November 6, 2016

I can’t believe I lost at least 4 weeks worth of Bibliography. I’ll try to add what I can reconstruct…

St. Luke’s United Church
November 6th, 2016

Hymn And On This Path MV 8

Words of Welcome and Announcements

Lighting the A Candle for Peace & placing a Remembrance Wreath

Hymn Down By the Riverside Joyful Noise 123

Call to Worship:
One: God calls us to worship.
All: God calls us to live our lives with compassion.
One: God calls us to worship.
All: God calls us to walk the Path of Peace together.
One: God calls us to worship, as we pray…

Opening Prayer (Rex Hunt, adapted)
Spirit of life and love, we have gathered in this place, again.
May we create here a circle of love, ever expanding, ever growing.
A place of wisdom.
A place of connection.
A place of peace.
A place of hope.
May it be so!

What does the Path to Peace look like?

Music Ministry

Readings: Micah 4:1-6
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The Path to Peace

Swords to ploughshares and a time for everything. The classic passages for peace. So often repeated that I bet many of you have them, or at least parts of them, memorized. So for those of you who may not have heard these before, a quick background:
Ecclesiastes is a book that we, as Christians, share with of Hebrew predecessors. It is a book of wisdom, that is a book that describes wisdom as something bigger than we are, but something that is a part of our lives. This particular passage, is a study of life as wisdom…or maybe it’s a study of wisdom as life. It’s most likely a little of both. This particular passage reminds us of the cycle of life that balances us in the constant evolution that is life. They might sound familiar to you as if they are lyrics to a song. The Byrd’s took this particular passage and made it famous with the song “Turn, Turn, Turn”.
Micah is also a book that we share with our Hebrew predecessors. It is a prophetic book calling us to act for the sake of a beautiful future for everyone. This particular section happens to be about how the future will be rebuilt on a desire to live in peace. The idea of taking weapons and turning them into tools to end hunger is powerful, as is the idea that nations will gather and sort out their differences peacefully and live by the rules.
Neither of these passages suggest that peace is accomplished by the flip of a switch. I think most, if not many people would agree that we have been through and might still be in a time of war. We can choose to remain in this time of war, this time of hierarchy, empire, bullying and fascism, or we can choose to take steps towards the time of peace. That’s what the Micah passage is about: Consciously choosing to make choices that move us in the direction of peace.
Creating a culture of peace takes generations and hope that is strong enough to pass from one generation to the next. Similar to the hope that would keep fans in the stands for 107 years, buying tickets to games that never seem to be in their favor, wearing the jersey of a losing team. There is no one alive that remembers the last time the Cubs won the World Series, but they still had fans, who still wore the jerseys and still bought the seats. The fans kept buying the tickets and wearing the jerseys because they still had hope. Each trade, each pick the managers made, the fans saw as a step in the right direction. Each time at bat, every strike, one step closer.
I don’t live with a Cubs fan, but I do live with 3 Red Sox fans. So I do know something about that unwavering hope. In our house, there’s never a bad day to wear a Red Sox jersey, t-shirt or hat. The Green Monster, the iconic wall in the Red Sox’s home, is just as exciting to visit as the Westminster Abbey. The hope is so strong that the game isn’t over until the last possible strike. I suspect that someone or something in our family, at some point, will be named “Ortiz” in Big Papi’s (pronounced Poppy) honour. It was a sleepless night in our house the last time the Red Sox won the World Series. I suspect the same kind of hope and celebration exists in loyal Cubs fan’s homes too.
It took 107 years of hoping for the Cubs to win. All the fans could do is be loyal and keep offering hope. How long will it take for peace to win when we are all hoping, all remaining loyal to the dream of peace and all taking whatever small steps we can? Amen.

Hymn We Are Pilgrims VU 595

Minute for Mission

Offering Invitation
Small steps can lead to great things. Similarly, all gifts can lead to great things. We are thankful for whatever you can offer.

Offertory Ev’ry Day Is a Day of Thanksgiving MV 185

Offering Prayer
May these gifts and those given through PAR become steps along the path to Peace. Amen.

Communion Hymn Bread for the Journey MV 202

A word about the Importance of Consent
During the Passing of the Peace, 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.
Communion will be served to you, with the liturgy provided on the screen. Please indicate to your server if you need gluten free bread. Please hold on to your bread and juice for communal consumption. Liturgy by David Galston, adapted.

Welcome to this banqueting table.
This is a table of hospitality,
of sharing, and of celebration.
We break bread and fill the cup
because these are the gifts that strengthen
our journey together.
Let’s begin this journey by passing the Peace of Christ.

Remembering our Common Humanity…
We remember and honour the justice imperative
that is the biblical heritage:
justice is not belief but action,
not silence but voice,
not tolerance but compassion.
A banquet reminds us of our common humanity
and our common need for just relationships.
All: Jesus said, “If you love those who love you,
what merit is there in that?
An outlaw can do the same thing.
And if you give only to those who give back to you,
do you really expect congratulations?
Rather, love your enemies, do good,
and lend without expecting anything in return.”
Bread and Wine
The call to follow justice is easy to issue,
but the resolve to follow justice is difficult to muster.
Together, let us be a community
that not only issues the word
but follows the dictate.
May our community be one that holds
the strength of compassion and the resolve to act.
May we be a people who unites
our words with our deeds.
All: For the dignity of life and the hope of humanity,
may it be so.
Remembering the night that Jesus gathered his friends together, giving thanks for each of them and all they had accomplished together,
We break bread as an act of solidarity.
We fill the cup as an act of sharing.
Welcome to this banquet celebration.

Bread of solidarity.
Cup of sharing.

Music Ministry – Lauren Parks

Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing I am Walking a Path of Peace MV


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