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.”
Quotes Ancient and New
“All Things Bright and Beautiful” Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander | William Henry Monk
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all
Each little flower that opens
Each little bird that sings
He made their glowing colours
He made their tiny wings
The purple-headed mountain
The river running by
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky
The cold wind in the winter
The pleasant summer sun
The ripe fruits in the garden
He made them every one
He gave us eyes to see them
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty
Who has made all things well
Every Thing is Sacred, “Reflection 19: Up There”
“Most of us understandably start the journey assuming that God is ‘up there,’ and our job is to transcend this world to find ‘him.’ …I suspect that the ‘up there’ mentality is the way most people’s spiritual search has to start. But once the real inner journey begins - once you come to know that, in Christ, God is forever overcoming the gap between human and divine - the Christian path becomes less about climbing and performance, and more about descending, letting go, and unlearning.”
My pastoral colleague, Lenora Three Star, Iglala Lakota sits on boards related to her interests in indigenous issues, justice, and creation care. She speaks, writes and teaches from a Native perspective on decolonizing theology and racial justice and has awakened my heart to a deeper meaning of “space” as she writes about the worldview of land as a relative to be cared for, not a thing to be owned. She writes, Creator made a physical place and incarnated into it to model radical love. Creator’s teachings reflected an Aramaic worldview that all creation is sacred…As I continue to grow, my personal theological bright line is, “Does this help me be a good relative?” If it’s good for me, it should also be good for my family and my community. If my theology doesn’t help me be a better relative, then I need a better theology.
Rohr writes, “Everything visible, without exception, is the outpouring of God. What else could it really be?” We see the depths of this as John tells us to awaken to this outpouring. Through Christ all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made, in Him was life and that life was the light of his sons and daughters. And Paul writes to Christ followers to have this understanding, For by him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. This makes everything sacred that God has made.
This week’s focus on Sacred Places can point to the places within ourselves as well as places in our homes , our church and organizations, not to mention the earth we were commanded to care for, as needing our recognition as sacred, set apart by God to show his goodness and where goodness continues to grow. We are being called to create something and to nurture it to fullness. What spaces are you nurturing?
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:
How do the spaces I inhabit - at home, work, and in community - reflect God’s justice and joy?
What am I being called to create in order to further goodness in the world?
What tightly held beliefs or previous life experiences keep you separate from a God who seems to be ‘up there’ instead of ‘in here,’ within you?
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.