“Miracles”

Worship Script 1


"No Such Thing As Too Many Miracles"

Worship Script (1 of 5)

OPENING WORDS

By Andrew Pakula

Come into this circle of community. Come into this sacred space.
Be not tentative. Bring your whole self!
Bring the joy that makes your heart sing.
Bring your kindness and your compassion.
Bring also your sorrow, your pain.
Bring your brokenness and your disappointments.
Spirit of love and mystery; help us to recognize the spark of the divine that resides within each of us.
May we know the joy of wholeness.
May we know the joy of being together.

 

HYMN #355 We Lift Our Hearts in Thanks

FIRST READING

“Blessing”, from Moorings: Moments of Meditation and Prayer by Orlanda Brugnola

May we be blessed by the abundance of life

Full of sight and sound and touch and fragrance

May we be vessels equal to the task of receiving such gifts

And may we in turn seek to share them with others


SECOND READING
Excerpts from Acts of Faith: Daily Devotionals for People of Colour
Your good cannot get to you if your mind is filled wit lack. You have no room for blessings if your words are laced with limitations. You will not notice or be open to new experiences if you are stuck in the old ones. What you want may be totally new to you. It may be way beyond your highest expectations. How can it get to you if you keep getting in the way? It’s time for you to move, realizing that the thing you are seeking is also seeking you. If not, you wouldn’t want it. That is the law of compensation, what you give out will be returned to you. Get rid of your bad thoughts, inferior attitude and limited behaviors and good with be attracted to you. It’s not easy. It’s not magic. But it works, miraculously.

 

HYMN #126 Come Thou Font of Every Blessing

 

STORY FOR ALL AGES

“Thankful Dogs: A Story for All Ages”  by Naomi King


Once there was and once there was not a family of dogs. Like many dog families, there were dogs that had wandered off the street and dogs with fine pedigrees and dogs from the shelter and dogs who had been born into the family. They ran together. They played together. They tumbled together in great furry masses of tails and snouts and paws. They loved each other very much—even if sometimes they growled at one another, even if sometimes they worried about enough biscuits from the tin on the counter, even if some dog didn’t feel good and snapped at another dog—they loved each other very much.

Each night as the moon rose, the family of dogs went outside and sat in a great circle on the soft grass and watched the moon rise and looked into each other’s eyes and wagged their tails. It was a doggy thing to do. Then, when the moon was a dog’s tail above the horizon, the eldest dog would bay loudly at the moon. And what do you think that dog was baying about?

The eldest dog was telling the other dogs and the moon and the whole world what he was thankful for. He was baying, “Thank you for this day! For the running and the jumping! Thank you for the biscuits and the tasty treats! Thank you little brown dog for nosing the ball my way! Thanks for being able to sing! Thanks for this and everything!”

Then the youngest dog would point her nose to the moon and begin to bay. And she was saying, “Thank you wonderful sun that warmed my back! Thank you fragrant frangipani so sweet! Thank you pack of dogs for wiggly dances! Thanks for the ringing ice cream truck! Thanks for this and all my luck!”

Then one dog after another would join the baying, saying their thanks, until they were singing together and to the moon. But they saved the best for last and howled together: “Thank you mother and thank you father! Thank you sister and thank you brother! Thank you neighbor and thank you friend! Thank you stranger and thank you world! We share our thanks for every being whether near or far, no matter who, no matter where, no matter what you are. THANKS!”

They did this no matter what the weather, no matter how many or how few of the family was home, no matter how they felt. The dog family gathered together each and every night to greet the moon and share their thanks! Let’s share their circle of gratitude:

“Thank you mother and thank you father! (congregation repeats)

“Thank you sister and thank you brother! (congregation repeats)

“Thank you neighbor, thank you friend! (congregation repeats)

“Thank you stranger, thank you world! (congregation repeats)

“We share our thanks for every being whether near or far (congregation repeats)

no matter who, no matter where, no matter what you are! THANKS!” (congregation repeats)

 

MEDITATION
If We Do Not Venture Out, by Marni Harmony

If, on a starlit night,
with the moon brightly shimmering,
We stay inside and do not venture out,
the evening universe remains a part of life we shall not know.

If, on a cloudy day,
with grayness infusing all
and rain dancing rivers in the grass,
We stay inside and do not venture out,
the stormy, threatening energy of
the universe remains
a part of life we shall not know.

If, on a frosty morning,
dreading the chilling air before the sunrise,
We stay inside and do not venture out,
the awesome cold, quiet, and stillness of
the dawn universe remains
a part of life we shall not know.

If, throughout these grace-given days of ours,
surrounded as we are by green life and
brown death, hot pink joy and cold gray
pain and miracles—always miracles—

If we stay inside ourselves and do not venture out
then the Fullness of the universe
shall be unknown to us
Andour locked hearts shall never feel the rush of worship.

