OT 19 — Pe + 11

Worship resources for:
10th  Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 19 (August 8, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel 18.5-33 David orders his army to defeat his son Absalom’s rebellion, but to protect Absalom.  Absalom, however, is killed in battle, and the news is reported to David.

Psalm 130 cries out to God from the depths of our sorrows.  Trusting God to forgive and redeem us, we wait for God’s grace.

Ephesians 4.25 – 5.2 teaches us how to live in community, especially to speak the truth in love rather than speaking out of anger, resentment, blame or negativity.  We are to imitate God and, like Jesus, be a “fragrant offering” for God.

In John 6. 35, 41-47 people resist Jesus’ self-description as the bread of life. He says, “Stop criticizing. No one comes to me unless God draws them.” 

Call to Worship

1.
Leader:  God of stillness, we come from busy lives, and surrender them to your grace.
    All:  You are the home of our hearts.
We come with all our memories and feelings, alliances and attachments.
    You are the home of our hearts.
We come amidst all our swirling desires and emotions to find ourselves.
    You are the home of our hearts.
Here we find ourselves in you, every part of us, and all of us together.
    You give yourself to us, and we give ourselves to you.
    In joy we worship you.  Alleluia!


2.
God, we did not come here on our own.  You have drawn us us.
    We come led by the hunger of our hearts.
Jesus, Bread of Life, you offer yourself.
    You feed the hunger of our hearts.
Bread of Heaven, nourish us, that we may serve you.
    All hearts are hungry for you.
    Fill us with yourself, that we may be bread for the world.

3.
God of Grace, you have drawn us from nothingness into life.
    We praise you.
You have drawn us to this day, in this place.
    We thank you.
You draw us ever deeper into your love.
     Alleluia.  Draw us deeper, God of life.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of grace, we hunger for the bread of life that is Jesus.  Feed us with your grace.  Nourish your Holy Spirit in us, that through deep trust, we may enter into the life of your Beloved, Jesus, who promises to raise us up on the last day. Amen.

2.
Jesus, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
    Jesus, we hunger for you.
“No one can come to me unless drawn by God.”
    Jesus, you draw us in.
“Whoever trusts has eternal life.”
    Jesus, help us trust, and enter into the life of God.
    Amen.

3.
Gracious God, though we hunger for many things, they do not give us life.  You alone are the bread of life.  Help us to turn from these things and to seek you alone: to look to your presence and attend to your Spirit, to listen for your Word and to feast on your grace. Grant us that holy hunger, so that as your scriptures are read and your good news proclaimed, we will listen to your Word and trust it with faith.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession

The grace of God be with you.

   And also with you.

Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.

   God of life, you draw us toward you, and toward life.

   But we pull away.

   Many fears and desires tug at us,

   and we distance ourselves from you, and from life.

   Draw us into your heart now by your grace.

   Forgive us, heal us, and make us new.

   Help us always to surrender to the flow of your grace in us,

   and to fall always, gently, into your arms.

[silent prayer]

People of God, by the grace we know in Christ, I proclaim to you
that all our sins are forgiven entirely, and we are set free
to live by the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Thanks be to God.

Readings

Jesus
by Steve Garnaas-Holmes


I am hungry for God.
Jesus makes my mouth water.

Jesus is my rabbi, my lover, my wonder, my dawn.
Jesus is not mine.   I am his.
He is the one who points out the bird I did not see.
He opens my eyes, opens my heart.
He accompanies me; he precedes me.
Jesus is the one with whom I sit in any silence.
He comes to others in ways I will never recognize.
I want him to be my clothes, by body, my breath,
the thought of my words,
the nerve of my muscle.

He is a trickster,
fooling me into salvation against my will
again and again.
He has grabbed me by the heart
and hauled me into myself.
I am the grave he has died in,
I am the life he rises in.

I follow him.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

        We give our hearts to God, Creator of all that is, who is still creating, from whom we receive life in each moment, in every breath; the Divine Lover who is constantly drawing us closer to God’s own heart.

        We give our hearts to Jesus Christ, the fragrance of God, the presence of God, the embodiment of God’s grace among us.  His teaching and healing and his dying and rising draw us nearer to God.

        We live by the Holy Spirit, God’s urging within us.  The Spirit leads and empowers us to live lives of forgiveness, love and service, to give of the gifts we have been given, and to embody God’s presence, each in our own way.  In the Spirit we are the Body of Christ, devoted to building up one another, the church and the Reign of God, trusting in the power of resurrection and the mystery of the Life that God gives us.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)


Bread of Life, feed our souls. 
River of God, ease our thirst. 
Bread of Heaven, enter us;
fill us with eternal life.
Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

Eucharistic Prayer

                        Preface 

Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all things,

ruler of the world and all that is to come.

You have made the earth and all that fills it;

you have given us every good thing to eat.

When we wandered in the wilderness you fed us.

When we hunger for your grace you bring us to the feast,

the feast of grace in Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life.

By your mighty judgment you have overthrown the powers of evil;

and you have set us free.

The rich go away empty, but the hungry you fill with good things.

You provide manna in the wilderness, bread for the people;

you open your hand and feed every living thing.

Therefore with all Creation we sing as one voice:

     Sanctus

Blessed are all who come in your name,

and blessed is Jesus, your Christ, the Bread of Life,

who strengthens our bodies and nourishes our souls;

who ate with the poor and the outcast,

and fed the multitudes by the power of your Spirit.

As Jesus shared the loaves and fishes, trusting you to provide,

so we feast with faith in the abundance of your Spirit and your grace.

           [… The Blessing and Covenant …] (“Words of Institution”):

     On the night in which he gave himself for us,

he 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,

shed for you and for many, in a new Covenant,

which is the forgiveness of sin.”

Christ is our Passover from want to abundance,

from powerlessness to victory, from death to life.

     Memorial Acclamation

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and all who share this meal,

and on these gifts of bread and cup, that they may be for us

the Body and Blood of the Beloved, Jesus Christ,

imperishable food that sustains us for eternal life

and strengthens us for service in your name.

As the grains are made one in this loaf, we are made one in your Spirit.
We offer ourselves in union with Christ’s sacrifice for us,

so that, trusting in the abundance of your grace,

we may give freely, serve boldly, and love abundantly.

Oh bread of life: take, bless, break, and give us,

as your bread of blessing in the world.

Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. 

Bless us that we may always hunger for the true bread of life, and never work for what does not lead us to eternal life.  Send us into the world to be bread for others, so that all of your children might taste the bread of life.  We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

Drawing Me  (John)

Out of the Deepest Depths  
 (Psalm 130)

See music store.

OT 18 — Pe + 10

Worship resources for:
9th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 18 (August 1, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In  2 Samuel 11.26-12.13 The prophetNathan tells David a parable about injustice, evoking David’s anger, and then turns the story on David, confronting him about his rape and murder.

Psalm 51 is a prayer of repentance.  We ask for God’s forgiveness, and that God create in us a new heart.

Ephesians 4. 1-16  Reminds us we are not just a random association of people: we are called as one body in the one spirit of Christ. We are called to live in love and peace. we all share Christ’s humility, patience and love. We are one in Christ’s Spirit.

In John 6.24-35  Jesus  says he is the Bread of Life, real nourishment that gives life to all the world.  The people keep getting hung up on their physical hunger, but Jesus speaks of a deeper hunger, and invites us to “believe,” that is, to open ourselves to what is given.

Call to Worship

Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
     All:  Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
     Moment by moment you create us, and give us life.
We confess that we have sought life elsewhere,
but this hunger has only fed us death.
     God of Creation, have mercy.
We confess that in our hunger we have betrayed life.
     God of grace, forgive us.
Teach us that our hunger and thirst is for you alone.
Teach us to turn to you and receive life in each moment.
     God of life, have mercy.
Christ, you are the Bread of Life.  Come and feed our hearts and souls.
    Alleluia!  Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of life, we are hungry for life.
Feed us the bread of life.
Spirit of breath, we live by each breath.
Help us to breathe deeply of you.
Christ, sign of God among us, we give our hearts to you.
Help us to listen, to feast upon your presence, and to enter into eternal life.   
Amen.

2.
Leader: Gracious God, we are hungry for life.
 All:  You are the Bread of Life.
We are thirsty for love.
      You are the fountain of love and grace.
We come to feast upon your abundance.
      We come to feast upon your grace.
      Alleluia!  We thank you.  We praise you.  We worship you. Alleluia!

3.
God of abundance and grace, we are hungry for life and love, but we divert our desires to other things. Redirect our hunger, O God, and transform our desires. Stir up our deep hunger for you, our thirst for truth, our deep desire for wisdom and compassion.  Our mouths water for your Word.  Speak to us, Lord of Love, and give us the bread of life.   Amen.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.
           We trust in God, creator of all that is, provider of every good thing to eat.
           We follow Jesus, the Bread of Life, who embodied God’s love, made grace available to all, and gave himself in love for us.  He was crucified and died, and was raised from the dead.  In him we are all made one, as grains united in one loaf.
           We live by the Holy Spirit, the Yeast of God in us, who unites us, nourishes us and gives us strength to love our neighbors.  Graced by the power of forgiveness, the promise of resurrection and the mystery of eternal life, we serve in the name of Christ for the sake of others, that in the power of the Holy Spirit we may be bread for the world.

2. [from Ephesians 2.14-22; 4.11-16]
Christ is our peace.  In Christ God has made us into one flesh.  and has broken down every dividing wall between us.
In Christ God has created one new humanity, making peace, and reconciling all to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death all hostility through it.
Jesus came and proclaimed peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near. In Christ all of us have access in one Spirit to God.  So we are no longer strangers and aliens, but citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone.
In Christ the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom we are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
God has given us various gifts to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Beloved of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
So we  grow up in every way into the one who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

Without thinking we seek food that perishes.  But here in this silence we open ourselves to the food that endures for eternal life. There are no signs.  There are no requirements. Only this, that we entrust ourselves to you, the Bread of Life.  We come to you. Feed us, that we may never hunger for anything but you, never thirst for anything but your grace.

Eucharistic Prayer

#5, Bread of Life

Prayer of Dedication / Sending / after Communion

God of grace, as Jesus offered himself for others as nourishing bread, we give of ourselves, that we may be bread for the world, to feed the hungry, to strengthen the weary, to gladden the hearts of the hopeless, to bring about justice and mercy in the name and the Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

See music store.

Bread of Life * unfinished

Every Moment is Manna   * unfinished

Communion Song:  Bread of Life
(Tune: HOLY MANNA)

Christ, you are the Bread of Life, who gives us strength and nourishes.
Here we feast on love and beauty, here your people flourishes.
In our sharing you are present, in our feast you enter in,
we become your Body, risen: we your servants, we your friends.

As you bless the bread and break it, as you give it out to share,
we ourselves are taken, given, sharing blessing everywhere.
May we be the yeast of justice; may we be the grain of love;
that your children all be fed, and grace and mercy all may have.

OT 17 — Pe + 9

Worship resources for:
8th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time  17 (July 25, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel 11. 1-15 David rapes Bathsheba and arranges her husband Uriah’s death.

