Publication is the dream of any would-be-writer. When I received an email asking me to consider submitting prayers and reflections for a book (at the time) called From Psalms to Twitter, I jumped on board. Never having submitted anything professionally, I was a bit anxious about the whole process. The entire process was made wonderfully easy and relaxing by the keen pastoral approach of the co-editor, the Rev. Maren Tirabassi, pastor of Union Congregational UCC in Madbury, New Hampshire. The book’s title has changed during editing to From the Psalms to the Cloud – Prayers for a Digital Age and will soon be published by Pilgrim Press (Cleveland, OH.) When the book is published (forthcoming is the only date we’ve been given!), I will include my contributions and a link to purchase the book.
Some months after I had emailed my submission for the book, Maren emailed me and asked if I might be interested in submitting to an e-book called Luke for Sharing–A Community Resource. Not quite knowing what I was getting into, I agreed again. The premise was to compile various resources on each Sunday’s Gospel reading from the Gospel of Luke. My assigned Sunday was the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (or the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, depending on your church’s preferred style.) I’ll include the text from Luke, as well as my contributions below.
Maren, a skilled and inspired poet and liturgist, manages the blog “Gifts in Open Hands.” She is posting each Sunday’s resources a week ahead of time on her blog. In addition, she offers her own poetry, prayers, and reflections. I highly recommend the blog and her work.
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Come, One-in-Three, and be with us.
Guide us on this journey toward freedom
from possessions, freedom from greed, freedom from guilt.
Take us by the hand and walk with us.
Teach us to join the dance of true liberation,
which is found only in you. Amen.
Lord Jesus, you came to throw open the barn doors of our guilt and greed. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ Jesus, you teach us to live in community with you and one another. Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you call us to dream God’s dream of liberation for ourselves and for all people. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Assurance of Pardon
Household of God, when we fill our barns with material possessions and with spiritual pride, God’s love throws open the doors to freedom and wholeness. Our sins are forgiven in the strong name of the Lover, +the Beloved, and the Loving Spirit. Join in the dance of abundant grace!
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give God thanks and praise.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.
It is indeed right to give our thanks and praise, O generous God,
for you throw open our doors and invite us to walk into the light
of freedom from the things that burden us and keep us from loving
you and one another.
When creation was young, you brought forth humankind
to keep you company and care for this garden home that is our earth.
You walked with us and made us your friends.
When we ignored your call to live with one another,
preferring the lonely company of our wealth
and the idolatrous grip of our greed,
you opened our barn doors
and set us free.
You pitched your tent among us
through our brother, Jesus,
who taught by word and deed
what it means to love wholeheartedly
and seek your dream for our lives.
When his words and deeds offended
to the point of death,
you raised him to new life
and bid us follow him
toward your heart of liberation,
compassion, and love.
Therefore with the whole company of saints in glory,
we join in your unending hymn of praise…
May love enable you to move in new directions, open the barn doors, and clear out all that prevents you from enjoying the blessings of life in communion with God and one another. Go now and always in the strong name of the Lover, the Beloved, and the Loving Spirit. Go in peace. Amen.
In the God of the Open Barn Door,