Prescient God: Rainbows & Trinities

Today I think that the most prescient thing God ever did was to hang their rainbow in the sky.

God knew what God was doing when they hung up the bow after the storms

Knowing that we needed the reminder that every storm runs out of rain–as Maya Angelou put it.

Knowing that it would be claimed and expanded by all of God’s queer children, proclaiming that love is love is love is love and that God created a multiplicities of genders and sexualities–just like God created a rainbow with thousands upon thousands of hues and in-betweens.

We need rainbows, because God knew

Before sociological studies and microscopic and macroscopic science; before we did our Genesis job of naming all of the people, places and things of the world, you knew that very naming would make us create divisions.

Before we made elaborate charts to discover and explicate the mystery of the Trinity, God, you knew

You knew how much we need rainbows

You knew racism would be a stumbling block of sin,

that normalcy is a illusion of bigotry

that being neurotypical or not is a spectrum….which is another word for rainbow

and that gray can beautiful color, and sometimes we sit in the gray–

God I always imagine that the Trinity is gray, in between and a part of the rainbow world you created.

And God, you knew that you, the Almighty and Many Breasted God needed to symbolically and in all practicalities disarm Godself.

Promising never to send natural disasters as punishment.

Never.

And putting the most powerful weapon of the time, the equivalent of a gun, up. Forever.

Because if God can disarm Godself, then it is clear what we should do.

In the midst of horrific gun violence in the US, the state imbued violence in the United States and Colombia, and in the midst of border wars in Armenia-Azerbaijan, climate asylum and violence in Syria, and the oppression and apartheid conditions in Gaza.

God you know we need to figure out how to live in concert and beauty in rainbows–and how to first and foremost disarm ourselves as you did thousands of years ago.

Thousands of years ago.

God, thank you for your prescience.

And for all the rainbows

And for giving us the time.

And the promises within the rainbow, that it won’t always be like this.

Help us embody your rainbow.

Help us to honor your rainbow.

Fill us with rainbows I pray.

Amen.

rainbow | National Geographic Society
Image

Feel free to Share/Adapt/Use this prayer with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Isaiah Bulletin by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl

All Original Prayers by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl, permission to use with credit

Prelude Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence                 Fernando Ortega

Opening Prayer (1)

O Holy God, 

like Isaiah the prophet, we stand in awe of Your glory,

feeling tremendously small and polluted by our sin, 

and the sin of our society.

Even so, You touch us with Your burning presence,

and we are made clean and whole.

O God, our Creator, 

continue to build this household of faith into what You want us to be.

O Christ, our Savior, 

lead us to do as You will.

O Spirit, our Power,

strengthen us for the work of the Kingdom.

Amen.

Call to Worship (Response is Isaiah 6:3) (2)

Glory in God’s holy name. Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

99:9Exalt the Lord our God. Worship at his holy hill, 

for the Lord our God is holy.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

145:17The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory.”

145:21My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord.

Let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Call to Confession   

John Calvin, whose work and theology are the basis for the Reformed tradition, including our Presbyterian faith, notes that when we compare ourselves to others, we may think highly of ourselves. But when we compare ourselves to God’s absolute holiness and goodness, we see how far we fall short of who God created us to be. Let us be reminded of God’s holiness and our need for forgiveness.

Prayer of Confession (from Isaiah 6:1-7)

O Holy Lord,                                                                                                       when we see that just the hem of your robe fills the whole temple,                                  we know we are a people of unclean lips.

When the six-winged seraphim attend you,                                                   we know we are a people of unclean lips.

As the angels proclaim that the whole earth is full of your glory,                          we know we are a people of unclean lips.

When the thresholds shake and the place is filled with smoke,                                        we know we are a people of unclean lips.

Woe to us! When we see you, O King and Lord of hosts,                                                we know we are lost because                                                                                    we know we are a people of unclean lips.     

(Silent confession)

Assurance of Pardon 

God touches us with burning coal, 

and our guilt departs, our sin is blotted out. 

Thanks be to God for the Good News: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Gloria Patri: (Blue #579) Glory Be to the Father 

Prayers of the People/Lord’s Prayer (traditional)

Celebration of Birthdays and Anniversaries

Hymn of Dedication  Just As I Am, Without One Plea

Just as I am, without one plea But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee O Lamb of God, I come! I come

Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot O Lamb of God, I come, I come

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind Sight, riches, healing of the mind
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
Because Thy promise I believe O Lamb of God, I come, I come

Doxology (Blue, #592)   Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow

(1) From prayer based on Isaiah 6 from My Redeemer Lives website. 

http://www.myredeemerlives.com/prayers.html

(2) 1 Chronicles 16:10; Psalm 99:9; Psalm 145:17, 21. King James Version.

