Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The opposite of both poverty and property is....

The ideology of “there is never enough for everyone” makes people lonely. It isolates them and robs them of relationships. The opposite of poverty isn’t property. The opposite of both poverty and property is community. For in community we become rich: rich in friends, in neighbours, in colleagues, in comrades, in brothers and sisters. Together, as a community, we can help ourselves in most of our difficulties. For after all, there are enough people and enough ideas, capabilities and energies to be had. They are only lying fallow, or are stunted and suppressed. So let us discover our wealth; let us discover our solidarity; let us build up communities; let us take our lives into our own hands and at long last out of the hands of the people who want to dominate and exploit us.
Theologian Jurgen Moltmann, "The Source of Life"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Special Service and Meal 2012

The Welcome Table Gathering

Thanksgiving Worship Meal


Experiencing God in Radical Hospitality and Service To Others

“While at Levi’s House, Jesus ate with tax-collectors and sinners (today we would say he was eating with terrorists and child sex offenders); when the religious authorities saw him doing so, they asked his followers why he was shaming himself and them and their whole community by doing so; on overhearing this, Jesus stepped in (reminding them by his action that if anyone had a problem with another they should go directly to that other with it and not to someone else) and he said, “Anyone can eat with those who are like them, and who they like and are liked by them, but those of us especially who follow our God of Israel, a God who commands us to treat the strangers as one of us because we were once strangers in another land, we must do more than that in order to do God’s will. After all, even though the world of the Empire may think and do otherwise, should doctors treat only the well and not the sick? Our meals are like doctors for the soul.  If you are full and happy and think you are perfect  and have brought nothing to give, you won’t understand God is at this table, that God is for the ungodly. But if you are not well, take off your heavy burdens and lay them down, and come rest and be nourished at this table and yes, even by these people of God.” ---a rendering of the gospel based on Mark 2

“We’ll stay hungry if we eat alone. We’ll starve if we believe that a community is a supernatural kind of miracle, or a product we can buy—not something we create by offering ourselves recklessly to others. We’ll never feel truly fed if we’re constantly competing to get our share, if we believe that love is scarce, and are afraid to give it away.”---Sara Miles

Invocation and Gathering

Today is the day which God has made. Let us rejoice and be glad therein. For what does the Eternal require of us? To live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. We covenant to walk together with one another not in creed, but in deed, to walk together in the ways of God known and to be made known. In the light of truth, and the loving and liberating spirit of Jesus, we gather in freedom, to worship God, and serve others.

Responsive Reading 425: from Psalm 65

First Movement: Washing and Blessing The Hands

Blessed are you, Holy One. You hold us in your hands. Be with us in THIS day. Bless our hands, that we might hold others as dearly as you hold them. Blessed be the hands that grow food and those that prepare meals. Blessed be the hands that wash dishes and clean floors. Blessed be the hands that anoint the sick and offer blessings. Blessed be the hands that guide the young. Blessed be the hands that grow stiff with age. Blessed be the hands that comfort the dying and have held the dead. Blessed be the hands that greet strangers. Blessed be the hands for all the work, all the play, all the love, that we give. Blessed be the hands into which we receive life; bless be the hands into which we pass the future. Blessed be the hands that pass peace.

Greetings and Conversation: Awareness of our Meal and Our Space. Preparing for the Meal and Space…Where did our components of the meal come from? Do we just eat with an assumption of food that just appears? Sharing Stories of where our food ingredients came from, whether shopping or gardens. How have we prepared the space for our meal? How does food grow community? Where is God in the garden, in the slaughterhouses, in the factories, in the transport, in the stores, in the kitchen, in our space and time for the meal together?

Responsive Reading: We Give Thanks This Day, #512

Songs of Thanksgiving: For The Beauty of The Earth, #21, Tis A Gift to Be Simple #16, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, #126

Second Movement: Deepening Our Lives At The Tables and The Altar

Setting the Altar and Sharing Stories

Songs of Meditation and Mindfulness: Find A Stillness, #352

Prayers of Community

Dona Nobis Pacem, #388

The Prayer Jesus Taught Those Who Would Follow in his Radical Compassionate Way:

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.

