Since we can’t get to church this morning because of the snow and ice, I’ve put together a service of poems, songs, and a film clip. So, having gathered, let us prepare our hearts for worship.
Our call to worship is “Morning Poem” by Mary Oliver.
Every morningthe worldis created.Under the orangesticks of the sunthe heapedashes of the nightturn into leaves againand fasten themselves to the high branches —and the ponds appearlike black clothon which are painted islandsof summer lilies.If it is your natureto be happyyou will swim away along the soft trailsfor hours, your imaginationalighting everywhere.And if your spiritcarries within itthe thornthat is heavier than lead —if it’s all you can doto keep on trudging —there is stillsomewhere deep within youa beast shouting that the earthis exactly what it wanted —each pond with its blazing liliesis a prayer heard and answeredlavishly,every morning,whether or notyou have ever dared to be happy,whether or notyou have ever dared to pray.
Let us join together in singing our opening hymn.
Julie Miller will now lead our time of confession: “Broken Things.”
Our first reading is “Poem” by Mary Oliver.
likes to dress up like this:
shoulders, and all the rest
in the black branches,
in the morning
in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather
plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
the metaphor of the body,
lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body’s world,
and the dark hug of time,
to be understood,
to be more than pure light
where no one is —
so it enters us —
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;
and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.
Our second hymn will be led by Emmylou Harris and Robert Duvall: “I Love to Tell the Story.”
Our second reading is “Thanks” by W. S. Merwin.
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is
Let us now come together for Communion.
The Gatlin Brothers will offer our closing hymn.
Let us go out with joy as Lyle Lovett and his Large Band offer the postlude.
Go in peace, live in grace, trust in the arms that will hold you.