“All the world in wonder echoes ‘Shalom’”

There is a resident cricket near the chapel doors that lead outside.  One’s there every year around this time.  He’s quiet at first, but then begins to sing along as he hears the music.  He sings with the piano, he sings when the children are singing – he joins his song with ours as we praise our Creator together.

 Also, on vacation during the summer months, my family and I spent lots of time in the mountains.  We never tire of seeing those mountains, whether in western Virginia or in the Poconos.  Their majesty is always breathtaking for us.  God’s creation all around us of tall, straight trees bending in the breeze, the energy of locusts and chipmunks and deer and ground hogs, and the silent, stony  mountains stirred a grateful heart in each of us.

 I’m reminded of the Refrain of the Communion Hymn for this morning, “Light Dawns on a Weary World”, ELW #726:

The trees shall clap their hands; the dry lands, gush with springs;

the hills and mountains shall break forth with singing!

We shall go out in joy, and be led forth in peace,

as all the world in wonder echoes shalom.

 

While the stanzas are “successive extensions of light, hope, and love,” the Refrain’s first three lines paraphrase Isaiah 55:12.  The last line, as we humans work together, reflects that all of creation sings along with our prayer for God’s peace.

May we always be in tune and sing with joy in union with all of creation to sing praises to our Creator God.  Shalom.

Liturgy Notes: All Are Welcome

Our slogan at UDLC is “The Welcome Church”.  And indeed, our congregation is known for its sincere, authentic welcome to the visitors in our midst.  It’s an area where we excel.  So it is no accident, then, that this hymn’s text fits our church community perfectly as we strive to continue our friendly greeting.

Marty Haugen, author and composer, originally wrote 13 stanzas for this hymn, which he edited down to five for inclusion in hymnals.  The first four represent the four sections of worship – Gathering, Word, Meal, Sending – and the final stanza wraps them all together in one summary verse.

While this hymn can function in any of the four sections, it’s used today as the Sending Hymn because of its fourth stanza, as it sends us into the world to serve God through serving the “other”:

Let us build a house where hands will reach beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach, and live the Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger bear the image of God’s face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger:  All are welcome in this place.

All are welcome in THIS place, whether it be at our communion table where pastors each Sunday invite all who would hunger after Christ, in our homes, in the work place, on the streets.  God – through each of us – welcomes all to this place, right here, right now.  There’s an urgency about it that encourages us to be welcoming to whomever we meet, wherever we are.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, may we show God’s love and grace to all we greet.