September 25, 2016

Bibliography/Links of interest:
Rex Hunt Liturgies
Compassion Meditation-Greater Good in Action
Loving Kindness for Children – Buddahanet
Minute for Mission
Passing the Peace: Social Gesture or Sacred Act – Kymberly Burke-Cole
How to Teach Children Loving Kindness – Sharon Sharlzburg
Trust Me Church: When Passing the Peace Turns Stressful for Me – Patheos
Passing the Peace: A Tradition in Many Faiths – Unitarian Universalist Association
Don’t Overdo Passing the Peace in Church – Time Herald
Passing the Peace – Chuck Knows Church
Will You Please Pass the Peace? – North Park Pres
Kiss of Peace – Wikipedia

Hymn                     Deep In Our Hearts                                MV 154
Words of Welcome and Announcements

Lighting the Christ Candle & Passing the Peace
A word about the Importance of Consent
The “Passing of the Peace” is an ancient ritual of forgiveness and reconciliation between members of a congregation and even with oneself.  During the Passing of the Peace, you are encouraged to search your heart for the places where you need to offer forgiveness and the places you need to ask forgiveness.  As always, consent is a must.  You should not feel guilty if you are unable to receive someone’s gift of peace, nor should you feel guilty if your gift of peace is not received.  Please be aware of body language and the variety of needs in regards to personal space.

Hymn                     For the Fruit of all Creation                          VU 227

 Call to Worship
One: Come all who are seeking:
All: the lonely, the scared
One: the hurt, the questioning
All: Come all who are seeking compassion.

Opening Prayer
Spirit God, we pray for your presence in this space.  May we be filled with compassion for each other and for each person we meet.  May compassion grow in us and in others we pray.  Amen.

Loving Kindness Meditation – adapted from Great Good in Action (link above)
Settling
Fold your piece of paper in half and then in half again to make 4 sections.  Settle into a comfortable position and allow yourself to relax.
Take a deep breath and release. [2 seconds]
For a few moments, just focus on your breath and clear your mind of worries.

Loving-kindness & Compassion for a Loved One
Draw or Picture someone who is close to you, someone who you feel a great amount of love for.
Notice how this love feels in your heart.
Perhaps you feel a sensation of warmth, openness, and tenderness.
Continue breathing, and focus on these feelings as you continue to draw or visualize your loved one. As you breathe out, imagine that you are extending a golden light that holds your warm feelings from the center of your heart. Imagine that the golden light reaches out to your loved one, bringing him or her peace and happiness. Let’s pray for this person.
May you have happiness.
May you be free from suffering.
May you experience joy and ease.
Amen.
Notice how this feels in your heart.

Compassion for a Loved One
Now think of a time when this person was suffering.   Maybe they experienced an illness, an injury, or a difficult time in a relationship. [15 seconds]
Notice how you feel when you think of his or her suffering. How does your heart feel? Do you continue to feel warmth, openness and tenderness? Are there other feelings, maybe an aching sensation? [10 seconds]
Continue to visualize your loved one as you breathe.  Imagine that you are extending the golden light from your heart to your loved one, and that the golden light is easing your loved one feel better. Extend this light out to them during your exhalation, with the strong heartfelt wish that they be free from his or her suffering. Let’s pray for your loved one:
May you be free from this suffering.
May you have joy and happiness.
Amen.
Notice how this feels in your heart.

Compassion for Self
Contemplate a time when you have suffered yourself. If you are drawing, this goes in the second box. Perhaps you experienced a conflict with someone you care about, or did not succeed in something you wanted, or were physically ill. [15 seconds]
Notice how you feel when you think of your suffering. How does your heart feel? Do you continue to feel warmth, openness, and tenderness? Are there other feelings, perhaps an aching sensation? [10 seconds]
Just as we wish for our loved one’s suffering to end, we wish that our own suffering would end. We may also envision our own pain and suffering leaving us so that we may experience happiness.
Continue to visualize yourself as you breathe. Imagine that the golden light emanating from your heart is easing your suffering. With each exhalation, feel the light emanating within you, with the strong heartfelt wish that you be free from your suffering. Let’s pray for ourselves:
May each of us be free from our suffering.
May each of us have joy and happiness.
Amen.
Again, notice how this feels in your heart.

