This service is an interview of me about my life and ministry by longtime Southminster member, Pam Gross. Also included is a meditation I did with the children and the choir anthem, “The Heavens Are Telling.”  Audio only.

2019 January 27 Order of Worship

God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms
of the mystery of God.
–Hildegarde of Bingen

When the gentleness between you hardens
And you fall out of your belonging with each other,
May the depths you have reached hold you still.

When no true word can be said or heard,
And you mirror each other in the script of hurt,
When even the silence has become raw and torn,
May you hear again an echo of your first music.

When the weave of affection starts to unravel
And anger begins to sear the ground between you,
Before this weather of grief invites
The black seed of bitterness to find root,
May your souls come to kiss.

Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,
To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,
Reach out with sure hands
To take the chalice of your love,
And carry it carefully through this echoless waste
Until this winter pilgrimage leads you
Toward the gateway to spring.

–John O’Donohue

Luke 4:14-21
Then Jesus returned in the power of the spirit to Galilee. News about him spread throughout all the surrounding area. He used to teach in their meeting places and was acclaimed by everyone.

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the meeting place on the Sabbath, as was his custom. He stood up to do the reading and was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he has anointed me
To bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to announce pardon for prisoners
And recovery of sight to the blind;
To set free the oppressed,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s amnesty.’

After rolling up the scroll he gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the attention of everyone in the meeting place was riveted on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled as you listen.”

And they all were responding favorably to him, and marveling at the pleasing speech that he delivered; and they were saying, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”

And he said to them, “No doubt you will quote me that proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself,’ and you’ll tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we’ve heard about you’ve done in Capernaum.’”

Then he said, “Let me tell you, no prophet is welcome on his home turf. I can assure you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was dammed up for three and a half years, and a severe famine swept through the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but instead to a widow in Zarephath near Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the prophet Elisha’s time; but none of them was made clean, except Naaman the Syrian.”

Everyone in the meeting place was filled with rage when they heard this. They rose up, ran him out of town, and led him to the brow of the hill which their town was built, intending to hurl him over the cliff. But he slipped through their fingers and got away.

The Heavens are Telling (from “The Creation”), F. J. Haydn Chancel Choir
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
the wonder of his work displays the firmament.
To-day that is coming, speaks it the day,
the night that is gone, to following night.
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
the wonder of his work displays the firmament.
In all the lands resounds the word,
never unperceived, ever understood.
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
the wonder of his work displays the firmament.

The Summer Day, Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

The Upanishads

When you see that God acts through you at every moment in every movement of mind or body, you attain true freedom. When you realize the truth, and cling to nothing in the world, you enter eternal life.