Pentecost +2, Year B

Musical Reflection
Devil Got My Woman by Skip James

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Invocation

Difficult God,
whom the world judges mad
or worse:
reveal our life’s distortions
posing as normality;
enlarge our sense of family
beyond those close to us;
and cast down evil kingdoms
of cruelty and exclusion;
through Jesus Christ, the one who is accused.
Amen.
First Reading
My Brother at 3 A.M.
by Natalie Diaz

He sat cross-legged, weeping on the steps
when Mom unlocked and opened the front door.
       O God, he said, O God.
           He wants to kill me, Mom.

When Mom unlocked and opened the front door
at 3 a.m., she was in her nightgown, Dad was asleep.
       He wants to kill me, he told her,
looking over his shoulder.

3 a.m. and in her nightgown, Dad asleep,
What’s going on? she asked, Who wants to kill you?
     He looked over his shoulder.
       The devil does. Look at him, over there.

She asked, What are you on? Who wants to kill you?
The sky wasn’t black or blue but the green of a dying night.
        The devil, look at him, over there.
          He pointed to the corner house.

The sky wasn’t black or blue but the dying green of night.
Stars had closed their eyes or sheathed their knives.
My brother pointed to the corner house.
His lips flickered with sores.

Stars had closed their eyes or sheathed their knives.
O God, I can see the tail, he said, O God, look.
Mom winced at the sores on his lips.
          It’s sticking out from behind the house.

O God, see the tail, he said, Look at the goddamned tail.
He sat cross-legged, weeping on the front steps.
Mom finally saw it, a hellish vision, my brother.
          O God, O God, she said.

Second Reading
Disgraceland
by Mary Karr
Before my first communion, I clung to doubt
         as Satan spider-like stalked
                the orb of dark surrounding Eden
for a wormhole into paradise.
       God had formed me from gel in my mother’s womb,
                injected by my dad’s smart shoot.
They swapped sighs until
         I came, smaller than a bite of burger.
                Quietly, I grew till my lungs were done
then the Lord sailed a soul
         like a lit arrow to inhabit me.
                Maybe that piercing
made me howl at birth,
         or the masked creatures whose scalpel
                cut a lightning bolt to free me.
I was hoisted by the heels and swatted, fed
         and hauled around. Time-lapse photos show
                my fingers grow past crayon outlines,
my feet come to fill spike heels.
         Eventually, I lurched out
                to kiss the wrong mouths, get stewed,
and sulk around. Christ always stood
         to one side with a glass of water.
                I swatted the sap away.
When my thirst got great enough to ask,
         a clear stream welled up inside,
                some jade wave buoyed me forward,
and I found myself upright
         in the instant, with a garden
                inside my own ribs aflourish.
There, the arbor leafs.
         The vines push out plump grapes.
                You are loved, someone said. Take that
                and eat it.
 

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Gospel Reading
Mark 3:20-35

Jesus entered a house. A crowd gathered again so that it was impossible for him and his followers even to eat. When his family heard what was happening, they came to take control of him. They were saying, “He’s out of his mind!”

The legal experts came down from Jerusalem. Over and over they charged, “He’s possessed by Beelzebul. He throws out demons with the authority of the ruler of demons.”

When Jesus called them together he spoke to them in a parable: “How can Satan throw Satan out? A kingdom involved in civil war will collapse. And a house torn apart by divisions will collapse. If Satan rebels against himself and is divided, then he can’t endure. He’s done for. No one gets into the house of a strong person and steals anything without first tying up the strong person. Only then can the house be burglarized. I assure you that human beings will be forgiven for everything, for all sins and insults of every kind. But whoever insults the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. That person is guilty of a sin with consequences that last forever.” He said this because the legal experts were saying, “He’s possessed by an evil spirit.”

His mother and brothers arrived. They stood outside and sent word to him, calling for him. A crowd was seated around him, and those sent to him said, “Look, your mother, brothers, and sisters are outside looking for you.”

He replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Looking around at those seated around him in a circle, he said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother.”

Musical Reflection
The Devil’s Sake by Jolie Holland

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Short Prayer to St Michael the Archangel
Pope Leo XIII

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle,
be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits
who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Thou, The Breathing Life of all,
In the roar and whisper, in the breeze and the whirlwind, we hear your name.

Help us let go, clear the space inside,
Creating a holy place within for your light to shine.

Unite our “I can” to yours,
So that we walk as kings and queens with every creature.

Your heart’s fervent desire then acts with ours.
As in all sound and light, so in all creatures on the earth.

Give us the food we need to grow through each new day.
Produce in us the wisdom and understanding we need at each new stage of our lives.

Help us to let go of our past, the hidden guilt of our failures,
Just as we consistently release others of the knots of their guilt.

Let us not become lost in busyness, in the surface appearance of things. But free us from what holds us back.

May abundance, fertile power, and glorious harmony return again and again, in each new age. May this be the ground from which all our actions grow. Amen.

Musical Reflection
Heysátan by Sigur Rós


Blessing

May the Spirit be the storm
that shakes the foundations,
the leap of new fire,
which turns oppression to ash;
may her wildness seduce us
with holy desire;

and the blessing of God,
the Lover, the Beloved and the Love,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Bindy Crossland

Invocation and Blessing from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Devil Got My Woman by Skip James

Poem My Brother at 3 A.M. by Natalie Diaz

Poem Disgraceland by Mary Karr

Musical Reflection The Devil’s Sake by Jolie Holland

Prayer by Pope Leo XVIII

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer, transliteration by Neil Douglas-Klotz, personalized by Virginia Melroy

Musical Reflection Heysátan by Sigur Rós

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