Sounds of Home – Found

Tuesdays at 2pm
Welcome to the July 21st edition of Sounds of Home!

Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound

Amazing grace! – how sweet the sound — that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come;
’tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me; his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.

ElW #779, vs. 1-4
Text: John Newton
Music: W. Walker, Southern Harmony; arr. Edwin O. Excell


Like to lend your voice?
Our upcoming theme is “fly”

If you have a response to this theme – whether a story or memory, original piece of writing or poetry, music, radio drama, or one-liner – the sky’s the limit – between 5 seconds and 5 minutes in length – or if you would like to guest host or lead a song to sing together — we’re eager to hear from you!

To submit a response, please make an audio recording and email it to Molly,
or send in a written response to be read aloud on the program.

Contact Molly at tulkmo01@luther.edu for information and submissions.
Deadline for submissions is Monday, July 27th


Also accepting responses for these upcoming themes

“relish”
“mend”

July 19th Worship

Order of Service

Part I
PreludeBouree from Handel’s Water Music Chris Johansen, piano
Opening PrayerHenrik Strandskov
Welcome
Confession & Forgiveness
Kyrie
Pastor Linda
HymnLight Dawns on a Weary World
#726
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Prayer of the DayPastor Linda
Psalm 114Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Part II
ReadingPastor Linda
Musical InterludeJay Stackhouse
SermonPastor Linda
Creed
Prayers of Intercession
Lord’s Prayer
Pastor Linda
Closing PrayerHenrik Strandskov
Blessing
Benediction
Pastor Linda
HymnJoyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
#836
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Postludefrom G Major Partita
Bach
Chris Johansen

Note: Audio for a full service appears here. A few individual parts of the service are also embedded in the text below.

Part I

Part II


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


Kyrie


Hymn – Light Dawns on a Weary World

1.
Light dawns on a weary world
when eyes begin to see
all people’s dignity.
Light dawns on a weary world:
the promised day of justice comes.

Refrain
The trees shall clap their hands; the dry lands, gush with springs;
the hills and mountains shall break forth with singing!
We shall go out in joy, and be led forth in peace,
as all the world in wonder echoes shalom.

2.
Love grows in a weary world
when hungry hearts find bread
and children’s dreams are fed.
Love grows in a weary world:
the promised feast of plenty comes.
Refrain

3.
Hope blooms in a weary world
when creatures, once forlorn,
find wilderness reborn.
Hope blooms in a weary world:
the promised green of Eden comes.
Refrain


Greeting

We gather in the triune name of sacred Love. May God’s peace be ever with you, Christ’s mercy near at hand, and may the Holy Spirit guide and encourage you in all circumstances and in every need.  
Amen

Prayer of the Day

O Creator of puddles and skeeterbugs, in majesty and playfulness you preside over land and sea, sunshine and storm. By your vision help us notice, by your providence teach us to treasure, by your wisdom compel us to preserve, and by your hand push us along. We need your inspiration and encouragement. Help us be the people you intended when you formed us from clay, when you puffed hopefully into those little nostrils. Let us be that creation. 
Amen


Psalm 114


Reading

Water is life. The story of God is told in water. God is in the water.

That is my premise for these weeks of considering water in scripture – but it’s more than a premise. If we read scripture paying attention to God’s way and will with water, if we can imagine that water bears the presence of God, carries an image of the divine (as we ourselves do), then what might that mean? 

My first flash of a thought was washing dishes and flushing toilets… waste water. Surely God is not flushed? But, the follow up thought was about lives we waste, flush away, because they are Black or gay or addicted or Muslim or Confederate flag-waving or tree hugging — whatever is the affront du jour. If we find it offensive or sacrilegious to throw God out with the bathwater, how can we not be humbled, horrified, outraged by our treatment of human lives? We cannot accept the glimmer of God in our bodies and deny it in others. 

But, back to the premise. Why should we consider God in the water? Because water is life. And where else would God be?

The first creation story in Genesis shows God’s breath sweeping over the face of the waters from which life will come. The second story shows God sitting on a river bank fashioning figures out of clay, breathing that same Spirit into the man’s nostrils to give him life. 

The third creation story is told by Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 8: 
22 The Lord conceived me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. …

24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, … 26 when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil. 

27 When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, 29 when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 30 I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight,  rejoicing before him always, 31 rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.”

Musical Interlude

Jay Stackhouse

Sermon

Two things stick out to me as I read this passage. The first is how big a part water plays in creation – fountains of the deep and the seas assigned their boundaries and springs abounding with water. The second thing is the joy evident in the act of creation (no less, if creation is seen over time as evolutionary adaptation). It is best seen as a playful venture. Woman Wisdom always by God’s side, rejoicing in each new thing, her delight delighting God. She is “…rejoicing in the inhabited world and delighting in the human race.” 

Delight is not mentioned among the attributes of God. We hear power words: omnipotent, omniscient, almighty, majesty, transcendence. Does it improve or denigrate your conceptualization of God to picture divine delight in forming mudpie people and transfiguring tadpoles?

Listen to these verses from Psalm 104. Do you not hear delight and playfulness in God’s design?

10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, 11 giving drink to every wild animal; the wild asses quench their thirst. 12 By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches. 13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. 

14 You cause the grass to grow for cattle, and plants for people, to bring forth food from the earth, 15and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart. 16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly …

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable, living things both small and great. 26 There go the ships, and Leviathan [a great and terrible sea monster in ancient thought] that you formed to frolic in it.” 

Again, it might be because it’s been hot and muggy and sunny – and I don’t have a swimming hole or enough water pressure to spin a sprinkler; it might be that I want a break from worrying about the coronavirus and the pandemic of racism, but I’ve been thinking of gushing water and clapping trees. It’s probably not a surprise that Light Dawns on a Weary World is one of my favorite hymns. It comes from Isaiah 55, where God compares his word to water:

10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

12 For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle, and it shall be to the Lord a memorial, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

A memorial – like the rainbow – something to remind God.

7 “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord,” said the prophet Jeremiah (17). 8 “They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.”         

