What are Our Liturgies Like

Eucharistic Liturgy – 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time      July 7, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/B-YzwKBlE7xcUl1DaPYFNHSBUZLPredKJ5YGAf8gYFIyPYDccyLm2ZDzfzacFvww.l3jVxi8N6XZN6Y9N?startTime=1720360804000

Theme: Standing in solidarity against Christian Nationalism

A prophet has little honor in his hometown &

Jesus has no place in the Christianity of Christian Nationalism

We pray for those individuals in need                                         Mike                     

Introduction                                                                             Margie

Patriotism is good. Faith is good. Yet even as we are celebrating Independence Day, they are not the same thing, and they should never be blended and abused to become tools of empire, theocracy, or right-wing oppression.

This Fourth of July, Faithful America and many other Christian organizations are coming together in solidarity against Christian Nationalism. These are not voices crying out in the wilderness. The chorus of Christians speaking out against Christian Nationalism is growing. In addition to individual leaders critiquing the ideology, institutional voices are also expressing their concerns. We in Sophia are joining this collective, prophetic, voice to learn, to pray, and to take a stand against the hijacking of the Christian faith.

The liturgical Gospel this week is Mark 6:1-6, where Jesus is not accepted in his hometown. Those who should have accepted and loved him the most were not interested in his message. In the same way, it seems that Christian Nationalists have no need for the true teachings of Jesus in their religion. They twist and distort Jesus’s message of love as they “other” so many in our society…immigrants, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community … actually anyone who sees things differently than they do. Our readings today are about people who, like Jesus, are no longer at home in their “homes” due to this hateful ideology. We pray for them and all who are hurt. May we continue to stand against Christian Nationalism and stand up for love.

Opening Song                                                                          Margie

We Stand                                                                           by the Many

Wisdom Bowl                                                                           Margie

Opening Prayer                                                                       Mike

Change can only come when we all speak out with a collective prophetic voice — which means you’re making a difference. Together, we will reject hatred, political violence, Christofascism, and the hijacking of Jesus’s name for partisan politics — and in their place take a prophetic, Jesus-like stance for peace, faith, hope, and love.

Recognizing the scope and urgency of this situation, we send our positive energy and healing love for our nation and our leaders that those seeking absolute power may not prevail and that our democratic republic may not end. Amen.

Reading One (part 1)                                                              Colleen

The Day My Old Church Canceled Me Was a Very Sad Day  

by David French, modified slightly for brevity

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/09/opinion/presbyterian-church-evangelical-canceled.html

This week, the leaders of the Presbyterian Church in America are gathering in Richmond, Va., for their annual General Assembly. The Presbyterian Church in America is a small, theologically conservative Christian denomination that was my family’s church home for more than 15 years.

It just canceled me.

Our family joined the P.C.A. denomination in 2004. At the time, the denomination fit us perfectly. I’m conservative theologically and politically, and in 2004 I was still a partisan Republican. At the same time, however, I perceived the denomination as relatively apolitical. I never heard political messages from the pulpit, and I worshiped alongside Democratic friends.

When we moved to Tennessee in 2006, we selected our house in part because it was close to a P.C.A. church, and that church became the center of our lives. On Sundays we attended services, and Monday through Friday our kids attended the school our church founded and supported. We loved the people in that church, and they loved us. When I deployed to Iraq in 2007, the entire church rallied to support my family and to support the men I served with. They flooded our small forward operating base with care packages, and back home, members of the church helped my wife and children with meals, car repairs and plenty of love and companionship in anxious times.

Two things happened that changed our lives, however, and in hindsight they’re related. First, in 2010, we adopted a 2-year-old girl from Ethiopia. Second, in 2015, Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign.

There was no way I could support Trump. It wasn’t just his obvious lack of character that troubled me; he was opening the door to a level of extremism and malice in Republican politics that I’d never encountered. Trump’s rise coincided with the rise of the alt-right.

I was a senior writer for National Review at the time, and when I wrote pieces critical of Trump, members of the alt-right pounced, and they attacked us through our daughter. They pulled pictures of her from social media and photoshopped her into gas chambers and lynchings. Trolls found my wife’s blog on a religious website called Patheos and filled the comments section with gruesome pictures of dead and dying Black victims of crime and war. We also received direct threats.

The experience was shocking. At times, it was terrifying. And so we did what we always did in times of trouble: We turned to our church for support and comfort. Our pastors and close friends came to our aid, but support was hardly universal. The church as a whole did not respond the way it did when I deployed. Instead, we began encountering racism and hatred up close, from people in our church and in our church school.

The racism was grotesque. One church member asked my wife why we couldn’t adopt from Norway rather than Ethiopia. A teacher at the school asked my son if we had purchased his sister for a “loaf of bread.” There were terrible incidents of peer racism, including a student telling my daughter that slavery was good for Black people because it taught them how to live in America. Another told her that she couldn’t come to our house to play because “my dad said Black people are dangerous.”

There were disturbing political confrontations. A church elder came up to my wife and me after one service to criticize our opposition to Trump and told me to “get your wife under control” after she contrasted his support for Trump with his opposition to Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair. Another man confronted me at the communion table.

Psalm                                                                                         Margie

I Won’t Back Down

Reading One (part 2)                                                              Kathy

We also began to see the denomination itself with new eyes. To my shame, the racism and extremism within the denomination were invisible to us before our own ordeal. But there is a faction of explicitly authoritarian Christian nationalists in the church, and some of that Christian nationalism has disturbing racial elements underpinning it.

In 2022 a member of the denomination who has since left it published “The Case for Christian Nationalism,” one of the most popular Christian nationalist books of the Trump era. It argues that “no nation (properly conceived) is composed of two or more ethnicities” and that “to exclude an out-group is to recognize a universal good for man.”

I do not want to paint with too broad a brush. Our pastors and close friends continued to stand with us. Our church disciplined the man who confronted me about Trump during communion. And most church members didn’t follow politics closely and had no idea about any of the attacks we faced.

But for us, church no longer felt like home. We could withstand the trolls online. We could guard against physical threats. But it was hard to live without any respite, and the targeting of my children was a bridge too far. So we left for a wonderful multiethnic church in Nashville. We didn’t leave Christianity; we left a church that inflicted harm on my family.

I still have many friends in the Presbyterian Church in America, people who are fighting the very forces that drove us from the church. In March, one of those friends reached out and asked if I’d join a panel at this year’s General Assembly. I agreed to come. The P.C.A. extended a formal invitation for me to join a panel with three church elders to speak at a session before the main event. I knew the invitation would be controversial. Members of the denomination have continued to attack me online. But that was part of the point of the panel. My experience was directly relevant to others who might find themselves in the cross hairs of extremists.

The anger against me wasn’t simply over my opposition to Trump. It was directly related to the authoritarian turn in white evangelical politics. My commitment to individual liberty and pluralism means that I defend the civil liberties of all Americans, including people with whom I have substantial disagreements. A number of Republican evangelicals are furious at me, for example, for defending the civil liberties of drag queens and L.G.B.T.Q. families. A writer for The Federalist ranted that granting me a platform was akin to “giving the wolf a brand-new wool coat and microphone and daring the sheep to object.”

The panel was announced on May 9. On May 14, the denomination caved. It canceled the panel, and in its public statement, I was to blame. I was sacrificed on the altar of peace and unity. But it is a false peace and a false unity if extremists can bully a family out of a church and then block the church from hearing one of its former members describe his experience. It is a false peace and a false unity if it is preserved by granting the most malicious members of the congregation veto power over church events.

When I left the Republican Party, I thought a shared faith would preserve my denominational home. But I was wrong. Race and politics trumped truth and grace, and now I’m no longer welcome in the church I loved.

Inspired words

Reading Two                                                                            Margie

Families of trans children –  no longer “at home” in their state of Missouri

https://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/watch/republicans-are-waging-a-war-on-my-family-father-of-trans-kid-says-174205509924

Homily                                                                                        Mike

Prayers of the People                                                             Judy L

As followers of the Christian tradition, our faith teaches us everyone is created in God’s image and commands us to love one another. As Americans, we value our system of government and the good that can be accomplished in our constitutional democracy. Today, we are concerned about a persistent threat to both our religious communities and our democracy – Christian Nationalism.

Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.

Those fighting this issue, including Faithful America, reject this damaging political ideology. They invite others to join them in opposing this threat to our faith and to our nation. Today’s Prayer of the People will be the Statement which they are asking people to sign against Christian Nationalism. We will hear each tenant, and then have a moment for silent reflection and prayer,

As followers of the Christian tradition, we are bound not by citizenship, but by the teachings of Jesus. We believe that:

People of all faiths and none have the right and responsibility to engage

constructively in the public square. (pause)

Patriotism does not require us to minimize our religious convictions. (pause)

One’s religious affiliation, or lack thereof, should be irrelevant to one’s standing

in the civic community. (pause)

Government should not prefer one religion over another or religion over nonreligion. (pause)

Religious instruction is best left to our houses of worship, other religious institutions, and families. (pause)

America’s historic commitment to religious pluralism enables faith communities to live in civic harmony with one another without sacrificing our theological convictions. (pause)

Conflating religious authority with political authority is idolatrous and often leads to oppression of minority and other marginalized groups as well as the spiritual

impoverishment of religion. (pause)

We must stand up to and speak out against Christian nationalism, especially when it inspires acts of violence and intimidation—including vandalism, bomb threats, arson, hate crimes, and attacks on houses of worship—against religious

communities at home and abroad. (pause)

Whether we worship at a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple, America has no second-class faiths. All are equal under the U.S. Constitution. As Christians, we must speak in one voice condemning Christian nationalism as a distortion of the gospel of Jesus and a threat to American democracy. (pause)

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus. (pause)

For what else shall we pray? Please respond with a silent prayer.

 (Allow up to 4 petitions.)

May we as individuals and as a community help to raise a prophetic voice against Christian nationalism. May we continue both to pray for, and do the work of: love, peace, truth, equality, and justice in our lives. Amen.

Anyone moved to sign Faithful America’s statement can find it here:

https://www.christiansagainstchristiannationalism.org/statement

Sharing of Peace                                                                     Mike

Blessing of Bread and Wine                                                 Joan

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Liturgy     (Please pray Voice part in your home)    Mike & Linda S

Presider:  This year as we celebrate the Fourth of July, we are keenly aware of the threats to both our faith and our country. May our concerns lead us to be more and more open to the Divine’s call.

Voice: As we reflect on the life and true mission of Jesus, may we follow his way of addressing inequity and corruption powerfully, while still having compassion for those who see things differently than he did.

Presider: The creation of a better world is what Jesus lived for,

what he longed to see,

what he spoke about day after day,

what he was willing to die for.

Voice: Like Jesus, we commit ourselves to give the energizing Spirit within us, the most faithful and courageous expression that each of us can.

Presider:  We gather to share bread and wine,

committing ourselves to keeping his dream,

and the dreams of many other voices, alive in today’s world.

Voice: We eat and drink, committing ourselves to add our voices and our efforts to those countless people before us

who dreamed of a better world and actively worked to achieve it.

Presider:  We seek to give shape to Jesus’ dream,

to his desire that we would take responsibility for working together,

for directing our energies “first and foremost” to making a difference for good in the world.

Voice:  We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move free in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen!

modified from Michael Morwood, First and Foremost

Prayers for Progressive Christians, pages110-111

The Prayer of Jesus                                                               Maryann

Great divine spirit of love that is at the core of everything and from which all life flows,

We acknowledge this healing and transforming power.

May the spirit of unconditional love and forgiveness flow through each of us and enable the realm of love to spread throughout the world.

Like the flowers in the fields, may we have the basics we need to live

and may we have the love and commitment to ensure that others have

what they need too.

May we have the courage to acknowledge when we have done wrong, to seek forgiveness from those we have hurt and to forgive those who have hurt us,

so that we may be reconciled.

We acknowledge the power of self-giving love to transform individual hearts and the world.

We recommit ourselves to the unconditional love of others and the work of justice and peace. Amen.

A 21st Century Lord’s Prayer by Roger Courtney adapted by Maryann Crilly 

Breaking of the Bread                                                      Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

Communion                                                                             Mike

Presider:  “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                   Margie

Amen                                                             by Beyoncé, from Cowboy Carter

Beyoncé, the R&B and pop megastar, dropped Cowboy Carter, her first country music album, in March and it shook the music industry and pop culture. But Cowboy Carter is more than just music – it’s a provocative piece of cultural criticism calling out white privilege and nationalism and deconstructing the silos of societal genres.

“Amen”

Beyoncé concludes this album, a requiem, with “Amen.” With big vocal harmonies over church piano chords, Beyoncé delivers a rousing speech, like a general to her freedom fighters. “Amen” is a battle cry, a warning to the white Christian Nationalists trying to rewrite our history, take away voting rights, and convince us that oppression is good and divinely sanctioned. “Amen” says we know the truth; we won’t let them warp faith into a weapon. We are singing a death song, a requiem, to those old ideas and white supremacy. America is our country. Our ancestors built it. We are the patriots. The future is ours.

Commentary link:

Closing Prayer                                                                         Mike

It is an illusion that we are powerless. It is an illusion that someone else is responsible. It is an illusion that we cannot transcend these dualities and differences that are making a mockery of democracy. We are the people. This is our world. And every movement that ever led to any change in this ever-evolving civilization grew like a seed from one person’s imagination.

And what did that person have—a deeply-rooted sense of what’s right; a commitment to truth-telling, to heart-sharing, to bridge-building; an ability to inspire, to breathe life into the hearts and minds of others. No matter how brilliant our attempts to inform, it is our ability to inspire that will turn the tides.

This morning we pray, individually and collectively, to have the strength and vision to make a difference, to be the change makers in this fragile time. We have faith and confidence that by standing in solidarity against Christian Nationalism we can be the inspiration to give Jesus a home in Christianity once again. Amen.

by Jan Phillips, taken & modified from The Art of Original Thinking

Sending Forth Song                                                               Margie

Standing in the Breach                                  by Jackson Browne

Announcements

Eucharistic Liturgy – 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time      June 30, 2024

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Theme: Jesus, Standing Up for The Other

We pray for those individuals in need                                         Mike

Opening Song                                                                          Mike

“In June of 2015, we as a band decided that our LGBTQ community deserved a new song for Pride week,” said Muna’s Katie Gavin. They came up with “I Know a Place,” an uplifting reminder that home is where you make it out to be — and with whom you choose to make it. —T.C.

Muna

‘I Know a Place’

Wisdom Bowl                                                                           Margie

Opening Prayer                                                                       Mike

Limitless Love – A Prayer for Pride Month

Adapted by Bill Appleton from the Catholic Health Association of the United States
All of creation displays the goodness and diversity of God,   
It is awe-inspiring and life-giving to witness.   
From the most intricate snowflake to the grandest of mountain peaks,   
With each inbreaking of the sun’s rays that paint the sky until day’s end,   
God’s limitless love creates it all.   
    
As we gaze, then, upon all of God’s children, 
The special co-creators God has made to experience God and God’s beauty, 
May we always appreciate the dignity of each person:   
Straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning, asexual.   
May we witness the handiwork of each beloved, 
Celebrate God’s imprint upon each heart, 
And recognize how God fashions each human being with purpose and wonder.  
God’s limitless love creates us all.    
    
May we seek and grant forgive to each other    
For the limitation of our eyes that fails to take in another’s beauty,   
For choosing the comfort of our own apathy instead of bearing one another’s burdens,   
For not remaining silent enough to hear each other’s story and pain and for remaining silent when we should cry out,   
God’s limitless love forgives us all.   
   
We pray for the wounds the world inflicts, 
In thought, word, and deed, 
Against what the Creator’s hands have formed.
We seek to be soothed and comforted, renewed and redeemed.   
We know that God’s love restores us all.   
    
We pray for unity,   
For tenderness,   
For belonging and justice and freedom,   
For solidarity and bountiful compassion   
We pray that the world may know the love of our brother Jesus   
By the way we love one another   
And how willing we are to enter the splendor of co-creating   
With one another   
And with our God, whose limitless love heals us all.

Reading One                                                                            Mike

What Sister Joan Chittister Believes Will Change the World | SuperSoul Sunday | OWN

Inspired words

PSALM                                                                                       Mike

Psalm 139: 13-14 “For it was you who formed my inward parts. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works.”

Gospel Acclamation                                                            Mike                                          

Pride Festival Alleluia – courtesy of Dignity Women

https://drive.google.com/file/d/17QxLoltBT49KmfpfpsEJSeAmgVmYwuY-/view?usp=sharing

Gospel                                                                                       Louise

A reading from the Gospel in the tradition of Mark

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat

to the other side,

a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.

One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.

Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,

“My daughter is at the point of death.

Please, come lay your hands on her.

that she may get well and live.”

He went off with him,

and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.

She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors.

and had spent all that she had.

Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.

She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd.

and touched his cloak.

She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”

Immediately her flow of blood dried up.

She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,

turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”

But his disciples said to Jesus,

“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,

and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

And he looked around to see who had done it.

The woman, realizing what had happened to her,

approached in fear and trembling.

She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.

Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking,

people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,

“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”

Disregarding the message that was reported,

Jesus said to the synagogue official,

“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside.

except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.

When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,

he caught sight of a commotion,

people weeping and wailing loudly.

So, he went in and said to them,

“Why this commotion and weeping?

The child is not dead but asleep.”

And they ridiculed him.

Then he put them all out.

He took along the child’s father and mother.

and those who were with him.

and entered the room where the child was.

He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”

which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”

The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.

At that they were utterly astounded.

He gave strict orders that no one should know this

and said that she should be given something to eat.

Inspired words

Homily                                                                                        Bill A

Prayers of the People                                                             Peter

We are called to go outside of our comfort zones just as Jesus went outside of the norms of his day.  May our prayers reflect our desire to live this way.

Our response will be a prayerful silence.

For all religious leaders, that they may lead their people to move outside their comfort zones to places of growth and care for all people, we pray;

For government leaders, that they may provide leadership that welcomes and affirms the other in their society in order to allow societies to engage in the richness that diversity and inclusion brings to it, we pray;

For civic and recreational leaders, that they may actively engage in affirming the other in society especially members of the LGBTQIA community, we pray;

For healthcare providers, that they may vigorously seek ways to meet the needs of their patients who are LGBTQIA, BIPOC or disabled, we pray;

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus, we respond;

For what else shall we pray? Please respond with a silent prayer.

 (Allow 4 petitions.)

May the Spirit of Jesus live in us, that a new world can take shape in us and keep growing.   May we move freely outside our comfort zones and expand our social network.  In doing this, we will emulate Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Sharing of Peace                                                                     Mike

Blessing of Bread and Wine                                                 Linda S

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink

A Eucharistic Liturgy for Pride                                            Mike & Tom S

Presider: As we gather here this morning, we are the church! In this moment, we respond to the words of Jesus, who tells us: “…where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Voice: And it is with the spirit of Jesus that we proclaim that this table is open to all people — no matter who you are or what you believe or what you’ve been told.

Presider: At our table we remember the simple gathering of a chosen family that came together for a meal that proclaimed a new way of being in this world.

Voice: We remember the radically inclusive love of the Divine made real in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We remember the One who befriended the forgotten, embraced the outcast, and saw the Image of God in all people. We remember the One who confronted every power that disconnected, marginalized, oppressed, and “other-ed.”

Presider: It is here at this table that we find hope and imagination to see Jesus’s dream and promise of a world of wholeness, and it is here that we receive the nourishment and strength to continue on the paths of justice.

Voice: We recall that on the night he was betrayed, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Presider: In the same way he took the cup, saying, “This is my very life, poured out for you. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Voice: We are thankful for this beautiful world. We are grateful for the endless blessings that we see, feel, and know on our journeys of life. And we celebrate the rich diversity of creation — every beautiful body, every shade of skin, every expression of love…each of us good enough, smart enough, enough enough…infinitely worthy, without prerequisites.

Presider: We open our hearts to the joy we can find in the midst of life’s challenges. We remember that we are loved — fiercely and forever, for who we are. And however the world may try to hold us down or tell us who to be, we know that nothing can separate us from the Divine and each other. Amen!

Published by Medium,

modified from St. John’s Presbyterian Church, San Francisco

https://samlundquist.medium.com/prayers-for-queer-folks-a-pride-prayer-and-communion-liturgy-73e2e80dceec

The Prayer of Jesus   (Please pray along)                          Geri                              

Our father, our mother, our beloved two-spirit parent,

help us honor your holy name in all that we do.

We pray that your justice, peace, love, and mercy come to this needy planet.

Give all of us, transgender, cisgender, and people of all gender expressions and orientations, what we need each day to live and thrive. We need food, we need employment, housing, and medical care. We need a loving community.

Forgive us our failings, the times we did not listen, the times we did not love, the times we looked away from neighbors in need, as we forgive those who have failed us.

Keep us from the temptation of intolerance, contempt, and complacency in the face of injustice. Give us instead the courage to stand in solidarity with all your beloved children and deliver us from those who would harm us.

For yours is love, justice and peace, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer for Transgender Awareness

from Dignity USA’s Believe Out Loud initiative

Breaking of the Bread                                                      Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

Communion                                                                             Mike

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With boundless joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                   Mike

Be With Me Lord Marty Haugen

Closing Prayer                                                                         Mike

May we always be ready to act as an Ally. 

May we first recognize our privilege.

May we then use our position or status to fight systemic oppression or discrimination.

May we be active and outspoken about issues such as racial injustice, transphobia or homophobia, and ableism.

May we acknowledge our privilege and openly discuss it.

May we support and make use of our privilege and power for those who are marginalized.

May we turn the spotlight our power provides away from ourselves and toward marginalized voices.

May we use opportunities to engage people with whom we share identity and privilege in conversations about oppression experienced by those we seek to work with.

May we do this all in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Closing Song                                                                           Mike

“Believe Out Loud” by David Lohman from Fling the Church Doors Open Wide

Announcements

Eucharistic Liturgy – 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time      June 23, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/ZjwTLI3Ik4H3tFfNH3go95xxSZ_ZrAMO1q0k0wRoNEY9itAHIRE6ROKXBAOpLPaC.n3OKtBobPPSL7cTx?startTime=1719151198000

Theme: Navigating the Storms in Life

We pray for those individuals in need                                         Mike

Opening Song                                                                          Mike

Melissa Etheridge – “Uprising of Love” Official Video

My eyes are wide-open recognizing change
It feeds the fires of the fear
Where human love seems strange
I’m gonna rise above
I believe that love is love
I’m gonna raise my hands
With every woman, child and man

I’m gonna start an uprising
I’m gonna start an uprising of love
I’m gonna start an uprising of love

There’s no need for hiding
And there’s no need for shame
Come into the sun, tell everyone
Love has a face it has a name
I’m gonna rise above
I believe that love is love
I’m gonna raise my hands
With every woman, child and man

I’m gonna start an uprising
I’m gonna start an uprising of love
I’m gonna start an uprising of love

A sacred force created me
In that I had no choice
Gave me my heart and who it loves
My arms to hold and gave me my voice

I’m gonna start an uprising of love
I’m gonna start an uprising of love
I’m gonna start an uprising of love
I’m gonna start an uprising of love

Songwriters: Melissa Etheridge. For non-commercial use only.

Introduction: Juneteenth

Wisdom Bowl                                                                           Margie

Opening Prayer                                                                       Mike

An Opening Prayer for Pride

Jesus’ view of the Divine was one of wild love and extravagant acceptance…

A Spirit of boldness and beauty…

One that is faithfully present in both the grit and glitter of life,

and present here with us now.

May we be awakened to the dream for creation:

A world in which every member of the human family is free

to flourish however they have been made.

May we be forgiven for the moments we have held back

the ever-flowing current of love, dignity, and justice that flows from the Divine.

May we be a people eager to see the Divine

in the faces, bodies, and expressions of all people.

May we be reminded to step out of the shadows of our lives

and shine fearlessly and courageously.

May the Divine Light be ignited within us to sparkle through the prism

of our bodies and brighten every corner of this Earth.

Each of us is called beloved.

Each of us cherished.

Each of us desired.

Each of us sacred.

And so, we give thanks now and forever.

Amen.

Published by Medium,

modified from St. John’s Presbyterian Church, San Francisco

https://samlundquist.medium.com/prayers-for-queer-folks-a-pride-prayer-and-communion-liturgy-73e2e80dceec

Reading One                                                                            Teri

OTHERSIDE OF STORMS OF YOUR LIFE Dr. Jayanthi N.L.N.

Once a child came to visit his grandfather during his summer holidays. He used to play with his grandpa during the time. One day he said to his Grandpa, “When I grow up I want to become a successful man. Can you tell me some ways to be successful?”.

Grandfather nodded, “yes”, and took the boy to a nearby nursery. From the nursery his Grandpa bought two small plants and came back home. He planted one plant in a pot, and kept it inside the house, and planted another one outside the house.

“What do you think? Which of these two plants will grow better in future?”, the grandfather asked the boy. The boy kept thinking for some time and then said, “the plant inside the house will grow better, because it is safe from every danger, while a plant outside is at risk of many things like strong sunlight, storms, and animals”. Grandfather smiled and said, “let’s see what happens in future”.

