For Reflection: Resilience. And solidarity. And kindness and patience. Elusive qualities. Perhaps this is the “new normal.”
~ Lloyd Sederer, Psychiatrist and Public Health Doctor

Some Humor for the Day:

  1. Gavin Jones @ecologyofgavin tweeted this week:  One strange side effect of living through a pandemic is finding out all the companies that have my email address on file.
  2. WATCH (14 seconds) VIDEO on Corona-19 Virus – what option do you choose?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgSlKbVh1SQ
  3. Political humor: “If Trump decides to release the restrictions Trudeau will build a wall and make the US pay for it.”

Prelude Music: “The Peace of Wild Things” by Jake Runestad, text by Wendell Berry. Performed by the UGA Hodgson Singers.

Call to Worship: Words of Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Friends we gather together, now, in one strong, virtual, community.
We gather in search of courage
We gather in search of hope.
We gather, now more than ever, grounded in love.
Come, now, and let us worship together.

Opening HymnLead Me, Guide Me (YouTube sing along)

Passing of the Peace:

Pastor Don: May the Peace of Christ be with you. Congregation at Home: And also with you. Pastor Don: Consider three ways that you can extend peace to one another this week through a phone call, text or email. 

Theme Reading: Parker J. Palmer, American Author and Founder of Center for Courage and Renewal
Like a wild animal, the soul is tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, and self-sufficient: it knows how to survive in hard places. I learned about these qualities during my bouts with depression. In that deadly darkness, the faculties I had always depended on collapsed. My intellect was useless; my emotions were dead; my will was impotent; my ego was shattered. But from time to time, deep in the thickets of my inner wilderness, I could sense the presence of something that knew how to stay alive even when the rest of me wanted to die. That something was my tough and tenacious soul. 

Theme Video (View & Listen): “Lockdown” A Poem by Brother Richard Hendricks from Ireland, OFM, March 13, 2020.

“Lockdown” Poem in written format: https://uploads.weconnect.com/mce/0cd6982f8295e3dfded2f8869fa56019921be74a/Lockdown%20Poem%20POESIA-DA-PUBBLICARE.pdf

Christian Reading: Gospel of Thomas 32: 18b – 33
Jesus says: “If those who lead you say to you: Look, the kingdom is in the sky! Then the birds of the sky will precede you.  If they say to you: It is in the sea, then the fishes will precede you. Rather the kingdom is inside of you and outside of you.  When you come to know yourselves, then you will be known and you will realize that you are the children of the living God.”

SERMON
“Rebirth of the Soul”
Rev. Don Ludwig

If you prefer to read the sermon text, click here.

Responsive Hymn: My Soul in Stillness Waits (YouTube Sing-along)

Refrain text: For you O Lord, my soul in stillness waits, truly my hope is in you.

Take a moment to listen to the music, perhaps close your eyes, breathe deeply, and/or sing along and simply be in this moment!

Pastoral Prayer:  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear” (Psalms 46:1-2).

Spirit of life and of love, be with us and all the intentions we bring into this moment. There is so much to hold, sometimes more than seems bearable. Remind us, spirit, that we are not alone.

On this day we pray for all who are most vulnerable, we pray for medical professionals on the front lines, we pray for grocery workers who are stocking shelves and making it possible for us to buy food. We pray for our leaders who are faced with impossible decisions. We pray for the children. We pray for those who are elders. We pray for the whole world as we make our way through this time together.

We pray for family and friends and those who are dear to us.  We remember Allen Hawkins and Dave and Michael. We remember Peg Tyo and Rodger and Donna Bekooy and Bob Buell, we remember Cassandra Ludwig and others who are on our hearts this morning – we mention them to you now…..(take a moment to pray and remember others)…..  Grant each of them the compassion and courage to face their challenges with grace and purpose.

Even though we are physically apart, bind us together by your ever-present grace – help us to serve, and love, and grow together in hope – this day and forevermore.  A-men.

Inspirational Video:  TV Show “Glee” sings “Imagine”

Time for Offering: 
As we reflect on all of our blessings, individually and as a community, may we consider how we may give of ourselves so that the work of Christ’s love and peace may continue throughout our world. (Please contact staff@southmin.org, or one of our Trustees to discover simple ways you may give electronically or via mail.  Thank you for supporting the staff and on-going ministries of Southminster Presbyterian Church).

Final Blessing and Benediction: 
Friends, We are resilient people. WE GOT THIS! Please let me know if there is anything that you need as we continue to imagine a world of health, hope, peace and solidarity.

In these days of isolation, may we know the bonds of community.  
In these days of despair, may we find our way to hope.  
In these days of fear, may we remember the power of love.
In the rebirth of your soul, may you recognize that the kingdom is both inside and outside of you.  

Go in peace. Practice love. Amen.