May 24, 2020
Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster


Peace Lamp Prayer

We know that sometimes we are alone,
and sometimes we are in community.

Sometimes we are in shadow,
and sometimes we are surrounded by shelter.

Sometimes we feel like exiles – 
in our land, in our languages, and in our bodies.
And sometimes we feel surrounded by welcome.

As we seek to be human together,
may we share the things that do not fade:
generosity, truth-telling, silence, respect and love.

And may the power we share
be for the good of all.

We honor God, the source of this rich life.
And we honor each other, story-full and lovely.

Whether in our shadow or in our shelter,
may we live well 
and fully
with each other.

(A prayer of shelter and shadow, 
Daily Prayer: With the Corrymeela Community, 46)

Offering— Thank you for your continued support of your congregation. Our budget supports our staff, our building, our outreach commitments and our congregational care. We are grateful that church can be a place to seek and give mutual aid. Thanks so much for being the church, and giving to the work of the church. 

Offering Prayer

Loving and generous God,
  you gave us life;
  now we give our lives back to you.
We bring ourselves:
  our work and play,
  our joys and sorrows,
  our thoughts and deeds,
  and our gifts of time and money,
  to be used by you
    for the sake of all whom you know and love
    through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

HWB, 751

Happy are those
   who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
   or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
   and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
   planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
   and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
   but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
   nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
   but the way of the wicked will perish.

Personal psalms – Thank you for all the psalms that you have written and shared during this spring worship season at CMCL! This morning our sermon time features five CMCL psalms — by Joseph Gascho, Jane Weigel, Chynaah Maryoung-Cooke, Maren Morgan and Pam Brubaker.

We invite you to play this song after you read or listen to each psalm: O Lord, Hear My Prayer,(Taizé). Listen as long as you would like to before moving on to the next psalm, then return to the song after each reading. If you’d like to listen to the writer read their psalm, click on their name.

Joseph Gascho

Psalm 1

My parents made me memorize the Psalm
because they thought if I took it to heart
I wouldn’t walk into the pool hall,
stand in line to buy a ticket for a movie show,
sit, when I turned 21, at some bar.
They had their laws
 they meditated on, delighted in.

Good son, I did as I was told.
The first two verses sometimes slipped my mind
but not the tree, which was for me
the solitary cottonwood
on the forty back behind the barn.

A tree whose leaves made shade
from the fierce Nebraska sun
while I ate my lunch at noon
before returning to the plow,
red-winged blackbirds on its boughs,
limbs from which hung nests of orioles
that safely swayed on windy days.

And the river—the mighty Ogallala aquifer
fifty feet below the ground
from which the irrigation well
pumped a thousand gallon every minute,
water that grew that cottonwood,
and more, the corn from ground
that never got the rain it took to fill the ears.

Not all trees are apple trees,
not all rivers can be seen.
But there are fruits of many kinds,
and living rivers may run deep. 

Jane Weigel

A Reflection on Hands

At this time of Covid-19, many of us have come to a greater appreciation of touch, our hands, and the hands of others. Instead of holding hands for prayer, we now tap clothed elbows. Instead of greeting loved ones with hugs, we now stand six feet apart with facial masks and send a pretend hug. Instead of touching someone on the arm, shaking hands, or patting a person on the back, we keep our hands to ourselves. Helen Keller said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Now is the time to experience her profound conclusion of feeling with our hearts.

Our hands, our beautiful, unique to every person, functional, intricate hands! Covered with skin, our dynamic sensory nerves feel temperature, pressure, and pain. They also can recognize familiar objects without using other senses like sight. How amazing are the wondrous abilities of our tiny nerves! Our fingers function individually and collectively as muscles, bones, and nerves intricately woven together allow countless functions of our hands. We can lift, push, pull, write, dig, tap, point, grasp, use tools, soothe, hold, express….

We have often heard that we are the hands and the feet of Jesus. Jesus used his hands to perform miracles, to express invitation, to touch, to heal, and to express anger. In the end of his physical life, Jesus’ hands were penetrated with nails as he sacrificed his life for us. He literally hung by his hands as a sacrifice for us. 

We look in amazement, Father, at our hands, as they represent much of who we are. What we do with our hands reflects much of how we spend our time and our hands reflect our interests and passions. Lord, we pray for guidance on how to use our delicate, yet strong, resilient hands. Guide us to use our hands to perform good works, to comfort, to heal, to provide, to interfere when needed, and to touch in ways that prevail over the limits of Covid -19 precautions.

