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The Holy Wholly Other

Be still and know what’s going on inside yourself, and after a while your relationship to yourself will change. There will be the One who observes with kindness and patience, and the one that is observed – and after a while you’ll identify more with the kind and patient Observer than with the one who is observed. The compassionate Observer is God. Then you’ll know that God is not some supernatural superhero working miracles in the cosmos. You’ll know instead that God is love even for your worst enemy, who, all to often, is your own selfish self.

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Praying to Love

For many Christians, a supernatural theistic God is a daily reality in their lives, but for many others, this kind of God is simply not there. They long to feel God’s presence and God’s love, but instead they experience emptiness and isolation. They worship God in church, but find that God is not present in the sanctuary. They pray fervently to God in private moments, but realize that their prayers often go unanswered. In the end, there is only silence.2 The biblical character of Job cried out to God in despair, “I cry to you God, but you do not answer. I stand before you, and you don’t even bother to look.”3

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On Prayer and Pentecost

When prayers in Jesus’s name go unanswered, and when unrelenting “knocking on heaven’s door” produces no result – even when bargains are offered (“I’ll stop smoking”) – instead of confronting the possibility that God is not going to intervene, the failure is treated as a “test of faith” that “God has a better plan for me.” But the transformation of human thought is far more powerful than petitions to a discredited god. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, first given by John’s Jesus, descends in tongues of flames on the Christian community gathered in Jerusalem. They are empowered to tell the story of Jesus in every language of the known world. Peter quotes the prophet Joel, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Paul proclaims, “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” The imagery of fire represents the outpouring of the presence of sacred being and of creative power. No magic is required.

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The Evolving Faith of a Liberal Christian Minister (8): What I Believe about Prayer

This current series of sermons offers me the opportunity to examine and reflect upon my own faith – and I share those reflections with you, not to tell you what you should believe, but to challenge you to examine your own religious convictions.

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As We Leave Worship

As we leave worship
Let us remember that we are reflections of the universe
We embody the image of God

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Topics: Prayer and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons. Prayers: Benediction. Resource Types: Blessings and Prayers.

Benediction

May the blessing of God go before you.
May God’s grace and peace abound.

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Topics: Prayer and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons. Prayers: Benediction. Resource Types: Blessings and Prayers.

Closing Prayer

O God who is called I am who I am: As we leave this place grant to us, your children, the grace to speak and act with integrity reflecting who we truly are.

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Topics: Prayer and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 4: Act As We Believe. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons. Prayers: Benediction. Resource Types: Blessings and Prayers.

Awe Fills Us

Watch mountain shadows run
Allelujia! Amen!
Clouds gilded by the sun
Allelujia! Amen!
Hear tumbling water sing
Birds calling on the wing

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Topics: Arts and Music, Devotional, and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 7: Integrity of the Earth. Seasons & Special Events: Ordinary Time. Ages: Adult, Pre-Teen, Teen, and Young Adult. Resource Types: Hymns, Meditations, Music, and Poetry.

Ages and Ages: Divisionary (Do the Right Thing) Music Video

Do the right thing, do the right thing, do it all the time, do it all the time. Make yourself right, never mind them. Don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering. I hear a higher calling, better here than there I guess so long.

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Call Me Back

I am told that God answers prayer.
Always.
But then a few caveats are added,
meant to temper my expectation
for a quick and positive response.

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Topics: Fiction and Poetry, Prayer, and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 5: Non-Dogmatic Searchers. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons. Ages: Adult. Resource Types: Poetry and Prayers.

Never to Part (John 14:1-12)

Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” He is not telling them to not be sad, but rather, to not be frustrated and fearful. Jesus himself struggled with this according to John’s account. Three times John says Jesus was troubled: at the death of Lazarus, when he contemplated his own death, and when he realized that his own disciples would betray and desert him in his final hour.

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Where Do We Find the Christ? (Luke 24:13-35)

This is a kind of reverse reversal story. Much of Luke’s Gospel is about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, but these two disciples, possibly a husband and wife, are leaving Jerusalem. They are on the road to Emmaus, …

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Topics: Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 1: Teachings of Jesus and Point 8: Compassion and Selfless Love. Seasons & Special Events: Easter. Ages: Adult. Texts: Luke. Resource Types: Sermons.

One Breath, V.2

One breath; one breath at time.
A breath-on-breath is all we get,
and you cannot take it with you

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Topics: New Thought/New Age, Spiritual Exploration & Practice, and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons. Resource Types: Readings.

Spirit Within Us

Spirit within us, Spirit we call Holy,
With us, not of us, God’s own self with ours.
Presence of power, Spirit to spirit given,
This be our prayer now:
Through us your will be done.

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Topics: Arts and Music and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons. Resource Types: Audio MP3 and Hymns.

Keep the Channel Open

Written by Martha Graham

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening
That is translated through you into action,
And because there is only one of you in all time,
This expression is unique.

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Ritual Within Sacred Community – eBulletin

This month we continue our dialogue on Sacred Community as we delve into the topic of Ritual. How important is ritual in sacred community? How can we evolve our rituals so they are meaningful and relevant? And in what ways are we inspired by sharing rituals with our community? This and more…

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