October 6, 2024
World Communion Sunday
Job 1.1, 2. 1-10 — The beginning of the story of Job: God & Satan’s “deal.”
Psalm 26 — Vindicate me… I walk I integrity.
Hebrews 1. 1-4; 2. 5-12 —As God spoke through prophets, now God has spoken in Jesus, the “pioneer of our faith.” We are under angels, who are under Christ (thought Christ was once made lower than angels).
Mark 10. 2-16 — Jesus teaches on divorce. … “Let the little children come… receive the Realm of God as a child.”
It seems paradoxical to preach that in the Eucharist we are in communion with all Christians around the world when Communion itself is among the things that divide us. I usually insist on respecting multiple interpretations and traditions, but here’s a place where I’ll step out and say the traditional Roman Catholic teaching is just plain wrong. Jesus clearly shared food with everybody—sometimes 5000 at a time—including believers and unbelievers, clean and unclean, righteous and sinners, Jews and gentiles. It’s just plain wrong to insist that one must belong to a certain sect to partake of the Eucharist. I see no biblical warrant for it, and plentiful evidence to the contrary. Paul says, “All who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves.” This is often interpreted to mean you’re supposed to see the physical flesh of Jesus in the bread and wine. But in the context of everything Paul is talking about, that is, the church, I think he means discerning the body of Christ—the community, the whole. The bread, and the complete self-giving it symbolizes, lead us to be mindful of the whole human community Jesus died for, including people of every tradition, denomination, sect, religion, belief system or unbelief. I think central to Jesus’ and Paul’s gospel is the radical inclusiveness of God’s love and the profound oneness of the human family.
Jesus does something radical in his sharing of meals. He clearly—blatantly, out loud and unmistakably—demolishes the exclusions, restrictions and taboos around table fellowship of both religious laws and cultural habits. What was the one charge they brought against him at his trial that was actually true? “He eats with sinners.” You betcha. That was his ministry. Calling all of us to one table. None are insiders, none are foreigners, none are deserving or undeserving. All are simply invited. Think of how many meals and stories about meals Jesus gives us. In most of them the meal includes outsiders. He eats with pharisees and tax collectors and prostitutes. He’s eating with Simon and in comes an outsider, whom he welcomes. With Zacchaeus Jesus himself is the outsider. At the Last Supper he includes Judas (in the place of honor!) In his parables, at the king’s wedding banquet the poor and excluded are invited. Jesus enacts the line from Psalm 23: “You have prepared a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” And Jesus invites them in! This is the community Jesus intends to create around his table. We are all one.
The great mystery is: when we receive the Body of Christ we become the Body of Christ. We ourselves become the one loaf he is offering us. We are part of one another. Paul speaks of the one Body in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. The eucharist is the symbol that we are indeed one body, part of one another, around the world. When we eat the bread it becomes part of our body. And we become part of one another’s bodies. We are drawn into spiritual quantum entanglement. We are one another. So we love our neighbors as ourselves, not just as much as we love ourselves, but as ourselves: as the rest of ourselves.
Be mindful how you celebrate this feast. Be intentional about invitation and inclusion. I once attend a service in which “communion” was offered after the service: I had to fight the exiting traffic down the aisle to the railing where it was self-serve. Me and one other older woman who apparently didn’t appreciate my coming to kneel beside her. I didn’t “commune” with anybody. It was the loneliest communion I ever had. Absolute travesty. When our oldest son was about 2 or 3, we held him in our arms as we came forward to receive communion at a church that didn’t serve those who had not been confirmed. As we turned away he said, blessedly loud enough for all to hear, “Why didn’t I get any?” Good question. Of course some would argue he was too young to understand. I’d argue so are you. Who “understands” this mystery? It’s not a concept you understand. It’s a love you receive. It’s an inclusion you accept. (Our son did understand that!) I mean, you eat this bread—and there’s God in it! It’s not the pastor, it’s Jesus giving it to you! And you think you understand that? Ha.
So. Make your invitation clear, especially to people who may expect there to be restrictions. I offer it to anyone who wants it. Everyone has already been invited by Christ. I’m not going to interfere! There is no prerequisite but to be hungry—for God, for interaction, for forgiveness or acceptance, for feeling like you’re part of something, even just for a snack—it’s all the Spirit’s invitation to something sacred.
