Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au

Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


16 January 2011. Epiphany2A. (White).

Celebrating community: Sacrament of the Lord's style of Supper

Acknowledgement of land

(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 music

Entry into celebration

The gong is sounded three times

In this world of differences

we are challenged to see the sacred

in many faces and many traditions (GVosper/hb).

So let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life

in the presentness of God.

Lighting of the community candle

The candle is lit

With heat and light, the Great Radiance blazed forth

With heat and light, ancestral stars fused atoms,

exploding in awesome power

With heat and light, the fire on our Ancestors’ hearth cooked their food

With heat and light, modern scientists harnessed new energy sources

With heat and light, we light our flame today,

looking toward a sustainable future (Adapt.JCH. Public domain)

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing

Epiphany hymn(Tune: “Highwood”, 11 10 11 10, 617 TiS)

Deep in the darkness a starlight is gleaming,

Calling us out from the safety of home.

God of the questions, the mystery of dreaming,

Lighten our journey into the unknown.

Out of the darkness the voices are crying,

Terror and fear screaming loud in the night.

God of the hurting, of innocence dying,

Fire us with anger to struggle for right.

Still in the darkness we search for your healing,

Hoping for meaning to comfort our fear.

God of the silence, of unspoken feeling,

Teach us the wisdom to make your truth clear.

On through the darkness we follow your leading,

Searching for joy and a refuge to stay.

God of our longing, the bliss we are seeking,

journey with us to the brightness of day. JBerry/ssb

Remain standing

Opening sentences

O God true source of humanity,

mother and father of us all

you renew us so we may grow like you.

All We gather together:

from corner or limelight,

from fears or from sadness,

from hope or from gladness

in close relationships

or from separate lives.

All We gather together:

who long for the company,

the levelling and the deepest joys,

found in your presence.

All We gather together:

to meet you,

to celebrate your love,

and to rejoice in the possibilities that arise

when we honour all the diversity of our humanity.

All We gather together - with you. (Adapt. St James Church, London)

Prayer of awareness

We pray:

Spirit of Life, bless us through this day

and through this life, till this day ends,

and a new day dawns.


Hymn Playful God(Tune: ‘Joyful God’. 77 87)   75 RP

Playful God, you laugh and dance

at every indication

that we have caught a glimpse, a glance

of magic in creation.

Tearful God, you weep and mourn,

you share our desolation;

in every doubt, in pain and grief,

we need your consolation.

Joyful God, we praise your name

in every situation.

Your love will even live through death,

you promise resurrection.

Mighty God, creative heart

and source of our elation,

accept our praise, our lives, our all,

our ceaseless adoration. APratt

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.


It is through the simple things of life

that we are nourished.

In silence and celebration, our

spirits are nourished.


May we find in the simplicity of the silent time together

nourishment for this moment in time,

and may we sense connection with those

whom we share it in this sacred space (Adapt.GVosper/ab).



Readings from our broad religious tradition

Two readings from our broad religious tradition

shall be read by (NN).


Matthew 2:1-12 (Inclusive Text)

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea

during the reign of Herod, some wise ones

came to Jerusalem from the east.

‘Where is the newborn ruler of the Jews?’ they asked.

‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do homage.’

At this news Herod became greatly disturbed,

and all Jerusalem as well.

Herod called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,

and inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they said,

‘for this is what the prophet wrote:

And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judaea

you are by no means least among the leaders of Judaea,

for out of you will come a leader

who will shepherd my people Israel.’

Then Herod summoned the wise one, asked them privately

the exact date on which the star had appeared,

and sent them to Bethlehem.

‘Go and find out all about the child, and

when you have found this child, let me know,

so that I too may go and do homage.’

Having listened to what Herod had to say, they set out.

And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising;

it went forward and halted over the place

where the child was.

The sight of the star filled them with delight, and

going into the house they saw the child with his mother, Mary,

and falling to their knees they did homage.

They opening their treasures, they offered gifts of

gold and frankincense and myrrh.

But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod,

and returned to their own country by a different way.


John 1:29-34 (Inclusive Text)

Seeing Jesus coming toward him, John said,

'Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

'This is the one I spoke of when I said,

One is coming after me

who ranks before me and existed before me.

Who it was, I did not know,

and yet it was to reveal the one coming to Israel

that I cam baptising with water.'

John also declared,

'I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove

and resting on this one.

'I myself did not know who it was,

but the one who sent me to baptise with water had said to me,

'The one on whom you see the Spirit

come down and rest is the one

who is going to baptises with the Holy Spirit.

'Yes, I have seen and I am the witness 

that this is the Chosen One of God.' 


Music of reflection

From the world around us:

"Four different pictures"

By John Bell. He was in the world/71. (Adapted)

v1 He was watched by shepherds.

He is lying in wool;

he is gurgling, laughing, crying,

wetting himself,

wearying his mother.

It is a very old man who recognises

the very young baby -

v2 This child has been chosen by God

for the destruction of some

and the salvation of many.


v1 He is speaking in the synagogue.

He is preaching from the prophets;

he is discovering how his words

do not please religious people.

v3 Who does he think he is?

v4 I think we've heard enough!

v3 Let's show him the door!

v4 Let's show him the hill!


v1 He is walking through the streets

which most decent folk avoid.

He is listening to the cries

of all those who go unheard -

v2 Touch me, Jesus.

v3 Heal me, Jesus.

v4 Jesus, let me see again.

v5 It's my child, Jesus!


v1 He is confronting his fiercest critics.

They have tongues as sharp as razors.

They have plans

in case their tongues are not enough.

v3 Why do you eat with the riff-raff?

v4 Why do they call you God's son?

v3 Why do you violate our traditions?

v4 Why don't you take us seriously?

v5 Judas... Judas... we've got a job for you.


v1 This is him: from Bethlehem to Bethany

from Jerusalem to Jericho

from Capernaum to Calvary

from Golgotha to the grave

from heaven to hell and back again;

saying: I am the way... follow me

I am the truth... believe me

I am the life... receive me.

Contemporary word

And another, from Walter Brueggemann

Silence for personal reflection


An Epiphany litany

People are invited to remain seated

v3 When a star in the sky marked where

the new ‘King of the Jews’ had been born,

wise ones came to Jerusalem looking for him.

Like the wise ones we ask

All Where can we find you, Lord?

v1 They brought to the child, with his mother Mary,

their most precious gifts and worshipped him.

We have no treasure to offer, nor any star to guide us.

We bring only devotion to your will.

Like the wise ones we ask

All Where can we find you, Lord?

v2 Do we look for someone who is rich and powerful,

living in a five-star hotel,

or for the One who had nowhere to lay his head?

Like the wise ones we ask

All Where can we find you, Lord?

v3 Are you in the crowded shops during the post-Christmas sales?

Will we find you in the endless round of pre-Christmas

office parties, or squatting homeless in some condemned building?

Like the wise ones we ask

All Where can we find you, Lord?

v1 You were in the world but they did not know you.

You came to your own and they did not receive you.

There was no room for you at the inn.

Is there any room for you in our hearts?

Like the wise ones we ask

All Where can we find you, Lord? (Iona Community/cfc)

The peace

Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace

and of our shared friendship.

The peace of God is here... to stay.

All Thanks be to God.

You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn God of unexplored tomorrows(Tune: ‘Marching’, 87 87. 165 TiS)  27 FFS

God of unexplored tomorrows,

of today and yesterday,

God of rock and flowing river,

be our refuge, be our way.

Guardian rock above, before us,

strong foundation where we build,

landmark through the haze of doubting,

shelter where our fears are stilled,

Be the cleansing, quenching water,

irrigate, disturb and move,

stir us from our easy shallows,

current of refreshing love.

God of rock and flowing river

now and ever with us stand,

to transform our land of promise

into each one's promised land. BJones


Reflections and prayers

Care candle:

We are people of all ages who enter this space

bringing our joys and concerns.

Joys and concerns shared.

Listening response:

As one heart is lifted

All May we share its celebration

As one heart is burdened

All May we share the pain it knows (GVosper/wwg)

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful

of the presentness of God among us,

and to see the new possibilities of the now.

The Care candle is lit

Pastoral prayers:

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)



In all the colours and scents and sounds of the world,

we see God's signature as the beauty of things (Abbott/sc).


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

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

The presentation  The people stand as they ae able, as the gifts are brought forward

As a sign of hope in the world we offer these gifts

of bread, wine and money.

May we and these be used to further the ways

of love, hope, and justice in our world.

Offerings/bread and wine are placed on table.


God of the summer’s day,

All Praise and wonder be.
God of the lingering sunset and early dawn,

All Praise and wonder be.

