August 13 Sermon


What Are We
A mediation and prayer
by Rev Dr. Thom Bower
For 13 August, 2017, a Taizé Service
Based on Psalm 8

I am going to ask to you imagine several places around the world. Rely on your experience of being in places like this, the many photographs and movies you have seen, and even what your imagination thinks these places might be like.

A forest with tall trees. You can small their bark. There are ferns and bushes along the path. The air is think with moisture and the air fresh.

The Grand Canyon, with ribbons of orange and yellow and tan, miles of canyons carved from the rock by water and wind.

A sunset over the water, the sky turning red and orange and pink, the water looking like rippling fire and then turning dark.

An outer-space cloud billowing green and purple and white, the nursery where stars are born.

What is humanity when compared to these natural wonders?

What is humanity that God would trust us to care for what God has created?

How do we discern what God would have humanity be?

How do we figure out how we will treat one another in a way that honors God, the creator of all things in the universe?

What do the people of Lyonsville do well that represents how God intends humanity to live?

What do the people of Lyonsville need to work on in order to be living as God intended?

What do the people of Lyonsville need to be doing outside of this church building in order to help others live as God intended?

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!


We come this morning, Lord, seeking your presence,

aware of your glory throughout creation,

thankful for the gifts of music and song,

meditation and imagination,

gifts which permit us a glimpse into your majesty.


This morning we contemplate how

we have grown from infancy

to the ways in which we are aware of your presence now,

at this time in our lives.

You have nursed us,

cared for us,

directed us to become your people –

conscientious individuals sharing

an identity in this community of faith.

We struggle with being accountable to one another,

struggle with competing values,

struggle with shared responsibilities;

may our struggles with one another

help us appreciate the

commitments we all bring to

this congregation,

and may our struggling exhibit

our commitment to one another’s dignity.

We are awestruck at our place

amidst the breadth of you creation.

Turtles and frogs,

elephants and chipmunks,

butterflies and condors –

each has received your

attention to detail as a loving creator.

And yet we humans bear your image

and have received responsibility for caring for

these other creations.

May we honor that status as

we more carefully work within ecosystems to

benefit ourselves and all creation with

whom we share your grace.

Our praises to your name, glorious Lord,

are mixed with cry of distress.

In this small community we know first-hand

cancers, depressions, failing organs.

We continue to grieve the loss of loved ones –

so many who shaped this congregation have died.

We celebrate healing joints,

reduced tumors,

accurate diagnoses leading to more precise treatments.

We ask for health for the bodies of this group of worshippers.

And we ask for healing in our souls

as we struggle with hatred in our country,

with injustice becoming lawful practice,

with the threat of war growing around the globe.

O Lord, how are we to respond to

the racism displayed yesterday in Charlottesville?

It is so far away,

we were not there,

we are not supporting the alt-right claims of supremacy,

what are we to do?

O Lord, how are we to respond to

the sabre-rattling with North Korea?

We don’t control the missiles, the foot soldiers, the media;

and yet we will bear the consequences of these threats.

Stop the madness that diminishes and eliminates our humanity.

Grant us wisdom for

how to live in these

unprecedented times of international disruption,

how to live as a community of faith taking

action for justice nearby,

and also how to live within these times of

new grace in our personal lives.

As songs of praise rise from our hearts toward the heavens,

may your peace pervade the soul of humanity

in every nation,

in every religion,

in every ideology.

May we grow to become caregivers for the planet.

May your majestic name overwhelm us,

gracious and glorious One,

so that we follow your call as

living witnesses of your loving presence.

May our songs be filled with praise,

may our hearts be filled with courage,

may our spirits continue to seek your presence,

may our prayers pursue wisdom,

and may our fellowship demonstrate

your beloved community,

in the name of Christ, Amen.

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