After that, the boy left with his parents. After four years when the boy saw his grandfather, he said, “last time I asked you some ways to be successful but, you did not tell me’’. Grandfather smiled and said, “Sure. But, let’s first take a look at the plants that we bought a few years back”, saying this grandfather took the boy to a place where he had planted a small plant in a pot.

They saw that the plant had grown into a tree. Then he took the boy to look at the plant which they had planted outside. There they saw that a huge tree stood, its branches spread far and wide, providing shade to the passersby.

Now, Grandfather looked the boy and asked, “Which plant grew more? Which is more successful? “The boy replied, “the one that we planted outside”, but “Grandpa! How is this possible? That plant would have faced so many dangers. Still, it grew so big”.

Grandfather smiled and said, “Yes, plants outside had to face many things, but dealing with problems had its benefits too. Plants outside had the freedom to spread their roots as much as they wanted. Problems like storms made its roots stronger. Today it is so strong that a small storm cannot cause any harm to it. Son! What I am about to tell you now, you must always remember. Then, you will be successful in whatever you do in your life. If you always make comfortable choices, then you will not be able to grow as you can. If you are ready to face this world despite all the dangers, then no goal is impossible to achieved by you. Never think of problems as hurdles but think of them as steps towards success”. Boy took a long breath and stared at the tree, and he understood his Grandpa’s words.

Inspired words

PSALM                                                                                       Mike

The 50 Most Inspirational LGBTQ Songs of All Time  This is ranked number 3 by Rolling Stone.

Katy Perry’s 2010 Teenage Dream hit is as bright and uplifting as its title, a celebratory track that encourages listeners to release their inner sparkle and let their colors shine. “Firework” has become one of Perry’s most anthemic songs, and a fan favorite. More proof of the song’s impact: “Firework” is the track Perry closes with every night of her Las Vegas residency. —T.C.

Gospel Acclamation                                                                         

Pride Festival Alleluia – courtesy of Dignity Women

https://drive.google.com/file/d/17QxLoltBT49KmfpfpsEJSeAmgVmYwuY-/view?usp=sharing

Gospel                                                                                       Kathi S

Mark 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples:

“Let us cross to the other side.”

Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.

And other boats were with him.

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat,

so that it was already filling up.

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.

They woke him and said to him,

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up,

rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!”

The wind ceased and there was great calm.

Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?

Do you not yet have faith?”

They were filled with great awe and said to one another,

“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

Inspired words

Homily                                                                                        Mike

Prayers of the People                                                             Joan Thomas

We are as a society and as individuals facing storms both literally and figuratively.  We know that we have a well-honed faith; the faith of Jesus  to meet the challenges that we encounter.

Our response: As One we Pray!

For all houses of worship, that they may be true places of refuge for those who are considered “other” in society especially the LGBTQIA+ community, we respond:

For all government officials throughout the world, that they may use their power to build up and not tear down.  May they not use groups or individuals as pawns in political, military or religious gamesmanship; especially those in the LGBTQIA+ community, we respond:

For judges and court officials and or all law enforcement officials as well as for correctional administrators and officers, that they may treat members of the LGBTQIA+ Community with dignity, respect and equality, we respond;

For insurance companies and health care providers, that they may provide optimal care to all medical needs due the members of the LGBTQIA+ Community, we respond;

For educators at every level, that they may create an affirming environment for each and every member of the LGBTQIA+ Community, we respond;

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus, we respond;

For what else shall we pray? Please respond with a silent prayer.

 (Allow 4 petitions.)

We pray that we may always be attentive to the Divine’s call.  May we always be more that welcoming to each and every person we meet.  May we affirm them, celebrate them, and help them grow!  We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus.

Sharing of Peace                                                                     Mike

Blessing of Bread and Wine                                                 Linda S

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink

A Eucharistic Liturgy for Pride                                            Mike & Colleen

Presider: As we gather here this morning, we are the church! In this moment, we respond to the words of Jesus, who tells us: “…where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Voice: And it is with the spirit of Jesus that we proclaim that this table is open to all people — no matter who you are or what you believe or what you’ve been told.

Presider: At our table we remember the simple gathering of a chosen family that came together for a meal that proclaimed a new way of being in this world.

Voice: We remember the radically inclusive love of the Divine made real in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We remember the One who befriended the forgotten, embraced the outcast, and saw the Image of God in all people. We remember the One who confronted every power that disconnected, marginalized, oppressed, and “other-ed.”

Presider: It is here at this table that we find hope and imagination to see Jesus’s dream and promise of a world of wholeness, and it is here that we receive the nourishment and strength to continue on the paths of justice.

Voice: We recall that on the night he was betrayed, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Presider: In the same way he took the cup, saying, “This is my very life, poured out for you. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Voice: We are thankful for this beautiful world. We are grateful for the endless blessings that we see, feel, and know on our journeys of life. And we celebrate the rich diversity of creation — every beautiful body, every shade of skin, every expression of love…each of us good enough, smart enough, enough enough…infinitely worthy, without prerequisites.

Presider: We open our hearts to the joy we can find in the midst of life’s challenges. We remember that we are loved — fiercely and forever, for who we are. And however the world may try to hold us down or tell us who to be, we know that nothing can separate us from the Divine and each other. Amen!

Published by Medium,

modified from St. John’s Presbyterian Church, San Francisco

https://samlundquist.medium.com/prayers-for-queer-folks-a-pride-prayer-and-communion-liturgy-73e2e80dceec

The Prayer of Jesus   (Please pray along)                          Margie                              

Our father, our mother, our beloved two-spirit parent,

help us honor your holy name in all that we do.

We pray that your justice, peace, love and mercy come to this needy planet.

Give all of us, transgender, cisgender, and people of all gender expressions and orientations, what we need each day to live and thrive. We need food, we need employment, housing and medical care. We need a loving community.

Forgive us our failings, the times we did not listen, the times we did not love, the times we looked away from neighbors in need, as we forgive those who have failed us.

Keep us from the temptation of intolerance, contempt and complacency in the face of injustice. Give us instead the courage to stand in solidarity with all your beloved children and deliver us from those who would harm us.

For yours is love, justice and peace, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer for Transgender Awareness

from Dignity USA’s Believe Out Loud initiative

Breaking of the Bread                                                      Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

Communion                                                                             Mike

Presider:  “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                   Mike

The Gift You Are John Denver

Closing Prayer                                                                         Mike

Blessed Are the Queer

By HP Rivers

Blessed are the wanderers,

Seeking affirmation.

Blessed are the worshipers,

Praying from closets,

Pulpits, pews, and hardship.

Blessed are the lovers of leaving –

Leaving family and familiarity,

Leaving tables

Where love is not being served.

Blessed are those who stay.

Blessed are those

Who hunger and thirst for justice –

For they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the queer

Disciples of Truth,

Living, breathing, sacred

Reflections of

Divine Love.

Closing Song                                                                           Mike

“Believe Out Loud” by David Lohman from Fling the Church Doors Open Wide

Announcements

Eucharistic Liturgy – 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time      June 16, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/d-hwMMHGgTrpw3ACC1pE9QTWD5jPmCPOk2Q5-xn8o29g3xi8dfMsABAcKCpCdxc8.xLPTxGG0jDrkyYQV?startTime=1718546440000

Theme: Invisible Seeds/ We Are Enough!

We pray for those individuals in need                                         Mike

Introduction                                                                              Colleen

I believe that we are all born with an invisible seed planted within us. It is our purpose to nurture that seed into bloom. We must allow it to take root and grow. But you ask, how are we to nurture something that we cannot see? Ah, that is the mystery and the challenge of this life.

The Divine that lives within each of us is the invisible seed. We can never see the face of God, just as we cannot see the invisible seed, but it is there, nonetheless. 

We are born with this inherent knowledge but as we mature, we grow further and further away from this knowledge. We allow outside influences to overshadow it. We believe what we are told by society, by teachers, by our family and ultimately by ourselves – we are not good enough, we are not smart enough, we are not worthy. Ultimately creating our “not enoughness”. Those voices, within and without, wither the invisible seed. They starve it of light, the light that paradoxically shines within us.

We must, as Jesus said, become like the little children. Remain in the belief that we are Divine, we are good enough, we are worthy.

Opening Song                                                                          Margie

You Are Loved                                                                   by Karen Drucker

Here it comes again that feeling of not enough

I see you struggle, I feel your pain

How can I convince you that you are a radiant child of God?

You are worthy, deserving, loving and caring, a shining light of love

If only you could see yourself as other people do

You would see the light of love that shines to everyone

You would understand the reason why people care for you

You would see that, you would know that you are loved,

You are loved…

You look in the mirror and all you do is criticize

But take another look and see the soul that’s in your eyes

You have everything you need it’s all inside of you

Step into your power, open your heart

and let your love shine through

Wisdom Bowl                                                                           Margie

Opening Prayer                                                                       Mike

In our Opening Song, Karen Drucker sings, “Here it comes again that feeling of not enough.” So many of us feel it, sometimes faintly but at other times looming large. It has a way of keeping us from trying things, being our true selves, recognizing our worth.

May we experience this morning’s liturgy with hearts open to accepting our beauty, truly believing that we are crowns of creation…the face of God! May our readings remind us that worthiness does not have prerequisites and that comparison is the thief of joy. May we rejoice that we were born perfect and luminous. And may we embrace the mystery and challenge of life to grow and share our invisible seeds. Amen.

Gospel                                                                                       Sue

Mark 4:26-34

Then Jesus said, “God’s kindom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows – he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps – harvest time!”

Inspired words

Reading One                                                                            Margie

Buddhist Boot Camp – Self Worth

1:10 – 4:45 & 6:50 – 8:45

Inspired words

PSALM                                                                                       Janet

The God Who Made the Octopus                                      

If you think

the Eccentric God who made

the octopus

is gonna judge you

for your sins,

I’m afraid you’ve missed

the mark.

If you think this

Wild God

that spins galaxies

as a pastime

cares to get fussy

about your mistakes

or has ever made anything

that wasn’t born

perfect and luminous,

you might need to repent.

If you can’t yet admit

how lovable

and infinitely worthy

the fullness of your human nature is

and if you think God

wants to do anything

but perpetually pour

an abundance

of love gifts

upon you,

well, my dear, your soul

just might need

to go to confession.

                                                            by Chelan Harkin, from Let Us Dance, p 24

Reading Two                                                                            Bill

You Are Incomparable!              modified from James Burklo, November 22, 2023

You are incomparable. I am incomparable.

So why do we persist in comparing ourselves to others? And suffering the frustration that results?

You and I are, as the scripture says, crowns of creation. We’re microcosmic mirrors of the grand and glorious cosmos, another way of saying that we’re made in the image of God. This is who we really are, so why don’t we revel in it?

We may be the crown of creation, but we’re also subject to all manner of delusions.

We wander the world with a device in our pockets or purses almost all the time. Is it really a smartphone? Or would it better be described as a perverse mirror into which we gaze, wishing we looked like the people whose images appear on its screen, wishing we had their idyllic, carefully-curated lives. It’s a cruel ‘trick mirror’ that shows us who and what we aren’t, but feel like we could or ought to be.

Meanwhile, the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount ring true, down through the ages. He says, don’t compare yourselves to each other. Compare yourselves to the birds. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns. They neither wear designer clothes nor drive fancy cars nor augment their body parts. Nor do they spend their days gazing into so-called smart phones!

We want to fit in, we want to be socially appropriate. And so we compare ourselves to those around us, to sort out the norms for behavior. Obviously nothing problematic with that. But when we’ve done a reasonable job of being socially appropriate, without sacrificing our dignity, there’s no need to keep going with comparing ourselves to others. It quickly loses its social utility and becomes a dead weight on our souls. It keeps us from being and fully enjoying who we are, where we are, how we are.

Meanwhile, the truth is that you are beyond compare! You are seriously awesome just exactly the way you are right now! It took 13 billion years for you to get here, and here you are, an incredible creature with self-reflective consciousness, with absolutely phenomenal capacity for creativity and reasoning and story-making and story-telling. The universe has evolved to create you in order for you to reflect the grandeur of the universe back to itself. A high and noble task to which we are all called. We are probably not the only self-and-universe-reflective beings in the cosmos, but we do know that none exist within a radius of 5.88 trillion miles from Planet Earth. So let’s not compare ourselves to other people. If you are going to compare yourself at all, compare yourself to the lifeless swirls of gas on Jupiter, the red dust of Mars, the lonesome, stony asteroids spinning around the sun. And it will be obvious that indeed, you – just as you are, right now – are the crown of creation!

Inspired words

Reading Three   2:38                                                    Margie

NCIS Hit and Run – The Things You Do Matter to People

Abby: I’m trying to figure out a way to be okay with not being enough.

Gibbs: Enough what?

Abby: Enough good.

Gibbs: Well then, you’re not counting the hit and runs.

Abby: The what?

Gibbs: The good kind. You do something good now and you’re not always around to see the difference it makes later.

Final line: The things you do mean something to people.

Fortune cookie: Today’s new friend is tomorrow’s family.

Homily                                                                                        Mike

Prayers of the People                                                             Peter

Spirit of wild love and extravagant acceptance…
of boldness and beauty…

You are faithfully present in both the grit and glitter of life,
and you are present here with us now.
Awaken us to your dream for creation:
A world in which every member of the human family is free
to flourish however you have made them.

Our response will be “You are the Face of God.”

For each of us as we pursue the mystery and the challenge of this life to grow our ‘invisible seeds.’ May we be free of the pressure of outside validation and build our lives on our own integrity. May we have the courage to show our authentic selves to those around us. And may we recognize that we are enough exactly as we are…infinitely worthy expressions of the Divine…so that we allow our light to shine forth to the world.

We respond:  “You are the Face of God.”

For our Sophia members who are part of the LGBT+ community, and for people of all gender expressions and orientations who have been persecuted and marginalized through the years. May you know that your being and your loving are a miracle that enriches all of us. May your acceptance of yourselves bring commitment and strength to your journey. And may you recognize that you are enough exactly as you are…infinitely worthy expressions of the Divine…so that you may allow your light to shine forth to the world.

We respond:  “You are the Face of God.”

For our Sophia members who are fathers and for fathers everywhere. May you be acknowledged and appreciated for your many gifts. May you give yourselves the same loving care and understanding that you have shared with those around you. May you recognize your impact and contributions without feeling the need or pressure to be stoic, stalwart, or perfect. And may you recognize that you are enough exactly as you are…infinitely worthy expressions of the Divine…so that you may allow your light to shine forth to the world.

We respond:  “You are the Face of God.”

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus.

We respond:  “You are the Face of God.”

For what else shall we pray? Please respond with a silent prayer.

 (Allow 4 petitions.)

We are all beautiful expressions of the Divine! May we live each day truly believing that of ourselves and others. Amen.

Sharing of Peace                                                                     Mike

Blessing of Bread and Wine                                                 Linda

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink

A Eucharistic Liturgy for Pride                                            Mike & Rob

Presider: As we gather here this morning, we are the church! In this moment, we respond to the words of Jesus, who tells us: “…where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Voice: And it is with the spirit of Jesus that we proclaim that this table is open to all people — no matter who you are or what you believe or what you’ve been told.

Presider: At our table we remember the simple gathering of a chosen family that came together for a meal that proclaimed a new way of being in this world.

Voice: We remember the radically inclusive love of the Divine made real in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We remember the One who befriended the forgotten, embraced the outcast, and saw the Image of God in all people. We remember the One who confronted every power that disconnected, marginalized, oppressed, and “other-ed.”

Presider: It is here at this table that we find hope and imagination to see Jesus’s dream and promise of a world of wholeness, and it is here that we receive the nourishment and strength to continue on the paths of justice.

Voice: We recall that on the night he was betrayed, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Presider: In the same way he took the cup, saying, “This is my very life, poured out for you. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Voice: We are thankful for this beautiful world. We are grateful for the endless blessings that we see, feel, and know on our journeys of life. And we celebrate the rich diversity of creation — every beautiful body, every shade of skin, every expression of love…each of us good enough, smart enough, enough enough…infinitely worthy, without prerequisites.

Presider: We open our hearts to the joy we can find in the midst of life’s challenges. We remember that we are loved — fiercely and forever, for who we are. And however the world may try to hold us down or tell us who to be, we know that nothing can separate us from the Divine and each other. Amen!

Published by Medium,

modified from St. John’s Presbyterian Church, San Francisco

https://samlundquist.medium.com/prayers-for-queer-folks-a-pride-prayer-and-communion-liturgy-73e2e80dceec

The Prayer of Jesus   (Please pray along)                          ????                              

Our father, our mother, our beloved two-spirit parent,

help us honor your holy name in all that we do.

We pray that your justice, peace, love and mercy come to this needy planet.

Give all of us, transgender, cisgender, and people of all gender expressions and orientations, what we need each day to live and thrive. We need food, we need employment, housing and medical care. We need a loving community.

Forgive us our failings, the times we did not listen, the times we did not love, the times we looked away from neighbors in need, as we forgive those who have failed us.

Keep us from the temptation of intolerance, contempt and complacency in the face of injustice. Give us instead the courage to stand in solidarity with all your beloved children and deliver us from those who would harm us.

For yours is love, justice and peace, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer for Transgender Awareness

from Dignity USA’s Believe Out Loud initiative

Breaking of the Bread                                                      Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

Communion                                                                             Mike

Presider:  “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                   Margie

The Presence Your Are (shortened to 1:48)   by Jan Novotka, Awakening Consciousness

Closing Prayer                                                                         Mike

Our prayer this morning is that this liturgy has nurtured the invisible seed within you, bringing it closer to the surface so that your light can shine forth to the world. We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

A Blessing on All Fathers and those who have been like Fathers

For new fathers, coming to terms with new responsibility;

For those who are trying to balance the demands of work, marriage and children;

For those who have to struggle to be a part of their child’s life;

For those who are unable to feed their children due to poverty;

For those whose children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities;

For all single fathers;

For those whose child has been placed for adoption;

For those whose love and support has offered healing;

For those that have adopted a child into their family;

For those who have lost a child;

For those who care for the children of others;

For those whose children have left home.

We bless all women who have acted as fathers because that raised their children as single parents.

We bless all fathers, that they may be able to commit themselves selflessly as mentor, protector and provider, shaping the direction

of their child’s character by giving love, care and guidance.

We bless all fathers, that they may lead their children to know and do what is good, living not for themselves alone, but for the Divine and for others.

Amen.

House of Prayer Assembly adapted

Closing Song                                                                           Margie

The Face of God                                            by Karen Drucker,

(for future – possibly include signing it, as indicated in Karen’s lyrics:

https://www.karendrucker.com/wp-content/uploads/5.-Face-of-God.pdf)

Announcements

10th Sunday Ordinary Cycle B – June 9, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/VeEPOYcpXcbPEBZZSVViGhzpln__relGXGN48lbpC3_rWAcWOLMZ4Dbesjbs1GgS.mi6W6NpBw7MLGyKl?startTime=1717941603000

 Theme: Family

We pray for those individuals in need   (Please be brief)           Mike

Opening Song                                                                                    Maryann  

We are Connected by Chris Skinner

CH: We are connected like branches to the tree

We all walk the planet, let’s walk with dignity

No matter our colour, no matter our creed.

All of us are gifted and all of us we need.

We are connected one great family.

Let’s light the fire together and let it shine for all to see.

Shine, everybody standing in the light. Shine, everybody warmed by the fire.

Shine, no one left in the dark or in the cold. Shine, come together to embrace and to hold. Shine, forgive and heal the hurts that divide. Shine, standing with, along, beside.

Shine, Shine!

We are connected, connected!

Breath and life, connected.

Earth, sea and sky, connected.

Hands and hearts, connected

Believe it, believe it!

Wisdom Bowl                                                                                Maryann

Opening Prayer                                                                       Mike

Family and families take on all forms and shapes.

Together we are family.

Some families are married,

Some are partners

Some are single

Some are in a covenant relationship.

Together we are family.

Some were married,

and in a holy union,

and never married,

and married twice,

and widowed or a widower.

Together we are family.

Some are older

and younger,

and in between,

some are facing a first serious relationship,

knowing the joy of love,

enduring betrayal,

tasting the grief of a dying partner.

Together we are family.

Some are an only child,

Some have ten siblings

Some have raised two children

Some have no children.

Together we are family.

We are part of a family,

the human family

the family of faith

our family of origin

the family of our choosing.

We are the people of who follow Jesus.

Together we are family.

We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus.

by Katherine Hawker, on her Liturgy Outside the Box website. 2004 (adapted)

1st Reading           Gospel                                                       ?Louise??

A reading of the Gospel in the tradition of  MARK

Jesus came home and, as usual, a crowd gathered-so many making demands on him that there wasn’t even time to eat. His friends heard what was going on and went to rescue him, by force if necessary. They suspected he was getting carried away with himself.

….his mother and brothers showed up. Standing outside, they relayed a message that they wanted a word with him. He was surrounded by the crowd when he was given the message, “Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside looking for you.” Jesus responded, “Who do you think are my mother and brothers?” Looking around, taking in everyone seated around him, he said, “Right here, right in front of you-my mother and my brothers. Obedience is thicker than blood. The person who obeys God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’

Inspired Words

MARK 3:20-35 from This Transforming Word, Cycle B, Copyright 2014 by Alice Camille

2nd Reading                                                          ?????

The second reading is from research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)

Defining ‘family’ is not straightforward. While the legislation in various contexts provides definitions of family and relationships and outlines obligations and entitlements, the way individuals experience and understand family in their day-to-day lives can be very different.

How people define family and decide who is included in their kinship circles is influenced by these legal definitions but also shaped by culture and personal life experiences and circumstances. People may also have multiple definitions of family and group these into different sets of people with different values and functions – for example, their ‘birth family’, their ‘in-laws’ or their ‘chosen family’.

Cultures, values, social expectations and laws have all changed over time and vary from place to place. For example, while marriages and families were once guided by, and created through, obligation and tradition, today relationships are increasingly shaped and defined by love, satisfaction and individual choices.

In research by AIFS, love and unconditional non-judgemental support had universal agreement as being important in defining what makes a family. Across the entire sample, as well as each generation and group analyzed, these 2 characteristics were the most likely to be chosen as important or very important.

In contrast, while there was much more variation in views on the importance of blood and genetics, and legal ties or obligations; overall and in each generation and group analyzed, these more traditional definitions of family were the least likely to be rated as important or very important.

Love and support are central aspects of relationships with ‘chosen family’ and are often the reason why people are selected to be in one’s ‘family’ alongside, or sometimes instead of, people related by blood or the law.

More than half of the participants in this study included pets as a part of their family. Like chosen family, recent research suggests that animals can play an important role as confidantes and offer people a place of non-judgemental safety and unconditional love.

The Families in Australia Survey included a set of questions about what family means to participants and who they included in their family. Central to this analysis, Families in Australia survey participants were asked to rate how important they considered the following when defining what makes a family:

  • love
  • unconditional, non-judgemental support
  • common experiences and activities
  • shared values, beliefs and traditions
  • legal ties or obligations
  • blood/genetics.

What makes a family? Almost all participants considered love and unconditional, non-judgemental support as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when defining what makes a family.

While not as universal, a majority of participants also considered shared values, beliefs and traditions and common experiences and activities as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’. While participants had evenly divided views on the importance of legal ties or obligations and blood/genetics; overall, they rated them as the least important characteristics when defining a family.
Understandings of ‘family’, like many aspects of our society, are shifting over time from a rigid institution guided by obligations, tradition and legal definitions to relationships that are defined by love, satisfaction and individual choices.

https://www.wordonthestreets.net/Articles/681615/What_is_family.aspx

Psalm                                                                                         Bill

Human Family by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences

in the human family.

Some of us are serious,

some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived

as true profundity,

and others claim they really live

the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones

can confuse, bemuse, delight,

brown and pink and beige and purple,

tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas

and stopped in every land,

I’ve seen the wonders of the world

not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women

called Jane and Mary Jane,

but I’ve not seen any two

who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different

although their features jibe,

and lovers think quite different thoughts

while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,

we weep on England’s moors,

and laugh and moan in Guinea,

and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,

are born and die in Maine.

In minor ways we differ,

in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences

between each sort and type,

but we are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.

3rd Reading                                                           ???

A Family Is Like A Circle           © Nicole M. O’Neil

Published by Family Friend Poems July 2006 with permission of the Author.

A family is like a circle.

The connection never ends,

and even if at times it breaks,

in time it always mends.

A family is like the stars.

Somehow they’re always there.

Families are those who help,

who support and always care.

A family is like a book.

The ending’s never clear,

but through the pages of the book,

their love is always near.

A family is many things.

With endless words that show

who they are and what they do

and how they teach you so you know.

But don’t be weary if it’s broken

or if through time it’s been so worn.

Families are like that –

they’re split up and always torn.

But even if this happens,

your family will always be.

They help define just who you are

and will be a part of you eternally.

Nicole M. O’Neil. “A Family Is Like A Circle.” Family Friend Poems, July 18, 2006. https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/a-family-is-like-a-circle

Homily                                                                                       Mike

Prayer of the People                                                                                 ???

(Slowly): We pray for the needs of the whole human family, for all families — however and wherever they are — and for those who are closest to us.

After each petition there will be a silent response (allow 5 seconds)

For all members of the human family … we pray,

For national and local policies that support families, especially those without the basic needs of food or housing, employment or just wages, adequate education or health care… we pray,

For understanding and love to honor and support all families in every configuration… we pray,

For families in danger or on the move: victims of war and violence; refugees and undocumented immigrants; those awaiting deportation and victims of persecution… we pray,

For broken families, those who struggle with conflict, and those committed to helping them… we pray,

For our own families; for those who have loved us and those who have hurt us… we pray,

For family relationships that are defined by love, satisfaction and individual choices, instead of legal ties or obligations and blood or genetics…we pray,

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus… we pray,

For what else shall we pray?  Allow 4 petitions.

May we recognize that all families are holy, no matter what form they take.

We acknowledge that families help us grow in strength and wisdom.

May we love one another and live in peace with our families. We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sharing of Peace                                                                        Mike

Prayer over the Bread and Wine                                          ?????

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer                                                                      Mike & ?????

P. We gather and pray, raising our minds and hearts to the mystery we name God, always creatively active throughout the universe,
on this wonderful planet, in the slow development of life-forms here on earth, and in the wonder of human life.

Voice: We pray believing our prayer gives expression to the presence of God with us.
P: We pray
aware we are in communion with all men and women throughout human history who ever raised their minds and hearts in prayer to the mystery we call God.

Voice We give thanks for the insights about God we have gained from prayerful people from various times, places, cultures, and religions.
P: We recognize the Spirit of one God at work in all places, in all people, at all times. We are all one in God.  Voice: We believe our oneness extends beyond death: that all who live in God die into God and are connected now with us as we live in God.
P: We give thanks for Jesus, who allowed the presence of God to move so freely and generously in his life that in him, we have seen a true picture of ourselves: temples of God’s Spirit, earthen vessels carrying a treasure, God expressed in human form.

Voice: We give thanks that through Jesus we are set free from magic and superstition,
fear of God and the sense of distance from God.
P: We remember Jesus sharing his last meal, asking his friends to love as he had loved, to remember him whenever they met to tell the story of God in their lives.
So we take this bread, as Jesus took bread, and we give thanks for the wonder of God in and with us, and we eat, committing ourselves to love as Jesus loved, wholeheartedly, generously, compassionately, so that people will see expressed in us what we have seen expressed in Jesus: God-with-us.

Voice:  We take this wine, and we remember Jesus drinking wine with his friends. We drink, giving our “Yes” to being on earth the heart of God.
(Pause for reflection)  
P: We give thanks for Christians who have allowed the message of Jesus to find generous expression in their lives and have sought to make the reign of God visible on earth.  Voice: We give thanks for men and women of all religious beliefs who have allowed the Spirit of God to work freely and generously in their lives.

P: We pray that our awareness of connectedness with Jesus and all people and all that exists may expand our hearts and minds and allow the Spirit of all Life to move more freely in us.  Voice: We pray this for ourselves, for our families, for our country, and for all of humanity. To this, we give our
Amen!

All Saints We Are All One in God by Michael Morwood, Praying a New Story 2004

Prayer of Jesus (Please pray along)                                            ????

Our father, our mother, our beloved two-spirit parent,

help us honor your holy name in all that we do. 

We pray that your justice, peace, love and mercy come to this needy planet. 

Give all of us, transgender, cisgender, and people of all gender expressions and orientations, what we need each day to live and thrive. We need food, we need employment, housing and medical care. We need a loving community. 

Forgive us our failings, the times we did not listen, the times we did not love, the times we looked away from neighbors in need, as we forgive those who have failed us. 

Keep us from the temptation of intolerance, contempt and complacency in the face of injustice. Give us instead the courage to stand in solidarity with all your beloved children and deliver us from those who would harm us. 

For yours is love, justice and peace, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer for Transgender Awareness from Dignity USA’sBelieve Out Loud initiative.

Prior to the Breaking of the Bread                                                     Mike

Breaking of the Bread                                                            Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.
In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.
In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.

Communion                                                                                       Mike

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                      Bill 

How could anyone…  by Shaina Noll

Bill created slideshow with a gay pride month theme

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1MzeYfUVdSGtUOJIJHYzSJj7dff-SYdAlGI0uKRVLgZg/edit?usp=sharing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF7yFOlOk9M  for tune

How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle
How deeply you’re connected to my Soul…


How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle
How deeply you’re connected to my Soul…


How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle
How deeply you’re connected to my Soul…


How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle
How deeply you’re connected to my Soul…


How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle
How deeply you’re connected to my Soul…

Closing Prayer                                                                                   ???

Different Meanings Of Family By Kelly Roper

To some, family means mom, dad and the kids.
To others, family means single parents doing the job of two to make a home.
To some, family means living with grandparents too.
To others, family is the aunt or uncle who has stepped up to fill in for parents.
To some, family means two moms or two dads growing a family together.
To others, family means two people multiplying their love through adoption.
To some, family is limited to blood relations.
To others, family includes friends who are there through thick and thin.
To some, family is all about the people in their lives.
To others, pets are considered family members too.
Yes, family means different things to different people,
But every family has one thing in common, and that’s love.  Amen

Sending Forth Song                                                                         Maryann

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1o7bC0waNQ   Chosen Family – Rina Sawayama & Elton John | One Voice Childrens Choir | Kids Cover (Official Video)

Lyrics:

Where do I belong?

Tell me your story and I’ll tell you mine

I’m all ears, take your time, we got all night

Show me the rivers crossed, the mountains scaled

Show me who made you walk all the way here

Settle down, put your bags down

(Ooh) You’re alright now

We don’t need to be related to relate

We don’t need to share genes or a surname

You are

You are

My chosen

Chosen family

So what if we don’t look the same?

We been going through the same thing

You are

You are

My chosen

Chosen family

Hand me a pen and I’ll rewrite the pain

When you’re ready, we’ll turn the page together

Open your heart, it’s time we celebrate

Who you were, who you are

We’re one and the same, yeah, yeah

We don’t need to be related to relate

We don’t need to share genes or a surname

You are

You are

My chosen

Chosen family

So what if we don’t look the same?

We been going through the same thing

You are

You are

My chosen

Chosen family

I, I chose you

You chose me

I chose

(Chosen family)

I chose you

You chose me

We’re alright now

We don’t need to be related to relate

We don’t need to share genes or a surname

You are

You are

My chosen

Chosen family

So what if we don’t look the same?

We been going through the same thing

You are

You are

My chosen

Chosen family

We don’t need to be related to relate

We don’t need to share genes or a surname

You are

You are

My chosen

Chosen family

So what if we don’t look the same?

We been going through the same thing

You are

You are

My chosen

Chosen family

Announcements

Resources

https://www.parentingforbrain.com/why-is-family-important
https://safeharborim.com/we-are-family
https://www.wordonthestreets.net/Articles/681615/What_is_family.aspx

Closing Song – We Are Family – Sister Sledge 

Use Retreat pictures and others of folks in Sophia

“Union, Food for the Journey, Commitment” in lieu of Corpus Christi

June 2, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/9EbjhqGDtMDQirL5PrNbHv5ALGLx9wJIgkjxmEv-iocILr4lYwNPJI0mUVpvKI_8.ue0NTKDkplLbpPhN?startTime=1717336806000

We Pray for Others (please be brief)                                                              Mike

Opening Song

The Broken Body of Christ, by The Many                                                      Marie

Wisdom Bowl                                                                                                         Margie

Opening Prayer                                                                                                      Mike

We gather today at this fellowship communion table to celebrate in Sophia’s unique way the Feast of Corpus Christi, a powerful symbol of Jesus’ message of love, compassion and unity.  May we always be aware of our role of being members of the body of Christ for the world, believing there is grace enough, love enough, and mercy enough for all.

Amen.

Introduction to the Reading                                                                               Marie

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi – the Body of Christ – in the institutional church.  For our Liturgy of the Word, I have selected a homily by Father Dick Rento, “Union, Food for the Journey, Commitment”, from his 2016 book, It’s Not Necessarily So.  For those of you who do not know of Father Rento, he and Mike Corso ministered together for many years in a parish in Clifton, NJ.  Father Rento was a retreat facilitator for one of Sophia’s pre-pandemic in person weekend retreats.  This message will give you the opportunity to take a mental walk down memory lane from your First Communion to the present.  Father Rento’s reflection on what Eucharist has meant to him over the decades of his life is presented in three stages, so you will hear his inspired words read by three lectors.

First Part of the Reading                                                                                     Dave

It has taken me this many years – I am an octogenarian – to recognize what I now see as a logical development in my understanding and practice of the Sacrament of Eucharist.  The stages of that development have been marked mostly by the various emphases we placed on the sacrament at different times in our history.

Let me explain –

As a child and long after my childhood, I was taught that “receiving Communion” was a great privilege granted to us young Christians as we were gradually moving from infancy toward adulthood.  Born some 2000 years after Jesus was born, we were taught that we were being welcomed into a privileged friendship with him.  Therefore, spiritual togetherness with Jesus was the essence of this wonderful sacrament.

We were carefully schooled in how to participate in the awesome act…. We rehearsed the attitudes and bodily gestures of profound reverence.  And so forth….

The fact of the matter is that the emphasis in those days was on this mysterious union of a person and Jesus, who had somehow taken the place of the bread and wine while leaving the perceptible characteristics of the bread and wine unchanged.

In my reckoning, that was stage one.

Part Two of the Reading                                                                                      Louise

Next came a new insight: Communion was also regarded as food for the journey of life.  When kneeling to receive the sacrament, the prescribed requirement at the time, was replaced by standing, the explanation given was that we don’t go to Mass to linger at a shrine or to worship.  No, we were to regard ourselves as pilgrims, a people on the go, on our feet and ready to move on.  The church building or whatever was the setting in which we celebrated the Eucharist, was essentially a stopping off place where we will find rest and healing and nourishment for the journey ahead.

I liked that analysis, that theology, and it still appeals to me strongly.  I have always relied on that benefit of the sacrament as I struggle with the challenges of my life, and I know that I have been helped by the Eucharistic Jesus more than I will ever fully appreciate.

That was stage – or phase – two.

Part Three of the Reading                                                                                   Kathys

Not too long after that step, a third followed, a different insight into what Eucharist means and what our part in it should be.  For me, that revelation came mainly in the form of a one-page article in the Jesuit magazine, America, published in March of 2000 and written by a now deceased diocesean priest from Detroit, Gerald Martin.  I knew at once that it was the most important thing I had ever read on the topic.

Father Martin shifted the emphasis of Jesus’ words “Do this in memory of me” from changing bread and wine into himself to our being changed into the likeness of him!  He wrote: “‘Do this in memory of me” means you should imitate my self-giving, which is represented in these symbols of bread broken and wine poured out.  When you take and eat and drink, you enter into this action and commit yourself to imitate my self-giving in your own life.”  That makes perfect sense to me.

If I never learn anything more about the Eucharist, I will be content with the understanding we have achieved so far.

So then

  • I believe that the Eucharist is a special bonding between us and Jesus.
  • I believe it is powerful, energizing, and healing food and drink for the faith journey of life.
  • I believe that each time we receive the Eucharist we are pledging to imitate Jesus in every aspect of our individual lives.

Inspired words.

By Richard Rento, It’s Not Necessarily So –

A senior priest separates faith from fiction and makes sense of belief,

pages 21-212

Prayer of the People                                                                    Linda K, Colleen, Tom S

Reader 1: Holy One, you have given us a world rich beyond measure in variety and diversity of people. Today we proclaim and celebrate your love for all people, especially those who are LGBTQIA and those Catholics who feel excluded from receiving Communion in their church.

Reader 2: We pray for all people who are marginalized for their sexual orientation, their skin color, their gender, their economic or educational poverty, their physical or mental disabilities, their age or because circumstances of their lives label them unworthy of approaching a priest in a Catholic Church with hands open to receive the Communion bread.

Reader 3: Response: We proclaim and celebrate the Divine’s love for all people.

Reader 1: We remember those young people who struggle to understand and accept their sexual orientation within families, schools, and communities where diversity is not honored.

Reader 2:  We give thanks for all children who are members of gay and lesbian families.  May these children never lose sight of the goodness within themselves and their families, even when others fail to honor them.  We give thanks for adults who teach children about inclusivity, especially the way Jesus taught it by his example of welcoming all to the table of fellowship and communion.

Reader 3 Response: We proclaim and celebrate the Divine’s love for all people.

Reader 1:  We pray for parents, family members, and friends who are unable or unwilling to accept or understand the sexual orientation of their loved ones.

Reader 2:  We give thanks for PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lebsians and Gays, for Lambda Families, for New Ways Ministry, for Dignity USA, and for the education, advocacy, and support they provide for families and friends.  We also give thanks for Rainbow Railroad and its volunteers who welcome LGBTQ asylum seekers with a variety of support services while they begin to resettle into safe communities in our country.

Reader 3: Response: We proclaim and celebrate the Divine’s love for all people.

Reader 1:  We pray for changes in federal, state and municipal ordinances which allow persons to be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, and denied access to public services solely on the basis of sexual orientation.

Reader 3: Response: We proclaim and celebrate the Divine’s love for all people.

Adapted and expanded from Redeemer’s A Simple Matter of Justice Annual Liturgy

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, for our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity, and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM, and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them. May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus…we pray…

For what else shall we pray? Allow 4 petitions.

We pray with confidence that these petitions and those unspoken concerns and needs deep within each of us will be heard and answered with loving compassion. Amen.

Sign of Peace                                                                                                          Mike

Blessing of the Bread                                                                                           Sue

We bring to the table our gift of bread.

This bread which comes from the rich moistness

and darkness of the earth,

which grew as wheat in the light of the sun

and became bread in the work of our hands.

This bread is a sign of hope for the world.

It represents our hope that we will share

the produce of the land and feed the hungry.

May this bread nurture and strengthen us

in our commitment to bring about a new world of justice

in which no one is hungry.

May our gift of bread be blessed.

Adapted from “Bread” by Edwina Gateley

in There Was No Path So I Trod One page 102.

Blessing of the Wine                                                                                            Janet

We bring to the table our gift of wine.

Rich, red and full bodied,

it is the yield of the berries

which blossomed and burst beneath the warmth of the sun.

It is a sign of joy and celebration.

It is a sign of community and sharing.

May we care for the tender bushes

that are meant to produce fruit.

May we ever be mindful of the need for pruning,

for cutting back and for gathering in.

May we learn to rejoice in the fruit of our labors.

And may we share our overflowing cups with one another.

May our gift of wine be blessed.

Adapted from “Wine” by Edwina Gateley

in There Was No Path So I Trod One page 101.

Eucharistic Prayer                                                                                      Mike and Linda S

Presider: O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us as we set our hearts on belonging to you. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with the Divine and all creation.

Voice: Aware of our limitations and our essential goodness, we believe we are lovable as we are.  May the compassionate heart of Jesus inspire us to see the good in others and forgive their limitations.

Presider: When opposing forces in us tug and pull and we are caught in the tension of choices, may we be inspired to make wise decisions toward what is good.

Voice: We are grateful for our brother, Jesus, and for all our sisters and brothers who have modeled for us a way to live and love in challenging times. Inspired by them, we choose life over death, we choose to be light in dark times.

Presider: We are ever aware of the Spirit in us and among us at this Eucharistic table and we are grateful for this bread and wine which reminds us of our call to be the body of Christ in the world.

Voice: On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet.

Presider: When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:

Take and eat, this is my very self.

Then he took the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:

Take and drink.  Whenever you remember me like this, I am among you.

We share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace. We choose to live justly, love tenderly, and walk with integrity.

From the Upper Room Community in Albany , NY

Prayer of Jesus                                                                                                       Joe P

This adaptation of The Lord’s Prayer for Transgender Awareness is from Dignity USA’sBelieve Out Loud initiative.

Our father, our mother, our beloved two-spirit parent,

help us honor your holy name in all that we do. 

We pray that your justice, peace, love and mercy come to this needy planet. 

Give all of us, transgender, cisgender, and people of all gender expressions and orientations, what we need each day to live and thrive. We need food, we need employment, housing and medical care. We need a loving community. 

Forgive us our failings, the times we did not listen, the times we did not love, the times we looked away from neighbors in need, as we forgive those who have failed us. 

Keep us from the temptation of intolerance, contempt and complacency in the face of injustice. Give us instead the courage to stand in solidarity with all your beloved children and deliver us from those who would harm us. 

For yours is love, justice and peace, now and forever. Amen.

Breaking of the Bread                                                                Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia. Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia. Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia. Alleluia.

Communion                                                                                                            Mike

We gather together this morning and every Sunday to remember Jesus and his teachings.  We come to be nourished spiritually, so we eat and drink bread and wine in his memory.

Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread, say: “This is and you are the bread of life.”

Once everyone has the bread.

With great joy, we state.

We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup, say: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                                      Marie

Bread Breaking by Kathy Sherman

Words are on the slides

Closing Prayer                                                                                                         Mike

May we have the grace to be who and what we ritualize here this morning: a community of followers of Jesus, persons committed by our Amen to allowing the Spirit to move freely in our lives.  We give thanks that we are able to gather virtually as the Sophia Community.  We rejoice in the giftedness of each person here.  We are grateful for who we are for each other.  May we be truly eucharistic in all we do.

To this prayer we give our Amen.

Closing Song                                                                                                            Marie

Break Open the Bread of Your Life by Gregory Norbet and the Monks of Weston Priory

Refrain

Break open the bread of your life; give yourself in love

as leaven to those all around you and extending to those far beyond.

Whenever you break bread together, when you drink from the cup of new wine –

do this in memory of me and share in the gift of my life. Refrain

I washed your feet as a sign – an example of service and love.

As I have done unto you, to each other you also should do. Refrain

You are all called to be one body united together in faith – living the Gospel message and building God’s kindom on earth. Refrain

Announcements

Trinity Sunday – May 26, 2024

 Theme: Jesus the Reason for Community

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/CRzf4F9NzsoLSB8RP6L7L0JBHqHHDYxHZZOpRoc-eMzmVohH_jSqxTNFhZURruHb.eWSwupr98ObNuSzE?startTime=1716732003000

We pray for those individuals in need   (Please be brief)      Mike

Opening Song                                                                                           Marie  

In the Name of All that Is

Created by: Michelle Sherliza, OP Music by: Jan Novotka

Wisdom Bowl                                                                                           Margie

Opening Prayer                                                                                        Mike

We come together as a community of seekers who share in a similar vision of life and faith. 

May we be attentive to today’s promptings so that we may have a deeper understanding of who we are in relationship to one another, ourselves, this planet and the Divine.

May we constantly reflect and meditate on the life and ministry of Jesus for guidance in all we say and do.  We make this and all prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Reading One                                                                  Joan

From a Facebook post by Jim Palmer August 3, 2023 (part one)

The other day I was asked if I still feel any kind of special connection to Jesus.

Jesus and I go way back. Growing up as a child, I walked past Jesus several times a day. He was there on the crucifix, hanging on our front-room wall. Attending Catholic Mass as a teenage boy, I watched as the bread and wine became the sacrificial body and blood of Jesus Christ, and I heard stories about Jesus from the gospels.

In college, I left my Catholic roots and became an evangelical Christian, which continued through seminary and many years of professional Christian ministry. A crisis of faith led to my questioning what I truly believed and eventually I left organized church and my megachurch pastor career. It didn’t take long for me to deconstruct and discard most of my Christian theology. But I was still left with Jesus.

Back in my professional ministry days, I was fond of unpacking the stories and teachings of Jesus. And even after leaving Christianity behind, I still held regard for Jesus in my heart and I tried to make sense of him outside of traditional Christian teachings. My third book – Being Jesus in Nashville – was embroiled in controversy. My Christian publisher leveled a charge of “heresy” against me, and my manuscript and book contract were swiftly cancelled. In my most recent book – Inner Anarchy – I present an alternative understanding of the life and teachings of Jesus, untangled from and in defiance of traditional Christian theology.

Jesus is significant to me but not in the ways I learned in Christianity. I don’t believe I need to be saved from myself or anything else, or that Jesus is the ticket to streets of gold in the afterlife. There are a range of views about Jesus, which include that Jesus never existed, Jesus was a lunatic, Jesus was only human, and Jesus is God. I think it’s all of the above.

In my view, the Jesus of religion, which Christendom manufactured, never existed. This is a “Jesus” that the Church has distorted and corrupted in order to serve its theology, politics and agenda. Christianity is not the fault of Jesus.

I see Jesus as one who had a touch of madness, a bit unhinged, and a renegade with conviction. He was also a man of deep love, tenderheartedness and compassion.

On the one hand, Jesus called the religious leaders of his day every name in the book, was basically one big middle finger to the establishment and their rules, and knew how to use a whip if necessary. But he also defended and stood in solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed, wept at the suffering of humankind, touched the untouchables with his own hands, and even straightened out a wine problem at a wedding because it upset his mother. It’s the humanity of Jesus I admire. It takes guts to be human the way Jesus was.

Inspired Words (reader says these words at the end of the reading)

Psalm                                                                              Marie

There is only Love Karen Druker and Michael Gott

Reading Two                                                                 Judy

From a Facebook post by Jim Palmer August 3, 2023 (part Two)

Back in the day, I told people that one became a Christian by accepting Jesus into their heart. It was a legal contract, spelled out in the terms of substitutionary atonement and Christus Victor, which stamped your ticket to heaven. One’s heart didn’t really have much to do with it.

I feel a heart connection to the Jesus portrayed in the gospels that is far more meaningful that what I had in my religious days. The reasons I once believed Jesus was significant have all fallen away but other reasons unique to me have grown. I can identify with the madness, humanity, tenderness and moxie of Jesus.

Stories of Jesus come to my mind at the strangest times. I see him kneeling down in the dirt with the shamed woman, throwing in his lot with the least of these, and stopping church to point out the value of the widow’s mite. Sometimes the suffering of the world makes me weep, and I know someone has shed these same tears. Jesus wept. In many ways, I see that I am only now understanding the life, teachings, wisdom, and spirituality of Jesus, which were previously obscured to me by religion.

In my view, Jesus is divine in the same way that all of us are. The difference between Jesus and most others is that Jesus fully knew and embodied the truth of who he was. When Jesus said he was the way, the truth, the life, and way to God, he was indicating that it was unnecessary and futile to seek God through the mindsets, ideology, formalities, and rules of religion. Jesus lived and expressed the fundamental truth that sets you free, which includes the realization that there is no separation between us and God and everything God represents.

I consider the life, teachings, and wisdom of Jesus to be universally relevant, regardless of one’s religious, spiritual, or philosophical point of view. Christianity does not hold unique and absolute claim to Jesus. Just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean you truly get Jesus. In fact, it may be the reason why you don’t.

Christianity is not the fault of Jesus and one should be careful not to associate the two together too closely or at all. You don’t have to be a Christian and could even be atheist and appreciate the life and legend of Jesus. As a symbol of liberation, Jesus has endured the ages in the hearts and minds of countless people. It’s not mandatory to find meaning in Jesus, but neither is it necessary to discard Jesus if he is meaningful to your spirituality.

I don’t identify as a Christian. I don’t equate Jesus with Christianity. I don’t try to persuade anyone else to find meaning in Jesus. I don’t think it is necessary to believe in or have some active interest or connection with Jesus. I’m only describing me. Truth is, after all these years I still carry Jesus in my heart. Not because I believe he saves me or that he is the only truth. It’s because I have this feeling in many of the most heartbreaking, confusing, saddest, and lonely moments of life… that in someway Jesus would have understood and cared. And somehow that feeling in those moments means something.

Inspired Words (reader says these words at the end of the reading)

Reading Three                                                               Colleen

A Reading from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians 13:11-13 

Finally, dear ones, rejoice and be well. Strive for full restoration. Encourage one another. Be agreeable. Live in harmony, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones send their greetings. 

The grace of Jesus the Christ, the love of God, and the companionship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you! 

Inspired Words (reader says these words at the end of the reading)

Homily                                                                  Mike

Prayers of the People                                            Teri

We come together today when most of those who claim the name Christian celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity.  We choose to celebrate Jesus who formed a community of like-minded individuals around himself for support in a similar belief system. 

Our response will be: As One We Pray

All religions believe in some form of the Golden Rule; may all houses of worship vigorously embrace and practice this principle both within their community as well as outside their community, we respond.

Governments are built on communities of people who have come together for protection, education, similar purpose and economic growth; may governments understand that their power and legitimacy comes from the bottom up and treat all citizens with respect and dignity, we respond.

Corporations and businesses only survive and grow because of the communities that support them; may corporations and businesses no longer price gauge, place priority on stockholders, and emphasis the almighty dollar over the needs of consumers, we respond.

Insurance companies were created to assist people in their time of need.  Most have morphed into money makers with little concern for those injured or damaged by illness or accident; may insurance companies return to the roots of their creation, we respond.

Healthcare facilities and healthcare practitioners have become so concerned with rules and regulations, with profit and establishing a name that they often lose sight of the staff and patient; may healthcare facilities and healthcare practitioners be enabled to focus on patient and staff and so enhance the healing process, we respond.

Society is made up of many people who are still seen as marginalized, the disabled, the poor, the LGBTQIA community, the BIPOC community, unhoused, those in the criminal justice system and so many more; may society come to see that we all are made up of one great community and treat one another with the dignity we deserve, we respond.

The Climate is at a breaking point – almost to a point of no return – may the voices of reason and truth rise above those who deny and coverup; may existing laws be respected and new laws be enacted to save our planet and ourselves, we respond.

