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Posted by on Aug 27, 2016 | 0 comments

Consider the Birds

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In the fall of 2015, Rev. Daniel Cooperrider of Weybridge Congregational Church, UCC told our WorshipWell team about a sermon series he was leading based upon a book by author and pastor Debbie Blue, titled: Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible.  Cooperrider explained that his sermon series included presentations by bird experts in worship along with bird watch outings.  Inspired by Cooperrider and Blue, Rev. Goldenbogen of the United Church of Underhill (UCC & UMC) led a “Consider the Birds” sermon series during the season of Easter 2016 and Rev. Martha Peck of Westmore Community Church, UCC led one in the summer of 2016.  This turned out to be a wonderful, fun, and creative way to break open the Word! Thank you Daniel and Debbie!!

Below is an outline of Goldenbogen’s series with links to his audio sermons, followed by select liturgical elements by Peck.  Maybe your congregation would like to “consider the birds” too!


Outline of sermon series based on, “Consider the Birds”

Each week in worship (over 5-weeks) we did the following:

  1. We chose a focus bird from one of the chapters in the book (see summary below) and put an image of that bird on the cover of our bulletin.  That bird was also the focus of our Scripture readings and sermons.
  2. Our Call to Worship each week, rather than our standard “call and response,” was the 1-minute audio bird call of our focus bird that we played on through a bluetooth speaker. For more details about this, see worshipwell.church post [.mp3] to Worship.
  3. Scripture verses were chosen by using a Biblical concordance to locate references to the focus bird.  (Note: this was challenging in some instances due to changes in bird names over time, culture and Biblical translations.  Some research was needed to choose appropriate verses related to our focus bird.)
  4. Each week there were often many short Scripture readings that mentioned the focus bird.  Using two readers each week, they alternated passages which gave a nice rhythm and texture to the hearing.
  5. Bird outing.  On the last Sunday of the series, all were invited to join us at a local park 1.5 hours before our worship service began.  A birder from our congregation then guided us to seeing and hearing a wide variety of birds.
  6. Sermon Links:

 

© Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, 2016

Kevin Goldenbogen is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ serving an amazing congregation in the foothills of the Green Mountains of Vermont. He skis, climbs, runs, bakes bread, rides a red Vespa, and tries every day to follow Jesus. He is married to the perfect woman and has two boys who he loves beyond words.

Select Liturgical Elements

Prayer of Confession, based on Psalm 55  (used during a sermon series on Debbie Blue’s, Consider the Birds)

Listen to my prayer, O God.   Do not hide yourself from my pain.

Attend to me; answer me, for I am troubled….

I am disturbed by the noise of my enemies, both within me and around me.

For they cherish hate and anger, and I admit, so do I.

My heart, my family, and my nation are too often in anguish.

The terrors of death have fallen upon us, and horror overwhelms us.

And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.

I would flee far away and lodge in the wilderness.”

O God, help me to find shelter for myself from the raging wind.

Help me to find peace in my own heart, and peace with my enemies.

 

Prayer of Invocation

God, we hear your voice today,

in the silence of our breath,

in the rustling of the breeze,

and as the answer, to our own restless searching.

We hear your voice,

inviting us to be still and listen,

to let go of worry,

to draw near and be fed.

We hear your voice, croaking and cawing,

whispering and humming

with the holy vibration of the universe.

We hear your voice,

and we have gathered, to praise your name.  Amen

 

Prayer of Dedication I (used during a sermon series on Debbie Blue’s, Consider the Birds)

God, you have gathered us in, and given us shelter under your wings.

Now you send us out, to fly with joy and freedom.

Help us to share the gifts of your creation, to sing your song of peace,

and to mirror your generosity, in all

 

Prayer of Dedication II (used during a sermon series on Debbie Blue’s, Consider the Birds)

God, you have gathered us in, and given us shelter under your wings.

Now you send us out, to fly with freedom and joy.

Help us to share the gifts of your creation, to sing your song of peace,

and to mirror your generosity, in all of our days and all of our ways.

 

© Rev. Martha B. Peck, 2016

Rev. Martha Beckwith Peck has served three churches in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, beginning in 1981, and is currently pastor of the Westmore Community Church, UCC on beautiful Willoughby Lake. She is a singer, quilter, pie baker, and ping-pong enthusiast. She loves to write worship materials and finds scripture an inexhaustible well.

 

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