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“Different Pictures”

March 14, 2021

 

GATHER

People gather around Jesus as his reputation becomes known from town to town. As we gather virtually or physically, we too are yearning for presence, for peace, for help.


Prelude

 

Welcome and Announcements

 

Threshold Moment

 

Vessels, holy and whole

Broken, needing the One

Open, body and soul

Healer, come.

 

Leader: Prolonged times of difficulty can make it hard to stay creative. The picture of our lives is dulled and hope for a brighter future can fade. We need a touch of inspiration to awaken us from our sleep, as we hear in one of this week’s healing stories. This story can also awaken us to seek out the Divine Healer, reaching out to touch the power we know can restore our intellect and imagination. We are inspired to begin or continue seeking and seeing solutions, creating different pictures of life renewed, just as a mosaic artist creates beauty from broken pieces of glass.

 

 

Vessels, holy and whole

Broken, needing the One

Open, body and soul

Healer, come.

 

APPROACH

People opened their lives to Jesus. We are drawn to the Healer–opening our hearts with honesty about our lives and finding assurance that offers peace.


Opening Prayer of Confession

 

 

Leader: Let us acknowledge our need to restore, repair, and renew our Holy Vessels so that we might be able to create and imagine new possibilities, new solutions.

Let us pray:

 

God of All Possibilities,

Made in your image, you have tasked us to engage with the world you created in such a way that your vision of the world is restored. You bestowed imagination and the ability to learn and progress.

But we are tired. Our energy and our enthusiasm wane.

The call for ideas, solutions, and adaptations has been non-stop for us all–whether we are needing to find ways to keep children engaged and well, or figuring out how to maintain a passion for our work in the midst of trying times,

or needing desperately to undo systems of oppression affecting

our lives and the lives of our neighbors.

Not only our livelihoods, but our liveliness is at stake.

Too often we want to give up, declare it all too hard, and simply isolate,

waiting out the time for better days.

It all feels overwhelming and so we look away,

sometimes even from the need in our own community.

 

Help us, Healer.

Show us our energy reserves and bring it forth in us.

Forgive our cynicism.

Move us to move

one step at a time toward greater care for one another.

 

In this silence, we sense and acknowledge our yearning for wholeness.

 

Silence

 

Vessels, holy and whole

Broken, needing the One

Open, body and soul

Healer, come.

 

Assurance

When you have the light of Christ within you, it offers a beacon to those around you. When it joins with the Christ-light in others, it grows exponentially,  illuminates and heals.

 

Know this: We are gifted with agency to affect healing in the world.

No. Matter. What.

We are are not alone and we can join with others to magnify hope.

Christ will answer when we call, when we reach out for what we know can help.

For you, for me, for all.

 

Take a deep breath in to let this truth fill you…

and breathe out with the relief of assurance.

 

 

Peace

 

As you breathe out, I invite you to imagine your breath carrying with it the light of Chris extending to those around, beyond your walls to the neighborhood…

To the wider community…

To the church…

and seeing it spread like the rising sun, let it expand to all the world.

Let this be our peace.    And would you say with me to yourself and to all,

The peace of Christ is with you.

 

 

Opening Hymns

“O Love that Will Not Let Me Go” UMH  #780,

Kyrie Eleison CCLI #7071195

 

 

BELIEVE

People were fortified by Jesus’ words and deeds that revealed care for all–especially those marginalized. We strengthen our belief in the possibility for renewed health and vigor for all.

 

Time for Children – Mark Burroughs

 

A Contemporary Word

 

A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us.

To live is to be slowly born.”

Antoine de Saint-Exuper

 

When one realizes one is asleep, at that moment one is already half-awake.”

P.D. Ouspensky

 

The authentic self is the soul made visible.”

Anonymous

 

Curiosity is the first step down the path of awakening.”

– Anonymous

 

The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”

— Brene Brown

 

 

Musical Proclamation

Balm of Gilead - CCLI #2365453

 

An Ancient Word

Matthew 9: 18-26


While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. When Jesus came to the leaders house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, he said, Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. And the report of this spread throughout that district.