Responsive Reading: We Lift Up Our Hearts in Thanks, #515

Third Movement: Breaking Bread/Pouring Cup/Eucharist/Meal

Songs of Communion: We’re Gonna Sit At The Welcome Table, #407

Responsive Reading: Food For the Spirit, #726

Communion Prayer: O God, we gather at this welcoming table open to all no matter what, remembering how Jesus gathered people from all the walks of life, stranger and friend and enemies, gave thanks to you, offered all the bread of life and the cup of blessing and proclaimed a covenant of love for all in your name.  We remember too the wonder of his life, as we remember the wonder of all of Creation given unto us and how all are One, and all lives sacred.  We remember his death and how on the night before he died he still gathered in love to share a meal and the hope for a better world, and we remember all the terrors and the tyrannies that oppress people today. In the mystery of faith in the everlasting Spirit, the triumph over fear, help us to remember to practice resurrection everyday, as we remember all those who have given Love the ultimate trust and the last word and who have worked to create the beloved community of renewed and abundant life. Help us to remember with this meal especially all those who are hungry, and may we treat all our meals as sacred and to be shared. Take us, bless us, so that even in and with our brokenness we may serve others and receive Your Spirit. Amen.

Breaking and Passing the Bread of Life, Pouring and Passing the Cup of Hope

Song of Communion: Let Us Break Bread Together, #406

Passing Our Plates and Serving One Another

Dinner and Conversation on Giving Back Together To Our Community

Fourth Movement: Taking Home

Unison Prayer for Our Composting and Recycling: Creator God, we thank you for the abundance of resources with which we are blessed. We repent the abuse and overuse of these gifts. And we now ask for your guidance in restoring the face of the earth. Amen.

Song of Thanksgiving: We Sing Now Together, #67

Blessings: #702,  #704

Song of Benediction: Go Now in Peace, #413

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why It Matters Where We Live: The Awakening of Hope, part three, this Sunday at The Welcome Table

The Awakening of Hope: why we practice a common faith, part three: Why It Matters Where We Live….Notes and video links and more resources for this Sunday's conversation at 9:30 am followed by a Thanksgiving Communion and a Common Meal at The Welcome Table missional community. All are welcome.

Video episode linked above focuses on the story of Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis of North Carolina, she an African American woman and he a former Klansman, a Klansman still when they met in the neighborhood they lived in and began a relationship of antagonism but continued connection led him to leaving the Klan and working together to improve a local school. Here is an interview with Ann Atwater And the documentary on them is An Unlikely Friendship and the book from which it is taken is The Best of Enemies

Why It Matters Where We Live: Begins by telling a story of the New Jerusalem Now community in one of the most abandoned places of Philadelphia, where a couple of religious sisters live with those in recovery. “though it has been overlooked by city government, red-lined by lenders, avoided by real estate agents, and preyed on by hucksters, God is present.” … they do not remove people from the neighborhood just from the practices and contacts of their previous life in the neighborhood in order to aid their recovery. Former residents now help run it. They often quote the passage in Ezekiel where God brings life to dry bones in a dry abandoned valley. Those recovering see their own recovery tied up with the recovery the reclaiming of their place; just as they need newness in their lives, they need it in the neighborhood. “We ascend by descending.” (into self, into God, into place). When founder Sister Margaret turned 90 she was pleased to retire and turn the responsibilities over to others, especially to one who was from the place and had grown into leadership there; but he was tempted and ran off with the money for operations. They almost had to close, but she came out of retirement and they received new gifts of money and of new leadership from others, for her it was evidence of the constant journey we make from Empire to God, and the learning that “we have been caught up in God’s reconciliation of all things.”

Place matters, but Israel learns in Babylon that God can hallow any ground…Still we live in a culture of placelessness. We may know more about what is going on in Tokyo and New York than we do our own watershed….yet we yearn for home, and marketers market it to us all the time, but it cannot satisfy the longing, and doesn’t want to, for the longing drives the constant attempt at seeking to purchase it. “A placeless culture threatens to hold us captive in the cyberspace of endless desire.”…The places we live matter because we are each called to participate in Christ’s incarnation, making the material the holy, the dirty holy, but not in the model of franchises where all is created to be the same no matter where you are; incarnation celebrates diversity of place and people by lifting up the holiness of the particular. “We are not a franchise with billions served. We are a body rooted in Israel called to hallow every place.” Jesus the Jew doesn’t walk around Samaria as was custom but walks through it, so meets the Samaritan woman at the well, same with the Syro-Phoenician woman in her land.