On this Memorial Day Weekend, we remember those who gave their lives for their country.  We honor the sacrifice they made that affected themselves and their families and friends for the sake of the greater community, we respond.

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus… we respond,

For what else shall we pray?  Allow 4 petitions.

May the Spirit of Jesus move in us that a new world may take shape.  May the static ways of the present fall away to new invigorating ways of life, energy and love.  May all people see all peoples of the earth as one community growing together for the good of all.  May we care for this fragile planet we call home.  In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Prayer over the Bread and Wine                                          Tom K

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Liturgy                                                          Mike & Sue

Presider: Deep within us all lies the dream of a better world; our dream and longing for justice and fairness, harmony and peace, openness and honesty, comfort and warmth, freedom and choice, for light where there is darkness.Voice: Today, we are mindful of people all around the world and throughout human history, who have shared this longing; a deep longing that is embedded in our DNA, in our very humanity. It is our human dream, our human song, common to all people.
Presider: Jesus, human like us, gave clear expression to the deep-seated longing and hope experienced not only within Judaism, but within people of all faiths and cultures – the longing and hope for a better world.Voice: The better world we imagine is ours to accomplish. It is in our hands; the compassion, the honesty, the justice, the peace and non-violence,
the determination to be light in the darkness, to be people set free from fear. It is all within our grasp.
Presider: And yet, we work at recognizing and being okay with our humanness. We rejoice that we can rise above ourselves, yet understand that we sometimes fall down, experiencing the pain of disappointing ourselves and others. We acknowledge that getting up is difficult and involves hard work, and that sometimes we are simply not ready for it. . We accept that sometimes our hands come up empty, our grasp can only hold ourselves together.Voice: May we also recognize and accept humanness in others, approaching them with a hypothesis of generosity…being open to believing that most people are doing the best they can with the tools they have. May our boundaries be courageous, honest, strong, and loving. In this way, may we open ourselves to being the wholehearted and compassionate followers of Jesus that we want to be.  
Presider: In that spirit, we turn to our gifts of bread and wine. May they be symbols of our readiness to grow and to transform. May they, along with the love of community, nourish and sustain us into the fullness of life…with all of its nuance and complexity.Voice: May our gifts of bread and wine be symbols of all our gifts. May we have the courage to commit to using those gifts, small and large, in bravery and balance, so that we can join with Jesus and all of those throughout history working to create a better world.
Presider: We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move free in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen!  

Reworked from Michael Morwood’s Eucharistic Prayer for humans longing for a just and peaceful world,                from Prayers For Progressive Christians, pages 195-197

The Lord’s Prayer – from the original Aramaic                         Kathy

O Breathing Life, your Name shines everywhere!

Release a space to plant your Presence here.

Envision your “I Can” now.

Embody your desire in every light and form.

Grow through us this moment’s bread and wisdom.

Untie the knots of failure binding us,

as we release the strands we hold of others’ faults.

Help us not forget our Source,

Yet free us from not being in the Present.

From you arises every Vision, Power and Song

from gathering to gathering.

Amen!

May our future actions grow from here!

© 1995 – Neil Douglas-Klotz – Desert Wisdom

Breaking of the Bread                                                   Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.

Communion                                                                            Mike

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                    Marie

Closing Prayer                                                                        Mike

In this liturgy we have come to know and experience that it is in community that we grow in knowledge of ourselves in relationship to one another.  It is in community that we are nourished.  It is in community that we come to learn from one another.  It is in community that we are held accountable to one another.  It is in community that we thrive and grow.

As we live our lives may we always remember these truths and live them as fully as possible.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

Sending Forth Song                                                                Mike Companions on the Journey, Carey Landry

In memory of the fallen.  Those who died because they wore the uniform.

America the Beautiful by Selah

Announcements

Eucharistic Liturgy Pentecost Sunday                              May 19, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/CJC7A5oc6ntEpu96Yx_YWEE56jhw5sGWs81W2vyh_fTNK5naILeeNo3mPKsF6KZ4.uKV9w-a_T2q90ohw?startTime=1716127205000

Theme: Live Freely in the Spirit, Loving the Life Within You!

We pray for those individuals in need                                         Mike

Opening Song                                                                          Margie

Season Suite: Spring

Lyrics

Open up your eyes and see the brand new day, the clear blue sky and brightly shining sun.

Open up your ears and hear the breezes say, “”everything that’s cold and gray is gone.””

Open up your hands and feel the rain come down,

taste the wind and smell the flowers’ sweet perfume.

Open up your mind and let the light come in, the earth has been reborn and life goes on.

Do you care what’s happening around you? Do your senses know the changes when they come?

Can you see yourself reflected in the seasons? Can you understand the need to carry on?

Riding on the tapestry of all there is to see, so many ways and oh, so many things.

Rejoicing in the differences, there’s no one just like me.

Yet as different as we are, we’re still the same.

And oh, I love the life within me, I feel a part of everything I see.

And oh, I love the life around me, a part of everything is here in me.

A part of everything is here in me, a part of everything is here in me.

Wisdom Bowl                                                                 Margie

Opening Prayer                                                             Mike

Each Sunday in the Easter season, we’ve prayed for ourselves and for one another in the Eucharistic Prayer by Michael Morwood; words which actually originated in today’s beautiful opening song by John Denver: 

“May you love the life within you, may you love the life around you,

and may you know that a part of everything is here in you.”

We pray that our celebration this morning, focusing on good people, uplifting music, beautiful images, and wonderful gifts, may be a reminder to live freely in the Spirit, our own Divine Spirit, and to truly love the life within each of us and one another. Amen.

Reading One                                                                            Tom K

Celebrating the “Spirit” in Everyone                       by Michael Morwood,

                                        Modified from Prayer for Progressive Christians

The “Pentecost” story told in most Christian churches never happened.

The notion that a new religion started fifty days after Easter and that Pentecost Sunday is the “birthday of the Catholic Church” is patently untrue. Decades after that supposed event, St. Paul lived and died as a Jew.   Every one of the original apostles of Jesus died faithful to their Jewish religious heritage. Yes, even St. Peter. The “Christian” religion did not separate from Judaism until fifty years or so after Jesus died. Its Pentecost story sought to replace the traditional Jewish feast of Pentecost…

For Jews, the time from Passover to the end of the harvest season was a time of great rejoicing. It began with the harvesting of barley around Passover, and ended with the harvesting of wheat at Pentecost (meaning fifty days). This season spanned the two great stories of Judaism: Passover, freedom from bondage – physical freedom; and Pentecost, the giving of the Torah – spiritual freedom.

The “Holy Spirit” did not “descend” on anyone seven weeks after Jesus died.

Jesus had recognized and experienced “the Spirit of the Lord God” in his own life. He set himself to teach people how to recognize and experience its presence in their lives – in their everyday acts of kindness, generosity, forgiveness and courage.

When we gather to celebrate “Pentecost”, we celebrate the fact that the “Spirit of God” has always been with us personally, and with all people for all time. In a world with its mixture of joy and pain we celebrate the presence and power of that Spirit within everyone.

Inspired words

PSALM                                                                                       Margie

Somebody Told Me                                                 sung by Mina Greiss

                                                                                composed by Dan McFadden

POST-CHORUS Lyrics

Maybe in time, thereʼll be love for all

Maybe in time, I wonʼt feel so small

La la la, lala la la la

La la la, lala la la

Reading Two                                                                            Joanne

                    modified from Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese mysticist, early 1900s

“You can have flaws, be anxious and even be angry, but don’t forget that your life is the greatest business in the world. Only you can stop it from failure. You are appreciated, admired and loved by many. Remember that being happy is not having a sky without storms, a road without accidents, a job without effort, relationships without disappointments.

Being happy is to stop feeling a victim and become the author of your own destiny. It’s going through deserts, but being able to find an oasis deep in your soul. It’s to be thankful every morning for the miracle of life. It’s kissing your children, cuddling your parents, having poetic moments with your friends, even when they hurt us.

To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple. It’s having maturity to be able to say: “I made mistakes”. Having the courage to say “I’m sorry”. It’s having a sensitivity to say “I need you”. It’s having the ability to say “I love you”. May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness… that in spring you can be a lover of joy and in winter a lover of wisdom.

And when you make a mistake, start over. Because only then will you fall in love with life. You will find that being happy doesn’t mean having a perfect life. Use your defeats to train your patience.

Use your mistakes with the serenity of the sculptor. Use pain to tune into pleasure. Use obstacles to open the windows of intelligence. Never give up … Above all, never give up on the people that love you. Never give up on happiness, because life is an amazing show. “

Inspired words

Psalm 2                                                                           Kathy                            

You Don’t Have to Believe in God                 by Chelan Harkin, from Let Us Dance

You don’t have to believe in God

but please collapse in wonder

as regularly as you can.

Try and let your knowledge

be side-stepped by awe

and let beauty be so persuasive

you find yourself willing

to lay your opinions at her feet.

Darling, you don’t have to believe in God,

but please pray

for your own sake

great prayers of thanks

for the mountains, the great rivers,

the roundness of the moon

just because they’re here at all

and that you get to know them

and let prayer bubble up in you

like song in a bird,

as a natural thing.

You don’t have to have

a spiritual path

but do run

the most sensitive

part of your soul

over the soft curves

of  this world

with as much tenderness

as you can find in yourself

and let her edge-less ways

inspire you to want to discover more.

Just find a way

that makes you want to yield

yourself

that you may be more open

to letting beauty fully

into your arms

and feel some sacred spark

inside of you that yearns toward

learning how to build a bigger

fire of love in your heart.

You don’t have to believe in God

but get quiet enough to remember

we really don’t know a damn thing

about any of it

and you can feel a reverence to be part

of This Great Something,

whatever you want to call it,

that is so much bigger

and so far beyond

the rooftops of all

of our knowing.

Homily                                                                                        Mike

Prayers of the People                                                             Peter & Kim

Voice 1: In Michael Morwood’s book In Memory of Jesus, Jesus said, “I’m just being true to that Spirit within me, the Spirit that is in everyone. Many people, however, do not see the connection between the Spirit within them and their courageous acts.”

Voice 2: And so we pray:

Voice 1: When we reflect on our good actions, on our everyday experience of being decent, caring, and sometimes even courageous, people…

Voice 2: May we recognize and name the goodness we see in ourselves as the movement of our Divine Spirit.

Voice 1: When we come face to face with the challenge of self-giving, when we are asked to go the extra mile, to take the risk of reaching out to another, to offer forgiveness to the heart that rejects us…

Voice 2: May we recognize and name the love we see in ourselves as the movement of our Divine Spirit.

Voice 1: When our world seems bleak, when we walk with sadness written on our soul, when we have days during which everything goes wrong…

Voice 2: May we recognize and name the hope we see in ourselves as the movement of our Divine Spirit.

Voice 1: When anxiety and concern take over our spirit, when restlessness or boredom holds sway over us, when our world cries out in distress and turmoil…

Voice 2: May we recognize and name the peace we see in ourselves as the movement of our Divine Spirit.

Voice 1: When harshness or abruptness dominates our moods, when we feel challenged by the power of another, when we use the things of this good earth without thought or gratitude…

Voice 2: May we recognize and name the gentleness we see in ourselves as the movement of our Divine Spirit.

Voice 1: As we walk on the edges of life and death, as we struggle with the disciplines of spiritual growth, as we yearn to be faithful amid the many changes of inner and outer growth, and struggle to believe in our own gifts and blessings…

Voice 2: May we recognize and name the wisdom we see in ourselves as the movement of our Divine Spirit.

Voice 1: For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all of those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM and Ramp…

Voice 2: May they reflect on their good and caring actions and recognize and name the compassion in themselves as the movement of the Divine Spirit in them.

Voice 1: For what else shall we pray? May we recognize the presence of the Divine with a moment of reflection. (Allow up to 4 petitions)

Voice 2: As we begin to see the connection between our basic goodness and the Spirit of God in us, may we react as Jesus promised…with surprise and delight! Amen.

modified from Prayers for Our World, from May I Have This Dance?

An Invitation to Faithful Prayer Throughout the Year by Joyce Rupp

& In Memory of Jesus, by Michael Morwood

Sharing of Peace                                                                     Mike

Blessing of Bread and Wine                                                 Rob

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink

Eucharistic Liturgy                                                       Mike & Geri

Celebrating the “Spirit” in Everyone                       by Michael Morwood,

                                        From Prayer for Progressive Christians, pgs 185-188

P: We gather today mindful of a creative, energizing magnificence

at work in all:

–         in the vastness of the universe,

–         in the evolutionary development of life on earth,

–         and in every breath we take.

Voice: In this Great Mystery we are one with everything and everyone.

P: We open our hearts and minds to this creative Presence,

this energizing Power in the depths of our own being,

knowing that we need not ask it to “Come”,

but rather

knowing it has always been here with us in life,

in being, in spirit, in love.

Voice: We gather in memory of Jesus

who knew this Presence in his own life,

who recognized its presence in the lives of others

and who urged his listeners to call upon this Presence within them

to transform a world of sorrow,

a world of pain,

into a world of joy,

a world of promise and hope.

P: Today we give thanks for the Jewish men and women

who took up the challenge of transforming their world,

who kept the dream of Jesus alive.

Voice: Building on the faith of those who knew and walked with Jesus,

those who faithfully and courageously

kept his dream alive, we gather here today

seeking, like them to deepen our awareness

that we, too, are bearers of the Spirit.

P: Like them, we commit ourselves

to give the energizing Spirit within us,

the most faithful and courageous expression that each of us can.

Voice: We give thanks for Jesus who opened eyes to see

ears to hear, minds to understand,

and hearts to expand

–         in love

–         in courage

–         in hope

–         in determination to create a better world.

P: As we gather once more around bread and wine

we recall Jesus sharing bread and wine

with his friends shortly before he died.

He invited them to eat and drink

as a sign of their readiness to keep his memory alive

to give their all for what he believed and taught.

Voice: We eat and drink today

signifying our willingness

to see what Jesus wanted us to see,

to hear what he wanted us to hear,

to understand what he wanted us to understand

to expand as he wanted us to expand.

P: We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move free in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen!

The Prayer of Jesus                                                               Colleen

O Holy One, who is within, around, and among us, we celebrate your many names. Your wisdom come. Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us. Each day you give us all that we need. You remind us of our limits, and we let go. You support us in our power, and we act with courage. For you are the dwelling place within us, the empowerment around us, and the celebration among us, now and forever. Amen.

Miriam Therese Winter

Breaking of the Bread                                                      Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we knew you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

Communion                                                                                       Mike

Presider:  “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                   Margie

Love Is Around Us                                                   sung by Katie Pachnos

                                                                                composed by Nancy Curry

Closing Prayer                                                                         Mike

May our rejoicing in the Spirit this morning enable us to feel the sacred spark inside of each of us. May we commit ourselves to give that energizing Spirit the most faithful and courageous expression that each of us can.

And when we are true to our Spirits, may we be filled with joy, peace, and unconditional love. Amen.

Sending Forth Song                                                               Margie

Unconditional Love

Announcements

Resources

Look for the Good in Everyone                               by Jason Mraz

Teach Your children – Nash

Spirit Blowin Through Creation

Love 

Dance Holy Spirit Betsey Beckman

OR

Here are 15 lessons from A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter:

1. Value your family and friends. They are the most important people in your life.

2. Be humble and compassionate. Treat everyone with respect, regardless of their social status or background.

3. Work hard and be persistent. Don’t be afraid to set ambitious goals and work hard to achieve them.

4. Be honest and ethical. Always do the right thing, even when it’s difficult.

5. Give back to your community. Use your time and resources to help others.

6. Be grateful for what you have. Don’t take your blessings for granted.

7. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a part of life. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

8. Be forgiving. Forgive yourself and others for their mistakes.

9. Live in the present moment. Don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future.

10. Enjoy life. Find things that you’re passionate about and make time for them.

11. Be open to new experiences. Try new things and step outside of your comfort zone.

12. Be curious. Ask questions and learn from others.

13. Be courageous. Stand up for what you believe in, even when it’s unpopular.

14. Be hopeful. Believe in a better future for yourself and for the world.

15. Make a difference in the world. Use your talents and abilities to make a positive impact on the world around you.

7th Sunday Easter Cycle B – May 12, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/a6VkPCUuW-u2Ao6pkQWB9CzdooEqbjCgvUN-3QhTXgPlUrrx9bZDXqUYc64Hu60B.pH8-nIu6BjtIzl9W

 Theme: Ascension

We pray for those individuals in need   (Please be brief)           Mike

Introduction                                                                                  Maryann

One of the Lectionaries that could be used today, according to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website, is the Seventh Sunday of Easter – Ascension. Ascension means the act of rising to an important position or a higher level. Synonyms of ascension are Rise and Soar. As we participate in today’s liturgy, let’s contemplate how we are called to rise and soar to a higher level of living in and through the Divine.

Opening Song                                                                                    Maryann       You Raise Me Up    by Josh Groban                                                

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJxrX42WcjQ for music. Maryann has slide show

Lyrics

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until You come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be.

You raise me up to more than I can be.

Blessing of Water in Wisdom Bowl Spot                           Bill

Water Blessing by Earth Mama on Blessings of the Universe CD

slides – Bill has slides

Opening Prayer                                                                       Mike

We gather today to once again be inspired to become more like the person of Jesus.   Jesus was called Teacher and Rabbi by those who followed him.  Indeed, Jesus continues to have much to teach us about living and loving.  When we see Jesus as a human being rather than otherworldly, we can better incorporate his teachings into our lives.

We pray that we may be open to the challenge of accepting the ordinariness of human living and loving as sacred.  We pray that in following the example of Jesus who called each of us to be neighbor to one another we may help transform the world one loving act of kindness at a time.

We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus.

1st Reading                                                                                       ???

Commentary Living Faith

ON ASCENSION DAY, AN ANTIDOTE TO AMERICAN CHRISTIAN EXCEPTIONALISM

BY SAMUEL SON

MAY 25, 2017

Imagine what would have happened had Jesus not left Earth.

Christianity likely would not have spread, for it was the belief that Christ was no longer on Earth that decentralized Christianity, challenging it to adopt and adapt to other lands and languages.

The first disciples claimed that Jesus vanished after 40 days of meeting with them. This inaugurated the first missionary movement in history. Prior to the early Christians, no adherents had left their land and language to convince foreigners of the universality of their faith. Religion was an ethnic expression. Every city had their patron God. No one felt the need to take their god to other cities except for safe travels,

This would have been the fate of Christianity, too, if not for Jesus’ ascension. Ascension took away the temptation of the first disciples to claim a central location and language. Lamin Sanneh, a professor of missions and world Christianity at Yale Divinity School, points out that Christianity adapted through multiple cultural and historical contexts because it was detached from a geographical center.

This rapid adaptation manifests in the Christian Scriptures. The Jewish Bible is mostly in Hebrew, the language of the Jewish patriarchs; the Quran was scripted in Arabic, Muhammed’s mother tongue. But the Gospels were written in Koine, (simple) Greek, though Jesus taught in Aramaic.

The original Scripture of Christ is a translation. The essence of Christianity is to be in constant translation.

It is the nature of any organization to centralize. Often this is done through connecting a land and/or a language it to its founder — the leader’s birth and burial places often become holy grounds requiring pilgrimage. This is an ingenious form of message control.

The Jewish people made a treacherous journey three times a year and Muslims are called to make pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, Muhammed’s birthplace and sites of ministry. Land and language are powerful cohesives for these religions.

But the strong affirmation of Christ’s absence kept the early church from centralizing around Jerusalem. Without the body of Jesus to create a memorial, no land or language could monopolize claim to sacredness. Ascension, in one sense, is an abdication of worldly authority. It is the empowerment of everyone, no matter their land and language.

2nd Reading                                                                                  Tim: ?  Jesus: ?

Tim: The second and third readings are excerpts from the book In Memory of Jesus by Michael Morwood

This is a conversation between Jesus and his prison guard the night before Jesus died. While purely imaginary, it provides a context for Jesus to explain his life’s work and to state how he wished to be remembered.

The guard’s name is Tim.

Tim: “What did you say to people as you moved around.”

Jesus: “There were several points I mentioned almost everywhere I went. They all focus on the urgent need for us to take responsibility for bringing to life the heart and soul of our religion, which is to establish God’s reign on earth. There is nothing more important than this. What is to be the future of humanity? Is it to be what we experience all around us these days – oppression, domination, violence, fear and hopelessness? We are overwhelmed by all this and we think we can achieve little. Yet, our religion and our Covenant with God has always called us to be like the mustard seed or a light to the nations or a voice for the hopeless and the oppressed. We are called to reject injustice and to work for a better human society. We are never to give in to despair and to accept hopelessness as our lot. We cannot take on the Roman army, but we can ensure that our basic attitude to life is grounded in our Jewish faith and our care for one another and not in despair.

Jesus: “Almost always, my starting point was the need for my listeners to change the way they thought about God. Such a huge task! At times it seemed as if I was talking to the walls of the synagogue or to the grass beneath my feet. People are so deeply entrenched in images of God they have carried most of their lives. Unfortunately, our Scriptures carry some blame for that. People think of God as distant, as punisher, as judge, as not at all interested in them. Mostly I think they are fearful of God because sickness and pain are all around them, and they think this is all part of God’s judgment and punishment on them. Or they think that God wants them to bear hardships for some reason or other. People have been taught to believe that they are sinners, so they have no personal experience of our great religious commandment. How can you love the Lord God with all your heart and all your soul if you are fearful of God and have no personal experience of God loving you? That’s an enormous difficulty for people to overcome.”

Tim: “So, how did you try to help them overcome that difficulty?”

Jesus: “I often used images from nature. I told them to look at flowers and crops and fruit trees and what their beauty and the way they grow can tell us about God’s Spirit in the world around us. I wanted people to become aware that this same Spirit that we see active everywhere is in each of us. Whatever is in nature by way of beauty and growth and possibility is in every person. I wanted to open peoples’ eyes and minds to that reality. God’s Spirit of life and beauty and goodness is in everyone.”

Tim: “I hear what you are saying, but how do we know that it’s not just your pious thinking? How do we get beyond cynicism?”

Jesus: “Until people see the connection between what they do in their everyday lives and what they hear me saying, it might sound little more than pious words. People have to see and experience for themselves the connection between their everyday experience of being decent and kind and the activity of God’s Spirit in them. That’s the important point. I want them to recognize that when they are generous, considerate, and forgiving that they are allowing the Spirit of God to be expressed though their love and care.

Jesus: “Think of all the people you know personally. How many of them are evil people? Very few, if any, I would think. Most people are good and hard-working. They care for their families and they’re willing to help others. They try not to harm anyone. If they would only reflect on this reality in their own lives, on their own goodness, they would eventually make the connection I long for them to make. I want them to think, ‘Ah, our loving kindness to one another is an expression of God’s loving kindness’. Hopefully they would then be able to see a little deeper and come to realize that their many ways of expressing love give expression to the Lord’s Spirit within them. That’s the really crucial “Aha!” moment of awareness. It’s only then that people will learn to trust that the Lord’s Spirit in them can lead them to promote new possibilities for the creation of God’s kingdom among us.”

Psalm                                                                                         Bill

Nearer than the Air. By Michael Gott

It is like the air around me

Like the sunlight on my face

I feel the love of God surround me 

I am touched by amazing grace

And all I ever wanted

And all I ever needed

Was already there

Closer than the sunlight 

Nearer than the air

I breath in and I am filled with the Spirit

And it is health to my body

It is peace to my mind

It is joy to my soul

And I breathe out

A simple prayer of thank you 

And my breath becomes a song 

That was singing all along

That is singing everywhere

It is nearer than the air

3rd Reading                                                                                   V1: Tim V2: Jesus

Tim: “As I’m sitting here listening, I’m thinking this is wonderful and encouraging. Until you get to that last bit and I’m taken back to what I said earlier: Me? You’re asking the likes of me to promote these new possibilities for God’s kingdom when I am looking at you beaten half to death because of your new possibilities? Do you really expect someone like me to leave whatever comforts I have in life and follow your way of life when this is where it leads?”

Jesus:My way of life? No, that’s not right. It’s not my way. It’s the Jewish way. If you think I’m wrong or am being too demanding just look at our Scriptures. You know we are called as a people to make God’s presence among us evident in all we do. Look around and ask yourself how well we are doing. Look around and ask are there no new possibilities at all for us to be more faithful to our calling to establish God’s kingdom of justice, compassion and peace. And stop thinking it’s the task of the temple establishment. This is a task in which every Jew must actively participate and in which they must have a voice.”

Tim: “If all you are doing is telling me and others I must be a better Jew, then why are you here in a prison cell?”

Jesus: “Religious leadership here in Jerusalem has too much vested interest in working with the Romans and in protecting wealthy business interests. What’s happened to me tonight is no different from what happened to any of the prophets who criticized our religious leadership for taking its eyes off justice and care for the weak. Our leaders don’t want to hear about or see anyone empowering people. They don’t want people to believe the Spirit in them can establish our Jewish dream of a society based on justice.”

Tim: “I’m trying to imagine what you thought you would achieve when you started to preach and tell your stories. Did you imagine you would see any great changes in your lifetime?”

