Signs of Life

Worship for a Just and Loving People

Rick Fabian

Oct/2019, 208 Pages, PAPER, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781640652187



A glimpse into the ideals and insights that have shaped one of the Episcopal Church's most widely known parishes, St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco.

Rick Fabian, well known as one of the founding priests of St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco, writes his "treatise in eleven parts" on the significant signs of communal life: the welcoming table, authority (human and biblical), baptism, reconciliation, beauty, the spirit, mystery, marriage, children, and the liturgical/ lectionary cycle. This "revisionist approach to sacramental theology" offers a glimpse into the depth of thought behind the praxis that has shaped one of the Episcopal Church's most widely known parishes.

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RICK FABIAN, along with Donald Schell, served as one of the founding priests of St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco. Their hope was to create an intentionally experimental congregation that would press the liturgical limits of the Episcopal Church's new Book of Common Prayer. Music that Makes Community, whose mission is to help people connect and learn through singing, grew out of this liturgical work. He holds degrees from Yale and Cambridge.

"Rick Fabian writes with a gracious and winning voice, inviting you to a deeper conversation about the signs of life in our time."
—Gordon W. Lathrop, Author, Saving Images: The Presence of the Bible in Christian Liturgy
"Signs of Life is a true gift, and Rick Fabian's prose moves like the dancing feet at St. Gregory of Nyssa. He leads the conversation with ease a wise, winsome, yet visionary friend versed in scripture, history, theology, liturgy, world religions, literature, and life."
—Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Creation Care

"In this fascinating, remarkable book, Fabian unpacks the meaning of the many signs, both ancient and new, that reveal God's relationship with God's people. These signs are for real; they are for life,and they are everywhere."
—Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion and City of God: Faith in the Street

"From Fabian’s work I have found a renewed thread of scholarship to help explain my priestly convictions about sacramental mission: a resource which enables me to defend a radical approach to inclusion. He believes, as I do, that 'Churches have good reason to make the Eucharist our formal Christian incorporation rite' and that all of life and community is imbued with sacramental signs of God’s action in the world. The sacraments are not a passive repository of Godliness, but a living action through which God is made manifest. Priesthood is one of the means through which that actions flows into the world and Fabian shows how the liturgy opens the door to these holy mysteries."
—Simon Rundell, The Quarterly Review of the Community of the Resurrection, January 2020

1. Jesus’s Sign: The Welcoming Table
2. The People’s Sign: Giving Authority to Christ
3. The Church’s Sign: Baptizing the World
4. The Sign of the Divines: Dancing the Mystery
5. The Spouse’s Sign: Love beyond Death
6. The Sign of Desire: Daughters and Sons
7. The Seer’s Sign: Rivers in the Desert
8. The Peacemaker’s Sign: Reconciliation
9. The Hearer’s Sign: The Worship Year
10. The Creator’s Sign: Beauty
11. A Fitting End
Conclusion: Grateful Memory

Appendix: Hymns of Christ Coming in Our Worship Now for the Eucharistic Procession

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  • St Gregory of Nyssa
  • liturgy
  • sacraments
  • theology

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