Lent 25 (Nursery Rhymes)

All the pretty little horses:
holy to the LORD!

The dapples and grays, the pintos and bays:
holy to the LORD!

The cat and the fiddle, the cow and the moon:
holy to the LORD!

The dog full of laughter, the dish and the spoon:
holy to the LORD!

Also the black sheep with all its wool:
holy to the LORD!

The boy who is empty, the home that is full:
holy to the LORD!

From the green & yellow basket
to a bicycle built for two:
holy to the LORD!

From the mouse on the clock
to the lavenders blue:
holy to the LORD!

on Zechariah 14:20

Monday Muse: Ash Wednesday Liturgies on the RCL

CALL TO WORSHIP (Joel 2:1-2, 12-17)
One: Drop everything at the call of the trumpet!
Two: Flee from your security at the cry of the protester!
One: Leave your “to do” list, put down your calendar.
Two: Come right now and seek a new path.
One: It’s time for a pilgrimage back to the heart of God.
Two: It’s time to walk the path of repentance.
One: Bring your whole heart; hold nothing back.
Two: Gather all people; let the reconciliation begin together.
All: Perhaps along this Lenten way, God will leave a blessing. O God we pray: leave a blessing.

RESPONSIVE REFLECTION (Isaiah 58:1-12 with Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21)
One: We worship you, Most Holy God. You are the Eternal and Merciful One; we are the contrite and weary dust.
All: You are the Spinner of Stars and the Mysterious Truth; we are the particles of galaxies and the worshipers of certainty.
One: Have mercy, O God, in your steadfast love.
All: Have mercy, O God, in your steadfast love.
     [a time of silence is observed]
One: Into the silence, we want to shout, “Hear us, LORD! Save us! Love us!”
All: Under the silent stare of God’s eye, we want to plead, “Look at our goodness. Look at our worship and our youth group and our food pantry.”
One: See, we can be humble, God. We can be faithful.
All: We can be humble. We can be faithful.
     [a time of silence is observed]
One: Ah, God. We long to hear you and to be heard by you.
All: We long to see you and to be seen by you.
One: Perhaps you have not only heard our prayers but also our conversations, our thoughts, our slander, our gossip, our votes, and our silence.
All: Perhaps you have not only seen our worship but also our hoarding of bread, our storage of treasures, our collection of admiration, our neglect of the imprisoned, and our averted eyes.
     [a time of silence is observed]
One: Our ashes are such fragile ashes; our dust is such grimy dust.
All: But let also our light be fully light; let our ruins become welcoming homes.
One: Let this dust be bold in response to your mercy.
All: Let your glory be our treasure through all the dust and stars. Amen.

ANOINTING (2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10)
Be reconciled to God:
ashes to ashes, life to life,
like sorrow reconciling to joy,
like sleepless nights resolving to peaceful days,
like nothing remembering at last what is everything.

Monday Muse: Praying the Lectionary

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 (from the Revised Common Lectionary for 10.26.2014):

Ah God, I am not wise like Moses; I have neither his courage for the wilderness nor his faith for miracles. Still I dare to pray for the gift of a vision like the one given to Moses on Mount Nebo — a sweeping view of the horizons, a panoramic reminder of your faithfulness across place and time and generation. No matter if this momentary vision is my beginning or my end or one step along my way, only open my eyes to the knowledge of what you are doing through me, within me, and so very much beyond me.

Psalm 1 (RCL):

Too easy to judge my own path tolerantly. Too easy to see my way clear and my footsteps righteous. Too easy to scoff at the scoffers and the sinners alike, while I stroll mindlessly through mire and quench my thirst in streams of vanity and greed. And — irony among ironies — too easy, O LORD, to be discontent with walking in your way. Let my steps be gentle and joyful and ever-alert to fellow travelers.

Matthew 22:34-46 (RCL):

With our hearts and minds and souls,
we love you —
the One Within our lives.
With our minds and souls and hearts,
we love our neighbor and we love the stranger —
the One Alongside us in every face.
With our souls and hearts and minds,
we love the commandments and we love the questions —
the One Beyond all knowing.

1 Kings 3:4-28 (from the Narrative Lectionary for 10.26.2014):

I cannot count all that you know, O Wise and Wondrous God, but all that I know I can count on one hand. I despair to recognize my unknowing; I cry out in vain to claim something — anything — in this life and to hold onto it with certainty. Why should I ask for a long life that fades no matter how many days it is granted? Why would I ask for wealth and peace around me when my soul remains unsatisfied? Teach me something, I beg you O God. Let me glimpse the ways that you walk over the earth, and let this flesh and breath have purpose somehow amid your wondering.

Monday Muse: The Ten Commandments on World Communion Sunday

Come to the mountain.
Come to the table.
Come to life.

In a pillar of raging fire,
in a gift of holy precepts,
God is with you.
And also with you.
In a brother, in a stranger,
in a sister, in an enemy,
God is with you.
And also with you.

Give praise to God, who alone is holy.
It is right and good that there should be nothing above God, nothing in place of God.
Be full of joy in God, who alone is your worldview.
It is right and good that there should be nothing that limits our understanding of God’s presence in all the world: not race or gender, not creed or nationality, not family or class, not language or politics.

Most Holy God, just as you called stars and galaxies into being to glorify you, just as you taught them to sing and dance in ethereal choreography around you, so too you call us to center ourselves around you, to sing in our rest and dance in our work in such a way that you are glorified.

Most Holy Spirit, just as you swept across the wilderness and drew people toward your holy mountain, even now you stir among us with the invitation to gather at your table. And as we come to these holy places, you command us to be reconciled to one another and reconciled to you. Before you, no idols can stand. Before you, we dare not harm one another by word or deed.

Most Holy Christ, by the mystery of your flesh and blood, the fullness of life was demonstrated for our weary spirits in this broken world. By the manner of your living, you broke the divisions that define us. By the misery of your death, you overflowed with God’s lament for the world. By the miracle of your resurrection, you witnessed to the sufficiency of love. At the table today, we eat this bread and drink this cup in solidarity with your breaking, with your lamenting, with your loving.

By God’s grace and for Christ’s sake,
come to the table, for all is ready.
With humility before God and with love for all people, we come: setting down our idols and distractions, setting down our grievances and jealousies, setting down our working and our raging against the world, picking up a spirit of peace and fellowship and openness. We come to be with Christ. We come to be as Christ.