April 6, 2023

[LITURGY] Lent Week 6: Space to Reflect

In a week where many of us have been weeping over the violence committed against the vulnerable in a school in Nashville, we take a minute to acknowledge the grieving and broken-heartedness in our lives and in the world around us. If possible, we encourage you to listen in a quiet space as we sing together, take some time for personal reflection, and have the chance to hear some vulnerable stories of how members of our community are processing.

Follow along with the transcript below.



Intro: Hey South Bend City Church, Mariah here – the Director of Art and Worship. Today’s episode of the podcast is our liturgy from this past weekend. And while not not mutually exclusive, this liturgy does pair very nicely with the teaching we had on Palm Sunday. If you haven’t had the chance to listen to that, I strongly encourage doing that after you listen to this episode.

This liturgy centered around a reading from enfleshed, as we’ve been doing for all of Lent. And we just take a few minutes to acknowledge the own grieving, suffering, and broken-heartedness that’s going on in our lives and we take a minute to think about all those who are grieving, aching, and broken-hearted in the world around us.

In the reading there are some prompts, so I would encourage you, if possible, to listen to this in a quiet environment where you’re able to fully engage, not only in listening to the music, but in the refection as well. And at the end, you’ll hear some incredibly brave and vulnerable reflections from members of our community that were captured this weekend at Studebaker 112.

We’re so thankful that you’re joining us today and it truly is such an honor to have you as a part of our community. Let’s join in with the rest of our community now.

Mariah: Good morning South Bend City Church, how are we? Happy Spring Break! Anyone have any fun plans? If you do, on the count of three shout them out. One, two, three.

someone shouts, “nothing”

Incredible, that sounds like a vibe! Well I’m glad that you chose to kick it off with us today. We’re going to start by singing together so, if you’re able, would you stand and join us?

Steady Heart by Amanda Cook and Steffany Gretzinge
Verse 1
I can’t see what’s in front of me
Still I will trust You, still I will trust You
And I can’t see what’s in front of me
Still I will trust You, still I will trust You

Steady heart that keeps on going
Steady love that keeps on hoping
Lead me on
Steady grace that keeps forgiving
Steady faith that keeps believing
Lead me on
Verse 2
Though the sky is dark
And the wind is wild
You’ll never leave me, You’ll never leave me

Verse 3
Though the night is long
There is a coming dawn
The light is breaking, the light is breaking

Chorus x2

How He Loves by John Mark McMillan
Pre-Chorus x2
Oh how he loves us so
Oh how he loves us
How he loves us so

Mariah: So today wherever we are, whatever kind of week we had, we’re going to center ourselves on love today. And I hope that today you know that wherever you are, whoever you are; that you are seen and known and loved today. Let’s sing this together.
Verse 1
He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me
Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so
Chorus x2
Yeah He loves us, oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us, oh how He loves
Verse 2
We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way
Chorus x2
Chorus 2
God loves us, oh how God loves us
Oh how God loves us, oh how God loves
Mariah: So whatever our experience is walking into this space today, would we be rooted in love. That we are seen and known by the Divine. And we are loved deeply and fully and completely. May we cling to that today.
So I don’t know what’s going on in your lives right now. There’s – I don’t know, I’m bad at guessing – maybe a hundred people in the room. And there’s a hundred different stories of where you are right now. And on top of that, there’s things going on in our world, in our country, in our state, in our community, and we did not want to shy away from that. And it just so happens that the Lent reading – we’ve been going through Lent by pulling in readings written by the resource called “enfleshed” – and the one that happened to fall on today, I felt like was really appropriate and we’re going to take time to read through this together, I’ll read some of it over you, and then there will be some prompts for reflections today. I am going to ask that you stand if you’re able. I will say that if we get into this and it feels like something you would rather sit for, you can do that. This is a space where you can be free to be yourself and to engage with this how you want.
When you see the bolded words on the screen, I ask that you join in with me. There will be some regular text that I will read and then there’s some italicized prompts that I will also read to you, but those are the things that we’re going to reflect on today.
Before we do, let’s just take a couple deep breaths together. And sit in this moment. Alright, let’s read together.
Lent Reading #6 by Rev. M Jade Kaiser, enfleshed
Tender One,
You hold all the world’s grief close.

