Two Movements in the Multi-age Life of Faith

A service for all ages

Gathering Music 

Music by Rock Band Song

Welcome

We welcome all members, guests, and visitors.  Please sign the registrations pads and pass them down the row, and back, in order to learn the names of those you do not know. 

Opening Litany

(Putting our hands over our eyes)

Holy One, we long to see your work in the world.  Open us to the ways you show up all around us.  Give us eyes to see holiness in ourselves, others and in the natural world.

(Putting hands on our shoulders)

Gathering God, strengthen us when we are weary or overwhelmed.

(Crossing our arms and hands over our heart)

God of all ages, help us to trust your love and mystery as we face difficult or unwanted choices.

(Clasping our hands in a gesture of prayer)

God of the future, help us to discover new ways to use our hands in service to you.  Amen

 

First Movement

In the young, elders hope for justice.  In elders, the young see the wisdom of faith.

Reading of Scripture:  Luke 2:25-35, shared by a child and an adult

Reflection

At first glance this is a story about an old man, a prophet of sorts, waiting for a child to be born.  But a deeper look reveals that what Simeon saw in the child Jesus was the salvation of his people – indeed the liberation of his people from an oppressed power.  He, and undoubtedly others, waited and yearned for that liberation.  What’s incredible in the story for him, it is enough that the child is born and blessed.  He has some mysterious understanding that while the liberation is still far off, a new day has arrived.  He represents the incredible hope that elders of all generations have in the blessing of children – a hope that is replicated time and time again in the life of a family or faith community.  It is this hope, rather, this certainty, that guides and supports our life as a congregation.

But, in addition, one has to marvel that this story is included in the narrative of our faith.  It is there because younger people, those telling the story and writing the story, saw incredible wisdom, strength and faith in the persistent and steadfast faith of their elder.  It is included because it represents not only Simeon’s wise mentoring, but because it represents how time and again, the young are inspired and encouraged and strengthened by the steadfast faith of elders.  It is also part of what we celebrate in a community of faith.  When we are discouraged, when we are confused, we have some sense that ‘yonder come day, day is a breaking.’  We have been taught to trust, taught to be strong, taught to not give up.

In the young, elders hope for justice.  In elders, the young see the wisdom and tenacity of faith.  Amen. 

Song – Yonder Come Day

 

Second Movement

The loaves, shared in love, sustain us and call us to follow Jesus with action toward justice.

Reading of Scripture:  John 6:1-14, shared by an adult and a child

Reflection

We shared this story on the all-church retreat 2 weeks ago and I pointed out that there are 4 versions of the loaves and fishes story, one of only a few stories that are in all four gospels.  But this version in John is unique, and maybe should not be titled, Jesus feeds thousands, but rather ‘young boy shares his lunch.’  For indeed, the turning point of the story, the point where it goes from a story of frustration and anger to a miracle of openness, justice and welcome is when a young boy shares his lunch.  In sharing what little he has, the boy demonstrates that in the community of faith, when loaves are shared in love, there is no shortage.  We end up not only with enough, but with a good deal left over.  And, of course, what’s shared is so much more that bread and what results is so much more than the satisfying of physical hunger.

One wonders how many times someone tried to share and was neglected or ignored.  One wonders how many times a child, or someone else on the margins of the disciples’ circle, offered what they had in love, only to be turned away.  In the church we seek to remain open and attentive.  When we are, we are reminded time and again that it is indeed the loaves of all kinds, shared in love, that sustain and remind us again of our call to follow Jesus with a faith rooted in such sharing, rooted in that same hope to welcome all people, to work for the justice and peace of the thousands – those we know and those we don’t know.  The story is, of course, a precursor to our sacrament of communion, and like communion, it is a reminder as we share in the breaking of bread, we seek to live our own lives in a way that furthers that grace.  We pray, as the old spiritual says, that we might live so God can use us.

Let us re-enact the sharing of our lunch…

Sharing the bread as a reminder of our commitment to justice 

Music during the sharing of bread

            I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me

I’m gonna live so God can use me anytime, Lord, and anywhere.
I’m gonna live so God can use me anytime, Lord, and anywhere.

I’m gonna work…

I’m gonna pray…

I’m gonna sing…

I'm Gonna Live

 

            We Are One in the Spirit

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

 

Responsive Prayer 

Closing Song

Words of Blessing

O Amazing God, you come into our ordinary lives and set a holy table among us, filling our plates with the Bread of Life…Send us out with tenderheartedness to touch an ordinary, everyday world with the promise of your love and the hope of justice.

———

 

Bread Sharing Ritual (directions)

Each of you will have a partner.  There will be six baskets of rolls, with approximately 15 roles in each basket.  When Winton invites you forward, the pairs will come to their basket, and together break each roll in half.  You will then hold the basket for people to come take half a roll each.  As they take the bread, one of you will say “the bread of justice” and the other will say “shared with love.”  When the entire congregation has been served, you can serve each other.  Tammy and Winton will watch to see if there are some who can’t come forward and we’ll ask the pair closest to the person to take the bread to them.

 

———

 

This service came about after a request for an all ages service.  While we had more elements to our service, this is the core piece we titled, “Two movements in the Multi-Age Life of Faith.”  Each movement had Scripture, reflection and music.

 

The First Movement had a song, “Yonder Come Day” led by our children’s music director leading us in several different ‘body rhythms’ while we sang.  By ‘body rhythms’ I mean clapping or slapping our legs.

 

The Second Movement had a bread sharing ritual in which children (paired as younger or older children, or children and adults) broke and shared bread with the congregation.

 

Rev. Winton Boyd

Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, Madison WI

“Spiritually Alive, Joyfully Inclusive, Committed to Justice”

 www.orucc.org

Topics: Aging and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 3: Inclusive Community. Seasons & Special Events: Father's Day and Mother's Day. Ages: All Ages. Resource Types: Full Service Liturgies.

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