Over and over again in scripture, we hear that Nature plays. Sea monsters and little lambs frolic. Life flourishes, springs gush forth. There is joy in water. Music in water. Peacefulness and restoration.  You’ve probably seen the ad on TV – 15 seconds of the sound of rain. I can feel my blood pressure drop 5 points when I watch it. It is a memorial for me that I’ve watched CNN too long, and so I get up and go away. I don’t know what it’s advertising, but it calms and changes brain activity from the barrage of words. The sound of water frees up space for our own thoughts. That ad has the amazing ability to help me, at least, wake from the passive sponge of 24hr repetitive breaking news, and come back to life.

18 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43 

If the Bible were illustrated with emojis, what face would you insert at this point? What is the expression on God’s face? I picture mischievous joy. Can you hear the lilt in her voice, the playfulness expressed as springs bubble up in parched land and long dormant flower seeds push up out of impossible soil? Is there not delight in lambs and kids bouncing beside still waters in green pastures? 

We do ourselves a disservice if we can only imagine God as the old white guy Michelangelo painted, or hear a serious, if not actually stern, voice as the only appropriate biblical vocalization for God. God’s mirth is in water, springing forth, bubbling up, streaming by, living wells, roaring seas. 

Playfulness is in  provision: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground;” God says through Isaiah (44). “I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. 4 They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams.” 

Scripture is awash with water imagery – and mostly, it is a positive force: Cleansing lepers, and healing the lame; changing into wine; Jesus coming, walking through the waves of a sudden storm; the Ethiopian eunuch who sees a pond and says why not? What’s to prevent me from being baptized? New things spring forth. Restoration, renewal, hope, peace, well-being, happiness, new life gushing forth as the water breaks.

It all begins with water, and with joy, and with God.

This sermon is kind of pointless – a wandering point – but I have three hopes. 

One is that you will become aware of the place of water in scripture – listen for it, stop and consider its prominence, importance – its cherished status. 

The second is that you will begin to look for the presence of God in water outside of the baptismal font (like the presence of Christ is outside of the church building) and that it will cause you thought for the way water is used, abused, withheld, or is the agent of change, renewal, regrowth. 

My third hope is that you will take seriously the call to play – to frolic in the water like Leviathan, or splash in the next puddle you see and get your shoes wet, or move into the circle of the sprinkler if you have one that spins, or shoot your beloved with the kitchen sink sprayer and have a good-natured water fight right there in the middle of your kitchen, or take a lovely shower with good smelling suds. And in it and through it, remember that water is life and God is the water.


Prayers of Intercession


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

Lord’s Prayer

Closing 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 – Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

1.
Joyful, joyful we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love!
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before thee, praising thee, their sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the gloom of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day.

2.
All they works with joy surround thee, earth and heav’n reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird, and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in thee.

3.
Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
wellspring of the joy of living, ocean-depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother, all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine!


Postlude

Chris Johansen

Sounds of Home

**Sounds of Home is on break this week – July 14th.**
Regular programming will resume again July 21st.

Take a listen back down Sounds of Home lane, or catch up on your listening here!
https://www.westdenmark.org/category/sounds-of-home/


Like to lend your voice?
Our upcoming theme is “found”

If you have a response to this theme – whether a story or memory, original piece of writing or poetry, music, radio drama, or one-liner – the sky’s the limit – between 5 seconds and 5 minutes in length – or if you would like to guest host or lead a song to sing together — we’re eager to hear from you!

To submit a response, please make an audio recording and email it to Molly,
or send in a written response to be read aloud on the program.

Contact Molly at tulkmo01@luther.edu for information and submissions.
Deadline for submissions is Monday, July 20th

July 12th Worship

Order of Service

Part I
PreludeChris Johansen, piano
Welcome
Confession & Forgiveness
Pastor Linda
HymnAs the Dark Awaits the Dawn
#261
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Prayer of the DayPastor Linda
Psalm 104: 1-15Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Part II
ReadingPastor Linda
SermonPastor Linda
Prayers of IntercessionPastor Linda
Blessing
Benediction
Pastor Linda
HymnAs the Deer Runs to the River
#331
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
PostludeChris Johansen

Part I

Part II

Note: audio of the scripture and sermon will posted below later today.


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 – As the Dark Awaits the Dawn

1.
As the dark awaits the dawn, so we await your light.
O Star of promise, scatter night, loving bright, loving bright,
till shades of fear are gone.

2.
As the blue expectant hour before the silv’ring skies,
we long to see your day arise, whole and wise, whole and wise,
O lucent Morning Star.

3.
As the moon reflects the sun until the night’s decrease,
may we your healing light release, living peace, living peace,
unto your holy dawn.

4.
Shine your future on this place, enlighten ev’ry guest,
that through us stream your holiness, bright and blest, bright and blest;
come dawn, O Sun of grace.


Prayer of the Day

Giver of Life,
We thank you for water. Lakes and rivers. Oceans and streams and springs and creeks. Ponds and bogs and puddles. And rain, falling on the just and unjust alike. We squander that gift with contaminants and privilege and fail to see reflected in it your love for all. Forgive our sight so shortened we see only our own reflection. May holy rain cleanse the air, and cure our vision, and make everything fresh and new. 
Amen


Psalm 104: 1-15


Reading

70 to 75% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Roughly 70% of an adult’s body is made up of water, and about 85% of the adult brain is made up of water. Water is mentioned 722 times in the Bible, more often than faith, hope, prayer, or worship. Water carries the story of God from beginning to end. Water is life.

Genesis 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.

2:4 In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. 8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east… 10 A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. 11The name of the first is Pishon…13The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. 14The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 

6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry thaThen the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.t I have made them.’ 8But Noah found favour in the sight of the Lord.

7:1 Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household …2Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean; 3and seven pairs of the birds of the air also to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth. 4For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights… on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 

17 The flood continued for forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19The waters swelled so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; 20the waters swelled above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.24And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred and fifty days.

13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. 14In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15Then God said to Noah, 16‘Go out of the ark…17Bring out with you every living thing that is with you so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’ …19And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out of the ark by families. The Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. 22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’

Isaiah 43:2
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 18 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 19 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 

Isaiah 44:3
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Isaiah 35:6
Then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;

Isaiah 55:1
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;

Isaiah 58:11
The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

John 4:7    
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’… 9The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink”, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ 11The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ 13Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ 15The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water…’

Revelation 21
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.’ 5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ …To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 

22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Epilogue:16 ‘It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’ 17 The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’And let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes, take the water of life as a gift.

