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AN African liturgy

sunny 61 °F

The photo below is our worship service this morning, complete with African rhythm instruments and altar cloth - and our Altar Guild and ushers. It was wonderful!

An African Liturgy. Aboard the Silver Whisper off the coast of West Africa on May 5, 2019

HYMN: Christ is Arisen! Alleluia!


The Lord is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.
Let us pray.
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads, through the power of your Spirit. Amen.


All you big things bless the Lord
Lake Victoria and the Serengeti Plain
Rhinos and hippos
Bless the Lord, praise and extol him forever
All you tiny things bless the Lord.
Black ants and hopping fleas,
Flying locusts and water drops
Bless the Lord, praise and exalt him forever.

Listen to the Good News proclaimed in the Gospel of Saint John
Glory to Christ our Savior.
Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd." (10:11-15)

A REFLECTION The Reverend William J. Eakins

Our worship on the Silver Whisper is quite different today. We have hymns from South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, and rhythm instruments of many kinds; the Creed will affirm our belief in “Jesus who was always on safari doing good.” Things are very different from what we are used to, and at the same time, very familiar because all Christians worship the one God and Father of us all who sent Jesus to come among us as a Good Shepherd. “I lay down my life for the sheep,” he said, “...so there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

The flock to which Jesus calls us is not an institution but a community, and living in community is not an easy thing to do. We like the idea of a Good Shepherd who will call us by name, like the Silversea crew. We like having a shepherd who will lay down his life for us, but we don't like being in a flock very much because then we are just part of a herd, and sometimes other members of the flock can get on our nerves. Also some sheep always wander off and then the Good Shepherd leaves ninety-nine of us behind to go and rescue the one who has strayed and bring it home because, he says, sheep belong in a flock.

The early Christians took their flock, their community, very seriously. It was where they prayed and where no one was ever in need because they shared what they had. Christian churches today are still meant to be communities like that, places where people can disagree and can sometimes hurt each other, but stay together because they know they belong to one family.

Our worship together on the Whisper has formed us into a little Christian community. We are a flock, not because we have the same heritage and traditions or agree about everything. What makes us a flock is whose sheep we are. Jesus didn’t say that any particular tradition or doctrine or people were the way, the truth, or the life. He said that HE was and that by following him we become his flock. It means that when we see our brothers and sisters segregated into townships as we did in South Africa or townships anywhere where people are separated by class or gender of race or economic condition, we start working to break down the walls and open the gates because God’s Kingdom is big enough to hold us all. It means that we start sharing what we have because we are only as strong as the weakest of us. It means that we care for the earth because it belongs o everyone. It means that we love each other with all our hearts because ultimately we are all one flock with one Shepherd.

HYMN: If you believe and I believe

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it.
He created us and wanted us to be happy in the world.
We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know him in the light.
God promised in the Bible, that he would save the world and all the nations and tribes.
We believe that God made good this promise by sending Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh,
a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good,
curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and human beings,
showing the meaning of religion is love.
He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died.
He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him,
and on the third day, he rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.
We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him.
All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God,
live the rules of love and share the bread together in love,
to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again.
We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

Merciful Father, we are your children, hear us as we pray.
Father, you created the heavens and the earth:
grant good rains for our crops and bless the works of our hands.
Father, you created us in your own image:
teach us to honor you in all peoples.
Father, you sent your Son into the world:
reveal him to others through his life in us.
Lord Jesus, you forgave the thief on the cross:
make us people of penitence and reconciliation.
You broke down the walls that divide us:
help us to live in peace and concord.
You taught us through your apostle Paul to pray for kings and rulers:
bless and guide all who are in authority.
You were rich yet became poor for our sake:
move those who have wealth to share it generously with those who have little.
You cured by your healing touch and word:
heal the sick and bless those who minister to them.
You were unjustly condemned:
strengthen our brothers and sisters who suffer injustice and persecution.
You lived as an exile in Egypt:
protect and comfort all refugees and migrant workers.
You knew the love and care of an earthly home:
Defend the orphans and raise up families to shelter them.
You are the Lord of the living and the dead:
open the gates of your kingdom to those who have died.
Holy Spirit, you enlighten and inspire the whole earth:
Fill us and live in us always.
And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us we are bold to say,

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,
for ever and ever. Amen.


Life is short and we have little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So, be swift to love and make haste to be kind and may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen

HYMN: We are marching in the light of God

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The liturgy is a compilation of various South African and Zulu liturgical prayers, modified for this congregation.

Officiants: The Reverend William J. Eakins, The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
Altar Guild: Jane Kline, Directress; Jill Ingham
Music: The Silver Whisper Trio

Expected time of next service on Sunday, May 12 at 9:15 am

Posted by HopeEakins 07:14 Archived in Senegal

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