Notices

Birthdays and anniversaries

Significant events

Journey candles


Music


Fellowship

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.


Web sites/Other:

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/>

rexae@optusnet.com.au