Compassion for a Neutral Person
Now visualize someone you neither like nor dislike—someone you may see in your everyday life, such as a classmate with whom you are not familiar, a bus driver, or a stranger you pass on the street. [5 seconds]  If you are drawing, this person goes in the third box.
Although you are not familiar with this person, think of how this person may suffer in his or her own life. This person may also have conflicts with loved ones, or struggled with an addiction, or may have suffered illness. Imagine a situation in which this person may have suffered. [30 seconds]
Notice your heart center. Does it feel different? Do you feel more warmth, openness and tenderness?, perhaps an aching feeling? How does your heart feel different from when you were envisioning your own or a loved one’s suffering?  [10 seconds]
Continue to visualize or draw this person as you breathe. Imagine that you are extending the golden light from your heart to them, and that the golden light is easing his or her suffering. Extend this light out to them during your exhalation, with the strong heartfelt wish that he or she be free from suffering. See if this wish can be as strong as the wish for your own or a loved one’s suffering to be relieved.  Let’s pray for these people:
May you be free from this suffering.
May you have joy and happiness.
Amen
Again, notice how this feels in your heart. Did the feelings change from when you were envisioning this person’s suffering? Did you continue to feel warmth, openness and tenderness? Were there other sensations? Did you have a wish to take away this person’s suffering? How were these feelings different from when you were wishing to take away your own or a loved one’s suffering? [30 seconds]

Compassion for an Enemy
Now visualize or draw someone with whom you have difficulty in your life. This may be a parent or child with whom you disagree, an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, a roommate with whom you had an argument, or a co-worker with whom you do not get along. [5 seconds]
Although you may have negative feelings towards this person, think of how this person has suffered in his or her own life. This person has also had conflicts with loved ones, or has dealt with failures, or may have suffered illness. Think of a situation in which this person may have suffered. [30 seconds]
Notice your heart center. Does it feel different? Do you feel more warmth, openness and tenderness? Are there other feelings, perhaps an aching feeling? How does your heart feel different from when you were envisioning your own or a loved one’s suffering? [10 seconds]
Continue to visualize this person as you breathe. Imagine that you are extending the golden light from your heart to him or her, and that the golden light is easing his or her suffering. Extend this light out to him or her during your exhalation, with the strong heartfelt wish that he or she be free from suffering. See if this wish can be as strong as the wish for your own or a loved one’s suffering to be relieved. Let’s pray for him or her:
May you be free from this suffering.
May you have joy and happiness.
Amen.
If you have difficulty in wishing for this person’s suffering to be relieved, you may think of a positive interaction you have had with this person that can help you in wishing them joy and happiness. Perhaps there were times when you got along, laughed together, or worked well together on an assignment.
 Notice how your heart feels.

Compassion for All Beings
Now that we are almost at the end, let’s end with prayer for all other beings’ suffering to be relieved. Just as I wish to have peace, happiness, and to be free from suffering, so do all beings. [10 seconds]
May all of creation be free from suffering.  May all of creation have joy and happiness.  Amen.

M&P Presentation

Readings: 1 Timothy 6:6-19
Luke 16:19-31

Hymn                     Psalm 91                                              VU 808/809

More on “Passing the Peace”
When I was asked to reintroduce the Passing of the Peace on a semi-regular basis, I wondered how it had fallen out of practice.  I know my own feelings on it, and my own assumptions as to why it isn’t practiced as much as it once was, but what was the history of the Passing of the Peace.

