Afterthoughts

Listen to the Service

Today's Program

Creating Space for God’s Spirit

The room, we are lucky to be experiencing, is ringed with 15 paintings called “Sinners and Saints” by Brianna Morris-Brock; they sit on tables, propped up. At each painting is a sign with a question, and each painting has a candle in front of it or a spotlight on it. No other lights. Chairs are messy. A table for Communion elements. Big cross.

  • “The Waiting” by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers plays loudly enough to help people settle
  • A young Journeyer steps up to light the lamp and another rings the bell

Worshiping with Our Children

  • Rick leads our children in talking about how seeds grow

Seeds have to go into the ground to send down their roots and grow. You don't realize how much bigger you are now than you were a year ago. Sometimes we have to wait and not see how things are growing. But that doesn’t mean they're not alive! God created the world and each of us and it’s a mystery we may not understand but we can trust. Let’s pray.

Gathering Our Spirit with God's Spirit

  • Announcements – how Journey is God’s Hands in the world
  • Rick welcomes us, talks about series
  • Say hello to someone near you
  • Take a breath...

Exploring God’s Spirit and Our Spirit

  • Rick introduces Brianna Morris-Brock who talks a little about her paintings we’re using today
  • Susan McK. and Steven M. read from he history of the early Christians called “The Acts of the Apostles,” chapter 9

As the group of Jesus-followers was growing, a young religious leader named Saul was making threats to murder the disciples of this so-called “Lord.” He went to the High Priest of the Temple and was granted letters to the Jewish synagogues in the city of Damascus, in Syria, where some of the Jesus-followers had fled when their group was attacked by the authorities. Paul got permission so that if he found any men or women there who belonged to this new Way, he could take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and he heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you attacking me?”

“Who are you, Master?” Saul asked. 

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So the men led him by the hand into Damascus. 

For three days Paul was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

Giving -- To Help God Do God's Work in This World

  • Rick talks about giving
  • Rick reads a quotation from St. Francis of Assisi, 13th-century Italian monk and mystic

“Our hands drink like roots, so I place them on what is beautiful in this world. And I fold them in prayer, and they draw light from the heavens.”

Telling The Story and Our Story

  • Sally continues the Saul story

In Damascus there was a Jesus-follower named Ananias. The Spirit of Jesus called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.

Ananias was afraid, but The Lord commanded him to go. So Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, The Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Spirit of God.” Immediately, something like fish-scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized as a new member of the Jesus-followers, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

  • Rick talks
  • We nourish the seeds of God within ourselves by sharing Holy Communion from the central table in the midst of the messy chairs
  • Leslie talks

Go Out to Serve as Both Sinner and Saint

  • Leslie leads us in a closing responsive prayer called “For the Darkness” adapted from an Anglican litany prayed in Canterbury Cathedral, April 1986

Leader:

For the darkness of waiting
Of not knowing what is to come
Of staying ready and quiet and attentive,
We praise you, O God. 

Journeyers:

For the darkness and the light
Are both alike to you.

For the darkness of staying silent
For the terror of having nothing to say
And for the greater terror
Of needing to say nothing,
We praise you, O God.

For the darkness and the light
Are both alike to you.
Amen.

  • Leslie dismisses us
  • “The Waiting” plays again as folks clean up the room

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