Holy and Beloved God,
From near and far we come, arriving in pieces,
connected yet broken, fatigued from a year apart,
longing for reunion, safety, and past comfort.
We enter unsure of what we will find.
May we embrace your mystery.
We come clinging to control.
May we release ourselves to your power.
We reunite cautiously yet joyously.
May we celebrate the beauty of your community.
You welcome us, God, with open loving arms.
Wherever you are, you are welcome.
Whoever you are, you are welcome.
However you are, you are welcome.
We pray for a posture of humility.
May we create space for the
stories of all in our community.
We pray for rejuvenation of our physical
and emotional selves. With each breath,
we feel your presence. We pray for a deep
and full relationship with Your Spirit.
May we embrace our dependence on you.
We pray this in loving participation with
Our Mysterious God,
and Empathetic Holy Spirit.
We invite you to hear from the Gospel of Mark 4:26-32.
26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter
seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and
the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.
28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the
full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with
his sickle, because the harvest has come.” 30 He also said, “With what can
we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?
31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the
smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up
and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
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.
Homily and Reflection
How might we release control in order to experience divine transformation?
How are we invited to welcome the unexpected and offer safe space to the vulnerable?
God, we thank you for the gift of your presence.
With a renewed sense of unity, we begin the week together.
Grant us moments of peace.
We thank you for the beauty of our differences.
We open ourselves to new people and places.
Grant us empathy in our interactions.
As we nourish our own garden this week,
creating solace and self-love,
may we be the hands of Christ.
As we provide shade for others in our lives,
listening deeply to their stories,
may we be the heart of Christ.
We bless each step
of our path in the name
of God, the Author of Life,
Christ, our Dear Friend,
and the Holy Spirit, our Constant Companion.
Go in peace, and live the church.
May you find belonging and community this week.
[Photo by ebarhard grossgasteiger]