"Blessing”

Worship Script 3


Worship Script (3 of 4)

Blessings From Our Past

Worship Script (3 of 4)

 

OPENING WORDS

By William Schulz


Come into this place of peace

And let its spirit heal your spirit;

Come into this place of memory

And let it’s history warm your soul;

Come into this place of prophecy and power

And let it’s vision change your heart.
 

HYMN #396I Know This Rose Will Open

 

FIRST READING

How Poets Pray, by Angela Herrera


What do you do with the secret verses of your heart? With your need for redemption, the story without words? With paradoxical truths, too private and nuanced to share, that cannot be printed or spoken aloud?

You weave their energy into a poem, carefully, carefully, over and under and through, luminescent strands that cannot be un-teased, until the poem is shot through with light from an unknown origin. And you whisper it into the dark. Breeze-forms delivered into the deep.

 

SECOND READING
Excerpts from Marta I. Valentin’s “Miracle Flowers”

 

As a young girl growing up in Spanish Harlem, I was fascinated by the flowers growing through the cracks in the sidewalks: the prettiest little flowers, whose names I never learned, but which I called “miracle flowers.” I would lean over them and wonder, “How the heck is that possible?” At the time I had no idea that underneath the concrete was some kind of dirt, alive enough to give the flowers some kind of a life.

For the rest of my life, I would spot them in other places I lived, and I’d say to myself, “There go those miracle flowers again reminding me that growth can happen anywhere, at any time.” They came to be inspired omens representing possibilities, in the most inopportune places. I’ve seen them in the worst barrios in Cuba and Mexico, and in the upscale streets of Beverly Hills and New York’s Fifth Avenue.

 

HYMN #340Thought Gathered Here To Celebrate

 

STORY FOR ALL AGES
Adaption from the Lion King the Movie by Disney, written by Emily DeTar Birt

There was once a lion prince named Simba. He ran away from his kingdom when he was very little. You see, his father, King Mufasa had died. Simba believed that it was his fault his father died, and he was so ashamed that he ran away from home never to return.

After years and year, once his mane was starting to come in, he was still ashamed. He laid by a pool of water looking at his reflection, blaming himself.

Suddenly, a wise monkey, Rafiki, starts throwing rocks in his direction and starts singing songs. Simba asks, “Why are you following me? Who are you?”
 

Rafiki asks, “The question is WHO are You?”

Simba, “I thought I knew. Now I’m not so sure.”

Rafiki says, “I know who you are. You are Musfasa’s boy.”

Simba gasps, “You knew my father?”

“Correction,” says Rafiki, “I know you father”.

“I hate to tell you this, but he died a long time ago.”

“Nope. Wrong again. He’s alive and I’ll show him to you.”

He vanishes and Simba follows him to the side of a small pool of water. There Rafiki points into the water. Simba gets close.

“That’s just my reflection,” Simba says.

“Look harder,” says Rafiki.

The water begins to change and shows Simba Mufasa’s face.

“You see, he lives in you.”

The clouds suddenly start to change, as if a storm is coming, and Mufasa’s voice can be heard from the clouds.

“Simba, you have forgotten me. You have forgotten who you are, and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself. You are more than you have become. You must take you place in the circle of life.”

“How can I go back?” Simba asks, “I’m not who I used to be.”

“Remember,” says the voice of Mufasa as the storm clouds start rolling away, “Remember who you are.”

The storm clouds disappear. “Wuuooh. Quite some weather we are having?” says Rafiki.

“It seems like the winds are changing,” says Simba.

“Change is good,” says Rafiki.

“Change is good,” says Simba, “but never easy. I know what I have to do, but going back means facing my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.”

Rafiki very suddenly hits Simba over the head with a stick.

“Ah! What was that?”

“It doesn’t matter, it is in the past!”

“Yes, but it still hurts!”

“Yes,” says Rafiki, “the past can hurt. The way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it. So what are you doing to do?”

“First I will take your stick.” Simba grabs it with his teeth and throws it to the ground. He starts running away and says, “I’m going back.”

Rafiki starts laughing with joy, “Good! Get outta here!”

 

MEDITATION

The Courage to Begin Anew by Rosemary Bray McNatt

In this moment of worship we call to mind those times of failure and regret common to all of us. We remember first, in silence, those times when we have failed to do all that we meant to do, or through our actions failed to be all we were meant to be.

[silence, then:]

We now recall our moments of integrity, those times we have lived into our deepest values, and acted as the human beings we always dreamed of being.

[Silence, then:]

We choose at this moment to lay down the burden of our shortcomings, and grasp the courage to begin anew. Together, we affirm our capacity for goodness and grace, for freedom and purpose and joy. We are not trapped in our past, but freed by creation to live and grow today. With gratitude, we say blessed be and amen.