Sermon


We turn on the tap and there it is, expected, clean, flowing water. 
For a few in this world. 
Water is life.
Water is power.
Water is scarce and overwhelming.
Water is diverted, contaminated, taken for granted. 
Water is a resource of privilege. 
Water is granted legal standing – personhood – in New Zealand, with “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person.” In Bolivia, the government passed the “Law of the Rights of Mother Earth,” motivated by the belief that nature has legal rights. The Ecuadorian constitution recognizes the rights of “Nature with respect for its existence.”

Water is life.

And will be our topic for the coming weeks – and a proper sermon for this week will bob up soon. 


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 – As the Deer Runs to the River

1.
As the deer runs to the river, parched and weary from the chase,
we have come from hurt and hurry, thirsting for your healing grace.

Refrain
Jesus, source of living water, may we drink of you and live!

2.
When your Israel crossed the desert where no stream or spring was seen,
Moses struck the rock, and water flowed for them, refreshing, clean.
Refrain

3.
“Come and drink,” Isaiah summoned, “all who for God’s mercy plead!
God’s forgiveness, like a fountain, flows to satisfy your need”
Refrain

4.
Christ, we come from desert places, deepest thirst unsatisfied.
Lead us to the waters flowing from the cross on which you died.
Refrain


Postlude

Chris Johansen

Sounds of Home – Imagine

Tuesdays at 2pm
Welcome to the July 7th edition of Sounds of Home!

Simple Gifts

‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free
‘Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained, to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.
To turn, turn, will be our delight, ’till by turning, turning, we come ’round right.


**Sounds of Home will be taking a break the week of July 14th.**
Programing will resume again July 21st.


Like to lend your voice?
Our upcoming theme is “found”

If you have a response to this theme – whether a story or memory, original piece of writing or poetry, music, radio drama, or one-liner – the sky’s the limit – between 5 seconds and 5 minutes in length – or if you would like to guest host or lead a song to sing together — we’re eager to hear from you!

To submit a response, please make an audio recording and email it to Molly,
or send in a written response to be read aloud on the program.

Contact Molly at tulkmo01@luther.edu for information and submissions.
Deadline for submissions is Monday, July 20th.

July 5th Worship

Order of Service

Part I
PreludeAmerica, the BeautifulChris Johansen, piano
Welcome
Confession & Forgiveness
Pastor Linda
HymnHappiness Never Depends on Success
#70 in World of Song
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Kyrie
Prayer
Pastor Linda
Psalm 146Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Part II
ReadingIsaiah 42: 5-9
Isaiah 43: 18-21
Mike Miles
SermonPastor Linda
Prayers of IntercessionBarb Kass
CommunionPastor Linda
Blessing
Benediction
Pastor Linda
HymnThe Word
#24 in World of Song
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
PostludeChris Johansen

Part I

Part II

Note: individual audio pieces are below with the text


Prelude

Chris Johansen


Confession & Forgiveness

If the repeated storyline of white police killing colored bodies, of the coronavirus infection rate soaring in places where people refuse to abide by guidelines that protect their neighbor because they hold their personal rights above the consideration of others, of animals and ecosystems struggling to survive as climates change and the interrelationship of systems collapse – if this has caught at our hearts and taught us anything, it is that together, we must confess our entanglements with justice, hubris, entitlement, 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

God of heaven and earth,
we name before you the sin that enslaves, the sin that wounds us and others, the sin that scars our world. Forgive us and heal us. Give to us, and to all, the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Recall us to the essential inter-connection of your image residing mysteriously within each and every one. Call us to arise and act in love.   
Amen

Come, all who are weary, all who carry heavy burdens. As tender as parent to child, so gentle is God to you. As high as heaven is above the earth, so vast is God’s love for you. As far as east is from west, so sweeping is God’s forgiveness for you, and of all we would confess, renewing our lives in +Jesus Christ, our friend, our Redeemer, our All in all.          
Amen


Hymn – Happiness Never Depends on Success

1.
Happiness never depends on success
Won in the struggle for glory or treasure;
Often the humblest of homes may possess
Happiness unknown to seekers of pleasure

2.
Happiness dwells with content in the soul,
Follows the honest and faithful endeavor;
Happiness comes when yourself you control,
Free and unshaken by fear or by favor.

3.
Live not in dreams that are selfish and vain,
Look not with envious thoughts on your brothers.
Pure is our happiness, rich is our gain
When we rejoice in the welfare of others.

4.
Happy is he who has peace in his heart,
Peace with himself, with his God, with his neighbor.
He has of happiness found the best part,
Reaps he but little reward from his labor.

Text: C. Gandrup, Translated by S. D. Rodholm
Music: P. E. Lange-Muller

Kyrie

Prayer of the Day

Divine Spirit, give us grace to set a good example to all among whom we live; to be just and honest and kind in our dealings; to be conscientious in the discharge of every duty; mindful of the consequences of our actions and enjoyments. Lead us to be gracious, forgiving and courteous toward all – so that the mind of Christ may be formed in us, and lead us toward ever closer discipleship, ever truer expression of the image of God we bear.  O Spirit of Peace, be our guide in radical love. 
Amen.

Psalm 146

Scripture

Isaiah 42: 5-9

5 Thus says God, the Lord,
   who created the heavens and stretched them out,
   who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
   and spirit to those who walk in it: 

6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
  a light to the nations, 
7to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
   from the prison those who sit in darkness. 

8 I am the Lord, that is my name;
   my glory I give to no other,
   nor my praise to idols. 

9 See, the former things have come to pass,
   and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
   I tell you of them. 

Isaiah 43: 18-21

18 Do not remember the former things,
   or consider the things of old. 
19 I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert.

20 The wild animals will honor me,
   the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
   rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.  

Sermon

Rest, realization, restoration. Sabbath.

If you’ve been with us during the past month, you’ll have the idea that Sabbath is more than a day off spent in front of the Telly; more than an occasional Jammy Day to do whatever you feel good about doing. More than the few hours a week carved out for church… (although those things are important for self-care, especially if they sound like a novel concept). 