“Gathering places are needed, and it is a great gift to have a room or a building devoted to prayer. But church buildings do not define holy ground for those “in Christ.” The ground we till to plant, the streets connecting us one to another, the homes where we live, the shops where we work, the “third spaces” where we meet neighbors, the forests where nature’s rhythms are preserved, the abandoned lot we overlook—all of these places are holy now. God wants to meet us here, and to meet our neighborhoods through us.” Monasticism calls us to engage our places.

Church shopping is a contemporary practice; used to be church wrapped up with where you could walk, to your zipcode. Once upon a time one church for all, then divisions and battles ran one church out of town, then modern technology allowed us to go across town or from town to town for church. “Incarnation interrupts us.” It interrupts our cultural norms and calls us back to place.

Questions: Does the Incarnation, that God pitched a tent in a particular neighborhood, a particular people, a particular person, especially where and who God was incarnated, change how you see your place and how you live? What practices might make living sacredly in your place more possible? Who are the elders like Ann Atwater in your community whom you can learn from about living more deeply in your place?

Activities: Map your neighborhood and name the people you know who live in it, and pray for them. Try to get to know the names of those you don’t know….Learn more about a “local saint.”…Join a group that will be working for the neighborhood even after you are gone.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Awakening of Hope: Why We Make Promises To One Another, our common practices of fasting and covenant-making

 Notes for our conversation Sunday, Nov. 18, at 9:30 am from the book and DVD series by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, the new monasticism leader. The DVD series focuses on an interview with Jean Vanier about the formation and the practices of the intentional communities of L'Arche for those with developmental disabilities and others. Followed by communion worship and common meal.

The Awakening of Hope: Why We Make Promises To One Another, session two in the DVD series. Chapters 3 and 4: Why We Fast, and Why We Make Promises from the book.

1.     Story of Don and Carolyn Mosely and Jubilee Partners , and Koinonia in Georgia. Gave up life of wealth for creating farm for refugees from around the world, following peace corps days; living on the farm with them. Even being buried with them, and with those  they have been in solidarity with on Death Row who are buried there. The centrality of what we give up for community: the scriptures connect fasting with the Lord’s Prayer; demonstrated it before he began his public ministry.

2.     If eating is central, why is fasting important? “Fasting, then, is not a denial of food’s goodness, but rather a joining of ourselves with God’s longing that there might be food enough for everyone in a world that has been redeemed.” Ways to fast beyond food?

3.     Part of the Rutba House Rule of Life: Fasting on Friday, the day of Jesus death; no food before dinner that day. Fasting reminds us, as does eating, that we are dependent, are creatures, to embrace the finite. Story from Genesis of what we were supposed to not eat.

4.     It is not enough to get out of Eqypt/Rome, etc. We have to get Egypt et al out of us. What do we need to turn from as we turn toward hope? It is not about being Saints. Dorothy Day said don’t call me a Saint. I don’t want to be dismissed that easily.  JWH: To love fasting is not to enjoy pain but to see that it has a purpose. We fast to join our bodies with the malnourished child in the barrio.

5.     Small groups with rules of life and rites of initiation into the community. A community built on promises, while so much of the culture is built on infidelity. We forget our promises, we get distracted, and much of culture seeks to get us to form an ultimate allegiance with it and what it sells and not to our deepest values and vows. Because God is ultimately trustworthy, won’t abandon even when we abandon God and seems like God has abandoned us, we shape lives of promise to one another to embody this covenant.

6.     A history by Ron interlude: Covenant and Not Creed or Contract: Tradition of Pilgrims and free church. Scrooby England 1606 to Cambridge Platform of 1648. What constitutes church in our tradition? Not believing alike but walking together in life in covenants….Our covenants at The Welcome Table. Become more specific? The counter-culture covenant of committing to a place, a people, for life; even though things may change, people may come and go, the commitment makes a difference

7.     “We make promises not because we will always be able to keep them, but because we trust a God who is faithful enough to always help us get up again…The falling down and getting up, as undramatic as it may seem, is what the story of covenant teaches us to see as the most important thing any of us can ever do.” This is how we make grace real; grace is that gift of renewed life that comes to us without condition, except for our ability to be able to receive it….

