Pentecost +17, Year C

Musical Reflection
Story to be Told by M.I.A.



God of the dirtied hands,
the wandering feet;
you seek out the lost
before ever they turn to you:
take us with you
into the abandoned places
to find a new community
outside our fortress walls;
through Jesus Christ, the Searching One.


First Reading

Found Parable
 by J.D. McClatchy

In the men’s room at the office today
some wag has labelled the two stalls
    the Erotic and the Political.
The second seems suitable for the results
of my business, not for what thinking
    ordinarily accompanies it.
So I’ve locked myself into the first because,
though farther from the lightbulb overhead,
    it remains the more conventional
and thereby illuminating choice.
The wit on its walls is more desperate.
    As if I had written them
there myself, but only because by now
I have seen them day after day,
    I know each boast, each plea,
the runty widower’s resentments,
the phone number for good head.
    Today’s fresh drawing:
a woman’s torso, neck to outflung knees,
with breasts like targets and at her crotch
    red felt-tip “hair” to guard
a treasure half wound, half wisecrack.
The first critic of the flesh is always
    the self-possessed sensualist.
With all that wall as his margin,
he had sniffed in smug ballpoint
Under that, in a later hand,
    the local pinstripe aesthete
had dismissed the daydreamer’s crudity
and its critic’s edgy literalism.
    His block letters had squared,
not sloping shoulders: NO,
    Were the two opinions
converging on the same moral point?
That a good drawing is the real thing?
    Or that the real thing
can be truly seen only through another’s
eyes? But now that I trace it through
    other jokes and members,
the bottom line leads to a higher inch
of free space on the partition—
    a perch above the loose
remarks, like the pimp’s doorway
or the Zen master’s cliff-face ledge.
writes the philosopher. But he too
has been misled by everything
    the mind makes of a body.
When the torso is fleshed out
and turns over in the artist’s bed,
    when the sensualist sobs over her,
when the critic buttons his pants,
when the philosopher’s scorn sinks back
    from a gratified ecstasy,
then it will be clear to each
in his own way. There is nothing
    we cannot possibly not know.

Second Reading
A Parable
by Katherine Wisner McCluskey

The magnolia bud
Loosens her white garments
With exquisite reserve.
So love unfolds
While delicate mysteries,
Like odors,
Subtly escape.

The white magnolia,
Of lucent petals
Textured like woman skin,
crumples to leather
Limp and brown,
Binding a story told.


Gospel Reading
Luke 15:1-32

All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it? And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives.

“Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won’t light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.”

Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’ Then the father divided his estate between them. Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living.

“When he had used up his resources, a severe food shortage arose in that country and he began to be in need. He hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, but I’m starving to death! I will get up and go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Take me on as one of your hired hands.” ’ So he got up and went to his father.

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

“Now his older son was in the field. Coming in from the field, he approached the house and heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. The servant replied, ‘Your brother has arrived, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he received his son back safe and sound.’ Then the older son was furious and didn’t want to enter in, but his father came out and begged him. He answered his father, ‘Look, I’ve served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you’ve never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours returned, after gobbling up your estate on prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ Then his father said, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.’”


 Silence Alive Prayer
by Harry Alfred Wiggett, adapted

Silent Creator
Silent Redeemer
Silent Sustainer
Silent One – we love you.
In the silence of eyes
                                     we see you.
In the silence of unspoken words
                                     we hear you.
In the silence of a sudden touch
                                     we feel you.
In the silence of a flower’s frangrance
                                     we smell you.
In the silence of bread and wine
                                     we taste you.
Sensual God, we love you!

We love you in the silence –
                                     Silent Creator
                                     Silent Redeemer
                                     Silent Sustainer
                                     Silent One – we love you!

The Lord’s Prayer

O God, you love us like a good parent,
and are present in every aspect of our existence.
May your nature become known and respected by all.
May your joy, peace, wholeness and justice
be the reality for everyone as we live by the Jesus Way.
Give us all that we really need to live every day for you.
And forgive us our failures as we forgive others for their failures.
Keep us from doing those things which are not of you,
and cause us always to be centered on your love.
For you are the true reality in this our now, and in all our future.
In the Jesus Way we pray. Amen.




As we were in the ebb and flow,
as the beginning becomes the ending,
and the ending a new beginning,
be with us,
ever-present God.
May the blessing of God – the Equality, the Diversity, and the Unity,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.




Artwork by Margaret Nazon

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Story to Be Told by M.I.A.

Poem Found Parable by JD McClatchy

Poem A Parable by Katherine Wisner McCluskey

Musical Reflection Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel

Prayer by Harry Alfred Wiggett

Lord’s Prayer by David Sorril

Musical Reflection Shamaya by Susan Aglukark

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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