Epiphany7A.19.2.2017

Revd Rex A E Hunt

International eMail:  rexae74@gmail.com
For continuing access make sure you 'Favourite' or ‘Bookmark’ my web site:
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My books, suitable for progressive religious thinkers…
When Progressives Gather Together: Liturgy, Lectionary, Landscape… And Other Explorations.
Melbourne: Morning Star Publishing, 2016.
• 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.
• (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
19 February 2017. Epiphany7A. (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, gender, cultural background or sexual orientation


GATHERING

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

There is, under the mystery that is ‘us’,
a deep, abiding sense of oneness.

As we gather and celebrate today, may we
be filled with an awareness of that oneness,
and may it soak into and through
the whole of our living.  (Adapt. Gretta Vosper/hb)

So, at this time and in this place,
let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

Our light may seem small and flickering,
but it bears the flame to another and another,
just as the flame of love is passed
from person to person.  (PBrooks/li.Adapt)

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 Colourful Creator (Tune: ‘Houghton’, 65 65D)  190 TiS
Colourful Creator, God of mystery,
thank you for the artist teaching us to see
glimpses of the meaning of the commonplace,
visions of the holy in each human face.

Harmony of ages, God of listening ear,
thank you for composers tuning us to hear
echoes of the Gospel in the songs we sing,
sounds of love and longing from the deepest spring

Author of our journey, God of near and far,
praise for tale and drama telling who we are,
stripping to the essence struggles of our day,
times of change and conflict when we choose our way.

God of truth and beauty, Poet of the Word,
may we be creators by the Spirit stirred,
open to your presence in our joy and strife,
vessels of the holy coursing through our life.  (Ruth C Duck)

Opening Sentences
As we gather together this morning
may we learn to recognise and affirm
the pieces of possibility we bring.
All  
May we allow and encourage our individual gifts
to weave a patchwork of inclusiveness:

Wm   the soft deep blue of sensitivity and understanding;
Mn   the red energy of creativity;
Wm   the white heat of convictions;
Mn   the risky, fragile green of new growth;
Wm   the golden flashes of gratitude;
Mn   the warm rose of love.

Together, in our gathered diversity, we form the whole.
All  So be it.  (Brian Wienecke)

Act of Awareness
We bow to the sacred in all creation.
May my spirit fill the world with beauty and wonder.
May my mind seek truth with humility and openness.
May my heart forgive without limit.
And may my imagination overcome death and despair
with new possibility.  
(Adapted. MLKownacki/wsj)

OR

We pray:
Awesome and gracious God,
the creativity that brings us to life and sustains us,
may we become what is in our power to become,
this day, and throughout the coming week.
May it be so.

HymnCome Celebrate…(Tune: ‘Gift of Life’, Colin Gibson)    17 HoS
Come celebrate the gift of life:
creation’s journey from the star
whose first great flaring forth of light
responded to God’s word of power.
Enable us, O God, to see
your living word is in us still;
this vibrant possibility
within our human lives fulfil.

Come celebrate the gift of love,
potential in each human soul,
revealed by Jesus as he strove
to heal our world and make us whole.
Enable us, O God, to choose
beyond the inborn needs of self;
in loving, be prepared to lose
our boundaries, and find new life.

Come celebrate the gift of power:
the flow of God within each soul,
which calls us in this present hour
to see creation as a whole.
Enable us, O God, to know
your life is present in all things;
and may our lives, within that flow,
reflect the joy creation sings.  (Margaret Bond)
The people sit.

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
As we now settle into the sacred silence of this place,
may our truest selves transcend the
dissonance of daily distractions.
(Silence)

And all our living away from this time,
be joined to the spirialing, infinite dance
pulsing unseen throughout the universe.
So may it be.  (MKCapo)
(Silence)

Music of Reflection

EXPLORING

Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.

From Other Traditions:
"May We Awaken"
Kabir. Worship in the Spirit of Jesus/127

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!

Think... and think... while you are alive.

What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death.
If you don't break your robes while you are alive,
Do you think
Ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
Just because the body is rotten -
That is all fantasy.

What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
You will simply end up with an apartment in the city of Death
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life
You will have the face of satisfied desire.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 5: 38-48   
(Translated and paraphrased by Harry T. Cook)

Jesus said,
"You know that it used to be said,
'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'

"But I say do not resist.
If someone hits you on your right cheek,
turn the other to him, and if any one threatens to sue you to get your shirt,
just give it to him along with your coat;
and if someone forces you to go one mile, go the second voluntarily.

"You also have heard that you should love your neighbor but hate your enemy.
Wrong.  I'm telling you to love your enemies,
for if you love people who love you, so what?