 Reflection: why is it hard and scary to make commitments to others? What others is it easier to do with? Jean Vanier says there is value in just living together with others; how have you seen that here, what gifts have you received from others?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Awakening of Hope, Sunday conversations and DVD series begins Nov. 11


The Awakening of Hope: why we practice a common faith
For Sunday, Nov. 11, 9:30 am. Discussion series based on Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s book

Foreword by Shane Claiborne: In Jesus we don’t see just a presentation of ideas but an invitation to join a movement that embodies God’s good news…Over and over, studies have shown that belief does not equal changed lives…In the end, Jesus as part of his great commission, sent his own followers out into the world not just to make believers—but to make disciples….And many of these practices are peculiar. They are marks of the holy counterculture that God has been forming for centuries. They invite you not to conform to the patterns of this world but to be transformed with a new imagination…Disciple shares the same root as the word discipline. [We need to]recapture the disciplines that help us to become better disciples.


The mission of the church is always to connect God’s story with society’s deep need….No matter how [bleak] things may seem in our world, fresh winds continue to stir new movements, reminding us that creation has been and is being redeemed…But that is not all we need. As much as revival may serve to energize God’s movement, we also need catechism to direct it…For every new sign of hope, there is ancient wisdom to help us interpret how a new thing can be rooted in God’s old, old story. When the Spirit stirs to awaken us, there are reasons for our hope. We learn them not only to share with others, but also to help us see the revival that’s happening where we are.

Chapter One: Pictures of Hope: Listen to Audiobook reading

Chapter 2: Why We Eat Together…video session #1

Church of the Sojourners in California, group of Christians who live in four large houses near one another. On Sunday evenings in backyard they worship with one another and neighbors. They eat, take care of dirty dishes, and worship is woven into it all, someone plays guitar, someone takes bread and breaks and blesses and shares. Eucharist or sharing bread and cup have been centerpiece of Christian worship from the time of Jesus. Particularly eating with sinners, tax collectors, outsiders to your culture; creating a welcome table, re-enacted by black and white Christians sitting at segregated counters to be able to eat together in the South.

“This meal is not possible without the gift of good soil. In the Bible’s account of Creation, we read that God formed the first human from the humus of the ground, then breathed the breath of life into [him]. Life is a mystery, and we are each of us always more than dirt. But Genesis preserves a profound truth in this account that insists our lives depend on dirt.”

Eating without attention is to reduce eating to the consumption of products. Wendell Berry said some people act as if “money brings forth food.”

“As I cover the lasagnas and carry them to another house where our community potluck is about to begin, I know there are easier, more efficient ways to get the calories I need at dinner time…But we’ve gone to the trouble to make this particular dinner for roughly the same reason we make an effort to eat with these particular people—because it seems more in keeping with the sort of community we are made for, even if it costs more time and money, even if it forces us to deal with people we’d sometimes rather avoid. One of the things we learn to name by eating together is that we are creatures, inextricably connected in a membership called creation. To deny that connection in practice is to reject the gift of life and to march, however slowly or blindly, toward our collective death.”

“One Sunday morning I prayed with Christians in the Dominican Republic, begging for daily bread beside a river that had dried up and left fields barren. The next Sunday I was at a church in the U.S. where the bulletin advertised a workshop to learn biblical principles to lose weight. The consequences of our eating poorly are not just unhealthy bodies, but a body politic in severe distress. “

“To be reconciled to one another is to be able to gather around a table with each other without shame, celebrating the gifts to each other that we are. It is to commit to an economy and politics in which the care of each other is our all-consuming desire…You may not see it all the time, but every once in a while there is a still point when you’re passing the asparagus and laughing at a bad joke. You look up from your plate and you see the image of God. And you know this is why we eat together.


Why grace at a meal? How do you feel about it?

How about that “earthy dimension” of the cross secured in the ground?

Issues of globalization and loss of sweaty jobs in America but as Americans reap inexpensive benefits from the sweaty work of children and others overseas?

How can eating together be a practice of resurrection, of transformation like gardens breaking through concrete and dumping?

Does seeing yourself as a creature change your way of thinking about eating? How?

How does communion shape the way you see all of your meals? Where does the food from your most recent meal come from?


