Pentecost +17, Year A

Musical Reflection
If You Change Your Mind by Rosanne Cash


God of strange authority,
whose questions challenge
the powers of this world:
teach us to look
beyond appearance,
to see your royal rule
emptying itself
in cross-stretched arms,
through Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten, the humble Servant.
First Reading

A Story Can Change Your Life
by Peter Everwine

On the morning she became a young widow,
my grandmother, startled by a sudden shadow,
looked up from her work to see a hawk turn
her prized rooster into a cloud of feathers.
That same moment, halfway around the world
in a Minnesota mine, her husband died,
buried under a ton of rockfall.
She told me this story sixty years ago.
I don’t know if it’s true but it ought to be.
She was a hard old woman, and though she knelt
on Sundays when the acolyte’s silver bell
announced the moment of Christ’s miracle,
it was the darker mysteries she lived by:
shiver-cry of an owl, black dog by the roadside,
a tapping at the door and nobody there.
The moral of the story was plain enough:
miracles become a burden and require a priest
to explain them. With signs, you only need
to keep your wits about you and place your trust
in a shadow world that lets you know hard luck
and grief are coming your way. And for that
—so the story goes—any day will do.

Second Reading
In the Event of Change

by Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

I am saying primroses lined the pathway of toothless hedges.

I am saying the ocean shimmered like corrugated steel in the
morning sun.

The context of my story changes when you enter. Then I am dung
on the wall of the nomad’s field. Then the everyday waking person.

I am nodding in your direction like fissures between dandelion fur.
Seeing in your manner.

I am speaking your pace. Slippage of silk slippers.

I say you are losing sight. I say your breasts are dry shells.

I am afraid of what I am capable of doing.

This is all a manner of stating how I prepare myself to be loved.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 21:23-32

When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and elders of the people came to him as he was teaching. They asked, “What kind of authority do you have for doing these things? Who gave you this authority?”

Jesus replied, “I have a question for you. If you tell me the answer, I’ll tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things. Where did John get his authority to baptize? Did he get it from heaven or from humans?”

They argued among themselves, “If we say ‘from heaven,’ he’ll say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But we can’t say ‘from humans’ because we’re afraid of the crowd, since everyone thinks John was a prophet.” Then they replied, “We don’t know.”

Jesus also said to them, “Neither will I tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things.

“What do you think? A landowner had two children. The landowner approached the elder and said, ‘My child, go and work in the vineyard today.’

“‘No, I don’t want to,’ the first child replied. But afterwards regretted it and went.

“The landowner said the same thing to the second child, who replied, ‘I’m on my way,’ but never went.

“Which one of these two did what was wanted?”

They said, “The first.”

Jesus said to them, “I assure you that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering God’s kindom ahead of you. For John came to you on the righteous road, and you didn’t believe him. But tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. Yet even after you saw this, you didn’t change your hearts and lives and you didn’t believe him.

Musical Reflection
Why Does my Heart Feel so Bad? by Moby

by Miriam Therese Wint

God our Parent,
Living Water,
River of Mercy,
Source of Life,
in whom we live
and move
and have our being,
who quenches our thirst,
refreshes our weariness,
and washes
and cleanses
our wounds,
be for us always
a fountain of life,
and for all the world
a river of hope
springing up in the midst
of the deserts of despair.

The Lord’s Prayer

Holy Presence, your name is truly sacred.
May your vision for the world be realized,
and may your will be done in our lives as it is in heaven.
Provide us with the goodness of food
and remind us to enjoy it mindfully.
Forgive us for the times that we have rushed through life,
not noticing the small miracles around us.
And please forgive those who haven’t had enough time to notice us.
Lead us all into abundant life
in the here-and-now of our lives,
and lead us away from the busyness
that makes us live too far in the past or future.
For the here-and-now Kin-dom,
here-and-now power,
and here-and-now glory are yours this moment and forever. Amen!


Musical Reflection
Let It All Change by Lighthouse Family

Saranam (Refuge) Blessing

Creator God,
All that we love
into your keeping.
All that we care for
into your care.
Be with us by day,
be with us by night;
and as dark closes
the eyelids with sleep,
may we waken
to the peace of a new day.

And may the blessing of God – the Parent, the Child, and the Womb,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.


Artwork by Nicola Fabricatore

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection If You Change Your Mind by Rosanne Cash

Poem A Story Can Change Your Life by Peter Everwine

Poem In the Event of Change by Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

Musical Reflection Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? by Moby

Prayer by Miriam Therese Wint

Lord’s Prayer by Brian Brandsmeier

Musical Reflection Let It All Change by Lighthouse Family

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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