Pentecost +23, Year B

Musical Reflection
Heart Skipped a Beat by The XX


God of love
who asks no sacrifice
of animal or outcast:
turn our hearts and minds
to love all creatures
and you, the source of life,
that we might find our strength

in the kindom’s open feast;

through Jesus Christ, the high priest of heaven.
First Reading

by Sally Bliumis-Dunn

She has painted her lips
hibiscus pink.
The upper lip dips
perfectly in the centerlike a Valentine heart.
It makes sense to me—
that the lips, the openah of the mouth
is shaped more like a heart
than the actual human heart.
I remember the first time I saw it—

veined and shiny
as the ooze of a snail—
if this were what
we had been taught to draw

how differently we might have
learned to love.

Second Reading
The Mind
by Linh Dinh
The mind is a hotel with a thousand rooms. When I tilt my head a certain way, I think about certain things. When I tilt my head another way, I think about other things. If I sleep on the right side of my face, for example, I’d dream of a pale rose, the future, or a continental diner in Passaic, New Jersey. When I sleep on the left side of my face, I’d dream that a hand is squeezing my heart, that I’m in prison, or that I’m watching hockey at an airport bar, about to miss a flight.
Gospel Reading
Mark 12:28-34

One of the legal experts heard their dispute and saw how well Jesus answered them. The expert came over and asked, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Jesus replied, “The most important one is Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You will love your neighbour as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”

The legal expert said to him, “Well said, Teacher. You have truthfully said that God is one and there is no other. And to love God with all of the heart, a full understanding, and all of one’s strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself is much more important than all kinds of entirely burned offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that the legal expert had answered with wisdom, he said, “You aren’t far from God’s kindom.” After that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.


Musical Reflection
Always on my Mind by Willie Nelson (with Carrie Underwood)


by Jalal al-Din Rumi, adapted

O love,
O pure deep love,
be here,
be now.
Be all;
worlds dissolve in your stainless endless radiance,
frail living leaves burn with you brighter than cold stars;
Make us yours, your breath, your core.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Great Spirit,
You are our Shepherd Chief in the most high place.
Whose home is everywhere, even beyond the stars and moon.
Whatever You want done, let it also be done everywhere.
Give us Your gift of bread day by day.
Forgive us our wrongs as we forgive those who wrong us.
Take us away from wrong doings.
Free us from all evil.
For everything belongs to You.
Let your power and glory shine forever. Amen.

Musical Reflection
That’s How Strong my Love is by Alicia Keys


May the outrageous welcome of Abba God
accept us for who we are;
may the incarnation of the Word
touch and hold us close;
may the wanderings of the Spirit
help us risk ourselves for love;

and the blessing of God, the Sun, the Light and the Burning Ray, 
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.


Artwork by Alma López

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

Musical Reflection Heart Skipped a Beat by The XX

Poem Heart by Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Poem The Mind by Linh Dinh

Musical Reflection Always on my Mind by Willie Nelson

Prayer by Jalal al-Din Rumi

Lord’s Prayer by Hattie C Enos

Musical Reflection That’s How Strong my Love is by Alicia Keys

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