Liturgy for November 17, 2013

On Mondays I share liturgical writing focused on the Luke passages for each Sunday in the Revised Common Lectionary. This week’s scripture is Luke 21: 5-17, strange words about signs and persecutions. Contributors this week are Emily Rose Eiben, now living in Munich Germany (visit her WordPress Blog at Jesus Scribbles and Eliza Buchakjian-Tweedy of Rochester, New Hampshire.

Gift of: Emily Rose Eiben, Munich, Germany

It is not an easy time for us.
We have seen too much violence this year:
on our streets, in our schools, in our cities and homes.
We have seen too much hunger this year:
not just in far-away places, but in our neighbors’ children,
in our food-insecure communities,
in the line down the street for the soup kitchen.
And we have seen nations rise against nations;
we have felt the betrayal of sisters and brothers;
we have tasted the fear of death.

Your Word reminds us of what is perishable, and what is eternal.
As you tell us in Luke 21,
these are the things that last just for a time:
The foundations of Empires;
The reign of Kings and Governors;
The stones of church buildings, crumbling with time;
Wars and uprisings in hostile places;
Earthquakes and famines and tragedies;
The threat of bullets and bombs.

And these are the things that last forever:
The testimony of the faithful to the One who has come;
The words and wisdom of God;
Eternal life for the saints through the Father, the Son, and the Spirit;
and Your Love, which has no end.

Our hope is in things unseen,
our faith in the Son of God.
Our future is in your hands,
and not a hair on our heads shall be lost.

Give us the strength to stand firm,
that we may win eternal life. Amen.

Gift of:  Eliza Buchakjian-Tweedy, Rochester, New Hampshire

“Are we there yet?”
The muttering from the backseat
is nearly intolerable
and, despite myself, I look
almost desperately up the road
for a mile marker;
for some reassurance that we will,
in fact,
be there soon.
Because the present,
with the sun’s heat
pouring through the windshield
and making me sleepy;
with the squabbling
of hot and cranky children –
of all ages –
is making me wonder
why we set out on this adventure at all.
“Are we there yet?”
The road stretches out before us
from here, it seems like forever,
like the end is just an illusion
beyond the next set of hills, and the next,
each looking much like the ones before,
and my eyes ache with the strain
of seeking.
Then, cresting yet another ridge,
waves of bright yellow: shocking us
into silence.
As though the sun had poured itself out
and solidified, mounding out of the earth
in neat rows; organized light
The mile marker passes,
a distraction from the beauty
that holds us all captive;
an annoyance, this long-desired sign
of progress,
and endings.
“Are we here now?”
a whisper, awed,
almost inaudible,
and finally, the joy
of saying, “Yes.”

Prayer of Confession:

“When will this be, O Lord?” When will we live in a place where we can see your glory?  When will we be without poverty, or war, or hatred?  When will we stop being afraid?  We peer down the road, as though the beauty of God’s kingdom might suddenly appear before us; we whisper tales of a utopia: no hunger, no illness, no strife, no worry.  We look ahead: dreaming, hoping, longing.

Yet while we hope, while we believe in your promised realm, Holy God, we are easily distracted by the needs that are all around us in this moment.  Our eyes fixed on a bright and shining future, we are blinded to the hunger, the poverty, the loneliness that exists right in front of us. Forgive us, we pray. Turn our hearts back to you, focus our hopes on the plight of our neighbors. May we forget our dreams of utopia, may we forget our fear of persecution and violence, in the act of loving your beloved Creation, present before us in this very moment.  In your holy name we pray, Amen.

Assurance of Pardon:   In every gesture of love, we may find God.  In every act that brings hope, God is present. In this moment, God’s light shines upon us; in this moment, we are assured of God’s grace.  Right here, right now: we are beloved, forgiven, and free.  Amen.

 All of these resources were given freely and they may be used in worship contexts. They may be adapted to fit your context. Please cite the original author when you reprint them or share them orally. For any other use please contact me so that I can put you directly in touch with that particular author.

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