October 4th Worship

Order of Service

Part I
PreludeFor the Beauty of the EarthChris Johansen, piano
Welcome
Confession & Forgiveness
Pastor Linda
HymnHow Great Thou Art
#856, vs. 1, 2, 4
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Greeting
Prayer of the Day
Pastor Linda
Psalm 8Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Part II
Sermon & ScripturePastor Linda
HymnAll Creatures Worship God Most High!
#835
Pastor Linda
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Statement of Faith
Prayers of Intercession
Pastor Linda
Peace
Great Thanksgiving
Lord’s Prayer
Communion
Pastor Linda
Offering Prayer
Benediction
Blessing
Pastor Linda
HymnWhen Long Before Time
#861
Pastor Linda
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
PostludePraise to the Lord, the AlmightyChris Johansen

Part I

Part II


Prelude

Chris Johansen


Welcome

Hello and welcome to this worship service of West Denmark Lutheran Church.

It’s good to be back after two weeks away – and it was good to be gone, so that you – and I – may benefit from the grace and planning of our members. Thank you so much to Liz and her crew, and Shawn and his cohort – they provided creative, thought-provoking, engaging worship. I don’t mean any offense, but this is not what we would get from an ordained clergy fill-in. Supply clergy have their gifts, but, by necessity, would offer something generic, unrelated to the meandering path through creation we’ve been on – and how uplifting it is to hear the children’s voices. So, thank you congregation, for providing me and one another with this great gift of lay leadership.

This is the final week of the liturgical Season of Creation. I was an environmentalist long before I     became a pastor, and the particular flora and fauna beneath my feet and surrounding me has always been of interest and importance to me. In the 70’s, I was invested in the wilderness movement – the   inherent value and right of designated areas of the earth to exist free of human interference. My ecology major changed, but my interest and worry has not left me. The earth and animals have inherent value. They have rights beyond our use and need of them. This season of creation is intended to bring that awareness and God’s love for all of the earth before us. As the earth suffers, the people suffer too – it’s time for a radical new   narrative. Our habits of consumption, energy and food production, waste and greed, all need to be rewritten. Recognizing the pain, repenting, creating new life in narratives of hope and redemption is where we will find hope. But first we feel the pain of change.


Confession & Forgiveness

P:  Blessed be the holy Trinity, + one God, who forgives all our sin, whose mercy endures forever.

C: Amen

P: We confess our entanglements with justice, race, exploitation, dominance, ignorance, and power – and recognize 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.

P: Holy God, holy and immortal and among us, have mercy. For self-centered living, and for failing to walk with humility and gentleness with our eyes wide open to beauty and suffering:

      C: Holy God, holy and immortal and among us, have mercy.

For selfishness, and for hearts that are not at rest with ourselves or with enough:

            Holy God, holy and immortal and among us, have mercy.

For misuse of human relationships, and for unwillingness to see the image of God in others:

            Holy God, holy and immortal and among us, have mercy.

For arrogance and attitudes that divide families, neighbors and nations; for racism, inherent and denied:

            Holy God, holy and immortal and among us, have mercy.

For reluctance in sharing the gifts of God, for self-serving consumption of the resources of this earth:

            Holy God, holy and immortal and among us, have mercy.

For hurtful words that condemn, and for angry deeds that harm:

            Holy God, holy and immortal and among us, have mercy.

For squandering the gifts of love and grace and growth:

            Holy God, holy and immortal and among us, have mercy.

In the unrequited love of almighty God, Jesus Christ lived our human lot, and was killed when we could not see past privilege and certainty and fear. Yet, for mercy’s sake, God forgives all of that, again and again. As a called and ordained minister of the church of Christ, and by his authority, I declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the love of the Creator, and of the + Christ, and of Holy One of Wisdom. Amen.


Hymn – How Great Thou Art

1.
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
thy pow’r throughout the universe displayed;

Refrain
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,
how great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee,
how great thou art! How great thou art!

2.
When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze;
Refrain

4.
When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
and there proclaim, “My God, how great thou art!”
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

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

~ attributed to St Francis of Assisi


Psalm 8

1 O | Lord our Lord,
how majestic is your name in | all the earth!—

2 you whose glory is chanted above the heavens out of the mouths of in-|fants and children;
you have set up a fortress against your enemies, to silence the foe | and avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens, the work | of your fingers,
the moon and the stars you have set | in their courses,

4 what are mere mortals that you should be mind-|ful of them,
human beings that you should | care for them?

5 Yet you have made them little less | than divine;
with glory and hon-|or you crown them.

6 You have made them rule over the works | of your hands;
you have put all things un-|der their feet:

7 all | flocks and cattle,
even the wild beasts | of the field,

8 the birds of the air, the fish | of the sea,
and whatever passes along the paths | of the sea.

9 O | Lord our Lord,
how majestic is your name in | all the earth!


Scripture & Sermon

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up… the Lord God formed man (adám) from the dust of the ground (adamáh), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east… Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it….Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman.

lightly edited from Genesis 2

We entered the Season of Creation with the creation of humans – week one as told in Genesis, Chapter 1 where we arrive on Day 6. The next week we heard this reading from Chapter 2 as God formed the adam from the dust of the earth, then from the same dust, created every living thing – plants and animals, birds and creepy crawlers.

