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Posted by on Jul 26, 2020 | 0 comments

Rolling the Stones Away

The Spring and Summer of 2020 brought us heaviness: pandemic, financial distress, deepening political divisions, and the death of George Floyd which further exposed police violence against black and brown people and rekindled the resistance against systemic racism and white privilege.  Any one of these would be heavy.  Together they are weighing us down and threatening to crush us.  This special service is a liturgical response to the heaviness and is intended to inspire hope and “roll the stones away.”  LINK TO VIDEO HERE: Rolling the Stones Away


Organ Prelude: “The Lord’s My Shepherd”    Harris 

Ringing of the Bell

PART 1: THE WEIGHT OF IT ALL

Word of Heaviness: Lamentations 1:1-2

Greeting & Welcome

Piling of the Stones [STONES ARE PILED ON ALTAR AS LITANY IS RECITED]

Piling of the Stones

            Stone upon stone, rock upon rock, heavy upon heavy:

                        pandemic;

                        140,000 deaths and more

                        separation and isolation;

                        schools closed for the spring

                        no camps, no childcare;

                        uncertain school plans in the fall;

                        trips cancelled;

                        savings dwindling;

                        markets terrifying;

                        the death of George Floyd and too many other black lives that matter;

                        injustice and racism;

                        cities burning;

                        white privilege;

                        real change resisted;

                        exhaustion;

                        anxiety and depression;

                        frazzled mental health.

            Stone upon stone, rock upon rock, heavy upon heavy.

 

Musical Meditation: “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”  Traditional Silence

PART 2: AN APPEAL TO GOD

A Plea for Help: Psalm 22:19-24

An Honest Prayer & Lord’s Prayer (unison)

God, there’s too much happening for us to be anything but honest with you.  It’s not OK that virus is killing hundreds of thousands of your beloved children.  There’s nothing alright with racism, white privilege and the systems that keep them in place.  There’s nothing fair, just or Gospel about the intense suffering of those you created and called good.  Hear our honest complains, God of our heart, and hear this appeal: heal us, comfort us, liberate us and save us, as we pray your prayer that became ours:

Our (Mother) Father (Creator) who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Anthem: “Berkeley Springs” David Essig

PART 3: LIGHTER & LIGHTER

The Ligthening Word: Mark 16:1-7

Rolling the Stones Away [STONES ARE REMOVED FROM ALTAR AS LITANY IS RECITED]

Stone upon stone, rock upon rock, heavy upon heavy:

            the God of Easter says, “do not be afraid”;

            the Christ of resurrection says, “these stones cannot hold us”;

            the stones say, “we’ve learned to get out of the way”;

            the cross says, “I’m powerless”;

            Rome and the systems of corrupt power say, nothing;

            the figures dressed in white say “alleluia”;

            the empty tomb says, “alleluia”;

            freedom says, “alleluia”;

            liberation says, “alleluia”;

            justice says, “alleluia”;

            saving says, “alleluia”;

            life says, “alleluia”;

            love says “alleluia”;

            with masked faces we say, “alleluia”;

            connected to God and our neighbors we say, “alleluia”;

            with hope that the pandemic will end, school will begin again, our bank accounts will stabilize, racism will become a word we no longer know, and our mental health will find balance, we say, “alleluia”.

            Lighter and lighter, freer and freer, weighted down no more.

 

Meditation [WORDS OF HOPE APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR CONGREGATION

Sending Song: “Ashokan Farewell”   Ungar

Benediction


© Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, 2020

Kevin Goldenbogen is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ serving Charlotte Congregational Church in northwestern Vermont. He skis, runs, bakes bread, and tries every day to follow Jesus. He is married to the perfect woman and has two boys who he loves beyond words.

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