It’s a more common tradition in Anglican and Roman Catholic churches as an act of absolution before receiving communion.  This makes sense.  You aren’t supposed to take communion if you are holding a grudge, anger or hurt in your heart, so the Passing of the Peace is a liturgical act of letting go of those negative feelings.  It’s a transformation of the self and when practiced in community, a transformation of the community.  It’s always been part of the United Church tradition, existing in the liturgy before communion up until 1984.  Let’s see if you remember “Peace be with you”.  And also with you. “Lift up your hearts” We lift them up to the Lord.

In 1984, the Church service manual introduced the idea that Passing the Peace could happen without communion following it.  People liked this idea, and some churches adopted this practice on a regular basis.  Enter the time of H1N1, and consent.  The lax care and social atmosphere that Passing the Peace evolved into quickly became problematic.

But what happens when Passing the Peace becomes problematic?  Some people simply won’t understand what I’m about to say.  So I’m asking you to remember the Loving Kindness mediation, and project some compassion on these people you don’t know or understand.  For some people, a hug is a dangerous thing.  For people who have been raped or abused, a hug may make them feel threatened and vulnerable again.  For people with body issues, letting someone so close to their body, and able to really see it, makes them feel vulnerable.  For some people with auto immune issues of their own or in their houses, the risk of possible contact with a bacteria or virus unknowingly passed along not only makes them feel vulnerable, but in some instances poses a real life threat.  For some people, self-esteem, self-worth, or cultural practices come into play and they are simply unable to make eye contact.  No one enjoys feeling threatened or vulnerable.  That only encourages walls to be strengthened or built around ourselves keeping all others out, making us seem stand-offish, snobby or rude when really the person is most likely deeply hurt.  Building walls, even if they are to protect you, is a dangerous thing.  That’s not what the Passing of the Peace is meant to be.  Passing of the Peace is meant to be intimate, but just as with anything else intimate, trust must be in place before this can truly happen.  Before there is trust, there must be compassion.

I was nervous about the scripture readings for today.  They aren’t terribly pleasant.  In fact, the Luke passage is downright horrible.  But it sure does reinforce the need, regardless of your beliefs around heaven and hell, for compassion.

Compassion can make a huge difference in someone’s life.  It’s the difference between feeling alone and isolated in your experience or feeling listened to and valued even in your experience.  Offering compassion can also change a person’s life.  It can be addictive for some people, becoming their whole life’s purpose.  Offering compassion gives you the opportunity to be an answer to prayer.  It gives you the chance to be the hands of God, the face of God, to bear the heart of God to someone who might not experience God in any other way.  Compassion allows you to give someone else the gift of grace.  To behold the gift of grace is to see true beauty.  So indulge me for a moment.  The next time you offer The Peace of Christ, take a moment, recall the Loving Kindness meditation and the compassion you created during that exercise.  Look around you.  Find that person – one who you didn’t come with, one who you’ve never spoken with before, maybe even one you need to forgive.  Read their body language.  Are they able to reciprocate at all?  Is all they can offer eye contact, the peace sign, a fist bump, a hand shake? Are they aching for a hug?  Are you ready for the flood of emotions that grace can bring?  Are you ready to let go of hurt or offence if someone is unable to reciprocate to the level you wish that they would?  Are you ready to allow the Christ within you to speak to the Christ within the other person?
Minute for Mission
Offering Invitation
We’ve practiced loving kindness.  We’ve talked about creating compassion.  We’ve heard about the compassion of the larger United Church of Canada through the mission and service fund.  Take a moment to think about how all of this has impacted you.  Take a moment to act with compassion.

Offering
Offertory Called by Earth and Sky                    MV 135 (refrain, v3, refrain)

Offering Prayer
May these gifts and those given through PAR become the first steps to growing compassion, we pray.  Amen.

Prayer Music:       Take, O Take Me as I Am                                    MV 85

Prayers of the People & Prayer of Jesus (Sung VU 959)
During the Prayer of Jesus, you are invited to use the translation and language of your choice.  A variety of translations and expressions of the Prayer of Jesus (also known as The Lord’s Prayer) can be found in Voices United pages 921-927.

Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing Spirit God, Be Our Breath                              MV 150  v3

September 18, 2016

A note: I switched around the lectionary Psalm for Oct. 2 to today because I felt it fit my theme better.

Links of Interest/Bibliography:

A couple of different renditions of “By The Rivers of Babylon”

Working Preacher:

A Plain Account
Blooming Cactus
Old Testament Lectionary (from from the Uniting Church in Australia)
Mental Health Care & The Church (from the North Carolina Council of Churches)

Wikipedia:

The Babylonian Shitstem (by the good folks at The Hardest Question)
Who’s Who in the Bible?
Feasting on the Word
Jerome Bible Commentary (my version is A LOT older! lol it was a gift from a special minister, who happened to have inherited it from his mentor)

Worship Outline (which we rearranged mid-worship, we had two baptisms!)

St. Luke’s United Church

September 18th, 2016

Hymn                     All Things Bright and Beautiful                          VU 291     Words of Welcome and Announcements
Centering & Lighting the Christ Candle
Hymn                     Like a Healing Stream                                         MV 144
Call to Worship
One: Worship is often a time to celebrate all that is good and right in the world. Worship is also a time to ignite our Holy Anger.  Sometimes worship is a time of lament or confession.
All: In worship, we acknowledge our feelings and seek grace and compassion from each other when needed or joy and inspirational passion to energize us.
One: Worship is a time of personal transformation and community building.
All:  By willingly listening to each other and sharing honestly, the Holy Spirit fills this space.
One: And so we worship.
All: Let us worship.

Opening Prayer
May this time of worship be filled with both joy and lament.  May we be filled with tender moments of the Sacred and renewed with the excitement of what can be when we trust in the Spirit. Amen.             

Baptism
(Adapted from A Song of Faith and Celebrate God’s Presence)
In grateful response to God’s abundant love,
we bear in mind our integral connection
to the earth and one another;
we participate in God’s work of healing and mending creation.

To point to the presence of the holy in the world,
the church receives, consecrates, and shares
visible signs of the grace of God.

In company with the churches
of the Reformed and Methodist traditions,
we celebrate two sacraments as gifts of Christ:
baptism and holy communion.

In these sacraments the ordinary things of life
—water, bread, wine—
point beyond themselves to God and God’s love,
teaching us to be alert
to the sacred in the midst of life.

Before conscious thought or action on our part,
we are born into the brokenness of this world.
Before conscious thought or action on our part,
we are surrounded by God’s redeeming love.

Baptism by water in the name of the Holy Trinity
is the means by which we are received, at any age,
into the covenanted community of the church.

It is the ritual that signifies our rebirth in faith
and cleansing by the power of God.

Baptism signifies the nurturing, sustaining,
and transforming power of God’s love
and our grateful response to that grace.

Presentation of Candidates
On behalf of the congregation of St. Luke’s United Church,
I present the following persons
for initiation into the body of Christ through baptism:
Oliver Samuel Houghton
Evan Conrad

Do you believe in God, Source of love;
in Jesus Christ, love incarnate;
and in the Holy Spirit, love’s power.
I do, by the grace of God.

Will you follow in the way of Jesus Christ,
resisting oppression and evil, seeking justice,
and witnessing to God’s love for all creation?
I will, God being my helper.

Will you join
with your brothers and sisters in this community of faith
to celebrate God’s presence, live with respect in creation,
and love and serve others?
I will, God being my helper.

Will you share your faith with Oliver/Evan
growing with him in faith, hope, and love?
I will, God being my helper.

Each of us knows the need for support and care
as we share in a journey of faith.

As this family gathers around this font and this water,
symbols of belonging and community,
let us pledge our care for them.
All: We stand as witnesses to the commitment this family has made this day.
And we pledge ourselves to their support and care
as they discover the ways that the Spirit
unfolds for them
. (G Vosper)

Affirmation of Faith (taken from A Song of Faith)
Divine creation does not cease
   until all things have found wholeness, union, and integration
   with the common ground of all being.

