Lent Three, Year C

Musical Reflection
Life is Hard by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

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Invocation

Living Mystery,
whose way is not ours,
whose name cannot be bought or sold:
lead us from
justice without compassion
and sacrifice without mystery
to a love which nurtures
and a grace without price;
through Jesus Christ, the true Bread.
Amen.

First Reading
Wife Hits Moose

by Thomas Lux

Sometime around dusk moose lifts
his heavy, primordial jaw, dripping, from pondwater
and, without psychic struggle,
decides the day, for him, is done: time
to go somewhere else. Meanwhile, wife
drives one of those roads that cut straight north,
a highway dividing the forests

not yet fat enough for the paper companies.
This time of year full dark falls
about eight o’clock — pineforest and blacktop
blend. Moose reaches road, fails
to look both ways, steps
deliberately, ponderously . . . Wife
hits moose, hard,

at slight angle (brakes slammed, car
spinning) and moose rolls over hood, antlers –
as if diamond-tipped — scratch windshield, car
damaged: rib of moose imprint
on fender, hoof shatters headlight.
Annoyed moose lands on feet and walks away.
Wife is shaken, unhurt, amazed.

– Does moose believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Speaker does not know.
– Does wife believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Speaker assumes as much: spiritual intimacies
being between the spirit and the human.
Does speaker believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Yes. Thank You.

 

Second Reading
Snake Oil, Snake Bite
by Dilruba Ahmed

They staunched the wound with a stone.
They drew blue venom from his blood
until there was none.
When his veins ran true his face remained
lifeless and all the mothers of the village
wept and pounded their chests until the sky
had little choice
but to grant their supplications. God made
the boy breathe again.

God breathes life into us, it is said,
only once. But this case was an exception.
God drew back in a giant gust and blew life into the boy
and like a stranded fish, he shuddered, oceanless.

It was true: the boy lived.
He lived for a very long time. The toxins
were an oil slick: contaminated, cleaned.
But just as soon as the women
kissed redness back into his cheeks
the boy began to die again.
He continued to die for the rest of his life.
The dying took place slowly, sweetly.
The dying took a very long time.

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Gospel Reading
Luke 13:1-9

Some who were present on that occasion told Jesus about the Galileans whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices. He replied, “Do you think the suffering of these Galileans proves that they were more sinful than all the other Galileans? No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did. What about those eighteen people who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think that they were more guilty of wrongdoing than everyone else who lives in Jerusalem? No, I tell you, but unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did.”

Jesus told this parable: “A man owned a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. He said to his gardener, ‘Look, I’ve come looking for fruit on this fig tree for the past three years, and I’ve never found any. Cut it down! Why should it continue depleting the soil’s nutrients?’ The gardener responded, ‘Lord, give it one more year, and I will dig around it and give it fertilizer. Maybe it will produce fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.’”

 

Musical Reflection
O Death by Ralph Stanley

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Prayer
by St Anselm

We bring before you, O Lord,
the troubles and perils of people and nations,
the sighing of prisoners and captives,
the sorrows of the bereaved,
the necessities of strangers,
the helplessness of the weak,
the despondency of the weary,
the failing powers of the aged.
O Lord, draw near to each,
for the sake of Christ our Lord.
Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

O Parent of the Universe,
manifesting thyself as generative energy,
Bend over us and remove
all that clutters our being
and set apart a place
where thy sacredness may dwell.
Fill us with thy creativity,
so that we may be empowered to bear
the fruit of thy vision.
Then, moving to the heartbeat of thy desire,
make us the embodiment of thy compassion.
Drawing from the ground of our humanity
grant that we may renew each other
with love, understanding, and sustenance.
Empty us of frustrated hopes and despair,
as we restore others to a renewal of vision.
And let us not fall into agitation,
but save us from precipitous actions.
For thou art the ground
of the fruitful vision, the birthing-power, and the fulfilment,
as all is gathered and made whole once again. Ameyn.

Musical Reflection
A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall by Edie Brickell


Blessing

Bless to us, O God,
the doors we open,
the thresholds we cross,
the roads that lie before us.
Go with us as we go
and welcome us home.

May the blessing of God – the One From Whom, the One Through Whom,
and the One in Whom We Offer Our Praise
,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Mirko Hanák

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Life is Hard by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

Poem Wife Hits Moose by Thomas Lux

Poem Snake Oil, Snake Bite by Dilruba Ahmed

Musical Reflection O Death by Ralph Stanley

Prayer by St Anselm

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall by Edie Brickell

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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