 

 

KNOW

The parting words Jesus’ gave to those he healed were often as much balm as the healing act itself. We hear words of encouragement from the One who makes beauty from brokenness.

 

 

SERMON

 

ASK

People who were healed by Jesus were not afraid to ask. And so we come before the Holy One, making our petitions and desires known, trusting the work of the Spirit.

 

 

Song of Preparation

“Make Us Holy, Make Us Whole”  SongSelect #3315976

 

In your love, make us whole.

May we rest in your compassion.

Calm the lost, weary soul

in the warmth of your love.

May your peace fill our hearts.

May we know the love of Jesus.

By your grace, you console.

Make us holy, make us whole.

 

 

Prayers of the People

 

Leader: Healer of our every ill,

especially our malady of exhausted spirits,

we come before you to make our petitions known.

Hear our cries for healing of body, mind, and spirit.

We know that already you are at work among us,

showing us the way to recovery from the toxicities and grief of our time.

 

You remind us that we do not have to shoulder everything alone.

We give you thanks that all we must do is orient ourselves toward your divine spirit to accompany us, touch us, inspire us, heal us.

 

 

We pray especially for all who feel opportunity and possibility is cut off to them.

Whose spirit is continually dampened and damaged by those who fail to see value in their contributions, who steal away rights to the fullness of expression.

We give thanks for communities, churches, non-profits, and businesses

that are supporting the flourishing of all voices, especially voices that have been silenced.

We give thanks for the courage of innovators who use their resources and creativity to make more good in the world, making this a priority over profit.

We ask for courage and encouragement to re-evaluate

how we as a church can join this effort now and into the future.

 

We pray this day for…

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Creator, in heaven,

Help us to honor your Name.

Come and set up your kingdom, So that everyone on earth will do your will, as your will is done in heaven.

Give us our food for today.

Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others.

Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.

For yours is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

Forever and ever.

Amen

 

 

In your love, make us whole.

May we rest in your compassion.

Calm the lost, weary soul

in the warmth of your love.

May your peace fill our hearts.

May we know the love of Jesus.

By your grace, you console.

Make us holy, make us whole.

 

 

 

RESPOND

Scriptural accounts of healing often end with responses from the “crowd” of witnesses. How will we proceed into the brokenness of this world and respond as the Body of Christ?

 

Commission

 

Leader: Each week we look at the reaction of the crowd in the healing story. This week there is an interesting reaction at Jesus’ notion that the girl was not dead. They laughed. Full-blown funeral rites had begun, flutes and all. And yet Jesus said, this is not the end of this story. The idea that we could come back to life better than before, that we could find some way to bring life back to what feels dead, may seem preposterous to some at this point. Laughable. But, like Jesus, we need not be deterred.  Can we forge ahead, enter the “house” of sorrow and dare to proclaim that joy and hope can still exist?

 

And so let us put our minds to imagining how we can learn about innovative ways that are being created to revive our communities. Who are the bright spots of life among us, among our civic, political, neighborhood organizing leaders that are working passionately to alleviate the devastating effects of the pandemics that have raged among us. I invite you to explore with us the possibilities for a new or renewed commitment to a contribution we can make at Longview UMC  to our larger community’s effort to recover from this past year.

 

Closing Song

“Be Thou My Vision  (Will You Guide Me) CCLi #5768143

 

Blessing

 

Now go with confidence

that we will awaken, we will seek out and reach for

the healing solutions that our neighbors, our communities, our world needs,

recovering our depth of love for all

and our joy of living in this world.

 

May the words of Jesus ring in your ears:

“You are not dead, you are sleeping.”

 

And may the Spirit hover, move, and deliver

salve to your soul

and a spring in your step.

Amen.

 

Threshold Into the World

[reprise of theme song]

 

Vessels, holy and whole

Broken, needing the One

Open, body and soul

Healer, come.

 

 

Postlude




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