But what are we to make of Sabbath?  We’ve spent four weeks talking about it from various angles. We’ve heard the original context in Genesis and the Ten Commandments. We remember stories from the Gospel about Jesus getting in quite a bit of trouble for breaking the law code of his day of proper Sabbath observance. He healed a crippled woman and a man born blind. He allowed his disciples to glean, shuck and eat wheat as they walked through a field. I mean, that’s not much to get excited about. We might remember references to Sabbath lack of activity from books like Laura Ingles Wilder’s ‘Little House on the Prairie’. If Sabbath is sitting on a hard-backed chair reading the Bible all day, no play allowed, and eating left-overs because you can’t cook, it’s not going to gain many adherents. 

What is Sabbath today?

George Robinson, on the webpage, My Jewish Learning, teaches about Sabbath.

“The rabbis who began to codify Jewish law during the time of the Second Temple, [this is what Jesus would know] specified  39 categories of prohibited activities– based on the activities that were involved in the building of the Tabernacle as described in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. One should not handle a hammer or money. One should not rearrange the books on a shelf.” [They were detailed oriented people!] He goes on…

“We are commanded in the Torah, ‘Six days shall you labor and do all your work.’ As Abraham Joshua Heschel says in his magnificent little book, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man [modern as of 1951], to abstain from labor on the seventh day is “not a depreciation but an affirmation of labor, a divine exaltation of its dignity.” We are suddenly lifted out of the process of time, removed from the world of natural and social change. Instead of creating the world anew, we are at one with the world created.

“We are not beasts of burden. We should not live to work. We should not be chained to routine. Shabbat unchains us.

“Shabbat is meant to be a day of peace. It offers us a chance for peace with nature, with society, and with ourselves. The prohibitions on work are designed to make us stop – if only for one day of the week – to stop our relentless efforts to tame, to conquer, to subdue the earth and everything on it. The prohibition against making fire is also said by the rabbis to mean that one should not kindle the fires of controversy against one’s fellow humans. And, finally, the Sabbath offers us a moment of quiet, of serenity, of self-transcendence, a moment that allows us to seek and perhaps achieve some kind of internal peace.

“Shabbat is also a time of joy, of good food and wine (even if the food preparation must be done beforehand).  The Sabbath was designed to be “a delight,” as our liturgy tells us. 

“But what about rest, menuchah? Rest means many things to different people and the crush of the modern world buffeting us has changed its definition for many… Perhaps we should be guided by a relatively simple principle, one derived from the quotation from Genesis with which we opened. We rest in a Sabbath sense when we no longer interfere with the world. In this way, we emulate God’s rest on the Sabbath, when the Creator ceased working on the world. During the six days of Creation, God asserted mastery over the universe by actively changing it. Then came a day in which the Creator relinquished that mastery. We emulate God when we relinquish our mastery over the world on the Sabbath, by refraining from altering nature. For one day, we declare a truce between ourselves and the rest of God’s creations.”

Rest, realization, restoration. For ourselves and the creatures whose habitats we share.

These are the words of sabbath. 
They are also the words of mental health. 

I’m still slowly reading Rob Hopkin’s book, From What Is to What If – Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want. Here are some statistics he reports: 83% of the people surveyed by the World Health Organization in 2018 report that they spend no time whatsoever “relaxing or thinking.” As many as 30% of adults in America seek medical help for insomnia. Depression and anxiety – especially among the 18 to 26 year olds – are considered an epidemic with physical, social, educational and economic consequences. In 2018, the average total electronic media consumption for US adults was 11 hours and 6 minutes per day. The average. 11 hours and 6 minutes looking at a screen or plugged into a device.  

And these are not statistics of personal failing. We are being played. Tech companies, and advertising giants use aggressive strategies and have clear objectives for how you spend your time. “A handful of people at a handful of technology companies…will steer what a billion people are thinking today,”  says Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google. And this Information Age is only 20 years old.

I’m reading from Rob Hopkin’s: pg 67,68.      (I can’t copy it w/o permission and haven’t heard back yet!)

Our lives can be better: Calmer. Focused. Intentional. 
Our communal life can be better: Calmer. Thinking. Empathetic.

It is not an accident that I chose  Sabbath as a theme for our COVID-19 lives. But it’s serendipity that the Black Lives Matter movement has taken hold of our imagination at the same time. (You may have noticed that the Marketing mind-meld caught up very quickly and is taking full advantage of our new awareness of Black lives.)

In COVID time, we are living in two time warps – fast and slow. Much of our lives seem to be on pause – progressing in slow motion. We can’t look forward to our accustomed schedules – everything future is hypothetical. Of course, it always has been, but we are easily lulled into thinking that we are in control, that the status quo is static as we bustle along, too busy to give it much thought. What is, will always be, and can be relied upon. Ah, ooops!

In our enforced Pause, the cultural, social world picked up speed. Maybe it’s because we have time to focus on one thing at a time, to rest our brains, to get enough sleep, to eat better food. Our increased brain health allows the hippocampus to imagine. And so we notice and care about injustice, we have time to think, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, time to imagine new ways – perhaps, to perceive the new things of God. While we are paused, even nature seems to be enjoying a Sabbath from human interference.

Jesus’ parable comes to mind: “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.”    Mark 4:26-28

Our busyness, multitasking myth believing, tightly packed calendar lifestyle diminishes our experience of life. Physiologically. Fitting more in than fits, doing more than being, accepting stress as a necessary daily companion, chronically increases the stress hormone cortisol. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. It communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation and fear. Remember that epidemic of anxiety and depression? Our bodies, our minds, our souls need Sabbath. Rest, realization, restoration. 

And not only for self-help, but for the sake of community – to be able to empathize imaginatively with others, to recognize the chronic stress we mindlessly put on the earth’s vital resources – clean air, clean water, clean soil.  

I was surprised at how quickly the environment reacted to the shut-down of industry and transportation. The earth heals itself given the chance. But that healing creates changes. It doesn’t go back to the way it was. We have had time to look at our lives and the lives of others that our action or inaction impact for harm. How much of the new life you have practiced in COVID-time would you like to continue? What among the things you had to set aside have you realized don’t add value to your life, there’s no need to pick them back up?  What new awareness of your neighbors, of the racism you have accepted or denied as status quo are you inspired to act on, out of love? What good are you prepared to bring forward?  

If we practice Sabbath – rest, realization, restoration – we can change our individual lives and our communities. 

 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you; 
I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness. 

 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 
 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness; rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.

Make it so.

