Worship at home: Connect to the sacred, April 26, 2020

Worship at Home can take many forms. This week, I offer to you a variety of readings to awaken your soul and soothe whatever may be challenging you. Read them all, or just dwell in one or two of them. There are no rules.


Worship at Home… connect to the sacred


Dear St. Peter's,


I hope that you connect, in some way, with The Sacred. May your morning be holy. May it be authentic. May it be joyful. May it be messy. May it be whatever you need it to be. For even though we cannot be near one another at this time, God always draws near to us.


– Lori Bievenour, Senior Pastor



Play a favorite song or opt for one of the following hymns to set the tone:


Easter People, Raise Your Voices

MUSIC: Henry T. Smart, 1867

REGENT SQUARE 87.87.87 WORDS: William M. James, © 1979 The United Methodist Publishing House


On the Journey to Emmaus (a recording of this can be found on the St. Peter’s Facebook Page)


OPENING|Light a Candle

Light a candle to honor the light of Christ, the light of the World, the Sacred Light. Allow the flame to remind you that even in the times with the most shadows, love and light find a way.


Poem for reflection

“Blessing for a Broken Vessel" by Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace, page 144.)


Read the following poem. Do not overthink these words; the Spirit is with you in your understanding and in your confusion.


Do not despair.

You hold the memory of what it was

to be whole.


It lives deep in your bones.

It abides

in your heart   that has been torn and mended

a hundred times.

It persists   in your lungs

that know the mystery of what it means

to be full,  to be empty,

to be full again.

I am not asking you to give up your grip

on the shards you clasp so close to you


but to wonder   what it would be like

for those jagged edges to meet each other in some new pattern

that you have never imagined, that you have never dared

to dream.

Living our Covenant of Welcome

A prayer from New Zealand inspired by the Road to Emmaus scripture (from A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World, p. 302.


Today, draw to mind a person or community that might need connection. If possible, call, text, email, write, or drive by and wave. Use #findingthespirit, #togetherinthewilderness, and #stpeterscarmel if you’re inspired. You will be amazed how much a simple connection can brighten someone’s day. No matter how you find ways to connect in this time of social-distancing and quarantine, we encourage you to pray:


God, we pray for all lonely people, especially those who, coming home to [or quarantined in] an emp- ty house, stand at the door hesitant and afraid to enter. May all who stand in any doorway with fear in their hearts, like the two on the Emmaus road, ask the living One in. Then… may they find that in loneliness they are never alone, and that [Jesus] peoples all empty rooms with his presence.



An Indian prayer inspired by the Road to Emmaus scripture (from A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from Around the World, p. 302.


God of all life, all worlds,

you draw near to us in many forms.

We confess that through our dimness of vision, our dullness of mind and our coldness of heart, we so often fail to recognize you on life’s road.

Break through all the barriers we set up

that obscure the light of your presence in the world. God of life, draw near to us;

break through to us this day.





You are unique. You are loved. Wherever you are standing (or running, or sitting, or lying down, or…), you are on Holy Ground.


READ| Luke 24:13-35


Read Luke 24:13-35. As you read, pick out a word or phrase that stands out to you. Play with it!


That same day, two of the disciples were making their way to a village called Emmaus—which was about seven miles from Jerusalem (14) discussing all that had happened as they went.


(15) While they were discussing these things, Jesus approached and began to walk along with them, (16) though they were kept from recognizing Jesus, (17) who asked them, “What are you two discussing as you go your way?”


They stopped and looked sad. (18) One of them, Cleopas by name, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have happened these past few days?”


(19) Jesus said to them, “What things?”



They said, “About Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet powerful in word and deed in the eyes of God and all the people (20) how our chief priests and leaders delivered him up to be condemned to death and crucified him. (21) We were hoping that he was the One who would set Israel free. Besides all this, today—the third day since these things happened (22) some women of our group have just brought us some astonishing news. They were at the tomb before dawn (23) and didn’t find the body; they returned and informed us that they had seen a vision of angels, who declared that Jesus was alive. (24) Some of our number went to the tomb and found it to be just as the women said, but they didn’t find Jesus.”


(25) Then Jesus said to them, “What little sense you have! How slow you are to believe all they the prophets have announced! (26) Didn’t the Messiah have to undergo all this to enter into glory? (27) Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, Jesus interpreted for them every passage of scripture which referred to the Messiah. (28) By now they were near the village they were going to, and Jesus appeared to be going further. (29) But they said eagerly, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening—the day is practically over.” So the savior went in and stayed with them.


(30) After sitting down with them to eat, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, then broke the bread and began to distribute it to them. (31) With that their eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus, who immediately vanished from their sight.


