Fellowship Time

After the service, we will have Fellowship Time in a Zoom video conference.  Details for joining will be shared via email and at the end of the live stream.


The Building is Closed and the Church is Open

While we have restricted access to the building, Peace Church is very much open to ministryworking to respond to our own congregation, as well as the needs of our neighbors and community.  Please consider giving either to Peace Church general fund or the Gabriel Fund – which is used to meet the needs in the community.

We recognize that in this time, people’s financial situations may have changed. We ask you to prayerfully consider what you can give.  If you use electronic giving, we thank you for your constancy of support.  If you would like to give through our online form, we would be grateful. For all the contributions from our members and friendswhether financial, time, or prayerwe ask God’s blessings on those gifts that Peace Church may be healing balm in this time when we are living in our own Gilead.

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April 26, 2020 ~ 10:30am

Earth Day Celebration

The People of Peace Church
Doug Bowen-Bailey, ASL Interpreter
Jim Pospisil, Music Director
Mark Hakes, Frost Bowen-Bailey, Maddie Carpenter
Rev. Kathryn Nelson, Lead Pastor

Prelude  “Solace by the Lake” music by Jane Aas, orchestrated by Steve Horner, video by Alex Horner

Announcements and Ringing of the Peace Bells

God is Revealed as We Gather

Responsive Call to Worship (UN Environmental Sabbath Program)

We join with the earth and with each other.
To bring new life to the land. To restore the waters. To refresh the air.
We join with the earth and with each other.
To renew the forests. To care for the plants. To protect the creatures.
We join with the earth and with each other.
To celebrate the seas. To rejoice in the sunlight. To sing the song of the stars.
We join with the earth and with each other.
To re-create the human community. To promote justice and peace. To remember our children.
We join with the earth and with each other.
We join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving mystery: for the healing of the earth and the renewal of all life.

Opening Hymn   “We Cannot Own the Sunlit Sky” (#563)

Unison Prayer of Confession
O God, maker of heaven and earth: You place us in your creation, and you ask us to care for it. Where we have degraded or destroyed earth’s gifts, forgive us. Where we have taken beauty and majesty for granted, open our eyes and hearts. Where we have become estranged from the creatures with whom we share this planet, help us to make peace for the sake of the planet. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Story for All Ages        Nathan Holst, Faith Formation Minister

God is Revealed in the Word

God’s Word in the Hebrew Scriptures:   Job 12:7–10

Special Music   “Sweet, Sweet Earth”     ~ Nathan Holst

God’s Word in the Gospel:   Luke 24:13–35

Homily  “Opening Our Eyes” and an excerpt from Carol Christ, “Rethinking Theology and Nature” read by Beth Bartlett
video by Sylvie Bowen-Bailey



Sermon –Opening Our Eyes

Text – Luke 24: 13 – 35

         I have heard it said that if you read the gospels without getting hungry, you are not paying attention.     This is even true, perhaps especially true ,in the resurrection stories.   The risen Jesus keeps showing up and sharing a meal—bread and fish, breakfast and supper.   Eating make us companions with one another and he wanted to make sure they remembered this – tasted it in order to believe it. And for them to know he truly was with them as they and we journey through life.

           In the first part of today’s gospel lesson two of the disciples are leaving town, trying to get away from the hurt, the fear the despair following Jesus death.   They are heading west, out of Jerusalem.   Facing the sunset they make their way toward Emmaus.   Emmaus just over a century earlier had been the site of a historic victory for Israel.       There Jewish revolutionary Judas Maccabeaus had led his rebel army in crushing a Roman company. In retaliation Roman legions had burned Emmaus. The road to Emmaus is filled with visions of violence and destruction. That is the path they are on as they make their way – Cleopas and his companion, most likely his wife. Walking away from hope, trudging along this path of grief at the end of the day.

       As they walk they go over the last few days events. They are joined by a stranger, who listens carefully to their story. They say . . We had hoped , we had hoped .. .   They continue to journey together, as they approach Emmaus, they realize that the stranger intends to go on, so they invite him to dinner. This seems to be the turning point of the story. The stranger is invited in– in to break bread, to share a meal.   Their action turns the man from a stranger into a companion. Companion means ‘one who eats bread with another.   Their eyes are opened when they share what they have, offer what they have– the broken bread transforms them.

         Their eyes are opened — they recognize Jesus, the incognito Christ, but then he quickly vanishes from their sight.   The Messiah had snuck up upon them and surprised them with a blessing over every day bread. But this fleeting glance, this brief blessing was enough.   For now their journey has been changed— their eyes are wide open;   they will not run in fear any longer– now theirs is a road of hope., death is undone, fear has been replaced by hope and now they head in a new direction.   they walk toward the sun rise, back to Jerusalem to share their good news with their other companions.

         It has been helpful to think about this story as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day . .   We had hoped . . 50 years ago we had hoped things would change .. .   We had hoped we would turn things around and not walk a path of destruction . . . . I give thanks for Beth Bartlett’s reflection on this day . .   She wrote for our email .