God of the hot north wind and the refreshing shower,

God of the shady tree and the cool water bag,

God of the ripening harvest and sparkling sea,

All Praise and wonder be.

The people sit

We gather together

conscious that raising our hearts and minds

is a gift of the Spirit of Life at work

in the depths of our being.

All For the presence of that Spirit in us,

we give thanks.

We gather together conscious that our celebration

gives the Spirit a way of breaking into word and song

unique in all the universe.

All For the words and songs within each of us,

we give thanks.

And so we offer our thanks and praise

inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness

to move freely in our words and actions.

All Holy, holy, holy, celebrating God,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.

All Hosanna in the highest.

Jesus is the story we gather around and give thanks for.

Human like us, he discerned 

where this Spirit of Life is found:

in the everyday,

in human interaction,

in caring,

in sharing,

in being neighbour.

He urged people to work together

to establish the 'reign of God'

by wholehearted generosity,

by eliminating boundaries between people,

by trust in the goodness of people,

and by working for peace and justice

in all human endeavours.

All We remember his total commitment

to living fully and loving totally

and his faith in a God to be trusted

whatever twists life could take

in this imperfect world. (Adapt/MMorwood/pns)

We also remember the tradition...

On 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.

Bread and wine

Bread is broken.  Wine poured out.


And they recognised him in the breaking of the bread.

Bread and wine served around the Table in small groups

After communion

May the life and the teachings of Jesus

motivate all that we do, so that what we profess

to have seen in his life and heard in his teaching

might be evident in our living and loving


Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing

Sing of a sacred circle(Tune: ‘Sacred circle', 75 65)  23 (v1-2) TMT

Sing of a sacred circle

round the sky and earth,

binding plants and creatures,

linking death and birth.

Sing of that ring of mystery,

changed by fearsome greed;

pawned for Judas silver,

sold for idols' needs.

Remain standing

Words of mission

Let us take on this week’s life with

renewed hope and imagination...

The community candle is extinguished

v1 May this ending be our beginning.

All Let us begin, again and again,

to wonder, and

to cherish, and

to act,

v1 so that at day's end we will be content

All knowing that we have given our all to life MHachten-Cotter

Blessing words

Blessed be.

In the name of all that is good and growing,

In the name of all that is loving and living,

In the name of all that fires our passion,

Blessed be.

All Blessed be. (JBerry/wb)


Hymn (Cont)Sing of a sacred circle(Tune: ‘Sacred circle', 75 65)  2 (v3-4) TMT

See how a people's loving

greens the Mammon ring;

hear the people's sharing,

help creation sing.

Sing of the Gospel ring-time;

love embracing earth;

vibrant sphere of our living,

circle death and birth (WWallace)

The people sit after the hymn

'This week' at (NN)


Birthdays and anniversaries

Significant events

Journey candles



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:

Abbott, M. 2001.  Sparks of the cosmos. Rituals for seasonal use. SA: Unley. MediaCom Education.

Bell, J. L. 1995.  He was in the world. Meditations for public worship. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.

Duncan, G. (ed). 2001.  Shine on, star of bethlehem. A worship resource for advent, christmas and epiphany. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.

Duncan, G. (ed). 2000.  A world of blessing. Benedictions from every continent and many cultures. GtB: Norwich. The Canterbury Press.

(FFS) Faith forever singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.

Fox, M. 2000.  One river, many wells. Wisdom springing from global faiths. NY: New York. Tarcher/Penguin Publishing.

Inclusive readings. Year A. 2004. QLD: Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.

Iona Community. 2001.  Iona abbey worship book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.

Morwood, M. 2003.  Praying a new story. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.

(RP) Pratt, A. 2006.  Reclaiming praise. Hymns from a spiritual journey. GtB: London. Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Prewer, B. D. 1983.  Australian prayers. SA: Adelaide. OpenBook Publishers.

(SLT) Singing the living tradition. 1993.  MA: Boston. UUA.

Vosper, G. 2004/2010.  Holy Breath. Prayers for worship and reflection. New & Revised edition. QLD: Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.

Vosper, G. 2008.  With or without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.

(TMT) Wallace, W. L. 2001.  The mystery telling. Hymns and songs for the new millennium. NY: Kingston. Selah Publishing.

Wild Goose Worship Group. 1997.  Cloth for the cradle. Worship resources and readings for advent, christmas & epiphany. GtB: Glasgow. Iona Community.

Web sites:

Hatchen-Cotter. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>