28.June.2015, #302

We're doing a 4-week-long over and above, except instead of donating money to a certain cause we're giving extra attention to the issue of race in America & American churches, specifically focusing on the African-American community in light of the recent events in Charleston.  So the first half of the service was varied and lengthy: we sang 3 songs, had 3 readings, had a ritual with candles, followed by 2 more songs, and finished with a confession.

When God Made Me, from Neil Young, followed by Rich & Poor, from Robbie Seay, followed by one I wrote called Fill Us.  Then the quotes:

The totally self-sufficient person is subhuman, for none of us comes fully formed into the world. I need other human beings in order to be human myself.
— Desmond Tutu
Humanism starts not with identity but with the ability to identify with others. It asks what we have in common with others while acknowledging the internal diversity among ourselves. It is about the priority of a shared humanity.
— Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
By ceasing to make our individual differences a basis of competition and by recognizing these differences as potential contributions to a life together, we begin to hear the call to community.
In and through Christ, people of different ages and lifestyles, from different races and classes, with different languages and education, can join together and witness to God’s compassionate presence in our world.
There are many common-interest groups, and most of them seem to exist in order to defend or protect something. Although these groups often fulfill important tasks in our society, the Christian community is a different nature.
When we form a Christian community, we come together not because of similar experiences, knowledge, problems, color, or gender, but because we have been called together by the same Lord.
Only God enables us to cross the many bridges that separate us; only God allows us to recognize each other as members of the same human family; and only God frees us to pay careful attention to each other.
That is why those who are gathered together in community are witnesses to the compassionate Lord. By the way they are able to carry each other’s burdens and share each other’s joys, they testify to God’s presence in our world.
— Henri Nouwen

The ritual involved this picture.  For each of the 9 names read there was a brief biography, and a candle was blown out.  Then the 9 candles were re-lit as 9 passages from Scripture were read that relate in some way to resurrection.

We then sang We Shall Overcome, by Pete Seeger, followed by Create In Me, by Keith Green.  As a close, we sang "We'll BE overcome" before reciting this confession together.

Hands who touched the leper, touch my wounded heart;
Hands who healed the blind man, heal my aching soul;
Hands who cured the lame, mend my disjointed life;
Hands who embrace all life, enfold me in your peace.
Lord, merely touch and heal, cure and forgive.
This is my prayer to you, my Lord.
— Rabindranath Tagore
Posted on June 30, 2015 .