Ninth after Epiphany, Year C


Invocation

God, whose word
resounds in many tongues,
whose command is to live
and to heal:
help us find faith
where we least expect it
and to learn from the stranger
the love of of your name;
through Jesus Christ, the Healer.
Amen.

First Reading

When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone
by Galway Kinnell

When one has lived a long time alone,
one wants to return to live again among men and women,
to return to that place where one’s ties with the human
broke, where the disquiet of death and now also
of history glimmers its firelight on faces,
where the gaze of the new baby looks past the gaze
of the great granny, and where lovers speak,
on lips blowsy from kissing, that language
the same in each mouth, and like birds at daybreak
blether the song that is both earth’s and heaven’s,
until the sun has risen, and they stand
in the daylight of being made one: kingdom come,
when one has lived a long time alone.

 

Second Reading
Villanelle
by Weldon Kees

The crack is moving down the wall.
Defective plaster isn’t all the cause.
We must remain until the roof falls in.

It’s mildly cheering to recall
That every building has its little flaws.
The crack is moving down the wall.

Here in the kitchen, drinking gin,
We can accept the damndest laws.
We must remain until the roof falls in.

And though there’s no one here at all,
One searches every room because
The crack is moving down the wall.

Repairs? But how can one begin?
The lease has warnings buried in each clause.
We must remain until the roof falls in.

These nights one hears a creaking in the hall,
The sort of thing that gives one pause.
The crack is moving down the wall.
We must remain until the roof falls in.

Gospel Reading
Luke 7:1-10

After Jesus finished presenting all his words among the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion had a worker who was very important to him, but the worker was ill and about to die. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to Jesus to ask him to come and heal his worker. When they came to Jesus, they earnestly pleaded with Jesus. “He deserves to have you do this for him,” they said. “He loves our people and he built our synagogue for us.”

Jesus went with them. He had almost reached the house when the centurion sent friends to say to Jesus, “Lord, don’t be bothered. I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof. In fact, I didn’t even consider myself worthy to come to you. Just say the word and my worker will be healed. I’m also a person appointed under authority, with soldiers under me. I say to one, ‘Go,’ and they go, and to another, ‘Come,’ and they come. I say to my worker, ‘Do this,’ and the worker does it.”

When Jesus heard these words, he was impressed with the centurion. He turned to the crowd following him and said, “I tell you, even in Israel I haven’t found faith like this.” When the centurion’s friends returned to his house, they found the worker restored to health.

Musical Reflection
Until I Die by Brandi Carlile

 

Prayer
by Izumi Shikibu, adapted

God,
From one darkness
Into another darkness,
We eventually must go.
Light the long way before us,
Moon on the mountain rim.
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
Who Tells Your Story by The Roots


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 Artemisia Gentileschi

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Playing Dead by Chvrches

Poem When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone by Galway Kinnell

Poem Villanelle by Weldon Kees

Musical Reflection Until I Die by Brandi Carlile

Prayer by Izumi Shikibu

Lord’s Prayer by Rev Dan Geslin

Musical Reflection Who Tells Your Story by The Roots

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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