This passage is profoundly problematic for me. Not all scholars agree but I am convinced the original, ancient tale of Job consisted only of chapters 3 through 42.6. The God-made-a-bet beginning and the Happy Ending are later (unfortunate) additions. I believe this is true for two reasons. One is the form: this section is poetry, while the prologue in Chap. 1-2 and the epilogue in 42.7-17 is prose. They feel different. But the other is the very heart of the story.
The story of Job addresses the age old question of why we suffer, and especially why bad things happen to good people. The assumption behind the question is that life is supposed to be fair: God rewards good people and punishes bad people. So why do good people suffer? Job’s three friends try to theologize around that by basically saying “Well, you must have deserved this somehow.” They argue from the old assumption of the fairness of life. Job doesn’t buy it… but still wants to know why he’s suffering. After patiently listening to his not-very-helpful friends, he loses all patience and cries out, “I want to argue with God but God’s not answering.” (Next week’s lectionary) And God responds! (The following week.) God says, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”(38.2) And goes on to describe the vastness of Creation and how ignorant we are. And (three weeks from now) Job responds, “You’re right. I don’t know what I’m talking about. Sorry I asked.” Then comes the Happy Ending.
God’s response says two things to me. One is, basically, “Shit happens. Do you think you can ferret out a reason for everything? It’s way too complicated. Besides, who says life is supposed to be fair? Are you so smart you know that? Where did you hear that when I was designing the world?” Some suffering is caused by injustice, and sometimes people bring suffering on themselves. But some of it just happens. Life isn’t actually fair, and isn’t supposed to be. It’s just not true that “everything happens for a reason.” Sometimes things just happen. God doesn’t reward goodness and punish evil. There isn’t always a “reason” bad things happen to good people. That’s not how it works. And if you humans think you can figure out a “system,” you’re deluding yourselves.
But there’s more. God places Job’s suffering in the context of the whole, magnificent universe. Yes, you’re miserable, but you’re part of this glorious thing! Some parts of it hurt, but as a whole it’s pretty marvelous. Everything won’t work out well for every individual person, but as a whole it’s wonderful, and worth it. And you’re part of the whole wonderful Oneness of it all.
And Job’s response is to accept the randomness of suffering. That’s the heart of the story: to accept the randomness of suffering. But I think at some point the stewards of the story couldn’t stand that conclusion, so they made up a prologue and epilogue that contradicted the whole point of the story by explaining Job’s suffering!… and then making everything all better again. As if either the cause (God making a bet??) or the outcome (happily ever after? Seriously?) is relevant to any actual human suffering. What about suffering that’s not caused by Satan having made a back room wager with God? What about suffering that doesn’t end so nicely? Besides, would anybody be OK if God destroyed their life and their family… and then they got another spouse and more kids as replacements? I think not. The story hangs together much better, and speaks to actual life, without the fairy tale beginning and ending.
So. What to do with this passage. I just skip it. The following weeks speak louder and clearer without this part.
Well, this is a pretty self-righteous psalm, isn’t it? I think of it not as bragging to God, but maybe it’s along the lines of what Job may have thought: I’m not so bad as to deserve this suffering, am I? Or maybe it’s really more aspirational. I read it as “I want not to sit with the wicked… I want to walk in integrity…” Then the line “try me and test my heart and mind” is more of an honest plea for God to help me repent than a self-assured pronouncement of how good I am. But that takes some re-writing or explaining. (See a version below)
Hebrews was written long before we invented the Holy Trinity, but the lines of thought here are pretty Trinitarian. “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name, but the title of an eternal, cosmic presence, an aspect of God, that Jesus embodies. That eternal Christ was there at the beginning, through whom God created the worlds. Christ is a self-expression of God, and sustains all things. Christ seated “at the right hand of the Majesty on high” is an image that lends itself to the Trinity. Hebrews lays out a hierarchy of Christ above angels, who are above humans, and all things are subject to humans, though we can’t see it yet. We don’t have to buy the whole architecture to appreciate that God chooses to take a low place to raise us up. Christ saves us not in power and dominion but in powerlessness and vulnerability. Christ is the pioneer of our salvation, made perfect in suffering. As our pioneer, Christ leads us, and we follow, seeking the place that is low, powerless and vulnerable. This is model for Christian humility, not superiority.