As children of the Timeless One,
   our time-bound lives will find completion
   in the all-embracing Creator.

In the meantime, we embrace the present,
   embodying hope, loving our enemies,
   caring for the earth,
choosing life.

Grateful for God’s loving action,
   we cannot keep from singing.

Creating and seeking relationship,
   in awe and trust,
we witness to Holy Mystery who is Wholly Love.
Amen.

Pouring & Blessing the Water
Gracious and Holy God,
we bless you for the gift of life,
and, within it, the gift of water.
Over its unshaped promise your Spirit hovered at creation.
By water, comes the growth of the earth.
Through water, you led the children of Israel to freedom.
In the waters of the Jordan your Child Jesus was baptized.
Now may your Spirit be upon us and what we do,
that this water may be a sign for all of new life in Christ,
in whose name we pray.
Amen.

Oliver Samuel Houghton/Evan Conrad, I baptize you
in the name of the Father, Mother, the Source of Love
and of the Son, the Christ, the Beloved One
and of the Holy Spirit, Wisdom, the Power of Love
Amen.

May the blessing of Love
be with you today and always.
Amen.

Oliver/Evan, I mark you with the cross,
a sign of Love Incarnate.
Amen.

Laying On of Hands
Oliver/Evan, may the Holy Spirit, Love’s power,
guide you, inspire you, and work within you,
all the days of your life.
Amen.

Presentation of Candle and Scarf

Congregational Welcome
All: By one Spirit, we are all baptized into one body.
We are children of the one God,
Mother and Father of us all.
We welcome you into the community of faith.

Blessing:    May God’s Sheltering Wings                             MV 214

Biblical Polysporin

Readings: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
Music Ministry: By the Rivers of Babylon (Psalm 137)

Band-Aid Solutions

Intro Paragraph: Why I like Jeremiah

I can’t help myself.  I like Jeremiah.  Some of his words, not all of them, but some of them, speak to me. The story itself, in the grand scheme of things is a story of resilience.  And I do love a good underdog story.

Jeremiah backstory

Prophet

So who was this “Jeremiah”?  Jeremiah was a young prophet between 627 to 597 before common era.  As a prophet Jeremiah was compelled to speak God’s truth to the people around him.  Unfortunately for Jeremiah, this meant telling the people – his friends – his family – that they were misbehaving.  Obviously, this did not make him very popular.  To make matters worse, Jeremiah was a visual person.  He loved to use metaphors or visual aids to drive home his point.  Sometimes when people come to sudden realizations, they become angry as a way to save face.  They were angry at Jeremiah a lot.

History up until this point in the book

Speeches for the people

Jeremiah has reluctantly understood his.  He is to go out and explain to the people that they have been going about worshipping God all wrong.  Some of this first section of the book is Jeremiah’s internal dialogue, or at least where he’s raging to himself or maybe it’s a frustrated conversational prayer and some of it is the words he says to the people, the message he delivers for God.

Jeremiah started out walking around town, shouting his message.  But people ignored him, made fun of him or reported him to the authorities.  His message just wasn’t making the impact he wanted.  So he moves to the temple gate, to shout from there.  And that’s where we find him: standing on the front steps of “the church” saying “you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong!!” and then crying to himself because the people still won’t listen.

The message he was implying

In what seems to be a manic state, Jeremiah who is filled with internal torment over if he should or if he shouldn’t deliver the unpopular message that if they don’t change their ways, the Temple itself will fall down around them.

Relying on the institution of worship Instead of the action of God

The people felt that because the Temple was in their town, and because they went to it, they would be safe.  Jeremiah was telling them that they needed to pay more attention to the laws which Moses had given them: Love God and Love People.  Jeremiah went to far as to point out which laws specifically they were ignoring – they weren’t being fair or honest with each other, they were taking advantage of the Come From Aways, they were killing innocent people, and placing importance over things rather than the acts of God.

