Sixth after Epiphany, Year C

Musical Reflection
Blessings by Chance the Rapper


Invocation

God of blessing and woe
disturbing the deadly order of the world:
give us faith tested in poverty,
hunger for what really satisfies,
eyes softened by tears
and hearts ready to laugh
at all that is false and pompous
that we might be witnesses
to the dignity if life;
through Jesus Christ, who turns the world upside down.
Amen.

First Reading

God Letter
by CM Burroughs

Do I have to dress up or can I wear jeans? Dear Joaquin,
casual Sunday is a plus! Can a woman be fully present in heels?
Remember the other day at the shops, we saw the T-shirt that
read “Blessed” across the front? I know

you picked it up for me as a joke, but it made me pause. I think
I am blessed in the way I understand people to mean it: having
good fortune. But this is where faith messes with my clean concept,
because practicing Christians don’t believe blessings come

out the clear blue sky. So here’s God again, all up in the Kool-Aid.
I’m dating myself, but I mean that He gets in the way of
spiritual minimalism. He is at once contained and uncontainable,
which, intellectually, is hard to understand. So being blessed

must require that one acts in such a way that presses God to bestow
blessings, which isn’t the same thing as good fortune, but I want
to believe that people are saying, “You have such good fortune,
I hope for good fortune, too,” because it means that no one is

preaching at me like, “You have good God-God,” “Father
God I hope He Gods for us, too,” “You got God?” Et cetera.

 

 

Second Reading
Coexistence: A Lost and Almost Found Poem
by Peter Cole

And the Levites shall speak, and say  unto all the men of Israel, with a loud voice: —Deuteronomy 27:14

 

Over the border the barrier winds,
devouring orchards of various kinds.

Cursed be he that taketh away
          the landmark of his neighbor.
And all the people shall say, Amen.

The road was blocked in a battle of wills—
as the lame and sightless trudged through the hills.

Cursed be he that maketh the blind
          to go astray in the way.
And all the people shall say, Amen.

The army has nearly written a poem:
You’ll now need a permit just to stay home.

Cursed be he that perverteth the justice
          due to the stranger (in Scripture).
And all the people shall say, Amen.

Taken away—in the dead of night—
by the secret policeman, who might be a Levite.

Cursed be he that turneth to smite
          his neighbor in secret murder.
And all the people shall say, Amen

as peace is sought through depredation,
living together in separation.

Cursed be he that confirmeth not
          the words of this law—to do them.
And all the people shall say, Amen.

Gospel Reading
Luke 6:17-26

Jesus came down from the mountain with them and stood on a large area of level ground. A great company of his disciples and a huge crowd of people from all around Judea and Jerusalem and the area around Tyre and Sidon joined him there.They came to hear him and to be healed from their diseases, and those bothered by unclean spirits were healed. The whole crowd wanted to touch him, because power was going out from him and he was healing everyone.

Jesus raised his eyes to his disciples and said:

“Happy are you who are poor,
    because God’s kindom is yours.
Happy are you who hunger now,
    because you will be satisfied.
Happy are you who weep now,
    because you will laugh.

Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and condemn your name as evil because of the Human One. Rejoice when that happens! Leap for joy because you have a great reward in heaven. Their ancestors did the same things to the prophets.

But how terrible for you who are rich,
    because you have already received your comfort.
How terrible for you who have plenty now,
    because you will be hungry.
How terrible for you who laugh now,
    because you will mourn and weep.
How terrible for you when all speak well of you.
    Their ancestors did the same things to the false prophets.

 

Musical Reflection
Happy by Tracy Chapman

 

Prayer
by Howard Thurman, adapted

God,
Open unto us, light for our darkness
Open unto us, courage for our fear
Open unto us, hope for our despair
Open unto us, peace for our turmoil
Open unto us, joy for our sorrow
Open unto us, strength for our weakness
Open unto us, wisdom for our confusion
Open unto us, forgiveness for our sins
Open unto us, tenderness for our toughness
Open unto ous, love for our hates
Lord, Lord, open unto us!
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father and Mother, our Parent who art in Perfection,
we love you so much that even your Name is holy to us.
Thy community come,
Thy yearning be done,
among all of us here as well as in heaven.
Give us this day just what we need.
And forgive us our trespasses –
but only as much as we forgive those
who trespass against our own boundaries.
Save us from this time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the community, the power,
and the glory are yours –
now and forever. Amen.

Musical Reflection
The Curse of Having it all by Quasi


Blessing

Mysterious God, confounding our expectations,
meeting us where we least expect to find you,
Stay with us now.

Child of the manger, healing our pain,
sharing our weakness,
Stay with us now.

Source of life,
birth of God within our own experience,
Stay with us now.

Stay with us in our frailty and our strength,
stay with us on our journeys,
walk beside us, live within us,
lead us to glory, lead us home.

May the blessing of God – God beyond us, God with us, and God within us,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

Sources:

Artwork by Elizabeth Catlett

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Blessings by Chance the Rapper

Poem God Letter by CM Burroughs

Poem Coexistence: A Lost and Almost Found Poem by Peter Cole

Musical Reflection Happy by Tracy Chapman

Prayer by Howard Thurman

Lord’s Prayer by Rev Dan Geslin

Musical Reflection The Curse of Having it all by Quasi

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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