Sixth after Epiphany, Year A

Musical Reflection
Say Yes by Elliott Smith



Living One,
in whose freedom
creation was born as a gift:
free us from the need
to possess, define and silence others
that we might rejoice
in the strangeness of your beauty
revealed in flesh and blood;
through Jesus Christ, our reconciliation.
First Reading
by Carrie Fountain
I am done smoking cigarettes, done waiting tables, done counting tips
at two a.m. in the neon-dark dance hall, done sleeping with young men
in my apartment, done facing them or not, thinking of oblivion, which
is better than nothing. I am done not wearing underwear because
it’s so Victorian. I am done telling men I don’t wear underwear because
it’s so Victorian. I am done with the night a guy spread my legs
on a pool table, all those balls piled up in the pockets. I am done.
I am never going back. When I see that night on the street I will
drive past and never even glance over. I am done going to grad school,
nodding in your workshop. I am done teaching English as a second
language, saying I pointing to my chest, saying you pointing to them.
I am done teaching the poetry class where no one talked and no one
listened to me and outside the window the cottonwood wagged
its sun-white leaves in the breeze as if to say, I give up, I give up. I am done
being a childless woman, a childless wife, a woman with no scars
on her body. I am done with the wide afternoons of before, the long
stare, the tightly closed door. And I am done, too, for the most part,
with the daydream of after. I am after for now. I am turning up the heater
to see if that will make the baby sleep another fifteen minutes
so I can finish this poem. I am done thinking of the past as if it had
survived, though sometimes I think of the past and sometimes I see it
coming, catching up, hands caked with dried mud, head shaved clean.

Second Reading
No Less

by Alice B Fogel

It was twilight all day.

Sometimes the smallest things weigh us down,
small stones that we can’t help
admiring and palming.

Look at the tiny way
this lighter vein got inside.
Look at the heavy gray dome of its sky.

This is no immutable world.
We know less than its atoms, rushing through.

Light, light. Light as air, to them,
for all we know. Trust me on this one,
there is happiness at stake.

Boulder, grain. Planet, dust:
What fills the stones fills us.

I remember, or I have a feeling,
I could be living somewhere with you,
weighted down the way we aren’t now.

Often the greatest things,
those you’d think would be the heaviest,
are the very ones that float.


Gospel Reading
Matthew 5:17-37

“Don’t think that I have come to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I haven’t come to do away with them but to fulfill them. The truth is that as long as heaven and earth exist, neither the smallest letter nor even the smallest stroke of a pen will be erased from the Law until it is all fulfilled. That’s why whoever breaks the least significant of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kindom of heaven. Whoever fulfills and teaches these commands will be called great in the kindom of heaven. I tell you that unless your sense of justice surpasses that of the religious scholars and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kindom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago, Don’t commit murder, and all who commit murder will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their siblings is subject to judgment. If they say to their sibling, ‘I spit in your face!’ they will be subject to the Sanhedrin. And anyone who vilifies them with name-calling will be subject to the fires of Gehenna.

Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your sibling has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your sibling and then come back and offer your gift. Be sure to make friends quickly with your opponents while you are with them on the way to court. Otherwise, they will haul you before the judge, the judge will turn you over to the officer of the court, and you will be thrown into prison. I say to you in all seriousness that you won’t get out of there until you’ve paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said, Don’t commit adultery. But I say to you those who look lustfully at others have already committed adultery in their hearts. If your right eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It’s better that you lose a part of your body than to have it all cast into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It’s better that you lose a part of your body than to have it all cast into Gehenna.

“It was said, ‘Whenever a couple divorces, each partner must get a decree of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces – except because of adultery – forces the spouse to commit adultery. Those who marry the divorced also commit adultery.

“Again you have heard that our ancestors were told: Don’t break your vow, fulfill all oaths made to our God. But I tell you not to swear oaths at all. Don’t swear by heaven, because it’s God’s throne. Don’t swear by the earth, because it’s God’s footstool. Don’t swear by Jerusalem, because it’s the city of the great Ruler. And don’t swear by your own head, because you can’t turn one hair white or black. Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. Anything more than this comes from the Evil One.


Musical Reflection

Tell her No by The Zombies



by Bret Myers

O God of Light and Life:

We are thankful that you illuminate our dark places
and bring joy to our bright places.

Beauty and grace abound as we are made aware of your presence
in our waking, eating, working, playing, and resting.

Your Spirit encourages us to hope,
entices us to trust,
and emboldens us to love
so that we might keep and create the peace
that you desire will live within us
and between us.

Inspire us to be light and life to all we meet,
both near and far, family and foe, friend and stranger –
for we are all your children,
and siblings of one another. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Blessed One, our Father and our Mother, our Parent,
Holy is your name.
May your love be enacted in the world.
May your will be done
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us in the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For all that we do in your love,
and all that your love brings to birth,
and the fullness of love that will be
are yours, now and forever. Amen.


Musical Reflection
Yes Sir No Sir by The Kinks



May we drink deeply
from God’s cup of joy.
May the night bring us quiet.
And when we come
to God’s palace
may the door be open
and the welcome warm.

And may the blessing of God – the Creator, the Spirit, and the Word,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.



Artwork by Lily Morris

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Say Yes by Elliott Smith

Poem Yes by Carrie Fountain

Poem No Less by Alice B Fogel

Musical Reflection Tell her No by The Zombies

Prayer by Bret Myers

Lord’s Prayer by Richard McCall

Musical Reflection Yes Sir No Sir by The Kinks

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer, adapted

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