Here is bread and here is wine,
Food and drink we savor with delight;
Now upon this altar blessed,
Moving us beyond our taste and sight.
For deeper love we spread the bread
I won’t be full till all are fed
Till every soul has home and bed
The rest of us can’t move ahead
God of love,
source of mercy and compassion,
weave your dream for the world
into the fabric of our lives.
A young man roams the city
With anger in his eyes.
His rage glows like an ember,
His soul is cold as ice.
O God of peace, be with us now.
Stand here beside us; bring hope this day.
Transform this world of greed and strife,
From domination to your new way.
Praise life that makes us change and grow
Praise love that makes compassion flow
Praise peace that ends all strife and fear
Praise hands that work for justice here
I went to the funeral home last night
to see a friend whose life was entwined with mine.
Someone once told me
that if you want to know the truth about a person’s life
go to their funeral.
Like potter’s clay on spinning wheel,
Grasped by strong hands that push and pull,
Our lives take shape in height and breadth,
In form and grace most wonderful.
In community we gather,
Off’ring blessings on this day.
Friends and fam’ly joined together,
Raising voices now to pray.
Over the last few years I have spoken and written extensively about my concerns with churches that continue to use ancient rituals, hymns and icons that reflect an understanding of a Fourth Century Christianity while the church leadership claims to be part of a progressive or at least “emerging” church. I am referring here specifically to the story that Jesus was the only begotten son of God, came to earth with one purpose, to suffer a horrible death as God’s sacrifice for the sins of the world. More than one critic of religion over the last century has argued that religions control participants with rituals that few ever give rational thought to.read more
Today we examine “Progressive” Christianity. In particular, what is “Progressive Christianity”? Including what that term is most widely understood to mean today, how that label is evolving, and how we can still build a community around it. As well as what it might imply to situate one’s self amongst “Progressive Christians” in today’s growing post-modern context. We will also be exploring whether there can be any “hope” in progressive ideas about Christianity. As well as why it can be nice to have progressive communities around to help facilitate conversation with others of similar mind, background, and experience.read more
How do you speak with integrity of belief when your audience is seemingly traditional and literal?read more
A sacred community, if it is to be an authentic representation of the life and teachings of Jesus for today, needs to express its concerned opposition in both words, worship and actions, to injustice, violence and corruption – just as Jesus did. There is truth in the statement that “Jesus confronts more than he comforts.” When sacred communities look to the needs of its members in preference to the needs of non- members something is not quite right. The church is one of those organisations which exists for people who do not belong to it. As Jesus was a man for others, so the church is to be there for others.read more
Do rituals still have relevance and value within progressive Christian communities?read more
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!
The central focus for Christian liturgy is the ritual Eucharist. Traditionally Eucharist (which means “thanksgiving”) has reenacted the last meal Jesus ate with his followers before the blood sacrifice of his execution at the hands of the Romans, but with the dogmatic interpretation that Jesus died to save sinners from hell in the next life. Twenty-first century progressive Christians are concerned more with living a life of justice-compassion here and now (as Jesus taught) than reconciling with a god that demands blood sacrifice in exchange for a carefree afterlife. What is required is to act with justice-compassion in radical abandonment of self-interest. Suppose that instead of terrorizing ourselves with the Advent of violent judgment, we were to celebrate the Advent of the Christ consciousness; instead of a Eucharist mourning the personal holocaust of Jesus’s death, a Eucharist of Ordination, in which we recommit ourselves to the great work of distributive justice-compassion? We have the power, at any moment, to transform the way we live our lives. We can choose not to participate in the retributive system of imperial war and systemic injustice. We can step into the kind of ongoing parallel universe of God’s justice-compassion at any moment. We can change our consciousness, change the paradigm in which we live, whenever we have the will to do so. Jesus is not coming again. We are; and when the rare opportunity presents itself, we can break the alabaster jar in remembrance of her.read more