Lament for the people who are relying on the temple instead of God

The particular section of Jeremiah that we just heard is one of lament.  Jeremiah is heart-broken that the people have not heard his message.  They are continuously being held captive and they have been so focused on God “rescuing” them from this awful war and asking God to do that, that they haven’t even seen the evidence of God around them.  They are so focused on what they think God looks like, that they cannot even fathom this simple solution that Jeremiah offers them. I guess they were expecting a man with a cape and an eye mask rather than a manic man shouting instructions and warnings from the temple gate.  Luckily Jeremiah did learn a different way to communicate his wisdom to the people, but they never really did understand him until much later.

The context for the people

This was quite an uncertain time for the Hebrew people.  They were caught between two waring kings, and many found themselves scooped up and exiled to Babylon as a way of enforcing loyalty.  Jeremiah couldn’t understand why they thought that simply going to the temple or have particular idols or offerings would save them from being exiled.  As an aside, I’d like to point out that there is absolutely nothing new about Middle Eastern conflict surrounding the occupation of Israel.

Balm of Gilead

All of this brings us to Jeremiah’s rhetorical question. “If medicine and doctors may be found in Gilead, why aren’t my people healed?”  No balm – polysporin or that of Gilead can heal an emotional wound.  Jeremiah feels like he might never stop crying.

Psalm 137 connection

The time frame connection: Babylonian Exile

Psalm 137, which we will hear an interpretation of later, is attributed to Jeremiah.  Despite what the popular Boney M would have you think, it’s not an uplifting song.  It’s a song of struggle.  It’s a song by the bullied.  It’s a song of revenge.  The last few verses censored in many churches.  I’ll let you look it up on your own. I chose to include it today because it is also about lament.  With both passages I can picture Jeremiah, with tears streaming down his face, filled with compassion for his sisters and brothers.

Healing tears

Feeling sorry for yourself

I’ll admit, I’m a crier.  I cry when I’m sad, angry, frustrated or happy and always when I’m feeling compassionate.  Basically, whenever words can’t express what I’m feeling.  Sometimes nothing feels better than a good cry.

Will tears fix anything?

Crying though doesn’t fix anything, other than to let the person I happen to be with that I’m at a loss for words.  In most of those situations though, words can’t fix anything either.  But if the tears can get me to a place where I can take a next step, then they are a necessary part of the process.  The same is true about lamentation in general.  It is a necessary part of the grief process, but dwelling there too long is not going to change anything.

Idols & band aid solutions

What was the real problem here?

Crying or lamenting is what’s called a “Band-Aid solution”. A solution that stops the bleeding but does not heal the wound, a quick fix, a superficial action, or something that draws attention away from the real problem.

What are idols?

The idols that Jeremiah was complaining about were a band-aid solution, as was the temple itself.  When the Hebrew people were looking for protection from being exiled, they convinced themselves that going to Temple would keep them safe, when they hadn’t done any of the work of building relationships with other – new – people.  When it became obvious that the temple wasn’t keeping them safe, they stuck idols in there.  I’m not sure what they were, but they were probably pleasing to the eye.  They offered sacrifices to the idols to make them happy.  Now surely they’d be safe!  Even Jeremiah fell victim to the Band-Aid solution with the Psalm.  Revenge wasn’t going to change what happened.  Making the captors feel what he felt wouldn’t change the fact that the Hebrew people had been exiled.  It didn’t even keep people from being exiled in the future.

The real solution

What is resilience?

The real solution for the Hebrew people and so it would seem in many situations is resilience.  The ability to get up, and start again, no matter how many times you get knocked down.  Not necessarily starting again on the exact same path – that would be insanity, but with the ultimate goal in sight.

