Call to Worship
From the dust of the earth, the Holy One breathed life into us.
Through the breath of God we are all connected.
Shaped in the Divine image, God formed us with a purpose:
That life may flourish in all its forms,
May the Spirit of the Living God be manifest in us!
Luke 4; 16-21
16 Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Another World is Possible.
I became a follower of Jesus of Nazareth when I was a student at university. When I look back what surprises me is that it took me over 3 years to realise that the bible is both political and religious. It is about God and God’s character and passion. God’s passion, God’s dream is for a world transformed by social justice. Jesus had a passion for the things of God; he had a passion for justice, for a world transformed by justice, equality and inclusion. This set him on a collision course with the authorities, what did get him in trouble was that he became a public critic of the authorities and the way they put the world together. Jesus proclamation of the kingdom of God was the heart of his vision and I believe it is not about how to get to heaven but about transformation of life here on earth. Jesus taught us to pray…”Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” In the world of Jesus the Kingdom of God had both a religious meaning and a political meaning.
I was born and brought up just after the end of WW2, it was into a society that wasn’t based on the ideology of individualism, but on the politics of “the common good”. It was based on the idea that none of us is self-made. I benefited from this idea of the common good – universal education which included the privilege of going to university and leaving without a penny of debt, much government built infrastructure and the newly created National Health Service. The “common good” should concern all of us, it is a concept that our country and our world is crying out for. The common good should concern all of us, not only for moral reasons but also for pragmatic ones. Countries that take seriously the well-being of all are safer, healthier and happier places; they have less crime and less mental illness, lower infant mortality, longer life expectancy, less poverty and less desperation.
Covid-19 has made me think a lot about the future .Things have got to change drastically after this pandemic is over, it surely can’t be business as usual. Clearly our society and our world are disordered and massively unjust. If this pandemic doesn’t challenge us to rethink what kind of world we want to live in, then I’m not sure what will. The two most pressing issues are climate change and inequality.
Seriously tackling Climate Change must go to the top of everyone’s agenda. It seems to me we are at 5 minutes to midnight and are rapidly running out of time to stop climate change running out of control with disastrously high temperatures in only 40 or 50 years’ time.
Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of agriculture, factory farming as well as being some of the main drivers of climate change also create the perfect conditions for more pandemics. There needs to be serious thought about curtailing most of these activities.
Inequality must be tackled with progressive taxation and redistribution. We have to begin to use the resources of our society for the benefit of all, and we must begin to take climate change seriously for the sake of our children’s children’s children.
Blessed are you…..
blessed are you who are raging at injustice.
blessed are you who are mourning.
blessed are you who feel numb.
blessed are you who feel sick and tired.
blessed are you who refuse to look away.
blessed are you who are peacemakers.
blessed are you who are tending to the needs of others.
blessed are you who care for the sick and dying.
blessed are you who are courageous and compassionate
blessed are you who have been campaigning.
blessed are you who have been speaking truth to power.
blessed are you who have been resisting.
blessed are you who feel broken beyond repair.
blessed are you who are raw beyond words.
blessed are you who are working hotlines and crisis centres and bearing witness to the forces of violence and abuse.
blessed are you who are running foodbanks and homeless shelters.
blessed are you who are marching.
blessed are you who are weeping.
blessed are you who remind others they are good and beautiful and beloved and worthy and capable of healing beyond their wildest dreams.
blessed are we when we dare to dream of a world without sexual violence, without racism, without xenophobia , without misogyny, without homophobia, without state brutality, without violence, without injustice.
blessed are we when we stay tender and gentle.
blessed are we when we stay passionate.
blessed are we when we dare to imagine change and transformation.
blessed are we when we labour to make it so.
Rev. Anna Blaedel
Prayer for the seriously ill in a time of COVID-19:
When loved ones, friends and strangers are
Fighting for their breath and yearning for home,
Will you, Loving One,
Whisper to them the words of comfort they need to hear?
Will you wrap your embrace around them?
A promise of your care through the rising and falling of every breath…..
Assuring them of your love.
Wherever there is pain, fear, or distress,
We believe you are already there,
Willingly sharing in their darkest moments.
If death comes,
Welcome them gently as they fall into the arms of Love.
In life and in death, we take refuge in your Presence that stretches across
space and time.
And may it ever be so.
Prayer for Our Community:
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us.
May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and with all beings.
Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens.
Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world………we pray now for…..
Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.
Meditative liturgy for sharing bread and wine.
God is with us. I invite you to take a few moments, close your eyes, and be aware of the presence of the divine…………..
Now draw your attention to your breathing – breathe in and out – opening yourself up to the divine with gratitude and thankfulness…………..
Loving One, as close to us as breathing yet reaching into all eternity, we give you thanks and praise. Your outpouring of radical love has brought forth life among us. You have shown yourself to us as creator, companion and friend. In whatever image will bring us healing and wholeness – come to us now……………..
Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with all of creation:
“Holy, Holy, Holy One, God of Love and Light. The cosmos is filled with your glory! Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is the One who comes in your name. Hosanna in the Highest!”
Jesus has showed us the ways of justice and mercy, turning the norms of society upside down. He welcomed and empowered the outsider and stood in resistance to the powers of oppression and violence. Like so many people around the world today, Jesus’ choice to live his truth and challenge oppression put him at great risk.
And yet, on the night in which death, hatred, and betrayal would seek to have the last word, Jesus remained true to non-violence and radical peace and showed us love by washing the feet of his friends.
At the table he took the bread, gave thanks, and broke the bread saying “Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. Do this and remember me.”
Take the bread.
After the meal, he took the cup, gave thanks and said “Drink from this all of you, this is my blood poured out for you …… Do this in remembrance of me.”
Take the wine.
And so in remembrance of Jesus we offer ourselves as we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Pour out your Spirit on this community gathered virtually here that we might be Christ’s body, reflecting the divine image in the world. Make us a taste of your Kingdom, through Christ with us, that we might leave both nourished by your great Love and yet still hungry for justice for all. Amen.