God, you welcome us to this place.
You have blessed us beyond measure
by calling us out to be your people
and to do the work of life together.
May we welcome one another into your presence
and recognize what draws us together.
As we look around and see the body of Christ,
many members but all one people;
all living, breathing, laughing, crying,
mourning and celebrating together.
God, reveal your divine essence,
the indistinguishable mixture of flesh and divine.
In your true light cast away the darkness of falsehood,
and help us to become the people you are creating us to be.
May we hold loosely that which was never ours to begin with.
We give thanks and praise to our triune God,
Creator Parent to the Bedraggled
Redeeming Sibling on the Margins
and Animating Spirit of the Maltreated
(Naomi Jackson, revised by Christopher Mack)
We invite you to hear from the gospel of Matthew 5:3-12
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The Word 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
Where do I most struggle to see God present and enveloping my own life?
Is there a situation or group in your world where it’s hard to imaging God? How might you open yourself to Radical Love?
What invitation in the beatitudes might there be for action and contemplation this week?
Let us close with a benediction.
May the God who embodies community
be with us as we seek to be a community.
May God bless our dreams,
and may God shatter our dreams.
May God help us to be real and to find
depth in weakness and brokenness.
May God help us to face and grow through
conflict rather than pretend by being nice.
May we look at each other through soft eyes
and truly respect each other as human beings.
May God help us let go of control
and the need to fix one another.
May God help us discover we are
needy in our own souls and give
attention to our own hearts.
Be with us this week as we go forth
in the name of our Creator God,
of our loving Savior,
and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide.
Go in peace and live the church.
May you find community and belonging.
See you throughout the week.
[ Photo by Ed Leszczynskl ]