Epiphany4A.29.1.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

International eMail: rexae74@gmail.com
For continuing access make sure you 'Favourite' or ‘Bookmark’ my web site: 
www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


My books, suitable for progressive religious thinkers…
• Against the Stream: Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew. 
Preston: Mosaic Press/Morning Star Publishing, 2012/2013.
• Cards, Carols, and Claus. Christmas in Popular Culture and Progressive Christianity. 
Preston: Mosaic Press/Morning Star Publishing, 2013.
• When Progressives Gather Together: Liturgy, Lectionary, Landscape… And Other Explorations. 
Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2016.
• (Edited with John W. H. Smith). Why Weren’t We Told? A Handbook on ‘progressive’ Christianity
Salem: Polebridge Press, 2012.
• (Edited with John W. H. Smith). New Life: Rediscovering Faith. Stories from Progressive Christians. 
Preston: Mosaic Press/Morning Star Publishing, 2013/2014.
• (Edited with Gregory C. Jenks). Wisdom & Imagination: Religious Progressives and the Search for Meaning
Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2014.

Should you wish to purchase any, contact me direct at:
rexae74@gmail.com
And check out the Book Reviews and how to Purchase them.

Suggestion: ’Refresh’ each page before reading - especially if you are using Google Chrome - to make sure to get my latest edition


LITURGY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE
29 January 2017. Epiphany 4A. (Green).
Celebrating Community: The Sacrament of the Lord's Style of Supper

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


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 Community Candle is lit

May this dancing flame inspire us to fill our lives with
the ideals of love, justice and truth (JLQuarles).

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 the 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

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.
(Dana McL Greeley)

OR

"The Ceaseless Flow of Time(Tune: 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.   
John Storey
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. (Adapted. Robert Halsey)

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: '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

OR

We Are The Earth…(Tune: ‘Ein’ Feste Burg’, 87 87 66 66 7)    30 SLT
We are the earth upright and proud;
in us the earth is knowing.
It’s winds are music in our mouths,
in us its rivers flowing.
The sun is our hearth-fire;
warm with the earth’s desire,
and with its purpose strong,
we sing earth’s pilgrim song;
in us the earth is growing.

We lift our voices, fill the skies
with our exultant singing.
We dedicate our minds and hearts,
to order, beauty bringing.
Our labor is our strength;
our love will win at length;
our minds will find the ways
to live in peace and praise.
Our day is just beginning. (Kenneth L Patton)
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 now 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”
By 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.

OR

“Sermon on the Mount: A Theology of Resistance"
Lindsay Paris-Lopez. 9 February 2017, patheos.com

“How are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the ones who hunger and thirst for justice, blessed? Jesus blessed the people on the margins of his culture by embracing them, showing solidarity with them, building a community in which those who had always been shunned were welcomed and loved. 

“As the body of Christ, we are called to be that blessing. Of course, this means we must stand with the immigrants and refugees who seek opportunity or simply survival in our nation, but it also means we must stand with those who mourn their loved ones in the wake of our government’s drone attacks. Suffering far outlasts any administration, and our commitment to the needs of those suffering must transcend partisanship. 

“One problem with connecting advocacy to partisan political outrage is that often the needs of the people get lost in the desire to “win.” Jesus’s vision of healing a world in pain begins with blessing, not blame, so that we may keep our focus on those in need of comfort. Where rivalry crushes victims, compassion recognizes them and enters into their pain.”

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.

OR

"The Jesus Creed”
(A responsive reading based on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-9)
By Lorraine Parkinson. The World According to Jesus...

All  I believe in Jesus’ vision of the best kind of world
made known to us in his teaching.
v1  Jesus said:
Fortunate are the humble—minded;
All  they will live in the best possible world.

v2  Fortunate are the mournful;
All  they will face the future with strength.

v1  Fortunate are the non-violent;
All  they will govern the earth.

v2  Fortunate are those whose passion is for justice;
All  they will receive justice.

v1  Fortunate are the compassionate;
All  they will receive compassion.

v2  Fortunate are the undivided in heart;
All  they will commit to the way of Jesus.

v1  Fortunate are the peacemakers;
All  they will forgive and reconcile humanity.

v2  Fortunate are those in danger for living Jesus’ way:
All   they will be freed from fear to follow him…
And I believe that all who follow him 
will create a world according to Jesus.

