Grace notes


Winter in the Tuileries Garden, Paris  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
I love the term ‘grace note’. It’s so evocative.

Technically, a ‘grace note’ is a musical note not essential to the harmony or melody, designed to embellish or ‘ornament’ the music and add extra flourish. It colours, without clashing.

 
Here is a grace note in one of Chopin’s manuscripts.

 
The term, ‘grace note’, is also a beautiful metaphor for all the little graces that colour and enhance our lives.

May God help us to develop an ear and appreciation for the grace notes that echo all around us, and may He bless us with the capacity to add grace notes of our own.
 


Grateful Praise

God created the heavens,
star-spattered with beauty,
and the earth, teeming with life.
And God set us on the Earth,
alive and wide-eyed,
able to see and hear,
feel and taste life’s beauty,
able to dream and plan,
create and build out of the richness of the earth.
Lord of all to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise!

God gave us families to love us,
teachers to teach us,
elders to guide us,
and leaders to inspire us.
God gave us His Son
to save us from the path of destruction and sin,
and to be a strengthening presence
in our trials and temptations.
Lord of all to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise!

Every good thing that fills our souls with gladness
and our lives with light
is a gift from God.
We have been entrusted with unfathomable riches.
For this, let us come before God
in thanksgiving and grateful praise.
Lord of all to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise!

 
written by David Inglis,
posted on the Henrietta United Church of Christ website.
 


 
From the blog
 
The blessing of light
The whole bright world rejoices
walk, run, soar

Baby steps


Markthal, Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

“Baby steps build the
  strongest foundations.”

(Michelle Ward, life coach)

 
 

Call to Worship for [the start of] Advent

[also for the middle of Advent]

 
What will set us journeying in search of the Christ this Advent?
How far are we prepared to go out of our way
to look for the signs of His coming,
and to prepare a path?

How will we travel through this season?
Will we be burdened by responsibilities and tasks,
loaded with others’ expectations, overwhelmed by their needs?
Will we be full of joy or weary of grief?

What will guide our steps in these weeks?
Will we follow a thread of longing,
the hint of an alternative pathway,
the words and music of the gathered community?

Sisters and brothers in Christ, Advent awaits us.
Let us place our feet on the road and begin the journey.
May we find in familiar words, rituals and customs
the birth of the new thing that awaits us.

 
written by Ann Siddall, and posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre and Faith Community website.
 


 
From the blog
See also the series of posts with a journey theme from August 2017.

We are a body


 

The body of Christ is one of many metaphors used in the New Testament to describe the community of believers. Here is an all-age song I wrote in the mid-90’s incorporating some of these images.

Song


 

We are a body, we are a family,
we are the church of Jesus Christ.
We are a body, we are a family,
we are the church of Jesus Christ.
We are living stones,
we are a temple for God’s Spirit lives in us.
Hallelujah!  God has made us the church!
 


Call to worship: Here we are

inspired by 1 Samuel 3

God whispers to each of us:
you are my beloved,
created in love for love.
My spirit answers,
Here I am, Lord.
Speak to me anew.

God breathes on us the Holy Spirit,
knitting many members into one body,
the body of Christ.
Together we answer,
Here we are Lord.
Come, Holy Spirit.

God has yet more vision for the people.
Who will work for God to extend God’s kingdom
into our hurting world?
Here we are Lord.
Empower us for your work.

God calls the small, and helps them do great things.
God calls the weak, and reveals their hidden gifts.
God calls the rejected, and opens their eyes to their worth.
Here we are Lord, humble and waiting.

Then let us gather, old and young, small and great,
to dream God’s dreams,
receive God’s power,
and do God’s deeds.
Here we are Lord.
Shine the light of your love on us.
Kindle your Spirit within us.
Work your redeeming will in us,
that all the world may be one
through the power of your love. Amen.

 
by David Inglis
Posted on the Henrietta United Church of Christ website

Interpreting the times


Eccl 3:3b: ‘a time to tear down and a time to build’
  

[Jesus] said to the crowd: 'When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, "It’s going to rain," and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, "It’s going to be hot," and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?'
 
(Luke 12:54-56, NIVUK)
 

How do we avoid being overly confident, too complacent or simply overwhelmed by the present time – including uncommon weather patterns? Here is a call to worship that might be helpful in finding our way:


Call to worship

Called to be branches in Christ’s body,
we yearn to be connected to the vine.
Called to be mustard bushes offering shade to God’s creatures,
we search for places to plant the seeds of faith.
Called to be growing with God
in the midst of this world’s painful questions,
we seek God’s nurturing presence.

written by Katherine Hawker for the Union Church UCC of Tekonsha. Posted on Liturgy Outside.
 


This the last post in the present series, SUMMER.

If you have any suggestions for future monthly themes, let me know.

(The theme, WORK, is currently in the pipeline, for sometime after the holidays, including “In the school of prayer with Brother Lawrence”.)
 

Wilderness woes


(Photo: Lindy Twaddle)
 

While searching for ‘dry wilderness’ on my go-to online prayer resource – the treasure trove, re-worship.blogspot.com – I found this call to worship by Rev. Nathan Decker.

It is inspired by Isaiah 35 and recognizes both the reality and pain of the wilderness experience and our sustaining hope in God for a life beyond the wilderness.

 

Call to Worship

(inspired by Isaiah 35: 1-10)

Too long have we walked this dry desert wilderness
    searching for salvation.
 
We’ve drunk the cup of sorrow,
burned our feet upon the sands of misery,
and watched as our children were devoured
    by jackals, lions, and beasts.

 
“Be Strong! Do not fear! Here is our God!
God will come and save you!”
Today, we walk in the Holy Way,
    the highway of the wise!
 
Where the lame leap as deer!
Where grateful blind eyes see colors!

 
And the speechless sing out to our merciful Lord!
Blessed be the Lord our God!
 
Praise the Lord, O Zion!

 
written by the Rev. Nathan Decker, and posted on the Discipleship Ministries website of the United Methodist Church in the US.


Tips on searching re-worship blog

The search box on the website is very powerful. Type in a string of keywords to find posts that contain all the words you’ve specified. To exclude words like ‘index’ or ‘resource’ (handy lists of posts arranged by type or theme), add -[keyword] to the search box, e.g. -index -resource, and those posts will be filtered out.

Also check out Christine Longhurst’s tips on How to use the re:worship blog.
 


From the Prayer Matters blog:
also see Call of the wild ones and Wild animal praise

A very present help in trouble


“More fear” billboard, Amsterdam (Photo: Irene Bom)

The theme of the month for September is “Refuge”. For the first post in this series I’ve selected a Call to Worship by Joanna Haradar posted on the Spacious Faith website in 2013, inspired by Psalm 46. The words could have been written yesterday.

Call to Worship

inspired by Psalm 46

The earth shakes, the mountains quake
  — tempting our hearts to fear.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Storms rage, winds swirl
  — destroying schools, hospitals, homes.
Still, God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Violence comes to light in our communities
and violence continues around the world
  — causing us to wonder if our prayers for peace are futile.
Yet God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

For those mourning and rebuilding after the storms,
God is their refuge.
For those living in fear of their neighbours,
God is present.
For the distraught and displaced and dismembered
in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere,
God is a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear.
Therefore, we will lay down our weapons
and worship our God.


In case you were curious about the last line, in her blogpost Joanna Haradar writes:

*A note on the last line of the call to worship: Psalm 46:10 is generally translated as, “Be still and know that I am God.” The Hebrew term translated as “be still” (raphah) more accurately means “let drop, let go, abandon.” It is a call for disarmament, not a request for silent meditation.