With open arms you welcome all who call on your name—
who acknowledge you as Lord, and look to you in faith.
No one stands outside the circle of your mercy and love.
We come to offer you our worship—
to give thanks that you are our God,
and that we are your people, called,
chosen, and loved beyond measure.
In your endless love for humanity,
remind us there is always room for mercy
and grace, within ourselves and for our world
no matter how dark it may seem.
Through the presence of your Holy Spirit
open our eyes to see you here;
open our minds to receive your truth,
and our mouths to speak and sing your praise.
We praise the name
of our God, the Creator,
of the Son, our Savior
and of the Holy Spirit, our Guide.
We invite you to hear from a reading in Matthew 15:10-12, 16-20.
10 Then he called the crowd to him and said to them,
“Listen and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the
mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out
of the mouth that defiles.”
12 Then the disciples approached and said to him,
“Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when
they heard what you said?” … 16 Then he said,
“Are you also still without understanding?
17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth
enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?
18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from
the heart, and this is what defiles.
19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder,
adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.
20 These are what defile a person, but to eat with
unwashed hands does not defile.”
The Good News of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Sermon and Reflection
What expectations and hidden biases do we have that limit our flow of mercy?
How might we practice mercy as a mutual flow that feeds the cycle of giving and receiving?
Consider now why you are here today.
Consider now why you are here.
It’s ok if you still aren’t sure.
Being present is enough.
Let us take a breath.
May we go out from this place with a renewed intention.
Be renewed in your commitments to love those closest to you.
Be renewed in your intention to understand those furthest from you.
Be renewed in your belief that you are held in the hand of God.
Be renewed in your faith, in goodness, in hard work, and in honesty.
We pray in the name
of our God,
of our Savior,
and of the Holy Spirit,
[Photo by Anaïs Duvert @ Flickr]