Afterthoughts

Listen to the Service

Today's Program

Creating Space for God’s Spirit

The room is in the round. Each week in this series, we’ll be exploring a different major historical Jewish feast. This week is the Feast of Booths. Fabric draped over the table makes the stage resemble a tent. The large table is on the stage area again, holding a feast of fruits and nuts. Three prayer stations are around the room, as well, each decorated with a painting by Sabrina. The piece of fabric we painted last week hangs over the doorway leading from the hall into the Living Room. The space reflects a sense of warmth and celebration.

  • “Jesus, I’ll Never Forget” by Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers plays
  • A Journeyer steps up to light the lamp and another rings the bell three times

Worshiping with Our Children

  • Rick leads our children in talking about being grateful

What are some things you're grateful for, something someone has done for you or that someone has given you? I’m grateful for some teachers that were very helpful when I was growing up, and I’m grateful for my friends who look out for me. How about you? The Bible is so full of stories about God being with people and caring for them – and how people showed their thanks to God because of God’s caring for us. Let’s think about how to show our gratitude to God. We’ll start with this prayer.

Gathering Our Spirit with God's Spirit

  • Announcements – how Journey is God’s Hands in the world
  • Rick welcomes us, talks about series
  • Say hello to someone near you
  • Take a breath...

Exploring God’s Spirit and Our Spirit

  • Stacey R. reads about the Feast of Sukkoth

The final feast given to Israel is called Sukkot, or the “Feast of Tabernacles.” Tabernacles is celebrated in the Autumn. It is associated with the Autumn harvest, and came to be known as the “Festival of Ingathering.” Over the centuries, many Jewish families would build a “sukkah,” a small, simply-built hut, in which meals are eaten during the week-long Festival. The sukkah is a way to remember the huts – “sukkot” – that Israel lived in during their 40 years sojourn in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt (celebrated in the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread) and the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai (celebrated in the Feast of Weeks). Families would decorate the huts they had built, with branches, fruits, flowers, etc., to represent God’s gifts to humanity and God’s provision during the desert journey.

Giving -- To Help God Do God's Work in This World

  • Rick leads us in an offering prayer
  • Renee leads us in singing “Dwell” as the ushers pass the baskets

Telling The Story and Our Story

  • Rick talks
  • Leslie talks, including a description of the prayer stations for reflection, gratitude, and “ingathering”
  • Margaret, Diana, and Tracy read what each station means

Sukkot, “the season of our joy,” is a time of forgiveness and anticipation, when the inaccessible becomes accessible. During the festival, the Four Species of the Promised Land are assembled into a bundle — like a bouquet — to be used in ceremonies. The first species, citron, is associated with the heart: the perfect fruit bringing forth faith, repentance, healing, and redemption.

Date palm fronds are harvested while green and ripe, upright and unbroken. To love the Lord with all your heart is an act of strength, and spiritual backbone is forged through such acts.

Three myrtle branches, with their three-leaved tiers, are bundled together as we usher in vision. Each eye-shaped leaf brings to mind sight, and we ask the Lord to guide ours in the coming year.

With these, we combine the willows of the brook: two long, leafy fronds. Willow branches are delicate — they require water and care — and each impeccable frond recalls lips, and their greatest purpose: prayer.

Sukkot is also a time of “ingathering”: bringing home the fruits of the harvest. Please join us in visiting these three prayer stations, reflecting on the prompts presented, and communing over the fruits of the harvest.

Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good, for God’s steadfast love endures forever. Amen.

  • The community does a prayer exercise for Sukkot

Is it possible that God is with us the whole time as we wander in the metaphorical wilderness? We are encouraged to keep this question in mind as we proceed to each station. At each table, we are invited to read the prompt, say a prayer, and take a construction paper representation of the gift at that station. Then we take our gifts to the table on the stage to share in the feast and leave the gifts as an offering of thanks.

Go Out and Give Thanks

  • Renee leads us in singing “Forever”
  • Renee dismisses us
  • “Jesus, I’ll Never Forget” plays again as folks clean up the room

Images

  • Journey's sukkah  » Click to zoom ->

    Journey's sukkah

  • Inside Journey's sukkah  » Click to zoom ->

    Inside Journey's sukkah

  • Rick opens the worship service  » Click to zoom ->

    Rick opens the worship service

  • Myrtle for vision  » Click to zoom ->

    Myrtle for vision

  • Myrtle for vision  » Click to zoom ->

    Myrtle for vision

  • Myrtle for vision  » Click to zoom ->

    Myrtle for vision

  • Myrtle for vision  » Click to zoom ->

    Myrtle for vision

  • Citron for heart  » Click to zoom ->

    Citron for heart

  • Citron for heart  » Click to zoom ->

    Citron for heart

  • Citron for heart  » Click to zoom ->

    Citron for heart

  • Citron for heart  » Click to zoom ->

    Citron for heart

  • Date palm for backbone  » Click to zoom ->

    Date palm for backbone

  • Date palm for backbone  » Click to zoom ->

    Date palm for backbone

  • Date palm for backbone  » Click to zoom ->

    Date palm for backbone

  • Date palm for backbone  » Click to zoom ->

    Date palm for backbone

  • Offerings in Journey's sukkah  » Click to zoom ->

    Offerings in Journey's sukkah

  • Offerings in Journey's sukkah  » Click to zoom ->

    Offerings in Journey's sukkah

  • Offerings in Journey's sukkah  » Click to zoom ->

    Offerings in Journey's sukkah

  • Offerings in Journey's sukkah  » Click to zoom ->

    Offerings in Journey's sukkah

  • Offerings in Journey's sukkah  » Click to zoom ->

    Offerings in Journey's sukkah