Opportunities of eating together at least three times a week: Sunday Lunch, Wednesday Lunch, Tuesday Evening, maybe Friday breakfast 6:30 am, plus every second Saturday breakfast, every Third Saturday dinner, and special parties and events or planning meetings.

Plan our Thanksgiving Community Meal and our Thanksgiving Community Communion Worship


Monday, November 05, 2012

Election Day Communion Service: All Welcome: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 7 pm, at The Welcome Table, a worship service for unity and civility and compassion especially for the poor and afflicted throughout the world

Election Day Communion Service, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012

The Welcome Table missional community

This service is part of a national movement to emphasize the unity of the church and of the nation, and to remind the followers of Jesus and the people of God to focus on the mission of compassion and love for one another, especially the most vulnerable.

Call to Worship

The grace of Christ’s liberating spirit, the everlasting love of God, and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.

Let us pray.

Loving Creator, we gather for praise and worship and to pledge to you our loyalty and our service for your mission in the world.

Bless our gathering and our remembering, our hearing and our speaking. Bless us that we may be a blessing—to you, to our community, to our nation, and to our world. O Holy One, be with us this evening and open our hearts to You. Amen.

Prayers of Confession and Assurance For Ourselves, Our Nation, and Our World

Redeemer and Sustainer, who of thy great mercy hast promised forgiveness of sins to all those who, with hearty repentance and great trust, turn unto thee: have mercy upon us, pardon and deliver us from all our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

“Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (from the Gospel of Matthew)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; they that abideth in me, and I in them, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” (Gospel of John)

Eternal God, before you nations rise and fall. Help us to repent of our country’s wrong, and to choose your way of reunion and renewal.

Great God, renew this nation.

Give us a glimpse of the kin-dom you are bringing to earth, where death and violence and hunger will be no more, and where all nations gather in the light of your presence.

Great God, renew this nation.

Teach us peace, that we may plow up battlefields and pound weapons into building tools, and learn to talk across old boundaries as brothers and sisters in your love.

Great God, renew this nation.

Talk sense to us, so that we may wisely end all prejudices, and may put a stop to injustice and cruelty, which divides or wounds the human family.

Great God, renew this nation.

Draw us together as one people who do your will, so that we may be a light to our nation, leading the way to your promised realm, which is even now coming among us.

Great God, renew this nation. ---(Based on Isaiah 2:4-5, adapted from a prayer by Idlewild Presbyterian Church (Memphis, TN)

Lift up your hearts and give thanks to God.

We lift them up to God. Thanks be to God.


God of Hope and Healing, save us from violence, discord, and confusion. Fashion into one people the multitudes of many kindreds and tongues. May your spirit of wisdom be in those with authority of government. In the time of our prosperity restrain our pride and temper our self-confidence with thankfulness, and in the days of trouble suffer not our trust in thee to fail. Revive in all hearts a spirit of devotion to the public good, that strife and tumult may be stilled and justice and truth may be exalted. Enable us and all thy people faithfully to discharge the duties thou hast laid upon us, that thy kingdom may come and thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Finally, dispose us all to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with You. Amen.

Bless, O God, this land and all its people; in peace so guard it that it corrupt not; in trouble so shield it that it suffer not; in plenty or want so order it that it may serve thee, especially thy children in need. Amen.

O God, by whom light riseth up in darkness, grant us, amid our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldst have us do, that the spirit of wisdom may save us from false choices, that in thy light we may see light and in thy path we may not stumble. Bless and keep all thy people of all nations and bring them unity, peace, and concord too. Amen. (King’s Chapel Book of Common Prayer, alt)

O God, we pray that we not be distracted by the inconsequential concerns of the fleeting day, and put our attention in misguided places, falling under the influence of those who for profit or political gain seek to divide us, to create apathy or fear, but that we remember those for whom you have called us to be witnesses.

For the victims of war. Have mercy. The abandoned and the homeless.  Have mercy the imprisoned and the tortured Have mercy The widowed and the orphaned Have mercy  The bleeding and the dying Have mercy  The weary and the desperate Have mercy  The lost and the forsaken  Have mercy  O God -- Have mercy on us sinners Forgive us for we know not what we do

For our scorched and blackened earth Forgive us For the scandal of billions wasted in war Forgive us For our arms makers and arms dealers Forgive us

For our Caesars and Herods Forgive us  For the violence that is rooted in our hearts  Forgive us For the times we turn others into enemies Forgive us Deliver us, O God Guide our feet into the way of peace Hear our prayer. Grant us peace.

