Afterthoughts

by Rick Diamond

What if being created in the image of God, and being of the stuff of God's creative hand, and being made of the dust of stars and the breath of God, means that, as Walt Whitman writes in "Song of Myself," all we have to be is exactly who we are.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

Jesus told his followers that all they needed was faith the size of a tiny seed. He told his followers that all they needed was to become like a small child. Jesus told his follwers that all they needed was Love.

That's hard, an un-learning, a willingness to let go of all the things we've acquired about accomplishments and judgments and failures and scripts in our heads. But isn't it worth the effort?

Listen to the Service

Today's Program

Gathering Our Spirit to God's Spirit

The painted and beribboned glass cylinder is still in the center of the room and filled with branches extending out the top; branches are also hanging from the ceiling around the room. The river frame where we place the mirror tiles during the service is on a 6 foot table near the front of the room.

  • “As I Go” by Richard Swift plays 
  • A Journeyer steps up to light the lamp and another rings the bell 
  • David (E) and Leslie (L) make announcements  

Worshiping with Our Children

  • A Journeyer leads our children in talking about how often we hear messages from others and even from ourselves about how we are not good enough or pretty enough or smart enough or how we will never amount to anything. But knowing that we are loved and cherished and valued by God, and by the important people in our lives, enables us to love others in turn.  

From Our Spirit to God's Spirit

  • David welcomes, has us breathe; explains the series and introduces Darden Smith
  • Darden Smith sings two songs
  • David leads a discussion on why it is difficult to love ourselves
  • Two Journeyers come to the microphone to read

Reader 1: Eugene Peterson in Introduction to Ecclesiastes – The Message

“Unlike the animals, who seem quite content to simply be themselves, we humans are always looking for ways to be more than or other than what we find ourselves to be. We explore the countryside for excitement, search our souls for meaning, shop the world for pleasure. We try this. Then we try that. The usual fields of endeavor are money, sex, power, adventure, and knowledge.

Everything we try is so promising at first! But nothing ever seems to amount to very much. We intensify our efforts -- but the harder we work at it, the less we get out of it. Some people give up early and settle for a humdrum life. Others never seem to learn, and so they flail away through a lifetime, becoming less and less human by the year, until by the time they die there is hardly enough humanity left to compose a corpse.”

Reader 2: Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

These are the words of the Quester, David's son and king in Jerusalem. Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That's what the Quester says.] There's nothing to anything—it's all smoke.

What's there to show for a lifetime of work,
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes—it's business as usual for old planet earth.
The sun comes up and the sun goes down,
then does it again, and again—the same old round.
The wind blows south, the wind blows north.
Around and around and around it blows,
blowing this way, then that—the whirling, erratic wind.
All the rivers flow into the sea,
but the sea never fills up.
The rivers keep flowing to the same old place,
and then start all over and do it again.
Everything's boring, utterly boring—
no one can find any meaning in it.
Boring to the eye,
boring to the ear.
What was will be again,
what happened will happen again.
There's nothing new on this earth.
Year after year it's the same old thing.
Does someone call out, "Hey, this is new"?
Don't get excited—it's the same old story.
Nobody remembers what happened yesterday.
And the things that will happen tomorrow?
Nobody'll remember them either.
Don't count on being remembered.

  • Two more Journeyers come to the microphone to read

Reader 3: by Ariele Gentiles

within every assertion
an I don’t know is
danger-stowed.

every yes hides a
maybe? & all no
is but, perhaps.

and can a mirror merely
cast back coldness? when
Self seems useless,
I try to remember
[reune with Creator]:

the lily blooms fixed.
the sparrow skysteps
assured she will fly.

and I falsely accuse
the looking glass when it
cannot reflect the if--
for is
is all it knows.

Reader 4: Mark 2:14-17 (New Living Translation)

As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.

Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Telling The Story and Our Story

  • Rick talks
  • Rick guides the community through the mirror tile activity (namaste description projected on the screen during the activity)

NAMASTE… Hindu meaning “to bow.” We understand it to mean, “The image of God within me honors the image of God within you…”

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

  • Karen C. reads Giles’ offertory prayer

Thank you, Lord, for loving us so much that you live in our hearts, and you speak to us in many different ways. You speak to us through books, movies, relationships, through this community, by giving us examples, and an infinite number of ways according to how we each hear you.

In the Bible, you give us two examples of how you love each of us in the way we need without judging us. St. Paul and St. Joseph of Arimethea were of different backgrounds. St. Paul, when he was Saul, persecuted your followers. After you spoke to him, he gave up all he had to travel all over Greece and Asia Minor helping establish communities of your disciples.

St. Joseph was a very wealthy man, and a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish body of judges who saw you as a threat, so he kept his discipleship a secret. Yet when you were crucified, your apostles fled for fear of persecution. St. Joseph went to Pilate and asked to take your body down from the cross and he buried you in the tomb he had carved out for himself. Historical documents tell us he was later jailed for his love of you.

Thank you, Lord, for living in our hearts and speaking to us in many different ways. And thank you for giving us the examples of St. Paul and St. Joseph. May we love each other and most importantly ourselves in the way you have loved them and all of us -- without judging us and being patient with us to hear you whenever we do. May we love you and serve you when and how you ask us and not when or how others think we should love and serve you or how we think others think we should love and serve you. Amen.

  • Darden Smith sings one song

Go Out to Serve with Mercy and Grace

God spoke to Abram, and Abram was listening. He heard God tell him to pack up his family, dwellings, possessions and livestock and begin a journey that would start by leaving behind his lifelong home, many of his extended family, his business, and his country. God did not provide a trip itinerary, a GPS signal or a Google map. He simply said, “You go. I’ll let you know when you get to the right spot. And remember, the journey is as important as the destination. My part of the bargain is this: your faithfulness will manifest itself in the formation of a powerful community of people who both bless the world and will be blessed.” So Abram started packing…

  • David dismisses
  • “As I Go” plays again as folks depart

Images