Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Gathering Time and Lighting of Altar Candles
Welcomes and an introduction to the day: We continue to reflect on “Being SPIRIT PERSONS in All the Contexts of Life and today we will be led in those reflections by Chuck Hedges. Chuck was raised in Frederick County, MD, just outside of Brunswick. After studies at the University of Maryland he became a career civil servant, working at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, retiring in 2008. Chuck and his wife Betty moved to Lovettsville in 2000. He is also a horse owner and a member of the Lovettsville-Waterford Ruritan Club. He is a member of the Goose Creek Friends Meeting in Lincoln, and a regular participant in the Mindfulness Meditation, as is his faithful Scotch Terrier companion by the name of Jameson. Underneath all of that he brings deep gifts as a spirit person into our community… gifts that have also led him to become the Democratic Party Candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 33d District.
Opening Hymn: No. 4, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You
Today’s biblical contexts… Psalm 14 & John 6:1-21
And we need to remember, biblical readings are the reflections of spirit persons in the ancestral faith story of Jesus of Nazareth who used both poetry and prose in framing and sharing their spiritual experiences. Beginning as oral traditions that included both story-telling and music, those reflections evolved into literary forms that gradually became what we now call The Bible. And while that creative literature, especially in its novella forms, sometimes deals with narratives that take on historical dimensions that presume conversations in which both God and people are quoted, we do not claim that those words of God are to be understood as literal revelations; they are simply part of the creative literature that communicates truths that certain spirit persons wanted to share out of their transcending spiritual experiences. So while we do not take these writings literally, we continue to take them seriously as the carrier of truths that contribute to a way of faith and life based on love, justice, mercy and peace as we pursue being SPIRIT PERSONS in all the contexts of life.
Psalm 14 [A contemporary translation]
Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God!”
They are caught up in corrupt and vile behavior;
a good person is impossible to find.
Yahweh surveys the scene of humankind from the heavens
to see if even one has any wisdom,
if even one is in search of the way of God…
and discovers all have gone astray
and are all alike perverse;
not a single good person can be found… not one!
How ignorant can people be,
so evil they consume other people
as though they were eating a meal?
Never do they consider the way of Yahweh.
They will be struck with fears the world has never seen,
because God is always on the side of the virtuous;
and even if they deride the hopes of the poor,
Yahweh remains their shelter and protector.
If only liberation would appear out of Jerusalem!
What joy there will be for all the God-strugglers!
What happiness there will be
when God’s people are returned to home!
It was not long after Jesus had restored wholeness to a man paralyzed for 38 years that stirred a debate about sabbath regulations and biblical literalism [cf Jn 5] that he was out on the northeast side of the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd – impressed by signs of healing the sick – began to gather, so he climbed the hillside and sat down with his disciples. And it was shortly before Passover. So when he saw the crowds following them he asked Philip: “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was really just testing him because he already had something in mind. Philip replied: “If we had thousands of dollars it would only be enough to give each person a little scrap.” Then Andrew, the brother of Peter, said: “There’s a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but how would that feed these people?” Jesus said, “Ask the people to sit down.” It was a grassy area and as many as five thousand people sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, offered a thanksgiving blessing, and began to pass them around to everyone; then he did the same with the fish, and people had all they wanted. When they were finished eating Jesus said to his disciples, “Pick up all the leftovers so that nothing gets wasted.” So they did, and they filled up twelve big baskets with scraps of bread. The people, seeing this sign done by Jesus, said, “This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.” But Jesus, perceiving that they wanted to force him to become their king, hurried off by himself into the hills.
Later in the evening the disciples went down to the shore, got into a boat to head for Capernaum on the northwest side of the lake. It was dark by then but Jesus still hadn’t rejoined them. The wind was strong, and the sea was beginning to get rough. They had rowed about three or four miles when they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming towards the boat. It was frightening experience for them, but he said, “It’s me! Don’t be afraid!” So they took him into the boat and in no time they were on the shore to which they were headed.
Reflections: What Being a SPIRIT PERSON Means to Me
A Reflective Hymn: No. 575, O For a World
Prayers of Joys and Concerns…
A Prayer of spirit persons for enlightenment and power
to live out ‘God Truth’ in all the contexts of life… Our Father…
[and we pray, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…]
A Closing Hymn: No. 391, In The Midst of New Dimensions
Extinguishing the Candles and Taking Our Light Into the World
Sharing the Joy and Truth of being SPIRIT PERSONS as we go…
On remaining Sundays of July/August, WORSHIP at 10:00 a.m.
Continuing with what being a SPIRIT PERSON means to me
Next Sunday: August 2 – 10th Sunday after Pentecost –
Communion & Potluck Sunday
As spirit persons who believe that ‘God’ is alive in us… we continue to gather in worship as an inclusive community, an open & affirming community of faith that transcends any distinctions based on gender, sexual orientation, nationality, race, or religion… with a formal worship that flows into a living worship of love and support for one another and to pursue ways in which we can reflect God’s mercy, justice, and peace in our community and throughout the world, along with finding ways to celebrate the goodness of life together… and always reaching out to draw others, with total inclusiveness, into this communal experience…