Worship Script 5
Worship Script (5 of 5)
We are here to abet creation and to witness to it,
To notice each other’s beautiful face and complex nature
So that creation need not play to an empty house
- Annie Dillard
HYMN #391 Voice Still and Small
By Gordon B McKeeman
I stretch forth my hand
Knowing not what I shall touch...
A tender spot,
An open wound,
I am tentative, trembling...
Wishing to avoid hurt,
Wanting to link my life with Life.
Lonely, I desire companions
Naked, I long for defenders.
Lost, I want to find...
to be found.
Will I touch strangers
My hand is withdrawn
But still it touches
My vulnerable skin, my furrowed brow,
My empty pocket, my full heart.
Do others reach, tremble, withdraw?
Do they desire, long, seek?
Are they lonely, fearful, lost?
Will they grasp a tentative, trembling hand?
I stretch forth my hand
Knowing not what I shall touch...
Say Yes Quickly, by Rumi
Forget your life. Say God is Great. Get up.
You think you know what time it is. It’s time to pray.
You’ve carved so many little figurines, too many.
Don’t knock on any random door like a beggar.
Reach your long hands out to another door, beyond where
you go on the street, the street
where everyone says, “How are you?”
and no one says How aren’t you?
Tomorrow you’ll see what you’ve broken and torn tonight,
thrashing in the dark. Inside you
there’s an artist you don’t know about.
He’s not interested in how things look different in moonlight.
If you are here unfaithfully with us,
you’re causing terrible damage.
If you’ve opened your loving to God’s love,
you’re helping people you don’t know
and have never seen.
Is what I say true? Say yes quickly,
if you know, if you’ve known it
from before the beginning of the universe.
HYMN #396 I Know This Rose Will Open
STORY FOR ALL AGES
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
A torn piece of paper is just a beginning
Every spill has lot of possibilities
A bent piece of paper is something to celebrate
Every drip of paint lets your imagination run wild.
A scrap of paper can be fun to play with.
A smudge and a smear can make magic appear.
A stain has potential if you play with the shape
Holes in your paper are worth exploring
When you think you have made a mistake
When you think you have made a mistake - oops!
Think of it as an opportunity
To make something beautiful
Prayer for Risk by Tamara Lebak
Who has given us the breath of life
Today we remember to
To take in
Before we act…
And then to take in another deep breath poised on the edge
And risk jumping in
Risk taking action
Risk speaking up
Risk using the gifts we have been given
So that at the end of our life we can say with absolute clarity that
No part of our existence was wasted in fear of failure
Or fear of success.
Prepare us the way to begin to offer the gift of our
Full of love and light today.
These and the prayers of our hearts we lift up now
In the silence…
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.
The Spirit of Creativity
by Barbara Wells
While I believe it is true that no one can take your creativity away from you, there are those who sure try. Take this, for example. I was in my seventh grade art class, where we were working with clay. I don’t exactly remember what the assignment was, I just remember that I was having fun, creating, as I recall, a tiny gas station out of the red clay.
Suddenly the vice-principal, who was wandering through our classroom for some reason, sat down next to me. He looked at my little bits of clay and asked me what was I doing. I explained about my gas station. “That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” he said. “You clearly don’t have much talent, do you?”
I felt as if I’d been punched. I can still feel the anger and the shame that I felt in my seventh grade heart. I knew I wasn’t much good at art. I never could draw, but I liked working with clay. Somehow the three dimensional aspect made it easier for me. But after that day I never made anything. My creative spark was effectively doused.
Nevertheless, I believe art and religion are powerfully connected. One source that helped me to understand this was a book written many years ago by the writer Chaim Potok. In My Name is Asher Lev the title character is a Hasidic Jew, born in Brooklyn shortly after the Second World War and the Holocaust. His father is a traveler who moves around the world trying to save Jews from the fate of the six million. It is serious business.
When Asher Lev is born, it is assumed he will follow in his father’s footsteps. But instead, Asher discovers in himself the gift of art. Not just talent or skill; Asher Lev is blessed (or cursed) with an extraordinary gift to draw and paint—at a level not unlike the young Mozart’s gift for music. Asher Lev’s artistic ability made him suspect in the conservative religious community where he was born and raised.
Yet the boy could not deny the call to his art. He knew his father didn’t understand it. He felt his mother’s pain as she tried to encourage him without angering her husband. He bore the taunts of his classmates. He did so because he could not deny the powerful force that was his artistic creativity. When, for a short period, he gave up his art, it almost killed him. Only when he answered the call could he become whole, and grow into his humanness, even at the cost of great pain to himself, his family and his community.
At the end of the book, he finds he has to leave his religious community, at least for a while. Chaim Potok writes, in the voice of Asher Lev:
I looked at my right hand, the hand with which I painted. There was power in that hand. Power to create and destroy.… There was in that hand the demonic and the divine at the same time. The demonic and divine were two aspects of the same force. Creation was demonic and divine. Creativity was demonic and divine. Art was demonic and divine.… I was demonic and divine. Asher Lev paints good pictures and hurts people he loves.
He then hears the voice of God reply, “Then be a great painter, Asher Lev; that will be the only justification for all the pain you will cause… Journey with me, my Asher. Paint the anguish of all the world. Let people see the pain.”
Asher Lev does so, even though to answer the call of his art is excruciating. He discovers that through his call to creativity he becomes fully human, and also fully connected to the divine. Creativity, as Asher Lev discovered, is not always something that moves easily through us. Creativity requires a willingness to take risks.
It is tempting to hide our creativity in a box, and never take it out for others to see or experience. But I believe that taking the risk to share ourselves with others in creative ways is a profoundly spiritual process.
For example, one Sunday in the church I served, I chose to sing a solo. When I had practiced earlier that week, it had gone perfectly. But there, in front of God and everybody, as it were, I failed to find my starting note. Not once, but twice. Finally, I had to ask the pianist for the note. He obliged, I sang, and after I finished I felt that familiar sense of shame. I had failed.
I waited in trepidation to hear comments after the service. To my surprise (and great relief!) several people came up to me to tell me how much my perceived failure had touched them. They appreciated me for taking the risk and for not giving up. They knew what I had forgotten—that taking a creative risk is always worth it, even if at first it feels like failure.
Our spirituality is, I believe, that part of our being which is continually evolving and growing in response to the world around us and the world within us. If we stifle our creativity, we run the risk of smothering our spirits. Spirit needs the lively interaction of creative hearts and hands and minds to keep it alive and growing. People can actually die when deprived of beauty. And I have seen the spiritual death that occurs when people lose (or have forced out of them) the ability to be creative.
So I challenge us all to take the risk of being creative, and let’s see what it does for our spirits. May we be blessed with an abundance of creativity, and use it to make this world just a little more beautiful, a little more exciting, a little more whole.
HYMN #6 Just As Long As I Have Breath
By Emily DeTar Birt
Only when we risk, can we find out just how much we can gain.
May we together, take the risk of our lives.
May we risk living creative, full, and fulfilling lives.
May we risk standing for justice and speaking the truth
May we risk our own uncertainties, for the larger journey of life.
May we together take on lifes risk. For just wait and see what gains we will get.
Blessed be and amen.