Pentecost +19, Year B


Musical Reflection
Children of Divorce by Fang



God of the living law,
whose will is to protect the weak
and educate our desires:
may we learn from you
not to dominate or put aside
but to give each other dignity
and find in you our unity;
through Jesus Christ, who makes us one household.
First Reading
True Love

by Sharon Olds

In the middle of the night, when we get up
after making love, we look at each other in
complete friendship, we know so fully
what the other has been doing. Bound to each other
like mountaineers coming down from a mountain,
bound with the tie of the delivery-room,
we wander down the hall to the bathroom, I can
hardly walk, I hobble through the granular
shadowless air, I know where you are
with my eyes closed, we are bound to each other
with huge invisible threads, our sexes
muted, exhausted, crushed, the whole
body a sex—surely this
is the most blessed time of my life,
our children asleep in their beds, each fate
like a vein of abiding mineral
not discovered yet. I sit
on the toilet in the night, you are somewhere in the room,
I open the window and snow has fallen in a
steep drift, against the pane, I
look up, into it,
a wall of cold crystals, silent
and glistening, I quietly call to you
and you come and hold my hand and I say
I cannot see beyond it. I cannot see beyond it.
Second Reading
In Defence of Adultery
by Julia Copus
We don’t fall in love: it rises through us
the way that certain music does –
whether a symphony or ballad –
and it is sepia-coloured,
like spilt tea that inches up
the tiny tube-like gaps inside
a cube of sugar lying by a cup.
Yes, love’s like that: just when we least
needed or expected it
a part of us dips into it
by chance or mishap and it seeps
through our capillaries, it clings
inside the chambers of the heart.
We’re victims, we say: mere vessels,
drinking the vanilla scent
of this one’s skin, the lustre
of another’s eyes so skilfully
darkened with bistre. And whatever
damage might result we’re not
to blame for it: love is an autocrat
and won’t be disobeyed.
Sometimes we manage
to convince ourselves of that.
Gospel Reading
Mark 10:2-16

Some Pharisees approached Jesus and, as a test, asked, “Is it permissible for husbands to divorce wives?”

In reply, Jesus asked, “What command did Moses give?

They answered, “Moses permitted a husband to write a decree of divorce and to put her away.”

But Jesus told them, “Moses wrote the commandment because of your hardness of heart. From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. This is why one person leaves home and cleaves to another, and the two become one flesh.’ They are no longer two, but one flesh. What God has united, therefore, let no one divide.”

Back in the house again, the disciples questioned Jesus once more about this. He told them, “If a man divorces his wife and marries another, he commits adultery against her; and if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”


Musical Reflection
Divorce Song by Liz Phair


Peace in the Heart Prayer
Lao Tzu, adapted

If there is to be peace in our world,
There must be peace in our nations.
If there is to be peace in our nations,
There must be peace in our cities.
If there is to be peace in our cities,
There must be peace with our neighbours.
If there is to be peace with our neighbours,
There must be peace in our homes.
If there is to be peace in our homes,
There must be peace in our hearts.


The Lord’s Prayer

O creative Breath,
ebbing and flowing through all forms,
Free us from all constrictions,
so that the current of thy life
may move in us without hinderance.
Empower us with thy creativity,
and clothe us with royal dignity,
So that, fully at one with the vortex of thy desire,
sacred actions pour forth from us
with each breath we release.
Renew in us this day
our lifebreath, vigour, and passion,
And untie the tangled threads of destiny which bind us,
as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.
Do not let us lose ourselves in distraction,
but by the way of the breath,
lead us into mindfulness.
For from thy depths pour forth
the Way, the Life, and the Splendour,
from age to age, it is so. Ameyn.

Musical Reflection
Ode to Divorce by Regina Spektor


Lord of the open spaces,
we entrust our lives
to the time of adventure;
to the life that pulses
through rain-drenched streets
and mountain heights;
to the love that sustains us
through feast and famine;

and the blessing of God, the Rainbow of Promise, the Ark of Salvation, and the Dove of Peace, be with us and remain with us always. Amen.




Artwork by Razor Brown

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

Musical Reflection Children of Divorce by Fang

Poem True Love by Sharon Olds

Poem In Defence of Adultery by Julia Copus

Musical Reflection Divorce Song by Liz Phair

Prayer from Lao Tzu

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection Ode to Divorce by Regina Spektor

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