September 17, 2017 Creation 2

Links of Interest/Bibliography:

Rex Hunt

About Rob Bell “What is the Bible?”

Pulpit Fiction

The Liturgists

The Deconstructionists

The Bible For Normal People

 

Words of Welcome and Announcements

Lighting the Christ Candle & Acknowledgment of Place
As we gather to worship, let us pause to remember that in this region we live and work and worship on lands that are, by law, the unceded territories of the Wabanaki peoples—predominantly the lands of the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy. May we live with respect on this land, and live in peace and friendship with its people.

Hymn It’s A Song of Praise to the Maker MV 30

Call to Worship
One: Listen: the song of creation rises around us.
All: Wind in the trees, rain on the roof, children laughing and crying. Even when we are inside, we still hear creation sing.
One: Creation calls to come and give thanks.
All: We gather today to join our voices in the song of creation.
One: Together we sing.
All: Together we pray.

Opening Prayer
Creating Spirit, we pray that our worship today be filled with moments of community, and moments of hope. May it be so.

Hymn We Praise You for the Sun VU 225

Theme Conversation The Courage to be a Lamb

Readings
Genesis 21:1-3; 22:1-14
John 1:29
From “What is the Bible?”
After Scripture I Know Your Word MV 108

Sermon Taylor vs Abraham: Look What You Made Me Do

We’ve skipped a lot. We went from creation to Abraham and Isaac. We missed Cain and Abel, we missed the flood. We missed Moses and the Exodus, we even missed Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael. In “What is the Bible?” Rob even spends a whole chapter connecting Moses story to Abraham’s story. We’ve got all that history, and we’re focusing in on one point today. Abraham, Isaac, the will of God and the gift of freewill.
To set up the barebones of the story, you have to know a bit of the history. Creation happened, each day was a different project within creation and it took seven days including a rest day. For folks who enjoy playing the numbers game in the Bible, seven is a complete number. Next came the temptation of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel which is a story of great violence and Rob Bell points out. Then we deal with Noah, and a new creation. After Noah comes the people of Babylon and their desire of the tower. After that is when Moses’ story begins, the people are exiled and in search of a new promised land, in other words a new beginning. Do you see a pattern yet? A beginning, a temptation, violence, and the cycle repeats itself. In fact, the people believed that history would continue to repeat itself, the you would do exactly what your parents did, and their parents did, that nothing ever changed. This is Rob’s big point leading up to this story, it’s only the stories of the people who make these big changes that we hear about in the Bible. At some point they got written down, but these change makers were memorable in the oral tradition of the Bible. So by the time we make our way through history to Abraham, it’s not much wonder he thought he had to kill his son. If it had happened a generation before, it was going to happen again.
My grandmother lives in an original homestead on an original land grant in New Harbour. The house was built in the 1800’s and has a hand dug cellar, an over the kitchen, and a proper attic. This spring, Grammie got some sort of grant for seniors to get some updated insulation. This means cleaning out 150 years worth of storage in the over the kitchen and attic in particular. It’s been a process for sure. Do you know what it’s like to try and figure out what something is that was put in an attic 100 years ago, let alone why it was put there? That’s to say nothing of the secret hidey holes that keep popping up, and we’re all trying to find the Bobby Orr Rookie card that was put “in a safe place” in the 60s and a few other family treasures misplaced over the years. The whole situation reminds me of the innovation becomes tradition, becomes problem. I doubt that when my great, great grandparents put something in the attic that they would have even imagined that my mom would have to pull it out, or that I’d be posting ads on kijijji and researching bulk flea market buyers and the value of objects that may or may not be considered antique or vintage. The same was true for Abraham. Something that had started long before he came along – for what ever reason – was no longer working for him. The bigger problem, because he BELIEVED he couldn’t do anything about changing his fate, he would lose something very special to him.
Have you ever had a belief that you felt was holding you back? Something that you felt you couldn’t change, even if you wanted to? What was stopping you from changing? Slightly different approach, have you ever needed to make a decision about something, but worried that you’d be letting down your ancestors? For example, when the church I grew up in decided to close, I knew it was the right decision in my heart, but until I really thought about it, I did have a little bit of guilt about giving up on something that so many people worked so hard to build. But I knew it was the right decision for that particular congregation, the people who were currently there and there were no foreseeable people to come to even consider. When I thought about my ancestors who had built the church and worked hard to maintain the congregation, it became clear to me and to others I spoke with, that my ancestors came to this country and that particular community to start a new life for themselves, a better life. Let me tell you I come from some resilient stock, and while a building might have been a small bump in the road, it’s certainly not the end of the spiritual lives of the 6 and now 5 people who remained.
For those of you who don’t pay much attention to pop culture, Taylor Swift who started out as an idealistic, romantic, teen country music singer came out with another single recently. It’s called “Look What You Made Me Do” and while some critics are calling it bitter and revenge music, I see it more as a parody. Yes, Taylor probably did write a few revenge songs after some break ups in her younger years, but the last few years have been filled with songs that are more about being stronger than people think she is and not taking anything haters say personally. “Look What You Made Me Do” is no different, she repeatedly says or uses an image that pushes the point the old Taylor is dead. If you watch the video all the way to the end, all of the characters from her past hit videos reprise, and the newer characters tell them to get over themselves and stop being so whiny. Taylor’s “Look What You Made Me Do” is re-create herself into a fierce powerhouse. Abraham’s “Look What You Made Me Do” is leaving behind his belief that he held true for a new future for his whole family. I’ll let you judge who did it better, but I think they both broke the mold for what was expected of them.
So what are we doing hear if we aren’t celebrating where we’ve been and where we are called to go? Somehow, I don’t think the lovesick Taylor Swift knew she was going to grow up to be a feminist who continues to show dignity and class with every bump and barb along the way. Nor do I think Abraham felt anything good – other than his son of course, would come from refusing to sacrifice his son just for the sake of sacrifice. But good things did happen. Good things can happen. We can break cycles that seem inevitable.
We are resilient people ourselves. Christians, the people following the way of Jesus, have always faced bumps in the road. And we’ll continue to face bumps in the road, but we don’t have to just let things happen to us. We can and will continue to make decisions that promote love, kindness and the Good of the Whole. It’s a good life, if we choose to live it. Amen.