Jesus: “I did, actually. I had this great dream. I knew I had an encouraging, uplifting message. I knew, too, that it was challenging, but I expected the good news about God’s presence among us would underpin a change of attitudes and actions in the people who heard me preach.”

Tim: “But what were you hoping for? Surely you didn’t expect to see a revolution against the temple priesthood or against the Romans?”

Jesus: “Not exactly a revolution, but a movement in which people came to believe that what I was preaching could set a course for social and religious change in the future. I desperately wanted people to believe what I was telling them about themselves and about God.”

Tim: ”And that dream died?”

Jesus: ”Yes. The dream has died, and I feel brokenhearted about it.”

Tim: “Was there a particular moment when you realized your dream would never be realized?”

Jesus: “Yes, when I heard of John’s death.”

Tim: “Why should John’s death have affected you so deeply? Violence is so commonplace. You must be used to it, surely.”

Jesus: “I had always felt a deep connection with John, even though our preaching was different in some ways. We were both trying to change the way things are, in God’s name. On hearing of John’s senseless and brutal death I felt an enormous sense of powerlessness to change anything. I had already realized that I was not getting through to people the way I had dreamed of doing, and I sensed that time was running out for me. I felt tired and alone. And I wondered whether I would be next in line to be murdered.”

Tim: “If you thought that, why on earth did you come here to Jerusalem and cause such a disturbance? Why didn’t you stay in Galilee and continue your preaching and healing where you could be much safer?”

Jesus: “That’s the issue I wrestled with in prayer. Why continue? Why not just retreat back home? Perhaps I should stop preaching altogether? I decided I couldn’t back away from everything I had preached. How could I tell people to trust God in tough times, and then retreat when trouble loomed in my own life? If I really believed what I preached, then integrity demanded I stand by my words and demonstrate it.

Jesus: “I also decided that I would not let my life end the way John’s had, dragged off to prison and killed at the whim of a despot. No, I decided I would make a statement with my death. I would stand up and be counted, and people would know I was ready to die for what I believed and preached. So I came to Jerusalem.

Jesus: “I’m just being true to that Spirit within me, the Spirit that is in everyone. Many people, however, do not see the connection between the Spirit within them and their courageous acts.

Jesus: “I urge you to start reflecting on your everyday experience of being a decent and caring man. Recognize and name the goodness you see in yourself as the movement of God’s Spirit in you. The Spirit is there. It’s just that you fail to see the connection between your basic goodness and the Spirit of God in you. It’s simple really.”

Tim: “Or maybe you are just being simplistic and misguided.”

Jesus: “Try doing it for yourself and then decide whether I am misguided or not. But you have to try it. I believe you’ll be surprised and delighted by what you find. Just reflect on your good actions and start to connect and identify those actions with the presence of God’s Spirit in you. Will you do that whenever you recall this night?”

Tim: “I will consider doing so. I can’t promise more than that… Another question…do you think you are God’s promised Messiah?”

Jesus: “No, no, no. That is not who I am. I’m simply the human face of God’s Spirit. I am no different from you or anyone else in that. We’re all called to be the human face of God in the world. My dream about the kingdom of God includes everyone and challenges everyone to participate. I want nothing to do with a political, religious institution that would set itself up as uniquely belonging to God.”

Tim: “I must ask one more question, then. What of Judaism? What is our future as God’s chosen people?”

Jesus: “There is no one way for people to honor God. There is only one great commandment that everyone should embrace. All Jews know it. Judaism must be a light to the world. It must attract people by its God-consciousness, by its care for everyone and by its concern for justice. However, Judaism, like any other religion, must grow beyond exclusive claims of intimacy with or knowledge of God. The Spirit of God is everywhere and cannot be contained within one group, sect or religion. The Spirit is evident in everyone who loves and cares and tries to be neighbor. All religions should espouse this belief and use it to challenge their followers to embody this Spirit in the way they treat others. Religions must respect everyone as a child of God.”

Tim: “I must go now. I may never see you again. I’m so sorry for what is happening to you here. But I want you to know that my family and I will never, never forget you.”

Jesus: “Thank you, Tim. And please, remember my teaching. Please do that.”

Inspired words

Homily                                                                                       Mike

Prayer of the People                                                                                 ????

There will be a moment of silence after each petition.

May the Divine within bring you to live…

from deep in your heart where the Divine’s Spirit dwells.

May the Divine within bring you to discomfort ….

at easy answers, hard hearts,

half-truths ,and superficial relationships.

May the Divine within bring you to work…

for justice, freedom, and peace.

May the Divine within bring you to anger…

at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people.

May the Divine within bring you to tears…

shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war.

May the Divine within bring you to reach out your hand…

to comfort others and turn their pain into joy.

May the Divine within bring you to enough foolishness ….

to believe that you can make a difference in this world, in your neighbourhood, so that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do, but find, in Jesus, that you’ll have all the strength necessary.

May the Divine within bring you to fearlessly speak out…

about injustice, unjust laws, corrupt politicians,

unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,

and senseless wars, genocides, starvations,

and poverty that is so pervasive.

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus… we respond,

For what else shall we pray?  Allow 4 petitions.

May the Divine within bring us to remember…

that we are all called to continue the resurrection work of love and healing,

in and through Jesus’s name, in Jesus’s Spirit,

continually creating and breathing new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch.

We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sharing of Peace                                                                        Mike

Prayer over the Bread and Wine                                          ???

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer                                                                      Mike & ???

P. We gather at Easter mindful of the seasons of life, the seasons of our own lives and the seasons of Jesus’ life.

Voice: We seek the grace to “love the life within” as passionately as Jesus did and wanted his followers to do.
P: We seek the grace to know that we are a “part of everything” as Jesus and so many other people throughout the ages truly knew they were and would want us to know that we are.

Voice: And now, mindful of the changing seasons of our own lives we give thanks: for the Summers, those times in life… –      when the morning came in singing –      when flowers opened up to gather the sunshine –      when we were full of life and glad to be alive.
P: We give thanks for the Autumns, those times in life… –      when we had to let go –      when we had to trust –      when life took on different colors.

Voice: We give thanks for the Winters, those times in life –      that seemed bleak and uncertain –      when we pushed on and faced life –      when we longed to see the summer sun again –      when we held on to hope and promise.
P: And we give thanks for the Spring times in our lives –      when we opened our eyes to see brand new days –      when we opened our minds to new light –      when we felt reborn –      and loved life all around us.

Voice: Today we remember and give thanks for Jesus and the seasons of his life –      when he was full of hope and possibilities –      when life took him into unknown territory –      when life tested him to the limit –      when, in the depths of his Winter, he believed Spring would come.
P: This Easter season, we rejoice that his life and all that he lived for all that he believed and taught leads us to see beyond death and darkness and to believe in transformation beyond our imagining.Voice:  In his memory, We gather once more around bread and wine symbols of nourishment of hospitality of friendship and of commitment.
P: We share this bread and wine today committing ourselves to be Easter people, people who see beyond the barriers, the pain, the darkness and the hard times, people who live in faith, hope and love in all the seasons of our lives whatever the ups and downs.Voice: As we gather once more around bread and wine we recall Jesus sharing bread and wine with his friends shortly before he died. He invited them to eat and drink as a sign of their readiness to keep his memory alive to give their all for what he believed and taught. (Pause for reflection)

P: We open our eyes, we open our ears, we open our hands, we open our minds, we open our hearts.Voice: We pray for one another:  May you love the life within you, may you love the life around you, and may you know that a part of everything here is in you. A part of everything is here in you.

P: We pray for ourselves: May I love the life within me, may I love the life around me and may I know that a part of everything is here in me a part of everything is here in me.

Voice: We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move free in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen!

Easter The Seasons of Life by Michael Morwood, Prayers for Progressive Christians 2018

Prayer of Jesus (Please pray along)                                            ???

Our Father, Holy Mother,

Creator of the Cosmos, Source of Life,
You are in my mind, in my garden, in my cup of wine and loaf of bread. Blessed be your names:

Mother, Allah, Goddess, Beloved, Great Spirit, Radiant One, Yahweh, HaShem, Sophia

Your presence has come, your will is done on earth as it is in the cosmos.

May we give each other strength, mercy, tenderness, and joy,

and forgive each other’s failures, silence, pettiness, and forgetfulness,

as we ask to be forgiven by those we’ve hurt. Lead us home to ourselves and each other, to clarity, to oneness,

and deliver us from the darkness of our ignorance and fear.

So we pray and so we receive.

Amen

From There Are Burning Bushes Everywhere by Jan Phillips, p. 36.

Prior to the Breaking of the Bread                                                     Mike

Breaking of the Bread                                                            Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.
In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.
In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.

Communion                                                                                       Mike

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                             Bill

Closing Prayer                                                                                   Mike

Like Jesus, may we stand as a sign and a witness to the powers of government and religion and now corporate structures to challenge them with the simple message of love exhibited in the traits of empathy, humility, gratitude, discernment, reflection, and meditation.  While this is often assertive; it is never aggressive and is ideally non-violent.

We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus.

Amen

Sending Forth Song                                                                         Bill

“Up Where We Belong + Joe Cocker / Jennifer Warnes + Lyrics / HD” on YouTube

 Lyrics

Who knows what tomorrow brings
In a world few hearts survive
All I know is the way I feel
When it’s real, I keep it alive

The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world below
Up where the clear winds blow

Some hang on to used to be
Live their lives looking behind
All we have is here and now
All our lives, out there to find

The road is long
There are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know
Where the clear winds blow

Time goes by
No time to cry
Life’s you and I
Alive today

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know
Where the clear winds blow

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry
On a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong

Announcements

6th Sunday in the Easter Season – Cycle B

Reflecting on the Documentary God and Country 

May 4-5, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/Cp_MzutPfbGDro2M3klldCTEPHUpqlDEA7PUPtNhEWxAHJe_LpOjSGmCgackUQ3L.yEbilc-GBLwHcAfU?startTime=1714863683000

We Pray for Others                                                                                               Mike

Opening Song                                                                                                         Marie

Join with Spirit

Join with the Spirit;

join with the Spirit, rising;

join with the Spirit;

She will empower our rising.

See those women’s rights denied,

She will empower our rising,

by leaders who have often lied;

She will empower our rising.   

See the immigrants abused,

She will empower our rising,

their basic human rights refused;

She will empower our rising.   Refrain

Work for racial justice now;

She will empower our rising;

all those oppressed will show us how;

She will empower our rising.  

We will hold each other fast;

She will empower our rising;

some day we will be free at last;

She will empower our rising.   Refrain

Words © 2017 Jann Aldredge-Clanton 

Blessing of Water in Wisdom Bowl Spot                                                        Marie

Water Blessing by Earth Mama on Blessings of the Universe CD

I say a prayer for the water 

O, bless the water 

As it Graces in and out of me 

And it Blesses in and out of everything. 

O, bless the water. 

Bless, bless the water. X 2

Joyce Johnson Rouse ©2007 Rouse House Music (ASCAP)

Opening Prayer                                                                                                                  Mike

In a country divided by very different visions for our nation’s future, may we have both wisdom and strength to commit to doing our part to work for unity.  We believe in the power of love.  We strive to be open, understanding and compassionate to those who think differently about the future of our country.  May the Spirit guide and inspire us to lovingly break down the barriers of division among us.

Amen.

First Reading                                                                                                           Kathy

From The Power Worshippers

In the first decades of his career, Falwell practiced segregation even in religion.  In the early 1960’s, when Black high school students attempted to pray  at the Thomas Road Church, they were ejected by the police.  When Falwell went on to set up a Christian academy, he made sure it stayed just as white as his church.  He attracted national attention with a 1965 sermon impugning “the sincerity and nonviolent intention of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King” and – with imminence irony, in retrospect – arguing that ministers had no business getting involved in politics.  He suggested that the faithful should concentrate their reform ambitions on alcoholism rather than civil rights, since “there are almost as many alcoholics as there are Negroes.”

Bob Jones Sr., founder of the college that later became Bob Jones University, was an especially ardent segregationist, and he centered his defense of segregation clearly in his religion.  In an April 17, 1960, radio address, “Is Segregation Scriptural?” he declared “God’s is the author of segregation” and called the practice “God’s established order.”  He referred to de-segregationists as “Satanic propagandists” and “religious infidels” who are “leading colored Christians astray” with their “Communistic agitation to overthrow the established order of God.”

As it is written.

The Power Worshippers by Katherine Stewart, Inventing Abortion, p 61.

Psalm Spot                                                                                                                           Marie

Help in Hard Times – by Carrie Newcomer 

I am learning to walk with grace in the dark

I am learning to trust and to lead with my heart

When the old moon is gone into silence and sighs

It’s the one and only time a new moon can rise

Sometimes there is no reason the moon waxes and wanes

It was the hundred year flood and you were in the way

Some things we find in daylight and we’re grateful to know

Some things we only learned where we did not want to go

I can’t tell you it will all turn out fine

But I know is there’s help in hard times

Bruised and bewildered I am looking out the door

Unsure of how to do what I’ve never done before

But I am not alone with my questions and my fears

When the old moon is done the new moon appears

I’m inspired and troubled by the stories I have heard

In the blue light of evening all boundaries get blurred

And I believe in something better and that love’s the final word

And that there’s still something whole and sacred in this world

I can’t tell you it will all turn out fine

But I know there’s help in hard times

Sure it could all be just fine

But I know there is help in hard times

All I know is there’s help in hard times

All I know is there’s help in hard times

Second Reading                                                                                                      Peter

From The Power Worshippers                                       

The biggest lie in Barton’s first stab at history is what he takes to be its biggest truth.  Once upon a time, in his telling, America was united around a common religion that served as the foundation of the republic – until secularists commandeered the Supreme Court and ruined everything.  The reality is that America was a pluralistic land from the beginning and the United States was founded as a secular republic.  Thomas Jefferson said it best when he pointed to the First Amendment and said with awe that it erected “a wall of separation between Church and State.”  It is why he declared, in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, “that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”  This is why the Treaty of Tripoli of 1798, endorsed by John Adams and other members of America’s founding generation, declared explicitly (and uncontroversially) that “the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”

The next big lie in Barton’s history is about American education.  In his telling, American schools were all about God until the Supreme Court decided to throw American heritage to the secular winds.   In reality, Massachusetts passed the first law prohibiting the use or purchase of school books “which are calculated to favor any particular religious sect or tenet” in 1827, and in 1837, Horace Mann, often hailed as “the father of American public education,” declared that public schools should be nonsectarian – meaning that schools should restrict religious teachings to commonly shared Protestant values, which he, a Unitarian, regarded as universal and believed could be taught without offending any sectarian sensibilities.

In the middle decades of the nineteenth century an influx of immigrants from Catholic countries sparked bitter and bloody conflicts over religion and public schools in Boston, Maine, Ohio and elsewhere.  At the time, public school textbooks were filled with anti-Catholic tropes, and Protestant nativists sought to exclude Catholic teachings and texts from the schools.  Catholic parents and religious leaders, naturally reluctant to have their children inculcated in undermining stereotypes, asked, in vain, for a share of tax money for their own school systems.  In the early 1840’s, the growing Catholic immigrant community began to pressure school officials to allow their children to read from their Bible, the Douay-Rheims translation, at school.

The conflict took a violent turn in Philadelphia in 1844, when Protestants and Catholics hit the streets for two separate weeks of rioting; when it was over, at least twenty-five residents of the City of Brotherly Love were dead.  This episode and others persuaded much of the American public of the inequity and unsustainability of public school-sponsored religion in a diverse society.  “Leave the matter of religion to the family circle, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions,” said President Ulysses S. Grant in 1875, “Keep the church and state forever separate.”

Inspired words.

Homily                                                                                                                      Mike

Prayer of the People                                                                                Tom and Joanne

We are grateful to be members of a discipleship of equals faith community committed to both mercy and social justice.  Very concerned about the future of our country, today we pray petitions for all living in the United States now and in the future.

The response to each petition will be a moment of silence.

May all elected leaders of our country at every level have the strength and courage to be faithful to the Rule of Law.

May citizens who value democracy recognize the importance of voting.  May they find ways to support others in registering to vote; and may they assist neighbors who may need transportation to the polls on election day.

May we find ways to engage friends, relatives and neighbors in interactive conversations where all can share their visions for the future of our country.

May we make opportunities to share our lived experiences with voting with young adult Americans in an effort to help them understand the present threats to democracy in the United States and the power of each one’s vote.

May American Christian Nationalists be open to a change of heart and mind about the future of the United States.

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, for our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity, and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM, and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them. May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus…we pray…

For what else shall we pray? Allow 4 petitions.

We pray with confidence that these petitions and those unspoken concerns and needs deep within each of us will be heard and answered with loving compassion. Amen.

Sharing Peace                                                                                                         Mike

Blessing of Bread and Wine                                                                               Linda                                                 

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer                                                                                      Mike & Geri

P:  We recall times in our lives when we were called to 

“right the unrightable wrong”, 

“to run where the brave dare not go”;

times that brought us “unbearable sorrow”.

Geri:  We remember our efforts, our anguish, our success, our failure, 

as we strode toward “this glorious quest”.

P: We remember our willingness to keep on trying when our “arms were too weary”, the times that called for our “last ounce of courage”.

Geri: As we reflect on those moments, we wonder 

at our perseverance, our courage, our capacity “to be true” to the cause.

P: May our wonder lead us to recognize 

that the very same Power at work in the universe is at work in us 

when we are willing to “die” in order for something better to emerge, 

when we bond with others to cooperate and to risk ourselves in the service of others. 

Geri: We acknowledge the presence of this Power within us – 

awesome beyond words capable of achieving within and through us 

more than we dare ask or imagine.

P: The Power and energy revealed in our courage and steadfast goodness 

enables us to transcend ourselves in the pursuit of right.

Maryann:

Let us listen to how Jesus’ followers interpreted his stance on the cost of discipleship.

A reading from the Gospel of Matthew:

You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you.  If people slap you on the right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well.  When they wish to haul you to court and take your shirt, let them have your coat too.  When they force you to go one mile, go with them two.  Give to those who ask, and don’t refuse those who wish to borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, you must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you, so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven.  He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have?  Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing?  Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.

Matthew 5:38-48

Geri: We honor Jesus and countless men and women 

who have been willing “to march into Hell for a heavenly cause”, 

believing, trusting that “the world would be better” for their efforts.

We give thanks for their capacity to endure extraordinary opposition 

in their efforts to make the world a better place.

P: As we gather around the words of Jesus, 

we pray that our hearts and minds be open 

that we truly be neighbor to all 

that our love be inclusive and expansive 

as “complete” as love can be in us.

Geri:  Led by the Power within and among us, 

we eat bread and drink wine mindful of Jesus’ commitment 

to the task he set himself and mindful of our baptism into his story, 

a story that calls us to similar wholehearted action.

The Cost by Michael Morwood, 

Prayers for Progressive Christians, pages 124-127.

P: We pray for one another:  

May you love the life within you, may you love the life around you, 

and may you know that a part of everything is here in you.

Geri: We pray for ourselves: 

May I love the life within me, 

may I love the life around me 

and may I know that a part of everything is here in me.

P: We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move free in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen! 

Easter The Seasons of Life by Michael Morwood, 

Prayers for Progressive Christians, page 174

Prayer of Jesus                                                                                           Tom Schaller        

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
May the hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
May the way of social justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
May the commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and become a reality everywhere on earth.

With the bread we need for today, may we be fed and may we feed those who are hungry today.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, may be find forgiveness.
In times of temptation and test, may we be strengthened.
From trials too great to endure, may we be spared.
From the grip of all that is evil, may we and all on this earth be spared.
Amen.

– An adaptation of The New Zealand Anglican Lord’s Prayer

Breaking of the Bread                                                                              Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus. Alleluia. Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus. Alleluia. Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus. Alleluia. Alleluia.

Presider:  “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Meditation Song                                                               Marie

Our Love Goes Out by Jan Novatka

We are here as one, offering ourselves in love for our world.

Together we live, and together we give our love for the world. 

Hand in hand we go, heart to heart! And our love goes out to all!

(repeat once)

Gratitude and joy wells up inside for the life that we share.

In communion we live, finding strength, sharing life.

We are one.  We are love.

Hand in hand we go, heart to heart! And our love goes out to all!

Hand in hand we go, heart to heart! And our love goes out 

and our loves out, and our love goes out to all.

Closing Prayer                                                                                                         Mike

I offer you peace.  

I offer you love.

I offer you friendship.  

I see your beauty.

I hear your need.

I feel your feelings.

My wisdom flows from the Highest Source.

I salute that Source in you.

Let us work together for unity and love.

To whom are you challenged to offer these words?

Gandhi Prayer for Peace

Closing Song                                                                                                                        Marie

God Bless America

Announcements

Easter Vigil Liturgy                                             March 30, 2024 

Recording of the video started late.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16FZU69sjYoOB1pe6BpHvRbgzbuN5cHuy/view?usp=sharing


Welcome                                                                                   Mike

Presider: Before we begin liturgy, please have a candle, an instrument to light it, and a glass of water near you.

Presider: 

Tonight, we have spiritual work to do, and we have to do it together.  We will tell the cosmic story, and we will create our own resurrection story. To be a storyteller is to be in touch with a liberating process, for stories catalyze the creative imagination to dream alternative ways to do things. To create is to participate in the Creator’s own work and imagination that gives shape to the universe. We will tell the story and imagine the story and, hopefully, come to know more deeply that we are that story.  Our very bonds come from stardust, our lives from the energy of the universe.

Presider:  

In the beginning, the Mystery, God, alone, surrounded by infinite darkness, emptiness, Silence.  

Pause in Silence

Wisdom Bowl                                                                           Mike

Reader 1                                                                                   Kim M

And out of the Divine came,

“Let there be light.”

And the Divine invited the silence into the creation of sound:

Opened the darkness into the image of light;

Stirred the infinite density of emptiness

Into a blaze of energy so full and rich 

that the whole Universe burst forth…

Creating Space…all that ever was

And Time…all that is

And Matter…all that ever will be

From the first quarks and electrons to the songs we sing this night.

Reader 2                                                                                              Mary Lynn

And there was order and relationship to the glistening, pulsing chaos

Of the expanding new World:

Four fundamental forces to color and flavor the quarks;

To poise them in the nuclei of atoms;

To harmonize the swirling and churning of galaxies

About to give birth to the stars.

Light, in the form of trillions of newborn photons,

And heat, a billion degrees, immeasurable,

And energy, pure potential, yet without form.

…This was the Divine’s creation, 14 billion years ago…

Light out of darkness…the first day.

ACTION:  People light a candle at home while a photo of an Easter Fire is displayed

Song:         Mike has an image to show and he will play the song          

Sacred Fire  by Jan Novotka on Melodies of the Universe2.31 minutes

Sacred Fire, burning before me;

burning within me; deep in my soul!

Sacred Fire, transforming Fire,

recreate me, Make me whole.

Melodies of the Universe CD ©1994 by Jan Novotka’s Music LLC (ASCAP). All rights reserved.

Opening Prayer                                                                                 Mike

Augustine prayed these words, “Our hearts are restless until they

rest in you”. Augustine’s desire for oneness with the Divine has

been echoed by all of creation.  We now know that we are one with the Divine. In that presence, we continually evolve into something new. This evolving means that there must be an ongoing process of end, destruction and new creation. This is the story of Easter. It is the story of letting go of the past; a story that is ever changing and ever new. We pray that we may purge ourselves of limiting beliefs, that we may transcend into something new. 

May we experience oneness this time with all that is.

May we radiate love, act in peace and stand for justice. 

May we always remember that we come from the Divine. 

May we always remember that we are carriers of Divine life in all our comings and goings – even in every breath we breathe. 

May we always remember where we come from and where we are going. Amen!

Creation Story 

Video: Where Do We Go from Here? Jan Phillips                   Mike

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu-rYCQEmbM / 13 minutes

Reading                                                                                            Peter

Easter: Personal and Political Transformation from The Last                                Week by Borg and Crosson

Easter without Good Friday risks being sentimental and vacuous. It becomes a simple affirmation that spring follows winter, life follows death, flowers bloom again, and it is time for bonnets and bunnies. But Easter is the reversal of Good Friday. Easter is the vindication of Jesus’ passion for the kindom, for God’s justice a. Easter is God’s “no” to the powers who killed Jesus, powers still active in our world.

        As the climax of Holy Week and the story of Jesus, Good Friday and Easter address the fundamental human question; What ails us? Most of us feel the force of this question—something is not right. So, what ails us?  Perhaps, we need and must seek both personal and political transformation.

        A central theme of Christian thought about the human condition is to try and not be centered in the self and its anxieties and preoccupations, what is sometimes called the “small self.” The path of Jesus offers a rebirth of the self, of rising to the moment, of being transformed.

       Beyond this personal promise of Easter, there is the political meaning of Jesus tussling with earthly powers and priorities and imagining a world of truth and justice. Jesus’ passion was the kindom of God in which everyone has enough and systems are fair to all.

Inspired Words

Gospel Acclamation             Slide show          ITunes                            Mike

Halle, Halle by Marty Haugen from the Apage – The Stories and the Feast CD / 1.29 minutes                               [in memory of Jeanne Nicholls]

Halle, halle, hallelujah! Halle, halle, hallelujah! 

Halle, halle, hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! X 2 times 

Halle, halle, hallelujah! Halle, halle, hallelujah! 

