A Travellerspoint blog

ECUMENICAL WORSHIP on the Silver Whisper

May 8, 2022. The Fourth Sunday of Easter & Mothers’ Day USA

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us pray. O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

==Psalm 98==

Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things.
With his right hand and his holy arm has he won for himself the victory.
The LORD has made known his victory; his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.
He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel, and all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
Shout with joy to the LORD, all you lands; lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.
Sing to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the voice of song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn, shout with joy before the King, the LORD.
Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, the lands and those who dwell therein.
Let the rivers clap their hands, and let the hills ring out with joy before the LORD, when he comes to judge the earth.
In righteousness shall he judge the world, and the peoples with equity.

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (28:16-20)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

A Reflection The Reverend William J. Eakins

Hear again the words of today’s Psalm
Sing to the Lord a new song...
Shout with joy to the LORD, all your lands;
Lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.

There’s something about singing that is an essential part of the Easter season. Can you imagine Easter without singing “Jesus Christ is risen today?” Singing takes the good news of Christ’s victory over death out of our heads and brings it home to our hearts. As St. Augustine observes, “Those who sing pray twice.”
While singing has been a part of Christian worship from the very beginning, hymns like “Jesus Christ is risen today” and most familiar hymns are comparatively recent expressions of Christian praise. Modern hymnody has its origin in 18th century England when hymns such as “How firm a foundation,” and “O for a thousand tongues to sing” were daring musical innovations regarded suspiciously by many as overly personal and emotional. Such hymns however, were the life breath of the Christian revival movement lead by two Anglican clergy, John and Charles Wesley. Charles Wesley wrote hundreds of hymns that fueled the fervor of Methodism and excited spiritual awakening in the Church of England.
So startlingly new and unusual were the hymns of the evangelical revival movement that John Wesley wrote out a set of rules to be followed by congregations in learning to sing the “new song.” Wesley’s rules are worth knowing not just for what they have to say about congregational singing, but for what they have to say about what makes Christian faith lively and powerful.
Here’s the first of John Wesley’s rules: “Learn these tunes before you learn any others.” In other words, master the basics first! That’s true in music, but it also applies to matters of faith. Make sure you know and believe the basic elements of the Gospel – how God so loves the world, that God became one of us in Jesus, how God kept on loving us even when we nailed Jesus to the cross, how God raised Jesus from the dead so that we might know that God’s love is more powerful than sin and death. Base your personal life and the life of the church on this Good News. “Learn these tunes, learn these truths, before you learn any others.”
Wesley continues, “Sing [these songs] exactly as they are printed here without altering them.” Good theological as well as musical advice! Basic Christianity is good news about what God has done, the truth that God has revealed, in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Proclaim that good news, speak that God-given truth and don’t mix it up with fanciful philosophies and speculations. “Sing the song without alteration.”
Next: “See that you join the congregation as frequently as you can in your singing.” There are no solo parts for Christians; God calls us to be a community, a community that “in concert and in harmony” continues in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship. Just as a choir falls apart if singers go off on their own, singing as if their own part were the only one that matters, so too a congregation falls apart when its members do their own thing without considering each other. When we go off by ourselves, we go astray. “Join with the congregation as frequently as you can.”
Wesley’s next rule is “Sing modestly. Do not bawl so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony.” Christians are supposed to listen to one another in love, respecting and treasuring our different voices, not exalting ourselves as arbiters of the truth, not running others down because we disagree. As the mothers we honor today would tell us: “Don’t be selfish. Remember it’s not all about you.” “ Don’t destroy the harmony.”
Next: “Sing in time. Do not run before nor stay behind it.” What wise counsel for Christians as we seek to follow the risen Lord. We are not to lag behind in the tomb of the past, clinging to old fears and failings and old ways of doing things. Christ died and rose from the dead to free us from guilt and fear so that we might face the future joyfully and expectantly. On the other hand, we are not to rush ahead heedlessly, relying only on ourselves. Instead we are to make sure we are keeping pace with where God is leading us. “Sing in time.”
Then, “Sing spiritually,” Wesley urges. “Have an eye to God in every word you sing.” Just as a hymn must be sung paying attention to the words, singing them as if we meant them, so too do Christians need to live our lives sincerely, and intentionally, with eyes, minds, and hearts open to see God’s hand at work in the world around us. Living spiritually is making the stuff of our daily lives – our activities, our responsibilities, the way we spend our time and our money, the way we vote – the means by which we know and serve God. “Sing spiritually.”
And now here comes the final rule, the one that above all others is the Easter rule: “Sung lustily and with a good courage.” “Beware,” says Wesley, “of singing as if you were half-dead or half-asleep, but lift up your voice with strength.” Nobody listens to singers who mumble and can’t be heard. But if we sing with conviction, passion, and joy, if we sing lustily, people will sit up and take notice.
We live in a world that is hungry for the good news of our Easter faith. People are longing for peace and longing for hope that will enable them to face the future. People everywhere are longing to find meaning and purpose for their lives. People are longing to hear that God is real and powerful, able to bring new life in even the deadliest of circumstances. What if we were to share our Easter faith that Christ lives “lustily and with a good courage?”
I once encountered a man named Stan when my wife and I were walking one spring day by the lawn bowling club near our house. We leaned on the fence to watch the bowlers and tried to figure out how the game is played. We’d only been there a few minutes when one of the bowlers spotted us and walked over. “Hi,” he said, “I’m Stan.” Would you like to join us? Lawn bowling is great fun. How about giving it a try.”
What if Christians were to be like Stan? What if we were to be on the lookout for those who are seeking more in their life? What if we were to share our faith in Christ with a measure of Stan’s welcome and enthusiasm for lawn bowling? Folks hungry for good news might listen and believe us if we sing and live “lustily and with a good courage.”

