"Bless you, my sister. Bless you on your way," we sang to Liz Thoman today at Women-Church (a song by Marcie Silvestro).
"Transitions: Widening the Space of Our Tents" was the theme of the liturgy she designed as her farewell gift to us.
One of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, Liz will be returning to Iowa and the home base of her order in about a month after living for many years in Los Angeles and heading the Center for Media Literacy here.
The service began with words from Teilhard de Chardin, including "Above all trust in the slow work of God."
Next was a quotation from Isaiah: "See, I am doing something new.... can you not perceive it?" (43:19).
"Our world is too small," began the "Psalm to Widen our Tent" adapted from Miriam Therese Winter. "Our lives are too small. Our vision is too restricted. Our theology is too narrow.... Help us to widen our tents."
Then each of the 25 or so gathered women shared one way in which she is widening her tent this year, transitioning to something new.
A blessing prayer for the journey came next, followed by singing "Bless You, My Sister" as a song for the journey with piano played by Ann Hidalgo.
Then each of us read a part of "Reflection: What the Prairie Teaches Us," adapted from Of Earth and Sky, to honor the heartland of the country to which Liz is returning.
The ritual meal came next led by Liz and by Dr. Theresa Yugar, who served a tortilla and cup of sherry as the elements of communion.
"Thanksgiving" by Joanne McPortland was then read by Liz, including these lines:
O Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof,
That anyone should come under my roof,
But, O Lord, how glad!
The service concluded with a final prayer and singing "Bless You, My Sister" again with laying on of hands as Liz leaves us to move to Iowa.
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