Pentecost +3, Year B

Musical Reflection
Tell me a Story by Po’ Girl

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Invocation

Lord of the misfit,
whose prophets came
like weeds to an ordered garden,
shaking all that deadens your love:
give us faith in the growth of your realm,
unruly and exuberant
and let it be a shelter
wide enough for all;
through Jesus Christ, our teacher and storyteller.
Amen.
First Reading
A Parable
by Arthur Conan Doyle
The cheese-mites asked how the cheese got there,
    And warmly debated the matter;
The Orthodox said that it came from the air,
    And the Heretics said from the platter.
They argued it long and they argued it strong,
    And I hear they are arguing now;
But of all the choice spirits who lived in the cheese,
    Not one of them thought of a cow.
Second Reading
Hymn
by Carl Phillips

Less the shadow
than you a stag, sudden, through it.
Less the stag breaking cover than

the antlers, with which
crowned.
Less the antlers as trees leafless,

to either side of the stag’s head, than—
between them—the vision that must
mean, surely, rescue.

Less the rescue.
More, always, the ache
toward it.

When I think of death, the gleam of
the world darkening, dark, gathering me
now in, it is lately

as one more of many other nights
figured with the inevitably
black car, again the stranger’s

strange room entered not for prayer
but for striking
prayer’s attitude, the body

kneeling, bending, until it finds
the muscled patterns that
predictably, given strain and

release, flesh assumes.
When I think of desire,
it is in the same way that I do

God: as parable, any steep
and blue water, things that are always
there, they only wait

to be sounded.
And I a stone that, a little bit, perhaps
should ask pardon.

My fears—when I have fears—
are of how long I shall be, falling,
and in my at last resting how

indistinguishable, inasmuch as they
are countless, sire,
all the unglittering other dropped stones.

 

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Gospel Reading
Mark 4:26-34

Then Jesus said, “The reign of God is like this: someone scatters seed on the ground, then sleeps and wakes night and day. The seed sprouts and grows, but the farmer doesn’t know how. The earth produces crops all by itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full head of grain. Whenever the crop is ready, the farmer goes out to cut the grain because it’s time for harvest.”

He continued, “What’s a good image for the reign of God? What parable can I use to explain it? Consider a mustard seed. When scattered on the ground, it’s the smallest of all the seeds on the earth; but when it’s planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all vegetable plants. It produces such large branches that the birds in the sky are able to nest in its shade.”

With many such parables he continued to give them the word, as much as they were able to hear. He spoke to them only in parables, then explained everything to his disciples when he was alone with them.

Musical Reflection
Sowing Seeds by The Jesus and Mary Chain

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Godly Play Prayer

May the Good Shepherd
who knows all of the sheep
by name
lead us to the good green
pastures, and stay with us
through the times of desert.

May we find your
pearl of great price,
and know that we journey
with the People of God,
who are as many as the
stars in the sky
and the grains of sand
in the desert.

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
The Story by Norah Jones


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 Xiaohua Yang

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

Musical Reflection Tell Me a Story by Po’ Girl

Poem A Parable by Arthur Conan Doyle

Poem Hymn by Carl Phillips

Musical Reflection Sowing Seeds by the Jesus and Mary Chain

Prayer from Godly Play

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

Musical Reflection The Story by Norah Jones

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