"Try to be mature instead of infantile.
Don't be a Gentile.
Be a Jew." 

Contemporary Exploration
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

Silence for Private Reflection

A Credo for Progressive Christians (Optional)
v1  We worship and adore God,
All  source, essence, and aim of all things,
spirit that enlivens all beings.

v1  We follow the way of Jesus, who found God in himself
and shared a way for others to find God in themselves.
All
 He was born through love,
He lived for love,
He suffered for love,
He died for love,
But love never dies.

v1  We submit ourselves to the leadings of the love that is God,
All  that we may be compassionate to all beings,
that we may live and serve in community with others,
that we may ask for and offer forgiveness,
that we may praise and enjoy God forever.  (Jim Burklo/b&b)

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
Brother, Sister.../The Call of Christ  (Tune: 'Servant Song', 87 87)    650 TiS
Brother, sister I'm beside you,
Let me be as Christ to you,
Pray that I might have the grace
to let you be as Christ to me.

We are pilgrims on a journey
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will share your problems with you
I'll support you in your space
I will help you run your distance
I will look you in the face.

I'll remember that God made you
I'll not take your dignity
I'll encourage you in your skills
to create and feel and be.

Brother, sister I'm beside you,
Let me be as Christ to you,
Pray that I might have the grace
to let you be as Christ to me.  (Richard Gillard)

OR

To God the Process(Tune: ‘Edith’)      140 HoS
Gloria! Gloria!

To God the process, God the life,
to God compassion’s spring,
to God the boundless way of love,
to God in everything,
to God the inner Christ of faith,
to God the wine and bread,
to God the sacred energy,
the fabric and the thread.

To you, O God, we sing our praise,
we join the cosmic song,
we walk the path that Jesus walked,
we turn our thoughts from wrong.
For you delight in each of us
and we delight in you.
With hearts on fire we live your praise
in all we think and do.

Amen, Amen, Amen, O God,
to you be endless praise.
Shalom, Shalom, Shalom, O God,
our hearts to you we raise.
For you empower and you fulfil
our latent energy,
the universe within our lives
shall dance your liturgy.

Gloria!  (William L Wallace)

AFFIRMING

The Offerings
Let us bring our offerings,
as a symbol of our decision to be co-creators with God
in a safer and more inclusive world.

The Presentation
In harmony with Creativity God,
may we recognise our kinship with other creatures:
webs of cosmos, life and culture,
so that we and the rest of our planet
can continue and flourish.

With the Children
The 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:
In joy and in sorrow
All  
We do not walk alone.  (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  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 People stand as they are able, to sing
"This Love, This Life…"
(Tune: O Waly, Waly. 88 88)   72 (v1-2) WNC
This love, this life, this enterprise
is that by which we will arise
affirmed, up-raised, to live again
when we have suffered death or pain.

Our practical adventure here
involves both urgency and care;
compelled by shared humanity
to offer love, set people free.
People remain standing

Parting Words
As we prepare to leave this sacred space
where we have worshipped together,
let us return to our work and schoolenlivened and renewed…

The Community Candle is extinguished

We receive fragments of holiness, glimpses of eternity,
brief moments of insight.
All  
Let us gather them up
for the precious gifts that they are and,
renewed by their grace,
move boldly into the unknown.  (Sara Campbell/slt)

Words of Blessing
The celebration of this gathered community
in this sacred place, is ended.

May the holy mystery of Creativity God be found along the road.
The wonder of the costly love of Jesus the Companion embrace you.
And the Empowering Spirit bless and keep you, always.
All
Amen. May it be so.

Hymn (Cont.). "This Love, This Life…" (Tune: O Waly, Waly. 88 88)   72 (v3) WNC
And if the task enlarges sight
to wider visions, greater height
than those which we can reach on earth,
then know that God has come to birth.  (© 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.
Burklo, J. Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians. Saint Johann Press, 2008.
(HoS)
Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Johnson, D. A.
The Light Invisible. Brookline. Self published, 2003.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, J. & B. Hesle.
Worship in the Spirit of Jesus. Theology, Liturgy, and Songs without Violence. Cleveland. The Pilgrim Press, 2005.
(WNC) Pratt, A.
Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2002.
(TiS)
Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. Sydney. HarperCollins Religious, 1999.
Vosper, G.
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.
Vosper, G.
With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.

Web sites/Other:
Sherri Weinberg. St Paul's Presbyterian Church Web site. Devonport. (2004)
Wienecke, Capo, Lammer, UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Harry T Cook. 'Findings 11'. (2011). <www.harrytcook.com>

rexae74@gmail.com