Revd Rex A E Hunt
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21 November 2021.  Reign of Christ B (White)
Jesus the Nobody

Worth Pondering
“Being an atheist does not preclude the possibility
of being genuinely religious”
(Loyal Rue)

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 of the (NN) Nation, past, present, emerging,
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


Rich and Striking Visuals
          “The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality which is richer and deeper
          and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (Henry N. Wieman)
          Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Video 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

With faith to face our challenges,
With love that casts out fear,
With hope to trust tomorrow,
We accept this day as the gift it is:
a reason for rejoicing.  Gary Kowalski

So let us 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 these 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, 10. Terrorist Attacks, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) Some specific resources on Terrorism 

Hymn/Song The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Now Thank We All…(Tune: ‘Nun Danket alle Gott’,                                       106(i) TiS
Now thank we all our God,
with hearts and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mother’s arms
hath blest us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son, and Holy Ghost,
one Lord in highest heaven:
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.  (Martin Rinkart, 1586-1649)
Remain standing


All are Welcome to our Worship(Tune: Bithynia’, 87.87D)                                               1 SNS2
All are welcome to our worship,
All who have a thankful heart;
Thankful for the songs of nature
And the joy that they impart;
Thankful for the untold beauty
Of creation’s magic art;
Thankful for the love surrounding;
Thankful was can play our part.

 All are welcome in our worship;
Join with us in praise and prayer;
Join us as we ponder Jesus
And the way he showed such care;
As we think upon his teaching
We find hope and not despair,
For in Jesus’ words and actions
We are touched by love so rare.

All are welcome in our worship;
Everyone is welcome here;
God in Christ sits not in judgement;
Jesus’ message casts out fear;
God is never absent from us;
God in Christ is always near;
In God’s sight we all are precious;
Having ears, then ‘Let us hear!’ (George Stuart)

Opening Sentences
God of the cosmos
attune our ears to hear you today
in the great symphony of creation.

God of community
open our eyes to see you today
in the drama of nature's interconnectedness.

God of our hearts
touch our lives so we sense you today
in both the beauty and the agony 
of the world.  Kate Compston/sco

Act of Awareness
In all our living, may we be freed
to see things afresh,
to be more fully alive,
and have the courage to keep faith in
the future of humanity.


We pray:
Abiding God,
grant us the joy of feeling ourselves
a part of your vast magnificence,
your all-encompassing presentness.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  The First are Losers” Jesus Said”  (Tune: ‘Pilgrim Trail’, 86.86)
‘The first are losers’, Jesus said, 
‘The humble shall be first’.
Each pilgrim needs true emptiness
To satisfy their thirst.

When minds are full of thoughts of self 
No other things find space
To dwell within our way of life,
Not even God’s rich grace.

The empty self will grow to share
All others’ joys and pains. 
Compassion springs from emptiness, 
The place where justice reigns.

Beyond the many dwells the One,
The God of no-thingness
Whose letting go is Spirit’s Way,
The path to holiness.  (William L Wallace)
The people sit

In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are gathering 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 the Gathering
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.


“The Web of Life”
By Robert T Weston. Day of Promise: Collected Meditations, Vol. 1 Ed. Kathleen Montgomery

There is a living web that runs through us
To all the universe
Linking us each with each and through all life
On to the distant stars.

Each knows a little corner of the world, and lives
As if this were his all.

We no more see the farther reaches of the threads
Than we see of the future, yet they’re there.
Touch but one thread, no matter which;
The thoughtful eye may trace to distant lands
Its firm continuing strand, yet lose its filaments as they reach out,
But find at last it coming back to him from whom it led.

We move as in a fog, aware of self
But only dimly conscious of the rest
As they are close to us in sight or feeling.

New objects loom up for a time, fade in and out;
Then, sometimes, as we look on unawares, the fog lifts
And then there’s the web in shimmering beauty,
Reaching past all horizons.

We catch our breath;
Stretch out our eager hands, and then
In comes the fog again, and we go on,
Feeling a little foolish, doubting what we had seen.

The hands were right.  The web is real.
Our folly is that we so soon forget.

Centering Silence
In this time of silence may we move
from busy-ness
to quietness…


God of life
God of peace
God of wonders that will not cease...

Present with us now.

Music of Reflection


Wisdom from the Religious Traditions


• Psalm 133, 134
A 21st century exploration by Francis Macnab.
A Fine Wind is Blowing/48.

The author looks for a united and better humanity. 
How different the world would be if people everywhere would live and worship together!

Our human scene is constantly disrupted
by discordant views and divisive behaviour.
People take up positions they firmly believe are right
and lose respect for people who have taken up other positions.

How different the world could be
if people could live together and worship together.
That would be like the magnificent transformation of the hills after a heavy downpour of rain.
In such a dialogue of togetherness 
the best humanity would emerge and we would see 
something of what life is really about.

