NAMASTE CHURCH OF THE VINEYARD
OPENING SONG: “You Are the Face of God”
You are the face of God
I hold you in my heart
You are my family
You are the face of God (2x)
You are the face of God
I hold you in my heart
You are part of me
You are the face of God
WELCOME AND GREETING
Welcome to the liturgy of The Namaste Church!
We proclaim and celebrate this Easter season because it links Jesus with all life, with transformation, and with possibility of life beyond our imagining. Easter offers meaning and hope to all people.
In this, the 21st century, there is a movement among progressive Christians that focuses more on who Jesus was and why he had such an impact on the world rather than his death. Jean and I have studied the historical Jesus in depth and found him to be someone who had a powerful impact on the world because of his radical perception:
He modeled for us how to live in the Truth and stand up for justice.
He conveyed to us the importance of love and compassion.
He had the extraordinary capacity to recognize the Divinity in all human beings.
So, in the same way, we, of the Namaste Church, honor the Divinity in all people and this is why we called this church ‘Namaste’ which means ‘We honor the Divinity Within You.’
Just as Jesus empowered the people he encountered to believe in themselves, we want you to walk away with an awareness – not of how ordinary you are… not of how unworthy you are — but an awareness of your greatness and lovability.
GREETING OF PEACE
Now let us greet one another: I honor the Divinity Within you – Namaste – Peace
As we prepare for today’s celebration, let us express our regret for the limits we have put on God’s Spirit at work in us,
by our lack of courage to say yes to the Voice within,
by our unbelief and lack of understanding of God’s presence in us,
by acting as if we were disconnected and separate from God, our neighbor, and our world.
Pause for Reflection
With open minds and hearts, may the God-in-us find generous and courageous expression in our words and actions as we endeavor to make the presence of God evident in our world. Amen.
GOSPEL READING: John 20:1-9
HOMILY: Resurrection – Springing to New Life
Ask congregation if they have any resurrections they would like to share.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words… we would like to share a slideshow with you that gives life both visually and in its various messages. Some of these messages convey ways we might experience subtle resurrections and deaths in our everyday lives. See if you can pick them out.
Frame 1: We are about to enter a world of life-giving beauty.
Frame 2 Life is a precious gift.
Frame 3: Stop and smell the roses everyday.
Frame 4: A smile from you can bring joy to anyone and everyone you encounter.
Frame 5: God is everywhere, in all of creation.
Frame 6: You are a special and unique image of God.
Frame 7: You mean the world to someone.
Frame 8: When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.*
Frame 9: When you think the world has turned its back on you… take another look.
Frame 10: Always remember the compliments that you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
Frame 11: When life hands you a lemon – make lemonade!*
Frame 12: Good friends are like stars, you don’t always see them – but you know they are there.
Frame 13: I would rather have one rose and a kind word from a friend while I am here – than a whole truckload when I am gone.
Frame 14: Beauty is priceless…
Frame 15: Honor the Divine in everyone and in all creation.
Frame 16: You Are a Beautiful Creation
Frame 17: Look for the resurrections in your life.
Ask if they found the resurrections.
Close with quote from Michael Morwood: In nature we see superb aspects of transformation in supernovas exploding and in their dying giving birth to new possibilities … ’resurrection’ producing abundant life. Life is somehow stronger than death. Life finds a way. -Michael Morwood
PRAYER OF PETITIONS
Let us pray for the intentions within our hearts:
We know that when we raise our minds and hearts to the Presence among us, extraordinary things happen. Let us pray:
May each of us be aware of the Spirit of God within us today and respond to the Good News, we pray.
Let us pray for world peace.
Let us pray for inner peace.
Let us pray for an abundance of health, for prosperity, and for joy.
I invite you to add your own petitions…
We lift up these prayers in the belief that we are bonded in God’s Spirit with everything that exists. We pray with faith and confidence. Amen.
And now let us recite a creed, that is, an affirmation of faith, based on a contemporary view of Christianity:
We believe in God, the power of life, love and being
that flows through the universe.
