Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

[CHPC] "Hold Fast" / "Away From Home" [2008-05-25]

Bulletin cover:

"Hold Fast"
Translation of Ancient Celtic Ogham

Inside of bulletin:

May the Spirit satisfy you with the water of grace. -Old Scottish Blessing



Mike did the moment of silent meditation after the Introit, which I appreciated, 'cause it feels weird to be meditating while people are singing. It was a very short moment of meditation, and in talking to him at Coffee Hour I learned that I was correct in my surmising that standing up there the silence gets uncomfortable really fast. He said it feels like people are staring at you.

[One] Welcome all into this place.
[All] We have come from east and west, north and south to worship our God.

God of grace, you have given us minds to know you, hearts to love you, and voices to sing your praise. Fill us with your Spirit, that we may celebrate your glory and worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
     (BCW #4)

HYMN #1 "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise"



     God of Love, in the wrong we have done
     and in the good we have not done;
     we have sinned in ignorance;
     we have sinned in weakness;
     we have sinned through our own deliberate fault.
     We are truly sorry.
     We repent and turn to you.
     Forgive us,
     and renew our lives. Amen.
          (United Church of Canada)




     There was a vase of of lilacs on the Communion table, as there has been since Mother's Day, and Mike talked about they symbolize spring to him and segued somehow into how we can't "see" God all the time necessarily but we can see God in other people.  It wasn't until I was browsing friendsfriends that I was reminded of howdotheyrise (unsurprising, since I've only read one Discworld book and it wasn't that one).

     During the Passing of the Peace, Mike asked if I would do the Reading. I'd actually already read both readings in the pew Bible 'cause I'd arrived early and no one was around, but I was expecting the reading Bible to be an Inclusive Bible as it so often is, and instead it was an NRSV, it says "he" so much (uncapitalized -- what up?), so I frequently changed it to "LORD," which I knew probably wouldn't go over great (hierarchy, power, blahblahblah) but was preferable to me. It felt awkward, though, this changing it on the fly and trying to read ahead as I was reading aloud and come up with something smoother.
     It's funny, I say that I don't really care about male language for God because I know it's meant inclusively (much like I mostly don't have a problem with words like "mankind") and yet here I was really reacting against it. I don't want "she" language either, fwiw. God does not have a human gender. If I thought I could get away with it, I would do "El." (Jesus, on the other hand, was incarnate in a human male body, so I don't have a problem with male pronouns for Jesus or even language like "Son of Man.")
     Afterward, Mike thanked me for reading and said I was "articulate, as usual." Heh.


SCRIPTURE READING  Philippians 3:17-21

SERMON "Away From Home"
     Mike talked about his Scottish grandmother and how proud she was to be an American citizen but how connected she always felt to her Scottish homeland, and he tied that in to the idea of our being "citizens of heaven."  He also talked about the importance of telling stories -- for college graduation his parents gave him a trip to wherever he wanted, and because of his grandmother's stories of Scotland, this 21-year-old male chose Scotland over anything else; Mike suggested that our stories of our faith journey and our relationship with God/Jesus might be similarly powerful.

In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God's new heaven and new earth, praying, Come, Lord Jesus!
With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
     (Excerpt from a Brief Statement of Faith PCUSA)

HYMN #286 "Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness"

     Mike actually rephrased all the prayers when he did the wrap, which I was really impressed by (though I forgot to actually tell him so).  Tiffany at CWM does it, and I haven't seen it elsewhere, and I love it but I also recognize that it takes effort and skill -- you're writing everything down and then you somehow cluster everything into categories.

Congregational Response
     Praise God from whom all blessings flow
     Praise Christ all creatures here below
     Praise Holy Spirit evermore
     Praise triune God whom we adore.

     God of extravagant mercy, with hands outstretched you have poured out wonder and pleasure and delight, goodness and beauty and bounty. So take these offerings, we pray, as our protest against all that is evil and ugly and impoverished, trivial, wretched and tyrannical, in our world and in ourselves---and thus may we and others know ourselves to be blessed. Amen.
     ("The Worship Sourcebook")

HYMN #591 "This Is My Song"
     When I saw the title in the bulletin I just assumed it was "This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long..." but no, it's that song I love to the tune of Finlandia. This is an observation of Memorial Day I can support.  (I had planned to request "They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love" at the upcoming Singspiration -- which reminds me that I haven't heard any updates about UCN in a while -- but if people start requesting patriotic hymns I would love to request this one, though I doubt it's in the hymnal.)
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.
     Mike gave a nice Scottish benediction (in English) -- a Pilgrim Prayer. Googling some key phrases gets me the following, which isn't quite the English he used, but which is fairly certainly the same prayer.
God be with thee in every pass, Jesus be with thee on every hill
Spirit be with thee on every stream, headland and ridge and lawn;
Each sea and land, each moor and meadow,
Each lying down, each rising up,
In the trough of the waves, on the crest of the billows,
Each step of the journey thou goest.
RESPONSE #547 (v.4) "Amazing Grace"

We actually started on time, and according to Mike it was a 53-minute long service. We almost never start on time, and service usually runs closer to an hour and a half. Alex and I were the last people to leave Coffee Hour -- like lights off and everything -- and it was like twelve-thirty.
Tags: church: somerville: clarendon hill presb

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