Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Perfect" by Pink (and Sara)

Sara adapted the lyrics of the song "Perfect" by Pink for our son's baptism today. We'll post the lyrics here in case anyone would like to read, sing, or us them.

Made a wrong turn once or twice
Dug my way out through the fire
Bad decisions – that’s all right
Daily God calls us to new life

Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Missin’ out on something good
But God never lets you down
Mistaken, always second-guessing
Underestimating, but look, God’s still around

Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me

Some may laugh at your song
Make you feel like you are wrong
Change the voices in your head
You’re Spirit-born, now be Spirit-led

So complicated, hearts out there are breakin’
Filled with so much hatred – such a tired game
It’s enough, but I got my second wind,
I’m working for the Kin-dom – let’s see you do the same

Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me

Sometimes I get scared, but I swallow my fear
the only thing I should be drinkin’ is God’s presence here
in valleys, on mountains, but we hide-hide-hide
Try to run and hide – it’s a waste of our time
Don’t look for the critics ‘cause they’re everywhere
Turnin’ people away, “You’re not welcome there.”
“Let’s change ourselves” – and we do it all the time
Why do we do that?
Why do I do that?
God wouldn’t do that

Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me
You’re perfect, you’re perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me

Baptism: A Liturgical Celebration


Gathering Song: “Holy Now” by Peter Mayer

Gathering Prayer:

One: Holy Spirit, we gather to bask in your abiding presence.
All: Wellspring, we gather to be drenched in your sacred waters.
One: Creator, we gather to praise your ongoing creation.
All: Potter, we gather to celebrate your handiwork.
One: Mother Hen, we gather to be protected under your wings.
All: Lord, we gather to claim you as our ultimate authority.
One: Deliverer, we gather to be led away from our troubles.
All: Advocate, we gather to be lifted up by you.
One: Aged Tree, we gather to be steadied by your firm foundation.
All: Flowing River, we gather to be led along the banks of life.
One: Liberator, we gather to be released from all that oppresses us.
All: Great Physician, we gather to experience your healing power.
One: Conservationist, we gather to celebrate your care for the earth.
All: Commander-In-Chief of the Universe, we gather to follow your leadership.
One: Visionary Artist, we gather to thank you for including us in your masterpiece.
All: Peacemaker, we gather to be led by your vision of shalom.
One: Lover of All, we gather to rest in your embrace.
All: All-Weather Friend, we gather to enjoy your faithful companionship.
One: Great Spirit, we gather to honor your presence in all living beings.
All: Band Leader, we gather to dance to the rhythm of your sacred music.
One: Amazing God, we gather to celebrate all of these aspects of you.
All: Each aspect is a blessing to us – and to children like _____. Praise be to you. Amen!

Hymn: “All-Present, All-Visible

Reading from John Philip Newell

“At the birth of every child, the Holy is born. In the conception of every creature, the Sacred One is at work…The gospel of Christ reveals the dearest and most hidden of truths, that we are what Christ is, born of God, and that at the heart of every human being and every creature is the Light that was in the beginning, and through whom all things have come into being.”

Reading from Sherwin Wine

“When a child is born, hope is born. A child makes us look forward with anticipation and excitement. A child is our link between the past and the future. Children allow us to reach out to the future, with all its possibilities and opportunities. Children unleash the power of our love and creativity and let us discover how much we need to nurture. When we give the gift of life to others, we give life to ourselves. We become alive with hope.”

Sharing Hopes and Blessings

Song: “Perfect” by Pink (adapted by Sara)

Reading from Galatians 3:23-29

“Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”

Reading from Matthew 28:16-20

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in my name, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

Hymn: “Children Born of Sacred Water

Sacrament of Baptism

One: The gospels testify that all people are invited to accept God, who has already accepted us. We only need to accept that we are accepted.
All: So, we, the members of God’s Beloved Community, proclaim that same witness. _____, the same God who has claimed every person as a beloved child, also proclaims that you are a beloved child.