I began with humans – not because we are more important, but because the issue of the day compelled me to address racism and community. Aside from that context, it’s still instructive to begin with humans, as Chapter 2 does – not, as many think, because we are the grand result of God’s efforts – but because, in Chapter 2, we are there.

We are there to see the rest of creation come into view. We are there to watch and wonder as God designs and forms from earthen elements each detail of each creature, great and small. We were there, watching over God’s shoulder, admiring the beauty, smiling at the absurdities, longing to touch and examine and find a helpmate among the multitudes of creatures. If that is how we imagined creation – instead of the 7 Days of Chapter 1, I wonder what different response we might have to God’s instruction for dominion. In Chapter 2, dominion is not mentioned, we are to tend and till the garden. In Hebrew, the words also mean to serve and preserve or observe. It is fascinating and horrifying at times to realize how much difference it makes – which part of scriptures we have been conditioned or molded into taking as our primary view. Language and imagery have deep consequences in how we behave and believe. It is a short step from dominion to domination and exploitation. Maybe it’s not a wonder that vocation from chapter 1 became the rationale for commodifying creation and putting it to our human use. I wonder if our behavior would be different if we only had the story of Chapter 2, where God’s instruction is to tend, preserve, and serve – and we see ourselves there, at the beginning, of one dust with all living things, one of all God’s intricately formed creatures, one in the circle, not the center of the circle. Today was going to be animal day. Originally, I thought I might go bless Danny’s sheep and Ronnie’s cows, bringing you along on Zoom. But reality sunk in. Then I began reading and collecting resources and stories … and thinking. Maybe I had too much time to think, because once I got down to writing and brought all the resources and stories together, it turned out to be about a 2 hour sermon. So I edited and deleted. And edited and deleted. And by the time it was a decent length it really didn’t have any of the fun left. It was more disjointed than I usually am. So I kept one of the resources that I’ve wanted to read to you for a long time. Today is the day…

The Dominion of Love, by Barbara Brown Taylor
(Unfortunately, we can’t post it here!)


Hymn – All Creatures, Worship God Most High!

1.
All creatures worship God most high!
Sound ev’ry voice in earth and sky:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Sing, brother sun, in splendor bright;
sing, sister moon and stars of night:
Refrain
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

2.
Sing, brother wind; with clouds and rain
you grow the gifts of fruit and grain:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Dear sister water, useful, clear,
make music for your Lord to hear:
Refrain

3.
Sing, brother fire, so mirthful, strong;
drive far the shadows, join the throng:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Dear mother earth, so rich in care,
praise God in colors bright and rare:
Refrain

4.
All who for love of God forgive,
all who in pain or sorrow grieve:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Christ bears your burdens and your fears;
still make your song amid the tears:
Refrain

5.
And you most gentle sister death,
waiting to hush our final breath:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Since Christ our light has pierced your gloom
fair is the night that leads us home.
Refrain

6.
O sisters, brothers, take your part,
and worship God with humble heart:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
All creatures, bless the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit, Three in One:
Refrain


Statement of Faith

We are not alone; we live in God’s world.
We believe in God, who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
     to celebrate God’s presence,
     to live with respect in Creation,
     to love and serve others,
     to seek justice and resist evil,
     to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our center and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone.  Amen

Prayers of Intercession

Peace

Great Thanksgiving / Words of Institution

Lord’s Prayer

Communion


Offering Prayer

Lover of our souls, you open wide your hands and satisfy the needs of every living creature. We thank you and bless you for your tender care. Through the time, skills, and financial resources we give to our congregation help us to serve our neighbors, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bring justice to the oppressed in our world. Help us in these gifts to go where you send us, in all the beautiful names of God.    Amen.                 

Benediction

Blessing

Live with the strength you have.
            Live simply
            lightly
            gently
Live in search of Love.
And know the Spirit of God is with you. You are not alone.  Amen


Hymn – When Long Before Time

1.
When long before time and the worlds were begun,
when there was no earth and no sky and no sun,
and all was deep silence and night reigned supreme,
and even our Maker had only a dream—

2.
The silence was broken when God sang the Song,
and light pierced the darkness and rhythm began,
and with its first birth-cries creation was born,
and creaturely voices sang praise to the morn.

3.
The sounds of the creatures were one with their Lord’s,
their harmonies sweet and befitting the Word;
the Singer was pleased as the earth sang the Song,
the choir of the creatures re-echoed it long.

4.
Though down through the ages the Song disappeared,
its harmonies broken and almost unheard,
the Singer comes to us to sing it again,
our God-is-with-us in the world now as then.

5.
The Light has returned as it came once before,
the Song of the Lord is our own song once more,
so let us all sing with one heart and one voice
the Song of the Singer in whom we rejoice.

6.
To you, God the Singer, our voices we raise,
to you, Song Incarnate, we give all our praise,
to you, Holy Spirit, our life and our breath,
be glory forever, through life and through death.


Postlude

Chris Johansen