Creed – Prayer of Julian of Norwich

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

Prayers of Intercession

Peace

In the coming week, please seek reconciliation with any you have wronged, any bruised relationship you have the power to heal, unless to do so would inflict upon them further pain. The Peace of Christ be with you always –

Communion

Great Thanksgiving

Lord’s Prayer

Benediction

Hymn – The Word

1.
With the Word all things began,
Life in ocean, life on land;
With the Word was man and woman
Raised from dust, created human,
Prince of earth and Child of God.

2.
When the soul of man was stirred
By a breath divine, the Word
Was in heart of man created;
This on earth inaugurated
Human life and history.

3.
Not the clever hand or brain
Can humanity explain.
For its secret is the spirit;
Only in the Word we hear it,
Self-revealing, heaven born

4.
Only in the Word ascends
Man beyond the life that ends;
In the Word he breaks his prisons,
Soars aloft to higher visions,
Comprehends eternity.

Text: N.F.S. Grundtvig; Adapted by S. D. Rodholm
Music: Aage Sorensen


Postlude

Chris Johansen


Instructions for listening via phone:

Call this number: (312) 626-6799
It will be long distance, if that applies (on a landline, for example).

Then, you will be asked to enter the meeting ID and password. You can find that in Linda’s email about the Zoom worship.

We will keep you muted, but you can participate in the discussion if you’d like – press *6 to unmute – and it helps to say your name before you talk, since we won’t know otherwise!

Sounds of Home – Leap

Tuesdays at 2pm
Welcome to the June 30th edition of Sounds of Home!

Vossevangen

‘Tis Vossevangen that I will choose, and live among the hills of clover;
There all the boys wear their polished shoes, with little jacket buttons silvered over.
Be-ribboned girls dancing there are found, their braids are reaching almost to the ground;
Yes, it is true, when I tell you, ’tis beautiful in Vossevangen!

Upon the hillside are berries sweet, ‘mid hazel brush, oaks and birches;
The little goats leap with nimble feet, the river through the valley rushes.
The smell of earth and the sigh of trees, and songs of birds float upon the breeze.
Yes, it is true, when I tell you, ’tis beautiful in Vossevangen!

Along the water the willows grow; a fairy lives over yonder.
The summer days never seem to slow, for ev’ry hour is filled with wonder.
The waters murmur, the fairy sings; and from a thrush a bell-like greeting rings.
Yes, it is true, when I tell you, ’tis beautiful in Vossevangen!

Text: Carsen Hauch, composite translation
Music: N.P. Hillebrand


Like to lend your voice?
Our upcoming theme is “imagine”

If you have a response to this theme – whether a story or memory, original piece of writing or poetry, music, radio drama, or one-liner – the sky’s the limit – between 5 seconds and 5 minutes in length – or if you would like to guest host or lead a song to sing together — we’re eager to hear from you!

To submit a response, please make an audio recording and send it to Molly,
or send in a written response to be read aloud on the program.

Contact Molly at tulkmo01@luther.edu for information and submissions.
Deadline for submissions is Monday night, July 6th.


Sounds of Home will be taking a break the week of July 14th.
Programing will resume again July 21st.

June 28th Worship

Linda is off this week, and several people are filling in! The time on Zoom at 10am will include reflections from Christy and Barb, as well as some time to discuss. You can join the live service by phone, too! See instructions at the the bottom of this page.

A mostly full recording of the service is posted here. You can also find audio of the prelude, readings, and reflections embedded in the text below.

Order of Service

Welcome
PreludeEternal FatherChris Johansen, piano
Opening
Prayer
Molly Tulkki
HymnMy Shepherd, You Supply My Need
vs. 1 & 3
Chris Tou, piano
Reading
Reflection
Barb Kass
Reading
Reflection
Christy Wetzig
Discussion
PrayersClaire Scriba
HymnFor the Beauty of the Earth
vs. 1, 2 & 5
Chris Tou, piano
Fellowship

Prelude

Chris Johansen


Prayer of the Day

Eternal God, companion of all who seek you, and seeker of all who turn away from you, draw near to us that we may draw near to you, and grant us the grace to love and to serve you that we may find in your will our true freedom; through Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life.
Amen.


Hymn – My Shepherd, You Supply My Need

1.
My Shepherd, you supply my need; most holy is your name.
In pastures fresh you make me feed, beside the living stream.
You bring my wand’ring spirit back when I forsake your ways,
and lead me, for your mercy’s sake, in paths of truth and grace.

3.
The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days;
oh, may your house be my abode and all my work be praise.
Here would I find a settled rest, while others go and come;
no more a stranger or a guest, but like a child at home.

Text: Isaac Watts
Music: North American traditional (Tune: Resignation)


Scripture

Luke 15: 11-32

11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ 28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”

Reflection

Barb Kass

Two brothers and their father…. One wonders: where was the mom? Died in childbirth, or illness? Clearly no longer with the family.  The older brother is dutifully working for and with his father: did he have other aspirations? Did he love the land? The work? See the gift of working side by side with his father? Or was he caught up in the role of the oldest, the one who was always there, always helping, responsible, focused, undemanding, uncomplaining. Doing what needed to be done.

In contrast, the younger brother did not like the life of his father and brother, did not like the work, and unlike his older brother, complained and demanded his share of the inheritance so he could leave all behind and create a new and better life somewhere else. 

What possessed the father to comply with his youngest’ demands? Life had to be pretty unbearable for everyone on the farm to end up with the father giving him exactly what he asked. I cannot imagine the grief and fear that was felt as that boy took off down the driveway.

How much time passed? We don’t know. But enough to have the inheritance squandered, and to see the carefree boy quickly turn into a man as he scrambles to survive in a distant land, plagued with famine. Desperate, he goes back to the life he left- a farm.  Work which seemed beneath his dignity, now was the only thing that kept him alive, and just barely.  It is hitting bottom when you realize the animals you are feeding are eating better than you are, especially when they are pigs.

In a moment of clarity, the young man realizes he can go back home. Knowing the integrity of his father, and owning it was his mistakes and greed that jeopardized his status as a son, he crafts a statement to reflect both: Father, I have sinned against heaven and you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.

How is it that the father saw him while he was a long way off? This says to me he was always waiting, always watching as days became months, became years. Faith in the unlikely, in the nearly impossible.