Halle, halle, hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! X 3 times 

Gospel                                                                             Mike

You Shall Be My Witnesses by Miriam Therese Winter on Woman Song / 3 minutes     

Use PowerPoint from 15th Anniversary Communion Song

Refrain

You shall be my witnesses through all the earth, telling of all you have heard and received, for I arose and am with you and you have believed.

Women at the tomb, weeping for the dead:

He is not here, he has risen as he said.

They ran to tell those who were in authority.

The men dismissed the news as idle fantasy. Refrain

Magdalene at the tomb: Whom do you seek?

Her eyes were opened when she heard him speak.

His love for every woman shown upon his face.

The hopes of every age were held in their embrace. Refrain

Women, leave your tombs. Roll the stones aside.

Do not despair, though so many dreams have died.

Do not be fearful of the vision that you see.

Believe in miracles again. Believe in me. Refrain

Homily                                                                              Mike

Renewal of Beliefs by Michael Morwood                 Mike & Linda S

P: In Nature we see superb aspects of transformation: in supernovas exploding and in their dying giving birth to new possibilities:  in the sun giving of itself that we might have life; in seeds “dying” to produce new life. We know that several times in the history of this planet more species than existing were extinguished.  There has been death, destruction, apparent annihilation, and then “resurrection” producing abundant life.  Life is somehow stronger than death.  Life finds a way.

Voice: Death for Jesus was, as it will be for us, a dying into the Divine: a transformation into a way of existence for which we have no images and no clear idea of how it may happen.  

P:  Our understanding of Jesus’ resurrection must be freed from dualistic images in which Scripture and traditional Christian teaching have presented it. The Divine does not reside somewhere else, in a place called “heaven” that is above us somewhere.  In fact, there is no up or down any more when we consider our planet’s place in the universe.

Voice:  Death for us will not be a journey to some other place where the Divine is located; there will not be a judgment as to whether we “get into” an elsewhere place.

Voice: We proclaim and celebrate Easter because it links Jesus with all life, with transformation, and with the possibility of life beyond our imagining.  Easter offers meaning and hope to all people. We give thanks and rejoice that Jesus so clearly and courageously linked our loving and our dying with living on in the Divine. We rejoice that Jesus lives on, as we all will, in the Divine. Amen!

Blessing of Water                                                                   Mike                              

Water Blessing by Earth Mama on Blessings of the Universe CD

I say a prayer for the water 

O, bless the water 

As it Graces in and out of me 

And it Blesses in and out of everything. 

O, bless the water. 

Bless, bless the water. X 2

Joyce Johnson Rouse ©2007 Rouse House Music (ASCAP)

 Drinking of Water                                                                   Mike

Please take a drink of the blessed water and allow it to wash you anew and refresh you on the inside.                                    

Prayer of the People                                                     Mary Lynn and Teri

ARISE IN ME 

When we come face to face with the challenge of self-giving, when we are asked to go the extra mile, to take the risk of reaching out to another, to offer forgiveness to the heart that rejects      us… 

Second Voice: Arise in us with the energy of Divine love. 

When our world seems bleak, when we walk with sadness written on our soul, when we have days during which everything goes wrong… 

Second Voice: Arise in us with the energy of Divine joy. 

When anxiety and concern take over our spirit, when restlessness or boredom holds sway over us, when our world cries out in distress       and turmoil… 

Second Voice:  Arise in us with the energy of Divine peace. 

On those days when we hurry too much, during those times when          our anger flares because our pet agendas aren’t met, when we stop giving people our acceptance and understanding… 

Second Voice:  Arise in us with the energy of Divine kindness. 

As we face the shadow of our inner world or peer into the darkness of our outer world, as we struggle to believe in our own gifts and          blessings… 

Second Voice: Arise in us with the energy of Divine goodness. 

In those difficult times when fear threatens to drown our trust in you, during those experiences of growth when we are tempted   to doubt all the ways we have known you… 

Second Voice: Arise in us with the energy of Divine trust. 

As we walk on the edges of life and death, as we struggle with the disciplines of spiritual growth, as we yearn to be faithful amid the          many changes of inner and outer growth… 

Second Voice:  Arise in us with the energy of Divine guidance. 

Our hearts are stirred by the Divine. The Divine in us gets us going. Because of this, we do not give up. May we always open our minds and our hearts to experience energizing, transforming radiance. May we always be open to the promptings of the Divine moving freely in our lives.  May we trust the powerful presence of the Divine within us at every moment of our lives. Amen.

Sharing of Peace                                                           Mike

Eucharistic Prayer                                                        Mike & Margaret

P: We marvel at our cosmic story and all that reveals the Divine Presence: the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this our home, the fragile planet earth.

Voice: From the primal elements came forth the human race, blessed with memory, reason, and skill. We are indeed the stewards of creation.

P: As we recall the great events that gave us new life, the image of Jesus is brought to perfection within each of us. 

Voice: We acknowledge that the Divine has woven the fabric of the universe.  All creation has been invited to robe itself in the love poured out from the source of never-ending abundance.

P: We honor the ones who have revealed the Divine ways to us until now we can recognize them for ourselves.  We are grateful for the courage and fidelity of all those sent to prepare a path for us to follow – the holy women and men of every age and culture.

Voice:  We proclaim and celebrate Easter because it links Jesus with all life, with transformation, and with the possibility of life beyond our imagining.  

P:  We especially are grateful for Jesus who came to us as bread for our journey.  He is the Way.  Whenever we celebrate this meal we recommit ourselves to follow his example.  In this, we seek new opportunities to be the followers of Jesus in all our interactions and relationships. It is in Jesus that God revealed the love that is the human family.

Voice:  We give thanks for the spirit of life and love among us.  

We are grateful that the Spirit sets us free to discover the Divine’s presence within us and in our world. We recognize the Spirit is with us now for all is holy.

P: As we gather once more around bread and wine

we recall Jesus sharing bread and wine

with his friends shortly before he died.

He invited them to eat and drink

as a sign of their readiness to keep his memory alive

to give their all for what he believed and taught. 

Voice: And so, as we take our place in this moment on the stage of human history, we share this bread as our pledge of openness to the Spirit in our midst and in acknowledgment of our eternal connectedness with the Spirit of Life.

P:  We share this wine mindful of a relationship of love and trust between ourselves and the Spirit of Life, believing, as Jesus believed, that beyond pain and darkness and death, life in the Spirit continues in ways beyond our imagining.

Voice:  May we recognize the reality of Jesus present among us.  May we take courage and find power to exult in our great mystery as people on a journey.  May we live gently and gratefully upon this planet and upon the pathway you have chosen for us.

P:  Easter offers meaning and hope to all people. We pray for all who are sick, may wholeness and healing be theirs. We pray for those who have died. May they be in peace.

Voice:  We pray that the Spirit come upon our church and political leaders, so that they might act in truth.  May they make the necessary changes to become peacemakers, to transform the church, and to protect the world.   May they be moved to bring justice to all.

P:  May the life and teaching of Jesus motivate us in all that we do, so that we may be living signs of his living and loving.

We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move freely in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen!

Prayer of Jesus                                                                       Margaret

O Divine Birther of all that is – from the smallest particle to the vastness of the cosmos, you are present.  Holy are your infinite names chanted, sung or whispered.

Abba, Beloved, Divine Breath, Great Mystery, Sophia

May we walk in peace, speak with tenderness, touch with compassion, and love unconditionally.  With gratitude for the abundance we’ve been given, may we always share with any who hunger or are in need.  May we be filled with humility and regret for the times we did not reflect your love.  May we always offer forgiveness to those whose words or actions have caused us pain.  May we understand our individual purpose and seek to fulfill it without distraction.

We pray what we believe and believe what we pray.  Amen.

By Colleen Walsh White 2020

Breaking of the Bread                                                  Alice or Mike

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia. 

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Alleluia.

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                           ITunes Slide Show               Bill

Shimmering Presence by Jan Novotka on Awakening Consciousness / 5.29 minutes                           

©2006 by Jan Novotka’s Music LLC (ASCAP). All rights reserved.

Closing Prayer                                                                                   Grace

The Sharing                               by Edwina Gately

We told our stories— that’s all. We sat and listened to each other and heard the journeys of each soul. We sat in silence entering each one’s pain and sharing each one’s joy. We heard love’s longing and the lonely reachings-out for love and affirmation. We heard of dreams shattered. And visions fled. Of hopes and laughter turned stale and dark. We felt the pain of isolation and the bitterness of death.

But in each brave and lonely story God’s gentle life broke through and we heard music in the darkness and smelled flowers in the void. 

We felt the budding of creation in the searchings of each soul and discerned the beauty of God’s hand in each muddy, twisted path.

And His voice sang in each story. His life sprang from each death. Our sharing became one story of a simple lonely search for life and hope and oneness in a world which sobs for love. And we knew that in our sharing, God’s voice, with mighty breath, was saying “Love each other and take each other’s hand.”

For you are one though many and in each of you I live. 

So listen to my story and share my pain and death.

Oh, listen to my story and rise and live with me.

Sending Forth Song                                                                         Bill

All You Works of God  Marty Haugen  Tales of Wonder 1990

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/DcR4WAufChHZa6X-Xsyaj7KiMuPTysmfMCdtDLE9YnV_b4-JEypMgC68nvGEUWbE.DluKs-o-4qlzu4xl?startTime=1711288763000

Palm Sunday                                              March 24, 2024

We pray for those in need                                                                 Mike 

Introduction by the Presider                                                 Mike

We gather today to recall the last week of Jesus of Nazareth.  We remember all that he taught us about the Divine being in and with us, especially when we care and love one another. 

We give thanks for his courage – he never gave up believing what he taught, even when people were cruel to him.

As we mark the joyful entry into Jerusalem, let us remember that when we follow Jesus, our lives will have its ups and downs.  We will have our Palm Sundays and Good Fridays as well as our Easters.

Blessing of Palms                                                                             Sue B

This blessing 

can be heard coming 

from a long way off.

This blessing 

is making 

its steady way 

up the road 

toward you.

This blessing 

blooms in the throats 

of women, 

springs from the hearts 

of men, 

tumbles out of the mouths 

of children.

This blessing 

is stitched into 

the seams 

of the cloaks 

that line the road, 

etched into 

the branches 

that trace the path, 

echoes in 

the breathing 

of the willing colt, 

the click of the donkey’s hoof 

against the stones.

Something is rising

beneath this blessing.

Something will try 

to drown it out.

But this blessing 

cannot be turned back, 

cannot be made 

to still its voice, 

cannot cease 

to sing its praise 

of the One who comes 

along the way 

it makes.

Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace – A Book of Blessings for the Seasons, pages 123-124

Reflection on the Gospel of the Palm Blessing                         Judy L

Palm Sunday: What “following Jesus” really means        by Michael Morwood,

                                                            from Prayers for Progressive Christians

We need to be discerning about the Gospel accounts of Palm Sunday. We need to discern what most likely never happened, what could have happened, and what didn’t happen. This reflection highlights the latter.

The historical event was that a prophetic Jewish teacher with a message about the need for religious and social reform here and now, went to Jerusalem willing to take a stand for his beliefs whatever the consequences.

This is a very Jewish story.

Decades after Jesus died, a different story about that event arose; a story about the triumphant “Christ” entering Jerusalem, the Savior of the world who would die for our sins and gain access to God’s heavenly dwelling place.

This is a very non-Jewish story.

In its celebration of Palm Sunday, Christianity opted for the “Christ” story rather than the story about a man and his reason for going to Jerusalem. As “story” we can readily enter into the “Christ” story and be moved by its themes of recognition, joy, celebration, welcome, hope, discipleship, fickleness, and recognize the contrast with Pilate’s ostentatious entrance into the city.

However, a danger lies in traditional emphasis on this story. The danger lies in not being challenged enough by Jesus’ radical preaching, in mistaking what he really died for, in being too comfortable with a glorious Savior figure who “saves” the world. The danger is all too evident in some supposedly Christian countries where greed, profit, bullying, oppressing the powerless and ravaging the earth flow from political and economic systems that Jesus would denounce.

Palm Sunday invites us to consider what calling oneself “Christian” or a follower of Jesus is really about. Let’s wave our palm branches for the right reason.

Inspired words

Presider: Let us follow Jesus into Jerusalem, singing in praise and petition, yet truly understanding his message and being willing to take a stand with him for his beliefs. May our song of “Hosanna” or “Save us” be raised with an appreciation that ours are the hearts and minds, the arms and legs, through which we save ourselves and each other.

Song: Hosanna by Marty Haugen on the CD Song of Mark / 3.08 minutes Margie

HOSANNA (Mark 11:1-33)

CHILDREN/CHOIR: Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest.

CHILDREN: Blessed is the one, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Praise be to you, O son of David, blessed your Reign shall be!

ALL:   Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!

MASK I: How can you speak? Where is your authority? How can you string these people along?

MASK II: If you should seek to forge a majority, you may find out how prophets go wrong.

ALL:   Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!

CHOIR: O who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Only those with a clean and a true heart. Lift up your heads, O gates, fling wide every door to welcome in the King of Glory.

ALL:   Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!

MASK III: You should take care what you will say to them. If there’s disorder, you will soon pay.

JESUS: You should beware, cheating and using them. God will avenge them, soon is the day.

ALL:   Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!

Opening Prayer                                                                                       Mike

We acknowledge the presence of God,

here on earth, here in each other,

present now in every moment and every being.

We pray that we and all people

will hear the message of Jesus

and live our lives in such a way

that what Jesus did not see in his lifetime

might be seen in our lifetime –

people trusting the power of love and generosity

more than the power of greed and selfishness.

Like Jesus, we want to be strong in standing up

for what we believe to be true and good.

We make this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Reading                                                                                               Peter

Isaiah 50:4-7                                                                                         

Our God has given me a well-trained tongue 

that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.

Morning after morning, God awakens me, 

to hear as disciples do.

God opens my ears; 

I was not disobedient, 

I did not turn back; 

I gave my back to those who beat me; 

my cheeks to those who humiliated me;

I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.

The Divine helps me, 

therefore I am not dishonored; 

therefore I have set my face firm.

I know I will not be put to shame.

Inspired words.

Psalm

I Say Yes by Jan Novotka on Together in the Great Work / 3.30 minutes   Margie

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1aW-dLBWLnqvTI78dQYxFIoXXPWKhwnMYkzbaP1l0lmQ/edit?usp=sharing

Words are on slides. Not needed for worship guide.

To the Mystery that calls me, I say, “Yes!”

To the longing that beckons, I say, “Yes!”

To the truth that disturbs me, I say, “Yes!”

I say, “Yes” to the One within All.

I say, “Yes” to the One that is All.

For the suffering and broken, I say, “Yes!”

For the lost and the forsaken, I say, “Yes!”

For the voiceless and the ravaged, I say “Yes!”

I say, “Yes” to the One within All.

I say, “Yes” to the One that is All.

For the exiled and homeless, I say, “Yes!”

For those poisoned and dying, I say, “Yes!”

For those pushed to extinction, I say, “Yes!”

I say, “Yes” to the One within All.

I say, “Yes” to the One that is All.

For the healing of the Body, I say, “Yes!”

For the sake of the Future, I say, “Yes!”

For the Life of the planet, I say, “Yes!”

I say, “Yes” to the One within All.

I say, “Yes” to the One that is All.

“And now our sung Gospel.” –

Sung Passion                                                                                     Mike

Look on Us, Savior  (The Passion  Luke 22:14 – 23:46) by Marty Haugen on Feast of Life / 5.26 minutes 

When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:14-15)

When Jesus knew that the time of his death was near, he said to his disciples,
“I have yearned to eat the Passover with you before I suffer.”

When they were all gathered at table,
Jesus took bread and wine, blessed it, and gave it to them, saying,

“Take this, all of you, and eat it:
This is my body given up for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.

Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
This is the cup of life poured out for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.

No more will I share this wine or this bread,
until that time I am raised from the dead;
then at God’s table we all shall be fed.”

Jesus led us to the garden.
He said, “This night you face the time of trial.
Pray now, and keep watch here awhile.”
All too soon he found us sleeping.
“Awake,” he said, “to face your grief and fear.
See now, my betrayer is here.

This is the hour; my time is at hand.
You who would take up your cross now must stand.
Pray that your faith is not founded on sand.”

Deep in the darkness, disaster, coming with torches and knives –
they bound up our Master, and we ran for our lives.

No one would stay to defend him; no one would stand by his side.
In panic, we fled then, seeking somewhere to hide.

Look on us, Savior, and show us your face,
fearful and weak, we rely on your grace.
You who have suffered and died in our place: Hear us, O God. Hear us, O God.


Then in the morning, they tried him – sentenced our Master to die,
while Peter denied him with a curse and a lie.
Soldiers who beat him and scourged him, called him to summon his might,
they mocked him, and urged him, “Bring your Reign in our sight.”

Look on us, Savior, and show us your face;
fearful and weak, we rely on your grace.
You who have suffered and died in our place: Hear us, O God. Hear us, O God.

Still he was meek and forgiving, bearing his cross to the end.
He died for our living, faithful brother and friend.
Deep in the darkness, we lost him; faintly we heard his last call,

the pain that it cost him – losing God and us all.

Look on us, Savior, and show us your face.
Fearful and weak, we rely on your grace.
You who have suffered and died in our place: Hear us, O God. Hear us, O God.

Homily                                                                                                 Mike

Prayer of the People                                                  Joan and Mary Lynn 

On this Palm Sunday, we recognize Jesus’s call to empower people with the message that the Breath, the Spirit, the Life of God is within everyone. And this message led to his suffering and death. Now we recall people who also live the call that comes from deep inside them, some even dying for their convictions. 

After each petition our response will be “As One We Pray!”

We pray for the strength of conviction of a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, Dorothy Stang, Martyr of the Amazon, who worked in defense of the poor and the environment, and was murdered by two gunman after she showed them her weapon, a Bible, and read to them the Beatitudes.  … we respond, “As One We Pray!”

We pray for the strength of conviction of Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero, who spoke out on radio to the soldiers of El Salvador and pleaded with them to stop murdering civilians per government orders. St. Oscar Romero was shot by an assassin the next day as he lifted the host in the act of consecration.  … we respond, “As One We Pray!”

We pray for the strength of conviction of Trappist monk Thomas Merton, whose outspokenness against the Vietnam War, his critical stance on nuclear weapons, his critical stance on made-in-America racism, and his cry against capitalism’s empire-building by way of global violence, most likely led to his untimely death. … we respond, “As One We Pray!”

We pray for the strength of conviction of Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Conventual Franciscan Friar,  who assisted in publishing a number of anti-Nazi German publications, who was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. When the Nazi guards selected 10 people to be starved to death in punishment, Kolbe volunteered to die in place of a stranger. … we respond, “As One We Pray!”

We pray for the strength of conviction of Fr. John Dear, U.S. Catholic priest and author known for his peace writings and some 75 arrests for civil disobedience actions across the country for protesting a wide range of issues, including U.S. policies on Latin America, nuclear weapons development, and the cooperation of Jesuit educational institutions with American military recruiting programs such as the ROTC. He was dismissed from the international Jesuit religious order, after 32 years, which said he was “obstinately disobedient” to its directives. … we respond, “As One We Pray!”

We pray for the strength of conviction of the four churchwomen-Dorothy Kazel, Jean Donovan, lta Ford, and Maura Clarke-who were raped and killed because of their work for justice and solidarity with the people of El Salvador. … we respond, “As One We Pray!”

We pray for the strength of conviction of Malala Yousafzai, who is a prominent activist for girls’ education, which attracted the attention of the Taliban in Pakistan. At fifteen, she was wounded by several gunshots to her head and upper body. At sixteen, she recovered and took her cause to address the United Nations. At seventeen, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. … we respond, “As One We Pray!”

We pray for the strength of conviction of Berta Caceres of Honduras, environmental activist and human rights fighter, who was co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and received the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, for “a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam” at the Río Gualcarque. Berta said, “I cannot freely walk on my territory or swim in the sacred river and I am separated from my children because of the threats. I cannot live in peace, I am always thinking about being killed or kidnapped. But I refuse to go into exile. I am a human rights fighter and I will not give up this fight.” She was assassinated in her home by armed intruders. … we respond, “As One We Pray!”

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM and RAMP and all other groups we participate in who have the conviction to support and build up the marginalized, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus… we respond, “As One We Pray!”

For what else shall we pray?  we respond, “As One We Pray!” Allow up to 4 petitions.

We pray that we may always be attentive to the Divine’s call, and live it with conviction, perseverance and fortitude.  We pray that our actions may bring healing and wholeness to this world.  May we help bring justice to others as best we can. We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sharing Peace                                                                         Mike

Blessing of Bread and Wine                                                 Judy L

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

All: We appreciate our giftedness and dignity.  We pray that these gifts and all our gifts may be used in such a way as to be authentic and true to our beliefs.

Eucharistic Prayer                                    Mike and Colleen Walsh-White

P:  We gather together today mindful of the many times we have professed our readiness to be true disciples of Jesus to be salt of the earth  to be light in the world.  Voice:  We acknowledge the daunting challenge of this profession in the society in which we live, with its economic systems that impoverish and disempower people, and its political systems that enable the rich to get richer and the earth to become poorer.  
P: We remember that Jesus  encountered in his day systems as unjust as those we experience in our day, and who surely felt powerless to change anything on his own.  Voice: We turn our hearts and minds to his message to his hopes and dreams to his ardent desire for a better society.  
P: We focus on his struggle his reflection, his prayer his questions- where to start? how to start? what to say? whom to choose? how to keep going? how to be salt? how to be light?  Voice: We call to mind how Jesus urged his listeners to put their trust in the power of being neighbor in the power of the Divine’s Spirit within them in the power of conversion from religious thinking and practices that made them feel inadequate and worthless.
P: Our prayer today is a prayer of resolve, a prayer of determination that we, each one of us, will do whatever we can however small in whatever way to bring the real dream of Jesus to fruition in our lives and in our world today.  Voice: At the start of Holy Week we focus on Jesus human like us a man with a dream for a better world a man of extraordinary courage a man on a journey to the end of his life a man willing to die for what he believed a man who knew he would never see his dream fulfilled a man who had to trust that those who came after him would keep his dream alive.
P: As we gather once more around bread and wine we recall Jesus sharing bread and wine with his friends shortly before he died. He invited them to eat and drink as a sign of their readiness to keep his memory alive to give their all for what he believed and taught. We, too, eat and drink. We stand up as a sign of our readiness to be counted upon. We give our word. By our eating and drinking we commit ourselves to follow where Jesus dared to journey.   We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move free in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen! 

Prayer of Jesus                                                                                Linda S

O Cosmic householder,

Source of our wisdom, protector and provider,

Embracing all that dwells in the Heavens,

Naming for all holiness and justice,

In the Companionship of Empowerment,

Spread throughout the entire Creation,

As willed by Holy Wisdom.

In justice may all be sustained by daily food.

And relieved of the burden of crippling debts.

Lead us not into collusion with any type of violence.

And deliver us from all forms of violent oppression.

For yours is the empowering desire to radiate on earth

The non-violent justice of enduring hope.

Amen.

                                                                                          by Diarmuid O’Murchu

Breaking of the Bread                                                            Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus. Make us One now. 

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus. Make us One now.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus. Make us One now.

Presider:  “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song – Instrumental                                                    Mike

Closing Prayer                                                                                   Mike

Holy is the One for Palm Sunday by Jan Richardson 

Holy is the One 

who comes to us 

by the way of love

poured out with abandon.

Holy is the One 

who walks towards us

by the way of grace 

that holds us fast.

Holy is the One 

who calls us to follow 

in the way of loving, 

in the path of joy.

 An adaptation from Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace – A Book of Blessings for the Seasons, pages 125

As we commemorate the day Jesus rode upon a donkey into Jerusalem amid cheering palm wavers, may we draw courage to face the challenges and consequences of following him.  May our lives be filled with the conviction, perseverance and fortitude to do what it takes to live Jesus’s true story into the world, bringing healing and wholeness. 

And acknowledging Jesus to be human like us, may we draw strength from his example that we’ll see during Holy Week, and accept the suffering in our lives. Amen.

Closing Song                                                                                     Mike

The Whole World Is Waiting – Lyric Video – The Many featuring Flamy Grant and Kate Hurley

5,570 views Dec 6, 2023

The Whole World is Waiting was originally written by Kate Hurley in 2008. This new version was born from a collaboration with some folks those of us in the band really love and admire: Flamy Grant, Ben Grace (of The Calendar Years), and the original writer herself, Kate Hurley. From the first line to the last, it gives us a way to sing about the realities we are living at this moment. When so much is heartbreaking around us – devastating war, climate crises, political upheaval, hatred, exclusion and division – this is a song we can sing honestly. It’s also a song that assures us there is a God that hears the “cries for justice and the longing to be free.” Who “heals and shows us what can be.” And it reminds us once again that love can change things – something that’s often so hard to believe.