Everyone would lift their hands in prayer and celebration.
Come all of you searchers of this higher purpose.
Come and find that blessing of the God
who is Source and Substance of this hope for our world.


• “Deep Incarnation…” (Edited)
By Elizabeth Johnson

Born of a woman… and the Hebrew gene pool,
Jesus was a creature of earth, a complex unit of minerals and fluids, an item in the carbon,
oxygen, and nitrogen cycles, a moment in the biological evolution of this planet. 

Like all human beings, he carried within himself the signature of the supernovas
and the geology and life history of the Earth.

The atoms comprising his body once belonged to other creatures.
The genetic structure of his cells made him part of the whole community of life
that descended from common ancestors in the ancient seas.
The sarx of John 1: 14 thus reaches beyond Jesus and beyond all other human beings
to encompass the whole biological world of living creatures
and the cosmic dust of which we are composed.


• “Believe, and all Things...”
By Robert Halsey. Voices from the Void/27

Believe, and all things are possible,
Ask and ye shall receive.
No one’s kept a record
of prayers that go unanswered,
Or if they do then you’re
The flavor of the month.
Prayers of thanksgiving are offered
By those you’ve heard.

All things bright and beautiful
Aren’t found in hell-blessed deserts
Or worse still
In slums or from victims of genocides.
I wonder what those who lived there
Think of you.

Try it and see
if it works for you, my friends,
But ask only if you know
he has his hearing aids on.

• John 18:33-38 (Inclusive Text)

'Are you the King of the Jews' Pilate asked.
Jesus replied,
'Do you ask this of your own accord,
or have others spoken to you about me?'

Pilate replied,
'Am I a Jew?  It is your own people and the chief priests
who have handed you over to me:
what have you done?'

Jesus replied,
'My reign is not of this world; if my reign were of this world,
my servants would have fought to prevent my being
surrendered to the people.

'But my reign is not of this kind.'

'So you are a king then?' said Pilate.

'It is you who say it' answered Jesus.  'Yes, I am a king.
I was born for this, I came into the world for this:
to bear witness to the truth;
and all who are on the side of truth
listen to my voice.'

Pilate said, 'What is truth?'

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 Personal Reflection


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

v1  Beckoning Christ,
you call us out of our comfortable ghetto of 'us' and ‘them’
to risk discipleship without walls.
You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where God is worshipped above all other.

Wn  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where prayer is offered day and night.
All  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where we can share what we are
with others who love you.

Mn  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where each person has something to give to the whole.
All  You call us into a world-wide fellowship
where compassion and respect
shape missionary endeavour.

v2  Keep on beckoning us out of our safe havens
into your rich fellowship
of challenge and reconciliation,
faith and hope.  Kate Compston/sco



Sharing 'The Peace
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.



Hymn/Song  The people stand, as they are able, to sing
God, Composer and Conductor(Tune: ‘Regent Square’ OR ‘Westminster Abbey’)               34 HoS
God, composer and conductor
of earth’s matchless symphony,
makes from silence glorious music,
from discordance, harmony;
brings forth joy from deepest sorrow,
ecstasy from agony.

God, the architect and artist
of earth’s colours, textures, forms,
gives new wonder to our vision,
light in even darkest storms,
teaches that with understanding,
faith redeems and love reforms.

God of science, healer, teacher,
pushes out the boundaries
of capacity and knowledge,
challenges and gently frees
from the limits that restrain us,
offers opportunities.

God, creative spirit in us,
inspiration, force sublime,
leading us to new endeavour,
you, our living paradigm,
may we know your constant presence
now, and to the end of time.  (Jocelyn Marshall)


Jesus Story - The Rebel(Tune: ‘Irish’, 86.86)                                                                   30 SNS3
The Jesus story is the one
Which speaks to us today;
This Jesus’ story is the one
Built on the justice way.

This story tells me of a man
Who lived in Galilee;
His passion was a dangerous one
He worked for equity.

The power structures of his day
Did not like what they heard;
The outcasts and the common folk
Gained power from his word.

He taught that godliness was found
Outside the temple law;
He would not share religious rites
Which pushed aside the poor.

And so he paid the awful price;
He would not bow to wrong;
This story still inspires me -
Of one immensely strong.  (George Stuart) 



May we be empowered to find a meaning in life,
a purpose, a belonging.
And in finding pleasure in receiving from life
may we also receive satisfaction in enriching life.

Conversation with the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat

"Somewhere Someone:”

The kingdom of love is coming because: 
 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?  (Binkley & McKeel/jke)

In Solidarity
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
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. 
(Adapt. Gretta Vosper/ab).

And so we take this 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 presence of the Sacred among us,
and to see new possibilities of the now.

The 'Abba’ Prayer:  (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as appropriate

All  God, who cares for us,
The wonder of whose presence fills us with awe.

Let kindness, justice and love shine in our world.
Let your secrets be known here as they are in heaven.
Give us the food and the hope we need for today.

