May 6th 2018 – Easter 6

Interesting Links/Bibliography:


Words of Welcome
3 Breaths
Lighting the Candle & Ringing the Singing Bowl

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

Call to Worship

One: Among us the spirit of Creativity God conceives new life
All: And we feel the life within us.
One: In our history Jesus the Sage makes gentle entry
All: And we see the light before us.
One: Within our dreams the truth of our God is revealed
All: We await the hope of the world.” R Hunt

Opening Prayer

Be with us, O God, in
our thinking,
our feeling, and
our being.

Touch us where we need to feel your presence
and encourage us where we need your inspiration.
May it be so.” R Hunt

Hymn      Take Time to Be Holy      VU 672

Theme Conversation      Who are you thankful for?

Readings Philippians 1:1-18

Musical Response       Spirit of Life      VU 381

Sermon   Enough Already!

Today is a full day, so I’m going to keep it brief, but I must say I’m challenged in just the right way by these Paul readings. But since the Narrative Lectionary only has the one reading I’m forced to deal with it. The letter to the people of Philippi starts out nice on the surface, with Paul thanking God for the people. But by the end of today’s reading Paul is telling the people that it is alright that he is suffering, because suffering is a sacrifice and practicing sacrificing is to make yourself more like Jesus. This is sacrificial theology – that is an understanding of God based on sacrifices, in particular the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, ie you must sacrifice in order to be in a relationship with God. I’m not big on this sort of theology. There was so much more to Jesus’ ministry, that I’d prefer to focus on the other things like equality, the Good of the Whole, you know, my usual spiel. The second reason I’m not into sacrificial theology is the whole “ultimate” sacrifice part. I’m still too much of a rule follower to let my outspokenness get me into any real trouble. I have hope that I’ll always be able to find the subversive way out. The third reason I don’t like sacrificial theology is because sometimes people will take advantage of it. While I fully believe in working towards the common good, I do have my limits as to what I think the common good should be. And nothing bugs me more than when a person in a position of power uses sacrificial theology for their own benefit: that leads to spiritual abuse and breaches of trust. So considering these three very valid reasons to tear up the sacrificial theology, I was all set to huff and puff my way through Philippians, but if I’m going to argue something, I want to be right. So I consulted some commentaries. I was surprised to learn that the reference is not so much to sacrifice as it is to a giving of self. What’s the difference? It’s probably just in this listener’s ears, but when I think of sacrifice, I think of giving up everything, like a chef at a restaurant working through lunch, without a bite to eat, in order to provide a feast. When I think of giving of self, I think of it as a sharing from what I have or participating in an amazing potluck with a really great dish. Perhaps I’ve read too many case studies on spiritual abuse, or maybe I’m feeling frustrated with the number of suicide bombers or crowd attacks that are based on something that amounts to spiritual abuse. I’m not so sure that those kinds of sacrifices are what the apostle Paul was referring to. I’m starting to think maybe he did mean the minor inconveniences that come with acting for the Good of the Whole.
There’s a whole lot more I want to tell you about Paul and his writing style, but I’m going to wrap it up for today and save the juicy bits of Paul for Ken on the long weekend – which also happens to be Pentecost. It only seems fair since Ken enjoys Paul, and I am finally starting to be able to see things from Paul’s point of view. But I will leave you with a couple of questions to think about as you come forward for communion. Is your relationship with God built around a sacrificial theology? Can you participate in the Good of the Whole/the kindom of God without sacrificing? How is your understanding of communion changed by your sacrificial theology or lack of? What does all of this say about your understanding of God?

Music Ministry      Save The People

Soloist: Jeff Parks
Accompanied by: Ian Reid  by Stephen Schwartz (from Godspell)

Minute for Mission

Our Offerings

Offertory       Tis the Gift to Be Simple      VU 353

Offertory Prayer

Prayer Shawl Blessing

Communion       Bread for the Journey      MV 202
Two: Spirit of God, among the streets of business
and in places of healing and learning:
All: May the face of the earth be renewed.

One: Among the budding orchards
and on sandy beaches:
All: May the face of the earth be renewed.

Two: Among the tired and broken families:
All: May the face of the earth be renewed.

One: Among these people and with these gifts:
All: May the face of the earth be renewed.

Two: At this table we give thanks for justice, love, peace and freedom.
All: At this table we give thanks for friends and strangers
together in community in this safe place.
One: At this table we welcome old and young.

Two: A place at the table. And all are invited.

One: We give thanks for the unfolding of matter, mind,
intelligence, and life that has brought us to this moment in time.
All: We celebrate our common origin with everything that exists.

Two: We celebrate the mystery we experience and address as ‘God’,
ground and sustainer of everything that exists,
in whom we live and move and have our being.
One: And we acknowledge this mystery embodied in every human person,
aware that each one of us gives God
unique and personal expression.
All: God is everywhere present.
In grace-filled moments of sharing.
In carefully created communities of loving solidarity.

Two: We are one with everything, living and nonliving, on this planet.

One: We remember the stories from our tradition…

How on many occasions Jesus would share a meal with friends.
Bread and Cup shared in community.
Two: For everyone, a place at the table…

One: How the Bread would be taken,
a blessing offered, and then shared between them.
And all of them ate.

Two: How some of the Cup would be poured out,
a blessing offered, and then passed between them.
And all of them drank.

One: The Bread and the Cup symbolised human lives
interconnected with other human lives,
and the power of giving and receiving.

Two: May the passion for life as seen in Jesus,
and in the lives and struggles of many other
committed and faithful people then and now,
enable us to dare and to dream and to risk…
All: Together may we re-imagine the world.
One: Together may we work to make all things new.
All: Together may we celebrate the possibilities and hope
we each have and are called to share.

Two: For everyone, a place at the table…
(Bread is Broken)
We break the Bread for the broken earth,
ravaged and plundered for greed.
All: May there be healing of our beautiful blue and green planet.
(Bread is Broken)
One: We break this Bread for our broken humanity,
for the powerful and the powerless
trapped by exploitation and oppression.
All: May there be the healing of humanity.
(Bread is Broken)
Two: We break this Bread for those who follow other paths:
for those who follow the noble path of the Buddha,
the yogic path of the Hindus;
the way of the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs;
and for the children of Abraham and Sarah and Rachel – the Hebrew people, and the Muslims.
All: May there be healing where there is pain and woundedness.
(Bread is Broken)
One: We break this Bread
for the unhealed hurts and wounds
that lie within us all.
All: May we be healed.

(Cup is poured)
Two: This is the Cup of peace and of new life for all.
A sign of love for the community of hope.
All: A reminder of the call to live fully,
to love wastefully, and
to be all that we can be.

One: To eat and drink together reminds us
of the deeper aspects of human fellowship,
for from time immemorial
the sharing of Bread and Cup
has been the most universal of all symbols of community.”
Bread of healing, Cup of peace

Commissioning & Benediction

Musical Blessing