Fifth Sunday of Lent – Cycle B

WAITING

March 17, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/aVhp3dbLtzD7VnhcdDp_I3SBdgHPM73uaiWKTNWGr7SMV70a4FynaL1mZDYENAfK.puk0POgXvCXqm4xz?startTime=1710684008000

We Pray for Others                                                                                               Mike

Opening Song                                                                                                         Marie

It Is Well with My Soul

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmo4qG26_iU  – stop at 2 minutes

Wisdom Bowl                                                                                                         Mike

Opening Prayer                                                                                                      Mike

May the ears of our hearts be open this day as we listen for gentle guidance and wisdom in the form of words and melodies.  May we be aware of the value of waiting and may we commit to being patient with ourselves and with each other. Amen

First Reading                                                                                                 Geri

A reading from the Writings of Teilhard de Chardin

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay.

We like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something

unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability—

and that it may take a very long time. . . .

Accept the anxiety of feeling yourself

in suspense and incomplete.

These are the inspired words of Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit theologian and paleontologist.  In 1926 he was expelled from France for his liberal teaching, and assigned as pastor to a small church in China. There he discovered the Peking man! 

Second Reading                                                                                                      Kathy

A reading from the Writings of Howard Thurman

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself.  It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will, all of your life, spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls. 

These are the inspired words of Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King’s spiritual director.  

Gospel Spot                                                                                                             Peter

Words of Wisdom about Lent from Pope Francis

Fast from hurting words . . . . and say kind words.

Fast from sadness . . . . and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger . . . .  and be filled with patience.

Fast from pessimism . . . . and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries . . . . and have trust.

Fast from complaints . . . .  and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures . . . . and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness . . . .  and fill your hearts with joy.

Fast from selfishness . . . . and be compassionate to others.

Fast from grudges . . . . and be reconciled.

Fast from words . . . . and be silent so you can listen.

Homily                                                                                                                      Mike

Prayer of the People                                                                                Tom and Joanne

We pray that we may reflect the presence of quiet persistence as we actively wait for goodness to unfold.              

After each petition our response will be “As one, we pray!”

That all houses of worship may help to lead all people to the unfolding mystery of peace and justice that is channeled through love and mercy toward one another…we respond,

For the impact of our witness on political decisions both domestically and internationally, especially on issues of peace and justice… we respond,

For our country especially in places where there is internal strife, for those circumstances where it is difficult to admit mistakes, ask forgiveness or forgive one another; and for those who work to heal those divisions… we respond,

For the serenity that comes when we realize that the universe is unfolding as it should and for the gladness that fills our hearts and for the grace to reflect that joy to others … we respond,

For those who are reluctant to change; and for those who have been too wounded to grant forgiveness, especially within our families… we respond,

For the desire to heal any divisiveness within this country and global community; and for those among us who are sick, dying, grieving or in any kind of need… we respond,

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, for our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity, and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM, and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them. May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus…we pray…

For what else shall we pray? Allow 4 petitions.

We pray with confidence that these petitions and those unspoken concerns and needs deep within each of us will be heard and answered with loving compassion. Amen.

Sign of Peace                                                                                                          Mike 

Blessing of Bread and Wine                                                                               Linda S

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer                                                                                      Mike and Margie

P:  We acknowledge that the Divine is beyond all imagining.  We give thanks for the gift of reflective awareness that allows us to recognize this presence in our universe. 

Voice:  Everything we have, everything we see, everything we do, everyone we love, and everyone who loves us reveals this sustaining presence.  We are grateful that this presence brings energy to life and all that exists.  

P:  We recognize that the Divine expresses itself in human life and that – through us – it can sing and dance, speak and write, love and create.  In this, we never cease to hope, and for this, we are always filled with praise and thanksgiving.  

Voice:  This season of Lent invites us to be more and more open to the Divine’s call as we reflect on the life and mission of Jesus.

P: We acknowledge that the Divine is the Source of our health and wholeness, healer of body, mind and spirit; in this Eucharist, we bring the darkness of our world, and the pain and suffering of all people.

Voice: We seek to be healed and made whole; we seek to be reconciled and united; we seek peace in our hearts and in our world.

P:  May our hearts be awakened to the empowering grace of the abundant Spirit, the same Spirit in Jesus.

Voice: We recognize all is holy. As we celebrate our commitment to Jesus, we acknowledge these holy gifts of bread and wine, which provide energy for life, to nourish and sustain us in our time of need.

P: As we gather once more around bread and wine, we recall Jesus sharing bread and wine with his friends shortly before he died.  He invited them to eat and drink as a sign of their readiness to keep his memory alive and to give their all for what he believed and taught.

Voice:  We recall the blessings and love from ages past, and we celebrate anew the gift of life, which we share among us at this Eucharistic feast.

P:  May the Spirit of life and wholeness, who transforms the gifts we present, transform us, too, that we may be refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring mercy, love and healing to those whose lives we touch.

Voice: The bread we break and the cup we share are symbols of our world of abundance where all are invited to partake of the fullness of life.

P: But that life is often impeded by greed and selfishness, and by the exploitation of people.

Voice:  In union with all peoples, living and dead, may we strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished, where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can live in health and wholeness, united in acclaiming the Spirit of life, whose abundance is offered to each and to all, until the Kindom arrives in the fullness of time.

P:  We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move freely in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen!  

Prayer of Jesus

The Lord’s Prayer in Irish                                                                                    Marie

Breaking of the Bread                                                                             Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Make us one now. Make us one now.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus. Make us one now. Make us one now.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Make us one now. Make us one now.

Presider: We gather together this morning and every Sunday to remember Jesus and his teachings.  We come to be nourished spiritually, so we eat and drink bread and wine in his memory.

Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our willingness to follow Jesus.

When sharing the bread, say: “This is and you are the bread of life.”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.  We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup, say: “The cup of the Covenant” 

Communion Song                                                                                                  Marie

Being in Communion by Jan Novotka

Being in communion, we are one.

Being in communion, being one.

Closing Prayer                                                                                                         Mike

In this Lenten season, may we be more patient than usual with waiting.  May we move beyond wishes to transform others.  May we focus our attention on personal renewal which is so easy to resist.  May we become more alert and accepting of the reality that the only person we can set about changing is ourselves.  Amen.

Closing Song                                                                                                            Marie

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke  

Announcements

4th Sunday Lent Cycle B – March 10, 2024

 Theme: Recognizing International Women’s Day

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/bAr1Z3-DRkKkWOZBA9COda7HQzHxwmo7dLIAX5ZQVTy_RraS4BuNJCE_OJ6YHQXq.fjo1eyqg2M8-vz5V?startTime=1710079218000

We pray for those individuals in need   (Please be brief)           Mike

Introduction                                                                   Maryann

The history of International Women’s Day   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaN5nHMNFg8

This past Friday, March 8, was International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day, marked annually on March 8, is one of the biggest days of the year. Worldwide, groups and individuals unify to celebrate and support women’s advancement. 

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as an official UN holiday for women’s rights and world peace. It has since been commemorated annually by the UN and much of the world, with each year’s observance centered on a particular theme or issue within women’s rights.

The fact that Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th is strongly linked to the women’s movements during the Russian Revolution (1917).

In February 1909, the foundations of International Women’s Day were laid in the form of a “Women’s Day” held in response to a large-scale New York City garment workers’ strike for better pay, shorter hours, improved working conditions, and voting rights.

Originally a national day marked in the USA, the idea quickly turned international. It was first adopted by European countries after, at the International Conference of Working Women in Denmark in 1910, German socialist Clara Zetkin proposed the idea of a permanent day in the calendar year during which women could make their voices heard. The first international day was celebrated in 1911, though the March 8 date we know would not be set until during World War 1. Celebrated and formalized by the United Nations in 1975, each year the UN now adopts a theme as a way to highlight a specific issue and focus attention.

IWD is celebrated in several countries. International Women’s Day is not an official holiday in the United States, though the month of March is known as Women’s History Month; a period of time to call attention to women’s achievements throughout history both past and contemporary.

The IWD 2024 campaign theme focuses on a global request to #InspireInclusion because when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment. So the aim of the IWD 2024 #InspireInclusion campaign is to collectively forge a more inclusive world for women.

For #IWD2024, the campaign theme #InspireInclusion emphasizes the importance of #diversity and #empowerment in all aspects of society. This year’s campaign theme underscores the crucial role of #inclusion in achieving #gender #equality. It calls for action to break down barriers, challenge #stereotypes, and create environments where all #women are valued and respected. #InspireInclusion encourages everyone to recognize the unique perspectives and contributions of women from all walks of life, including those from marginalized communities.

Gathering Song                                                                     Bill

Women’s rights suffrage song-Standing on the Shoulders by Joyce J Rouse, aka Earth Mama®  

Wisdom Bowl                                                                           Maryann

Opening Prayer                                                                       Teri

In gratitude we stand to welcome one another to this celebration of community and common life. We are grateful for each other and pause to remember that we are one in the spirit of life and love dwelling among us and in each one of us.

In this spirit of oneness let us stretch our awareness of community in ever expanding circles, like ripples of energy pushing outward from a pebble tossed onto a still and quiet pond. Let these circles expand to include the plants and animals living in and around us, the other communities in our town,  our state and our nation until the entire globe is embraced.

Then let that globe, drenched in love, become a pebble tossed into the vast and silent cosmos until our embrace envelopes the entire universe and all that it holds. This is the power that lies waiting  in our hearts, aching to be invited into action.

Everything belongs. The center of the universe is where we are standing. May we begin our celebration as if we believe this, for in the celebrating we make it true.

Written by Miriam Gill at Kirkridge Retreat Center during

A New Paradigm for Prayer with

Michael Morwood, June 7-9, 2015

1st Reading                                                                                       Sue and Colleen 2

Reader 1

Anna the Prophetess

There was also a certain prophetess, Anna by name, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had seen many days, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She was constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer. Coming on the scene at this moment, she gave thanks to God and talked about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

Luke 2:36-38

Anna, prophetess of God! the little we know of you reveals a woman of awesome wisdom whose intuition and inner sight knew what was to come.

Your prophetic gift lives with us still, Anna­

gestating deep in our feminine consciousness.

Your words still waiting to be uttered in our time.

You were, Anna,

a daughter of Ancient Tradition that embraced a Mother God and never questioned

the sacred role of women in prophecy, discernment and moral leadership.

For, in ancient times, women were honored

as the embodiment of wisdom, reflecting in the cycles of their lives

the wonder of creation and intrinsically connected to the divine

through the mysterious powers of birthing.

But when you had passed through the first two cycles of womanhood­

Maiden and Mother-

you then entered into the dark age of the Crone, Anna­

the Old One, wrinkled, wise,

known from time immemorial as The Saga-

“She Who Speaks,” the one who now, in her old age,

had reached the fullness of her time and was empowered by her years to utter sacred words and poetry, invoking the divine

in the Temple’s holy spaces. Oracle of the Sacred!

The Book of Proverbs knew you, Anna:

“She opens her mouth with wisdom” (Prov. 31 :26).

And the people of your time knew you too-

more connected than we to the wisdom of the feminine and the power of the Crone­ they honored your wrinkles as a sign of knowledge and experience

to be shared as a gift

with those who had not walked so far and deeply,

and were unfamiliar with the mysteries of life and death.

They called you “Hag”­ meaning in those early days

not one to be despised and cast aside, but a wise and holy woman.

Priestess and Prophetess, Counselor and Guide,

you were a comfort and a solace to God’s people, Annal

Ah, wise woman! We have lost you!

We are disconnected from the feminine power and energy that breathed through your wrinkled, craggy skin.

We are all too often bereft of the compassion,

born of long journeying, that shone through

your all-seeing eyes. But, above all,

we fear you, Anna, Prophetess!

We flee your cracks and wrinkles, your silver hair and fragile bones.

We fear all the signs of age that set you in a place of honor­

beloved by all.

Now in our time they have become signs of shame and humiliation. Our world supplies us, Anna, with a vast array

of creams and colors and lotions, pills and masks and potions

to hide and change the image of the Crone!

To smooth out, wipe away, cut out, tuck away

those very signs which proclaimed you honored and holy!

Our menfolk don’t like it, Anna. They want us Maiden. or Mother.

Not Crone.

They want us-demand us- cute, pretty, safe or comforting.

The Crone is none of those things.

She stands apart in a darker place, a deeper place

where we do not wish to go …

She challenges our false imaginings and our flight from wisdom and dying.

Reader 2

We are so afraid of dark, old places. We do not want to be there.

It is not a popular place to be.

We will do anything to hold back the knowing.

We have made the cloak of the Crone so unacceptable.

So ugly.

So we do not want to know the mysteries it would hide.

We retreat from the feminine insights of your years, Anna-

lest our lives and our world be changed forever.

For if we embrace you, Crone, Wisdom figure,

Ancient Female lodged so deep in our psyches

stirring like an embryonic volcano

in our collective human consciousness­

we, your sisters, silent so long, will also prophesy and

utter sacred songs and canticles!

And our prophecy will claim the honor in which age and all life must be held.

We will speak aloud of things hidden and denied and not recognized.

We, your sisters,

will proclaim as you did Anna, that God is in our midst- not ln power and triumph,

control and hierarchy, but in the small, the humble, the un-acknowledged.

Your wisdom, Anna, revealed to you

the deeper truths from which we hide when we deny

the beauty and significance of age. Anna, sister, prophetess,

speaker of the truth, help us reclaim

that which we have left behind­ our woman gifts- abandoned,

our journey aborted and denied in our sad efforts

to hide from all that we could be.

May we, Anna, women of today,

inheritors of a world unbalanced, bereft of feminine wisdom,

and grieving while not even knowing what we grieve,

may we retrieve the Crone, the Wise Woman, the Prophetess

from the layers of our history.

May we once again delight in access

to sacred mysteries­

                   waiting and given to those who honor their years,

                   listen to their lives,

                   reflect on their experience,

                   embrace who they are,

                   discern their sacred path

                   and dare follow it-

distilling all they have encountered and experienced on their way into a chalice of Wisdom for others to taste.

May we, Anna, prophetess, stand up with courage,

breaking open our own truth, like you,

in the Temple’s sacred spaces.

Soul Sister.

Inspired Words

From Soul Sisters: Women in Scripture Speak to Women Today by Edwina Gateley

Psalm                                                                                         Bill

https://youtu.be/YT4S7aNHzQA Woman Spirit by Karen Drucker, video by Mary Theresa Streck and Juanita Cordero

Woman’s Spirit is beauty

Woman’s Spirit runs deep

Woman loves with compassion

our perfection is complete …

Woman’s Spirit is graceful

Woman’s Spirit is wise

Woman’s Spirit is moving

bringing love into our lives …

Woman’s Spirit is passion

Woman’s Spirit is birth

Woman’s power unfolding

to honor life on earth …

2nd Reading                                                                                     Maryann

I am Woman – Dedani Dlodlo – slides

I am Woman

Dedani Dlodlo presents her poem – I am Woman.

Dedani is a psychologist and poet who lives in London, England. Originally from Zimbabwe and having spent time in the US, Dedani works with young people at risk of serious youth violence and specialises in trauma. She helped co-found @the_ampersandcollective, a faith based art ministry bringing the community together through art.

#poetry #iamwoman #dedanidlodlo #streamsstudio

I am

Woman

And in the tradition of some religious men

I am more villain than victim

Though the weaker sex

I am still the greater sinner

I am no longer

The last of creation’s divine epiphanies woman

Or the one man once sang over

Singing bone of my very bone

Flesh of my own flesh woman

I am only

Fashioned from the rib of a man woman

The woman that was

Given and then blamed

She is me

Always and inexplicably ashamed

I am she

Deceived into conceiving sin woman

I have desires and needs

Of which I’ve been told I needn’t speak

Because after all God never spoke to me

Woman

Not directly

And not of anything

Other than curses and seeds

So though I am wild woman

Constantly coming undone

And though on most days

I runneth over

With tears and holy hymns

That I can only hum

I try hard not to be

That woman

Stuck on paper

Too open

And so easily read

Like a well known poem

About a brittle woman

Breaking herself apart

To scatter herself and her unloved heart

All over the halfway willingness of a man woman

I try hard not to be

That wild horse woman

Both terrifying and strange

Running alone in flames

Along tight ropes and fine lines

Between two poles

Not enough and too much

Trying to find peace of mind

Somewhere in the middle

Where the thunder roars

While the sun still kisses

After the world ends

Before the dawn breaks again

But there

Deep in the dialectical

Where few go

Where being good and woman

Feels more like a game of Marco Polo

The knowledge of who I can be

Always just beyond my reach

Something I can only navigate

By what their misogyny tells me

But they are the blind ones

Afraid to see that there might be

Something divine in femininity

Inspired Words

Homily                                                                                       Maryann

Intro to ‘Homily’

         As we celebrate International Women’s Day I’ve decided to let some words from women be presented and reflected on, in place of the homily format Mike usually uses.  Ten quotes have been selected.

         As you look at each quote on the screen, I will read it.  Then there will be a few moments of silence for pondering its message.

         Once the ten quotes have been presented one by one, you will see a one page list of all ten.  At this point, there will be a few minutes of silence for you to decide which of the ten quotes speaks to your heart and soul this morning.  Write your favorite quote for reference during sharing and prepare a short statement about what these words are saying to you this morning.

Instructions before Sharing

         I’d like to give as many as would like to speak about why a quote inspires them today, so you will hear a gentle bell to let you know it’s time for another to share.  [I will time the statements and ring the bell after about 40 seconds.]

What quote influences me?

WomanQuote
Susan B AnthonyMen their rights and nothing more; Women their rights and nothing less.
Jacqueline Kennedy OnassisWe should all do something to right the wrongs that we see and not just complain about them.
Margaret ThatcherIf you want something said, ask a man; If you want something done, ask a woman.
Maya AngelouI’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Emma WatsonIf you stand for equality, you are a feminist. Sorry to tell you.
Rosa ParksMemories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.
Indira GandhiYou can not shake hands with a clenched fist.
Margaret MeadNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
Mother TeresaSome people come into your life as blessings, some come in as lessons.
Audrey HepburnThe best thing to hold onto in life is each other.

Prayer of the People                                        Joan Thomas, David Lorenz

R1: Our prayer of the people today is a Litany of Gratitude to thank women for their unique gifts to the world. Our response is: We are grateful!

R2: Thank you, Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States for promoting education and working to create a healthier country and world.

And we respond: We are grateful!

R1: Thank you, Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist and youngest

Nobel Prize laureate, for defying the Taliban in Pakistan and demanding that girls be allowed to receive an education. And we respond: We are grateful!

R2: Thank you, Qiu Jin, China’s first feminist executed in 1907, for fighting for the emancipation of women at a time when such movements did not exist in China, for refusing to bind your feet, for leaving your loveless marriage to

study in Japan, and for starting your own feminist newspaper, Chinese Women. And we respond: We are grateful!

R1: Thank you, Claudette Colvin, Rosa Parks, and the brave women who sparked the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, for refusing segregation. And we respond: We are grateful!

R2: Thank you, Sadako Sasaki, Japanese hibakusha, “bomb-affected person,” affected Hiroshima, for folding one thousand origami cranes before your death, a symbol of the innocent victims of nuclear warfare. And we respond: We are grateful!

R1: Thank you, Sally Ride, American engineer, physicist, and astronaut who became the first American woman and the third women overall in space in 1983, for showing the world, especially young girls, that women can reach for the stars and fly into space. And we respond: We are grateful!

R2: Thank you, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, K’iche’ political and human rights activist from Guatemala and 1992 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, for dedicating your life to publicizing the rights of Guatemala’s indigenous women and ethno-cultural reconciliation. And we respond: We are grateful!

R1: Thank you, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian novelist and author, for giving a definition of feminism for the twenty-first century in your book We Should All Be Feminists. And we respond: We are grateful!

R2: Thank you Mary Daly, American feminist philosopher and theologian, for challenging us to move Beyond God the Father. And we respond: We are grateful!

R1: Thank you, Marie Sklodowska Curie, Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist, first women to win a Nobel Prize, and first person and only woman to win twice, for your groundbreaking work in the field of radioactivity and for setting a new bar for women in academic and scientific

achievement. And we respond: We are grateful!

R2: Thank you, Helen Keller, American author, political activist, and lecturer who was deaf and blind, for campaigning tirelessly on behalf of people who are physically challenged and for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, and antimilitarism. And we respond: We are grateful!

R1: Thank you, Wangari Maathai, Kenyan ecologist who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, for your contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace with women to reverse African deforestation. And we respond: We are grateful!

R2: Thank you, mothers, grandmothers, ancestors, and all who have nurtured in every family and country, for shaping generations with your inspiration. And we respond: We are grateful!

R1: The list is endless. Who else would you add?  (allow 4 additions)

And we respond: We are grateful!

R2: For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and our sisters and brothers in FCM, Voice of the Faithful and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus. And we respond: We are grateful!

R1: May we continue to raise up women. May we speak their names, tell their stories and thank them for sharing their unique gifts with the world. We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus.

Amen

From Litany of Gratitude in Stirring Waters by Diann L Neu

Sharing of Peace                                                                        Mike

Prayer over the Bread and Wine                                          Geri

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer                                                    Mike & Peter

P. We who are alive today are the eyes and ears, the hands and feet of the Invisible Source.

Voice: We are Thought Incarnate, Word made flesh, Spirit embodied, Love materialized.  
P: We who are alive today are agents of ongoing creation. We are the consciousness of the earth: the universe knowing itself, seeing itself, singing to itself. We are creation loving itself, hearing itself, healing itself through om actions and compassion.

Voice: We who are alive today are prophets of a new time, makers of a new myth, where our Source dwells not on some heavenly throne but in the very breath of living things: among us and within us.
P: As the Cosmos multiplies and expands forever outward so does it expand forever inward evolving us into beings of higher consciousness.

Voice: We are made of heaven and earth, starlight and clay, minerals and meteor dust.
P: We are the Infinite Wave concentrated into finite particles, spacetime compressed into the speck of a lifetime.

Voice: We are creating tomorrow with our thoughts and words. We are shaping ourselves and families, our communities and cities, our cultures and civilization by what we do and fail to do.  
P: We are ascending into our potential, evolving into our Godness, co-creating the Whole that is the sum of our parts.  Voice:  They never told us it would be like this: that we ourselves are the shapers of our world, called to be the light and the holiness we seek.
P: We who are alive today: Let us sing for joy that the heaven we sought is within and around us, that wherever we look, there is Holiness looking back.  Voice: Let us not lose heart. No matter what storms batter and buffet us Life holds us firmly in the palm of lts Hand.

P: We come here today and remember Jesus.He taught us how tolove, to live for justice and to become all that we are called to be.  Voice: As part of his Jewish faith, Jesus ate a Passover meal with his family and friends. At that meal, he shared bread and wine, and now we do the same.
P. Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it like we are often broken in our relationships with one another, and showed us the way to reconciliation by asking us to share our bread with one another in remembrance of his own example.  Voice: We take and bless this bread of life As a sign of our oneness with the Divine With one another And all creation.
P: Jesus took the cup filled with the fruit of the vine, the vine that sustains us and links us to one another, and the fruit that nourishes the spirit of virtue that abides within and between each of us, and asked us to drink of that same spirit of loving-kindness and uniting harmony that was in him.  Voice: We take and bless these cups of wine As a sign of our oneness with the Divine With one another And all creation.
P: This ritual is a sign of our community, where the love we find at this table is reflected in our lives and the power we receive at this table makes us justice seekers and healers.Voice: We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move free in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen!

From There Are Burning Bushes Everywhere by Jan Phillips, p. 42 adapted

and various other Eucharistic rituals

Prayer of Jesus (Please pray along)                                            Geri

Our Father, Holy Mother,
Creator of the Cosmos, Source of Life, You are in my mind, in my garden,
in my cup of wine and loaf of bread. Blessed be your names:

Mother, Allah, Goddess, Beloved, Great Spirit, Radiant One, Yahweh, HaShem, Sophia

Your presence has come, your will is done on earth as it is in the cosmos.
May we give each other strength, mercy, tenderness, and joy,
and forgive each other’s failures, silence, pettiness, and forgetfulness,
as we ask to be forgiven by those we’ve hurt.
Lead us home to ourselves and each other, to clarity, to oneness,
and deliver us from the darkness of our ignorance and fear.

So we pray and so we receive. Amen.

Our Father, Our Mother  from There Are Burning Bushes Everywhere by Jan Phillips, p. 36.

Prior to the Breaking of the Bread                                                     Mike

Breaking of the Bread                                                            Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Make us One Now.
In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Make us One Now.
In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Make us One Now.

Communion                                                                                       Mike

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                               Bill

Enya.  –  Only Time

Enya – Only Time (Official 4K Music Video)

Who can say where the road goes?
Where the day flows? Only time
And who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose? Only time

Who can say why your heart sighs
As your love flies? Only time
And who can say why your heart cries
When your love lies? Only time

Who can say when the roads meet?
That love might be in your heart?
And who can say when the day sleeps
If the night keeps all your heart?
Night keeps all your heart

Who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose? Only time
And who can say where the road goes?
Where the day flows? Only time

Who knows? Only time
Who knows? Only time

Closing Prayer                                                                                   Margie

The song of peace is Woman’s song:

She sings the song of life’s seasons –

rhythms of birth and death, receiving and giving,

times of waiting and fulfillment, suffering and joy.

She sings a gentle song of listening and hope,

of wholeness .and unity,

of harmony with earth

and reverence for earth’s gifts.

Her song is compassion,

her song is love.

If nations would be healed,

woman’s song must be sung.

If there would be peace,

woman’s song must be heard.

