Before the Ballots: A Liturgy

Prayer & Meditation for Wholeness 

Statement of Purpose

We gather as a people beleaguered by too much shouting, discord between neighbors, and an earth in need of healing grace. The noise makes it hard to find the divine path. It distracts and builds up anxiety. We gather for insight, for wisdom, and for direction as we complete our ballots in the coming weeks.                                                                   © Tim Graves

Opening Prayer
Ojibwa Tradition

Grandfather, look at our brokenness.
We know that in all creation
Only the human family
Has strayed from the Sacred way.

We know that we are the ones
Who are divided And we are the ones
Who must come back together
To walk in the Sacred Way.

Grandfather, Sacred One,
Teach us Love, compassion and honor
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.

The Interfaith Prayer Book, Ted Brownstein © 2001, 2014

*A large image of the earth cut into a jigsaw puzzle, will be reassembled with each movement of the liturgy.  Move two of those puzzle pieces of the earth back together before ringing of the bell.

Ringing of the bell.
Time of silence.


“… an impression of inescapable noise or acute disorder, a rush of adrenalin, sensations of alarm, a sense of unbalance or chaos, residual feeling of nausea and anxiety. These are the forms of bodily distress that occur when one’s ingrained, taken-for-granted sense of how certain things are – and thus presumably will be and in some sense should be – is suddenly or insistently confronted by something very much at odds with it.”

Barbara Herrnstein Smith

Judeo-Christian Lament
Psalm 88: 1-5

1 Lord, my God, by day I call for help, by night I cry aloud in your presence.  2 Let my prayer come before you, hear my loud entreaty;  3 for I have had my fill of woes, which have brought me to the brink of Sheol.  4 I am numbered with those who go down to the abyss; I have become like a man beyond help,  5 abandoned among the dead, like the slain lying in the grave whom you hold in mind no more, who are cut off from your care.

Psalm 88: 1-5, Revised English Bible, © 1989

Add another puzzle piece of the earth to those already reassembled before ringing of the bell.

Ringing of the bell.
Time of silence.


Sufi Mysticism
Attar: Rabi’a 34, 35

Rabi’a saw a man with a bandage round his head. She asked him: “Why do you have a bandage round your head?” He replied: “My head aches.” She asked: “How old are you?” “Thirty,” he replied. She asked: “In these thirty years, have you mainly been healthy or such?” “Healthy,” he replied. She said: “In these thirty years you have never tied the bandage of gratitude round your head. Now, because you have a headache, you tie a bandage of complaint.”

Rabi’a asked someone to buy a blanket for her, given the person four coins. The person asked: “Do you want a black blanket, or a whit one?” Rabi’a took back the coins, threw them in the Tigris rive, and exclaimed: “Must we divide even blankets into distinct groups?”

366 Readings from Islam, Robert Van de Weyer © 2000

Add another puzzle piece of the earth to those already reassembled before ringing of the bell.

Ringing of the bell.
Time of silence.


“Life roars at us when it wants or needs us to change. Ultimately, change means trans formation, a shifting from one form to another that involves the magic of creation. The trouble with entrenched oppositions is that each side becomes increasingly one-sided and single minded and unable to grow or meaningfully change. In the blindness of fear and the willfulness of abstract beliefs, people forget or reject the unseen yet essential unity that underlies all the oppositions in life.”

Why the World Doesn’t End: Tales of Renewal in Times of Loss  Michael J. Meade © 2012

Teachings of the Buddha
Maha Parinibbana Sutta 1.11

There are six condition that must be fulfilled, if the monks are to live in harmony. The monks should be kind to one another in action, speech and thought, both in public and in private. They should share all things, even including the food they receive in their begging bowls. They should practice all virtues, since every virtue contributes to the salvation of the soul; it is for this reason that virtues are praised by the wise.

The monks should do nothing that, if it were known, would tarnish the public reputation of the Community. They should value one another’s spiritual insights, since every insider may contribute to the salvation of the soul. And they should strive for the cessation of suffering, in themselves and in others. If these conditions are fulfilled, you may expect the Community not to decline, but to prosper.