Psalm 14  says that people do evil, thinking that there is no God who is aware of their deeds.  But God defends the poor and powerless                                                         

In Ephesians 3.14-21  the author prays for us, that we may be rooted in love and that Christ will live powerfully in us.

In John 6. 1-21 Jesus feeds a crowd with a tiny bit of food, and then walks across the lake to the disciples in the boat.  They are afraid but Jesus says, “I am.  Do not be afraid.”

Call to Worship

1.
Leader:  God of abundance, you provide Creation, overflowing with life and beauty.
      All:  In awe we praise you.
Christ, you accompany us in our deepest struggles with infinite love and grace.
      In gratitude we thank you.
Holy Spirit, you fill us with all the gifts we need to serve you with compassion and power.
      In trust, we open ourselves to your presence.  Alleluia!

2.
Leader:  In our need and hunger, God —
      Congregation:  you feed us abundantly!
In our fears and struggles
      you bear us through the storms!
God of grace, you bring us to a place of peace.
       We thank you. We worship you.  We open our hearts to you. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

 Steady God, life whirls around us.  Life demands so much of us.  So we turn to you, calm and generous.  Your grace flows freely.  We open ourselves in word and silence, in prayer and song, in meal and companionship, to the overflowing abundance of your presence and your grace.  Hungry and trusting, we open ourselves toy you.  Amen.

Response / Creed / Affirmation


        God, Creator of all, we rejoice that you are a God of abundance.  In faith we pledge to live lives of abundant generosity.
        Christ, we rejoice that you are the bread of life, who accompanies us in our deepest struggles. In faith we entrust ourselves to you, even in times of struggle. You who have died and been raised rom the dead, bear us through the storms and bless us with your presence.
        Holy Spirit, we rejoice that you grant to us the power of sharing, the courage of faith, and the peace of your grace.  In faith we give ourselves to your care and guidance, that in all things we may do your will, trust your grace, and share you love, in the name of Christ,  Amen.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

1.
God of love, the grace that nourishes us is more abundant than we know; the mercy that bears us through our struggles is deeper than we think.  And you are more present than we suspect, here and now.  We open our hearts to your grace.  In the little loaves and fishes of this moment, multiply your grace. In the little boat of our prayer, carry us across. 

2.
Hungry for God, we gather.
But where will we find what will nourish us?
      We have but five little loaves, and two fish.
Jesus takes our lives, and multiplies them.
      We struggle against the wind and waves of our lives.
Jesus calms us, and brings us to a place of peace.
      Jesus, feed us.  Bear us through the storm.
      Grant us your peace.  Amen.

Prayer after Communion

1.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You give with such infinite generosity; help us so to be grateful, trusting and generous with our love, with our time and goods, with our blessing, for the sake of the world, in the name and Spirit of Christ.   Amen.

Suggested Songs

All that we Hold  (John)
God Strengthen you Within   (Ephesians)

See music store.

OT 16 — Pe + 8

Worship resources for:
7th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 16 (July 18, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel 7. 1-14  David aspires to build a temple, a house for God.  But God says, “No, I will live in a tent among my people as I have always done.”

Psalm 89.20-37  celebrates the covenant, the promise, that God made to David.

Ephesians 2. 11-22 says Christ has broken down the division between “insiders” and “outsiders” s Jews and Gentiles. We are all one.  We are members of God’s household.  In fact we are God’s house, God’s temple.        

In Mark 6. 30-34, 53-56 the disciples return from their mission andJesus invites them to retreat to a solitary place.  But they are followed by people who seek Jesus’ healing and teaching. He has compassion on them (they are “like sheep without a shepherd”) and he heals them.

Call to Worship

Welcome to this holy time and place. 
Bring your hearts into the presence of God.
     We have been busy!
Come away.
      What of our triumphs and our struggles?
Come away.
      What of our wish to know and understand?
Come away.
      Gentle Christ, we are here, with you.  It is enough for us.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

God of grace, we wander through this life, hungry, like sheep without a shepherd.  But you have compassion on us.  And so we bring to you our hunger and our wounds.  We bring our sick souls on the mats of our prayer.  BY your tender grace, touch us, change us, and make us whole.  Amen.

Prayer of Confession:
   
      Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
All: And also with you.
      Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Gentle God, we have not always been present;
caught up in many things, we have neglected the One Thing.
We confess: renouncing all pretending,
letting go of all fear,
we bring ourselves to be with you,
in simplicity, in honesty, in silence.
Receive us as we are.
In your presence and your grace,
we are willing to become again the souls you create us to be.
Amen.

Readings

Come away

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and stop a while.”
      — Mark 6. 30-31

Purify your doing with being.
Come away to a solitary place
where there are no others:
no one watching, judging, comparing, setting examples.
No one to impress, please, satisfy, conform to.
Just you, your body and your soul.

Go to a place where nothing matters, and nothing defines you
but being there,
where you have not achieved or failed at anything.
A stopping place, 
a place where you stop all that you do,
and discover your being,
at the center, beyond all doing.

The Holy One, who said, “I Am Being,” is there,
creating you moment by moment,
breath by breath.
Stop doing, and simply be being created.

You may find such solitude in a quiet park or in a noisy office.
For the place is nowhere out there, but within you.

Come away.
Be yourself.
Stop a while.
Such a time and place is holy.

A resting place

Breathe in.  Breath out.
Let go of all you have accomplished.
Step out of what you have done,
the “who” you think you are
that comes from something,
into the who that is I AM.
Be still.