Here’s where I think Sabbath breaks into this story. Whatever the father was doing when he spotted his son- STOPPED.  All the daily tasks of the farm – the to do lists, plans for the day, STOPPED.  Whatever occasion the fattened calf was being saved for or what weight they hoped he’d fattened to- CHANGED to NOW.

Work changed to celebration.  Lunch became a feast! Forgiveness and restoration to the family done! And gratitude for the lost who was found flowed in abundance!

It was a surprise Sabbath for the father- a dream come true and he was ready and able to respond as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

It was a surprise Sabbath for the wayward son. He was hoping for a job, food, a place to stay. He was welcomed home with an embrace and a kiss, celebrated with a feast, and given a robe, ring and sandals as a symbol that he was recognized as a son, a member of the family.

The older son must have been on the back 40, had ear protection in, or was simply so absorbed in his work, he missed the whole homecoming scene. As he came in for lunch, something was out of the ordinary- there was sounds of joy, music and dancing coming from the house- at noon, on a Tuesday, in the middle of harvest season! He asked one of the servants what was going on and was completely incredulous at the answer: His brother had returned.

Resentment is a powerful emotion, especially when it has been a driving force in a life consumed in duty. It’s easy to hear the valid questions: Where was he when the crops needed harvesting before the rain and we had to work all night? He was off living the high life when I had to watch father be consumed with worry and grief… I have given up my whole life, my dreams, my hopes to help father run this farm. I have no life, no friends, I am too tired to do anything fun. Ever. I don’t know who is more pathetic- my brother who spent money and resources freely and recklessly with wasteful extravagance. Or my father who is celebrating his return on the same lavish scale.

A side note, both of those descriptions are definitions of the word prodigal. The story might just as well be titled The Prodigal Father!

The brother not only disagrees with what is happening, he feels it is unjust and wrong.

The father reaches out to his oldest son who would not even enter the house. It may be the most honest conversation they ever exchanged. It may have been the first time he recognized the hurt and frustration of the son, or his feeling of not being appreciated. The holding back of reasonable requests to be able to celebrate life, have fun, have friends in the face of the sadness he saw in his father probably never occurred to him.  And maybe it was the first time the father acknowledged to his son that indeed this son was always with him, and that he just assumed that the son knew that all he had was his as well.  A fact so simple and so profound that it had never been said aloud. Maybe this was the surprise Sabbath for the older brother.

Was the conversation enough to soften the resentment and replace it with new seeds of restoration of relationships and of family? The story lets us write our own conclusion.

So where are the surprise Sabbaths in our lives? Those unexpected invitations or unplanned opportunities to stop what we are doing, no matter how important it seems at the time. I think many of the opportunities are small and it’s a discipline to keep eyes and hearts open to recognizing them and welcoming their needed gifts of rest, or zest, or breath even on the most mundane day.

Bigger surprise Sabbaths might be closer to the story- the chance for a reconciling cup of tea, or an honest conversation with a neighbor or family member about racism, or CAFO’s which leads to some kind of understanding and restoration.

Yesterday James mentioned the concept of Sabbath work-  at first it seemed like an oxymoron. If Sabbath is about rest, where does work fit in? I googled rest vs restoration and found this simple reflection:

Look closely at how Jesus practiced Sabbath because therein lies a lesson. For one, almost all Jesus’ Sabbath practices, in the eyes of the religious leaders of the day, looked like Sabbath breaking. Whatever the religious minds thought Sabbath should look like, the reality, for Jesus, was quite different. 

For Jesus, Sabbath is mostly about restoration. Has a cow fallen in a well? Lift it out! Has a woman been bent over for 18 years? Straighten her up! Are people hungry? Pluck grain and feed them! Story after story carries this same point: Sabbath is for restoration. Whatever is lost, broken or sick, Sabbath is meant to make whole.

As I look again at the story of the Prodigal Son I see the father practicing Sabbath- stopping everything to thank God for great mercy. And I see that father in turn doing Sabbath work for both of his sons. Giving forgiveness, rest and unconditional love to the younger, and an invitation for restoration with the same unconditional love for the older.


Scripture

Genesis 2: 1-3

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

Reflection

Christy Wetzig

So God finishes making the heavens and the earth–the text adds, “all the host of them” as if to say, “what a lot to do in six days.” It’s understandable that someone would want to rest after such a mammoth task, and yet the work just doesn’t seem that arduous. After all, God’s been merely speaking–”Let there be light,” like the conductor of an orchestra, not some construction worker busting his butt to raise a skyscraper in a day. The God who speaks the universe into existence can’t be tired. So why take a day of rest?

The notes in my Bible connect this account to other ancient Near East stories in which “divine rest is associated with temple building” [ESV Study Bible, Crossway, 2008].

So in the creation story, when creating the universe, with its hosts of galaxies, and in one galaxy: a planet called Earth, with oceans and horseshoe crabs and hummingbirds and maple grass, God is building Godself a house. Somewhere to live. A God-sanctuary. The earth, then, springs up out of nothingness not as an accident or a divine whim but as a temple dedicated to the God who created it.

How would this change our view of the world if we let this idea soak thoroughly into our beings? That God made this universe so that God could move in to it; that our land is not ours after all but in fact the land where God rests–forests made holy by God’s presence, creeks along which God sits.

Besides all the creatures and plants, God peoples this planet with a certain species charged to “tend and keep” this sanctuary, to “have dominion” over it, in the sense of a parent having dominion over the children. In other words, this is a priestly species, endowed with God’s own breath and image, to do a certain job–taking care of God’s sanctuary, in the same way that a priest tends and protects a temple.

How would this change our idea of what it means to be human? It’s somehow both expanding and humbling, to be the capstone species, intended to take care of everything below it.

Sometimes it seems like no matter how hard we try to take care of the earth we still mess up–we love a place and trample it to death; or we kill snakes to keep our children safe and then get invaded by rodents; or we plant a pretty tree and watch it take over the woods. Because the world is too big for our imaginations, and sometimes we get too big for our britches. We need that sense of humility, the kind that comes from the soil, humus.

I wonder if Sabbath could be, then, a time to quit striving at our contrived human goals and chew on these ideas, that this universe is God’s temple and we have a job to do in it: to minister to God by tending and keeping God’s home.