Tread carefully in preaching on Jesus’ teachings about divorce. A strict prohibition against divorce isn’t life-giving. Jesus’ teaching is rooted in the Jewish laws and culture of the times, and doesn’t exactly translate into ours. In that culture marriage was a man’s prerogative, not a woman’s. (A man is allowed to divorce a woman, but not vice versa.) The wife was almost in the position of being the husband’s property. (According to the law, if a woman was raped it was her husband to whom reparations were to be paid.) And a single woman was at great financial risk. Given the legal status of the wife, Jesus’ teaching protects her from being used and cast into poverty. It also puts her on an equal footing with the man. They are one flesh. The woman is not subservient; she is an equal part and partner.
This passage is sometimes used to justify heterosexism: “obviously marriage is between a man and a woman.” Again, this teaching is so embedded in Jewish culture and sexual regulations that it doesn’t translate into our world. It has no integrity to lift this one bit of sexual law out of the whole Hebrew canon without honoring the rest of it, too. We freely neglect commandments that regulate a woman’s period, the obligation of a man to marry his brother’s widow, the obligation for a rapist to marry his victim, and for that matter the taking of multiple wives. To take this one commandment as inviolable and ignore the others has no integrity or moral weight. Like animal sacrifices, the insistence that marriage can exist only between a man and woman is one that needs to be let go of.
Let the little children come. Think of all the ways we prevent children from getting close to Jesus, including how we do worship. Think of all the ways we try to keep plenty of kinds of folks at a distance. It’s partly evident in how exclusive our worship can be. We’ve learned to make our sanctuaries handicap accessible, but how welcoming are we to to kids, or people with mental illness or on the spectrum, or the homeless? We keep people away from Jesus not only in our Sunday worship, but in our daily discipleship. We bring Jesus to the people we feel comfortable with, but not those outside that circle. For people to come to Jesus doesn’t necessitate their going to church; maybe they just need to get close to you. “Let them come to me.”
Receive the realm of God as a child. What might this mean? Vulnerable… powerless… curious.. dependent… receptive… trusting… without status… playful… without preconceptions… still growing and learning… “beginner’s mind”… adaptable… as beloved as a mother’s infant, without cause or deserving, just given…. Maybe to enter the realm as a child is to be without history, without a record, without accomplishments and mistakes, just living, and accepted, in the moment.
Call to Worship
Leader: Creator of all things,
All: we praise!
Of earth and sky, the seas and stars, and all living beings,
Loving Mother and Father of all people, nations and races,
You whose arms hold Koreans and Bolivians, Rawandans and Inuit,
For Baptist and Orthodox, Methodist and Moravian, Congregational and Coptic,
we give thanks!
With all your Beloved we gather at your table to feast with our siblings in Christ,
one in the Body of Christ, one in your love.
We worship, we receive your grace, and we give of ourselves, for the sake of the world.
Leader: Holy Parent, Give of Life,
All: we are your children.
Christ, brother to all who are suffering,
in you we are all siblings.
Holy Spirit, love that unites us,
make us and all humanity your holy family.
We thank you. We bless you. We worship you.
Leader: Loving God, Infinite parent, you birth us and claim us.
All: We are in awe, and we praise you.
Gentle Christ, you love us and walk beside us.
We are made new, and we thank you.
Holy Spirit, you breathe your life into us and re-create us each moment.
We are your children, and we live in your love.
We are your beloved, and we worship you.
Leader: Gentle God, we come to you as children.
All: We come as your little ones,
in need of your power and grace.
We come hungry for your love.
And you welcome us, not because of our past,
not for our deserving
but because we are your beloved children.
We come with all our siblings around the world.
Though we may squabble we are one at your table,
All our siblings are with us here in your love,
from every nation, every language, every culture.
Gather us, God, and make us one in your love,
one in the Body of Christ.
We worship you. We submit ourselves to you. Alleluia!
Prayer of the Day
O, how we want to be equals to you, O God!— but we are not. You are the Creator; we are your creatures. You are the parent and we are the child. You are the One who Speaks, and we are your Word. Speak now, God, that we may hear your Word, and receive your Word, and become your Word in the Spirit of Christ. Amen.
Gracious God, as Christ welcomed the little children, so you welcome us. We come to you not in pride of accomplishment, not in power and might, but in smallness and need. We are tender little ones in your presence. Forgive us for trying to be bigger than each other. Heal our fear and receive us into the lap of your gentle grace. Bless us as we listen to your scripture read and your good news proclaimed, that we may be renewed as your children, made in your image, faithful to you. Amen.