Breathe in.  Breath out.
Set everything down.
The great burden of being yourself,
what everyone thinks, even you,
the work of remembering,
what you must and mustn’t,
let them all go.
Be still.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.
Come to the sabbath place
where nothing, even you,
is fashioned, everything just is.
Come into the rest that is God,
the silence from which your light pours,
the Spirit brooding over the waters.
Here where you are received,
receive yourself.
Be still.

Breathe in.   Breathe out.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.
 We give our hearts to God, the Creator of all that is and all that is to come, who is present everywhere and in each moment.
 We follow Jesus, our teacher and healer, who has compassion on all people.  He leads us to seek God in activity and in quiet, in ministry and in solitude, in words and in silence—and in life and even in death.  Though Jesus was crucified, he was raised to new life, and accompanies us still in all things.
 We live by the Holy Spirit, God’s presence in and among us, which makes us the church the Body of Christ.   The Spirit empowers us to live with forgiveness and compassion, and trust in the power of resurrection; to proclaim Christ’s way of living, and to give of ourselves in ministry, for the sake of the healing of the world.

2. [from Ephesians 2.14-22; 4.11-16]
Christ is our peace.  In Christ God has made us into one flesh.  and has broken down every dividing wall between us.
In Christ God has created one new humanity, making peace, and reconciling all to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death all hostility through it.
Jesus came and proclaimed peace to those who were far off and peace to those who were near. In Christ all of us have access in one Spirit to God.  So we are no longer strangers and aliens, but citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone.
In Christ the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom we are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
God has given us various gifts to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Beloved of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
So we  grow up in every way into the one who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)


1.
Leader: Holy God, we leave behind the busyness of our lives;
      All:  we come to you.
We leave behind the noise in our lives and our minds,
      and we come to a quiet place where you are.
We come to a place of solitude, where there are no roles, no expectations:
      we are souls.  And here in this simple place, you are with us.
We let go.  We sink in.  We become present.
      We are happy to be here. 
      Blessing.  
      Alleluia.

2.
Gentle God, you draw us into the stillness of your Presence.  You breathe your breath in us, and we become more deeply aware.  We come into the quiet place in your heart    Speak your Word to us, even if it is silence, and we will listen, even if we do not understand.  Our hearts are open.  Come, Spirit of Truth, and be with us.  Amen.

3.
God, you invite us to discover your presence in activity and in quiet, in word and in silence.  Help us now, as your Scripture is read and your good news proclaimed, to pay attention, to be mindful of your presence, and to listen for your Word as you speak to us.    Amen.

4.
Gracious God, in Christ you welcome us into your presence.   Bless us now as the scriptures are read and your Word proclaimed, that by the grace of your Spirit we may be at home in your word.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

Sanctuary

See music store.

OT 15 — Pe + 7

Worship resources for:
6th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 15 (July 11, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel 6.1-19  David brings the ark— the chest holding the stone tablets of the law—into Jerusalem.  He dances before the ark with joy, clothed only in a linen ephod.  We don’t know exactly what an ephod is, but it was scanty enough to offend Michal, David’s sometime wife, the former king’s daughter.

Psalm 24 asks questions and responds.  Who comes close to God?  Those who seek truth and live truthfully.  Who is the power that rules our lives? It is Yahweh.  A refrain about opening the gates suggests the bringing of the ark into Jerusalem—and also implies that Jerusalem is the base of operations from which God protects the people.    

Ephesians 1.3-14 says God has chosen us and adopted us as children, forgiven us, and disclosed the mystery of God’s delight to us: that all Creation is to be gathered together in love. It is our destiny to radiate that love. God has given us the Holy Spirit as a sign of this inheritance.

In Mark 6. 6-29  Jesus sends out the disciples two by two with power to heal and cast out evil spirits.  Meanwhile Herod kills John the Baptist, a glimpse of the evil that comports with power, a foreshadowing of Jesus’ own death, and a reminder of the self-sacrifice of those who confront injustice nonviolently.

Call to Worship

1.
The human heart is a rich mystery, full of good and evil.
We bring our hearts to you, God,
that you will heal us of our fears,
open our eyes to see ourselves as you see us,
renew your Spirit in us,
and re-create us as the image of your love.
We thank you for your love, we ask your blessing,
and we open ourselves to your race.  Amen.

2.
Leader: Glorious God, as David danced before you, so we come with joy and praise.
      All: We worship you.  We praise you.  We open our hearts to you.
All Creation dances before you.  The stars and planets circle in joy and wonder.
      The seas wave and clap their hands.
The trees sway to the music of your wind.
      And our hearts sing your praise. 
      Alleluia! Glory be you to, now and forever.. Alleluia!
 

3.
Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
     All:  Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
    You alone are holy, and we worship you.
You send us out into the world to do the work of healing.
But we have not always been healing.  Sometimes we have been hurtful.
     Holy One, have mercy.
We ourselves need healing.
     Christ, have mercy.
Give us power to face the unwholesome spirits in us and in our world.
     Holy One, have mercy.
     Grant us your Spirit, to work for justice and healing.
     Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Eternal God, Life-Giver, you create all things, you establish the bounds and set the laws of all Creation, you are infinite and unknowable—yet you come among us in faithful presence.  We worship you. As David danced before the ark, our hearts rejoice in the presence of your Word.  Speak to us; sing to us.  May we hear the music of your grace, and lose ourselves in your beauty.  Amen.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

God of grace, you give us power to heal, to proclaim your good news, to anoint with blessing.  Open us to receive these gifts, that we may pass them on.  You send us in poverty of spirit.  Be our guide and companion, our power and our wealth, our journey and our home.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

1.
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  Help us to be a force for good in the world, and to join you in the work of healing and justice for the sake of the blessing of all Creation, in the name of Christ. Amen.

2.
Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace, and use them according to your will.  We go now into the world filled with your joy, graced with your presence and dancing in your Spirit, in the name and the love of Christ. Amen.

Prayer after Communion

1.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  In this meal you strengthen us for the journey. Send us into the world to witness for justice, to pray for peace, to work for healing, in the name and the Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

See music store.

Bread of Justice

Words: Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Tune: Holy Manna

God of justice and compassion, you who freed the Hebrew slaves,
you who feed the poor and powerless, you whose great forgiveness saves,
now you feed us, poor in spirit, through the grace of your dear Son;
now you call us, now you send us . May your loving will be done.

Feed us, God, the bread of justice: give us hearts to see and care.
We are one with all who suffer. They are yours; now send us there.
Knowing not if we shall triumph, give us faith to never cease;
give us strength to boldly witness, seeking justice, making peace.

Feed us , God, the wine of courage, faithfully to do your will.
Now we drink of resurrection, facing death but steadfast still.
To this world of heartless plunder, send us in a different vein:
by our fearless, gentle healing, to bear witness to your Reign.

OT 14 — Pe + 6

Worship resources for:
6th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 14 (July 4, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel 5. 1-5, 9-10  David is anointed king of the united northern and southern kingdoms of Israel.

Psalm 48 describes the “City of God” on Mt. Zion as an image of God’s strength and glory.

In 2 Corinthians 12. 2-10  Paul speaks of “someone” (himself) who experienced intense visions (being “caught up into heaven” and revelations).  In order to keep him from being prideful, God inflicted on Paul a “thorn in the flesh”—some kind of difficulty or handicap (we don’t know what it was). He asked for God to remove it, but learned that his power was not in his own flawlessness, but in God’s grace.  “Power is made perfect in weakness.”

In Mark 6.1-13 Jesus tries to teach and heal in his home town but people believe he is nothing more than the builder’s son.  Because of their unreceptiveness, they experience no teachings or miracles. He then sends out his disciples to carry on his ministry of proclaiming, healing and blessing.

Call to Worship


1.
God, you are among us.
Open our eyes to see you.
You are doing miracles every day.
Open our hearts to receive you.
You empower us to do miracles, too.
Open our hands to serve you.
In gratitude and trust, we worship you.


2.

God of grace, you perform miracles , though we do not often see them
       Help us to look and to see, to trust and to receive.
Give us faith, that we may be open to your truth and your grace;
       make us worthy vessels of your love to all the world.
Our power is nothing, but your power is infinite;
our abilities come and go but your ability is eternal.
       Help us to trust in your power alone, O God.
       Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
Gracious God, you are here today. You are not far off.  You are here.  In this place.  This moment.  This breath.  We come to be present for you, you who are infinitely present for us.  Open our hearts to you. Grant us a listening faith, a trusting and seeking and receiving faith.  By your Spirit, open us to your grace.   Amen.

2.
Gracious God, Jesus sent out his disciples to preach and to heal. We are among those whom he sends in your name, and in the power of your Spirit.  But we cannot preach unless we know your good news. We cannot heal unless we know your power.  Speak to us, heal our hearts, and fill us with your grace, so that we can faithfully bear witness to your Word in the name of Christ.  Amen.

3.
Holy God, prophets may lack honor in their hometown, but we ask you to make your home in our hearts anyway.  Help us to honor your Word and not take it for granted.  Move us to hear the freshness of your Spirit within words that may be familiar.  Help us to honor you by paying attention to how you speak to us today.  Teach us to respond to your call, so that we may be ever more faithful disciples.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Readings

from Psalm 78, adapted  [Stanza breaks are appropriate places for sung responses.]


Listen, O people, to this teaching;
         pay attention to these words of truth!
We will tell a story that is rich with meaning,
         and utter sayings with truth hidden in them,
an ancient story that we have heard,
         because it is a story about us.
We will not hide these stories from our children,
         but tell them to the next generation:
the glorious deeds of God, and God’s power,
         and the wonders that God has wrought.
God made this promise to Israel,
and commanded them to pass it on from generation to generation
so that they would set their hope in God alone,
         and never forget God’s grace.                        

In the sight of their ancestors—
         in your own memory—God worked miracles in Egypt.
God divided the sea and led them through it,
         making the waters to stand like a heap.
God led them by a cloud in the daytime,
         and all the night with a fiery light.
God split the rocks in the wilderness,
         and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep,
made streams to come out of the rock,
         and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
           
Yet they tested God in their hearts,
         by demanding the food that they craved.
They spoke against God, saying:
“Yes, God, you struck the rock
         so that water gushed out and torrents overflowed.
But can you spread a table in the wilderness?
         Can you give bread, and provide meat for your people?”

Response / Creed / Affirmation

We give our hearts to God, Creator of all that is and all that is to come, who is  creating in each moment.  We open our hearts and minds to God’s grace and presence in all things.
        We follow Jesus, our teacher and healer.  We are open to God’s grace and power in him.  For he was open to God’s leading, and so he gave himself in love.  He was killed by fear but raised by love, and still is present with power and truth.
        We live by the Holy Spirit, God’s  presence in us and an all things: the power that unites us as the Church, the Body of Christ, and that enables us to trust resurrection and to live with mindfulness and forgiveness, and to serve God in love for the sake of the healing of the world. We trust that this power in us is made perfect in our weakness: not in our own strength or ability, but in our reliance upon God’s grace. For these blessings we give God thanks, and we devote our lives.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

Gracious God, we remember those who received no miracles because they were not willing. We surrender our superior knowledge, and the resistance of what we know. We open ourselves to the mystery of your Word and the miracle of your grace. Speak to us, touch us, and change us.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

1.
Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace, and use them according to your will.  Send us into the world to share your love and to do your will for the sake of the transformation of the world, in the name and the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

2.
Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace, and use them according to your will.  Bless us that we might serve you faithfully, not because of our great powers or abilities, but by our openness to your grace. Use your power through us, so that by our ministry you might transform the world into your blessed Realm.  Amen

Prayer after Communion

1.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You gather us into your Empire of Grace, uniting us with all people   Send us into the world to bear witness to our unity, to work for justice, to embody your grace, in the name and the Spirit of Christ, who with you reigns over all nations forever.  Amen.