Forgive us our wrongdoing
as we forgive the wrongs done to us.
Protect us from pride and from despair
and from the fear and hate which can swallow us up.

In you is truth, meaning, glory and power,
while worlds come and go.
Amen.  (MFurlong/nwi)


Hymn/Song The people stand, as they are able, to sing
Christ Is Our Peace(Tune: ‘Suantrai’)                                                                                   16(v1-2) AA
Christ is our peace, Christ is our health,
he the true Word, his the true wealth –
gifts to be shared by the simple and poor:
peace in your land, peace at your door.

Peace in your mouth, peace in the hands
open to truth, to love's demands;
those who would go with Christ also must bleed -
bright is the flower, burst is the seed.


"The Way Ahead”  (Tune: ‘Normandy’ (Bost), 87.87D)                                                           5(v1) MTH
When life juggles with our learning, 
with the things we thought secure, 
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.
In the wash of different colours, 
as we seek for shape and form, 
others paint their faith by numbers 
forcing God to fit some norm.


From Age to Age  (Tune: ‘Christus der ist Mein Leben’, CM)                                            231(v1-3) HCL
From age to age how grandly rise
The prophet souls in line;
Above the passing centuries
Like beacon-lights they shine.

They witness to one heritage,
One Spirit’s quickening breath,
One widening reign from age to age
Of freedom and of faith.

Their kindling power our souls confess;
Though dead they speak today:
How great the cloud of witnesses
Encompassing our way!
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

As we depart one from another,
let our hearts be secure through every human season.
Let our hearts be secure
in seasons of anguish as in seasons of joy,
in seasons of failure as in seasons of success,
in seasons of uncertainty as in seasons of security.

Let our hearts be secure in this dual reality:
we are worthy recipients of love and support
we can never earn,
and we are worthy providers of love
and support others cannot earn.

Let our hearts be secure,
for hearts know and understand
and will respond if invited in.  (John A Hobart)

Words of Blessing
Go in peace and celebrate
the presence of the sacred in your lives.
Amen! May it be so!


From Australia
May the road never seem so long to the homestead.
May the sea breeze always blow softly on your verandah.
May you always find shade from the blazing sun.
May the rain fall on your paddocks just when you need it.
Until we meet again God hold you in the lee of the thunderstorm.  (Alan Nichols/wb)


From Aotearoa/New Zealand
May this land of Aotearoa
its peoples
its cultures
their travails
their hopes
be for all of us
the very dwelling place of God.  (William L Wallace/wb)

Hymn/Song (Cont). Christ Is Our Peace(Tune: ‘Suantrai’)                                                    16(v3) AA
Who work for peace find the true wealth,
who heal the hurt find their own health
peace will flow on through the hearts that believe:
this may we know, thus may we live.  (Shirley Erena Murray)


"The Way Ahead”   (Tune: ‘Normandy’ (Bost), 87.87D)                                                             5(v2) MTH 
But when life has torn the canvas,       
when the numbers twist and slip; 
then we need to find an image 
that will help our hope to grip:

holding us, when we're past holding,
grounding when we're insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure.  
(Andrew Pratt 28/5/2010)


From Age to Age  (Tune: ‘Christus der ist Mein Leben’, CM)                                                231(v4) HCL
Through every race, in every clime,
One song shall yet be heard:
Move onward in thy course sublime,
O everlasting Word. 
(Frederick Lucian Hosmer, 1899)
The people sit

'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Significant Events
Journey Candles


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

Please include any reproduction of hymns/songs for local church use
on your Music Licence returns, as appropriate

Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and Songs for all Churches. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 1993.
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.
Duncan, G. (ed).
Seeing Christ in Others. An Anthology for Worship, Mediation and Mission. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 1998.
Duncan, G. (ed). A World of Blessing. Benedictions From Every Continent and Many Cultures. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2000.
Halsey, R.
Voices from the Void. Singapore. Trafford Publishing, 2012. 
Hope Is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009. 
Hymns for the Celebration of Life. Boston. Beacon Press, 1964.
Inclusive Readings. Year C. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2006.
Macnab, F. A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in Words that Blow You Away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2006.
(MTH) Pratt, A. More Than Hymns. Words for a Lyrical Faith. London. Stainer & Bell, 2015.
Singing The Living Tradition. 1993. Boston. UUA. 
(SNS2) Stuart, G.
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart, 2009.
(SNS3) Stuart, G.
Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 3. Toronto. G Stuart, 2011
The St Hilda Community.
The New Women Included. A Book of Services and Prayers. London.  SPCK, 1996.
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.

Web sites/Other:
Kowalski, Hobart. UUA Worship Web. Boston: UUA.>
Elizabeth Johnson. “Deep Incarnation: Prepare to be Astonished”, UNIFAS Conference, Rio de Janeiro, (7-14 July 2010). <> Accessed 4 October 2016
William L Wallace. “The First are Losers”. 
Boundless Life Collection.