Thanksgiving Prayer

One: God is with you.
All: And also with you.
One: Let us give thanks to God.
All: It is good to give God thanks and praise.
One: Holy Spirit, we thank you, because in you, we live, move, and have our being. We also thank you for the gift of water, which has been a blessing of life and health from the beginning of time. Your same Spirit who brooded over the waters at Creation, continues to brood over the waters in every pond, river, and ocean. Your same Spirit who blessed the sacred births of the first people on earth, continues to bless the sacred births of all babies. Your same Spirit who led our ancestors out of Egyptian slavery by parting the waters, continues to lead us toward greater freedom. Your same Spirit who descended upon Jesus at his baptism in a river, continues to be with us through our baptismal waters. Each time we see, hear, or touch water, enliven us anew to your abiding presence with us, and your gracious love for us. Bathe us afresh, now and always, in your sacred waters.
All: Abiding God, as we prepare to baptize _____, we ask that you bless this place, bless this water, and bless all of us gathered. In this moment, may your love, justice, and mutuality flow like a mighty stream through all of us. Amen.


One: The good news that we celebrate today is that _____ is a beloved child of God, with whom God is well pleased. He was born of two beloved children of God, and will be supported and nurtured by many other beloved children of God, including everyone gathered here.
All: Through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, _____’s birth was sacred, the earth upon which _____ lives is sacred, and the community that surrounds him/her is sacred. Today we celebrate the holiness that already surrounds this sacred child.
One: Out of gratitude for _____ being a beloved child of God, and for God’s abiding presence with him/her, are you prepared to offer promises of dedication and faithfulness.
P: We are, with the help of God.
One: Do you promise to raise _____ as God’s beloved child, so that s/he will be reminded of God’s gracious love and abiding presence in his/her life?
P: We do, with the help of God.
One: Do you promise to help _____ live his life according God’s vision of love, justice, and mutuality? And do you promise to help him/her avoid the temptations of incivility, injustice, and selfishness?
P: We do, with the help of God.
One: Do you promise to teach _____ about the Kin-dom of God, the central message of Jesus Christ? And do you promise to help him/her enjoy and embody that message in his life?
P: We do, with the help of God.
One: As a community, do you vow to support them in their promises?
All: We do, with the help of God. We also promise to walk with _____ on his spiritual journey. On this holy adventure with God, we will celebrate our beloved kinship, live out God’s vision for the world, and embody God’s Kin-dom.
One: Together, we will be God’s Beloved Community – a living sacrament of Jesus Christ. Now, let’s baptize _____ for this sacred journey.


One: _____ _____ _____, we baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ, the One who reveals the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God of Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel. The God of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The God of love, justice, and mutuality. The God of plants, insects, and animals. The God of this town, this planet, and the entire cosmos. The God of new life, new hope, and new creation. The God of your past, present, and future. Amen!
All: _____, you are a beloved child of God, with whom God is well pleased. Amen!


One: Holy God, Jesus embodied your gracious love in word and deed. Thank you for that gift. We also thank you that today, as the Beloved Community, we can witness that same love to _____, proclaiming that he is your beloved child; and that he is saturated by your abiding presence.
All: Loving God, encourage and strengthen us in our journey of faith, so we can always find ways to enjoy and embody your vision of love, justice, and mutuality in the world. Amen.


One: _____, you are a beloved child of God and a member of the Beloved Community.
All: We will worship, pray, learn, serve, and travel together.
One: We will also encourage one another along the way.
All: And, like Jesus, we will celebrate faith, life, and ministry along the way. Amen.


One: Sisters and brothers, here is our sibling in Christ, _____ _____ _____.

Hymn: “God of Movement

Benediction from Marianne Williamson:

One: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
All: Holy God, through our baptismal waters, liberate us, so we can liberate others! Amen!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Children Born of Sacred Waters

Our newest song is a baptismal hymn written to the tune of "Children of the Heavenly Father." It was developed with help from friends and members of PCAN. We'd especially like to thank David Weiss for his theo-poetic contributions. Sometimes it takes a community of artists - all throwing paint against the canvas - to create something of beauty. Here are the lyrics:

Children born of sacred waters, God’s creative sons and daughters,
All of us revealing Your face; this new child to hold in Your grace.

By Your fresh baptismal river, into new life we’re delivered.
By Your holiness surrounded, in Your love we are now grounded.

Healing Rain and Dancing Ocean, wet with joy - set us in motion.
Use this water to remind us, that Your love will ever find us.

God of new life and creation, God of dreams and firm foundations,
As these waters splash and swirl, help this child to love Your world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We’re a Culture, Not a Costume

Ten students in the group Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS) at the Ohio University have started an education campaign called: "We're a Culture, Not a Costume." It juxtaposes racial stereotypes with real people. One of the students, Sarah Williams, said this about the campaign:

"These posters act as a public service announcement for colored communities. It’s about respect, human dignity, and the acceptance of other cultures (these posters simply ask people to think before they choose their Halloween costume)."

Click here to see more posters.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Writing a Baptismal Hymn

We're in the process of writing a baptismal hymn text to the tune of "Children of the Heavenly Father." We'd love your feedback or ideas. Thanks!

Children born of sacred waters, God’s creative sons and daughters,
Gathered here, a child to embrace; all of us revealing Your face.

By your fresh baptismal river, into new life we’re delivered -
By your holiness surrounded, by your love we are astounded.

Healing Rain and Dancing Ocean, wash us clean - set us in motion.
Use this water to remind us that your love will ever find us.

God of new life and creation, God of dreams and firm foundations,
Through your children, light reflected; we accept that we’re accepted.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Jesus Occupied Wall Street, Too

A picture is worth a thousand words:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity

I hear teenagers say the word "f***" all the time. As the father of a young son, it bothers me when I hear that word. I certainly don't want that to be my son's first word! But the most obscene thing I can think of isn't "f***", it's famine. In the previous three months, 30,000 children have died in Somalia. As a new parent, this other f-word is much more offensive to me. I fear the day when my son asks me: "Daddy, why don't we do something to help them?" There aren't easy answers. In part because famine is a complex event to address. But that complexity can't be a reason to do nothing. Action can be taken.

The One Campaign has put together a great video about famine. Here is what Bono said about it:
ONE's new film The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity isn't a typical emotional emergency appeal. It's about focusing the media spotlight on the tragedy unfolding. It's about building political support in the US and around the world for interventions that will stop the suffering today and break the cycle of famine in the future. Most of all, it's about taking action -- because famine is human-made.
There are two important things we can all do to help bring famine to an end:

(1) Watch and share the video.
(2) Sign the One Campaign's petition.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Artists Don't Work for Free T-Shirt

Here's a great t-shirt design for anyone who is an artist. If you're an artist - or care about an artist - you'll understand! Check out the Hesaidteeshed website for a closer look or to buy a shirt. Good stuff!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Victory (Psalm 3 / Breast Cancer Song)

In commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my song "Victory" is available to download for free. It's is a prayer for victory over breast cancer, based on Psalm 3. It was inspired by a pacifist woman who understood this psalm of war to be about her battle against cancer. Click here to download the song and/or here to donate to Susan G. Comen for the Cure. May we find a cure soon.

Here are the lyrics to "Victory":

Facing before us our enemy
Frightened we go to war, fearing defeat
It rises against us so strong
Tries to break us down, make us weak
Says to us, “All hope is gone.”

But God, Your shield surrounds us
And You are the fortress within us
When we cry out in agony, pain, and fear
From the sacred earth
And within each person
You reply, “I am here.”

So we march, march on like soldiers
Victory’s ours to be won
Holy and healing God strengthens us
Rest we’ll find
And peace of mind, knowing
We’ll wake with the sun

Rise up within and around us
We call out “Deliver us, God!”
Help women strike down this enemy
Like those before
We’ll win once more, lead us
To victory

Healing and strength, God,
We ask for your blessing
Lead us like Esther to victory
You are our hope and in
You we take comfort
Grant us the will and
the courage we need

Then we’ll sing, sing out like songbirds
Knowing in You we have hope
Only from God does our strength come
We sing Your praise
Our voices raise, knowing
This battle’s won

So we’ll march, march on like soldiers
Victory’s ours to be won
Holy and healing God strengthens us
Rest we’ll find
And peace of mind, knowing
We’ll wake with the sun