ILLUMINATED BEATITUDES—Arts & Spirituality Worship Service, July 23, 2023

(Video will be posted LIVE on the church’s FB page at 11am and then cross-posted here.  If the video doesn’t load properly here, you should be able to click on the Watch on Facebook link and watch as a guest, even if you don’t have Facebook)

During this service, Jesus’ Beatitudes are read, along with brief interpretations, and hymns are sung—while ART from all over Planet Earth, from ancient times to this very day—is displayed on the big screens to engage us at another level in Jesus’ core teaching and action.

PRELUDE: The King of Love My Shepherd Is—Charles Callahan

Pastor:    Life is this simple:
People:  We are living in a world
Pastor:   That is absolutely transparent.
People: And God is shining through it all the time.
Pastor:   This is not just a fable or a nice story.
People:  It is true.
Pastor:    If we abandon ourselves to God
People:  And forget ourselves
Pastor:   We see it sometimes,
People: And maybe we even see it frequently.
Pastor:   God appears everywhere, in everything,
People: And we cannot be without God.
Pastor:  The only thing is, we need to “see it”.
—Thomas Merton, Benedictine Monk, writer, global activist

HYMN:  My Shepherd Will Supply My Need    GTG*803

Pastor:          I remind you again today!
People:        Violence against poor people and minority groups is routine.
Pastor:          I remind you again today that that starving a child is violence.
People         Suppressing a culture is violence.
Pastor           Neglecting school children is violence.
People:        Ghetto housing is violence.
Pastor:          Ignoring medical needs and healthcare is violence.
People:        Contempt for equality is violence.
Pastor:          And watch this!
People:        Even a lack of willpower
Pastor:          And an apathetic spirit
People:        That refuses to challenge these other forms of violence
Pastor:          Is itself violent.
People:        So sometimes the question for us is,
Pastor:          Are we going to be on the side of violence or non-violence? Amen.
—Coretta Scott King

SUNG RESPONSE CELEBRATING GOD’S GRACE:      Halle, Halle, Hallelujah!   GTG#591
SCRIPTURE READING:   Psalm 86:11-17 Matthew 5:1-12
ANTHEM:     Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven—arr. James Kirkby
ILLUMINATED BEATITUDES: An Arts and Spirituality Message merging scripture, interpretation of scripture, and a wide range of art and photography which deepen and illuminate the meaning of Jesus’ beatitudes.

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
    HYMN: Lord, Make Us More Holy   GTG#313
  2. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth….Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. For they shall be filled….Blessed are the merciful. For they shall obtain mercy.”
    HYMN:   Be Thou My Vision  GTG#450
  3. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God….Blessed are the peacemakers. For they shall be called children of God.”
    HYMN:    Come and Find the Quiet Center   STF#2128
  4. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness . . . Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me”  For theirs is the kingdom of heaven… So rejoice! And be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
    HYMN:   God is Here   GTG#409

Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying (sing twice) Matthew 25 Prayer—Lord’s Prayer  GTG#469
OFFERTORY:  My Way’s Cloudy—Spiritual, arr. H. T. Burleigh    Emma WitbolsFeugen, soprano

May we know the honor of being a human being.   (Jake Swamp, Haudenosaunee/Iroquois)  May we share the honor of being a human being. Let us unite a frightened world by acts of kindness. (Pandemic in 2020-2021 message)Hate has no home here.  (a 9 year old Muslim child wrote these words on a sign for a protest at Chicago’s airport when the January 27, 2017 travel ban from Muslim countries was announced)Let hate have no home where you are.Love your enemies.   (Jesus)  Replace apathy with curiosity, violence with community.(Fred Culver)May our capacity for God be reborn.   Always remember—What you give, you have. (Roman soldier) Amen.

CLOSING HYMN:   My Soul Cries Out with a Joyful Shout  GTG#100
 Send Me, Jesus   GTG#746
POSTLUDE:    The Quiet Heart—Thomas Keesecker


  • Presbyterian Urban & Immigrant Ministry Network meets here, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.
  • Boy Scout Troop 60 goes to summer camp this week. With the help of the church and a donor, the scouts are able to go to camp on complete scholarship, which is significant as camp, like most things, has become much more costly.
  • Bread, Buns, Fruit, Water, Meat, Peanut Butter are needed for our INTERRUPT HUNGER work.
  • WESTPORT SHOWERS happen on Sundays & Thursday nights. Women’s underwear needed.
  • Children’s Sunday School is taking a break until August 6th in the redesigned 2nd floor Children’s Space, teaching & learning will emphasize Care for the Earth, Sky and all God’s creation. 11:00 am. On Easter Sunday Westport Rising Children’s Sunday School was re-born after the pandemic! Teachers are focusing on care for the earth in our Sunday School classes.
  • Friendship Time before and after worship with snacks and coffee. Starts at 10:20 am in the main hallway. Continues after worship. Time for spontaneous friendship interaction. Smile.
  • We praise God for Stan Morgan’s art exhibit! Tell your friends, neighbors, family, co-workers to come and see the amazing lifetime works of this great artist and human being!
  • After church potluck on Aug 13.


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