Holy God, Infinite Love, Intimate Lover, Faithful One, we come from you. We rest in you. We listen for you. Open our hearts to your presence. Open our ears to your Word. Open our arms to your children. Open our future to your grace. Amen.
Loving God, we gather here at your table with all our siblings in Christ around the world. In the mystery of your grace, they are all here. Though we have many different stories we are all one. We all live by the power of the one Spirit. We worship as one body. We are made as grains into one loaf. And with one voice, in glorious million-part harmony, we sing your praise. Bless us, that all our lives we may live in harmony with one another. Amen.
Loving God, we give you thanks that you love all your children. There is no blessing you give to one people that you do not give to all people. There is no favor you grant to one that you withhold from any. On this World Communion Sunday we pray for all your people, all nations, all races, that we may all know your love and freedom, that we may all share your blessings, that we may all live in loving and grateful harmony, as your beloved children. Amen.
(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)
Mother God, hold us in your lap.
Receive our hearts;
tend our hurts, cherish our gifts,
embrace us in your love.
Feed us your grace.
Show us your way.
Prayer of Confession
Gentle God, we are your children, yet we want to be independent of you. We are siblings yet we want to be superior to others. You offer us your love as a gift but we want to deserve it. We want to do things our way. We confess how deeply we need you. We open our hearts to you. With the grace we have seen in Christ, receive us, forgive us, heal us of our fears, and set us free, that we may receive your grace as beloved children.
Psalm 26 – Paraphrase A
You are on my side, God.
It is you who enables me to walk in integrity.
Therefore I trust you absolutely.
Help me see myself, God,
look with me in your knowing way into my heart and mind.
With your steadfast love right there before me
I can walk faithfully behind you.
I won’t join the cynical ones;
I don’t want to be judgmental.
I don’t want to participate in evil,
or cooperate with injustice.
You wash me clean,
and I approach you with humble trust.
Let my life be a song of thanksgiving,
and all I do convey your love.
O God, I treasure your presence;
I see your glory everywhere.
Don’t let me get carried away by my weaknesses,
swept up in my attachments.
I know I’m capable of evil;
I always seem to have some on hand.
Help me walk in integrity;
save me by your strong grace.
Thanks to you, I stand on level ground!
Let the whole world know I bless you!
Psalm 26 – Paraphrase B
Bless my journey, O God,
for I have walked in faithfulness
I have trusted in you without straying.
Trace my steps, O Lord,
and reveal the truth of my heart.
I trust in your faithfulness;
I walk in your path.
I do not sit outside the circle, nor am I
among those who refuse to walk with you.
I choose a different path than evildoing,
and I will not depart from your ways.
I leave behind what separates me from you;
my life is a journey toward your heart.
My life is a song of thanksgiving,
a story of your wonderful love.
O God, your presence makes this place holy,
and makes wherever I am shine with your glory.
Keep me from being swept away in the crowd
and abandoning your ways,
from filling my life with desires
and my hands with things.
As for me, I will walk in integrity.
Redeem me and be gracious to me.
My feet are on gentle ground.
In the great circle of life I sing your praise.
Psalm 26 – Paraphrase C
You are my only security, God.
I find my safety in you.
You are my Holy One.
There is no good in my life apart from you.
As for the noble ones, who are always accepted,
whom even I admired,
they have secretly married sorrow,
and chosen a path going nowhere.
I will not pay what they do for comfort,
or speak as they do just to be admired. Response
Holy One, you are my present and my future.
The estate I have inherited is you yourself!
Everything that befalls me has you in it,
therefore all that is, is gift.
I bless you, for you give me mindfulness.
you speak to my heart,
even in shadowtimes, when I see nothing.
Holy One, I hold you always before me.
Mindful of your presence, I find firm footing. Response
Therefore my guts rejoice; my heartbeat is delight;
my whole body rests in your grace.
I know you will not let me slip away.
You will not abandon your Beloved to oblivion.
Show me the path of life.
Your presence is a flowing fountain of joy.
Your hand is a land of abundant delight. Response
As a child
crisp as nature’s card trick
finding banquet enough
among sand and gravel
I would live as truly as you.
doddle in nature’s margin
hanging your art
I would know as much as you.