 

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

A Father’s Blessing by Rev. Dr. Edward Frost, senior minister emeritus, Atlanta, Georgia

 

I have not forgotten—nor will I forget until all memory fades—the day, the moment, in which my father and I parted. We did not put an ocean between us, or a country. He did not disown me, nor I him. We parted as a cloud passed between our hearts, shadowing what we had been, shadowing what we would be henceforth.

At this time I was barely fifteen years old. We had come recently to America from England. There, he and I had been pals, chums, co-conspirators in fictions and fantasies. For as long as I could remember, each Sunday my father and I would set out together for tramps down village lanes, across meadows, through churches, churchyards, and burial grounds. We explored ruined castles, fought off Norman invaders, Vikings, Black Knights. We rowed the rivers curling through the countryside, rose in and out of locks, scrambled up and down brambled banks, slipped reverently past fallen abbeys.

This was who we were before the cloud passed between. Wizard and trusting apprentice. Storyteller and credulous listener. Teacher and student. All this we brought to America and, for a while, attempted to nurture, though there were no hedgerows or ruined abbeys, no hairy Vikings, and certainly no sniveling Normans. Each Sunday, as in former times, we set out on a quest to keep us as we were, to hold back my years.

Then, that Sunday morning, my father came out to where I shuffled in dread in the gravel drive. I didn’t know how much damage I was about to do, but I knew I was about to cast us away. He came to me, sandwiches for us, and a thermos in his bag, and asked if I was ready to go. “Gee, Dad,” I said, “A couple of my friends are picking me up and we’re going to go over to the baseball game.” “Oh, alright,” he said. “Goodbye.” His face could not hide his loss. He turned and walked away, the golden cord unraveling as he went. Somewhere on a distant sheep-grazing hill, in the tower of an ancient parish church, a bell tolled.

We were not the same again, of course. We continued to grow apart in the years that followed until, at his death—now many years ago—it seemed we were barely acquainted. My adolescence was beyond him. He watched, as if helpless, as I tried out various foolish and dangerous ways to become what passed for manliness. As I continued in my education, pursued my own dreams and ambitions, I left his knowledge and his understanding far behind.

He had left school at the age of twelve to help support his mother and sister after his father gave up and ran away. He educated himself and was often mistaken for an Oxford man. But my journey left him by the wayside—as, so he felt, had life and all hope and possibility; and there he rooted in anger, regret and self-destruction.

He was a man who, had he had a fathering father, had he not been born into abject poverty, had it not been for this or that, for fate or happenstance—had all that beside-the-point not been so, he would have been a man whom all the world knew by name. But the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons from generation unto generation.

I never met my father’s father. To the best of my recollection, my father never mentioned him. Certainly, there had been no blessing there, no approval, encouragement, nothing conducive to happiness or welfare. And so my father strove to succeed without blessing, and always success eluded him. And with that, he failed to bless his son.

And so, again and again, the sins of the fathers, visited upon the sons, from generation unto generation.

Well, a sad story, mine—and maybe yours. But I’ll claim some hope of redemption. In a poem called, “Thanks, Robert Frost,” David Ray writes:

Do you have hope for the future?

someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.

Yes, and even for the past, he replied,

that it will turn out to have been all right

for what it was….

That’s what redemption is. At any rate, that’s a way of thinking about what redemption is: giving the past hope where the past itself held none. How do we redeem the past? Surely what was, was?

No. What was always is, blessing the present or reliving its sin generation after generation. The only hope for breaking the cycle, for our children’s sake, is for us to redeem the past, which is to forgive it all, to bless it—a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.

For whatever else it may have been worth, I have made some beginning in doing that for myself, saying: Yes he did those things, did not do those things, and he suffered this at the feet of his father—bless him, too—and carried all he suffered into the present, as do we all.

And it is not too late for me, still, in frequent tears and much puzzlement, still putting it all together and finding it not too late, now even past fathering and into grandfatherly-age, it is not too late to bless my children, seek their blessing, wishing blessings on all the generations to come

 

HYMN #411Part In Peace

 

BENEDICTION

Be About the Work by Andrea Hawkins-Kamper

 

May we see all as it is, and may it all be as we see it.
May we be the ones to make it as it should be,
For if not us, who? If not now, when?
This is answering the cry of justice with the work of peace,
This is redeeming the pain of history with the grace of wisdom,
This is the work we are called to do, and this is the call we answer now:
To be the barrier and the bridge,
To be the living embodiment of our Principles,
To be about the work of building the Beloved Community,
To be a people of intention and a people of conscience.