Revisiting Wealth

 

Good Read!  Excellent article from Bob Lupton (FCS, Focus Community Strategies) on wealth and power and the need for those with wealth become a “catalyst of just and fruitful economies.  Might this be a turning point when the wealthiest church in history awakens to the reality that their job creators are the very ones gifted by God to bring economic wholeness to struggling souls too long resigned to unending poverty?”

 

 

Marriage: A Sacred Vocation

Marriage:  “A Sacred Vocation”

 

I found myself re-reading the Andy Hoag article in the Saginaw News (3/16/14) that quotes Bishop Todd Ousley of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan on the issue of “same sex marriage”.  As a proponent of same sex marriage, I thought it was worth pulling a few of Bishop Ousley’s quotes that speak for themselves:  

 

Bishop Ousley[1]:

 

“My own experiences with same-sex couples and the experiences in communities and congregations across our dioceses have shown that there is holy goodness in the lives and love of gay and lesbian couples and their families.”

 

“Surely, extending justice and equality to all of God’s children will not only serve the common good but also further the advance of God’s reign marked by respect for the justice and dignity for every person.”

 

Marriage is a “sacred vocation” that should not be “limited to persons of opposite sex” and “encompasses all of God’s creation.”

 

Therefore, I believe that the faithful, loving and life-long union of two persons—regardless of gender identity –is capable of signifying the never failing and gracious love of God in Christ for the church and the world.”

 

“In the Dioceses of Eastern Michigan, priests and congregations are currently authorized and encouraged to exerciser their own sense of Christian vocation and to utilize the Churcher4’s published resources to offer a generous pastoral response to those persons of the same sex who desire the Church’s blessing of their covenanted and faithful lives.”

 

“I look forward with hopeful anticipation to the day when the great state of Michigan offers all couples equality.”

 

In my mind, it is not a question of whether same sex unions will be recognized but rather, when.   I wish for the day that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will open mind and heart to what Ousley calls the “sacred vocation” of marriage. 

 


 

Clinton Marsh Benediction

REV. CLINTON MARSH BENEDICTION

 

Clinton Marsh was known for ending his worship services with different variations of this benediction.   Presbyterian Pastor, former General Assembly Moderator of the Presbyterian Church US; brother of former mayor of the city of Saginaw, Henry Marsh.   

 

“And now, I am supposed to say to you, “Go in peace.”  But how can I say, “Go in peace,” when you are going out into a world where you are insecure, whether at home or in your neighborhood street?

 

–Out into a world where race is set against race and ethnic cleansing is a name for genocide?

 

–Out into a world where people are hungry and homeless, while their governments squander billions of dollars on instruments of destruction that they dare not use?

 

–Out into a world were every night millions of mothers watch their children sink into a hungry slumber, only to awaken (if they awaken) to another hungry tomorrow?

 

With a world like that out there, how can I say to you, “Go in peace?”

 

But I dare say, “go in Peace”, because Jesus says, “I give you my peace.”

 

But – remember – he who says, “I give you my peace” also says, “If you would be my disciple and (thereby) I have my peace, take up your cross and follow me!”

 

So I dare to say, “go in peace!”  If you dare!

 

AMEN

 

BLESSINGS AND BENEDICTIONS

BENEDICTIONS AND BLESSINGS

It was back in June of  2010 that I put together a collection of my favorite benedictions and blessings.  The first in this collection is one that I created based on 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13.

Cundiff Blessing

Based on 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, our savior and friend;

May the love of God, binding us together and building us up;

May the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, knitting us together as a church family;

Be with us until we meet again.  Amen.

 

II Corinthians 13: 13

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen.

 

 

Attributed to Benedict of Nursia, c. 480-547

Book of Common Worship, 1993, 24

Grant us, O God, a mind to meditate on You; eyes to behold You, ears to listen for Your word; a heart to love You; and a life to proclaim You; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Numbers 6: 24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord be kind and gracious to you.  The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.  Amen.

 

 Dr. John Buchanan, Pastor

Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago

By God’s amazing grace, we are the body of Christ.  And because of that, let us go into the world in peace and courage, holding to the good, honoring all of God’s children, loving and serving the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.  And the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen.

“A Prayer for Dorisanne”

by Katie Cook, 1993

Sacred Seasons, 2005

When the noise and haste surround you

and threaten to take you hostage,

May God’s gentle voice soothe you

and guide you to a place

of quiet strength;

When the days seem cold and dark,

and the nights unbelievably long,

May God’s smile illumine

and warm you from within;

When you feel alone and dismal,

May God send someone to you with a daisy.

May you truly go forth in joy

and be led back in peace;

May all creation sing around you;

And may the weeds of mourning

turn into flowers

wherever you walk.

 

Matthew 22: 37-40

Go into the world in peace.  Love the Lord our God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.

 

 Colossians 3: 12-14

As God’s own, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, and patience, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, and crown all these things with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

 

Romans 15: 13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Moderator Benediction

Rev. Douglas Oldenberg (1998)

No matter how frightening the world may become; no matter how frightening the individual circumstances of your life may be today or may become tomorrow, you need not be afraid, for God is with you.  God goes before you to guide you, beside you to be your best friend, behind you to protect you, beneath you to support you, and above you to give you vision and courage and hope.  If you will remember that, then the peace of Christ that passes all understanding will be with you too.

 

1 Thessalonians 5: 23

May the God of peace make you holy in every way; and keep your whole being – spirit, soul, and body – free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Dr. Frank Harrington, late Pastor of the

Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta (1996)

Remember by the goodness of God you were born.  Remember that in the mercy of Jesus Christ you have been redeemed.  Remember that He walks with you every day to comfort you, to strengthen, and to guide.  He promised He would, “Lo I am with you always.”  Remember while others have called you servant, He has called you friend.  In the strength of that mighty friendship, go forth now to serve in the Master’s name . . . Till we meet again.  Amen.

St. Patrick’s Benediction (St. Patrick’s Breastplate)

Bishop of Armagh (d. 461)

May the strength of God guide me this day,

and may his power preserve me.

May the wisdom of God instruct me;

the eye of God watch over me;

the ear of God hear me;

the word of God give sweetness to my speech;

the hand of God defend me;

and may I follow the way of God.

Christ be with me, Christ before me.

Christ be after me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me.

Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left,

Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot,

Christ in the ship,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me.

Christ in every ear that hears me.

 

From the Book of Common Worship (pg. 45)

 

The Formal Dismissal and Benediction in the Presbyterian Church

God calls the church to join in the mission of Christ in service to the world.  As the church engages in that mission, it bears witness to God’s reign over all of life.  God sends the church in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel, to engage in works of compassion and reconciliation, to strive for peace and justice in our life and in the world, to be stewards of creation and of life, caring for creation until the day when God will make all things new . . . the dismissal shall include words of blessing, using a Trinitarian Benediction such as the Apostolic Benediction in 2 Corinthians 13: 14, or other words of scripture.  Assured of God’s peace and blessing, we are confident that God goes with us to our tasks.

 

St. Patrick’s Benediction (St. Patrick’s Breastplate)
Bishop of Armagh (d. 461)

St. Patrick’s Benediction (St. Patrick’s Breastplate)

Bishop of Armagh (d. 461)

 

May the strength of God guide me this day,

and may his power preserve me.

 

May the wisdom of God instruct me;

the eye of God watch over me;

the ear of God hear me;

the word of God give sweetness to my speech;

the hand of God defend me;

and may I follow the way of God.

 

Christ be with me, Christ before me.

Christ be after me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me.

 

Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left,

Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot,

Christ in the ship,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me.

 

Christ in every ear that hears me.