29 January 2020

Gathering Music

Call to Prayer

One: O God, how majestic is your name throughout the earth
Many: Your glory is higher than the heavens.
One: From the mouths of nursing babies you have laid a strong foundation
Many: Crowning your creation with grandeur.
One: When we look up at your skies, at what your fingers made—the moon and the stars that you set firmly in place
Many: We marvel at your care for us. Come let us encounter the creator of all.

Sung Confession

“I am Your Mother” by Shirley Erena Murray

First Reading

Adaptation of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – A season for all things

For everything, there is a season.
Most things are not as simple
as “good” or “bad.”
It is more often a question
of who and of when.

There are times to birth new things.
There are times to welcome death.
There are times to plant seeds for those to come
and times for harvesting the long labor of others.

There are times when destruction is necessary, or at least unavoidable, and there are times when healing is possible.

There are times to create art and times to tear it down.

There are days where only weeping will do; others for laughing. Some days we can only mourn, others we dance. We ebb and flow our way together.

Sometimes we long to be in the arms of another,
other times we need the intimacy of solitude.

There are times for seeking a way through the impossible, and other times for accepting our losses.
There is a time to hold on and a time to let go.

There are times when some of us need to be silent
and times when the rest of us must speak.

Love has its time and hate has its place.
Conflict must be accepted;
and peace welcomed in due time.

May we listen our way into and out of each season,
with Wisdom as our guide,
forcing nothing,
receiving everything,
trusting Love’s companionship.

One: Hear what the spirit is saying
Many: We are listening

Sung Response

“Many and Great, O God” v.1 UMH #148

Many and great, O God, are thy things, Maker of earth and sky.
Thy hands have set the heavens with stars; thy fingers spread the mountains and plains.
Lo, at thy word the waters were formed; deep seas obey thy voice.

Second Reading

Whistling Swans by Mary Oliver

Do you bow your head when you pray or do you look up into that blue space?
Take your choice, prayers fly from all directions.
And don’t worry about what language you use,
God no doubt understands them all.
Even when the swans are flying north and making
Such a ruckus of noise, God is surely listening and understanding.
Rumi said, There is no proof of the soul.
But isn’t the return of spring and how it
Springs up in our hearts a pretty good hint?
Yes, I know, God’s silence never breaks, but is that really a problem?
There are thousands of voices, after all.
And furthermore, don’t you imagine (I just suggest it)
That the swans know about as much as we do about the whole business?
So listen to them and watch them, singing as they fly.
Take from it what you can.

One: Hear what the spirit is saying
Many: We are listening.

Sung Response

“Many and Great, O God” v.2 UMH #148

Grant unto us communion with thee, thou star abiding one;
Come unto us and dwell with us; with thee are found the gifts of life.
Bless us with life that has no end, eternal life with me.

Silent Reflection

“Many and Great, O God” v.1 UMH #148

Many and great, O God, are thy things, Maker of earth and sky.
Thy hands have set the heavens with stars; thy fingers spread the mountains and plains.
Lo, at thy word the waters were formed; deep seas obey thy voice.

Unison Prayer

Holy One, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe, for all things speak of you. Show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for we know that not one of them is forgotten in your sight. Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being that you have made. Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is. Amen.

Blessing

May we bless the imagination of the earth. Let us remember within us the ancient clay, holding the memory of seasons, the passion of the wind, the fluency of water, the warmth of fire, the quiver-touch of the sun, and shadowed sureness of the moon. May we awaken to the dream of the earth in mind, spirit, and light. Amen.

Sending

“God Has Work for Us to Do”


Worship Notes:

Adaptation of Ecclesiastes: https://enfleshed.com/pages/adaptation-of-ecclesiastes-3-1-8-a-season-for-all-things

Mary Oliver, “Whistling Swans,” Felicity (New York: Penguin Press, 2016), 29.

Unison Prayer adapted by Kelsey Wallace from: https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/topical-prayers/prayers-world

Blessing adapted by Kelsey Wallace from: John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings (New York: Doubleday), 86-87.

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