Webster United Church of Christ – August 7, 2022

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

 

LABYRINTH SERVICE

Wisdom from the Generations: Finding Peace on the Path

 

Prelude

 

Welcome 

 

Call to Worship

 

One: We are God’s beloved family. 

Many: Let us listen to the wisdom of the old. 

One: We are God’s beloved family. 

Many: Let us nurture the eagerness of the young. 

One: We are God’s beloved family. 

Many: Let us worship God together. 


Reading - For the Traveler by John O’Donohue

Every time you leave home,

Another road takes you

Into a world you were never in.

 

New strangers on other paths await.

New places that have never seen you

Will startle a little at your entry.

Old places that know you well

Will pretend nothing

Changed since your last visit.

 

When you travel, you find yourself

Alone in a different way,

More attentive now

To the self you bring along,

Your more subtle eye watching

You abroad; and how what meets you

Touches that part of the heart

That lies low at home: 

How you unexpectedly attune

To the timbre in some voice,

Opening in conversation

You want to take in

To where your longing

Has pressed hard enough

Inward, on some unsaid dark,

To create a crystal of insight

You could not have known

You needed

To illuminate

Your way.

 

When you travel,

A new silence

Goes with you,

And if you listen,

You will hear

What your heart would

Love to say.

 

A journey can become a sacred thing:

Make sure, before you go,

To take the time

To bless your going forth,

To free your heart of ballast

So that the compass of your soul

Might direct you toward

The territories of spirit

Where you will discover

More of your hidden life,

And the urgencies

That deserve to claim you.

 

May you travel in an awakened way,

Gathered wisely into your inner ground;

That you may not waste the invitations

Which wait along the way to transform you.

 

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,

And live your time away to its fullest;

Return home more enriched, and free

To balance the gift of days which call you.

 

  

Opening Song - Come and Fill Our Hearts, Taize

  

 

Silence

 

Reading - from The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila

 

There is a secret place. A radiant sanctuary. As real as your own kitchen. More real than that. Constructed of the purest elements. Overflowing with the ten thousand beautiful things. Worlds within worlds. Forest, rivers. Velvet coverlets thrown over featherbeds, fountains bubbling beneath a canopy of stars. Bountiful forests, universal libraries. A wine cellar offering an intoxication so sweet you will never be sober again. A clarity so complete you will never again forget.

 

This magnificent refuge is inside you. Enter. Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway. Step around the poisonous vipers that slither at your feet, attempting to throw you off your course. Be bold. Be humble. Put away the incense and forget the incantations they taught you. Ask no permission from the authorities. Slip away. Close your eyes and follow your breath to the still place that leads to the invisible path that leads you home.

 

Listen. Softly, the One you love is calling. Listen. At first, you will only hear traces of his voice. Love letters he drops for you in hiding places. In the sound of your baby laughing, in your boyfriend telling you a dream, in a book about loving-kindness, in the sun dipping down below the horizon and a peacock's tail of purple and orange clouds unfolding behind it, in the nameless sorrow that fills your heart when you wake in the night and remember that the world has gone to war and you are powerless to break up the fight. Let the idle chatter between friends drop down to what matters. Listen. Later his voice will come closer. A whisper you're almost sure is meant for you fading in and out of the cacophony of thoughts, clearer in the silent space between them. Listen. His call is flute music, far away. Coming closer.

 

Be brave and walk through the country of your own wild heart. Be gentle and know that you know nothing. Be mindful and remember that every moment can be a prayer. Melting butter, scrambling eggs, lifting fork to mouth, praising God. Typing your daughter's first short story, praising God. Losing your temper and your dignity with someone you love, praising God. Balancing ecstasy with clear thinking, self-control with self-abandon. Be still. Listen. Keep walking. . . .

 

No one else controls access to this perfect place. Give yourself your own unconditional permission to go there. Absolve yourself of missing the mark again and again. Believe the incredible truth that the Beloved has chosen for his dwelling place the core of your own being because that is the single most beautiful place in all of creation. Waste no time. Enter the center of your soul.

 

Song - Nothing Can Trouble, Taize

 

 

Silence

 

Time for Youth 

 

Prayers 

 

Lord’s Prayer (version by Parker Palmer)

Heavenly Father, heavenly Mother,

Holy and blessed is your true name.

We pray for your reign of peace to come,

We pray that your good will be done,

Let heaven and earth become one.

Give us this day the bread we need, Give it to those who have none.

Let forgiveness flow like a river between us,

From each one to each one.

Lead us to holy innocence

Beyond the evil of our days —

Come swiftly Mother, Father, come.

For yours is the power and the glory and the mercy:

Forever your name is All in One. Amen.

 

Song - O Lord, Hear My Prayer, Taize

 

 

Scripture Reading  1 Peter 5

 

Message - “Wisdom from the Generations: Finding Peace on the Path”

 

Silence

 

Communion

 

Offering 

 

Doxology - Praise God from whom all blessings flow (OLD HUNDREDTH)

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise God, all creatures here below;

Praise God above, ye heav'nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

 

Invitation to the Labyrinth and Labyrinth Walk

 

Silence

 

Prayer of Dedication 

 

Apache Blessing

May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.

 

Closing Song - God Be with You  #809

 

Postlude