2.
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  As Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his beloved, so take us, bless us, break us, and give us to the world; that by your grace in us you may bless all the world, in the name of Christ.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

See music store.

Before My Eyes 

Words: Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Tune: For the Beauty of the Earth)


Prophets plainly speak your Word, but are silenced and not heard.
Miracles will pass us by, hidden by the jaundiced eye.
                              Spirit, help me realize: you are here before my eyes.

Acts of courage, though unseen; in forgiveness hearts washed clean;
deeds of love, though they are small: most miraculous of all! 
                              Spirit, help me realize: you are here before my eyes.

How the outcast choose to live, how the poor in spirit give,
how the ones we ostracize give gifts we don’t recognize!   
                              Spirit, help me realize: you are here before my eyes.                

Letting expectations go, humbly knowing I don’t know,
blessing what the moment brings, finding grace in humble things:   
                              Spirit, help me realize: you are here before my eyes.  

Help me seek the truth today, set aside what others say,
speak your Word and trust your grace— miracles will then take place!  

OT 13 — Pe + 5

6.27.21
5th Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 13


Lectionary Texts

In 2 Samuel  1.17-27 Saul, the king, and his son Jonathan  have died in battle.  David sings a song to honor them—especially Jonathan, whom he loved.

Psalm 130  is a cry to God from the deep, dark places of our lives, trusting in God’s goodness.  God does not judge us according to our shortcomings, but forgives us.

In 2 Corinthians 8. 7-15 Paul encourages a church that excels in many things to excel in generosity.  He does not intend that “there should be relief for others and pressure on you,” but that there is “a balance between your abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need.”  We all have gifts to offer and we need others’ gifts.

In Mark 5.21-43  Jesus is on the way to heal a girl near death when a woman with a flow of blood touches the fringe of his prayer shawl, and is healed.  Jesus stops to talk with her.  He is told that it is now too late: the girl has died.  But he goes to her house anyway, and revives her.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader:  God of life and wholeness, we come to you broken, in a broken world.
      All:  We reach out for the hem of your garment.
We come to you longing for healing.
      We open ourselves to your mercy.
You come among us full of grace.
      We feel your spirit move in us, and we are healed.
      And so we bow before you, and in gratitude, humility and wonder
      we tell the story of your grace.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of love, even as the world presses in on you with all its wants and demands, you walk among us in peace.  You radiate your mercy and grace. We open ourselves to your love.  We listen for your Word to enter us and change us.  We reach for the hem of your garment. Enter our longing, and heal us.  Amen.

2.
Gracious God, Jesus went among the people healing them.  We too have been touched by his grace.  We give you thanks and open our hearts to you.  Bless us in our worship that by your grace we may reach out and touch the hem of your garment and be made new by the power of your spirit.  We pray in the name of Christ.  Amen.

3.
Gentle God, we come before you with every kind of wound and brokenness, with illness and sadness, struggle, guilt and weakness.  We reach out  to touch the hem of Christ’s garment.  May the power of your Holy Spirit flow forth and heal us, bless us, make us whole, and draw us together as one body.  By your Spirit in us, may your will be done, and your grace be praised.  Amen.

Readings

1.  From Psalm 130, paraphrased

Out of the deepest places in our hearts we cry to you, O Lord.
        Hear the silent cries of our souls.
God, if you kept track our sin, who could survive?         But you forgive abundantly, and we are deeply grateful.
I wait for you, Holy One.  My soul waits. In your Word is my only hope.
         My soul aches for you,
         more than one in a long night awaiting morning,
         more than one awaiting morning.
O people, hope in God, for with God there is steadfast love,
         and with God there is power to redeem.
         God will redeem us from all our unfaithfulness.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

        We give our hearts to God, creator of all, the Holy Beloved, who makes everything whole, and whose only will for all creation is healing and redemption.

        We follow Jesus, who embodied God’s transforming power among us in his love, his teaching and his healing.  In his death and resurrection we witness God’s healing and redeeming power over all brokenness, even sin and death.  The Risen Christ lives among us still with power to heal and bless and raise all people to new life.

        We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s creating power in us.  As the Church, the Body of Christ, we are called to be a healing presence in the world for individuals, groups and all humankind. We trust the power of forgiveness and the reality of resurrection; and we devote ourselves to lives of healing, justice and reconciliation in the name of Christ, for the sake of the redemption of the world and the coming of the Reign of God.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)


We need not understand… only touch the hem of your garment.
Your power moves in ways we do not know.
Your wholeness flows into our hearts.
You touch us, and raise us to new life.
We await your touch.

Prayer of Confession

The grace of God be with you.

And also with you.

Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.

Gentle God, we confess that we are in need of your healing and your forgiveness.

For all that is broken in our minds and bodies, we ask your healing.

For all that is amiss in our choices and our relationships, we ask your forgiveness.

For all that works against life and blessing in our hearts, and in the world,

we open ourselves to your transforming grace.