For now, we thank you for the gift of our hands and hold dear the hope of your guidance

combined with the energy you provide for us to serve. And whatever that may be, may we and

those we “touch” feel it with their hearts.

Chynaah Maryoung-Cooke

This moment is met like any other yet,
it speaks in timeless suspense
Reflections of invisible people
with visible concerns
How to unmute the muffled cries of the hungry in Tanzania
There is an echo of anguish in Georgia wondering
how in the world did we find ourselves back in a place
That we swore we had evolved from
The death, hunger, indifference, madness, vanity
of self-indulgences.  Luther took a stand and I suspect
that was a start.  Now we are left to take up our crosses and live
the life that Jesus set out as an example of tireless service, to love
our brothers, our sisters as ourselves, to walk in peace and to pursue
it with all vigilance.  To forgive as we’ve been forgiven and to reconcile this
suffering world back to Christ….this is the moment is the moment we anticipate
to share in the hope of the glory anticipated and celebrated within all humanity.

Maren Morgan

This is my ugly psalm, God,
A psalm of frustration, angst and rage.

Why do the evil people have power
when the majority of us are good?

Why is it? How can it be – that the hating, cruel ones control us?
Why is there new oppression every single day?
Why does the country ping-pong back and forth from kind loving
governance to legislatures advocating knee-jerk bigotry and hatred? They
undo all the good that the kind government created.

I am having nightmares.
I dreamt that my precious pet cat became a sinister, hating monster which
cruelly delighted in undermining everything I loved.

My being cannot hold all the disgust and hatred and fury I have.
All my protesting, voting, and peaceful advocating feel useless.

I want the bad guys to go away – to form their own country called “Hater
I want to live in a country where all lives matter and the evil and immature
are not put in positions of leadership or power.

All my actions of doing the right thing are mowed down by the extreme
hatred and fear of a few.
Why, God?

Pam Brubaker

A Letter to my Tears 

Welcome, unwelcome tears.

So often you are told to behave-
do not leave your secret place somewhere 
behind my eyes. 
Stay closed up, where no one can see you. 
Keep your vulnerability in the dark; 
crouched, huddled, head down.
Continue your shameful posture.


Well I say COME.
You are welcome here, 
your coolness streaming down my face. 
You are a sign of courage. 
You remind me that a heart beats within my chest.
You bring out my brokenness, yes,
but with it compassion, grace, love. 
You are my teacher and as you come, my heart is
molded and formed into something more. 


Welcome, unwelcome tears.



Sharing Time & Prayer If you have a prayer concern, please email it to Pastor Leslie ( this morning, and these concerns will be shared with the congregation by Zoom this morning and by email later today.

God of love and power,
You’ve heard our prayers this morning, and you know those that we still carry unspoken in our hearts 
   and minds.
We pray for wholeness, justice, and peace:
   for ourselves, for those we love, and also for our enemies
   for our neighbors in this community 
   for all people in our country and around the world 
Bring your healing shalom, we pray.


Song – “You Do Not Walk Alone,” 


traditional Irish blessing
Original music by Elaine Hagenberg,

Announcements— Look for the Weekly Zoom small group gathering links in the same email with the Invitation to Worship Zoom link.

Closing Hymn— God Be With You Till We Meet Again

Note from Worship Committee: We plan to end all of our future worship services with this song, until such time as we can ALL gather and sing it together in person. **If your household would like to record yourselves singing this song, or if you’d like to spearhead any other tech-savvy/social-distance-respecting way of recording this song, we’d love to have different versions of this to listen to and sing-along-at-home to in the coming weeks and months.

God be with you till we meet again;
loving counsels guide, uphold you,
may the Shepherd’s care enfold you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
unseen wings, protecting, hide you,
daily manna still provide you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
when life’s perils thick confound you,
put unfailing arms around you;
God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again;
keep love’s banner floating over you,
smite death’s threatening wave before you;
God be with you till we meet again.


Come now with us, O God;
  and live in us this week.
Let us stay in You,
  since if we be all in You,
  we cannot be far from one another,
  though some may be in heaven
  and some upon the earth.

(Adapted from Come Now, Celtic Daily Prayer, 226)


Worship Leader: Leslie Homer-Cattell
Song Leader: Leon Miller 
Sermon: CMCLer psalms with introduction by Susan Gascho-Cooke
Children’s Time: Malinda Clatterbuck
CMCL Helping Moment: Carolyn Weaver or Ken Beam 
Prelude & Offertory: 
Dean Clemmer arranging
Zoom tech:  Adam Kehler