Epiphany5A.5.2.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

International eMail: rexae74@gmail.com
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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
5 February 2017. Epiphany 5A. (Green).

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

Creativity God fills this place of gathering.
The whole earth is full of God's glory.
All  
Amen. Again I say Amen.

Let us then celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

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
"Ever Wondrous(Tune: 'Vesper Hymn’)         1 SiF
From the land and sea ascending
rises yet another day;
rays of sun shine bright upon us
waking life along our way.
Refrain:
Ever wondrous, ever glorious,
ever awesome, Amen.
Hearts are filled with humble worship,
Songs of praising without end.

Now on land and sea descending
closes yet another day;
moon and stars shine bright upon us,
darkness has its velvet sway.
Refrain:

Through the ages, earth and ocean
team with life both great and small;
let us take our place with honour
humbly live as part of all.
Refrain:   (Words © Scott Kearns 2008, Inspired by those of Samuel Longfellow, 1859)

OR

We Thank You God…” (Tune: ‘Wareham’, 88 88)     19 (v1-4) WNC
We thank you God for those who know
your depth of wisdom in their lives,
whose pride or power do not prevent
the love of Christ from being shown.

We thank you for the scholar's skill,
the learning that is honed and trained,
the gifts, that given, now are used
for good, for care, for love, for all.

We thank you for the poet's art
that offers prophecy and light,
which through the rhythm of the words
remains with us when thoughts depart.

We thank you for the dancing form
that pirouettes with grace and skill,
that weaves a pattern through the air
and challenges our static norm.
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
We are called to celebrate and worship,
not just by words spoken, 
but also by miracles recalled: 
All  
a baby's first cry,
the petals of a rose,
mist-covered hills,
the restless tides of the seas,
human love,
human hope.

We respond:
All  with gratitude,
with joy,
with wonder,
at life's boundless possibilities.  (Adapted. Gordon B McKeeman)

Act of Awareness
Each morning brings a newness that we need but step into.
It can wash us,
lift us,
heal us,
hold us
just as each of us has need.

May we be open to the power that lies dormant within us.
May we be full with a confidence in our own strength.
May we move from the routines that we follow
to the fullness of life that we might live.  
(Gretta Vosper/hb)

OR

We pray:
Creativity God, you have made us one with this earth,
to tend it and bring forth fruit;
may we share in the labour of all creation
to give birth to your hidden glory.
May it be so.

Hymn  “Give Respect to Humankind(Tune: ‘Warrington’, 88 88)     60 SNS2
Giving respect to humankind
Is wise and good for there we find
Images of the God we praise
And love expressed in countless ways.

Giving respect to humankind
Can help us all to leave behind
Thoughts of revenge and words of spite;
Can prompt resolve to re-unite.

Giving respect to humankind
Arises from our heart and mind;
As we reflect on those we know
May caring thoughts have constant flow.

Giving respect to humankind
Is Jesus' theme; His word defined
How we might live affirming all
The human beauty in us all.

So let us honour humankind
With God's own image, so combined,
We find ourselves equipped to prize
The gentle, lovely, kind and wise.  (George Stuart)

OR

Hymn (Cont)  We Thank You God… (Tune: ‘Wareham’, 88 88)     19 (v5-8) WNC
We thank you for the singing soul
that soars to some harmonious height
above, beyond our human sense,
and glimpses heaven, almost whole.

We thank you for incisive sight
that analyses and discerns,
through science, patterns that inform
predictions, actions we repeat.

We thank you, God, for light and sound
with which we interact and move;
for singing colours, thrumming beat,
that thrill, that shake the solid ground.

We thank you, God, for all the gifts
of human spirit, skill and mind;
O may indifference never numb
our sense of awe at love so deft.  (Andrew Pratt)
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.

CENTERING

Meditation
“Meditation for a Beautiful Day”
By Sara Campbell

Ah, how beautiful is this day.
How crisp and clean the air.
How clear the sky.
How full of life the teeming earth.
And we are alive!

Yes, we feel the beat of our own hearts,
the pulsing of life in our veins,
the rhythm of our breathing.
We come into the silence of this time with gratitude for this day.
We come also with our needs.

Our gratitude stirs us to praise and sing our thanksgiving.
Our loneliness draws us into the company of others.
Our restlessness draws us into these moments of quiet.
Our longing for the spirit brings us before the mystery of the holy.
Our desire to heal our own wounds and the wounds of our world
brings us here to renew our strength and hope.

And we come into this space because we have gifts to share:
words of healing and encouragement for those who are burdened;
 songs of praise and hope;
smiles of comfort and affection;
deeds of love and kindness.

Each of us comes to dip into the well that nourishes our hungry spirits.
Each of us comes with our own cup of goodness to pour into the well.
We drink together.

May we be strengthened in our bonds of love and peace.

Silence
A period of silence is kept

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition,
will now be read by (NN) and (NN).

The World Around us:
“Our Highest Aspiration”
Anonymous.
Singing the Living Tradition/434.

May we be reminded here of our highest aspirations,
and inspired to bring our gifts of
love and service
to the altar of
humanity.

May we know once again that we
are not isolated beings
but connected,
in mystery and
miracle,
to the universe,
to this community and to 
other.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 5:13-16 (Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again?
It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out
to be trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world.
A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub;
they put it on a lamp-stand where it shines
for everyone in the house.

