Tag Archives: worship

Open – 11 June 2014

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11 March 2014
Opening Worship
Ecumenical Women
Commission on the Status of Women
Manhattan, New York

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Filed under New York, Photo, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

You Made Us In Your Image

Pastor and hymnwriter Carolyn Winfrey Gillette writes new words to old hymns. Over the years she has written several hymns for peace and justice ministries of which I have been and am a part.

You Made Us in Your Image is a hymn Carolyn wrote for Human Rights Day at the request of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

You made us to be equal; you made us to be free —
To speak the truth with courage, to change society,
To follow our own conscience, to choose the words we pray.
O God, may all your children enjoy these gifts each day.

Check out the full hymn – use it for personal devotions or in a worship service:

You Have Made Us in Your Image (pdf)
You Have Made Us in Your Image (text)

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Human Rights, Music, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

Purple flowers, Villa Blanca, Colombia

1 April 2010
Villa Blanca, Colombia

I try to post purple flower pictures once a week,
an act of discipline,
creating a theme,
building an audience
(know that I deeply appreciate both of you).

However, today I did a blog post on Colombia for work.
And as I looked for a picture,
I came across this one
and it too me back
to a very special day.

At Villa Blanca, where displaced Colombians,
who in an act of courage and grace
beyond my imagining rebuild and start anew,
on a sunny April day, gathered
Presbyterians from Colombia and Presbyterians from the United States.

With agricultural implements
and symbols of faith,
a worship space was created;
prayers were said, songs were song,
love was shared.

I was there.
I remember the people.
I remember the time.
But until I saw this picture,
I had forgotten the purple flowers.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Friends, Photo, Travel, Worship

I prayed for Trayvon

I prayed for Trayvon Martin today during the Training Day sponsored by the Presbyterian Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries.

I had called my friend and colleague J. Herbert Nelson, the director of the Presbyterian Office of Public Witness on Wednesday saying that we should remember Trayvon’s death in some way. He agreed. I said I would bring one of my hoodies.

I arrived in D.C. on Thursday and J. Herbert asked if I would pray and include a prayer for Trayvon. After some reflection and prayer, I came up with an idea.

I put my hoodie in my backpack and carried it with me to New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. After J. Herbert preached, we sang A Mighty Fortress. During the next to the last verse, I went up to the chair beside J. Herbert, put down my backpack, and got the wireless mic. When the hymn ended and the congregation sat down, I moved into the pulpit and began.

“Sometimes we pray with words. Sometimes we pray in silence. Sometimes we pray through symbolic actions. Today we will pray in all three ways.”

I left the pulpit, picked up my backpack, and moved to a table set up in the center of the pulpit area. The table would later be used for a panel presentation.

In silence, I opened my backpack, and removed my hoodie. I deliberately shook it out so all could see. I then held it as high above my head as I could and slowly rotated it so that it faced each part of the congregation. It also prevented me from making eye contact with anyone and bursting completely into tears.

After I had shown the hoodie to the whole congregation, I snapped the hood back and showed it to everyone again.

Then I put on the hoodie and slowly rotated so everyone could see me.

Finally, I raised the hood to cover my head and moved back to the pulpit.

There I prayed with words for Trayvon and for all children who are victims of overt violence – children whose names are known and whose stories are told, children who are known only to the family and friends who love them.

I prayed for all children who are victims of structural violence – economic injustice, racism, homophobia – the systemic realities that shape our lives and too often stunt and snuff out the lives of children.

I prayed for those who gathered in Washington, D.C. to engage in advocacy for justice in Jesus’ name. May we have the grace to move from a love of power and the wisdom and courage to continue our ministry of speaking truth in love to power – this weekend and always. May it be so.

I uncovered my head and stepped down from the pulpit. As I moved back to my seat I again made sure not to make eye contact.

I am grateful to J. Herbert for this opportunity. I wish I could do more. I will.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Human Rights, Photo

O is for Outdoors

The beauty of Ghost Ranch
leads people to want to spend
as much time outdoors as possible.

The Youth Service Corps
rebuilt the outdoor amphitheater
where the community gathers for worship.

25 October 2009

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Filed under Ghost Ranch People, Photo

G is for Guitars

Inside and outside,
music plays a central role
in life on the ranch.

Courses focus on music.
Music fills the air when the community gathers
to worship,
to play.

The sounds
of strumming guitars
echo gently off red rock.

 2 August 2009

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Filed under Ghost Ranch People, Photo

C is for Cross

The amphitheater provides space
for reflection,
worship,
and programming;
it also provides a reminder
of the faith
in which we are rooted.

2 August 2009

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Filed under Ghost Ranch People, Photo