Sunday Sending Worship Service

Dear Ones,

(I have included links to music and pictures and an order of service so those who were not there (and those of us who were) can get a sense of the feeling of the service.)

Offered by Sr. Paula Clare Clouse, OEF

Opening Prayer
Welcome to the Sabbath: (From the book Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals)

Lord of Creation,
create in us a new rhythm of life
composed of hours that sustain rather than stress,
of days that deliver rather than destroy,
of time that tickles rather than tackles.

Lord of Liberation,
by the rhythm of your truth, set us free
from the bondage and baggage that break us,
from the Pharaohs and fellows who fail us,
from the plans and pursuits that prey upon us.

Lord of Resurrection,
may we be into the rhythm of your new life,
dead to deceitful calendars,
dead to fleeting friend requests,
dead to the empty peace of our accomplishments.

To our packed-full planners, we bid, “Peace!”
To our over-caffeinated consciences, we say, “Cease!”
To our suffocating selves, Lord, grant release.

Drowning in a sea of deadlines and death chimes,
we rest in You, our lifeline.

By Your ever-restful grace,
allow us to enter Your Sabbath rest
as Your Sabbath rest enters into us.

In the name of our Creator,
our Liberator,
our Resurrection and Life,
we pray,

Call to Worship: Sister Magdalena (Worship Team: Sister Mags, Brother Louis Canter, Owusu Slater, John Syvertson)

Worship Songs: Grace Like Rain, Revelation Song, I Stand Before God Alone

In Memorial: Brother Fred Ball, OFR

Laying on of Hands, Anointing with Oil, Prayer for the Sick: Sister Paula Clare, Brother David Fournier, Brother Neal Dunnigan

His Glory Appears: Sister Magdalena (during prayer time)

Prayer for Communion/Eucharist (Common Prayer: Ordinary Radicals)

The table of bread is now to be made ready.
It is the table of company with Jesus,
And all who love him.
It’ is the table of sharing with the poor of the world,
with whom Jesus identified himself.
It is the table of communion with the earth,
in which Christ became Incarnate.
So come to this table,
you who have much faith
and you who would like to have more;
you who have been here often
and you who have not been for a long time
you who have tried to follow Jesus,
and you who have failed.


(Grape juice and wafers served in individual cups and passed to one another row by row)

At Your Table

communion table sunday service

Prayer After:

Loving God,
Through your goodness
we have this bread and wine/grape juice to offer,
which has come forth from the earth
and human hands have made. May we know your presence in the sharing,
so that we may know your touch
and presence in all things.
We celebrate the life that Jesus has shared
among his community through the centuries
and shares with us now.
Made one in Christ,
and one with each other,
we offer these gifts and with them ourselves,
a single, living act of praise.


I intentionally did not put together Sunday’s sermon until I got here. I needed to again be in community with you to know, to discern, what God is saying to me…to US. And so, as I have been processing all the Spirit is doing, in and among and through us, and as I’ve seen and experienced many of us being so real and vulnerable with one another – I hear the Spirit asking me…asking us:

Where is God calling us to risk?”

You see, I have this crazy idea that the North American Church CAN figure out a way to live out our faith without building walls and drawing lines of division. I am continually boggled that of all the institutions and organizations in and around America, it’s the Church who can’t seem to figure out how to worship across racial lines.

I am white. And therefore privileged. I am in the process of owning and figuring out what that fully means. Hearing from the panel this weekend helped in that process. But I am also a woman…and therefore seen as “less than” in some circles. I have been dealt harsher blows by the Church than by society at large…but still.

There are those in this order who have no place in which they can find safety. Not society. Maybe they are a person of color. Not the Church. Perhaps they are LGBT. Perhaps they are homeless…without a community? Maybe they are poor, without food or water for their children? What if the very ones with whom they are closest are also the ones with whom they have greatest issues? No safe place…Not society. Not the Church. Not the family. Who is to be a safe place for the least of these? Who will dare risk?

As Christ followers, as Franciscans, aren’t we (individually and collectively) to be the safe place for those who have no other safe place? Are we not the ones who best identify with outcasts?

I know I am not the only voice of the oppressed in the world. Far from it. I’m not even the collective voice of this community. But I am part of it. If you would, please allow me, for a moment, to be a voice of the hurting? A voice of those on the outside.

They say you should travel light

But most of our lives we carry it all on our backs

These days it isn’t our arms that stay weighed down

It’s our minds

We wake up in a panic

Its our thoughts that hyperventilate for fear

Of making mistakes.


For fear of failing or succeeding

Or fear that we’ll never move past our past

That we’ll be exactly who they said we’d be

That we’ll never be more than what was done to us

That we will continue to be taken advantage of

That we should accept shame as a companion to carry with us

That we should let the lies befriend us


The lies.

started in a garden…

Spoken slyly by a slithering serpent with his syrupy sweet:

“Did God really say?”

 And we’ve be doubting ever since

 Allowing an unwelcome guest to make himself at home in our lives, minds, gardens

 Keep us bound with slithering fear

that we are damaged goods

Never going to be good enough

Not enough brains, not enough brawn

Not enough guts to take anything on.


