As close readers of this blog site already know, I gather every month with about fifteen other people at a round table for a time of circle conversation, prayer, song, and recommitment to the work of reconciliation. Urged on by Robert Steiner, my friend, pastor, clown, and songwriter/singer in Cape Town, as well as a few nudges from others, I thought it might be helpful to share our liturgy with you from time to time.
In this acrimonious time, when anger replaces thought and hatred of the other corrodes the love for even our friends and family, we need the power of the circle’s Spirit even more. In face-to-face conversation within the covenant of God’s care for us, we find the narrow gate out of this living prison of our fear. So the Roundtable Gathering has become even more important to me as the oasis to which I return to feed my spirit.
Thanks to the generous spirits of the “regulars,” it also enables me to share some of my liturgical impulses, which over the years have been a major avenue for my poetic life. Maybe you might want to adopt some of this pattern in your own spiritual life. Drawing on Abbie Hoffman’s memorable words “Steal this Liturgy” in whole or part. Steal away.
If you want to look into a fuller explanation of roundtable worship, you can read and download the little piece, Roundtable Worship: A Reflective Guide, that I put together with the group’s help a few years ago. Some elements of our liturgy are fairly set, adjusted only at our annual mini-retreat. Others change each month.
Each gathering focuses on a particular question that arises out of the experiences of the regular group’s members. Sometimes the focus is an art work of some kind. In November we gathered to seek a deeper center that could guide us through the difficult years that lie ahead for us in the wake of the US elections this year. Here’s the liturgy. Let me know if you find it useful for your own journey.
November 20, 2016
Call to the Table
In the darkness of our journey,
You are light upon our way.
In the ocean of our tears
You create a life anew.
When our anger clouds our vision
You send a mirror of your love.
When our hungers drive us to despair,
You spread a table of your gracious care.
ALL: We come to your table, your table of peace.
Song of Invitation “Walls Mark our Bound’ries”
Elijah in the desert lived because the ravens brought him bread.
Daniel caged within the claws of power held the lions of his fear at bay.
Paul and Silas bound in jail held their captors in God’s care.
Mary known as Magdalene. astonished at an empty tomb, beheld a gardener as the resurrected one.
All held in God’s mysterious care, they bore witness to God’s love.
O God of all Compassion,
For the love that gives us life, our hearts pour forth in praise. For the hand that soothes our pain, for the eye that understands, our lips respond with songs of thanks. For the food we harvest from the bounty of your earth, we shout our gratitude. For your table of companionship we sing unending praise:
Thank You, God, Holy One.
Thank You God Creator*, Thank You God.
*Redeemer, Great Spirit
Nurture by Bread and Drink
“The bread of compassion”
“The cup of peace”
Reading: Romans 12: 3-13
The Conversation: What does God want to do with me now?
The Hope Prayer
O Source of Life, You alone are holy.
Come, govern us in perfect peace.
Give us today the food that we need.
Release us from our sin as we release our enemies.
Sustain us in our times of trial.
Liberate us all from evil powers.
Guide us in your justice, wisdom, and peace.
Amen, Amin, Ameyn
Words of Commitment
In God’s love, we will seek the path of reconciliation.
In God’s power, we will walk the ways of peace.
In God’s wisdom, we will struggle for God’s justice in this world.
In God’s mercy, we will seek to care for Earth, our home.
Blessing Song: “We Are Walking a Path of Peace”
We are walking a path of peace (3X)
Lead us home, lead us home.
We are walking a path of love…etc.
We are walking a path of hope…etc.