OR

Christmas Beatitudes
By Carter Heyward. Radical Discipleship, December 2016

Blessed are those who are kind, especially when it’s hard

Blessed are those angry for justice in situations of unfairness and oppression,

Blessed are the compassionate in times of hatred,

Blessed are those who speak honestly when pummeled by lies — and who seek truth when confronted by fake news,

Blessed are those who keep their courage in the face of belligerent bullies,

Blessed are women who stand up to abusive men — and men who stand with, not on, women,

Blessed are the queer who do not walk straight and narrow paths,

Blessed are black lives — and white lives who know that black lives matter,

Blessed are the earth and animals among those indifferent to their well-being,

Blessed are non-violent resisters whose enemies hope you will pick up guns,

Blessed are you when people shake their heads because you refuse to accept authoritarian rulers as “normal,”

Blessed are you peacemakers who refuse cheap grace,

You are daughters and sons of the Sacred,
brothers and sisters of Jesus,
friends of the Spirit,
Salaam. Shalom. Peace.

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.  (Adapted. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/bst)

Sharing 'The Peace
Let us take some time to celebrate each other

May a heart of peace rest in you (David Galston/q).
All And also with you.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn  People stand as they are able, to sing
Imagining Stars“”
(Tune: ‘Stuttgart’, 87 87)   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 amazement,
Contemplating timeless space;
Numberless, 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.  (George Stuart).

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 as they are able

The Covenant
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.

Therefore… 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. Michael 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.  (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take a 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 the new possibilities of the now.

The 'Abba' Prayer: (Optional)
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.  (Matthew Fox/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 the sage 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. 
(Adapted. Michael Morwood/pns)

We also remember how Jesus shared meals with his friends.
Through grain and grape, bread and wine,
and in fellowship together,
he 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

Breaking this bread
we confess 
our dependence upon,
our participation in
the world of nature.
Breaking this loaf
we confess our dependence upon,
our responsibility for
the community of life

Wine poured out

Pouring out this wine
we commemorate
men and women of all ages
who have poured themselves
into the  search for beauty,
for truth, for goodness and love…

Who have brought us closer to each other,
who have brought us closer
to that Great Love
the generations have sometimes named
God.  (Adapted. David & Beverley Bumbaugh/tcb)

Communion
The bread and the wine will be served to all who wish to receive

SCATTERING

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"Deep in the Heart of God" (Tune: 'Tyrolese', 86 86 86 86)
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. (P R Giles)

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)
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.  Ian Fraser/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 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:
Burgess, R. & C. Polhill. Eggs and Ashes. Practical and Liturgical Resources for Lent and Holy Week. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2004.
Duncan, G. (ed). Entertaining Angels. A Worship Anthology on sharing Christ’s hospitality. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2005.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Courage to Love. An Anthology of Inclusive Worship Material. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2002.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Shine On, Star of Bethlehem. A worship resource for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2001.
(FFS)
Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a new day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Fox, M.
One River, Many Wells. Wisdom springing from global faiths. New York. Tarcher/Penguin Publishing, 2000.
Halsey, R.
Voices from the Void. Singapore: Trafford Publishing, 2012.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed).
Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-Exclusive Communities. In circulation from the author, 2009.
McRae-McMahon, D.
Rituals for Life, Love and Loss. Paddington. Jane Curry Publishing, 2003.
Morwood, M.
Praying a New Story. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2003.
Parkinson, L. The World According to Jesus: His Blueprint for the Best Possible World. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2011.
Seaburg, C. (ed). The Communion Book. Boston. UUMA, 1993
(SLT)
Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
(SNS2) Stuart, G.
Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Volume 2. NSW: Toronto. G Stuart, 2009.
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).
Celebrating Women. New edition. London. SPCK, 1995.

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/>

rexae74@gmail.com