August 16th Worship

Order of Service

PreludeArabesque
Debussy
Chris Johansen, piano
Welcome
Confession & Forgiveness
Pastor Linda
HymnWord of God, Come Down on Earth
#510
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Prayer of the DayPastor Linda
Psalm 36: 5-10Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
ReadingGenesis 1
John 1
Pastor Linda
SermonPastor Linda
CreedPastor Linda
Prayers of IntercessionClaire Scriba
Lord’s Prayer
Blessing
Benediction
Pastor Linda
HymnLet Justice Flow Like Streams
#717
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
PostludeAllegro
Clementi
Chris Johansen

Prelude

Chris Johansen


Welcome

Confession & Forgiveness

P:  In the name of the Father, and of the +Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen

P: We confess our entanglements with justice, hurts, and greed – and God’s difficult, blessed vision of a very different way. We seek the face of God, confessing our sin.

Silence for reflection and self-examination.

Holy God,
we have sinned against you and each other. We pray for your forgiveness and healing. The good we want to do, we often fail to do. The harmful actions and thoughts we do not want, we turn to again and again. Deliver us, Gracious God. Save us, save our neighbors, save all your creatures from our lack of imagination and courage. Gird us for the challenges of change needed, called for, overdue. Guide our way in your way.    
Amen

P:  We who were once far off have been brought near to God through the cross of Christ. May we forgive one another as God in Christ has first forgiven us.    
Amen


Hymn – Word of God, Come Down on Earth

1.
Word of God, come down on earth,
living rain from heaven descending:
touch our hearts and bring to birth
faith and hope and love unending.
Word almighty, we revere you;
Word made flesh, we long to hear you.

2.
Word eternal, throned on high,
Word the brought to life creation,
Word that came from heaven to die,
crucified for our salvation,
saving Word, the world restoring,
speak to use, your love outpouring.

3.
Word that speaks God’s tender love,
one with God beyond all telling,
Word that sent us from above
God the Spirit, with us dwelling,
Word of truth, to all truth lead us;
Word of live, with one bread feed us.


Prayer of the Day

Glorious God,
you water the world with goodness and cover creation with abundance. We too often are drawn to discontent. Help us to soak in that goodness, to bathe in beauty, to refresh our spirits – longing for companionship – in connections and care. Keep us always mindful of your generous love for us and for all.  
Amen


Psalm 36: 5-10

5 Your love, O Lord,
reaches to the heavens,
and your faithfulness to the clouds

6 Your righteousness
is like the strong mountains,
your justice like the great deep;
you save humankind and animals, O Lord

7 How priceless is your love, O God!
All people take refuge
under the shadow of your wings.

8 They feast upon the abundance
of your house;
you give them drink
from the river of your delights

9 For with you is the well of live,
and in your light we see light.

10 Continue your loving-kindness
to those who know you,
and your favor
to those who are true of heart.


Reading

Genesis 1 (condensed)
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while the spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. 6And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 8God called the dome Sky. 9And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. 11Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so.

John 1 (re-write)
In the beginning was Water, and the Water was with God, and the Water was God. 2Water was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through it, and without it not one thing came into being. What has come into being  4in water was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Sermon

Rosalyn R. LaPier Is a Research Associate of Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies and Native American Religion at Harvard Divinity School. She writes that “For thousands of years, Native American tribes across the Great Plains developed their own methods of living with the natural world and its limited water supply. They learned both through observation and experiment, arguably a process quite similar to what we might call science today. They also learned from their religious ideas, passed on from generation to generation in the form of stories.

The Blackfeet viewed water as a distinct place – a sacred place. It was the home of divine beings and divine animals who taught the Blackfeet religious rituals and moral restrictions on human behavior. It can, in fact, be compared to Mount Sinai of the Old Testament, which was viewed as “holy ground” and where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.”

Science and faith are kin. This is true for those in the Judeo-Christian tradition as well as indigenous religions. Science and faith are two languages of observation of the natural world and of human ways, thoughts, inspiration; they are two meandering streams seeking cause, meaning and explanation of what is observed.

Trying to understand God – theology – was perhaps the first science, the primal explanation of the creation and causes and movement of life. God is the Alpha and Omega, first and last. That which was before all things, when nothing as yet existed. Although, according to Genesis, things did exist. Water was there. A watery chaos out of which God called land to rise and light to shine and life to grow.

Genesis 1 John 1
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while the spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. 6 And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 8God called the dome Sky. 9 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. 11Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so.

“For the Blackfeet, Lakota and other tribes of the Great Plains, water is “life.” They understood what it meant to live in a dry arid place, which they expressed through their religion and within their ecological knowledge. Indigenous people from around the world share these beliefs about the sacredness of water.”

The Whanganui River, one of the largest rivers on the North Island of New Zealand, has come to be legally recognized as having “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person.” Bolivia and Ecuador have passed laws for the Rights of Mother Earth, motivated by the belief that nature, including water, has legal rights.

The Lakota protests at Standing Rock demanding a right to clean water – free from the threat of potential environmental harm – was also an effort to protect it.

I’ve been thinking about indigenous religion’s relationship to the earth, about the sacredness of water, the absolute necessity of water, and that we have the same water now that the earth has always had – water is neither created nor destroyed.

The Israelites were tribal, indigenous people, too, when the stories started. Some of the earliest biblical material was edited out – especially during the religious revival after exile. The earliest stories were brought up to date. So there might have been more mythic stores. But even as it stands, the Bible tells its story through water. I began this series saying that God is in all things and all things in God – therefore, God is in the water and the water is in God.

In the beginning was the Water, and the Water was with God, and the Water was God. 2Water was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through it, and without it not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in water was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Instead of Word, what if the author of John has said Water? “And the Water became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth.” We don’t worship a word, after all, we worship Christ. And we aren’t all that good at honoring bodies even though God took human form.

So what would change if we truly believed Christ’s real presence is in, with, and under the water? That’s the formula Martin Luther used for baptism and communion. What might change in our appreciation and use of water if we honored it as a sacred element? Would we be better ecological evangelists, seeing that all people have access to fresh, clean water, using our collective will to break down barriers that prevent living water to flow to all people? Would we give more thought to what water reveals about injustice, racism, sustainability, the ecological web of which we are a part (but only a part, not the telos)?


Creed

In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss.
In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving. You are our mother, brother, and Savior. 
In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvelous and plenteous grace. 
         You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us.
         You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.
Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.    
Amen

~Julian of Norwich

Prayers of Intercession


Lord’s Prayer

Blessing & Benediction

Go with the strength you have.
     Go simply
     lightly
     gently
Go in search of Love.
And know the Spirit of God goes with you.
Amen


Hymn – Let Justice Flow Like Streams

1.
Let justice flow like streams
of sparkling water, pure,
enabling growth, refreshing life,
abundant, cleansing, sure.

2.
Let righteousness roll on
as others’ cares we heed,
an ever-flowing stream of faith
translated into deed.

3.
So may God’s plumb line, straight,
define our measure true,
and justice, right, and peace pervade
this world our whole life through.


Postlude

Chris Johansen