What if one day in seven we lie on our bellies in the grass and watch the worms and bugs carry on their lives among the roots and soil? What if our time of rest was a time to look honestly at the world, so that we can take better care of it? What if one year in seven we stop earning money and plant trees and prairies instead? What if one minute in seven we stop what we’re doing and listen–and breathe with gratitude and humility the air of this amazing, sanctified world?


Prayers

Father of mercy, we pray today for all the people of this earth as we try to find our way through the pandemic.  We are confused and fearful.  Send good people to lead and inform us.

            Almighty father……………hear our prayer

We pray for all the children who are missing playtime and schooltime and a safe pattern to their days. 

            In your mercy…………hear our prayer

We pray for everyone in financial distress

            In your mercy…………..hear our prayer

We pray for peacekeepers and public servants

            In your mercy………..hear our prayer

We pray for parents and teachers

            In your mercy………..hear our prayer

We pray for the sick and those who care for them

            In your mercy………..hear our prayer

We pray for everyone who is separated from loved ones by disease, for everyone who is lonely and anxious

            In your mercy………..hear our prayer

We pray for this beautiful earth, her creatures her skies and waters.  Keep us vigilant in our care for her

            In your mercy……….hear our prayer

We pray for ourselves as a faith family and as your hands and feet in the world

            In your mercy…….hear our prayer

Bless and keep us, Father, train us up and give us courage

            In your mercy……….hear our prayer. AMEN                              


Hymn – For the Beauty of the Earth

1.
For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies,
for the love which from our birth over and around us lies:
Christ, our God, to thee we raise this our sacrifice of praise.

2.
For the wonder of each hour of the day and of the night
hill and vale and tree and flow’r, sun and moon and stars of light:
Christ, our God, to thee we raise this our sacrifice of praise.

5.
For each perfect gift of thine, peace on earth and joy in heav’n;
for thyself, best gift divine, to our world so freely giv’n:
Christ, our God, to thee we raise this our sacrifice of praise.

Text: Folliott S. Pierpoint
Music: Conrad Kocher


Instructions for listening via phone:

Call this number: (312) 626-6799
It will be long distance, if that applies (on a landline, for example).

Then, you will be asked to enter the meeting ID and password. You can find that in Linda’s email with subject, “Sunday Zoom”

We will keep you muted, but you can participate in the discussion if you’d like – press *6 to unmute – and it helps to say your name before you talk, since we won’t know otherwise!

Sounds of Home – Glass

Tuesdays at 2pm
Welcome to the June 23rd edition of Sounds of Home!

We Hike Over Dew-Freshened Hills

We hike over dew freshened hills, hills, hills,
Like emeralds they sparkle in the rills, rills, rills,
We banish ev’ry care, and with songs we fill the air
As we hike over dew freshened hills.

The song of the forest is strong, strong, strong,
It peals out like an organ loud and long, long, long,
And all our daily fretting we soon will be forgetting
As we join in the lilt of the song.

The old and the wise they may laugh, laugh, laugh,
So much of our knowledge is but chaff, chaff, chaff.
But who would then be singing to Spring, and praises bringing,
If we had their wisdom by half.

We happily hike hand in hand, hand, hand,
And go in search of youth’s eternal land, land, land.
The daily burdens lighten, a world we seek to brighten,
We wander in quest of that land.

Text: O. Thunmann, trans. by Marius Krog
Music: Swedish Folk Melody


One Little Word
(Unrequited Love through the Seasons)

by Henrik Strandskov
to the tune of En Sol På Fönsterrutan

The leaves lay thick and brittle,
October growing old;
How could one word – so little —
Such hurt and heartache hold?

When nights were cold and bitter,
I’d walk out in the snow;
The icy starts aglitter,
The only light I’d know.

I walked in springtime meadows,
A million flowers I passed,
But all I saw were shadows
Upon the blades of grass.

The summer birds above me
Sing sweetly all day long;
But, oh, if you still loved me,
I’d never need their song.


Water Lilies Glass Postcard — Photo by Mary Jensen
Butterfly Vase — Photo by Mary Jensen

Like to lend your voice?
Our upcoming theme is “leap”

If you have a response to this theme – whether a story or memory, original piece of writing or poetry, music, radio drama, or one-liner – the sky’s the limit – between 5 seconds and 5 minutes in length – or if you would like to guest host or lead a song to sing together — we’re eager to hear from you!

To submit a response, please make an audio recording and send it to Molly,
or send in a written response to be read aloud on the program.

Contact Molly at tulkmo01@luther.edu for information and submissions.
Deadline for submissions is Monday night, June 29th.


The theme for July 7th is “imagine”
Deadline for submissions is Monday night, July 6th.

June 21st Worship

This week will look slightly different! Linda is off, and Shawn Mai is presiding. The time on Zoom at 10am was like a traditional worship service, and the audio from that is posted right here. The text of readings and reflections can be found below the Order of Service.

Order of Service

WelcomeShawn Mai
PreludeSoftly and TenderlyChris Johansen, piano
PrayerShawn Mai
ReadingsIsaiah 35
Matthew 11: 28-30
Henrik Strandskov
Opening ReflectionShawn Mai
HymnThis is My Father’s WorldChuck Parsons, organ
PoemSabbath 1985, by Wendell BerryMercy & Abel Wetzig
ReflectionShawn Mai
PrayersNikki Strandskov
HymnO God Our Help in Ages PastChuck Parsons, organ
BenedictionShawn Mai
PostludeChuck Parsons, organ
FellowshipYou!

Prayer of the Day

The sacred is everywhere,
At the heart of everything
That was, is, or to be…

Creativity God, whose renewing breath fills our planet,
may we discern this vibrant presence among us,

In these long life giving days of summer light,

In the aliveness of the landscape at the steps of West Denmark
and in the mysteries of the northern forest.

May our spirits be lifted to rejoice with the forest that surrounds us
and all the creatures this day.

May it be so.


Scripture

Isaiah 35: 1-8

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
    the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
    and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
    the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
    the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
    and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
    “Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
    He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
    He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
    the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
    and it shall be called the Holy Way;

Matthew 11: 28-30

28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Reflection

Shawn Mai

Good morning.  A blessed Father’s Day to all who are fathers, who have fathers, and who take on role of Father, Grandfather, uncle or mentor. 

We also recognize today the gift of light in the summer solstice.    In these long days we are especially aware of the lushness of creation, the food it provides, and the context for rest and reflection.