With every word that cuts,
every policy that demeans,
every act of violence or corruption,
You draw near to the ones who ache.

You comfort the broken hearted
and shore up beside the afflicted.

We think of and pray for those that we know are suffering, aching, or broken hearted. We pray for the loved ones of those who have lost their lives to violence.

So now, within yourself, let’s lift up some prayers or thoughts or reflections for those who are suffering, aching, broken-hearted, or experiencing loss.

With those names and faces in mind, or if it’s us and our own family or own self, we continue on this morning.

We know it’s not enough only to weep,
but your compassion reminds us we
cannot mend the world without bearing witness to its sorrow.

Keep us from despair that overcomes,
but never let us become strangers to the world’s ache –
turning away from the pain of our neighbor,
or growing accustomed to violence that shouldn’t be.

Whatever evil may befall us,
whatever destruction we may witness,
may we never grow cold to Love
or be convinced of the inevitability of cruelty.

Today we sit in holy space and reflect on a few questions:
Have I become desensitized to the cruelty in the world around me?
In what ways can I cling to love in the times of cruelty and injustice?

Jesus, ever-present to the pain around him,
did not escape into the safety of indifference –
even in the shadow of the cross.

His care for the suffering and his confidence in Your liberating ways,
made him kind, softened him to even the hardest hearts,
and kindled in him Your love for humanity.

Love that appears foolish.
Love that resists evil.
Love that makes way for the Kindom.

Today we ask ourselves this question and cling to the answers that rise up:
In what ways have i seen love show up in my life or in the lives of others?

His care for the suffering and his confidence in Your liberating ways,
made him kind, softened him to even the hardest hearts,
and kindled in him Your love for humanity.

Love that appears foolish.
Love that resists evil.
Love that makes way for the Kindom.

Make it so among us, O God,
and lead us in the ways of compassion.

The Kingdom is Yours by Common Hymnal
Verse 1

Blessed are the ones who do not bury
All the broken pieces of their heart
Blessed are the tears of all the weary
Pouring like a sky of falling stars

Verse 2
Blessed are the wounded ones in mourning
Brave enough to show the Lord their scars
Blessed are the hurts that are not hidden
Open to the healing touch of God

The kingdom is yours
The kingdom is yours
Hold on a little more this is not the end
Hope is in the Lord keep your eyes on Him

Verse 3
Blessed are the ones who walk in kindness
Even in the face of great abuse
Blessed are the deeds that go unnoticed
Serving with unguarded gratitude

Verse 4
Blessed are the ones who fight for justice
Longing for the coming day of peace
Blessed is the soul that thirsts for righteousness
Welcoming the last the lost the least


Verse 5
Blessed are the ones who suffer violence
And still have strength to love their enemies
Blessed is the faith of those who persevere
Thought they fall they’ll never know defeat


Hold on a little more this is not the end
Hope is in the Lord keep your eyes on Him

Mariah: So whether our hearts are burdened by personal or communal suffering or aching or broken-heartedness today, or whether our hearts are breaking at things that are going on in the world around us, would we hold on. Would we hold on. Would we trust that this is not the end. Would you give us the courage to hope today? And would you give us the bravery to reach out if we need a hand.

Thank you that this morning we are not alone. Thank you that every moment of our lives we are not alone. Thank you for that hope, thank you for that strength as we hold on. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Thank you guys so much, go ahead and grab a seat.

Jason: Before we go any further, we thought we’d check in on what those last few moments of prayer and reflection were like for you. If you’re like me, you m ight realize that you’re carrying a burden today, something that’s heavy on your heart in your own life or in the lives of some people that you love or in the world at large. Maybe there’s a burden there. Maybe there’s an observation that you took away from that. Maybe as those prompts invited you to think upon your own life and experience, maybe you observed something that came up in that. Or maybe there was just a feeling that was with you through that experience and we thought we’d open up the floor here for a minute and just check in.

Anyone have a burden that you’re carrying, an observation that came up within you, or a feeling that you have that you’d like to share with us as we reflect back on what we just prayed through. Anyone?

*open floor responses*

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