From The Sunday Page, July 17, 2016
Our New Liturgy: Life Calling: True to Myself
by Michael Larson
In many spiritual traditions, there is only one important question to answer, and that question is: Who am I? When we begin to answer it, we are filled with images and ideals—the negative images of ourselves that we wish to change and perfect and the positive images of some great spiritual potential—yet the path is not so much about changing ourselves as it is about listening to the fundamentals of our being. —Jack Kornfield
We explore the question, “Who am I?” as we begin our next liturgy with a litany inspired by Psalm 139. This litany is adapted from a prayer from Andy Otto’s blog entry, “Intimately Created—A Meditation on Psalm 139” found on his website, God In All Things: Discernment. Attention. Ignation. (www.godinallthings.org).
Psalm 139 is one of the most intimate and introspective of all the psalms. Sometimes it is difficult to contemplate the ever-presence of God in and among our daily lives. As we challenge ourselves to focus on our unique existence in creation, we discover that we are each children of God called into community. Our opening song each week, “You Are the Voice” by David Haas, reflects this call, especially in the refrain’s lyrics: “You are the voice of the living God, calling us now to live in your love, to be children of God once again!”
This liturgical series pairs with Good Shepherd’s summer retreat series, Exploring Transitions. In the second retreat this weekend, “True to Myself,” participants explored our whole, unbroken selves amidst a life of stories and transitions. We immersed ourselves in the stories of creation, Jacob wrestling with God, and the call of Samuel to explore our unique selves and our strengths and spiritual gifts for the sake of the world.
Evening Service: Dwelling in Psalm 139
Tonight at 6:00, we will continue our weekly contemplative evening worship experience. Liturgically, the service will mirror the morning service with similar themes, words, and music. Following opening words and song, we move into a time of “Living Word,” where we will slowly work our way through Psalm 139 with verses spoken three times with quiet reflection in between. Following sung prayers, begins a time of open space where the community gathered can interact with elements of water, oil, bread, and wine.
Upcoming Retreat: “Life’s Detours & Road Blocks”
Our next phase of our liturgical series will begin after the next retreat on August 21. This retreat, Exploring Transitions: Life’s Detours & Road Blocks (August 19-20), will explore the unexpected turns in direction we encounter in life’s journey. A loss of or change in direction—such as illness, loss of loved ones, change of work and opportunity—is disorienting. Together, we begin to rejoice and lament these detours and road blocks.
If you have questions regarding liturgy or the Exploring Transition retreats, please don’t hesitate to contact me in person or via email (email@example.com).
Jack Kornfield, as quoted by Wayne Muller in How, Then, Shall We Live?: Four Simple Questions That Reveal the Beauty and Meaning of Our Lives (New York: Bantam, 1997), 63.