Hope’s Role

There are many theories on how to grow resilience.  I don’t know how many of them are valid.  What I do know, is that hope plays a large role.  If I can still see that goal, if it seems even the tiniest bit closer, even if I can see that there might be another path that could potentially lead to the goal, I’ll get up and give it another try.

Where are you in this story?

Where are you in this whole story?  What are you lamenting? Are you being held captive, unable to see the God opportunities in front of you?  Are you waiting for any super heros? Can you see even the faintest glimmer of hope?

Hymn                     There Is a Balm in Gilead                                    VU 612

Minute for Mission
Offering Invitation
We give from a place deep within our hearts.  A gift from the heart is always a most welcome gift.
Offering
Offertory  Called by Earth and Sky                   MV 135 (refrain, v2, refrain)
Offering Prayer
May these gifts and those given through PAR inspire movement of the Spirit or become a balm for someone in need.  Amen.

Prayer Music:       Take, O Take Me as I Am                                    MV 85
Prayers of the People & Prayer of Jesus
During the Prayer of Jesus, you are invited to use the translation and language of your choice.  A variety of translations and expressions of the Prayer of Jesus (also known as The Lord’s Prayer) can be found in Voices United pages 921-927.

Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing  Spirit God, Be Our Breath                                  MV 150  v2

September 11, 2016

Links of Interest/Biblography:

The Liturgical Colour Orange and Ember Days
The Text This Week
Rex Hunt Liturgies
“The Hippy-Dippy” video also known as “Welcome Home”

St. Luke’s United Church
September 11th, 2016
Hymn     I Have Called You by Your Name                                       MV 161

Words of Welcome and Announcements
Centering & Lighting the Christ Candle
Hymn  A Woman and a Coin – The Coin is Lost                             VU 360

 Call to Worship
One: Draw the circle wide.
All: Draw it wider still.
One: Make more room to include everyone –
All:  and everything.
One: In this season of Creation, we gather to celebrate diversity!
All: May we grow as a community in this time of worship together.

Creative Sparks: Prodigal Daughter

Opening Prayer
We pray that this may be a time of recognition:
Of the Holy that surrounds us,
Of the Sacred that rests within us,
Of the Covenant between us,
Of the Spirit-filled home we build together.
Amen.

Music Ministry: “Home” (Phillip Phillips) Sung by David Murray

The Hunt

Readings: Luke 15:1-32
The Wombat (All Is One)

Welcome back.
Welcome back from a summer of revolving doors, of car doors and of outdoors.
Welcome back from a summer of humidity, of homogeny, and for many of us, of majority.
Welcome back from a summer of rest or busyness, loud concerts or stillness,

From camp sites and bug bites, late nights and patio lights.
From sunshine and construction signs, campfires and all-season tires.
From fire bans and sun tans, flip flops and tank tops.

Welcome back.
Welcome back from a summer of farm stands, of hand stands and of beach sands.
Welcome back from a summer of ice creams, of sweet dreams and of “Finding Dorey” memes.
Welcome back from a summer of pokemon or free play, rat races or relay.

From the MacDonald Bridge’s “Big Lift” and gender fluidity with Jaden Smith.
From the “Tragically Hip” epic final and the mail strike threats that became quite banal.
From the Fort MacMurray Evacuation, Sohpie Trudeau’s need for a vacation and fundraisers that crossed this nation.

Welcome back.
Welcome back from a summer of Trump fascism of trying to understand heterosexism.
Welcome back from a summer of intense Pride and of trying to deny each other a free ride.
Welcome back from a summer of the blacklivesmatter protest, of civil unrest, to France dictating how certain women dress!

From undeserved corporate raises, from unwanted and leering gazes,
From social crisis, from rising prices,
From so much change that we can’t keep up, so we drink up instead of speaking up.

Welcome back.
Welcome back.
Welcome back.

All you who are weary welcome back.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Welcome Back
So are the “Sweat Hogs”, Julie Chen, and the rest of us who are happy to see each other again.
Welcome back.

