Pentecost +7, Year B

Musical Reflection
Intervention by Arcade Fire



God of the prophets,
whose word cuts through
the webs of power
and holds tyrants to account;
be with all who raise their voice
against oppression and misrule,
who are imprisoned and abused
for freedom’s sake;
help us to stand and speak with them
and witness to your kindom now;
through Jesus Christ, the name above all others.
First Reading
by Shail D. Patel
Pain trains an undisciplined mine.

I will end yours if you end mine.


Little feet, little feet are playing
Hopscotch among the landmines.Hope has worked miracles before.
If yours didn’t, how can mine?

I could have learned to welcome night,
If only you had been mine.

How dare you put words in God’s mouth,
Shail? Why not. He put ashes in mine.

Second Reading
The Argument
by Jane Kenyon

On the way to the village store
I drive through a down-draft
from the neighbor’s chimney.
Woodsmoke tumbles from the eaves
backlit by sun, reminding me
of the fire and sulfur of Grandmother’s
vengeful God, the one who disapproves
of jeans and shorts for girls,
dancing, strong waters, and adultery.

A moment later the smoke enters
the car, although the windows are tight,
insinuating that I might, like Judas,
and the foolish virgins, and the rich
young man, have been made for unquenchable
fire. God will need something to burn
if the fire is to be unquenchable.

“All things work together for the good
for those who love God,” she said
to comfort me at Uncle Hazen’s funeral,
where Father held me up to see
the maroon gladiolus that trembled
as we approached the bier, the elaborate s
hirred satin, brass fittings, anything,

oh, anything but Uncle’s squelched
and made-up face.
“No! NO! How is it good to be dead?”
I cried afterward, wild-eyed and flushed.
“God’s ways are not our ways,”
she said then out of pity
and the wish to forestall the argument.

Gospel Reading
Mark 6:14-29

Herod the king heard about these things, because the name of Jesus had become well-known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and this is why miraculous powers are at work through him.” Others were saying, “He is Elijah.” Still others were saying, “He is a prophet like one of the ancient prophets.” But when Herod heard these rumors, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised to life.”

He said this because Herod himself had arranged to have John arrested and put in prison because of Herodias, the wife of Herod’s brother Philip. Herod had married her, but John told Herod, “It’s against the law for you to marry your brother’s wife!” So Herodias had it in for John. She wanted to kill him, but she couldn’t. This was because Herod respected John. He regarded him as a righteous and holy person, so he protected him. John’s words greatly confused Herod, yet he enjoyed listening to him.

Finally, the time was right. It was on one of Herod’s birthdays, when he had prepared a feast for his high-ranking officials and military officers and Galilee’s leading residents.Herod’s daughter Herodias came in and danced, thrilling Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the young woman, “Ask me whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.”Then he swore to her, “Whatever you ask I will give to you, even as much as half of my kingdom.”

She left the banquet hall and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”

“John the Baptist’s head,” Herodias replied.

Hurrying back to the ruler, she made her request: “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head on a plate, right this minute.” Although the king was upset, because of his solemn pledge and his guests, he didn’t want to refuse her. So he ordered a guard to bring John’s head. The guard went to the prison, cut off John’s head, brought his head on a plate, and gave it to the young woman, and she gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came and took his dead body and laid it in a tomb.

Angry Prayer
by Brendan Busse, SJ, adapted
O God, we’ve got nothing left here.
We’re all cried out. Our voices are raw and our eyes are sore.
But here we are.
God damn it. Here we are.
We’re yours. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Divine Womb,
birthing forth the river of blessing which runs through all,
Soften the ground of our being,
and hallow in us a space for the planting of thy presence.
In our depths, sow thy seed with its greening-power
that we might be midwives to thy Reign.
Then, let each of our actions
bear fruit in accordance with thy desire.
Impart to us the wisdom to bring forth the gifts of the earth
and share them daily according to the needs of each being,
And restore that which has been usurped
by injustice to its rightful owners,
as we restore to others that which is not our own.
Do not let us be seduced
by that which would divert us from our purpose,
but make us sensitive to the moment at hand.
For from thy fertile soil is born the creativity,
the life-energy, and the dance,
from birthing to birthing. Ameyn.

Musical Reflection
Take Me To Church by Hozier


May we who have been touched
by the Word made flesh
be God’s body for the world;
God’s hands to bring blessings,
God’s senses to bring glory,
in the promise of creation restored;

and the blessing of God,
the Overflowing Font, the Living Water, and the Flowing River,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.



Artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat

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

Musical Reflection Intervention by Arcade Fire

Poem Mine by Shail D Patel

Poem The Argument by Jane Kenyon

Musical Reflection Dear God by XTC

Prayer by Brendan Busse SJ

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection Take Me to Church by Hozier

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