But there is no time for being soft or weak

That at all times we have to be tough

That We’ll never be perfect that

We’ll never be worth it

That we’ll never be enough

And sometimes… we feel God calling us, nudging us

Trying to show us


But somehow we stay trapped

Behind walls of unbelief and unforgiveness

Our arms a weary rope caught in a vicious tension

Tug of war between our fear and our calling

Between worry and peace

Comfort and inconvenience

Comparing ourselves to each other

While battling low self esteem


Do we do what’s practical?

Or follow our dreams?

Do we take care of ourselves?

Or meet others people’s needs?

Should we fight?

Should we please?

Should we hide from who we are to put other people at ease?


And then the lies begin to echo and amplify


Time abuser

Mess producer

Who needs you?

She’s so much better

Just look at HIM

You actually thought that was a good idea?


Open your mouth and they’ll laugh long enough that you’ll shut your mouth

You aren’t smart enough

You aren’t good enough

You aren’t sharp enough


Who do you think you are?


Fear is our chain and it’s rattling us HARD

It’s the poison that deadens our hearts


Fear of failing

Fear of flailing

Fear of the arrows

Fear of The Way named Narrow

Fear of the rock in front of you that begs you sweat and climb

Climb out of that dead comforting pit they call status quo

And break right up through the earth and into the life you were born for


In the NOW of your life while there is still time and hunger in your veins

Turn around and shake off that snake

Because it’s head’s been crushed, no pulverized

So let go of the lie.


Sometimes we imagine that God’s voice is a disappointed hard lined teacher

Who is waiting to whack our knuckles with a ruler for any imperfections


But that isn’t God’s voice at all

That isn’t Gods heart at all

 He speaks tenderly

He doesn’t need to raise his voice

He speaks as if He’s right next to us

 Because He’s right next to us

 Because He goes before us

 Because His spirit lives inside us


He starts with love

And not because He is a hopeless romantic

But mostly because



Let go of the lie and bind the wound with dressings of Truth that will heal your bloodied soul

Take that sharp edge of His Word and hack that snake creeping up the back your neck

The Word:

The only life hack that will hack off the lie of the snake and make your life whole

 We fear that the place we think God’s love will run out or dry up

 We fear that place where we think God’s love will run out, dry up, fall of the edge

And we’ll be left dangling beyond its reach

 We fear that somewhere God’s love ends


But His love never runs out


His steadfast love surpasses suburbia

Canvases from skyscrapers to street corners from porch to stoop

 His love is looking for you.

 Who would you be?

What would you do?

 If you weren’t afraid


Could be that you’ve always wanted to come up through the ground

in some desolate place that needed a tree

To bear some fruit for someone with their tongue stuck to the dry roof of their parched mouth

To be a limb that held some baby abandoned

To be a limb that someone could used to swing over the fence and free



We were made from dust

A bit of earth kissed by heaven

made to be groundbreakers

And peacemakers

And freedom shakers


So you can take your glossy magazine covers and use them for washing windows

Because we’ve always thought the most beautiful people have dirt under their fingernails

And could shake a bit of the earth out of their worn and pioneering shoes


And lets redefine comfort zone because wherever He takes you

You are with the Comforter

Wherever He calls you

You are always in HIS comfort zone

 So live all your present moments in His presence

To keep company with Christ

To get in on the best

 There’s a brave love generation right here and now and IT IS US.

 Who come broken

Who are done being defeated by fear and worry and stress

Because it advertises the unreliability of God


Who want hard and Holy things because we want more than shallow lives

A life more than self focus and cell phones

More than iPhones, iTunes and iLove

Who want a life of loving the least, the lonely, and the lost

There is a brave love generation rising right here and now and IT IS US


Who are done with easy

Who know that being like Christ and caring for the poor in body and soul

Means more than just caring about easing our consciences

It means living real sacrifice


There is a brave love generation rising right here and now and IT IS US


Who say now is the time for the faithful

To sky dive and fly

To remember that we don’t have to strive to be anyone else

To stop taking issue with what God made

To accept that our perfect God makes no mistakes


There’s a brave love generation rising right here and now and IT IS US


To take the weight we carry on our backs

And offer it back to the savior who already carried the weight of the world on his shoulders

Who surrender

Who lay out alabaster hopes and dreams, grateful sinners at the feet of our Savior


There is a brave love generation rising right here and now and IT IS US


Who will no longer look for peace in opinions

But to find our solid ground in the Truth


There are many tomorrows to face

But today, lets open our hearts and our wounds and our stories

To the Great Storyteller

That our lives may be chiseled by HIS pen


That we may BELIEVE

That we may LOVE

That we may PRAY

That we may FIGHT

That we may REST

That we may LIVE!

Benediction: Lord of the Dance (Brother John Syvertson)

(Spoken word poem was written by Ann Voskamp. I have made minor changes.)

About Clouse, Paula Clare

I am a licensed counselor, I belong to a non denominational community church and I love Jesus with all my heart. The things that break my heart are injustice, prejudice and poverty. The life verses I seek to live out are Micah6:8 and Matthew 22:37-40. I love animals, Franciscans and peacemongering activists.

Leave a Reply