Fragmentation: Fellowship Church, July 27

Kathryn BentonThe theme of the July 27 worship service at the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples was fragmentation.

Following the opening piano prelude by Dr. Carl Blake, the Gathering of Community began with Expressing a Sense of Awe, during which Dr. Kathryn Benton affirmed, “All that is given us is our life. It is more than enough.”

The congregation then sang, “We Celebrate the Web of Life.”

We celebrate the web of life, its magnitude we sing,
For we can see divinity in every living thing.

A fragment of the perfect whole in cactus and in quail,
As much in tiny barnacle as in the great blue whale.

Of ancient dreams we are the sum, our bones link stone to star,
And bind our future worlds to come with worlds that were and are.

Respect the water, land, and air which gave all creatures birth,
Protect the lives of all that share the glory of the earth.

Then the Invoking the Presence involved a responsive reading, “From the Fragmented World,” which affirms:

From the fragmented world of our everyday lives we gather together to search of wholeness.

By many cares and preoccupations, by diverse and selfish aims are we separated from one another and divided within ourselves.

Yet we know that no branch is utterly severed from the Tree of Life that sustains us all.

We cherish our oneness with those around us and the countless generations that have gone before us.

We would hold fast to all of good we inherit even as we would leave behind us the outworn and the false.

We would escape from bondage to the ideas of our own day and from the delusions of our fancy.

Let us labor in hope for the dawning of a new day without hatred, violence, and injustice.

Let us nurture the growth in our own lives of the love that has shone in the lives of the greatest of men and women, the rays of whose lamps still illumine our way.

In this spirit we gather,
In this spirit we pray.

Practicing the Presence began with a meditation offered by Dr. Dorsey Blake, followed by the congregation singing, “Let There Be Light.”

Let there be light, let there be understanding,
Let all the nations gather, let them be face to face.

Open our lips, open our minds to ponder,
Open the door of concord opening into grace.

Perish the sword, perish the angry judgment,
Perish the bombs and hunger, perish the fight for gain.

Let there be light, open our hearts to wonder,
Perish the way of terror, hallow the world God made.

Rev. Elizabeth Olson then offered a prayer that included: “Listen within for the truth to emerge. Let us have the ears to hear. May we inspire and infuse one another with the Spirit.”

Resting in the Presence opened with Dr. Carl Blake playing an adagio Music Meditation by Marcello-Bach, following by The Word on fragmentation and wholeness that was presented by Dr. Benton. She spoke of the tension between the particular and the universal, between the parts and the whole. She then cited examples and described how labels are oppressive and contribute to fragmentation, as we are reduced to particular roles as we move through the course of life. This compartmentalization results in fragmented realms, as we “cease to be a coherent whole.”

But when we relate to others as whole persons, it is the space between us, our relationships, that enables us to act. She then quoted from Howard Thurman about the value of “binding community,” which enables us to see pain as “joy becoming.” With this attitude, we are “never static or complete” and experience a “constant unfolding.” With this grounding, “we cannot tolerate injustice,” and “we are part of the single rhythm, the single pulse.”

Courtney Brown facilitated the Offering Our Gifts, which included Announcements by Bryan Caston and various members of the congregation, and the welcoming of visitors.

Sending Forth began with the congregation singing “We Laugh, We Cry.”

We laugh, we cry, we live, we die;
we dance, we sing our song.
We need to feel there’s something here
to which we can belong.

We need to feel the freedom
just to have some time alone.
But most of all we need close friends
we can call our very own.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a need
to be together.

We have our hearts to give,
we have our thoughts to receive;
and we believe that sharing
is an answer.

4. We seek elusive answers to
the questions of this life.
We seek to put an end to all
the waste of human strife.

We search for truth, equality,
and blessed peace of mind.
And then, we come together here
to make sense of what we find.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a joy
being together.

And in our search of peace,
maybe we’ll finally see:
even to question truly
is an answer.

After which Dr. Benton offered the blessing and Dr. Carl Blake closed with a piano postlude.

2 Responses to Fragmentation: Fellowship Church, July 27

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.