AVE MARIA -- Giulio Cacchini ---------------------- Soloist: Dmitry Aldukov

The Prayers

God of grace, and God of glory, put a new song in our hearts as we offer our prayers for ourselves, for those we love, and for the world about us. We pray for those in positions of public trust; guide them to make wise decisions for the welfare of your people. Renew our confidence that you have the whole world in your hands and be with the people of Ukraine as their land is ravished and their lives threatened.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for this congregation and for all Christian communities searching for truth and purpose. Renew our witness to the Gospel of Christ.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for unity in a time when we are separated from each other by race and class, political opinion, and misinformation. Renew our vision of one world, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for healing of our sad divisions. Renew our appreciation for the diversity of ideas, customs, traditions, and beliefs across the earth.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for courage to face the future, trusting all that is past to your mercy and all that lies ahead to your providence. Renew our faith that nothing can separate us from your love but our fear.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for the mothers we honor this day and for all the people who are near and dear to us: for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, for family, friends, and companions, and for the crew on the Silver Whisper. Renew our thankfulness for your gifts and open our eyes to see your hand at work in our daily life.
Lord, hear our prayer.
We give thanks for all who have inspired the faith that is in us: parents and family members, Sunday School teachers and pastors, and all who have cared for us and shared with us the God in whom they believe. Remembering their witness, may we renew our dedication to sing the song of our lives “lustily and with a good courage.”
Lord, hear our prayer.
And now as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen

The Blessing

May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Alleluia. Alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Alleluia.

Officiant: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins
Preacher: The Reverend William J. Eakins
Music: Alex Manev
Soloist: Dmitry Aldokov – Silversea Singers
Usher and Altar Guild: Andrea Ryan

Expected time of the next - and last - service: 9:15 am on May 15

Posted by HopeEakins 10:32 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)


Over the sea to Skye

overcast 60 °F


Our little ship's tender bounced over the waves to Portree, a charming little village on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides, where the houses near the harbor are painted in pastels. At 11 am, we climbed the narrow gangway ladder - aiming for a church service at the same hour. So we scrambled up the hill and through the town, arriving at St. Columba's Episcopal Church at 11:10 am. And we were WARMLY welcomed by Beth and Archie, the greeters for the day. The congregation was small (15) and aging, and filled with love and life. The few young families stopped attending when Covid restrictions made it difficult, but the children's table still awaits their return. The huge stained glass window in the west wall is quite unusual. It depicts Esther 4:16, the verse where Esther saves Mordecai from Haman's wrath. The installation, known as the Flora MacDonald window, is in honor of Flora who hid Bonnie Prince Charlie and kept him safe after his defeat at Culloden.
After being fed with hymns and an earnest sermon on the Good Shepherd and Holy Communion and fellowship, we had lunch at a hotel on Somerled Square in the center of town, shopped a bit, and sailed back again.

Posted by HopeEakins 08:57 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

BELFAST Northern Ireland

A place of mixed memories

sunny 59 °F


We sailed into Belfast through thick rain and fog - which lifted to let the sun shine on Queens College, Belfast Castle, Stormont (Northern Ireland's stunning Parliament building), and neighborhoods both Catholic and Protestant. They say that Belfast is being rejuvenated since "the troubles" ended in 1998, but it doesn't feel that way. The beautiful buildings are marred by disturbing murals of terrorists in masks with machine guns, and "the troubles" are a lot more than troubles - more like a war that still simmers. The photo above is of the "peace wall" erected temporarily because the sides keep attacking each other. The wall's height has been raised twice since it was built, and it is really ugly. Beautiful public gardens dot the streets, but the residential areas are cold and unlandscaped. Discouraged and disillusioned, we set out to find the house at 9 Malone Road, where Bill's Irish relatives lived for generations and where Bill visited as a child and as a student at Oxford. The house, now divided into twelve apartments, brought joy to our hearts and happy memories for Bill..

Posted by HopeEakins 18:07 Archived in Northern Ireland Comments (0)


A day with friends

sunny 66 °F


We watched eagerly from our veranda as we approached Cardiff, hoping to see the car driven by our friend, Hugh Bryant. Hugh, a maritime attorney, knew how to drive right next to our ship, and indeed we stepped off the gangway right up to his car. Hugh and Bill are friends from Oriel College, Oxford, and they must have read the same dress memo: checked jackets and cord trousers. Hugh introduced us to his new vivacious girlfriend, Kenny Okesanjo, and took us to his house in Penarth where we shared prosecco and appreciated the amazing flowers in Hugh's garden (the peonies were a foot wide!). Then we were off for lunch at the Captain's Wife, a seaside pub with a fine menu, - and much talk, talk, talk, about the last two Covid filled years when we have not been able to see each other.

Posted by HopeEakins 07:25 Archived in Wales Comments (1)


In the footsteps of St. Just and St. Mawes

overcast 61 °F

St. Mawes is a charming Cornish costal village that we visited 26 years ago while on a walking trip on the Cornish Coastal Path (we were a bit younger!). We delighted to see the Rising Sun, the old inn where we stayed then. The inn isn't as splendid as we remember, but not much else has changed in St. Mawes, including the 6th C well tucked away in a wall, still providing holy water to Christian pilgrims. Then we were off to St. Just in Roseland (the name comes from the Cornish word for promontory) which is as beautiful as if named for the flower. The church is, however, QUITE A WAY down a hill - and the hill serves as the parish cemetery, so we think it must be very difficult to find pallbearers. St. Just was founded in 550 !!! and the current church built in the 13th C. The list of rectors on the wall gives names from 1265 onward. One of those rectors had the organ pipes painted (he must have been a jolly fellow), and the parish needleworkers have produced handsome kneelers, including a section of cute animals for children.

Posted by HopeEakins 11:40 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

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