From the arrogance of power Deliver us From the myth of redemptive violence Deliver us From the tyranny of greed Deliver us From the ugliness of racism Deliver us From the cancer of hatred Deliver us. From the seduction of wealth Deliver us. From the addiction of control Deliver us. From the idolatry of nationalism Deliver us. From the paralysis of cynicism Deliver us From the violence of apathy Deliver us From the ghettos of poverty  Deliver us From the ghettos of wealth Deliver us From a lack of imagination Deliver us.

Deliver us, O God Guide our feet into the way of peace We will not conform to the patterns of this world Let us be transformed by the renewing of our minds With the help of God’s grace Let us resist evil wherever we find it With the waging of war We will not comply With the legalization of murder  We will not comply With the slaughter of innocents  We will not comply. With laws that betray human life  We will not comply. With the destruction of community We will not comply. With the pointing finger and malicious talk  We will not comply. With the idea that happiness must be purchased  We will not comply.  With the ravaging of the earth We will not comply With principalities and powers that oppress  We will not comply. With the destruction of peoples We will not comply With the raping of women  We will not comply With governments that kill  We will not comply With the theology of empire  We will not comply With the business of militarism We will not comply With the hoarding of riches We will not comply. With the dissemination of fear We will not comply

Today we pledge our ultimate allegiance… to the Kingdom of God We pledge allegiance To a peace that is not like the Empire's We pledge allegiance To the Gospel of enemy love  We pledge allegiance To the Kingdom of the poor and broken We pledge allegiance To a King that loves his enemies so much he died for them We pledge allegiance To the least of these, with whom Christ dwells  We pledge allegiance To the transnational Church that transcends the artificial borders of nations  We pledge allegiance To the refugee of Nazareth  We pledge allegiance To the homeless rabbi who had no place to lay his head  We pledge allegiance To the cross rather than the sword  We pledge allegiance To the banner of love above any flag We pledge allegiance To the one who rules with a towel rather than an iron fist We pledge allegiance To the one who rides a donkey rather than a war-horse We pledge allegiance To the revolution that sets both oppressed and oppressors free  We pledge allegiance To the Way that leads to life We pledge allegiance. O God, have mercy on us, incline our hearts to mercy for others, and guide our feet along Your way. (from Litany of Resistance, by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haws, et al, alt.)

Psalms and Silent Prayer and Meditation

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble, and they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want

Remember O Lord thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been ever of old, remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord

“Dona Nobis Pacem”


Adapted from “A call to put away your swords and your sound bites,”by Jonathan Martin, lead pastor of Renovatus Church, alt.

The world has called you to the voting booth to decide which candidate should run the country. We are calling you to the bread and cup, to decide once more who will run your life. So let us put away our swords and our sound bites. Let us drop our rocks and our nets. Let us come to the table that is not just for the rich and powerful, but for the broken. Come and be made whole.

Prayer: O God, we gather at this welcoming table open to all, remembering how Jesus gathered people from all the walks of life, stranger and friend and enemies, gave thanks to you, offered all the bread of life and the cup of blessing and proclaimed a covenant of love for all in your name. Help us to remember with this meal especially all those who are hungry, and may we treat all our meals as sacred and to be shared. Take us, bless us, so that even in and with our brokenness we may serve others. May we pray then with Jesus, as he taught those who would follow his radically compassionate way, in saying, 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, and 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.

Jesus said I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me. And they said, Lord, when did we do this? And he said, You did this for me when you did it for the least of these.

Here is the bread of life, food for the spirit. Let all who hunger come and eat. Here is the fruit of the vine pressed and poured out for us. Let all who thirst now come and drink.

