Zoom Worship Cafe and “Failure as a Spiritual Practice”


Instructions for Today’s Worship Format Liz Martin

Welcome to our worship service on “failure as a spiritual practice.” In that spirit…Today we are using Zoom in a different way for our worship service. We are trying the meeting format so that we can all have the opportunity to see each other. Since this is new for some of us, we may have a learning curve as we worship together this week. I thank you in advance for your flexibility and grace with the worship team today! 

To begin, I’d like to draw your attention to the options of “GALLERY” and “SPEAKER” mode in Zoom. If you are on a computer, this should be available at the top right of your screen – there should be some small rectangles where you can switch between “speaker view” and “gallery view.” If you are on a mobile device, you may not have this same view, but you should have arrows that allow you to swipe through all of your fellow church-goers’ screens.

Are you ready for this new adventure?  Please turn your camera on now and greet one another with a wave. You should remain muted but be able to wave at each other! And you can see each other by scrolling through the gallery mode. HELLO! HAPPY SUNDAY MORNING TO YOU!

Now…Please TURN YOUR CAMERAS OFF, and make sure to switch back to “speaker view” from “gallery view” until later in the service for our Worship Cafe…don’t worry, we’ll have further guidance then!

Chiming of the Singing Bowl Liz Martin

Words of Welcome and Announcements   Brian Freeman

Good morning! I’m  Brian Freeman, your Worship Associate for today’s service.  

To begin our time together, I’d like to give a special welcome to any newcomers and visitors we have today.  It’s wonderful to have you here today, and I hope you’ll join us for Zoom coffee hour… from the comfort of your own homes and with whatever beverage you choose, or none at all! Like our traditional post-service in-person coffee hour, it’s a time to reconnect and see each other each week after we worship together. Today there will not be a separate link to our Coffee Hour Zoom room, so there will be no password required … just stay logged on to this meeting and after the postlude, you may turn your cameras on.

As always, kindly set your phones to worship mode; we won’t know, but I think you might enjoy the hour free from distractions.  And feel free to check in on your social media of choice to let your friends and family know about this place of caring you’ve found today.  

If you haven’t already, now is a great time to grab whatever materials you’ll need to light your own chalice if you’d like that to be part of your service today.

And before we quite get started, know that though we cannot be physically together to greet each other today, we are all together in spirit and each and every one of us is welcome.  

Music: Hymn 1058 –  “Be Ours a Religion” Chrissy Haddad

Call to Worship Liz Martin

Good morning, friends! I am Liz Martin, a soon-to-be second year seminarian at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and friend of this congregation for the past year.

As we join together,

Let us open our hearts

So that they may be filled

With the spirit of love.

Come, let us worship together

And now  The Stewart family  will light our chalice for this worship service

Lighting of the Chalice  The Stewart family 

Our chalice lighting words are from John Lewis, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America

You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […] Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.

Story Wisdom  Adia Fields-Udofia

Reading  Brian Freeman

For today’s reading we draw from the third of the six sources of our “living tradition:” inspiring wisdom from world religions.

Enlightenment in Seven Days 

Buddha told his disciples: whoever makes an effort can attain enlightenment in seven days. If he can’t manage it, certainly he will attain it in seven months, or in seven years. The young man decided that he would attain it in one week, and he wanted to know what he should do: “concentration” was the reply.  

The young man began to practice, but in ten minutes he was already distracted. Little by little, he began paying attention to everything that distracted him, and thought that he was not wasting time, but was getting used to himself.  

One fine day he decided it was not necessary to arrive at his goal so fast, because the path was teaching him many things.  

It was at that moment that he became an Enlightened one.

Interlude: “Morning Has Come” Jim Pearce, piano

Joys and Sorrows Rev. Joan

Good Morning. I’m the Rev. Joan Davis, Northwest’s Affiliated Community Minister, and I am here to bring you the Joys and Sorrows this morning.

And I invite you all now, those of you with Joys and Sorrows to share with our congregation here gathered virtually, to open the chat box at the bottom of your screen and enter your Joys and Sorrows.  

Joys and Sorrows is our time in this space to honor these sacred moments and milestones. For our Ritual, we have water and we have river stones. Smooth and heavy in our hands, these river stones symbolize life’s pleasures and times of ease and life’s burdens and times of heaviness. The water in our bowl is a precious natural resource. We use it sparingly, reminding us of the preciousness of each life and its unique journey.

  • Rev. Misha
  • Michael Cain
  • Beth Stokes Clinton
  • Chrissy Haddad’s father
  • Joy Kiskel
  • Marti Wilson’s nephew, Ryan

And now, I will add this final stone for those joys and concerns that may be held in silence among us.

Prayer and Meditation  Rev. Joan

Music: Hymn 1059 – “May You Life Be As A Song” Cameron Moore

Homily Liz Martin

I invite you now to our “Worship cafe” – we will be sending you out into smaller groups via Zoom to share about spiritual practice in your lives. We will have just eight minutes for this, so please be sure to allow enough time for each person in your group to share. 

Remember, we are looking at practices that encompass these four components:  

1. Repetition, 2. Attention, 3. Intention, and 4. Connection with something bigger than yourself.

If you somehow find yourself with extra time, please share about a time in your life when you experienced “failure.” 

Worship Cafe Liz Martin

Welcome back! I hope you had meaningful conversations and reflections on spiritual practice. Don’t worry, you’ll have more time to chat if you’d like after the service during coffee hour (directly after the postlude.)

We now welcome Brian back for our offering.

Offering  Brian Freeman

The offering that we take each Sunday isn’t just a stale habit: it’s an opportunity to recommit to this place, and to this people. Our offering is an affirmation—a “yes.” When we give, we say yes to something we value. With our gifts, freely given, may we say yes to the values of our faith. Our offering will now be given and gratefully received.

To the work of this congregation, which is weaving a tapestry of love and action, we dedicate our offerings and the best of who we are.

Benediction  Liz Martin

Before the benediction, a reminder that  if you’d like to participate in coffee hour, you should just stay right here until after the postlude video, and make sure your camera is turned on!

Let us go out into this world 

Carrying what we’ve found here, 

Whatever spark we have gathered,

Sharing it as a gift to others. 

Go in peace.