Worship on your own or with your family or with one or two others with the following resource prepared by Rev. Marilyn Zehr
Find a comfortable place on your own or with a few others (and have a candle and some matches)
I invite you to take a moment now
And centre yourself deeply in the love of the Sacred.
(Some people like to plant their feet firmly on the ground; others like to open their hands. Find the position that is best for you.)
Breathe into your core the life-giving Sprit of our Eternal Source;
Breathe in goodness and truth;
Breathe out fearfulness and worry.
Allow your being to open up to the Wisdom that is here for you.
Lighting a Christ Candle
Why do we light a Christ Candle?
We light this candle to represent Christ Jesus’ light among us. We light this candle to remind us that even in times of challenge and trial there is a light that lights the way.
OPENING PRAYER (now speak or breathe a prayer for what you desire from this time in worship/silence/contemplation)
INVITATION TO CONFESSION
Is there anything that hasn’t felt right to you about
how you spoke this week?
how you behaved?
Consider these words from this song MV # 76 If I Have Been the Source of Pain
If I have been the source of pain, O God;
if to the weak I have refused my strength;
if, in rebellion, I have strayed away, forgive me God.
If I have spoken words of cruelty;
if I have left some suffering unrelieved;
condemn not my insensitivity; forgive me God.
If I’ve insisted on a peaceful life,
far from the struggles that the gospel brings,
when you prefer to guide me to the strife, forgive me, God.
Receive O God, this ardent word of prayer,
and free me from temptations subtle snare,
with tender patience, lead me to your care. Amen Amen
Hear these words of assurance: Know that God loves us more
than we can imagine – and in that love, we find peace.
LISTENING FOR A WORD OF WISDOM
Read the following passage two or three or four times.
Listen with the ear of your heart or inner wisdom.
In between each reading you might consider these questions.
- Did anything stand out for you in this reading? A word or phrase? Say that word or phrase over and over again to yourself.
- Now read again and let any thoughts or feelings or reflections arise in you and make note of them.
- As you read a third time, speak your thoughts and feelings in prayer.
- Now rest in God’s presence. Just be.
- If there is someone with you as you have been reading this, share with each other anything that occurred to you about this passage.
Exodus 17:1-7 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
17 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 He called the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Reflection (from Marilyn)
I offer here something to hold alongside your own reflections.
Is God among us or not?
Like the “congregation of Israelites” who just left slavery in Egypt and are wandering in the wilderness, unsure of where they are going, how they are going to get there, and most pressing at the moment, whether they will have enough water to drink – this sure feels a bit like where we are now in the face of society’s attempts to contain the Covid 19 virus.
We have left the security of an “economy” that for its health requires that we spend/spend/spend and move/move/move.
What happens when we stay home, don’t spend and don’t move around as much?
Many ask legitimate questions like – how’s this all going to unfold? What wilderness are we in now anyway?
Am I going to have enough money to pay the rent/mortgage or buy groceries? Apparently, there’s some unusual concern about toilet paper??? Joking aside, there are deeply legitimate questions about ‘survival’ in the way we have come to know it.
And alongside the basic question of survival is a deeper existential one. Is God alongside us or not?
Not everyone believes in God anymore. The God question floats in and out of our consciousness with varying answers.
Some say, I know that God exists, because I have experienced the peace and love and beauty and security of God in my life over and over again. Every time, I’ve been in need, God is there and God guides my actions towards others.
Others say, “I believe, help my unbelief” – because they hold their belief about God and doubts about God side by side.
And others say, I don’t believe in God, I believe in people.
And when we can’t believe in people anymore…hmmm.
Is God alongside us or not?
There are many names for God and understandings of how God is present in the world and how God acts in the world.
I see and experience God (or Eternal source of life)
in people who look after each other.
in people who check in on each other.
especially in people who love people who don’t necessarily love them back.
And I see God active in this global crisis when we can’t rely on things being the way they were, things that we might have been slaves to without really knowing it. This crisis shakes everything up and, in our uncertainties, asking, “Is God alongside us or not?” is a really legitimate question.
In this story God provides for a people who thirst – for water and the security of knowing that God is there with them and for them in their wilderness.
I suspect that God will provide for us too during this wilderness of uncertainty. Let’s look for and document all the places water flows from rock (where the impossible becomes possible) in the days ahead as people reach out and care for each other in ways we haven’t really had to for a long time. The God I believe in will be in those places.
Words from a song
Grant us God, the Grace of Giving, with a spirit large and free,
That ourselves and all our living we may offer faithfully.
Continue to pray
for our world
for those who are ill and those who care for them
for our world’s leaders
for our community and neighbours
for ourselves and our loved ones
and as you wish pray to the one who as a loving parent is like
Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed, be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver
Us from evil
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory amen
OR A prayer by Miriam Therese Winter
Our Mother who is within us;
we celebrate your many names
Your wisdom come,
Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need
You remind us of our limits and we let go
You support us in our power and we act with courage
For you are the
dwelling place within us
the empower around us
and the celebration among us
now and forever amen.
CLOSING Prayer and Sending
Go now to will and to work for God’s purposes.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
Be filled with the same love
and look to the interests of others.
And may God quench your thirst with love and consolation;
May Christ Jesus strengthen you and encourage you;
And may the Holy Spirit lead you on and make your joy complete.
We go in peace to love and serve God,
……..In the name of Christ. Amen.