Pastor Linda has set up a thoughtful, reflective topic this summer.  Sabbath.  The context she tee’d it up with was provocative for me…the pandemic.  When Linda talked about a “forced Sabbath”, that got me thinking about sabbath in a very different way than I have before.   Life tends to offer up the unexpected…even unexpected rest or a “stopping” we did not see coming.

As a hospital chaplain, I work every day in a context where people are sidelined from life unexpectedly because of illness.  An unexpected diagnosis, a body part malfunction, or a nasty virus that alludes a vaccine.

I think about the dear woman in our own congregation who was out walking her dog last Advent season and unexpectedly fell and broke her leg in several different places.  She ended up immobilized at home for eight weeks through the Christmas holiday and into the new year.  The way she engaged the world, understood herself, and found value was in being active and engaged.  The fall and breaking of her bones forced her into an unexpected Sabbath of sorts.  

Collectively, we walked out of this West Denmark church last March, not knowing that we would be taking a sabbath time away from this building and our being together in person.  Today we worship apart on zoom.  A forced exile or a Sabbath time to reflect on what it means to be a faith community defined in new ways.

Sabbath- the Sabbath (/ˈsæbəθ/; Hebrew: שַׁבָּת‎) is a time set aside for rest and worship. According to the Book of Exodus, the Sabbath is a day of rest on the seventh day, commanded by God to be kept as a holy day of rest, as God rested from creation.

I dug into the word for Sabbath a bit more.  The Hebrew word for rest is nuach-to rest, to be quiet. Sometimes, it is synonymous to shabat- to cease or to rest. The Greek word for rest is anapausis meaning cessation, 

Cessastion- Stopping, halting, ceasing. 

So, today we halt.  Not everything is neat and tidy.  It would have been more convenient to know that a pandemic was coming so we could have planned for it.  But more often than not, life doesn’t unfold like we need it too. 

Also, we live in a society that isn’t necessarily wired for Sabbath. 

So today, we once again ponder the meaning of the messiness with the help of Wendell Berry and his Sabbath  Poem 1985.  The image Barry uses in his Sabbath poem 1985 is a forest.  As I ran through Straight Lake Park yesterday, I had to crawl through some downed trees, slip and slide through some mud, and I noticed the forest floor is a bit of a mess with its tangling of limbs, vines, and plants,   that make unique from any other forest floor.  That is God’s creation. 


Hymn – This is My Father’s World

1
This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.

2
This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

Text: Maltbie D. Babcock
Music: Franklin L. Sheppard


Sabbath, 1985, by Wendell Berry

Voice 1:  How long does it take to make the woods?

Voice 2 As long as it takes to make the world.

Voice 1 The woods is present as the world is, the presence
of all its past, and of all its time to come.

Voice 2: It is always finished, it is always being made, the act
of its making forever greater than the act of its destruction.

Voice 1: It is a part of eternity, for its end and beginning
belong to the end and beginning of all things,
the beginning lost in the end, the end in the beginning.

Voice 1: What is the way to the woods, how do you go there?

Voice 2: By climbing up through the six days’ field,
kept in all the body’s years, the body’s
sorrow, weariness, and joy.

Voice 1: By passing through
the narrow gate on the far side of that field
where the pasture grass of the body’s life gives way
to the high, original standing of the trees

Voice 2:.
By coming into the shadow, the shadow
of the grace of the strait way’s ending,
the shadow of the mercy of light.



Why must the gate be narrow?
Because you cannot pass beyond it burdened.
To come in among these trees you must leave behind
the six days’ world, all of it, all of its plans and hopes.
You must come without weapon or tool, alone,
expecting nothing, remembering nothing,
into the ease of sight, the brotherhood [and sisterhood!] of eye and leaf.


Reflection, continued

Berry reminds us that at a certain point we must leave our expectations at the door.  Expecting nothing, remembering nothing.

Life happens and recreation will happen.  Maybe Sabbath is also rest from our illusion of control.

Last summer Mike and Barb experienced the sudden alteration of the forest they live in. 

As far as what we are doing with our forest post blow down it is as simple as this. I was told by an agro-forester from UW Madison to do as little as possible with the remains. The forest wasn’t destroyed it was made young. She said that I am now managing a young forest instead of an old forest. We don’t want to disturb the soil or run over young trees with big equipment. Without a canopy sunlight will be hitting the floor so too many trees will come up too close together. There are not enough grazing animals going through the woods to thin the overgrowth so there will be some hands on management to do. Also no fires sweeping through which has the same result. Ecologically informed stewards are going to have to do the work along with nature. 

Mike’s reflection on their approach to a forest forever changed I find instructive as we face unprecedented times of forced Sabbath and the impact, not of an 80 mile an hour wind but of a microscopic virus that can change our internal landscape.

Sabbath is a time to stop.  To listen.  To breathe.  To accept.  To let go.  To grieve.  To wait for the next unexpected, creative adventure.  To pray.


Hymn – O God Our Help in Ages Past

1.
O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home:

3.
Before the hills in order stood or earth received its frame,
from everlasting you are God, to endless years the same.

5.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all our years away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the op’ning day.

6.
O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
still be our guard while troubles last and our eternal home.

Text: Isaac Watts
Music William Croft


To participate in Zoom using a phone:

If you’re on a cell phone, you should be able to tap one of the “One-tap mobile” numbers in the email. It looks like a complicated number, but it will dial the number, then pause (that’s what the commas tell it to do), and enter the ID, pause, etc. automatically. You’d just have to wait, and you’ll be in eventually.

If you have a landline (or a cell phone without the email on it to tap), then any of the regular phone numbers should work. They’ll just be long distance calls (for example, if you lived in Chicago, then the Chicago number would be a local call). On a cell phone, or landline with nationwide calling, it shouldn’t make a difference. You’ll need the Meeting ID and Password from the email, too, and enter that when it asks.

You can also join on the computer, and use the phone for audio (if you don’t have a microphone on the computer). Join the Zoom on the computer first for video, then when it asks about audio, click “phone call” instead of “use computer audio”. It should give instructions on how to call in – use any of the phone numbers provided there.

The following link has more information on joining by phone – scroll to “Joining by phone only” if you aren’t planning to use a computer for the video:
https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362663-Joining-a-meeting-by-phone
Note: you can mute/unmute on the phone by pressing *6