Worship this Sunday will focus on scripture passages about transforming our way of seeing one another and the world. We can train our minds through practice to see the holiness of all things, we can discern the Spirit or Way of love and life and light flowing through nature and history and community. Christ was a master of this and made it a central focus of his teaching (Matthew 16:21-28), and the Apostle Paul elaborated on it (Romans 12). Its roots are deep in the Hebrew tradition (Exodus 3:1-15).
Personal transformation is not the end, though. The goal is the transformation of the world around us into something more like God’s realm, the beloved community of mercy, justice and peace.
Can the transformation of one individual or one small rural community really make a difference in the world? We will look at what the Rev. William Sloane Coffin had to say about that in the last chapter of his autobiography, Once to Every Man. We will consider the wisdom of Wendell Berry in his essay “The Work of Local Culture” from his book What Are People For? And we will hear a tale from Jewish tradition.
The children will learn the story of Moses and the burning bush. The choir will sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and “The Light Is in the Summer Sun” and “For Thy Gracious Blessing.” Annemieke McLane will play “Go Down Moses” as we gather and then three pieces by J. S. Bach–the master of Baroque church music played by a modern master!
The first hymn will be the fun revival classic, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” the second will be the stirring hymn that Bill Coffin took as the title of his autobiography and that Martin Luther King Jr. quoted often, “Once to Every Man and Nation.” Our communion hymn will be the African-American spiritual, “Let Us Break Bread Together.”
Here is a moving, heartfelt YouTube version of “Once to Every Man and Nation” sung with Mahatma Gandhi in mind: