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Worship Service and Sermon

Approaching the Equator

sunny 71 °F

The graphic (which doesn't copy) = Golden Gate bridge

ECUMENICAL WORSHIP Aboard the Silver Whisper January 13, 2019

Hymn All People That On Earth Do Dwell

All people that on earth do dwell,

Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
Him serve with fear, his praise forth tell,
Come ye before him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know is God indeed,
Without our aid he did us make;
We are his folk, he doth us feed,
And for his sheep he doth us take.

O enter then his gates with praise,
Approach with joy his courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless his name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? The Lord our God is good:
His mercy is forever sure;

His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,

The God whom heaven and earth adore,
From earth and from the angel host

Be praise and glory ever more.

Old Hundredth. Arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray.
O God, you have made one family of all the peoples of the earth; grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your spirit upon us and hasten the coming of your kingdom on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalm 96:9-13

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth tremble before him.

Tell it out among the nations: “The Lord is King! He has made the world so firm that it cannot be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.”

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea thunder and all that is in it; Let the field be joyful and all that is therein.

Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy before the Lord when he comes, When he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with his truth.

A Reading from Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus

For Christ is our peace; he has ... broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (2:14, 17-22)

A Reflection The Reverend Hope Eakins

From the reading we just heard: Christ is our peace; he has ... broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.

Seventeen years ago, John borrowed money from his brother. Sometimes he gets to thinking it wasn’t a loan but a gift; sometimes he sort of forgets about the whole transaction. John’s brother doesn’t really need John to repay him, but he needs to have the loan acknowledged and so he feels offended and resentful, and John feels a little embarrassed and guilty. So because of this situation, the brothers have grown apart over the years; there is a dividing wall, a hostility that separates them.

Mary is a smart third year law student, interviewing at a big firm. The managing partner offers her a job, but it’s not a job that challenges her. She’s black and he’s white, you see, and she knows he’s looking for someone to make the HR stats look good, she knows that were she hired, it would only be as window dressing. The racism that crackles across the partner’s desk is a dividing wall that will always separate them until they are honest with each other.

There are dividing walls in every life, walls built in our hearts by betrayal and infidelity and embarrassment and walls built in our society by all the bigotries and prejudices and –isms that infect our world.

St. Paul tells us that Jesus came to break down these walls, that Jesus came to end hostility and to bring peace, to keep us from being strangers and aliens to each other and join us together as brothers and sisters. St. Paul tells us that Jesus calls us to be a dwelling place for God --- and the reason that we have to break down the dividing walls that separate us is because God will NOT dwell where hatred and suspicion and prejudice infect us.

Here we are, crossing the Pacific Ocean, a vast sea that separated the world until Balboa and Magellan and Drake had a vision that the world didn't have to be divided and started dreaming and engineering and planning to sail across this sea.

It can be the same for us all. We are on an adventurous journey on the Whisper with fellow travellers from many nations; we are meeting people with politics and interests and languages and attitudes that differ from ours. Sometimes that can be an exciting prospect and sometimes it can be a daunting one. And if we are like all the other people God has ever made, our lives off the Whisper are also woven together with those we love who differ from us and those we don’t love so much who have hurt and betrayed us.

Love one another, says Jesus. But what if we can’t? What if we are like John’s brother who just wants his loan, his generosity, to be recognized? What if we are like Mary who fears injustice and discrimination at the hands of her managing partner? The Scripture is clear; our peace, our reconciliation, our hope is in opening our hearts to Christ’s love and trusting and waiting for it to fill us, in asking for God’s forgiveness and accepting it, in letting holy light shine into our darkness.

We aren’t going to get reconciled through our own efforts. We need to bring the discord and hatred and anger to God and beg for healing. If a woman whose husband has run off with a bimbo never forgives him, she will be haunted by her anger her whole life long. And she can forgive, if she starts praying for him. Even if it is through gritted teeth, she can be faithful to her vow “’til death do us part” by asking God to bless him. And then bit-by-bit, with God’s grace, she can let go of her hatred and make room for God’s peace.

Love your neighbor as yourself, says Jesus. But sometimes we don’t, and sometimes we can’t. So we need to invite God into our conversations and stop thinking we are always right. We have to remember that God has created and that God loves every Muslim and redneck and transvestite that God has ever made. We need to put aside all the hurts we are nursing, all the righteous anger, and discover that love and acceptance rest better in our hearts than judgment and egotism. We need to be bridge builders instead of wall builders.

The beginning of peace has to be in Christ because it is only Christ who can lead us to beat our swords into plowshares and heal the anger and pain in our hearts. For once we start to offer the anger and pain to the One who loves us, it will be healed. Bridges and canals and ocean liners have created a shorter faster safer route across the world. Offering to God the barriers that separate us from one another can create a shorter faster and safer route to the peace that passes all understanding. May that peace be with us all.

The Prayers

Gracious and loving God, as we begin this journey together, we pray for all who are away from home: for refugees, for pilgrims, for those serving in armed forces, for those who are homeless and forgotten. Give us trust that wherever we find ourselves, we are part of one family whose home is in you. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for the nations of the world, for heads of state and members of the United Nations: give them wisdom and courage to build a sure foundation of peace across the earth. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for this community aboard the Whisper: bless all who worship here this morning that in our seeking we may find you and then show forth your love and mercy wherever we go. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

As we traverse the wide ocean, we give thanks for all that connects people across separations: for telephones, the Internet, and postal services, for ships and trains and planes, and for the grace of compassion and tolerance, understanding and mercy. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are sick and those suffer, for Robert and Eileen, our fellow passengers who were evacuated from our ship and for those whom we now name silently and aloud (pause). Heal and comfort them. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who have died and all who grieve, trusting in your promises of eternal life. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for also for ourselves: take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us and unite us in bonds of love; give us penitent hearts that we may seek each other’s forgiveness and yours. Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Our Father 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 trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

Hymn: In Christ There Is No East or West

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins, The Reverend William J. Eakins

Music: Colin Barbiere Brown, Cruise Director

Altar Guild: Jane Kline

Usher: Doug Kline

Posted by HopeEakins 12:34

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