In the same way your light must shine in the sight of all,
so that, seeing your good works, they
may give praise to God in heaven.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection

CELEBRATING

A Celebration of Faith  (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on let us stand and share
a celebration of faith.
People stand as they are able

We celebrate a God
All  who lives and speaks in sunsets,
in love-wrapped gifts,
and fleeting butterflies.

We celebrate a Christ
All  
who honoured our humanness,
who climbed trees,
skinned knees;
who laughed and cried,
loved and wept, bled and died.

We celebrate a Spirit,
All  
who mystically joins us
to people everywhere,
and incorporates us into Christ.

We celebrate a church,
All  
seeking, however imperfectly,
to act justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with our God.  (Adapted. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/eoj)

OR

v1  In the centre of the whirlwind
lies an eye.
Still
Open.
Calm.
v2  Before we come into the world,
it is as though we live in that centre —
no worries,
no storms;
only peace.
All  As we find our way in life,
even in the midst of chaos,
may we remember that centre and,
as the need arises,
and it must,
may we hold
to the calm, open, stillness,
knowing it is home.

v1  As those who walk the winds,
v2  we journey on.  (Gretta Vosper/wab)

Sharing '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.  (Iona)
All  Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn People stand as they are able, to sing
When All the Good…(Tune: ‘Killibegs’, William Davies)    43 PaT
When all the good is gathered up,
when all the pain is gathered, too,
then will an energy be born
to spark a world alight and new!

When all the spirit of the good
absorbs our sufferings and fears,
then will an energy arrive
that grows creation out of tears.

Within a chemistry of change,
within the heart of all that beats
will be the energy of love
that nothing quenches or defeats.

Where all the elements combine
to fire new truth, to foster joy,
set loose that energy of love
to be in us God’s strong alloy!

When goodness takes the place of gold,
when pain of war, of word and fist
becomes the energy of hope,
then peace and justice will have kissed.  
(Shirley Erena Murray)

AFFIRMING

Offerings
Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.

Presentation
In our giving, may our hearts be opened,
our hands unclenched, our ears unclogged, and our eyes opened
that we may feel and touch and taste and see
the breath and play of Creativity God in our midst.

With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat

Conversation

"Somewhere someone"

The kingdom of love is coming because:
All  somewhere someone is kind when others are unkind,
somewhere someone shares with another in need,
somewhere someone refuses to hate, while others hate,
somewhere someone is patient - and waits in love,
somewhere someone returns good for evil,
somewhere someone serves another, in love,
somewhere someone is calm in a storm,
somewhere someone is loving everybody.
Is that someone you? (jke)

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:
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
All  
May our words reflect the yearnings of our hearts.
And may the spirit that binds within us as we gather
All  Hallow each and every passing moment
we know here together.  (Adapted. Gretta Vosper/ab)

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  God - heart of the world: 
revealed through every aspect of creation:
understood through our awareness.

May we honour the holiness of creation and act accordingly
so that your love is reflected in the way we live.

May we always be thankful for the food we eat
and the friends we have.

May we forgive those who transgress against us
and be forgiven for our own.

In the freedom of love may we live as your heartbeat
and not be compromised by hesitation.
Through our freedom, may your justice
be seen and heard and experienced
forever and ever. Amen.  (Sherri J Weinberg)

SCATTERING

Hymn  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"The Sound of History Humming" (Tune: Aurelia', 76 76D)     5 (v1-2) RP
The sound of history humming,
the origins of time,
as galaxies are clustered,
as light and matter rhyme:
philosophers imagine
while science gathers facts,
we reach for understanding,
yet what we know contracts.

We delve beyond the present
through interstellar gas;
we fathom, seek to measure,
a sub-atomic mass.
The God that we conceive of,
a thief within the night:
we cannot gauge this treasure,
beyond the scale of light.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us go in faith to ponder in our hearts
the mystery and the wonder of this season…
The Community Candle is extinguished

And now we take our leave.
All  
Before we gather here again:
may each of us bring happiness into another's life;
may we each be surprised by the gifts that surround us;
may each of us be enlivened by constant curiosity.
And may we remain together in spirit
til the hour we meet again.  BCheatham

Words of Blessing
May the God who dances in creation,
who embraces us with human love,
who shakes our lives like thunder,
bless us and drive us out with power
to fill the world with her justice.
All
Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont) "The Sound of History Humming" (Tune: ‘Aurelia', 76 76D)   5 (v3) RP
As yet the mystery blinds us,
confined by birth and death,
but human exploration
will not discard the quest;
as yet we live in tension:
the only earth we know
is where all skill and science
must help our love to grow.  (© Andrew Pratt)
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:
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed). Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-Exclusive Communities. In circulation from the author, 2009.
(PaT) Murray, S. E. A Place at the Table. New Hymns written between 2009 and 2013. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2013.
(RP) Pratt, A.
Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2006.
(WNC) Pratt, A.
Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2002.
(SNS) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart, 2009.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Vosper, G.
We All Breathe. Poems and Prayers. Toronto. PostPurgical Resources, 2012.
Vosper, G.
Holy Breath. Prayers for Worship and Reflection. New & Revised edition. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2004/2010.
Vosper, G. 
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.

Web sites/Other:
Campbell, McKeeman, Cheatham, UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Sherri Weinberg. St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport. (2004)

rexae74@gmail.com