Heal us, forgive us, and make us new.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

As Jesus, hurrying to an important mission,  paused to attend to a woman in need, so fill us with your Spirit that we may pause and tend to those around us. May your power flow through us, not by our effort but by your grace. May we be attentive in the midst of chaos, confident in the face of death, and healing in the midst of anguish, by the working of your love, in the name of Christ.  Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You have healed us.  You have raised us from the dead.  Send us into the world to offer your grace to all who hunger for it, especially those who are denied mercy in this world, in the name of Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

See music store.

We Feast on Your Love

Jesus, My Healer

OT 12 – Pe + 4

Worship resources for:
OT 12 – Pe +4 (June 20, 2021)


Lectionary Texts

1 Samuel 17. 1-49  tells the story of David and Goliath.  Little David defeats the giant warrior not by strength, but by relying on God.

Psalm 9. 11-20  praises God, who hears the poor and the afflicted.  The nations and those who abuse others are trapped by their own evil.   But God remembers the needy.

In 1 Corinthians 6. 1-13 Paul says God offers salvation today, not later.  So don’t sit and let it go by you!  Paul then describes the difficulties of his ministry and pleads that it not be in vain. “Open wide your hearts.” 

In Mark 4. 35-41 the disciples go through a storm at sea, while Jesus sleeps in the boat.  In their anxiety they rouse him and he calls for peace and calm.

Call to Worship

1.

Leader:  God of love, you hear the cry of those who suffer.

 All:  We cry out with all who are in anguish.

Gentle Christ, you walk with those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.

 We walk with you among those who suffer.

Holy Spirit, we often despair as we face the troubles of the world.

 We open ourselves to your presence, so we need not fear.

 Calm our hearts, and give us courage to serve with you.

2.

Leader:  God of Creation, we are in awe of your work.

 All:    Thanks, we cry, and adoration!

God of mystery, our fears swirl about us.

 Save us, we cry.  Have mercy!

God of grace, your healing sustains us.

 Bless you, we pray, and we worship you.

3.

Leader: Creator God, the sea is so wide and my boat is so small!

   All:  Be good to us.

Loving Christ, the storms are great and our hearts are weak.

   Be with us.

Holy Spirit, you are the wind and you are the waves.

  Give us courage.

God of life, bring us through the storm.

   Give us faith.

   Come, Spirit of Life, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.

God of love, the storms of life frighten us.  But you are in the boat of our lives with us. Speak to us and give us peace.  Call to us, and give us courage.  Awaken us with your Word, so we may serve you without fear. Amen.

2.

God of mercy, your Word alone has power to create, power to save, power to heal.  Amidst the howling storm of society’s anxieties and the cries of our inner fears your voice comes to us, soft and steady.  Help us to listen and be still, to trust with all our hearts.  Speak to us, God of life.  Amen.

3.

God of all Creation, sometimes the storms frighten us and we cry to you.  Sometimes our challenges are great and we tremble.  Sometimes the storms are around us, and sometimes they are within. Speak your word of peace to us, so that we may endure our storms and face our difficulties with peace and faith.  We open our hearts to your grace.  Amen.

Readings

(For two readers.)

Reader 1: Jesus says: Let us go over to the other side.

     Reader 2: The other side… of what?  The tracks?…   The argument?

  The unseen?  The shadow side of myself?  

[….silence…]

Follow me.

   The rowing is hard. I am tired.

Come, to me, you who are weary, and I will give you rest. [….silence…]

   The wind is against me, and I am afraid.

The wind blows where it will. So it is with those who are born of the Spirit.   [….silence…]

   The waves are high.  How can you be asleep?

Peace, be still.   [….silence…]

   Do you not care that we are perishing?

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain.

But if it dies it bears much fruit.

   We have gone down into the deep baptismal waters

   and now we are born again.

   Even the wind and the seas obey the Beloved.  We too shall follow.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.

   We trust in you, God of Mystery, Creator of all that is and all that is to come.

    We follow you, O Christ, voice of God, Word made flesh, love embodied.  Your love and healing cast out demons and called forth justice.   You died in and rose in the peace of God.  Your mercy calms the storms in our hearts and calls us into a new community of hope.

    We live by your grace, Holy Spirit, your life in us that is not afraid, but at peace with all that is. Trusting in the gift of forgiveness, the power of resurrection, the mystery of eternal life and the gift of our unity with all living beings as the Body of Christ, we live in peace and nonviolence; we work for justice; we fearlessly share your love with all.  In your Peace, Holy One, we live as disciples of Christ for the healing of the world.  Amen.

2.

      Creator God, you are the sea and the wind; you are our boat, you are the mysterious depths and the far shore. We give ourselves to you.

         Loving Christ, you are the peaceful presence, you are the calming voice, you are the One who is in the boat with us always.  We trust you, and we turn to you.

      Holy Spirit, you are the wind that carries us onward, even when we are afraid.  You are the power that raised Jesus from the grave, and that rouses us from death.  You make us one Body; you give us trust in your grace; you give us courage in all things.  Grant us the faith to continue in our journey with Christ, to love and serve the world, trusting in the power of forgiveness and resurrection and the present reality of eternal life. Amen.

3.

             We give our hearts to God, Creator of all, whose Spirit is in the wind and in the calm, in our little boats and in the seas about us.

     We follow Christ, who is with us in the storms of life; who holds the power of all Creation in his hands; and who gives us peace by his resurrected presence. He bids us to trust, to love and to wonder in his name.

     We live by the power of the Spirit, who gives us peace in all our difficulties and courage in all our endeavors.  Since even the wind and the seas obey, we too obey God, the Holy One. We devote ourselves to accept the grace of God, to minister with Christ, to live resurrection, and to serve in love, for the sake of the healing of all Creation, in the name of Christ.  Amen.

