Friends, welcome to this sacred place this morning.
Let us pause for a moment to be still and breathe.
May we be reminded why we gather as a community
We seek community,
we seek forgiveness,
we seek understanding,
we seek wholeness.
Let us work together in this space to be the
body of Christ, united in mind and in heart
to create a sanctuary for the Holy Spirit
and for our souls that long for rest.
We come together this morning to bear witness
to the love that knows no bounds and seeks
to lead us to green pastures and still waters,
where we can be renewed.
We pray In the name of God, our Creator,
Jesus, our Savior,
and the Holy Spirit, our Breath of Life.
We invite you to hear from the reading of Jeremiah 23:1-4.
1 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep
of my pasture! says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord,
concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people:
It is you who have scattered my flock, and have
driven them away, and you have not attended to them.
So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord.
3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out
of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring
them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.
4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them,
and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall
any be missing, says the Lord.
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
The Good News of Christ. Praise be to you, O Christ!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Sermon and Reflection
How can you practice the art of neighboring this week?
What does God ask of us in participating in the tapestry of community?
As we go from this gathering into our week,
may we practice looking for our neighbors,
particularly in the faces of the oppressed.
May we see in those that we consider, “other”
the same light we find in our own inner being.
May we breathe a little more deeply in our discomfort,
the same breath our enemies breathe.
May we wonder how we might love someone else
in a way which we find no tangible benefit to ourselves.
May we practice all this gently and courageously.
Go forth in the name
of our Holy God,
Three in One,
Go in peace and live the church.
See you throughout the week.
[Photo by -MRGT @ Flickr]