Little bee of joy
nosing the erotic flower
I would live as generously as you.
good humor of the dirt
waving nodding left and right
then going left
renewing the soil
I would live as peaceably as you.
surprise of a dead leaf leaping
your one ballet move
I would live as you
in the hand of God.
Response / Creed / Affirmation
We love you, God, infinite creator of all that is, and we rejoice that we are your children. We come from you; we are born of your love. You create us as living images of you and your grace.
We follow you, Jesus, Christ of God, Word made flesh, love made real. You healed and taught. You welcomed and blessed all God’s children. You included all people as siblings. You included the outcast, the wounded, the children. For your love and courage you were crucified; but in love God raised you from the dead. You live among us, calling, guiding, blessing.
Holy Spirit, we live by your grace. Born of God, adopted by God, blessed by God, we live by your life and power in us. You lead us to live lives of love and courage, to bless all our siblings, to live together as children of God in harmony and joy,
We give thanks to you, O God, and promise to live as children of your love. Amen.
[After the introduction, the body of the prayer may be read responsively with the presiding leader(s) and congregation, or by the leader(s) alone.]
God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise.
Creator God, you have made the whole universe
from a single batch of dough,
and all humanity from one lump of dust,
breathing your one Spirit into us in our many forms,
many colors, many languages.
You continually create us as one, set us free from our divisions,
and walk with us into new life that is not like our captivity.
And so we celebrate with this Bread of Liberation, Bread of Unity.
As many grains are made into one loaf,
you make us into one Body in Christ.
We thank you for Jesus, who embodied your loving presence
and called us to our natural unity,
bringing back the outcast, restoring the forgotten.
For challenging our proud divisions
he was crucified by the forces of separation,
but he was raised by the power of unity and oneness, the power of love.
In his life, death and resurrection we behold your grace,
and we give thanks.
[The Blessing and Covenant…] *
Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice,
in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
one in your love, one with each other, one in Christ,
and one in ministry to all the world
by the power of your Spirit alive in us. Amen.
The Holy One be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to our God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.
It is our delight to give you our thanks,
for we are born from you, and we bear your loving image.
We and all living beings are your beloved children.
You make a Covenant with us, drawing us into your holy family.
You judge the forces of oppression that divide us, and set us free.
You walk with us as refugees to a new life you create for us.
Even though we wander from our home in you,
you give us Jesus, who like a mother calling her children home,
invites us back to your table.
And so we come, singing your praise with all Creation.
[Sung, to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me”]
Holy, holy, holy Lord, source of life and love adored,
Heav’n and earth are radiant with your glory, heaven sent.
Praise God! Hosanna! Praise in the highest.
Blest is the one__ who comes__ in your name.
Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
With humility he comes among us as a child;
with a call to justice invites us to welcome the children;
with healing he makes us one family;
with love he blesses the child within each of us.
With so many of the children of this world, vulnerable and neglected,
he suffered our violence and injustice. He was crucified, but you raised him from the dead.
[The blessing and Covenant] *
We thank you for your life-giving acts in Jesus Christ.
Therefore with praise and thanksgiving we offer ourselves
as a living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Dying Christ destroyed our death. Rising Christ restores our life.
Christ will come again in love, With the Spirit, rising Dove.
Alleluia! Christ, dead and risen, lives!
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of food,
that they may be for the hungry the body of your love.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of read and cup,
that they may be for us the Body and Blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, that we may be the Body of Christ,
children of God, who reach out with your love
to our whole human family.
All glory and honor is yours, loving God, now and forever.
As a Mother gathers in all her children, makes them kin,
you unite us in this meal, in the love that you reveal.
Yes, Jesus loves us. Yes, Jesus loves us.
Yes, Jesus loves us: this table tells us so.
* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]
On the night in which he gave himself for us,
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,
saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.
Prayer of Dedication / Sending / after Communion
[Adapt as needed.]
Gracious God, we thank you for
the mystery that you give yourself to us /
this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.
You cherish us as your beloved children. You are gentle and tender with what is fragile in us. You have fed us with your love. Send us in love for all your children, as gentle and loving as you, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.
