The following responsive reflection came out of the Nov 13-14 meeting of Cascades Presbytery in Newport, Oregon.
We acknowledge and grieve the violence which is within ourselves and in the world.
In this solemn moment of reflection we will reclaim the space for gentleness and love.
We light a candle as a sign of the light of kindness and warmth which can flow into the world and heal us from the wounding of violence.
The candle is lit.
We pray today especially for the people of Beirut, Lebanon and Paris, France.
As people choose violence, the light of God is hidden. As we make our choices towards violence, as we violate each other and the life of the planet itself, the light of hope and gentleness is dimmed.
The candle is extinguished.
We grieve this truth about our life. We grieve violence in all its forms, here and everywhere, know or hidden, sometimes seemingly justified in war or unjustified by anyone. We grieve the violence of terrorism and the deaths of this innocent.
We grieve violence between the powerful and the defenseless, the rich and poor, between men and women, or adults and children, in homes or in streets, in workplaces or schools. We grieve personal violence and institutional violence.
We grieve violence in entertainment which degrades and hardens us and seduces our own children towards brutality.
We grieve the times when we have remained silent in the face of violence in distant places or turned our eyes away from violence close at hand.
We call to mind the names of people, including all veterans of war, whose suffering from violence we remember today.
Part of our grieving lies in the violation of our expectation of life itself, which we had hoped would be more just, more understandable in its delivering of devastation and tragedy to innocent people.
THE CLAIMING OF KINDNESS:
In the face of all these realities, we will claim the power of new life which comes from true grieving.
The gift of sorrow carries us back to true humanness and reminds us of the dream for our life together.
Honest grieving opens our love for the world, stills us to look at our life and to find new paths through the blurring of tears.
We will not stay sorrowful forever.
One day soon the light of hope will be reflected on the water of our tears. We relight the candle as a sign of the coming of the light of loving kindness and warmth.
The candle is relit.
We will live in hope. Life will not confirm our worst fears but will surprise us with a new joy.
Gentleness will be celebrated as strength, compassion will rise again in courage and commitment. There will be respect for difference and open arms for the giving of sanctuary. We will challenge all that sustains fear and invites violence and try to lift up equity in our search for justice. We will heal those who have been wounded and reclaim the hope which walks in the innocent heart of a child. The water of the weeping of the world will bring the blossoming of flowers.
Water is poured into the font.
Let us be present here with the determination to diminish all violence and to add warmth and love to the world around us.
Welcome to St. Mark
We are a progressive, spiritual, socially liberal community which honors its mainline Presbyterian heritage. We believe scripture reveals the faith journeys of an ancient people and culture that is true to their experiences and understandings of the world and that it is meant to be interpreted in every new time and culture, contextually and not literally. We hold to the Reformed Tradition that believes that the church must constantly be reforming and reformed in its worship, theology and polity. We believe that Jesus welcomed all people to his table, so we invite all to share communion with us on the first Sunday of each month.
Our mission is to provide a welcoming and supportive community for children, women, and men of all ages, cultures, and lifestyles who wish to know more about the presence of something more and meaningful in their lives and to empower the gifts of each person within our community, so that, individually and together, we can “help the suffering, support the weak, and strengthen the fainthearted” through acts and attitudes of knowledge, compassion, understanding and social justice.
You are invited to join us for Sunday worship at 10:00 am.
Activities for children and childcare are provided.