On Sunday, 18th April we’re thrilled to welcome (all the way from New York City ) our special guest Ross Murray, Senior Director at GLAAD, LGBTQ+ youth advocate, activist and author. This week, Ross is publishing a new book called Made, Known, Loved: Developing LGBTQ Inclusive Youth Ministry. Read more about Ross here.
This is part of our new series looking at the practice of inclusion and what it does/ can look like in a variety of areas of life and faith. The clue is in the name, but we see inclusion as a core part of our spirituality and our justice-seeking as a community.
We’re excited to learn and dream with Ross Murray as he joins us for a live Q&A on Zoom at 5:15. (You will need to be logged into a Zoom account with a public account name in order to access this Zoom. Meeting ID: 853 6699 5635, Passcode: 123674).
Song – Our Psalm 23 (Common Hymnal)
Question for Sharing (Sam & Julia):
Can you think of a time you have been misheard or misunderstood by someone? Share a memory of this – it could be a funny story or perhaps something a bit deeper if you feel up for sharing.
Prayer (Jo & Tash)
Jesus, I am lost. They told me to follow you and I did— to the edges, to the margins, to the humble and grieving, to the oppressed and slandered, to where you always showed you were— and when I called back to them to show with joy what I had found, to celebrate what had been restored, they called me lost instead.
I heard how pennies can’t be made of copper anymore because the amount of copper needed to make a penny is more expensive than a penny is worth, and Lord, I feel it. They ask me to be something smaller, to be pressed down into something worth less.
I have tried to be small enough, I have tried to be shiny, I have tried to be worthy, but every time I press myself with the imprint of someone else’s expectations it misses the mark and I am left off-centre.
So here I am, Lord. A coin clinking around in the bottom of the divine washing machine, dropped under the car seat, ground into a gritty floor. A coin rolled into a corner under the bed.
Jesus, I need to see your belly pressed against the floor and your dark eyes peering into my own darkness. You know darkness, Lord. It doesn’t scare you.
Lord, they call me lost, and if I am, I want you to find me the way you found the world: nicked at the edges, dusty and rusty, called unwanted and unworthy, and still your hands reached out to cradle every worthless coin like each was a pearl of great price. Jesus, for every sheep and coin and child called Lost, may you pull us close and whisper, “Found.”
(By Rev Emmy Kegler)
Scripture Reading: Matthew 18:1-7 (Danielle)
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, asking, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
2 So Jesus called a child to come and stand in front of them, 3 and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. 4 The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child. 5 And whoever welcomes in my name one such child as this, welcomes me.
6 “If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea. 7 How terrible for the world that there are things that make people lose their faith! Such things will always happen—but how terrible for the one who causes them!
Reflection – Made, Known, Loved (Ross Murray)
Song – Explaining Jesus (Jordan Searcy)
Love Feast (David & Nettes)
Rose Petals – Common Hymnal
Mental Health Tip – Ellie
*Giving to IGB (Eunice)
Song – Firestar (Eeek)
What’s Coming up (Danielle)
Blessing: “May we live fully, love wastefully and have the courage to be all that God has created us to be.”
At 5:15, we’ll reconvene on Zoom to chat more about the themes from the gathering. (Meeting ID: 853 6699 5635 Passcode: 123674)
*If you are part of our community and would like to make a gift toward Inclusive Gathering Birmingham, you can do that here. Anything you give helps to support the costs of making church happen and allows us to be generous as a community. There’s no pressure to give!
If you’ve got any questions about Inclusive Gathering Birmingham or would like to have a chat with someone from our community, please email email@example.com and we’ll be in touch.