(32) They said to one another, “Weren’t our hearts burning inside us as this one talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us? (33) They got up immediately and returned to Jerusalem, where they found the Eleven and the rest of the company assembled. (34) They were greeted with, “Christ has risen! It’s true! Jesus has appeared to Simon!” (35) Then the travelers recounted what had happened on the road, and how they had come know Jesus in the breaking of the bread.


REFLECT| Discussion or Journaling


Reflect on the following prompts. You can either jot these down in a journal, mull them over in your mind as, or discuss them with others present.


1)   There are various seemingly harsh questions posed in this reading. How do they strike you?


2)   When the travelers say to Jesus, “Stay with us!” what feelings emerge for you?


3)   Has your heart ever been “strangely warmed”? How about during this COVID-19 pandemic?



Sometimes, another person’s words can spark our own spiritual imagination. Enjoy these quotations from various sources; allow them to speak to you!


Anselm of Canterbury, 11th century:

"I believe in order that I might understand."


Benjamin Franklin, 18th century

"Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see."


Oscar Wilde, 19th century

"I can believe anything, provided it is incredible."


Meister Eckhart, 14th century

"God is at home; it is we who have gone for a walk."


Henry David Thoreau, 19th century

"Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around."


Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, 16th century

"All sorrows are less with bread."


Søren Kierkegaard, 19th century

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."


Richard Bach, 20th century

"Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years."


Gwendolyn Brooks, 20th century

"We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond."


Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings, 20th century

"You wake from dreams of doom and--for a moment--you know: beyond all the noise and the gestures, the only real thing, love's calm unwavering flame in the half-light of an early dawn."


Mahatma Gandhi, 20th century

"There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread."


Prayers for Our Community & the World

(Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19 from “Psalms for

Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness” by Nan C. Merrill, page 234.)

Today’s prayer comes directly from scripture. Allow your heart to be open to all it is saying to you.


Receive my love, O Beloved, You who  hear my voice and my supplication.

You include your ear to me, and I call upon You with truth

both day and night.

When the snares of fear encompass me, when the pangs of loneliness

envelope me,I suffer distress and anguish.

Then I call upon You, my Rock: You come to my aid,   Your strength upholds me.


What shall I render to You for all your goodness to me?

I will drink the chalice of Love

and praise You, who have done wondrous things;

I will bear witness to You,

O Bread of Life,

in the presence of all the people.

Precious to You are all whose will decreases, who abandon themselves into

your Will.

O Beloved, consider me your friend;   I long to co-create with You.

For You have loosed the bonds of fear in me.

I will offer to You the gift

of gratitude

and acknowledge your Loving Presence with joy.

I will bear witness to You,

O Giver of Life,

in the presence of all the people, In the Sacred Altar of my heart,

in your midst, O Beloved.

Praises be to You! For You dwell

within the heart of everything!



Offering our Gifts

We cannot be together in our church building, but we are still serving and loving others. Your financial generosity helps us to do this. We share in the joy that kids in need of food in Carmel were helped this week by your generosity through the Carmel Interfaith Alliance. Please offer your financial support to our congregation by keeping up with your pledge, submitting a new pledge for 2020-2021, or donating in one of the following ways:


You can give online here:



or text 73256 with the keyword CARMEL and an amount. Click the link sent in the reply to complete your gift. It will take about 2 minutes.


Mail your donations to 3106 E. Carmel Drive, Carmel IN 46033.


For Stocks and IRAs: Contact Financial Secretary Jenny Terry (financial@stpeterscarmel.org).



Go into this world to travel an unknown road and share love with all. That probably sounds simplistic. It is and it isn’t… so let’s get to work. Amen!



Play a favorite song or opt for one of the ones included in this worship resource to cele- brate the Easter Season and the journey that we are on together!


Music Notes for On the Journey to Emmaus

This is not one of St. Peter’s known hymns. The hymn was picked because it fits so well with the Emmaus story in the Gospel of Luke scripture, the lectionary for today. We did sing this hymn back in April 2017. There will be a recording by the Searcy Family on the St. Peter’s Facebook page. The writer of the text is Marty Haugen, a contemporary writer (born 1950) now living in Minneapolis. The hymn tune, COLUMCILLE, is a Gaelic tune. Goggling Columcille, I learned Saint Columcille (521-597) was an ordained priest and founded many monasteries throughout his life. A strong personality, in 563 he was accused of starting a war between two Irish tribes and was exiled to Scotland. He settled on the island called Iona. He was known as a “man of letters” writing several hymns and is credited with transcribing over 300 books and manuscripts. Saint Columcille is one of three Irish saints, the other two being St. Brigid and St. Patrick.

Until we are together again....