 Prayer of Dedication            Blessed are you, God of all creation; 

through your goodness we have these gifts to share. 

Accept and use all that we give and all that we are 

for your glory and for the service of your kingdom. Amen.

Prayer for Illumination  Take Thou Our Minds, Dear Lord

Take thou our minds, dear Lord, we humbly pray;
give us the mind of Christ each passing day;
teach us to know the truth that sets us free;
grant us in all our thoughts to honor thee.

Old Testament Reading  (NRSV)                     Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne,                  high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.     3 And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called,            and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost,                  for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

What comes before “Here I Am”? Rev. Barb Hedges-Goettl

Affirmation of Faithfrom the Westminster Confession of Faith

God alone is the Holy One.

There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection.

God alone is the Holy One.

God is a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, and incomprehensible.

God alone is the Holy One.

God is almighty; most wise, most holy, most free, and most absolute,

God alone is the Holy One.

God works all things according to the counsel of his own immutable 

and most righteous will for his own glory,

God alone is the Holy One.

God is most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness 

and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.

God alone is the Holy One.

God is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, 

are all things.

God alone is the Holy One.

God is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands.

God alone is the Holy One.

To him is due from angels and from human beings, and every other creature, worship, service, and obedience for

God alone is the Holy One.

Closing Hymn  Here I Am, Lord  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcxOkht8w7c

[Verse 1] I, the Lord of sea and sky; I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin. My hand will save

[Chorus] Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?  

I have heard you calling in the night.

I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.  [Chorus]      

[Verse 2] I, who made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright

Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send? [Chorus]

[Verse 3]  I, the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people’s pain
I have wept for love of them They turn away [Chorus]

Charge and Benediction

Postlude Holy is the Lord Twila Paris 

Moses: Experiencing God (part II)

Part !

Ultimately God is relational, and our experience of God is relational….that’s why we need to know

However, what is hard is some people haven’t ever had that burning bush experience…I haven’t been in that place before, but I know that some people haven’t experienced God.

What I do know is that when I talk to people about experiencing/knowing God that when they try to UNDERSTAND who God is, that is the wrong way to go about things.

I don’t know about you but I personally live with four other beings, none of whom I will fully understand (and its more than the fact that I’m a female living with four males), having a relationship with someone doesn’t mean that you fully understand them. Also, I know that relationships are different with different people….

Every time a read a parenting blog or article about the “right way” to raise every child I think how can this be? Different children raised by the same parents turn out differently, even I know I parent my three child in different ways. I relate to each of them differently. God similarly relates to each of us in a different way.

That is why we need a faith community, because none of us can have a full experience of God…well…if your like me, then not more than for an nanosecond. I love those moments of experiencing God. Madeline L’engle describes some of those moments as when you are looking at the stars (her parents used to wake her up to stargaze and its a big part of her writing).

You can envision Abraham having that moment….looking at the stars with God, filling the fullness of God’s will and purpose. Having it for a moment, and then continuing (since we can’t hold the fulness of God all the time)  through a relationship.

What I do know, is that experiencing God is relational, not rational, that we cannot fully know God by ourselves, and that this is why we are relational with both God and each other. Thus we better know God through all of our relationships–with God and each other.

That is why we are in community, because we don’t all have the same experience of God. We are together, not to tell each other that the only way to experience and know God is the way that works for us! (Did you know that you shouldn’t like ALL of worship, ideally different people like different parts, because its not all for one person, its for a diverse group of people so different people can experience worship during different parts of the service)

The point of the variety is so that we can share, experience and relate to God differently and (in the best of times) simultaneously. I don’t know what to do if you haven’t experienced God, but I do know, that your best bet is a faith community…Because we can’t experience God alone, we can only believe in God…alone…..

 

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivitesand Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.

16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’ –Exodus 3:7-17

 

“I know why God…

“I know why God created atheists, because he loves diversity.”–a friend
How’s that for (w)holistic theology?

Trinity: Unity and Diversity, How we are all unique and yet part of one whole

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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