Beloved community, let us draw the circle wide!
And draw it wider still.
We come — laden with doubts, fears, resentments —
to worship the God who gives us faith, courage, renewal.
We come — overwhelmed with remorse,
or struggling with what it means to forgive —
to worship the God who teaches us true restoration.
We come — with identities varied as the colors of the rainbow —
to worship the God who weaves our many threads into one tapestry.
We come, and the circle is drawn wide — and wider — and wider still!
Not by our strength, not by our merit, but through God’s grace.
God the Gatherer,
God the Grafter,
God the Weaver of our many threads into a colorful whole —
In which no color drowns out any other, and all have their role in the tapestry —
Open us to your presence today, now!
Pour like rain into the cracked soil of our parched spirits;
Seep into our dreams and set us alight with grand new visions of You.
Nourishing rain in desert places,
Night’s relief among sun-burned sands,
Revitalize us so we can worship you
With the joy and wholeheartedness you deserve.
I wrote this for a virtual service on August 16, 2020 (15A Proper), a service that centered around themes of reconciliation and interdependence. I preached on Genesis 45:1-15, exploring Joseph’s gender nonconformity as a source for the brothers’ violence against Joseph; how Joseph was brought from suffering into thriving and was celebrated for the very gifts that the brothers had hated; and how Joseph as the wronged party got to choose how and when reconciliation would take place.
Meanwhile, I wove that theme of reconciliation into my liturgy alongside our need for community and to draw the circles of our community ever wider, drawing from the alternative reading Isaiah 56:1-8. This is why the above liturgy is all about expanding our community and God’s gathering of all persons.