Let us light a candle, take a deep breath, and pray together:
Living God, Christ Mystery, Spirit of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace,
we give you thanks for this holy moment together.
As we take in the light you offer, may we be a reflection of your light, expanding our sacred time “right now” into the sacred memory of “always and for all time.” Amen.
Quotes Ancient and New
Romans 15:4-13 Meditate on 5-7
5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Every Thing is Sacred, “Reflection 10: Including”
“There is no easy way through [the worldly] pattern of including and excluding. It’s our life’s work. But the sooner we acknowledge it and the deeper we go in addressing it, the greater the chance that things can change within and that we can see Christ ‘in those who do not like [us], and those who are not like [us].’”
In his prayer book, Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community, Padraig O Tuama writes, “A few years ago, at Mass, I was sitting near a woman who had a small boy on her lap. He looked to be about three years old. It was an ordinary Sunday mass and the child seemed like an ordinary child. At the time of consecration, the faithful were quiet, the bell was rung, the priest held up the sacrament and everything was as expected. Then the child, who had, up to now, been quiet, shouted out:
“Hello Jesus!” He dragged out the hello into one long yodel. Helloooooooooooo. Everybody in the church turned. Like many children, he knew an audience when he had one, so he lauded all the louder: “Hellooooo Jesus!”
It was a moment of delight. The priest looked shocked, blank, as if Jesus had turned up, in the actual flesh and bone. Shut the child up, you could hear in the fear. Theologically, of course, the child was deliciously correct…I cannot remember anything else from that mass apart from the warm welcome of a small child who took the story seriously; the small child whose words of welcome were of surprise of praise among the predictable.
Our world is crying out for a warm welcome from their Creator though they may not say it that way. And like the small boy, we are to be ushering in the presence of love as we recognize the holy in all people. So that when the time is ready for them to say hello to Jesus they will have already been introduced and welcomed as we have reflected to them that they are sacred, loved and have intrinsic value as a person created in the image of their Creator.
So welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God so people can say Hellooooo to Jesus:)
You may have already spent time journaling so if you have, simply read what you have already written for this week in your journal. If you have not written anything, we will take 5 minutes (feel free to extend the time if the group desires) to write whatever comes to us when we encounter the question for this week:
Where do I see the sacred in other people this week, even those whom I find difficult to love?
In what ways have you felt included by others? Choose a specific example and journal as many details as you can remember - not only what happened, but also, how it made you feel and how it affected you beyond the initial moment of inclusion?
Leader: In our conversation, everyone is invited to share, but sharing is not required. Please make room for all voices, keeping your contribution to a respectful time limit so everyone has a chance to speak. Whatever is said here stays here – not because we are telling secrets, but because we honor that what a person says here is their story to share.
I invite you to share something from your journaling or just thoughts that are bubbling up. We will allow uninterrupted speaking on the first round and then open it up for responses to each other. Remember, no one is “right or wrong” when it comes to our understanding of the sacred. We notice what we notice on our faith journey, and no one perspective will be the same. A good way to begin to respond to someone is “I appreciated your reflection about…”
Let us read this benediction, taken from our weekly worship, together…
When you see lights twinkle,
when you catch a reflection in a mirror,
when you notice the sunlight dancing on a surface
or a nightlight glowing in the darkness,
let these be signs that the Christ Light is revealed
again and again in and through this world.
Know that your brilliant presence
is pouring more hope, love, joy, and peace into a weary world.
God loved us by becoming us.
This means you are already
reflecting the sacred.
In the name of the Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit.