Freedom and Vulnerability, Blessing and Brokenness

Welcome to our extended SSU Community. As a new school year begins, join us in remembering this familiar prayer from the SSU Prayer Book – a prayer recited during our first worship evening on Wednesday.

Begin with Silence

Celebrant: Gathering here is an act of faith, a mysterious and joyful confession: Jesus is Lord

People: Jesus is Lord

Celebrant: We say with the saints, faithful men and woman of old

People: Intimacy with God is the source of our community’s health and well-being

Celebrant: We confess with the angels, some who rebelled and some who obeyed

People: Lack of intimacy with God is the way we measure our pain

Celebrant: We are no different from other Christian communities, some which have grown, some which have died in confusion and pain

People: Therefore Lord Jesus, make our community vigilant, skillful and sensitive in how we overcome evil. Prayer is life

Celebrant As we live life together, may we help each other on this journey

People: In freedom and vulnerability
In blessing and brokenness

Celebrant: We pray to you, Heart of our own heart, that you will make our life together a light on a hill and that you would help us on our journey

People: In freedom and vulnerability
In blessing and brokenness

Celebrant: We pray to you, Lord of life, that you would grow us into a faithful, powerful, and humble people, ready to influence the world with your ideas and our interpretation of them through informed reflection. Because of this hard task, we pray

People: Make us a witness to the Gospel-message,
a prophetic response to the social and cultural problems of our day.
If you can bring truth out of Balaam’s donkey,
surely you can work a miracle here as well:

Celebrant: We tell the story and we are the story

People: Of freedom and vulnerability, 
of blessing and brokenness

Celebrant: We tell the story and we are the story

People: That Jesus is Lord, that prayer is life

Merton on being yourself

A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying God. It ‘consents’ so to speak, to God’s creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.

The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him. If it tried to be like something else which was never intended to be, it would be less like God and therefore it would give Him less glory.

No two created beings are exactly alike. And their individuality is no imperfection. On the contrary, the perfection of each created thing is not merely in its conformity to an abstract type but in its own individual identity with itself. This particular tree will give glory to God by spreading out its roots in the earth and raising its branches into the air and the light in a way that no other tree before or after it ever did or will do.

Do you imagine that the individual created things in the world are imperfect attempts at reproducing an ideal type which the Creator never quite succeeded in actualizing on earth? If that is so they do not give Him glory but proclaim that He is not a perfect Creator.

Therefore each particular being, in its individuality, its concrete nature and entity, with all its own characteristics and its private qualities and its own inviolable identity, gives glory to God by being precisely what God wants it to be here and now, in the circumstances ordained for it by God’s Love and God’s infinite Art.

– Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, 1961