Sam’s off to work in India for 12 months, we commissioned her last night…
[we made wine labels for last night’s celebration that looked surprisingly gorgeous. i’m still waiting on copyright permission for the image we used, if i get it i’ll put a pdf of the labels up here]
[large bowl of water in the centre of the room, placed on a large piece of silk]
There are many stories in the Bible, and through all of history, of people who said ‘here i am’ – Abraham, Moses, Samuel;
and there are many more in the Bible, and through all of history, who might not have said the words out loud, but whose actions spoke it for them – Esther, Rahab, Mary.
you’re joining them, Sam
following a path of faith that is well worn
but one that’s also completely unique to you.
We do not underestimate the faith it takes to simply say ‘here i am’:
faith in yourself and in God.
To make a public declaration of call
to quit your job
to buy a plane ticket
to say ‘goodbye’
to begin forming the words with which you will say ‘hello’.
and tonight we want to honour your journey and to mark this moment
and to remind you that the promise of faith is that when you say out loud
with your words and actions,
‘here I am’
God will not leave you alone.
so we pray:
you are the anger that confronts the world’s injustice
you are the compassion that heals the world’s pain
you are the love that restores the world to life
we pray for Sam as she makes this journey to India
that in every moment of fear
just as in every moment of welcome
she will find herself surrounded by grace
that in every moment of uncertainty
just as in every moment of wonder
she will find herself trusting in life
that in every moment of loneliness
just as in every moment of delight
she will find herself held by love
that in every moment of despair
just as in every moment of resolve
she will know that all she has to offer is enough.
and when Sam cannot hold this faith for herself, we commit ourselves to holding it for her
[writing our prayers for Sam onto the piece of silk with water, give the silk to Sam for her to take with her]
Sam, you offer welcome and love to all who come your way,
may you let yourself also be welcomed and loved
you show grace and compassion in such abundant and rich ways,
may you be open to grace and compassion in return
you give of yourself with all your passion and strength,
may you be able to accept the gifts that are offered to you
you are disturbed by injustice and oppression
and you yearn for freedom and life for all
may you not lose courage and hope;
and may the source of all that brings life be your constant companion on this remarkable journey of faith.
go with peace,