Lent Three, Year A

Musical Reflection
Sorry I Am by Ani Difranco


Invocation

Lord of the wellspring,
source of life and truth:
Jesus asked for water
from the hands of a woman
in the land of the stranger;
may he teach us to name our need,
to love our neighbour
and to worship you
in spirit and in truth,
through Jesus Christ, who shows us who we are.
Amen.
First Reading

I Am the People, the Mob
by Carl Sandburg

 

I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.
Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.
I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember. Then—I forget.
When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.

The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then.

Second Reading
Who Understands Me but Me
by Jimmy Santiago Baca

They turn the water off, so I live without water,
they build walls higher, so I live without treetops,
they paint the windows black, so I live without sunshine,
they lock my cage, so I live without going anywhere,
they take each last tear I have, I live without tears,
they take my heart and rip it open, I live without heart,
they take my life and crush it, so I live without a future,
they say I am beastly and fiendish, so I have no friends,
they stop up each hope, so I have no passage out of hell,
they give me pain, so I live with pain,
they give me hate, so I live with my hate,
they have changed me, and I am not the same man,
they give me no shower, so I live with my smell,
they separate me from my brothers, so I live without brothers,
who understands me when I say this is beautiful?
who understands me when I say I have found other freedoms?

I cannot fly or make something appear in my hand,

I cannot make the heavens open or the earth tremble,
I can live with myself, and I am amazed at myself, my love,
my beauty,
I am taken by my failures, astounded by my fears,
I am stubborn and childish,
in the midst of this wreckage of life they incurred,
I practice being myself,
and I have found parts of myself never dreamed of by me,
they were goaded out from under rocks in my heart
when the walls were built higher,
when the water was turned off and the windows painted black.
I followed these signs
like an old tracker and followed the tracks deep into myself,
followed the blood-spotted path,
deeper into dangerous regions, and found so many parts of myself,
who taught me water is not everything,
and gave me new eyes to see through walls,
and when they spoke, sunlight came out of their mouths,
and I was laughing at me with them,
we laughed like children and made pacts to always be loyal,

who understands me when I say this is beautiful?


Gospel Reading 1
John 4:5-42

He came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, which was near the land Jacob had given to his child Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus was tired from his journey, so he sat down at the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me some water to drink.” His disciples had gone into the city to buy him some food.

The Samaritan woman asked, “Why do you, a Jewish person, ask for something to drink from me, a Samaritan?” (Jewish people and Samaritans didn’t associate with each other.)

Jesus responded, “If you recognized God’s gift and who is saying to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would be asking him and he would give you living water.”

The woman said to him, “You don’t have a bucket and the well is deep. Where would you get this living water? You aren’t greater than our ancestors Leah and Rachel and Jacob, are you? They gave this well to us, and drank from it, as did their descendants and flocks.”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Give me this water, so that I will never be thirsty and will never need to come here to draw water!”

Jesus said to her, “Go, get your husband, and come back here.”

The woman replied, “I don’t have a husband.”

“You are right to say, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus answered. “You’ve had five husbands, and the man you are with now isn’t your husband. You’ve spoken the truth.”

The woman said, “I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you and your people say that it is necessary to worship in Jerusalem.”

Jesus said to her, “Believe me, the time is coming when you and your people will worship Abba God neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You and your people worship what you don’t know; we worship what we know because salvation is from the Jewish people. But the time is coming—and is here!—when true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth. Abba God looks for those who worship in this way. God is spirit, and it is necessary to worship God in spirit and truth.”

The woman said, “I know that the Messiah, the one who is called the Christ, is coming and will tell us everything.”

Jesus said to her, “I Am—the one who speaks with you.”

Just then, Jesus’ disciples arrived and were shocked that he was talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” The woman put down her water jar and went into the city. She said to the people, “Come and see someone who has told me everything I’ve done! Could this be the Christ?” They left the city and were on their way to see Jesus.

In the meantime the disciples spoke to Jesus, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.”

The disciples asked each other, “Has someone brought him food?”

Jesus said to them, “I am fed by doing the will of the one who sent me and by completing the work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘Four more months and then it’s time for harvest’? Look, I tell you: open your eyes and notice that the fields are already ripe for the harvest. Those who harvest are receiving their pay and gathering fruit for eternal life so that those who sow and those who harvest can celebrate together. This is a true saying, that one sows and another harvests. I have sent you to harvest what you didn’t work hard for; others worked hard, and you will share in their hard work.”

Many Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s word when she testified, “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. Many more believed because of his word, and they said to the woman, “No longer does our faith depend on your story. We’ve heard for ourselves, and we know that this truly is the saviour of the world.”


Musical Reflection

Who am I? by Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis & Cameron Diaz

 Prayer 

by Rex Hunt, adapted

Holy One, known by many names,
we are thankful for the days that have been,
even those that have stretched us to the limit…

And hopeful for the days that shall be,
even those that shall demand of us the best that we have of faith
and hope
and courage.

May we see our lives with a new freshness.
May we move beyond what is trivial that we may play our part in the world’s renewal.
May we say ‘yes’ again to the visions:
that honour the progressive movement,
that honour human beings and kindness,
that unite collaboratively the insights and scholarship of all disciplines,
that lift up the wisdom of sages and saints, of prophets and heretics, alike.

We commit to become ever more impassioned and compassioned people.
We commit to friends, family, lovers, children, adversaries, colleagues, neighbours.
We honour life and each one present.

In this moment of life,
may we be sustained in the silence of our own thoughts and prayers…
Help us quiet the throbbings of the past
that we may open our minds and hearts
to the touch of the Spirit of Compassion all around us.

May we become the people we were meant to be.

This is our prayer.
Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

O presence and pow’r within us,
Being and Life of all.
How we are filled, how we o’erflow
with infinite love and gladness!
We shall this day sow grace and peace,
and show mercy to all,
and gentle loving-kindness.
And we shall be not so self-serving,
but a constant source of giving.
For ours is the essence,
and the wholeness,
and the fullness forever.

 

Musical Reflection
What I Am by Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians

 

Brigid’s Blessing

God bless our food;
God bless our drink.
And keep our homes
and ourselves
in Your embrace,
O God.

And may the blessing of God – God above us, God beside us, and God beneath us,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

Sources:

Artwork by Amrita Sher-Gil

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Sorry I Am by Ani Difranco

Poem I Am the People, the Mob by Carl Sandburg

Poem Who Understands Me but Me by Jimmy Santiago Baca

Musical Reflection Who Am I by Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis & Cameron Diaz

Prayer by Rex A E Hunt

Lord’s Prayer by Paul Alan Laughlin

Musical Reflection What I Am by Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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