Listening Prayer  

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

God of Peace, your Word calms storms. 

You are at peace, even in chaotic times.

Though we are afraid, Jesus is at rest

in the little boat of our hearts.

Speak your Word now. We will be still.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

1.

Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  Trusting your saving presence and the peace of your grace, we go into the world to heal, to do justice and to proclaim your good news, for the sake of the wholeness of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

2.

Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace, and use them according to your will.  Send us into the world with trust in your presence and courage in our hearts and hands, to go where you lead us, to love as you enable us, to serve as you command us. In the name of Christ, our Safety and our Peace, bless us.  Amen.

3.

Eternal God we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives.  Take them and do your will with them.  Through our giving and our service, reach out to those who struggle through the storms of life and offer rest and safety to them.  Help us to be a source of peace, present to them so that they may know your love.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Suggested Songs

In the Boatsee music store.

OT 11 – Pe +3

June 13, 2021 
3rd Sunday after Pentecost — Ordinary Time 11


1 Samuel 15.34 — 16.13  The prophet Samuel anoints David as king of Israel. Samuel passes over the brothers who are bigger and stronger in favor of the one God has chosen.

Psalm 20  is a prayer that God will help you, protect you and fulfill your desires.  Your well-being comes not from strength or power, but from God.

       -or-

Psalm 72  asks God’s blessing on the king:  that he defend the poor and weak, and work for justice, that he prevail among his rivals, and that his kingdom be blessed.

In 2 Corinthians 5. 16-17 Paul says if anyone lives in union with Christ, it changes the whole world: Creation starts all over again.

In Mark 4.26-34  Jesus tells two parables: the Realm of God is like seed growing without our knowing how; and it is like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a large blessing.

Call to Worship

1.
Leader:  Eternal Mystery, Sun of Life , you create all things.
 
All:    Your glory shines in every living being.
Living Christ, Divine Presence, you plant the seed of your love in us.
 Your beauty, your grace are hidden in our hearts.
Spirit of Love, you call forth our compassion.
 By your growth in us, we flower with the fruit of your grace.
 We thank you.  We worship you.  We give ourselves to you.  Alleluia!

2.

Leader:  Creator God, you scatter the seed of your grace in this world.
      All:    It produces blessing, though we know not how.
You scatter the seed of your love in us.
       It sprouts and grows, though we do not know how.
When the time is ripe you gather your harvest.
      We offer our love to you, for the harvest is yours.

3.
Leader: Creator God, Source of Life, we praise you!

     All:  You plant the seed of your grace in us,
     and Creation begins anew.

The mystery of your presence grows within us; we know not how.

     The tree of Christ flourishes among us, bearing fruit.

The vine of your Spirit connects us all, and we thank you.

      We are seeds of your promise, saplings of your Realm.

      Alleluia!   Spirit of Life, grow within us,

      and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of grace, you plant the mustard seed of your love in us.  May it flourish and grow by your grace. May the sun of your Word shine upon us; the water of your grace nourish us; the warm earth of Christ hold us and bless us to bring forth life in your name.  Amen.

2.
Gracious God, as plants in a garden root themselves in rich soil, and open themselves to the rain and sun, so we root ourselves in your Presence.  We open ourselves to your Word.  And we await the working of your Spirit within us, so that what you have planted in us may bear fruit.  We pray in the name of Christ.  Amen.

Readings

1.   from Psalm 20, a paraphrase

May the Holy One be with you in all your struggles.
        May God treasure your gifts with delight.
May God grant your deepest desires
       and bring to fruition the seeds of grace in you.
We rejoice at one another’s giftedness;
       we celebrate what God is doing in you.
God will always be present with God’s Beloved.
       God responds with love and blessing.
Some trust in power and accomplishments,
       but our trust is in God,
       in God’s amazing glory unfolding in each of us.

Help us to trust this vision, O God.
       Be our hope and our trust.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

Listening Prayer  (suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)

God of life, our hearts are the soil into which you scatter the seed of your Word.  May it take root in us, grow mightily, and bear good fruit.  Amen.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

Gracious God, we give you our gifts as symbols of our lives.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  May your grace grow and bear fruit in our lives by the power of your Spirit in us, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. As the seed sprouts and grows, we know not how, so in the mystery of this meal your grace grows in us without our understanding.  May it bear fruit in us, for the sake of the mending of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

Tree of LifeSee music store.

“Messiah?”

         He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”
         Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”
                   —Mark 8.29

Really? To Peter?
Wisdom Teacher maybe; friend, commander, co-conspirator,
confounder, eye-opener, spiritual director, divine prodder,
midwife of the New Life—but not a Christological assertion.

The Messiah was a mighty warrior who would liberate Israel
from Roman oppression. A kind of Superhero.
Jesus might have quoted Princess Bride:
“You keep saying that word, but I do not think it means
what you think it means.”

To Jesus being God’s anointed (“Messiah”)
meant giving oneself over to the power of God’s grace alone;
being vulnerable, even powerless.
Liberating us not from a political situation
but from sin, from death, fear, addiction and delusion—
freeing us from what traps us away from God.
It wasn’t about conquering but standing with the oppressed,
embodying the prophetic call for justice
by embodying the suffering of God in the poor.
It meant the cross. Triumph hidden in defeat.
Losing one’s life, trusting resurrection.

So Jesus tells the disciples to avoid that Messiah talk.
Can we do that? Set aside being on the winning side,
being “saved?” Can we stand instead with the oppressed,
let the blessing of the poor in spirit be our only blessing?
Let the grace of God be our only power?
“If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me….”

Jesus says “Get behind me.” And he starts walking.

__________________
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
www.unfoldinglight.net

September 10, 2021