Closing Devotion: Wednesday, May 18

General Conference
Closing Devotion
Wednesday, May 18, 6:10 PM
Evil is Going, Too!

Gathering

CALL TO WORSHIP

Water Video

Send Us Your Spirit

All sing: stanza 1

Spoken (one voice): In the darkness of our night, you shine with unending love, O Lord.  But when fear and sorrow overwhelm, hold us with your mercy.

All sing: stanza 2

Spoken (one voice): In our hunger and emptiness, you feed us and fill us, O Lord.  But when we are trapped by indecision and bad decision, teach us your wisdom.

All sing: stanza 3

Spoken (one voice): In our desperation and helplessness, you hear us and help us, O Lord.  But when we are frozen by evil’s chill, send us good summer.

All sing: stanza 4

Proclaiming

SCRIPTURE     Matthew 12:43-45

‘When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting-place, but it finds none. Then it says, “I will return to my house from which I came.” When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.’

A REFLECTION FROM THE GC PRAYER GUIDE

Hear these words from our Daily Prayer Guide, written by Bishop James Swanson, Sr:

Planting a garden requires that the gardener prepare the soil, clearing it of vegetation that would hinder the growth of the crop to be planted and grown. For the crop’s ongoing protection, the gardener must constantly guard against weeds that grow up and seek to rob the plants of the necessary nutrients needed for their maturity.

Weeds that destroy life and plants that nourish life grow in the same plot of land if the owner of the garden does not diligently tend to the garden.

During a 60 Minutes interview with Holocaust survivor Yehiel Dinur, who testified at the 1960 trial of Adolf Eichmann, Mike Wallace asked Dinur why he cried and then collapsed to the floor at the trial. Dinur explained that his reaction was not what he had anticipated. Although Eichmann personified evil, the encounter made Dinur realize that sin and evil are the natural human condition.

“I was afraid about myself,” Dinur concluded. “I saw that I am capable to do this … I am … exactly like he.”

Dinur’s words spoken fifty-six years ago still ring true today. If we do not tend our lives, we can allow evil to grow where we intended holiness. Evil, like weeds, actively seeks a place to dwell and flourish. When we stop tending our lives we become welcome homes for evil. We often think of people like Eichmann and others as “evil.” However, our foibles are more than little missteps without consequences; they build patterns of destructive behavior. A few weeds can take over an untended plot of land. Jesus warns us to fill our lives with words, actions, events, and people that sanctify our lives. (Bishop James Swanson Sr.)

PRAYING WITH BEADS

[Underscored with music for Au Prea Vo Bey (The Lord’s Prayer), people are invited to use their beads to express prayers for each petition.]

For the day that has been, for the people we have seen …

For our families, friends, congregations and all who care with and for us …

For our sisters and brothers in Christ around the world …

For all whose work we rarely see, and for all who work, or watch or weep while we sleep …

For the earth and all that sustains us …

For the cloud of witnesses …

THE LORD’S PRAYER

[Sung first in Khmer by soloist, then in English by congregation]

Thanksgiving

One voice: We have just prayed that the God of the universe would deliver us from evil, but we know through Jesus Christ that God has already heard our prayer and has already given us the means of salvation from all evil. Jesus is our savior, our protector, our solid rock that never fails! Hallelujah!

SONG

Kwake Yesu Nasimama (You’re the Solid Rock of My Life)

Sending

BLESSING

As you go into the evening, know that you stand on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is our rock!
Know that you are washed in the lifesaving waters of baptism.
Jesus is our life!
Know that you go with the protection of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is our savior!
And know that you go with the passionate, limitless, life-changing love of our God, who is good!
Goodness is stronger than evil. Amen!

POSTLUDE

Kwake Yesu Nasimama (reprise)

 

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Acknowledgements:

Unless otherwise noted, all liturgical pieces are written by Laura Jaquith Bartlett, © 2016 The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music & Worship Arts.

Send Us Your Spirit; words and music by Dan Schutte; found at #3185 Worship & Song. © 1985 Daniel L. Schutte and New Dawn Music.

Au Prea Vo Bey (The Lord’s Prayer); words from Matthew 6:9-13, Khmer translit., Lenita Tiong, English paraphrase S T Kimbrough, Jr.; tune: Barnabas Mam; found at #11a For Everyone Born. © 2004 General Board of Global Ministries, GBGMusik.

Kwake Yesu Nasimama (You’re the Solid Rock of My Life); words: trad. Kenyan, English paraphrase by Greg Scheer; tune: trad. Kenyan; found at #10 For Everyone Born. © 2007 East Africa Annual Conference (admin. by General Board of Global Ministries, GBGMusik.

Photo:

The Opening Worship of the 2012 United Methodist General Conference held in Tampa, Fla.  A UMNS photo by Kathleen Barry.

 

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