Pentecost +14, Year C

Musical Reflection
Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac

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Invocation

God of the Sabbath,
this is the day
and this is the hour
when women long oppressed
learn to stand with dignity,
when your healing escapes
our desire for control:
may your joy stretch the fabric of our hearts
and inspire us to loose each other’s bonds;
through Jesus Christ, the shamer of the powerful and the raiser of the dead.

Amen.

First Reading
A Woman Speaks

by Audre Lorde

Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
look into the entrails of Uranus
where the restless oceans pound.

I do not dwell

within my birth nor my divinities
who am ageless and half-grown
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths
as our mother did
mourning.

I have been woman

for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon’s new fury
with all your wide futures
promised
I am
woman
and not white.

Second Reading
“The female seer will burn upon this pyre”
 by Elizabeth Alexander

Sylvia Plath is setting my hair
on rollers made from orange-juice cans.
The hairdo is shaped like a pyre.

My locks are improbably long.

A pyramid of lemons somehow
balances on the rickety table

where we sit, in the rented kitchen

which smells of singed naps and bergamot.
Sylvia Plath is surprisingly adept

at rolling my unruly hair.

She knows to pull it tight.
                                              Few words.
Her flat, American belly,

her breasts in a twin sweater set,

stack of typed poems on her desk,
envelopes stamped to go by the door,

a freshly baked poppyseed cake,

kitchen safety matches, black-eyed Susans
in a cobalt jelly jar. She speaks a word,

“immolate,” then a single sentence

of prophecy. The hairdo done,
the nursery tidy, the floor swept clean

of burnt hair and bumblebee husks.


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Gospel Reading
Luke 13:10-30

Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. A woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and couldn’t stand up straight. When he saw her, Jesus called her to him and said,“Woman, you are set free from your sickness.” He placed his hands on her and she straightened up at once and praised God.

The synagogue leader, incensed that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded, “There are six days during which work is permitted. Come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath day.”

The Lord replied, “Hypocrites! Don’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from its stall and lead it out to get a drink? Then isn’t it necessary that this woman, a daughter of Abraham, bound by Satan for eighteen long years, be set free from her bondage on the Sabbath day?” When he said these things, all his opponents were put to shame, but all those in the crowd rejoiced at all the extraordinary things he was doing.

Jesus asked, “What is God’s realm like? To what can I compare it? It’s like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in a garden. It grew and developed into a tree and the birds in the sky nested in its branches.”

Again he said, “To what can I compare God’s realm? It’s like yeast, which a woman took and hid in a bushel of wheat flour until the yeast had worked its way through the whole.”

Jesus traveled through cities and villages, teaching and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”

Jesus said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate. Many, I tell you, will try to enter and won’t be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and shuts the door, then you will stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ They will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ They will respond, ‘I don’t know you or where you are from. Go away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s realm, but you yourselves will be thrown out. People will come from east and west, north and south, and sit down to eat in God’s realm. Look! Those who are last will be first and those who are first will be last.”

 

Musical Reflection
When I Was a Young Girl by Feist

 

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 Deep Peace Prayer
by Fiona Macleod, adapted

Deep peace we breathe,
O weariness, here:
O ache, here!
Deep peace, a soft white dove to us;
Deep peace, a quiet rain to us;
Deep peace, an ebbing wave to us!
Deep peace, red wind of the east from us;
Deep peace, grey wind of the west to us;
Deep peace, dark wind of the north from us;
Deep peace, blue wind of the south to us!
Deep peace, pure red of the flame to us;
Deep peace, pure white of the moon to us;
Deep peace, pure green of the grass to us;
Deep peace, pure brown of the earth to us;
Deep peace, pure grey of the dew to us,
Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to us!
Deep peace of the running wave to us,
Deep peace of the flowing air to us,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to us,
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to us!
Deep peace of the Flaxen Shepherd to us,
Deep peace of the Wandering Shepherdess to us,
Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to us,
Deep peace from the Son of Peace to us,
Deep peace from the heart of Mary to us,
And from Briget of the Mantle
Deep peace, deep peace!
And with the kindness too of the Haughty Father
Peace!
In the name of the Three who are One,
Peace!
And by the will of the Ruler of the Elements,
Peace! Peace! Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Breathing Life, your Name shines everywhere!
Release a space to plant your Presence here.
Imagine your possibilities now.
Embody your desire in every light and form.
Grow through us this moment’s bread and wisdom.
Untie the knots of failure binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ faults.
Help us not forget our Source,
Yet free us from not being in the Present.
From you arises every Vision, Power and Song
from gathering to gathering.
Amen –
May our future actions grow from here!

 

 


Blessing

Name Unnamed, whose intriguing presence
is closer to home than we dare imagine,
fill us with wonder of you
that we may be filled with wonder of ourselves.

Name Unnamed, whose creativity is a river running,
startle us with diversity
and surprise us with difference
that we may be filled with wonder of others.

Name Unnamed, whose mystery and concern
is revealed in Jesus,
reshape our perceptions,
reshape our patterns of living,
reshape our politics and prayer,
that we may be filled with wonder of a world made whole.

May the blessing of God – the Memory, the Understanding,
and the Will
,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

 

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Sources:

Artwork by Roula Partheniou

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac

Poem A Woman Speaks by Audre Lorde

Poem “The female seer will burn upon this pyre” by Elizabeth Alexander

Musical Reflection When I Was a Young Girl by Feist

Prayer by Fiona Macleod

Lord’s Prayer by Mark Berry

Musical Reflection I’m a Lady by Santigold

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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