 

CANDLES OF JOY AND CONCERN

Those who are so moved are now invited to come forward to light a candle, expressing a joy or concern in their lives.  As you do, you may briefly share what it is.  We ask that people coming forward speak for no more than a sentence or two, and speak from the heart about issues in their lives, rather than political issues, which we can take up at coffee hour or in the parking lot.

 

SERMON

by Meg Riley, senior minister, Church of the Larger Fellowship
 

Through the years I have heard people use the word miracle to describe things that I would assign other names: good luck, good medicine (science), pure chance, hard work. Overall, I’m with the “everything is a miracle” camp, one of those people who use the word often and mean it.
It’s a miracle that any kid makes it to adulthood alive. It’s a miracle that any marriage makes it twenty years. It’s a miracle that we don’t all hit each other’s cars on the freeway every day. It’s a miracle that buildings, bridges and airplanes, built by human minds and hands, generally do what they’re supposed to do, staying miraculously upright and aloft. It’s a miracle that we can breathe, speak, sing, read poetry, love.


As we assembled this issue of Quest, we got into kind of a squabble on the team about the nature of miracles. “If everything’s a miracle, nothing’s really a miracle!” someone said. We argued about whether events described in various pieces of writing really qualified as miracles. In the end, we agreed that there is a good deal of subjectivity involved in this whole topic.
Generally speaking, I’m willing to accept anyone’s experience of a miracle as what they call it, because why not? Who does it hurt? But some so-called miracles are actually something very different, not what I want to think of as miracles at all.

A compulsive gambler I know told me about a miracle he experienced. Just when he had maxed out all his credit cards, he miraculously received an offer for another one! This felt like a miracle to him because with a credit record as bad as his, he had not expected it. To me, it felt like a credit card company preying on a vulnerable person, not like a miracle at all. “Just check out those sky-high interest rates!” I noted, but he had already maxed out the new card, too. It will be a miracle if he is ever out of debt.
How many times have you heard someone say something along the lines of, “It was a miracle…I was supposed to be on that plane that crashed / in that building that burned / on that ship that sank, but God wanted to spare me.” I am delighted that any life is spared from tragedies. But when people start saying that God wanted to spare them, the only logical correlation is that God also wanted to kill the people who did die. And that’s just not a God I know. I’d totally go along with “it’s a miracle I’m alive,” but not with the idea that it’s part of a master plan, with God as a cosmic chess player orchestrating wins and losses. I guess if miracles are remarkably good experiences against all odds, then it would be only reasonable to believe that the opposite of a miracle is a curse. I was once standing in a long bank line, trying to do some last minute business on my way out of town, when a woman burst in the door. “Is anyone driving an orange car?” she asked. I raised my hand; a sickening dread rose in me as well. I was driving an orange car because my green car, which I needed for a trip, had already been hit.
The green car had just replaced a white car, which itself had been hit, and then it got hit immediately after I took possession. The orange car was a loaner I’d been given as they fixed the green car, so I could drive it far, far away from all these accidents. “Someone just hit your car in the parking lot,” the woman told me as we walked out the door together. Involuntarily, with sobs threatening to overtake me, I moaned, “I am cursed!” She looked at me with utter kindness and said, “You are not cursed.”
And, indeed, I was not cursed. Because when the driver who hit my latest car tried to slink away without so much as a note, this woman and her kids chased that driver down on foot in the parking lot! This woman I did not know, with so many kids in tow I couldn’t count them all, had been my savior. The kids now surrounded the embarrassed driver who hit my car. It was something like a miracle!
Maybe miracles—or curses—are simply in the eye of the beholder. I could have come out of that incident in the bank parking lot focused on the curse of my series of damaged cars rather than the miracle of the family that ran (literally!) to my aid.

I would rather look for miracles—and I see people creating them around me all the time. The addict in recovery who said to me, “I don’t know if God turned water into wine, but I know that God turned me into a sober person.” The parents who struggled with infertility, adopted a child, and said, “There is no other child in the world who could ever be more ours than this one! Thank God we were infertile or we would have had the wrong child!” The woman who got a kidney donor just when she would otherwise have died.


I’ve heard many of these stories, and they never cease to fill me with wonder. While the rational part of me could attribute them to luck or chance or happenstance, I like being on the lookout for miracles. I like to watch for them and claim them as they come by. Personally, I would say there’s no such thing as too many miracles!

 

HYMN #128 For All That Is Our Life

 

BENEDICTION

There are Miles Behind You by Alexander Pakula

There are miles behind you
And many more ahead.
As you journey on toward wholeness
May all that is good and true guide your way
May the joy of love lighten every step
And the miracle that is life be ever in your sight.