Back to church, back to work, back to school.
Back to keeping your nose clean and playing by the rules.
Back to the news, back to the mall, back to protests.
Back to standing up for what you believe in, but I digress.
Welcome back.

Welcome back to the prodigal daughters and sons.
Welcome back to understanding that means anyone.
Welcome back to change and to lack there of.
Welcome back.

To compromise, to challenge, to making a difference.
To trying my best to be a good witness.
To working to understand each other.
To confusion, to clarity, to new topics that we might cover.

Welcome back.
Welcome back.

To working for the good of the whole.
To understanding that each person plays a role.
To realizing you can’t do it alone,
It takes a lot of people to build a spiritual home.
Welcome back.

I don’t care why you came.
I just hope you won’t leave the same.
Parent or child, shepherd or sheep, coin or the seeker
The message can’t get much clearer:
Welcome back home.

Hymn MV 174

Minute for  Freedom Renwal Centre

Minute for Mission

Offering Invitation
Sometimes, like the Prodigal Family, we get so wrapped up in power and money, that we forget that our relationships are the most important thing.  Whatever you choose to offer today, and every day, offer it with Love, remembering that the relationships are the most important part.

Offering

Offertory  Called by Earth and Sky                   MV 135 (refrain, v1, refrain)

Offering Prayer
May these gifts and those given through PAR be symbolic of the Love that rests within the community of St. Luke’s.  Amen.

Prayer Music:       Take, O Take Me as I Am                                    MV 85

Prayers of the People & Prayer of Jesus
During the Prayer of Jesus, you are invited to use the translation and language of your choice.  A variety of translations and expressions of the Prayer of Jesus (also known as The Lord’s Prayer) can be found in Voices United pages 921-927.

Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing  Spirit God, Be Our Breath                                  MV 150  v1

Labour Day Weekend

Second weekend at “the cottage”!  We didn’t get much work done this weekend, as Harbourview Days were rescheduled from earlier in the summer.  Bob and I were both involved in that.  It was also my niece’s, Ashlynn, third birthday.

We’re still working on making sure the church is weather tight, and are slightly on hold for that until we sell enough pews to pay for repairs to the steeple.  It’s not a bad thing though.  The property needs to be reassessed as there is some sort of clerical error – the online registry states that the property size is much larger (a badly placed decimal) than what it really is.  It also states that there is a full basement (nope) and washroom facilities (where have they been all my life?!? lol) so we don’t want too change too much before reassessment as we’ve challenged our property taxes for 2016.  It’s really easy for there to be errors when your church property is converted to residential.  How many churches actually look at what the property registry says about their property?  To add to the complexity of the situation, the land registry office has been moved from a local office in the district to a “regional” one.  The regional one is in Sydney – 3 hrs away.

On to the brighter, this water cooler came from family friends.  Their cottage was built in the early 70’s (I’ll have to verify when) and they thought the cooler came from the Upper River School House (It’s the first cottage on the left when you turn on to the dirt road through the woods to Lundy).  My Dad started school there and my Mom joined him there for a few months after the Lower School (Albert and Dama Ehler’s) was closed before the new school with plenty of room opened across from Angus and Mary Luddington’s.  No one seems to be terribly sure where it came from though.IMG_0548

My Mom left us a little housewarming/anniversary present when she went over to plug the fridge in for us.  I think it fits in well.

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This was the view Friday morning.  Crazy cool.

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We (my sister, the kids and myself) took a break from the festivities on Friday night.  We hung out at our place until it was time to go back to the hall.  We found some ancient toys for Ashlynn to play with.  Anyone remember these?

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Photo Credit: Mindy Kelly Barrett (on my lap) 4 months, Ashlynn (on the right) 3 years old

Bob was the Minion in the parade on Saturday morning.  We thought we’d have a bit more fun with the costume before returning it.  I think it sums up our odd little family quite well!

Photo Credit: Mindy Kelly
Photo Credit: Mindy Kelly

Hopefully this won’t be our last visit before the snow flies.