Hymn Never Ending Joy MV 40

Minute for Mission

Offertory Invitation
Because of your generosity, we are able to provide unique and progressive Sunday School lesson each Sunday. By leaving the generic lesson plans behind, our teachers are able to choose activites and accompanying stories to suit the unique needs of the kids who come to St. Luke’s. We are also able to build our intergenerational community through common themes and complimentary activities. Your generosity ensures appropriate training for teachers, engaging activities for kids, and the next generation of people ready to show Love to the world by following Jesus’ example. With your continued generosity we are able to do this, and even more.

Music Ministry Spirit Blowing Through Creation Words by Marty Haugen (Seasons of the Spirit vol 8)

Offertory For the Gift of Creation VU 538

Offering Prayer
May these gifts, those given through PAR and our commitment to give be seen as the gifts they truly are. Amen.

Communion Hymn There Is Room for All MV 62
Communion this morning will be served in small groups. When the time comes, you are invited to gather your chairs in groups of 8. Communion elements will be distributed to each circle where you will be given directions on how to serve each other. (Communion Liturgy created by Rex Hunt, adapted)
Welcome
One: May the Creator be with you.
All: And also with you!
One: May our hearts be opened.
All: We open ourselves to life.
One: Creator of light, Teacher of community, Source of love,
All: your call to community stirs within us.

Passing the Peace
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.

Thanksgiving
One: The sacred emerges for us everywhere:
in the rhythm of the oceans
in the magnificence of the stars,
in the beauty of all beings.
All:  We are grateful for the gifts of our story.
One: In the fall, we gather back together, we harvest our abundance, we celebrate the beauty and wonder of creation.
All: This hand of mine began to take shape millions of years ago as the first leaves stretched out for nourishment and light.
One: Eons ago the earth itself was glowing with heat as it separated itself from the sun.
All:  The ground we stand on carries in it the remnants of volcanos and oceans which once dominated the landscape.
One: As the earth rotated around the sun, plants and animals grew and gathered.
All: Fields filled with wheat and grapes warmed in the sun.
One: This morning we gather around the bread and the cup, gifts of the earth.
All: This morning we celebrate our oneness with the plants and the animals, which precede and surround us.
One:  This morning we remember we are earth people, united with each other and to all on this globe by the ground under us.
All: One body, one history, one home for us all.

The Story
Near the end of his life, Jesus shared a sacred tradition of his people and shaped it into something new.
Around a simple table, he celebrated the liberating story of Passover.
He dreamed of another revolution: a world without a Pharaoh or a Caesar; a world governed by the love which brought it into being.
Together with his friends, Jesus offered the bread of hope and the cup of compassion.

Breaking the Bread of Hope
In silence
Pouring the Cup of Compassion
In silence

The Invitation
One: Come from loneliness into the welcome of this table.
All: Come from anxiety into the peace of this table.
One: Come from tensions into the joy of this table.
All: Come from conflict into the love of this table.
One: Come and share the bread which leavens our hope.
All: Come and share the cup which strengthens our compassion.
One: Come to enliven our capacity to work for transformation.
All: Come, let us lay aside those things that shield our hearts.
One: Let us be open to the holy we meet in creation, and in the mirror.

Sharing the Bread and the Cup
You are invited to form circles of 8.
Once everyone is seated, the Bread and the Cup are shared around the circle. Each person holds the bread and the cup for the person before them and offers the following blessing:
Bread of Hope
Cup of Compassion

After the Sharing (N Steeves, adapted)
One: Spirit of life, though we live in a world of need: Here we have tasted hope and hunger for a world more just. Here we have glimpsed the dream of creation renewed.
All: May we have the courage to be bread and wine for one another.

Commissioning & Benediction
Sung Blessing May the Blessing of God Go Before You VU 962

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