There is nothing like that feeling of the heart soaring when music touches the soul. And knowing the deep place the music can descend into our psychology, isn’t it our responsibility to approach it with caution and a critical mind? Music teaches us about who we are and can evoke feelings in us we didn’t know were there. Doesn’t music in sacred community, then, need to also be sacred, relevant, and inspiring?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
Sometimes issues need to be reframed, and it can often be helpful to look outside one’s own tradition for a framework. So for those who may be struggling with similar misunderstandings in their congregations, I offer the Four Yogas as a lens through which to see things differently.read more
Wisdom from 13 Traditions on 9 Universal Themes: Justice, Gratitude, Peace, Service, Compassion, Forgiveness, Healing, Nature, Prayerread 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.
In the name of the Father,
in the name of the Mother,
source of life,
from whom water flows,
to whom water returns,
We are here to praise God for the life of Cameron, our young friend, who in such a short time has brought us so much joy. Through Cameron we have experienced birth again in a new and more conscious way; in him, God has created the world again, opening us to wonder and possibility that we had forgotten.read more
As we gather today to welcome……….(name of the child) into the world, we recognise our responsibilities towards……….(name of the child), towards each other and the world in which we live.read more
Spiritual maverick Matthew Fox believes that through the ages religious patriarchal hierarchy and rigidity have obscured Christianity’s most beneficial and essential teachings: those that arise out of personal, mystical experiences of the Divine. A true religious renewal, according to Fox, can arise only through the mystical dimension of faith. In Christian Mystics, he offers a wide-ranging collection of quotations from Christianity’s greatest mystics and prophets of the past two thousand years. Fox explores and celebrates the mystical path with insightful commentary on the thoughts and revelations of some of history’s greatest religious visionaries.read more
I have a friend, he’s a medical doctor and has probably seen some pretty moving things during his years of practice. But he once told me that the only time he has cried in the past ten years was while listening to Bach’s Mass in B minor. That confirms for me what I already knew, that music can move the soul like nothing else in this world can. So the natural question is how can that reality be leveraged for spiritual purposes within sacred community? And this is not a new idea. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians written nearly two thousand years ago, he urged his friends to “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.”read more
“Without music, life would be a mistake.” So wrote the famed philosopher, Nietzsche. I believe that music in sacred community is the medium which allows us to feel and to express our deepest emotions: joy, lament, awe and thanksgiving. Music in sacred community binds us together. Studies have shown that groups who make music together feel a certain kinship with each other, and leave that time of singing or drumming, playing instruments, etc. with their endorphins dancing, and their bodies humming with better health and vibrations. Surely when all of this is enhanced by words of hymns or songs, we can know that we have participated in a rich experience which has fed our souls.read more