Gathering in (Virtual) Circles

We are now gathering for our monthly Roundtable Worship here in a virtual circle tied together by the internet. In one sense, this expands our circle to anyone who wants to sign in. But, of course, what is missing are the subtle visuals, the touches, the hugs, the shared bread, and yes, even the smells. So worship is, more than ever, an act of anticipation, a rehearsal for a more real time we long for in the future. It is so like our “real” lives.

But the words remain the same, even as our efforts to speak and sing them in response and unison create a cacophony that is at best a joyful noise. Here are some words from our recent gathering, some new, some repeated every month. They are in the order of long custom: Call, Remembrance, Thanksgiving, Hope, and Commitment. Like most anything in the ether these days, you can read them any time. We are surrounded by points of near-eternal light. Be well.

Call to the Table

When I am in an anxious place, confined, confused,

                        You spread the splendor of your cosmos out before my eyes.

When I sink beneath the raging waves of fear,

            Your breath becomes the buoy guiding me to shore.

When we huddle in the fortress of our anger and self-righteousness,

You find your way through every opening to bring aromas of your peace.

When pestilence unseen, unheard, untouched upends our lives,

            You lead us to the heart of love that brings new life.

When we hunger for your saving presence,

            You recall us to your table plentiful with harvest.

We run to your table,

            Your table of Peace.

ALL. Amen. Amin, Ameyn.

Remembrance

From your hand were offered nuts and fruits and cereals in the garden of our infancy.

With your outstretched arm we were led beyond the powers of oppression to a land abundant with the manna of your grace.

By your hand were prophets fed and sheltered in their lonely cry for justice.

From your nailed hand the blood of everlasting love streamed down upon our heads.

In your hands the bread of everlasting life was shared around the table of your peace.

With your hands the trees and all creation clapped for joy in your renewal of the earth.

Thanksgiving

O Faithful Healer of the Universe,

For the healers and the helpers who have brought us through this wilderness of suffering and death, we speak our thanks in humble gratitude. For words of hope and gentleness arising in the midst of pain we offer up our hearty thanks. For your presence in the midst of lonely death our lips are filled with thankfulness. For the life that springs up in the gardens of our hope our voices fill with song:

We give our thanks to God (4x)

          We give our hearts to you (3x)

                                    because you first loved us.

We give our feet to you (3x)

                                    because you walk with us.

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.

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1 Response to Gathering in (Virtual) Circles

  1. Gerd Decke says:

    Dear Bill,
    beautiful and touching words!
    But in this situation of utter distress and unforeseen chaos and possibly human causes of the virus a call to repentance would be pertinent. Consider the parable of the infertile fig tree (Luke 13) which Jesus introduces while referring to the disaster when Pilate killed many Galileans and when the tower of Siloah fell and destroyed 18 people. He warned his listeners and us with the words \”don\’t think that these people were more evil than you. If you don\’t repent and turn around, you will also perish like these“. Then he offered consolation with the parable of the fig tree: „Lord, give it one more year so that I can fertilize it and dig around it, maybe then it will bear fruit.“
    Shall we not take the chance of being shaken to the bones and fight the climate catastrophe as if it were corona?
    Yours as ever, Gerd

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