 We come to make peace. We come to be restored in the love of God. We come to be made new as an instrument of that love. All are worthy. All are welcome. (from Singing the Living Tradition hymnal, Rob Eller-Isaacs)

Passing the Plate and the Cup

“We’re Gonna Sit At The Welcome Table”


Saturday, November 03, 2012

Jesus As President: A Peculiar Party, part four of our Sunday morning conversations

Jesus as President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals, Part Four Conversation: A Peculiar Party, Nov. 3, 2012

1.     Jesus is forming a new kind of people, a different kind of party (than what we think of as political parties). The church is not simply suggesting political alternatives. The church is embodying one. (can’t legislate love; can keep people breathing longer, but that doesn’t mean they are truly alive; can have all the affordable housing in the world, which is good, but still might not have homes).

2.     We live not according to what works but according to the way God is. Not expected to have everything turn out right, but as G.K. Chesterton said, called to be “completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.” We are to be the spittin’ image of Jesus. As Emperor Julian said, “Those godless Christians feed our poor in addition to their own.”

3.     Church the place where we can grapple with the difficult questions and issue with grace and humility. To disagree well. To get political not on the Empire’s terms, as division, but in Christ’s terms to focus on relationships. Not if church is political but how it is political: example not whether or not pro-life, but how you honor life?

4.     Are we in exile again, a part of an Empire either occupied our culture or carried us away from it to its own center? Look to how Israel was to act: even though aliens and strangers to still make a home in the midst of the new land, to care for one another, to pray not only to the Lord but also for the place they found themselves. Be peaceful presences wherever they were. Be relevant noncomformists, not fitting in to the triumphalist militant Christianity.

5.     Be Peculiar: robbers entered a cathedral and demanded a bishop give them the riches of the church, so he went to the shelter and gathered up the poor and said here these are the riches of the church; the robbers went away empty-handed. Luke 14: when you throw a feast don’t invite your friends, invite the poor. Being peculiar means they may not last long in some jobs: activist-theologian Brian Walsh said “A Christian can hold any job. But if they act as Christians, they will simply need to be ready to be fired within a few weeks. Robotics engineer who designs machines to dismantle landmines not make them; massage therapist who could make more money giving comfort to the wealthy but lives near the poor and gives comfort to their feet. Another couple started a tap water bottle mand the proceeds go to getting access to clean water in the world without it. These are everyday miracles, examples of politics by ordinary radicals. You can’t overestimate the radical character of these decisions being the change we seek to see in the world. (what change do you seek?)

6.     Growing food, supporting farmers, teaching kids to eat healthy. Visiting prisoners, combatting the prison industry; make streets safer with presence, beautifying; helping the elders; making your own stuff, and clothes; different approach to security (if we do not store up treasures we do not fear theft); respond to thieves by keeping them in relationship, paying back with kindness; create shared ownership and lending instead of individual ownership; being nonviolent; practice forgiveness and reconciliation (which includes accountability) in face of evil. Worried about the hell people are in on earth now in their lives, and like Jesus don’t focus on hell but on God’s love; few places Jesus talks about hell is for those who don’t care for the least of these….Should we be more afraid of the inner city or the suburbs, of what happens to bodies or what happens to our soul? In gated communities we create our own locked-in hell…being willing to bend or break laws that keep us from being with the poor and homeless, feeding them in parks as communion….in Atlanta where there were no public restrooms and homeless were being arrested for peeing in public spaces, Christians organized Pee For Free With Dignity and marched to city hall to get public restrooms. They did it nonviolently. Being creative in response: Voices in Wilderness was fined $20,000 for taking medications into Iraq ahead of and during the war; they paid the fine with Iraq money that equaled that amount of US dollars in 1991 but was only worth $8 by 2005….Because the simple way had so many unrelated people living under its roof it was said to be breaking the law and was labeled a “brothel.”

7.     Alternative economics, the theology of enough. The relational tithe movement. Volunteering for the community earns tokens that can be traded in for things grown or provided by the community (a way of doing events); An event for practical living: workshops on cooking, gardening, sewing, fishing, building, etc….We need new celebrations too; anti-Black Friday, different kind of Christmas, etc.  Different kinds of ritual: jointly held communion services during Los Posadas on both sides of the US Mexico border where they can hear each other…The Litany of Resistance and Confession; see

8.     Vote everyday with your feet, with your lives. Story of those who asked those who couldn’t vote, immigrants, some felons, who they wanted them to vote for, held forums with them on candidates and issues, and then voted for them, were their voice.

9.     There are endless ways to engage politically. We just need imagination and courage.