Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The one table

Psalm 8
New Ark United Church of Christ, Newark, DE
October 7, 2018 - World Communion Sunday




The Best Supper © Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com
(So please don't copy.  Go buy it like I did.)



(As the video below played, I read Psalm 8 from The Complete Psalms: The Book of Prayer Songs in a New Translation by Pamela Greenberg.  The text is below.  The communion meditation follows the video.)


"God, our Upholder, how vast is your signature
over all the earth.


It reflects your glory in the heavens.


From the mouth of infants and nurslings
you have made a foundation of strength—


To oppose those who oppose you,
to bring the enemy and person of vengeance to a halt.


When I behold your name in the heavens,
the craft of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you fixed immutable,


I think: What is a mortal that you should be mindful of them,
offspring of flesh that you should pay them attention?


Yet you have made us only slightly less than God.
You have encompassed us with glory and splendor.


You allow us dominion over the works of your hands;
you placed everything under our feet,
flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, all of them,
every beast of the field.


The bird of the sky and fish of the ocean,
all that traverses the sea.


God, our Upholder,
how vast is your signature
over all the earth."



 






 “What is a mortal that you should be mindful of them, offspring of flesh that you should pay them attention? Yet you have made us only slightly less than God; you have encompassed us with glory and splendor.”



How do you know you are mortal? Have you died yet? No? How do you know you are human? Taking a page from performance artist Ze Frank, I’ve written my own quick test to see if we are all indeed human. Raise your hand when a question applies to you. Answer honestly. This is a safe space.



Have you ever cleaned your ears or fingernails and examined the contents, only to look up and see someone staring at you?



Have you ever answered the phone, heard the voice on the other end, and promptly hung up without saying a word?



Have you ever gotten through an awkward moment only to replay it over and over again as you were trying to fall asleep? 







Have you ever broken a piece of bread, dipped it in the cup, only to have it drop on the floor? Have you ever stained your clothing with the juice or the wine? Found crumbs under your shirt or blouse when you got home?



Have you ever sung the wrong verse of a hymn? Forgotten a committee meeting? Signed up to give someone a ride or a meal and then have someone call you to ask when are you coming over?



Have you ever felt powerless to help, been speechless in the face of suffering?



Have you ever said things you wish you could take back, ever sought anyone’s forgiveness?



Have you ever been betrayed by someone who kissed you? Have you ever betrayed someone you kissed? Have you ever been falsely accused? Have you ever falsely accused someone?



Have you ever withheld forgiveness? Have you ever refused to let go of the pain someone caused you?







Have you ever wondered why people turn out the way they do? Have you ever wondered if people ask the same thing about you?



Have you ever looked at the future and felt despair and hopeful, angry and courageous at the same time?



Have you ever witnessed the glory and splendor of another human being? Have you ever considered that you have been glory and splendor for someone else?



Have you ever wondered why you are here and what your purpose is?



Congratulations. You have completed this part of the test. You are all human. You are all welcome at this table, the one table called humanity. Amen.









Benediction - Rev. Anna Blaedel, UMC


Blessed are you who are raging.
Blessed are you who are mourning.
Blessed are you who feel numb.
Blessed are you who feel sick. and tired. and sick and tired.
Blessed are you who refuse to turn away.
Blessed are you who need to turn away.
Blessed are you who keep breathing deep.
Blessed are you who are tending to your own needs.
Blessed are you who are tending to the needs of another.

Blessed are you who know deep in your bones that you are good. and beautiful. and beloved. and sacred. and worthy. and believed. and held. and capable of healing beyond your wildest imagination.

Blessed are you who remind others they are good. and beautiful. and beloved. and sacred. and worthy. and believed. and held. and capable of healing beyond their wildest imagination.


Blessed are we when we dare to dream of a world without sexual violence, without white supremacy, without misogyny, without police brutality, without violence against transgender and queer folk.


Blessed are we when we stay tender.
Blessed are we when we stay fierce.
Blessed are we when we dare to imagine repair, and transformation.
Blessed are we when we labor together to make it so.

Amen.

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