Welcome and Theme:
We are so glad you joined us today as we celebrate being together as a community. Our theme today is Hiding from God. The readings describe ways we sometimes hide from God, ourselves and others. As it happens today is PRIDE Sunday- A reminder of sisters and brothers who have had to hide. Our table is open and we nourish one another, drawing strength from God’s unconditional and ever-present love.
Peace prayer: The Holy One is as close as your next- breath --breathe deeply. Be aware of the peace of your breath. Hold that inner peace for yourself-offer that inner peace to your neighbor on your left-on your right-offer that inner peace to our local community and finally offer that inner peace to our global communities. Amen.
Opening song: Deep Within by David Haas
A Reading from Its Time –Challenges to the Doctrine of Faith by Michael Morwood
Our appreciation of the Divine Presence being always here on earth within and among all people is expanding. We understand that this Presence does not operate from the heavens down, but for within and among the human community. It is a Presence writ deep into the human psyche, as it is written deep into every particle and atom and cell.
When we look back to the origins of Judaism and to its message we see this Presence given voice and human expression in accord with the same patterns of operation we see everywhere in the universe today. It is a voice, a call, from deep within the human that cries out for humans to work together, to be sensitive to one another, to overcome selfishness, to stop the violence, to care, to buildup, to work in harmony with all creation and to entertain possibilities for the human endeavor way beyond what we presently experience.
Humanity is capable of destroying itself and everything around it when it blocks this expression of the Divine. Humans can only truly experience and give expression to the Divine Presence within them when they follow the universal life-giving patterns of co-operation and working together.
These are the inspired of Michael Morwood a disciple of Jesus. The community affirms these words by saying: AMEN.
A Reading from the Book of Genesis
YHWH called to the man: “Where are you?”
“I heard you walking in the garden,” replied the man. I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid.”
“Who told you of nakedness? Have you eaten from the fruit of the tree whose fruit I forbade you to eat?”
The man replied, “It was the woman you put beside me, she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”
Then YHWH asked the woman, “What is this that you have done?”
The woman replied, “The serpent tempted me, so I ate it.”
These are the inspired words of Genesis and we affirm these words by saying: AMEN
Kathie's Homily Reflection
The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) were first an oral tradition and when they were written they were in Hebrew and Aramaic. In the first century AD the scriptures were translated into Greek. The first books of the New Testament were written in 70 AD. In the fourth century the scriptures were translated into Latin. I am reminding you of this timeline because over centuries with oral tradition and with written translations we have lost a lot in translation!
In the past reading the Adam and Eve story was not pleasant. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin we were all locked out of paradise. And we know Eve took the major part of the rap for that sin. That myth/story slowly evolved to the reason Jesus came…to save us from our sins and open the gates of heaven. Remember there are many truths in the bible and sometimes even facts.
When the Jewish people heard the Adam and Eve story they did not believe it was factual but understood it to be a story about what it is like-- what it means to be separated from the One, YHWH. Looking at this passage where Adam and Eve are hiding because of their nakedness…YHWH said what do you know of nakedness? Not who told you “you are naked” but what do you know of nakedness? The Hebrew (midrash) translation defined nakedness in several ways-yes to no clothes but more importantly a nakedness of “undisguised feelings or behavior”-- another level of meaning,-vulnerability- perhaps a deeper meaning-- When we do something wrong we feel shame and we feel vulnerable, we think if they really knew me, knew what I did, knew what I thought, would I still be loved? so we hide…we hide from those we hurt, those we love and we even hide from God. This feeling of needing to hide often creates a feeling of being separated from God. One of the important truths of this story is God/the Holy One, is not separated from us…YHWH goes walking around looking for us…calling us out from behind our shame/vulnerability not shutting us out but loving us back to the truth of unconditional love.
So now what? What do you and I do about this? Where am I hiding? Who do I know is hiding and how can I call them out to experience love? How do we help each other not hide?
Donna's Homily Reflection
The first reading today is an excerpt from a story that was written in the style of a myth. A myth is an imaginative and symbolic story about a reality which is beyond comprehension. The reality of suffering addressed in this story is beyond our comprehension. The story teaches that when we go against the spiritual order we encounter suffering.
Earlier in the story God is pictured saying “the day you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you will die.” This is not a punishing God. God is pictured in the story as one who does not want us to die. This is referring to a kind of spiritual death. The result of spiritual death in the story is the disruption of relationships. Adam and Eve are ashamed of themselves, they blame each other and they hide from God.
God in this story is not pictured as all-knowing. God comes to Adam and Eve for a nightly walk and discovers the problem. Adam and Eve are unable to respond to God’s unchanging love. God is pictured as saying “Where are you?”
We are created in the image of God. We are created to love unconditionally. We are able to choose to live as an image of God or to disrupt the spiritual order by being selfish. When we disrupt the spiritual order our relationships suffer, we suffer and we want to hide from God. The choice is ours.
Communion song: The Gift You Are by John Denver
Please extend your hands in blessing: May we continue to be the Face of God to each other. May the harmony of connectedness across culture, race, time and space create in us the yearning to love as the Holy One loves. Amen.
Closing song: Be Light for our Eyes by David Haas
Gay Pride March in Albany, NY