…In the love of Christ you make us all one, all who love you, all around the world. Not by our own doing but by your grace, we are one Body. We thank you. Feasting on your one Spirit, fed by your one love, we go as one people, to love and to serve, humbly as children in this world, for the sake of the restoration of our wholeness, to your glory, in the name of Christ. Amen.
(Click on titles to view songs on the Music page.)
Child of God (Original song)
I’m a child, a child of God,
God’s beloved in whom God is pleased.
I will live in the peace of God.
You’re a child…
Children of the Heavenly Mother (Tune: Children of the Heavenly Father)
Children of the Heavenly Mother,
gather gladly with each other,
for you call us to your table
bringing gifts as we are able.
You have held us and caressed us,
washed and taught us, healed and blessed us;
now you cherish and adore us
and you set this table for us.*
You have birthed us, and have freed us;
with your body now you feed us.
In this grace, O loving mother,
we are one with one another.
So we praise you, heavenly Mother,
Holy Spirit, Christ our brother,
All Creation sings together
honor, thanks and praise for ever.
* Without communion: “and you set our lives before us.”
Family (Tune: Children of the Heavenly Father)
Children of one loving Mother,
we are each a sister, brother.
In your image, God, you mold us;
in one family, Love, you hold us.
Though we strive with one another,
hurt our sister or our brother,
in our struggles and our wronging
still is blessing and belonging.
We are not alone, but rather,
God, you grant us grace together.
May we learn to love the Other
as our sister-self or brother.
As one family, God, you gather
all your children here together.
Help us shed all walls and labels:
bring us home, Love, to your table.
Jesus, Come Speak to Us [Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus]
God, you have gathered us, hungry for the Bread of Life,
thirsty for waters of flowing grace.
Our broken hearts are yours, open and waiting.
We want to meet you face to face.
Jesus, come speak to us. Sit beside the way with us.
Draw from the well and refresh our souls.
Shine light into our hearts, heal hidden wounds within,
call forth our gifts and make us whole.
Spirit, our Breath of Life, fill us with your grace and truth.
Make us your vessels of love and light.
Flow like a river, welling up within us
with waters of eternal life.
O Faithful God [Tune: Finlandia]
O faithful God, whose steadfast love is sure,
O Loving Father, Mother kind and strong:
your Covenant forever will endure;
you bind us to your heart our whole life long.
No matter how rebellious is your child,
in you we are brought home and reconciled
You hold us, God, in kinship with each other.
We have been loved and held when we would run.
We all are siblings, all born of one Mother;
though we would flee, you join us all as one.
Our deepest wounds come from our deepest love,
and so our highest hope for life above
So teach us God, to bravely love each other,
for all belong within your house of grace,
to give our enemy, who is our brother,
our steadfast mercy, and a wide embrace;
for in our love, though we be right or wrong,
we know the grace to which we all belong.
We Welcome the Child [Original song]
We welcome the child among us.
We welcome the tender ones.
In our embrace we meet your grace,
your gentle love divine.
Welcome to those who are fragile,
a safe healing place to belong,
a shelter from harm, a comforting arm,
a refuge where you may grow strong.
Welcome the child within us,
the small, timid voice in the night,
her wonder and fear at the world so near,
the child of your love and delight.
God, you are a child among us,
no power or might or control.
By your gentle part you soften my heart
and make me a more loving soul.
Your Holy Feast (Tune: “Londonderry Air,” Oh Danny Boy)
Oh healing Christ, you bring us to your table here,
to share with you, and all the ones you love.
We come as one, alike forgiven, healed and dear.
Oh come and bless us, Spirit, tender Dove.
Oh, make us yours, your servants and your lovers.
Oh, make us one, united here in you.
Oh, make us new: the Red Sea lead us over,
and set us free to walk in harmony with you.
Oh, Christ, you come, forgiving, risen from the dead,
in gracious love, that far outlives the grave.
You offer us your life in this, your humble bread,
and in this wine, your love poured out to save.
So fill us with your peace and make us one again.
Oh, fill us with your gentle, freeing love.
Oh risen Christ, draw us into your rising here,
and fill us with your light now dawning from above.
We come to eat the bread of peace you offer us.
We come to drink your resurrecting wine.
We come to feast upon your presence here with us,
and so become your Body as we dine.
So make us whole again, and be our living breath.
Make us your hands, and you will be our nerve.
Oh, risen Christ, we join you, rising up from death,
and by your side we’ll go, made new, to love and serve.