On the third Sunday, our service is contemplative. Instead of a sermon, we share our worship bulletin from our prayer service.
August 16, 2015
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
A Contemplative Service
MUSIC FOR REFLECTION “To a Wild Rose” McDonald
*CHIMING THE HOUR
*LIGHTING THE CHRIST CANDLE
*PROCESSIONAL SONG “Quiet Descending” last 2 pages of bulletin
HYMN “Be Thou My Vision” trans. 8th century Irish song
HEBREW BIBLE READING Proverbs 9:1-6 Chloe Duren
Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls from the highest places in the town, “You that are simple, turn in here!” To those without sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
HYMN “Holy Wisdom” SALVE REGINA COELITUM
SONG “Be Still and Know” p. 17 in songbook
PRAYERS FOR WISDOM
For decisions we will be making
For decisions our local and national leaders will be making
For our church leadership
SUNG RESPONSE “Lord, in Your Mercy” p. 49 in songbook
EPISTLE READING Ephesians 5: 15-20
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of God is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to God in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Mother/Father at all times and for everything in the name of Jesus Christ.
SINGING OUR THANKS “Jesus Christ” p. 39 in songbook
*GOSPEL READING John 6: 51-58
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The [religious authorities]** then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
One: It’s hard to know if these words are wise or foolish.
Many: Let us discern together rather than “dispute among [ourselves].”
- OFFERING WISDOM. What wisdom would you like to share with the pastor and/or church council? Rather than simply expressing a complaint or suggestion, consider the needs of our church and the larger community we serve. In other words, rather than recommending a change, for example, to our worship music, open your mind to fresh understanding (wisdom) about what it means to be church together. Your individual preferences ARE important and you may certainly share those suggestions with the pastor or with church council members at any time. But at this moment, center yourself in love for our congregation and those we serve. If there is some wisdom that bubbles up from your silent contemplation, please share your thought anonymously on one of the cards provided and place in the basket.
- IMAGING WISDOM. In the ancient world, Wisdom was often personified as a woman. Athena, for example, was the Greek goddess of wisdom. The writer of the book of Proverbs imaged Wisdom as a woman—and in chapter 9 she builds her house (even hewing the timbers), prepares the meal (even slaughtering the animals for the feast), and invites all those without wisdom to come to dine at her sumptuous table. Study the Mary Cassatt painting of a woman who is mother to a young child. What are the qualities of wisdom suggested by this painting? With the crayons and paper provided, draw your own image of Wisdom as you consider what constitutes godly wisdom. Offer up a prayer, through your art, for the gifts of Wisdom.
- INGESTING WISDOM. Our reading from Proverbs tells us that Lady Wisdom feeds us with bread and wine that enlighten. Our Gospel reading returns to a theme in John’s Gospel: Jesus (whom John calls the Logos/ word made flesh) is the bread of heaven. Appallingly, he invites his followers to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Like much wisdom literature, this analogy shocks us into fresh insights. As you partake of the bread and cup, consider the foolishness and wisdom in the Gospel claim that you are eating and drinking God.
- SHARING WISDOM. The passage from Ephesians reminds us today to “be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time.” Let us also make the most of our financial resources, which are, like time, limited. With a discerning mind and grateful heart, give to make the most of what you have.
SHARING AND CLOSING PRAYER