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sing.

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Luke 1:39-56

Of all the people of every time and place, God’s favor chooses Mary to bear the Word. We speak and sing often about her humbleness, her virginity and her youth. But we must exercise caution in softening her too much, domesticating her wild and prophetic identity.

The angel Gabriel comes to tell her what will happen, to invite the miracle of God incarnate to her life, her story, her body - and Mary consents. The gospel of Luke says that right after her conversation with Gabriel she rises (as in, she is resurrected) and goes to visit her much older cousin Elizabeth in the countryside.

Mary has been made brand new in the heart of this queasy, lonely and dangerous first trimester. More than once, Luke says Mary ponders things in her heart, a term that means things get thrown around on the inside. Feelings and faith bounce and swirl together, changing and mixing her into another consistency. I imagine Mary was like a hurricane of hope and fear when she arrived at Elizabeth’s door…

uncovered.

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I fear my Christian tradition has not done enough teaching and wondering about what it means to live in an apocalyptic time. The Left Behind series and some religious sects would have us believe that the apocalypse is a cosmic warning that God has had enough. Time’s up, clear the board! Sheep and goats are separated and you’d better hope you’re a sheep. Quick, solve the mystery of salvation and get your act together before the day of judgment comes.
But in Mark 13, Jesus uses apocalyptic language to remind the people that earthly powers do not last forever, that false prophets will use fear and rumors to distract from the truth, that atrocities will continue to tear at this world and he does not describe these things as signs of the end times, but instead calls it “the beginning of the birth pangs”.

My first child was born almost eight years ago, but my body can still feel the two days of back labor pain that broke me. I thought I was going to die and couldn’t imagine a future in which …

survivors.

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Many have asked for the transcripts of this worship service, so I share them here with permission from the authors. You are very welcome to use these pieces in ways that honor survivors of sexual violence, giving credit to the authors. 
Music included Holden Evening Prayer by Marty Haugen and several healing hymns. Special thanks to the dozens of leaders who helped make this worship experience a daring and sacred witness to God's fierce and gentle love.


CALL TO WORSHIP: "I HEAR YOUR STORY" (ANDREA SORUM)     
WELCOME The worship leaders introduced themselves. We explained that participation is not mandatory in this service, so be involved in ways that feel right for you. A chapel space is available if you prefer to be nearby, but not inside the Sanctuary. We all silenced our phones and added a new contact: RAINN, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (800) 656-HOPE. It’s always a good time to call, even if it means stepping out during this service tonight. We announced the …