366 Readings from Buddhism, Robert Van de Weyer © 2000

Add another puzzle piece of the earth to those already reassembled before ringing of the bell.

Ringing of the bell.
Time of silence. 


Smudging Ritual
Native American tradition

Add another puzzle piece of the earth to those already reassembled before ringing of the bell.

Ringing of the bell.
Time of silence.


Hindu Tradition
Rig Veda 1:164.46, 51-52

People refer to God by many different names. God is like a bird who flies everywhere. The wise know that God is one, yet appears in many forms. So they know that all the names have the same meaning.

Water is evaporated by the flaming sun, and rises up in the sky; water returns as rain to enliven the earth. the same water appears day by day in different forms.

The great bird with wonderful wings, the beautiful embryos of all living things, the water that causes all things to grow — they are God, and I call to God for help.

366 Readings from Hinduism, Robert Van de Weyer © 2000

Christian Tradition
1 Corinthians 12: 13-26 

We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jew or Greek, or slave or free, and we all were given one Spirit to drink. 14  Certainly the body isn’t one part but many. 15  If the foot says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not a hand,” does that mean it’s not part of the body?

16  If the ear says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not an eye,” does that mean it’s not part of the body?

17  If the whole body were an eye, what would happen to the hearing? And if the whole body were an ear, what would happen to the sense of smell? 18  But as it is, God has placed each one of the parts in the body just like he wanted. 19  If all were one and the same body part, what would happen to the body?

20  But as it is, there are many parts but one body.  21  So the eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” or in turn, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

24b  But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the part with less honor 25  so that there won’t be division in the body and so the parts might have mutual concern for each other. 26  If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it.

Common English Bible © 2011


Meng Tzu said: “Seek the Way, and you will find it. Abandon the Way, and you will lose it. “There is no greater joy than to know that you are true to yourself. If you know yourself, and treat others as you would wish them to treat you, then you are following the Way.”

366 Readings from Taoism & Confucianism, Robert Van de Weyer © 2000

Add another puzzle piece of the earth to those already reassembled before ringing of the bell.

Ringing of the bell.
Time of silence.

Hindu Blessing Rig Veda I
May the wind blow sweetness,
the rivers flow sweetness,
the herbs grow sweetness,
for the People of Truth!

Sweet be the night,
sweet the dawn,
sweet be earth’s fragrance,
sweet be our Heaven!

May the tree afford us sweetness,
the sun shine sweetness,
our cows yield sweetness—
milk in plenty!

Earth Prayers, Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon © 1991

Sharing One Loaf Ha-Motzi 

Barukh atah adonai ’elohenu melekh ha‘olam hamotzi’ lechem min ha’aretz.
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.”

Readings & Prayers for Jewish Worship Edited by Stephen Marler © 2000 OakTree Software, Inc. Version 1.6

Tim strives to share God’s extravagant love for all–no matter what & without strings. Seeking to follow the lure of the Spirit, Tim writes about what it means to be a follower of Jesus in an era where Christianity has come to be associated with hatred and political wedge issues. “Heinous things have been said & done (& still are) in the name of the One who breathed in the Divine,” notes Tim, “but Jesus shows us that God loves extravagantly.” Following the teachings and life of Jesus is about inclusion not exclusion. It is about compassion, grace, and admitting no one has all the answers. It is about responding lovingly to the best of our human ability. It is about people not institutions. It is about social justice. It is about caring for creation. It is about being who we were each created to be. Tim is a former early childhood educator, a runner, a hiker, a devoted husband, father of two adult children and their spouses, and a grandfather of four perfect grandchildren. Tim serves as Senior Pastor of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Albany, Oregon. He writes from home, from the coffee shop, and wherever the trail leads him.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 12:13-26, Elections, Interfaith, Liturgy, New Testament, Special Times

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

All materials by Tim Graves unless otherwise noted. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

Category Search.
%d bloggers like this: