Please find below the readings used on Sunday, February 3, 2019:
Reading: (From the book Radical Gratitude by Mary Jo Leddy [p. 54-5; 63])
As was mentioned, this month we are focusing on the Power of Praise. We have inherited our traditions of praising God through worship from the Jewish people. Listen to what theologian Mary Jo Leddy says about that tradition and ours in her book Radical Gratitude:
“The Jewish people have a wonderful prayer of gratitude which they sing every Passover. In this song, they recount the events through which God liberated them from Egypt and led them to the Promised Land. The refrain of this song is, in Hebrew, Dayenu, which can be translated as It would have been enough.
- If you had only led us to the edge of the Red Sea but not taken us through its waters, it would have been enough.
- If you had only taken us through the Red Sea but not led us through the desert, it would have been enough.
- If you had only led us through the desert but not taken us to Sinai, it would have been enough.
“And so on. At any verse in the song, at any point in the history of liberation, it would have been enough to sing and praise God’s name forever…
“Even though our desire to love God forever and for free is only intermittent, such moments are the most blessed in our lives. These are the moments of blessing and thanksgiving, the moments when we are set free from captivity to our calculations and cravings.
“We worship because we hardly know how to say thanks for the most important realities in our lives – which are unearned, beyond our control, and given to us for free. We worship because we have a sense of having been blessed and, when we worship, our sense of being blessed deepens.
“On the one hand, we worship because God is God and, on the other, we worship because we are who we are. We pray with the inexplicable sufferings and burdens in our lives. Sometimes we find the words with which to pray and sometimes we don’t and it is at these moments that we are carried by the prayer of the worshipping community.”
(From Radical Gratitude by Mary Jo Leddy [p. 63-5])
“Within the Christian tradition, the Eucharist has become the great way of thanksgiving. It is the way in which we take our small and sometimes half-hearted acts of gratitude and join them with the total act of thanksgiving that Jesus was and is among us. He lived continually in the recognition that he had been born of God, that he was a child of God, and thus his life became a giving, a giving thanks, a blessing. In him our gratitude becomes whole, holy. In him our gratitude becomes free, good enough…
“A certain freedom begins with the rather humble admission that none of our structures, symbols, or words will ever be adequate to express our desire to worship. Our words will always falter and our symbols will always conceal as much as they reveal. In short, our worship will never be good enough and yet it is enough, enough to begin, enough to go on.
“Through the Eucharist, the great act of thanksgiving, we enter into the imagination of the great economy of grace. We know we are ungrateful and yet we also believe that our small gratefulness is gathered up and made holy in the name of Jesus. In entering into his memory and hope, we see a new way of being in which love and life are offered to all forever and for free. This is not merely a spiritual vision or one that is meant for Sunday alone. It is about bread and wine, loaves and fishes and feeding more than our souls and ourselves.
“The Eucharist is also about imagining a different way of being in our weekday world. And it is about living during the week in ways that make it a little easier to celebrate the Eucharist. Gratitude that is enclosed into only one area of our life or left in the realm of spirituality will not matter or make a difference in the world. Ultimately, such a restricted sense of gratitude will be consumed by the very world it would rather leave behind.”
Leader: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Leader: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right for us to give thanks and praise.
Leader: With joy we praise you, gracious God,
for you have created heaven and earth,
made us in your image, and kept covenant with us–
even when we fell into sin.
We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who came as the light of the world
to show us your way of truth in parables and miracles.
Therefore we join our voices
with all the saints and angels and the whole creation
to proclaim the glory of your name.
Leader: We give thanks to God the Father that our Savior, Jesus Christ, before he suffered, gave us this memorial of his sacrifice, until he comes again. At his last supper, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it [here the minister breaks the bread] and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup after supper [here the minister pours the wine] and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this in remembrance of me.” For whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Therefore we proclaim our faith as signed and sealed in this sacrament:
People: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Poem of Blessing:
We are grateful
You have given us this day
And have given us this way
To say Thank You.
We thank you for giving us
What we need to be grateful.
We offer back to you
All that we have
All that we are.
We know our thank you
Is as fragile as we are
-it can be crushed
By the core of the moment
-it can disappear
In the heat of the day
-it can be blown away
By the winds of suffering
And so we ask You
To take our small thank you
Into Your great act of Thanksgiving;
You, Lord of the loaves and fishes,
You who are from God
With God and for God,
You in whom it is all
Yes and Amen.
-Mary Jo Leddy