Thursday, September 13, 2012

Missional Worship in an Abandoned Place of Empire: Today's Phillips Theological Seminary chapel service

Below is the order of service from today's worship service we led at We will post the link to the podcast as soon as it is published online. We will also post the homily next.
Phillips Theological Seminary Chapel, Thurs. Sept. 13, 11:30 am

Missional Worship: Praying the Hours in Abandoned Places of Empire

Rev. Ron Robinson and Deb Carroll, The Welcome Table missional community, 5920 N. Owasso Ave., Turley OK  74126

Your gates will always be open; by day or night they will never be shut….Violence will no more be heard in your land, ruin or destruction within your borders. You will call your walls, Salvation, and all your portals, Praise. (from the Third Song of Isaiah)

Video Clip: Economy of Love, with Shane Claiborne

One: Today is the day which God has made:
All: Let us rejoice and be glad therein.
One: What does the Eternal require of us?
All: To live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.                           
One: May we treat this day as a gift given unto us, with surprise, delight, care and attention, and may we find ways to share life’s gifts with others.                            All: Thanks be to God.

One: This is our covenant as we walk together in life in the ways of God known and to be made known, wherever we are, together or apart:
All: In the light of truth, and the loving and liberating spirit of Jesus, we gather in freedom, to worship God, and serve all.

Meditation on the Hour: The light climbs. The worker pauses. We have found the rhythm and focus of the day, and our last intuition is to stop. And yet we need to, because as Benedict of Nursia reminds us, work is not our purpose. As Rabbi Abraham Herschel says, It is a blessing to be; just to live is Holy….This is the hour of the Pentecost. We make room for the Spirit so that our actions flow from it and not from our own desires. We pause to remember the Joy of Life. The work that remains to be done when we return to work is the same, but we are different…Soon The sun is overhead. The traveler reaches a crossroad. Give me courage for this hour. Soon it will be The hour when the fruit of the forbidden tree is eaten. The hour Jesus hangs upon the cross. The dull center of ordinary time. The mid-life crisis of our day. We are Tempted to lethargy and apathy and despair. Hard to hold on. We can’t look at the sun directly. We can’t look directly at this hour. Still God prepares the way, and opens the door. God works to unseal the heavy doors that we have built around our hearts.  (from “Praying the Hours in Ordinary Life” by Farrer)…

Responsive Reading (Thomas Merton, “Book of Hours”):

One: Take more time, cover less ground…For Why should I want to be rich, when You were poor? Why should I desire to be famous and powerful?..

All: My hope is in what the eye has never seen. Therefore, let me not trust in visible rewards. My hope is in what the hand has never touched. Do not let me trust what I can grasp between my fingers. Death will loosen my grasp and my vain hope will be gone….

One: You have made my soul for Your peace and Your silence, but it is lacerated by the noise of my activity and my desires. My mind is crucified all day by its own hunger for experience, for ideas, for satisfaction. And I do not possess my house in silence…..

All: But I was created for Your peace and You will not despise my longing for the holiness of Your deep silence. ….

Collect (Merton): Let go of all that seems to suggest getting somewhere, being someone, having a name and a voice, following a policy and directing people in “my” ways. What matters is to love.

Hymn: Ubi Caritas

Lesson (Merton): We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest… There is [however] a silent self within us whose presence is disturbing precisely because it is so silent: it can’t be spoken. It has to remain silent. To articulate it, to verbalize it, is to tamper with it, and in some ways to destroy it. Now let us frankly face the fact that our culture is one which is geared in many ways to help us evade any need to face this inner, silent self. We live in a state of constant semi-attention to the sound of voices, music, traffic, or the generalized noise of what goes on around us all the time. This keeps us immersed in a flood of racket and words, a diffuse medium in which our consciousness is half diluted: we are not quite thinking, not entirely responding, but we are more or less there.  We are not fully present and not entirely absent; not fully withdrawn, yet not completely available. It cannot be said that we are really participating in anything and we may, in fact, be half conscious of our alienation and resentment. Yet we derive a certain comfort from the vague sense that we are “part of something”—although we are not quite able to define what that something is—and probably wouldn’t want to define it even if we could. We just float along in the general noise.

Homily and Video Clip from The Soloist….Rev. Ron Robinson

Prayer of Response (Merton and Rilke):

One: Gracious God, Let my trust be in Your mercy, not in myself. Let my hope be in Your love, not in health, or strength, or ability or human resources.

All: Good Shepherd…please don’t get tired of looking for me! I know You won’t. For You have found me. All I have to do is stay found…

One: Like waters swell and ebb into the open sea, I want to proclaim Your name, in mounting waves, like no one has done before.

All: Come Spirit, into our hearts. Into our thoughts. Into  our work. Into this day. May God be gracious to us and bless us and shine upon us.

Prayer: O Merciful One, may we know You more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day. You heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds, lift up the downtrodden. Give me courage for this hour.

Intercessions followed by The Lord’s Prayer (use the words of your tradition or choosing): Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Hymn: Dona Nobis Pacem

Benediction: Carry the grace of God in your life and let it fall from you wherever you go. Amen.


Rev. Ron Robinson, a resident of Turley and Dec. 2000 PTS graduate, is the Director of Ministerial Formation for Unitarian Universalists and adjunct faculty at PTS, and Executive Director of the national organization, Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, and Executive Director of A Third Place Community Foundation, and church planter with The Welcome Table missional community, serving the far northside Tulsa and Turley community area.

Deb Carroll, a resident of Turley, is the coordinator of the Food Pantry and a Board member of A Third Place, and teaches at St. Gregory’s University.

The community foundation operates The Welcome Table Community Center and Food Pantry, and The Welcome Table Community KitchenGardenPark and Orchard, created from a city block of abandoned homes and property. It is currently Oklahoma’s representative nonprofit in the 50 States For Good online voting contest sponsored by Tom’s of Maine for a $50,000 grant at  

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