We believe in Jesus, who revealed the good news
of our connectedness with God and with all people,
who was compassionate and stood up for justice,
even if this meant losing his life,
who gave people an experience of God
by demonstrating this power of life, love and being.
Through his words and example,
we believe that we too have this power
and the capacity to give people an experience of God
by living life fully,
loving with our whole heart,
and striving to be all we can be.
We believe in the communion of saints,
who are a people walking together,
engaged in the search for meaning
and the quest to be connected
with the Source and Sustainer of all that exists.
As we begin the Offertory, we prepare the gifts of this celebration. This bread and drink represents our life and all the giftedness that each of us bring to the table.
We give thanks and rejoice that Jesus so clearly and courageously linked our loving and our dying with living on in God. We rejoice that Jesus lives on, as we all will, in the reality we call God.
We believe that death is not the end, but rather a transformation into new possibilities,
Nothing that exists is ever completely destroyed.
A star exploding or a leaf falling: both offer new possibilities and will ‘live on’ in ways unknown to stars and leaves.
Winter gives way to sprin
What seemed lifeless now abounds with life, new possibilities and delights.
We, too, experience new possibilities arising from our failures or disappointments or what has come to an end.
We give thanks for all the influences in our lives that have helped us see beyond the present and have called us to live in hope and trust whatever endings we have experienced.
We give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth who inspired us to put our hope and trust in the spirit of Life and Love moving in the depths of our being.
We give thanks for the way he opened our minds and hearts to see and appreciate the intimate and never-ending connection between loving and the spirit of love.
We give thanks for the spirit of new life active in our lives as it was in the life of Jesus.
At this Easter gathering, we take bread, as Jesus took bread, and we remember, as Jesus remembered, the constant presence of the spirit of life and love.
We break and share this bread, as Jesus broke and shared it.
We share it as our pledge of openness to the spirit in our midst,
And in acknowledgment of our eternal connectedness with the spirit of life.
We take wine and drink, as Jesus invited his friends to drink,
As Jesus invited his friends to drink, mindful of a relationship of love and trust between ourselves and the spirit of life,
Believing, as Jesus believed, that beyond pain and darkness and death,
Life in the spirit continues in ways beyond our imagining.
Time for quiet reflection: I am eternally linked with the source of all life
Please respond Amen” after each of the following affirmations of our Eucharistic Prayer
For the journey that life has been, Amen.
for all that life is for us now, Amen.
for all that the future holds, Amen.
and for the mystery of life beyond death. Amen.
PRAYER OF UNITY
In preparation for communion, please join us in reciting the Prayer of Unity that is in your program.
Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion,
let us fill our hearts with our own compassion—
towards ourselves and towards all living beings.
May all living beings realize
that they are brothers and sisters,
all nourished from the same source of life.
May we ourselves cease to be the cause of suffering to each other.
May we live in a way which will not deprive other beings
of air water, food, shelter, or the chance to live.
With humility, with awareness of the existence of life,
and of the sufferings that are going on around us,
let us pray for the establishment of peace
in our hearts and on earth. Amen. Thich Nhat Hanh
We share this bread and drink, as Jesus shared a Passover meal with his disciples, and we partake of it together as our pledge of openness to the Spirit of Love in our midst, and as our remembrance of Jesus who invited us to do even greater things than he did.
Share all are welcome at the table –
Happy are we to be called to this Eucharistic celebration.
As we receive Communion, these words are said:
You are the Bread of Life. You are the Cup of Blessing.
MEDITATION Music: In the Garden – Eddie Watkins
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
May our hearts be filled with wisdom and spirit so that we may listen to the Spirit, the Voice Within that always guides us toward our sacred self and what is best for us. Amen.
Let’s extend our hands over one another for a final blessing:
May you have the power to live life fully,
The grace and passion to love wastefully,
and the courage to be all you can be!
CLOSING “We Will Rise Again “ – David Haas
Refrain: We will run and not grow weary
For our God will be our strength.
And we will fly like an eagle,
We will rise again.
*Parts of the liturgy were taken and modified from Michael Morwood’s Praying a New Story
**Slideshow was taken and modified from Sapphire Productions