Table Talk June 23, 2022

Living Table is a part of New Branches
Vintage New Branches sign outside Living Table UCC

This Sunday, July 3, is the last in our worship series, Living Into Pentecost.

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We are approaching our fourth Sunday together. It is also the third Sunday of our Series, Living Into Pentecost, in which we are taking a brief journey through the four phrases, or movements, of your liturgy.

Yes, our current liturgy is quite closely akin, in order and elements, to the liturgy to which you had become accustomed with Pastor Rachael. The most significant change in the language we are using is that the worship elements are no longer designated by nouns, but by phrases that begin with a verb form ending in  ‘i-n-g.’ (Yes, I’m a bit of a grammar geek – had to learn how to conjugate verbs and diagram all varieties of sentences in middle and high school. Some of you may have no idea what I’m talking about!)

Those i-n-g verb forms are called present participles. They can refer to an action that has taken place in the past, is taking place in the present and will also be taking place in the future – all at once! (Sounds like life to me!) Here’s an example of how that plays out in the four phrases of our current liturgy.

By simply deciding to attend church, on Zoom or in the room, you’ve already begun Showing Up . . . and Sinking In . . . to yourself, to the Holy Ones, to church and what church has meant and might mean for you. You’ve already begun Shape-Shifting . . . i.e., allowing your mind and Body-Spirit to be changed in some way, to see yourself or something else with fresh eyes or to drink in some blessing, perhaps. And although, in chronological time, you may literally still be back at the moment where you were first deciding to attend church, you have already begun to gather the energy and purpose for Shining Out . . . for manifesting whatever good news has, is, or will, come your way.

This week we highlight Shape-Shifting . . . plainly put, changing – one of the least favorite experiences of many human beings! And yet, one of the inexplicable things about The Holy Ones is the paradox of the constancy of Their essence and the elasticity of Their ever-expanding grace. Some might call that heresy. However, if God is a God of an ever-changing, shape-shifting universe, does God not also need flexibility to continue to embrace Their universe as it evolves? Do not earthly parents need malleability? Do not we humans need pliability to remain present to ourselves and others? And that’s the prophet Isaiah’s message from Yahweh to the Israelites who are stuck in the retelling of the story of their liberation from enslavement in Egypt. Yahweh says, “Don’t worry about the past,” and then makes this amazing promise:

I am about to do a new thing. Can you perceive it?
 I’ll make a way in the wilderness, rivers will spring out of the desert.

Living Table UCC, please join us on Sunday to invite Spirit to shape-shift us so we might try that promise on for size!

Blessings and Love,

Rev. Elaine

About Elaine Kirkland

Rev. Elaine Kirkland was the sabbatical pastor for Living Table UCC during Summer 2022.

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