We come in sorrow, confronting the fact that life ends. Yet we also know that there is a power stronger than death—the transformative power of love. Love has joined us together as husbands and wives, as fathers and mothers, as parents and children, as brothers and sisters, and as friends and neighbors. To be touched by love is to have experienced the transforming power of God on earth.read more
P: We have gathered here today to give thanks for and honor Name’s life. You have come because you are family – close family or extended family; or because you are friends – old, long-trusted friends or newer friends; or because you knew Name through other connections in his life. We have gathered to mourn his death and to grieve for our loss.read more
I recently conducted the funeral for my father, who died after a long episode of declining health. It was a joy and a privilege to work with my family in preparing this service. But many of our family are not avowedly Christian so I wanted to respect their spiritual traditions as well as be faithful to my own. I also wanted the theology to reflect my own liberal/progressive Christian understanding.read more
Each birth causes us to wonder
where the spark of life comes from.
Every death makes us wonder
what of that life survives.
What we have done, and who we have been,
remains part of the wider universe long after we are gone.
None of us knows the whole truth about what lies beyond death.
Christians believe that as we journey between life and death,
we are safe in the hands of an infinitely gracious God.
What we do know and believe is that every human life,
with a mind to think and a heart to love,
is an expression of the creative spirit of God.
This body knows what it is like to have a nice house and a good job
It knows what it is like to feel uneasy about being wealthy
Mary, we did not know you.
Kept hidden for centuries you were despised,
A Queen not seen, under harlot’s disguise.
Mary, we did not know you.
We are here to praise and enjoy God with body and soul, mind and heart, with song and word, with hands and feet.
We are here to give because of the abundance God has given us, to share with each other, and to receive, because God has created us to depend on each other.
We are here to celebrate the differences that otherwise might divide us: differences of age, of body, of culture, of opinion, of ability, of religious conviction.
We are here to put things in perspective: to celebrate what matters, to laugh about things we take too seriously, to cry about things that truly touch our hearts.
So may it be this morning: Amen!
Presider: God be with you
People: And also with you
Presider: Open your hearts
People: We open our hearts to God
My understanding of the flow of worship is that it is a four act drama beginning with a “gathering” and ending with a “send-out”. The four acts of worship between the gathering and send-out are: 1) CONFESSION; 2) PRAISE; 3) DEDICATION; and 4) COMMITMENT.read more
The form of the blessing differ, but the essential message is the same: we give thanks to the Love that is God for the good that comes through our taxes. They are a special form of our “offerings” in worship. Many blessings flow from them, and divine guidance is needed for us to have the wisdom to see to it they are spent for the best purposes.read more
The dry bones raised by Ezekiel are a metaphor for those who died in the service of God’s justice: those who died working to restore God’s distributive justice-compassion to God’s Earth, and who themselves never saw the transformation. The army of dry bones is an army exiled from justice. Fairness demands that if Jesus was resurrected into an Earth transformed into God’s realm of justice-compassion, then all the other martyrs who died too soon should also be raised with him. “But in fact,” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” It is the Christ – the transformed and transfigured post-Easter Jesus – who has started that general resurrection, which restores justice-compassion to a transformed Earth. The transformation has begun with Jesus, and continues with you and me – IF we sign on to the program.read more
Presider: God be with you.
People: And also with you.
Presider: Open your hearts.
People: We open our hearts to God.