Afterthoughts

Listen to the Service

Today's Program

Creating Space for God’s Spirit

The room is in the round. In the center, a bright light shines on the round wooden table. That’s it. No candle on it, no nothing. Just light. The rest of the room is dark.

  • Blind Melon’s “No Rain” plays loud enough to be heard
  • A young Journeyer steps up to light the lamp and another rings the bell three times

Worshiping with Our Children

  • A Journeyer leads our children in talking about quiet

Have you ever listened to quiet? Is quiet a sound? What makes loud noises – trucks, trains, thunder? But what about quiet? Sometimes if we listen, there can be lots of sounds even when we think it’s quiet. The Bible says that one of the ways to hear God is to listen in the quiet, and listen with our hearts. Let’s try listening for a minute. When we are ready to listen, we will hear God speak. Let’s thank God for that.

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

  • Beth W. talks about holes

When our friend Rick first mentioned this morning’s topic, he called it “Let There Be Space” and then followed that title up with the astute observation that is it is hole that makes the donut. In other words, it is the absence of that bit of dough in the middle of a donut that makes it particularly delicious and beloved by all. Which of course got me wondering when the donut hole first made its appearance. Surprisingly, I found a specific answer to that question. The donut hole was invented in 1847 in America by Hanson Gregory. He was a sailor who got frustrated with fried donuts that were raw in the middle, so he punched the hole out of the middle and history was made.

Of course, there are other hole-y foods. Swiss cheese probably comes to mind. The holes in Swiss cheese are made by the bacteria that turns the milk into that lovely creamy cheese. So, literally, if you want Swiss cheese, you can’t have it without the holes.

So are holes necessarily bad things? We think of a hole as an absence or lack of something. If we think of the donut, though, the hole is a necessary space that makes the donut what it is. So can we look at the holes in our own lives this way?

I wish I could. I wish I could look at the absences, the missing pieces, the things my life lacks and feel that they were somehow, positively making me into the person I’m supposed to be. But truthfully, they just hurt. They just feel like places of emptiness and longing and unmet desires. The holes in my life are hopes I’ve struggled over and prayed over and hoped beyond hope would be filled someday. We all have these holes. For me, the main holes in my heart have been the desire for a husband and a family. I don’t know what they are for you. Regardless of what they are though, as we live our lives, these holes exist along with us. Rarely do they seem to get filled. Often, we - often, I can fall into bitterness as I look around and see the things I long for come so easily to someone else. So is this a hole that makes me the unique person God wants me to be? Or is it, as it feels sometimes, more like stigmata that mark my pain?

Maybe the question I should be asking is whether a hole is an absence or, as in the case of our donut, a necessary space. If I look at my own life and absence of a family in this way, I can see that this space has opened up my life to other possibilities: to deep friendships and time to pursue my passions. But when I wake up in a quiet house at 3AM, it still feels like emptiness. So is it a hole or a space? Or can it be both? And does it maybe need to be both?

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

  • A Journeyer says an offering prayer
  • Three Journeyers read from Psalm 13 in the Hebrew scriptures as the ushers pass the baskets

How long will this last, God?
Will you forget me forever?
How long will your turn your face away from me?
How long do I have to carry this pain in my soul,
and feel this sadness in my heart all day long?

How long will these enemies stand over me?
God! Look at me! Answer me!
Bring light back into my eyes, or else I will sleep forever!
And what I hate will say it has defeated me;
what I did not want will be stronger than me.
And yet …
And yet …

And yet – I have trusted in your strong enduring love before;
and my heart can find hope in your presence.
I will choose to thank you, God,
because you are good;
you are good to me.

Telling The Story and Our Story

  • A video of John Cage’s famous silent composition 4’33” plays (We stop at 2:47 when the first rest happens and the conductor lowers his baton)
  • Rick talks
  • Leslie leads us in a guided prayer
  • God fills us through the sacrament of Holy Communion observed today with donut holes and juice
  • During Communion, 5 Journeyers read from Irish poet and priest John O’Donohue (not on screen)

I arise today
In the name of Silence
Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness
Home of Belonging,
In the name of the Solitude
Of the Soul and the Earth.

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A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life

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May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which await along the way to transform you.

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Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

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May we have the courage to take the step
Into the unknown that beckons us;
Trust that a richer life awaits us there,
That we will lose nothing
But what has already died;
Feel the deeper knowing in us, sure
Of all that is about to be born

Go Out to Listen to the Silence

  • A Journeyer leads us in a closing prayer taken from a 1986 Anglican litany

God,
For the darkness of choosing
when you give us the moment
to speak, and act, and change,
and we cannot know what we have set in motion,
but we still can choose to take the risk,
We praise you, o God.
Amen. 

  • Leslie dismisses us
  • “No Rain” plays again as folks clean up the room

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