Worship at home: A God who longed to be known by us, May 17, 2020

Please worship in a way that feels authentic to you. Perhaps alone, perhaps in a family group at home, perhaps in an online group that you put together. You can pick and choose which of these elements speaks to you this weekend, or you can make your way through the entire resource. Whatever you choose, know that God is near.


Worship at Home for the Sixth Sunday of Easter


Words for Centering/A Poem for Reflection

Allow by Danna Faulds

There is no controlling life.

Try corralling a lightning bolt,

containing a tornado. Dam a

stream and it will create a new

channel. Resist, and the tide

will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry

you to higher ground. The only

safety lies in lettng it all in –

the wild and the weak; fear,

fantasies, failures and success.

When loss rips off the doors of

the heart, or sadness veils your

vision with despair, practice

becomes simply bearing the truth.

In the choice to let go of your

known way of being, the whole

world is revealed to your new eyes.

Call to Worship

(from the Iona Community A Wee Worship Book)


God of life, do not darken your light to us,

God of life, do not limit your joy in us,

God of life, do not shut your door to us,

God of life, do not refuse us your mercy.


O God of life,

Eternity cannot hold you,

Nor can our little words catch

The magnificence of your kindness.

Yet in the space of our small hearts

And in silence

You can come close and repair us.




O God of life,

Grant us your forgiveness

For our careless thoughts,

For our thoughtless deeds,

For our empty speech,

And the words with which we wounded.




O God of life,

Grant us your forgiveness,

For our false desires,

For our wastefulness,

And for all we left untended.



Living our Covenant of Welcome


Write down the name of at least one person with whom you’d like to connect this week.

Pray for them, call/email/message them!

READ| Scripture: Acts 17: 22-28


22 Then Paul stood up before the council of the Areopagus and delivered this address: “Citizens of Athens, I note that in every respect you are scrupulously religious.

23 As I walked about looking at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, “To an Unknown God.” Now, what you are worshiping in ignorance I intend to make known to you.

24 “For the God who made the world and all that is in it, the Sovereign of heaven and earth, doesn’t live in sanctuaries made by human hands,

25 and isn’t served by humans, as if in need of anything. No! God is the One who gives everyone life, breath-everything.

26 From one person God created all of humankind to inhabit the entire earth, and set the time for each nation to exist and the exact place where each nation should dwell.

27 God did this so that human beings would seek, reach out for, and perhaps find the One who is not really far from any of us-

28 the One in whom we live and move and have our being. As one of your poets has put it, ‘We too are God’s children.’



Becca has written a reflection on Paul’s words to the people of Athens and in the many ways we experience and find God.


Setting the Scene:


Imagine with me, an ancient Greek scene. We’re sittng or standing on a slight hill, just below the Acropolis, the temple dedicated to the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena. I imagine a vast marble structure, green grass, water nearby, and people all around who have gathered to listen to this travelling man called Paul. The people of Athens were accustomed to gathering at this spot for conversation, lectures, and poetry. Paul was well versed in different cultures and was able to move and talk to those around him with eloquence and cunning. He used their language, their poetry, their philosophy as a way to ease their minds and lead into a more challenging conversation. You see, Paul came to talk about his faith. God and this man named Jesus, who Paul claims died and was resurrected. That was just one step too far for the people of Athens. So Paul gathered them at this familiar spot and the conversation began...


Rebecca Lockwood, Associate Pastor for Missions and Education

The Story:


After Paul had his own experience with God and the Risen Christ, his call to ministry was clear: share the Good News of God’s love far and wide. Paul was well suited for this; he was a scholar and knew how to interact with people of many cultures. In this particular story we find Paul among the Greeks, who were known for their philosophy, religion, art, poetry, among other things. Paul was clearly familiar with Grecian study. In this passage he quotes the Greek poem, Phaenomena by the Greek poet Aratus, “the one in whom we move and live and have our being.” The poet was referring to Zeus, but when Paul recites this line, he is referring to the Jewish God, our God.


Paul was able to use his knowledge and expertise to help spread the news of God’s love, its power, and its ability to bring people together--across country lines and cultures. The Athenians were wise and learned and would have been able to follow Paul’s discourse. He very purposely used their philosophy and poetry to ease them into this new idea and revelation of resurrection, which would have been (and was) an absurd concept. The people of Greece believed that when the body died, the soul was freed and released. The material vessel was gone and of no more use, so the idea of a bodily resurrection, which Paul was talking about, was a challenging concept.


There was a pretty firm belief and hierarchy of importance of the different planes of being: the spiritual, the mental, and the physical, respectively. The body was not as important as the spirit or the mind. And this is not always what we find in Christianity, and certainly not in this particular conversation from Paul.


Paul had a more holistic approach based on his understanding of God and Jesus’ resurrection. The mind, body, and spirit are all connected, intertwined. The health or decline of one affects the others.


We worship a God who chose to be born into humanity. God wanted to experience what it meant to be human. God wanted to show us first hand that it was possible to love fully. God wanted to show us that the realm of God was within our grasp and within our spirits to co-create. God showed us that relationship and fellowship can happen across and within social status, gender, expression, culture or beliefs. Paul continued that work and we see it unfolding in this scene in Athens.


The Good News:


Paul may not have convinced everyone of this bodily resurrection idea. But he did ignite some interest when he named and leaned into their experience of the Divine. One of the most intriguing references Paul makes is to this plaque he found inscribed to the “Unknown God.” Then, as it is for many of us now, our lives are spent in search of the Divine, the holy, the sacred. We long to know, understand, and experience that Divine spark that lives in each of us.


Paul believed that God longed to be known by us. As children of God, we see reflections, glimpses of the Divine in each other. In our connection and relationships--in community--we experience God more fully. And Paul is careful to name what this is and what this isn’t. Community is made up of the things we make and construct with our human hands...like a shrine or a building. Community is made up of the relationships and love we build. And while it is challenging and hard to do in such a different way during a pandemic, we still have the ability to stay connected, to form and sustain relationships--even from a distance--through a screen, or a letter, or a phone call.


We are still the Church. We are still St. Peter’s. We are still in search of the Unknown God...the One in whom we move and live and have our being. The One who longs to be known and loved through us.

Prayers for Our Community & the World


Pray in whatever way suits you. If it makes sense to you, consider praying the Prayer of Our Creator to close this time of intercession.



Offering our Gifts


In the midst of challenging times, we find that we need the church community now more than ever.

Even though we cannot be in-person, the church continues to gather in spirit and offer support. If you are able, we humbly ask you to consider making a pledge to St. Peter’s for our next fiscal year. (email generositylead@stpeterscarmel.org or financialsecretary@stpeterscarmel.org with questions). Thank you!


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).



(From A Wee Worship Book, from the American Indian Tradition)

Holy One, make our hearts places of peace

And our minds harbours of tranquility.

Sow in our souls true love for you

And for one another;

And root deeply within us

Friendship and unity,

And concord with reverence.

So may we give peace to each other sincerely,

And receive it beautifully.


Our prayer mailbox at St. Peter's is full of mirros with the word "Beloved" written on it. Feel free to stop by and take a mirror with you, for comfort and rememberance.


Until we are together again....