April 22, 1970 — the first Earth Day. I spent that first Earth Day on the banks of the Cuyahoga — the river that gave rise to the idea.   In July 1969, the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River that flows through the industrial cities of Akron and Cleveland, caught fire again, and this time the burning river caught the attention of Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.  Inspired by the teach-ins of the peace movement, Sen. Nelson suggested the possibility of similar teach-ins to educate about the environment.  So on April 22, 1970, Congress recessed for a day so that representatives could listen to their constituents’ concerns about the environment, and a grassroots movement brought 20 million people to the streets, to town halls, to polluted sites, and to beaches and riverbanks for massive cleanups.

We had hoped . . . . .    

           We continue to hope even though we haven’t turned it around over these 50 years . . perhaps COVId is teaching us now that we must . .   We have seen how powerfully connected we are . .We are companions to one another and this precious earth .     We have paused now to listen and the planet she is speaking . . sighing with relief in so many ways .. As Job writes,

But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth,[
a] and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.

         The pause in all our human activity is creating space for the earth to heal a least a little . . we have seen the Himalayas for the first time in 30 years, sea turtles are nesting in record numbers, creatures are coming out of hiding . Yes .we are companions to one another and all creatures of this earth.     The risen One perhaps is trying to open our eyes.   Let us turn and walk the path of connection rather than destruction .

   It is the path of life for all. I find myself thinking a lot about Earl Rosenwinkel this Earth Day.   Earl was a biologist – taught at Portland State University, studied the ecology of Isle Royale and worked at Hartley Nature Center for many years.   He was a friend of Peace who played bongos at our early service and wrote Psalm responses . Earl lived and St. Anne’s and was one of those residents who died from Covid-19. .He was a gentle man and walked lightly on the earth.   His psalm responses often talked about this gentle path . . He wrote in one response:

We all walk the Creator’s path from generation to generation. The great whales and sharks , the small bright shining fish on the ocean bottoms and the bones of the long gone giant marine reptiles, sing migwich to the Earth for their life. All the ocean currents, the waves, the masses of glacial ice, the snow crystal, rain drops and hail stones. All the Thunderbeings, the spring breezes, and . .follow the creators paths, let the people be in awe and thankfulness and be given new life . . . .        

       Carol Christ also speaks so eloquently of this path of connection in this excerpt from Rethinking Theology and Nature . . read now by Beth Bartlett, with video by Sylvie Bowen – Bailey. . .

For me the divine/Goddess/God/Earth/Life symbolizes the whole of which we are a part. This whole is the earth and sky, the ground on which we stand, and all the animals, plants, and other beings to which we are related. We come from our mothers and fathers and are rooted in community. We come from earth and to earth we shall return. . . . We do not choose the conditions of our lives. Death may come at any time. … With regard to life and death there is no ultimate justice, nor ultimate injustice . . . There are no hierarchies among beings on earth. We are different from the swallows who fly in spring, from the many-faceted stones on the beach, from the redwood tree in the forest. We may have more capacity to shape our lives than other beings, but you and I will never fly with the grace of a swallow, live as long as a redwood tree, nor endure the endless tossing of the sea like a stone. Each being has its own intrinsic beauty and value. There will be no end to change, to death, to suffering. But life is as comic as it is tragic. Watching the sun set, the stars come out, eating, drinking, dancing, loving, and understanding are no less real than suffering, loss, and death. Knowledge that we are but a small part of life and death and transformation is the essential religious insight. The essential religious response is to rejoice and to weep, to sing and to dance, to tell stories and create rituals in praise of an existence far more complicated, more intricate, more enduring than we are. . . .

            God/Goddess/Earth/Life, the whole of which we are a part, the unnameable beneath naming serves a profoundly relativizing function. The supreme relativizing is to know that we are no more valuable to the life of the universe than a field flowering in the color purple, than rivers flowing, than a crab picking its way across the sand – and no less. . . The ethic that would follow from this vision is that our task is to love and understand, to live for a time, to contribute as much as we can to the continuation of life, to the enhancement of beauty, joy, and diversity, while recognizing inevitable death, loss, and suffering. To understand and value the life we enjoy is to understand and value the lives of all other beings, human and nonhuman – and to understand that we are limited by the values inherent in other beings. . . .

            What can stop the human species from destroying the earth? What can stop us, I propose, is a deeply felt connection to all beings in the web of life. What can stop is that we love this life, this earth, and the joy we know in ourselves and other beings enough to find the thought of the end of the earth intolerable. . . . — that the sight of a field of flowers in the color purple or the rainbow must be enough…. “

                                                                        – Carol Christ, “Rethinking Theology and Nature”

Hymn   “Touch the Earth Lightly” (#569)

We Respond to God’s Presence

Sharing Our Prayer Concerns, Silent Prayer, Pastoral Prayer, Jeshua’s Prayer (insert)

Sharing our Offerings

Offertory   “For the Beauty of the Earth” sung by Mark Hakes

The Thanksgiving   “Take My Gifts”   (#562, 1 verse)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Closing Hymn   “Tis a Gift to Be Simple” (#31 P&W Songbook)

Benediction   “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry