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The Day of Pentecost

O Holy One,
we gather to rediscover fire –
kindled by an ember
that flew from the great radiance,
Love’s bright beginning
in time and space –
flaming forth now in us.
May our own Spirit-fanned words
and thoughts of our hearts
become love’s flames,
tongues of forgiveness,
sentences of justice,
declaring the good news:
that Wisdom burns in the hearts
of this cosmic adventure.
Pour our Pentecostal blessing upon us;
transform our babbling
into a syntax of blessing,
a proclamation that the world
is ablaze with your glory,
and that all creation is awaiting
our arrival as your sons and daughters –
fire, now shape-shifted
into conscious future-forgers –
willing to reveal and realize
the kin-dom of God.
(Excerpt from “If Darwin Prayed” By Bruce Sanguin)

Now I can say it! As we begin gathering THIS Sunday in our sanctuary, following the recording of sixty-three worship services, together we will rediscover fire, and I imagine it will be the fire of friendships renewed, church family restored, community of faith revived, and future reborn…

In the Book of Acts we read, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” While we will not all be together this week as many will still worship from home, we will surely be blessed together, ablaze with glory, wisdom and love. We will continue to follow the guidelines adopted by the council. Feel free to wear red for the flames of the Spirit!

As daughters and sons of the living God, all creation awaits our arrival…Pastor Claudine

A Graduation Prayer

Source of every human hope,
whose love and care have touched us all,
we gather here to seek fulfillment
none of us can find alone.
Open us to the deeper meanings of this moment
which is both wistful and a time a joy,
which honors our past while advancing us
on an uncertain path.
On this day of endings and beginnings
we applaud the transmission of wisdom
from one generation to the next,
yet are awed by all that remains unknown.
Encourage us always
to dwell among those who
savor beauty,
practice truth,
advance community,
respond in compassion,
are animated by wisdom not their own,
empowered by a Spirit they do not possess,
awed by mystery which defies comprehension,
and wonder which claims our adoration.
(from “Touch Holiness” by Ruth Duck)

This is a season of endings and beginnings, as we bring to a close our year of remote worship and start to gather in person on Sunday mornings (we will continue posting audio recordings). It has been a long and challenging journey, but by the grace of God we have all found ways to savor beauty, practice truth, advance community and respond in compassion to this pandemic.

With careful planning and cautious hope, we welcome our first group of members and friends this Sunday as we celebrate the Day of Pentecost, following guidelines we have already shared. There are many of you who continue to worship from home but we will all be together in spirit!

This is also a season of graduation ceremonies and commencement celebrations. May the words of this prayer guide our graduates and their families into a future that belongs to God.

Ever grateful for the meaning and fulfillment we cannot find alone…Pastor Claudine

Festival of the Christian Home…and Mother’s Day

God, in you every family on earth receives its name.
Illumine the homes of this earth with the light of your love,
granting courage to those who are hurt or lonely,
endurance to those who care for sick family members,
and wisdom to those in fearful times of change.
We thank you for gifts we have received
from mother, father, spouse, child or companion.
As we have been loved by you and by others,
so may we love.

God of peace and justice,
we long for the peace within, and without.
We long to find serenity of spirit in the midst of life’s struggles.
We long for harmony in our families and in all our relationships.
We long for the day when each family everywhere
might live in peace without fear,
enjoying the fruit of vine and tree.

Yet we confess that there is much anxiety,
fear, distrust, and even violence within us.
We are not willing to take the risks
and make the sacrifices which peace requires.
Look upon us with kindness and mercy;
rule in our hearts and our world;
and show us how to walk in your paths.
(from “Flames of the Spirit” by Ruth Duck)

This Sunday we will mark our celebration of Mother’s Day, or as it is called in the liturgical calendar of the church, Festival of the Christian Home. We will listen to a special message from a voice that may remind you of celebrations in the past; we will hear hymns that tell the story of love, and family, and friendship; we will receive our Blanket the World with love offering.

With faith in God’s future and hope in all that is yet to come, we look forward to next year’s celebration, with our children handing out carnations, women (and men) wearing fancy hats, all of us blessing new prayer shawls and blanketing the world with renewed love…Pastor Claudine

“Tree Song”
By Ken Medema

I saw a tree by the riverside
one day as I walked along,
straight as an arrow and pointing to the sky,
growing tall and strong.
“How do you grow so tall and strong?”
I said to the riverside tree.
This is the song that my tree friend sang to me…

I saw a tree in the wintertime
when snow lay on the ground,
straight as an arrow and pointing to the sky,
and winter winds blew all around.
“How do you stay so tall and strong?”
I said to the wintertime tree.
This is the song that my tree friend sang to me…

I saw a tree in the city streets
where buildings blocked the sun.
Green and lovely, I could see
it gave joy to everyone.
“How do you grow in the city streets?”
I said to the downtown tree.
This is the song that my tree friend sang to me…

“I’ve got roots growing down to the water,
I’ve got leaves growing up to the sunshine,
and the fruit that I bear is a sign of the life in me.
I am shade for the hot summer sundown,
I am nest for the birds of the heaven.
I’m becoming what the Lord of Trees has meant me to be:
a strong young tree.”

This coming Sunday in our worship service we will hear the words of Psalm 1: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked…they are like trees planted by streams of water.”

I invite you to take some time this week to look at the trees, those out your window or those you see as you walk or drive around town. They have lessons to teach on our journey of faith! Grateful for roots we share, branches we represent, and fruit we bear…Pastor Claudine