Welcome to this service. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that the Civil Rights Movement was bringing to light the interrelated flaws in the systems and structures of our society and it was clear that a “radical reconstruction of society itself” was what was needed. Jesus saw the same thing in his day and called for the same solution as Rev. Dr. King, a spiritual and social movement of transformation to create the realm of God’s love and justice on earth. This week and next we will look at the teachings Jesus gives in Matthew 9 and 10 about how to be part of that movement.
You will find an “Orientation to this Service and Announcements” after the first few videos.
Prelude Introduction This week the service begins unusually with our church musician, the consummate pianist, Annemieke McLane, singing the prelude a cappella. It is a cry from the heart in the dialect of the Gullah Geechee people, descendants of African-American slaves who live on islands off the coast of the southern United States. It is one of the most profoundly moving spirituals and also one of the most disrespected and scorned because of how it has been trivialized by its appropriation by white culture. The song is “Kumbaya,” meaning “Come By Here.”
The contemporary African-American contemplative theologian, Barbara Holmes, gives us the true context and role of “Kumbaya” in the quote below. She is not talking about it specifically, but if you read this you will have a completely different feeling about it for the rest of your days. [from Barbara A. Holmes, Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church, 2nd ed. (Fortress Press: 2017) as quoted in the Center for Action and Contemplation daily meditation, 6/12/20]
The word contemplation must press beyond the constraints of religious expectations to reach the potential for spiritual centering in the midst of danger. Centering moments accessed in safety are an expected luxury in our era. During slavery, however, crisis contemplation became a refuge, a wellspring of discernment in a suddenly disordered life space. . . .
As unlikely as it may seem, the contemplative moment can be found at the very center of such ontological crises . . . during the Middle Passage in the holds of slave ships . . . on the auction blocks . . . and in the . . . hush arbors [where slaves worshipped in secret]. Each event is experienced by individuals stunned into multiple realities by shock, journey, and displacement. . . .
The only sound that would carry Africans over the bitter waters was the moan. Moans flowed through each wracked body and drew each soul toward the center of contemplation. . . .
“Kumbaya” is exactly that kind of hallowed, haunting moan. Listen now to Annemieke singing it out of her own pain as someone who has beloved close ones who are people of color and front line health workers, and as someone who cares about the earth. “Someone’s crying, Lord. Come by here.”
Let us open our hearts to receive whatever the Spirit would have us receive here today.
Prelude “Kumbaya,” Annemieke McLane, solo.
Introit “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” by Ken Medema, sung by the United Church of Strafford Choir.
Annemieke McLane, Becky Bailey and our choir have created a deeply moving version of this beloved Ken Medema song. You can hear the emotional power of this time in it, a cry from the heart. Don’t miss it.
Call to Worship and Mel Goertz’s Haiku
You can find the text of the Call to Worship and Haiku by clicking here.
Orientation to this Service and Announcements
Welcome to this online worship service of the United Church of Strafford, Vermont for June 14th, 2020.
You can respond with thoughts about the service or with anything you would like to say by using the comment feature at the end of the post or by emailing us. You can also bring others into this experience by sharing the link to this service by email or social media.
Here is the order of worship on this page:
- Above: Welcome, Prelude, Introit, Call to Worship and Mel Goertz’s Haiku;
- This orientation;
- Time with Children (and Adults);
- Alternate Lord’s Prayer read by six members of our congregation;
- Scripture passage, excerpts from Matthew 9:35-10:39;
- Sermon by the Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder;
- Hymn (“Lord, Speak to Me That I May Speak” sung by our choir);
- A Call to Communion;
- Anthem “Room at the Table,” by Carrie Newcomer
- Benediction Anthem (“Lead Me, Lord” Annemieke McLane, organ and voice)
- Postlude “Schaffe in mir Got,” by J. Brahms, performed by the Erlanger Chor Vocanta.
Please note that we are gathering as a congregation by Zoom at 10:30 AM on Sunday mornings to say hello to one another and share our Joys and Concerns and Prayer requests and offer our compassion and support and company for this journey.
Our Heartfulness Contemplative Training Circle is also meeting by Zoom on Thursdays at 6:00 PM. This is for anyone who is interested in practicing mindfulness or meditation, or heartfulness and centering prayer. It is a time for talking about those practices and also more generally about our spiritual life.
You can find links to instructions on how to be part of those Zoom gatherings on the Welcome Page of our website.
If you are not on our weekly email list and would like to be, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure you receive all our church news.
It is extremely important that we stay connected now. Please reach out by phone or email to neighbors and other members of the congregation, especially those who live by themselves or are struggling or vulnerable. Our Deacons, Becky Bailey, Kim Welsh and Maggie Hooker, are coordinating our Deacons Fund and our outreach to people in need of support, and Danette Harris, Chair of our Mission Committee, is leading our work with the Food Shelf. Becky, Danette and Joey Hawkins are on the town committee that is coordinating outreach as well. If you would like to donate or help please email us or use the comment feature on this page.
You can listen to this service in one sitting in under an hour or you may spread it out over the course of the day or week. Thank you!
Time with Children and Youth (and all ages…) A trip to the garden to see what we can learn about trusting in the Spirit.
Alternative Lord’s Prayer
I invited children, parents and other adults to record themselves saying the prayer. Here is a composite of six readers. Please keep sending these in—it would be wonderful to have every member of the congregation lead the prayer!
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer,
Way, Truth and Life,
Force of Love and Light
flowing within and all around us,
may your realm of compassion,
justice and peace rule our world.
Thank you for nurturing and guiding us,
forgiving us and helping us forgive,
and leading us away from harmful desires.
Please save us from all forms of evil,
for you are our source, our home, our power,
all goodness and beauty forever. Amen.
Scripture: excerpts from Matthew 9:35-10:39 (We will be focusing on a different dimension of this passage next week.)
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness…. “As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons….”
“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves… When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Sermon “Those Who Lose Their Life Will Find It” Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
You can find the text of the Sermon by clicking here.
Hymn “Lord, Speak to Me That I May Speak,” words: Frances R. Havergal; tune: Arranged from Robert Schumann; sung by the United Church of Strafford Choir
Please join in singing this with the choir.
A Call to Communion
You can read the text of this Call by clicking here.
Anthem “Room at the Table,” by Carrie Newcomer
This past week the church hosted a planning meeting of the wider community for education and action to end the systemic racism that has tainted our nation since its beginning and is now setting off protests around the world. You will be hearing about activities soon.
This congregation is a small but meaningful part of the movement to establish God’s realm of peace, justice and care for God’s creation on earth, actively engaged in serving our community and supporting the wider worldwide movement. One of the ways we work together and increase our strength beyond our individual abilities is by pooling our resources. This is hard to do when we are forced apart by the pandemic, so we hope you will take just a minute to use our online donation service.
To make your offering on line, please click here. (This is a service we are providing through an extremely well established on-line donation company specializing in churches that is recommended by the national United Church of Christ and used by thousands of churches like ours. To read more about our decision to allow on line donations, click here.)
Benediction Anthem “Lead Me, Lord;” Annemieke McLane, organ and voice.
“For it is thou, Lord, thou Lord only, that makest me dwell in safety.”
Postlude “Schaffe in mir Got,” by J. Brahms, performed by the Erlanger Chor Vocanta, based on the 51st Psalm:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put in me a new and right spirit.”