By Mary Southard, CSJ

Sisters of St. Joseph, LaGrange, IL

Sending Forth Song                                                                         Maryann

The Power of Women by Karen Drucker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mRyyKNOGSg

Words & Music: Karen Drucker

Chorus: It’s the power of women – United we stand

We’re making a difference when we join hands

It’s the power of women who will heal this world

The power of women – the power of women…

1. It’s the Goddess, it’s the matriarch, it’s the maiden, it’s the crone

Every color, every race through the ages it’s been shown

That women have compassion women show the way

To a world that’s filled with peace and love let me hear you say

* Chorus *

2. As we stand in this circle feeling our connection

We can feel the power move as we state our intention

To bring peace to this world and right all the wrongs

Joining now in sisterhood we lift our voice in song and sing

* Chorus *

Tag: We got the power to change the world so what are we gonna do?

First we have to realize that it’s up to me and you

Every single day I’m gonna take the time to pray

And spread some lovingkindness to each person along my way

Whatcha gonna do with your power?

We are women of power!

Announcements

Additional Resources and Readings

Woman Empowerment | Oprah Winfrey motivational speech for women’s day   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJq1qIBgUdE

“I Am Woman” – Angry On This International Women’s Day by Rev. Dawn Hutchings, published on March 11, 2016

Some Woman Somewhere   Poetry for International Women’s Day, by Gretta Vosper

published On: March 20, 2023

other IWD links

https://www.internationalwomensday.com/theme

3rd Sunday Lent Cycle B – March 3, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/9M8lNNntjlj2dMFw3BGa9PhS7_AarVDhnMWyKDnqKAYFA3Z8HTP2QpGEmRyUisVg.-bELPF-rG21ZgfTD?startTime=1709478047000

 Theme: What Would Jesus Do…about Christian Nationalism?

We pray for those individuals in need                               Mike

Opening                                                               Margie

Confronting Christian Nationalism Curriculum by Vote Common Ground:

                               Katherine Stewart on What Is Christian Nationalism

https://www.votecommongood.com/confronting-christian-nationalism-curriculum/

God + Country Official Trailer

Introduction                                                                              Margie

In our Gospel this morning for the Third Sunday of Lent, Jesus angrily defends his Father’s house from the animal sellers and money lenders who are using it for their own purposes of greed and power. His reaction to the corruption of his mission is not a gentle one. This morning we will examine the threat of Christian Nationalism and ask ourselves what Jesus would do about the exploitation of his loving message by this powerful political ideology. And we will explore what we can do:

Learn more about it so that we can have intelligent conversations,

Pray that the hearts and minds of Christian Nationalists may be reached,

and Act, to confront this dangerous ideology by education, civic engagement and being role models of the true way of Jesus whenever we can.

Wisdom Bowl                                                          Margie 

Opening prayer                                                      Mike

We come this day seeking to remember the truth that lives deep within us, Divine truth. As we seek to uncover the holy truth of love, peace, and justice from the hateful rhetoric of Christian Nationalist lies that fill our ears, may we be reminded and strengthened in our beliefs. We believe that Divine love is available to all, regardless of the different labels we humans apply to one another. May we have the courage to be a reconciling presence on earth. To be pillars of love in a world defined by anger, fear, and separation. May we have the compassion to love our neighbors and ourselves, even when the world tells us we should not, and even when it is hard — especially when it is hard. We recognize the Divine Presence here with us, now and always, Amen.

                    Modified from A Preacher’s Toolkit for Confronting Christian Nationalism,

by Faithful America

First Reading                                                         Linda K

Gospel  John 2:13-17

When the Passover Feast, celebrated each Spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.

Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “ Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

Inspired Words 

2nd Reading                                                        Colleen

What Is Christian Nationalism, Exactly?         7:01

by David French, NY Times Opinion 2/25/24

If you’re alarmed by the rise of Christian nationalism, the single worst thing you can do is define it too broadly. If you define it too broadly, then you’re telling millions of ordinary churchgoing citizens that the importation of their religious values into the public square somehow places them in the same camp or on the same side as actual Christian supremacists, the illiberal authoritarians who want to remake America in their own fundamentalist image.

Enter the new feature-length documentary “God and Country,” which examines the role of Christian nationalism in American politics. Even before I knew that Rob Reiner was involved in the project, I agreed to be interviewed by the filmmakers for two key reasons: First, I wanted to make sure that I could offer a sensible definition of Christian nationalism, one that didn’t cast aspersions on Christians simply for bringing their values into the public square. And second, I wanted to outline exactly why actual Christian nationalism presents a real danger to our Constitution.

To understand what Christian nationalism is, it’s important to understand what it is not. It is not Christian nationalism if a person’s political values are shaped by the individual’s Christian faith. In fact, many of America’s most important social movements have been infused with Christian theology and Christian activism. Many of our nation’s abolitionists thundered their condemnations of slavery from Northern pulpits. The civil rights movement wasn’t exclusively Christian by any means, but it was pervasively Christian — Martin Luther King Jr. was, of course, a Baptist minister.

Anyone may disagree with Christian arguments around civil rights, immigration, abortion, religious liberty or any other point of political conflict. Christians disagree with one another on these topics all the time, but it is no more illegitimate or dangerous for a believer to bring her worldview into a public debate than it is for a secular person to bring his own secular moral reasoning into politics. In fact, I have learned from faiths other than my own, and our public square would be impoverished without access to the thoughts and ideas of Americans of faith.

The problem with Christian nationalism isn’t with Christian participation in politics but rather the belief that there should be Christian primacy in politics and law. It can manifest itself through ideology, identity and emotion. And if it were to take hold, it would both upend our Constitution and fracture our society.

The sociologists Samuel Perry and Andrew Whitehead define Christian nationalism as a “cultural framework that blurs distinctions between Christian identity and American identity, viewing the two as closely related and seeking to enhance and preserve their union.” The author and pastor Matthew McCullough defines Christian nationalism as “an understanding of American identity and significance held by Christians wherein the nation is a central actor in the world-historical purposes of the Christian God.” Both definitions are excellent, but what does ideological Christian nationalism look like in practice?

In 2022, a coalition of right-wing writers and leaders published a document called “National Conservatism: A Statement of Principles.” Its section on God and public religion states: “Where a Christian majority exists, public life should be rooted in Christianity and its moral vision, which should be honored by the state and other institutions both public and private.” That’s an extraordinary — and ominous — ideological statement, one that would immediately relegate non-Christians to second-class status. It’s utterly contrary to the First Amendment and would impose a form of compelled deference to Christianity on both religious minorities and the nonreligious.

But Christian nationalism isn’t just rooted in ideology; it’s also deeply rooted in identity, the belief that Christians should rule. This is the heart of the Seven Mountain Mandate, a dominionist movement emerging from American Pentecostalism. Paula White, Donald Trump’s closest spiritual adviser, is an adherent, and so is the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Tom Parker, who wrote a concurring opinion in the court’s recent I.V.F. decision. The movement holds that Christians are called to rule seven key societal institutions: the family, the church, education, the media, the arts, business and the government.

One doesn’t have to go all the way into Seven Mountain theology, though, to find examples of Christian identity politics. The use of Christianity as an unofficial but necessary qualification for office is a routine part of politics in the most churchgoing parts of America. Moreover, one of the common red-America arguments for Trump is that he might not be devout himself, but he’ll place lots of Christians in government.

But what is Christian identity politics but another form of Christian supremacy? How does Christian identity alone make any person a better candidate for office? After all, many of the worst actors in American politics are professed believers. Scandal and corruption are so pervasive in the church that when a person says, “I’m a Christian,” it tells me almost nothing about their wisdom or virtue.

Finally, we can’t forget the intense emotion of Christian nationalism. Most believers don’t follow ideological and theological arguments particularly closely. In the words of the historian Thomas Kidd, “Actual Christian nationalism is more a visceral reaction than a rationally chosen stance.” It is tied, in other words, to a visceralsense that the fate of the church is closely tied to the outcome of any given political race. That fervor can make believers gullible and potentially even dangerous. Its good-versus-evil dynamic can make Christians believe that their political opponents are capable of anything, including stealing an election. It artificially raises the stakes of elections to the point where a loss becomes an unthinkable catastrophe, with the fates of both church and state hanging in the balance. As we saw on Jan. 6, 2021, this belief invites violent action.

Committed Christian nationalists represent only 10 percent of the population, according to a 2023 PRRI/Brookings Christian Nationalism Survey. But even members of a minority that small can gain outsize power when they fold themselves into the larger Christian electorate, casting themselves as “just like you.” That’s why we cannot conflate Christian activism with Christian nationalism. One can welcome Christian participation in the public square while resisting domination, from any faith or creed.

Inspired words

Psalm                                                                                         Margie

We Stand        (3:29)                                                               by The Many, from All Belong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZOE7oOIHc4 

3rd Reading                                                            Janet

Epilogue                                                modified from The Power Worshippers,

by Katherine Stewart

The rise of the religious right should be cause for alarm among all who care about the democracy in America. Yet it should not be the cause of despair. If Christian Nationalism is a pathology rooted in America’s past, as I have argued, so, too, may the cure draw in important ways from our history. Overcoming this kind of reactionary and authoritarian movement isn’t just something Americans can do; it is what has made Americans who we are.

In this book, I have focused on the organizations and the people behind the movement. What I have necessarily left out are the many Americans who are mobilizing to confront the threat. When right-wing ideologies have sought to disenfranchise voters, to pervert the meaning of freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, to target the rights of specific communities, and to defend criminal actions by their enablers, Americans have organized to meet the challenge.

…There are  many legal advocacy groups committed to protecting individual rights, freedom of speech and conscience, and the separation of church and state, working in opposition to right-wing legal advocacy groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom. These organizations may not have as much money to devote to the cause, but their efforts are critical. Other organizations are devoted to promoting civic engagement, defending voting rights, and fostering access to comprehensive reproductive health care, scientific literacy and historical accuracy in schools, and the pursuit of justice in other areas. Many faith groups are involved in seeking to restore the rights of the undefended and disenfranchised. All these groups and individuals working on different lines are advancing democracy against the claims of the radical right, and these are the Americans that inspire me. There are innumerable avenues of involvement, and they represent democracy in action. I believe they have the power to succeed, because they follow in the footsteps of those who have done so in the past.

…There are of course many other threats facing our nation today. But the answers to those challenges are in some instances the same as the answers to religious nationalism. Reactionary authoritarianism doesn’t come out of nowhere. It draws much of its destructive energy from social and economic injustices that leave a few with too much power and many others with too little hope. Rising economic inequality and insecurity has created a large mass of people, on all ends of the economic spectrum, who are anxious for their future and predisposed to calls for unity around an identity that targets others for vilification and degradation. And it has elevated the power of a small group of people with the means and desire to control the social order for their own benefit. Addressing inequality won’t by itself resolve the challenges of the Christian Nationalist movement, but it will take some air out of its bellows.

In some ways, Christian Nationalism is the fruit of a society that has not yet lived up to the promise of the American idea. There is work to be done, but for now, we are free to do it. We have met challenges in the past – well enough, at least, to make it to the present moment. Religious nationalists are using the tools of democratic political culture to end democracy. I continue to believe those same resources can be used to restore it.

Inspired words

Homily                                                                                       Mike

Shared Homily

Prayer of the People                                                               Kathy

Like those in the Temple defiling “God’s house,” the leaders of the Christian Nationalist movement today have twisted Jesus’s message to their own purposes of power and greed. Let us pray for a change of heart by those who are distorting Christianity in so many ways. May the leaders come to conversion, and may the followers be freed from the many beliefs that are doing great damage to the Christian faith, the American government and the common good of humanity.

Our response will be a visualization of light and love changing the hearts, minds and actions of Christian Nationalists in our nation and in the world.

May those steeped in Christian Nationalism come to a truer understanding of the Bible rather than viewing it as the inerrant “Word of God” to be used as a weapon against their enemies. We respond and see…

May Christian Nationalists change their view of women as second-class citizens to a recognition and appreciation of the many gifts and roles of women. We respond and see…

May people involved in Christian Nationalism recognize the beauty and rights of LGBTQ persons, rather than using hateful and cruel prejudice to degrade and ostracize those individuals, often with tragic consequences. We respond and see…

May leaders and followers in Christian Nationalism recognize the value of proven science, rather than sharing anti-science conspiracy theories that make the world a more dangerous place. We respond and see…

May Christian Nationalists recognize the value and equality of all, rather than recognizing that they are enabling a white supremacist ideology when they deny white privilege, systemic racism, and the racial history of our country. We respond and see…

May those in the Christian Nationalist movement recognize the importance of true democracy where opponents are not demonized, bipartisanship is valued and authoritarianism is not held up as a goal. We respond and see…

May the Christian Nationalists in our midst recognize the separation of church and state and the love of God for all nations, rather than seeking far-right Christian control of the government and conflating the love of God with the love of America. We respond and see…

May those Christian Nationalists so intent on demonizing immigrants and strangers be reminded of both the Bible and Jesus’s call to loving others as ourselves. We respond and see…

May Christian Nationalists, like the animal sellers and loan sharks in the Temple, recognize that they are violating the example and teachings of Jesus, his sharing of the Divine, in so many ways. May they remember Jesus’s call to love, kindness, inclusion, grace, mercy, compassion and justice. May they search their hearts in openness and honesty for the answer to the question, “What would Jesus do?” We respond and see…

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and our sisters and brothers in FCM, Voice of the Faithful and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue their true Christian work as they follow the Way of Jesus. We respond and see… 

For what else shall we pray?  Allow up to 4 petitions followed by we respond and see…

May we as individuals and as a community help to raise a prophetic voice against Christian nationalism. May we continue both to pray for, and do the work of: love, peace, truth, equality, and justice in our lives.

Amen

Modified from How The Religious Right Gets It Wrong And What To Do About It

by Martin Thielen, from Progressive Christianity, February 26, 2024

Sharing Peace                                                                         Mike

Prayer over the Bread                                                            Bill

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

Prayer over the Wine                                                            

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Liturgy     (Please pray Voice part in your home)    Mike & Sue

P:  We acknowledge that the Divine is beyond all imagining. We give thanks for the gift of reflective awareness that allows us to recognize this presence in our universe. 

Voice:  Everything we have, everything we see, everything we do, everyone we love and everyone who loves us reveals this sustaining presence.  We are grateful that this presence brings energy to life and all that exists.  

P:  We recognize that the Divine expresses itself in human life and that – through us – it can sing and dance, speak and write, love and create.  In this, we never cease to hope, and for this, we are always filled with praise and thanksgiving.  

Voice:  This season of Lent invites us to be more and more open to the Divine’s call as we reflect on the life and true mission of Jesus.

P: We acknowledge that the Divine is the Source of our health and wholeness, healer of body, mind and spirit; in this Eucharist, we bring the darkness of our world, and the pain and suffering of all people.

Voice: We seek to be healed and made whole; we seek to be reconciled and united; we seek peace in our hearts and in our world.

P:  May our hearts be awakened to the empowering grace of the abundant Spirit, the same Spirit of Jesus.

Voice: We recognize all is holy. As we celebrate our commitment to Jesus, we acknowledge these holy gifts of bread and wine, which provide energy for life, to nourish and sustain us in our time of need.

P: As we gather once more around bread and wine, we recall Jesus sharing bread and wine with his friends shortly before he died.  He invited them to eat and drink as a sign of their readiness to keep his memory alive, to give their all for what he believed and taught.

Voice:  So, we take this bread, as Jesus took bread, and give thanks for the wonder of the Divine in, and with us, and we eat, committing ourselves to love as Jesus loved, wholeheartedly, generously, and compassionately, so that people will see expressed in us what we have seen expressed in Jesus.

P: We take this wine, and we remember Jesus drinking wine with his friends.  We drink, giving our “Yes” to being on earth the heart of the Holy One.

Voice:  We recall the blessing and love from ages past, and we celebrate anew the gift of life, which we share among us at this Eucharistic feast.

P:  May the Spirit of life and wholeness, who transforms the gifts we present, transform us, too, that we may be refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring mercy, love and healing to those whose lives we touch.

Voice: The bread we break and the cup we share are symbols of our world of abundance where all are invited to partake of the fullness of life.

P: But that life is often impeded by greed and selfishness, and by the exploitation of people.

Voice:  In union with all peoples, living and dead, may we strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished, where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can live in health and wholeness, united in acclaiming the Spirit of life, whose abundance is offered to each and to all, ‘til the Kindom arrives in the fullness of time.

P:  We pray, inviting the Spirit of Life, Love and Goodness to move free in our words and actions. To this, we give our Amen!

Prayer of Jesus                                                                    Linda S

Great divine spirit of love that is at the core of everything and from which all life flows,

We acknowledge this healing and transforming power.

May the spirit of unconditional love and forgiveness flow through each

of us and enable the realm of love to spread throughout the world.

Like the flowers in the fields, may we have the basics we need to live

and may we have the love and commitment to ensure that others have

what they need too.

May we have the courage to acknowledge when we have done wrong,

to seek forgiveness from those we have hurt

and to forgive those who have hurt us,

so that we may be reconciled.

We acknowledge the power of self-giving love to transform individual hearts and the world.

We recommit ourselves to the unconditional love of others and the work of justice and peace.

Amen

A 21st Century Lord’s Prayer by Roger Courtney adapted by Maryann Crilly

Breaking of the Bread                                                            Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Make us one now.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Make us one now.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Make us one now.

Communion                                                                             Mike

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal” 

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                   Margie

Faithful to the Gospel                                              by Jan Novotka, Emergence

Closing Prayer                                                                         Mike

We recognize that our nation and every other nation has been created with equal measures of love and care. May we have the wisdom to appreciate America’s many gifts, while having the humility to recognize that our country is but one very small part of the whole world and all of creation.

May we reach inside to find our voices through the noise of modern life and division.

May we learn, pray and act to confront the Christian Nationalist danger to Jesus’s mission, our country and the world.

Amen.

                    Modified from A Preacher’s Toolkit for Confronting Christian Nationalism,

by Faithful America

Sending Forth Song                                                               Margie

Standing in the Breach                                            by Jackson Browne

Link to sign: https://www.christiansagainstchristiannationalism.org/statement

Link to resources: https://act.faithfulamerica.org/signup/christian-nationalism-resources/

Announcements

Resources

https://www.christiansagainstchristiannationalism.org/statement
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Eight Ways the Religious Right Gets It Wrong

  1. The religious right is wrong about the Bible. It’s belief in biblical inerrancy, which is not taught in Scripture, leads to massive problems. And a 6,000-year-old earth, a God who condones genocide, and a literal bodily ascension of Jesus into the sky (to mention just a few problematic examples) is impossible to believe for most thinking people in the twenty-first century.
  2. The religious right is wrong about women. In the name of God and Scripture, it promotes second-class citizenship for women. For example, it tells women to submit to their husbands and insists that women cannot serve as ministers, even if they are gifted and called.
  3. The religious right is wrong about the LGBTQ community. It tells LGBTQ persons that they are an abomination to God. It constantly fights against LGBTQ rights. And it promotes hateful prejudice and cruelty toward LGBTQ persons, with tragic consequences.
  4. The religious right is wrong about science. It constantly rejects proven scientific facts including evolution, human-made climate change, and the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. It often shares anti-science conspiracy theories from its pulpits and social media posts, making the world a more dangerous place.
  5. The religious right is wrong about race. It enables white supremacist ideology in numerous ways including attacks on critical race theory and the Black Lives Matter movement. It resists teaching racial history in public schools and universities. It denies the reality of white privilege and systemic racism. And it supports numerous organizations with questionable racial positions.
  6. The religious right is wrong about politics. It engages in hyper-partisanship. It demonizes Democrats. It admires political authoritarianism. And it gives overwhelming and unyielding support to Donald Trump, who violates every value it claims to hold including character, decency, marital fidelity, truth telling, family values, and the preservation of democracy.
  7. The religious right is wrong about America. It conflates love of God with love of America. It supports an “America first” philosophy that ignores God’s love for all nations. It encourages the scourge of extreme Christian nationalism. And it assumes America is a new Israel, leading to bad theology, bad citizenship, and bad public policy.
  8. The religious right is wrong about Jesus. It violates the example and teachings of Jesus in dozens of ways, including his call to love, kindness, inclusion, grace, mercy, compassion, and justice. Although it likes to ask the question, “What would Jesus do?,” it consistently chooses to do the opposite.

Unfortunately, many more examples of the religious right getting it wrong could be given, including demonization of immigrants, prejudice against Muslims, neglect of social justice, and an overall spirit of anger, fear, negativity, and self-righteous judgmentalism.

Rough Translations by Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace

“Hoping against hope, he believed.” Romans 4: 18

Hope nonetheless.

Hope despite.

Hope regardless.

Hope still.

Hope where we had ceased to hope.

Hope amid what threatens hope.

Hope with those who feed our hope.

Hope beyond what we had hoped.

Hope that draws us past our limits.

Hope that defies expectations.

Hope that questions what we have known.

Hope that makes a way where there is none.

Hope that takes us past our fear.

Hope that calls us into life.

Hope that holds us beyond death.

Hope that blesses those to come.

Second Sunday of Lent

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/DBYrH_XMDONqLsmNUADtMWyIfJLQ_VtzqU2I1az_pG-FuFc_QSO0482e5jggZ7RV.eh3qpl1SfDbDNoYO?startTime=1708873219000

2nd Sunday Lent Cycle B – Last Sunday in Black History Month February 25, 2024

 Theme: Light in Transformation

We pray for those individuals in need   (Please be brief)           Mike

Introduction                                                                   Maryann

Today is the 2nd Sunday in Lent, Cycle C, where the Catholic Church does the reading of the Transfiguration, and the last Sunday of Black History month. Today’s liturgy has a reading and a prayer taken from the book Black Liturgies: Prayers, Poems and Meditations for Staying Human by Cole Arthur Riley. She is also the author of the book This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us. The reading and prayer are from the book’s section on Lent.

Gathering Song                                                                     Bill

HOLDING UP THE LIGHT by Doyle burbank-williams

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz-Ry1GzYHM

with the slide show you put together a while ago which can be found here (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1epZWfcBUh-GHMNTxtj399uCt2ehCLiO_TnZm2060wWI/edit?usp=sharing

or here

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iP6IrP9jUs2s3HNpdGaFcPPRnAS-gC-N/view?usp=drive_link)

Wisdom Bowl                                                                           Maryann

Opening Prayer                                                                       Mike

May it be revealed to us where the Divine is dwelling in those places in our lives where we forgot to be welcoming.

May we be taken to the places where we are moving toward change and deeper relationship with the Divine in all people

May we believe in the possibility of resurrecting what has been hidden in our path to growth

May we shake free whatever keeps us from accepting the invitation to be transformed

May our faith be strengthened, our hope cultivated, and our love widened

May we be drawn into the stillness essential for an alive and open awareness of the Divine Presence

May we be kept mindful of the large world one in urgent need of our compassion and dedicated care

May we be a healing presence for those who suffer and those for whom we have promised to pray

Restoring Awareness from Prayer Seeds Joyce Rupp pg 15 (adapted)

1st Reading                                                                                       Peter

Called to be Transfigured

A reflection given by Karen Murphy to the Sophia community on 03/08/2020, adapted.

Today is the Transfiguration: And up on that mountain Scripture tells us “before their eyes, Jesus was transfigured — his face becoming as dazzling as the sun and his clothes as radiant as light.”

Let’s look at that word “transfigured,” which is the word used in all English translations.  It’s from the 13th century, so not a word we use in everyday language.  But when we look at the Greek of that verse in Matthew, we find that the word is metamorphosis.  Now here’s word we can breakdown.   The idea of metamorphosis is a big one in Ignatian spirituality, and what it means is that not only does something appear to be different, but in fact, structurally, cellularly, it is different.  That a transformation has occurred that is so profound that the organism is literally a different being.

When Jesus was “transfigured” before their eyes, it wasn’t just that on that day he looked different to them, it was that a lifetime of work and service to God’s people changed him, changed his humanity so that there was no darkness in him to be seen.  He was made new, in and through and by his life.

I think this is good news for us.  What if, what if, the Transfiguration was never about Jesus?  What if the Transfiguration, which is a moment of pause that takes place between healing and preaching and teaching and kindness and generosity and compassion – what if that moment of metamorphosis is inevitable in anyone who lives this path the best they can?  What if any of us who choose the path of light and righteousness and service become transfigured before others?  That our work of teaching, healing, serving changes us ontologically, and literally transforms how we are perceived by others – as being dazzling like the sun.  In their presence we perceive only light, and we hear the message, “this is my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus’ work precipitated his transfiguration.  When he was “transfigured” on that seventh day, is it possible that his transfiguration, his ontological change in that moment was not to enable him to do the work of love, but a result of having been doing the work of love the previous six days?  The previous 33 years?

And if this is possible, then we can all have great hope that we can also be transfigured, undergo our own metamorphosis to become new women and men in the life we have in following Christ to love, serve, and help others;  to stand for justice and live with compassion.  The Transfiguration wasn’t about Jesus, or I should say, just about Jesus.  It’s about the potential in all of us to move toward that moment of grace in which our lives are so aligned with God’s intent and purpose of love, that others, looking at us, will only see spirits that dazzle like the sun. 

Inspired Words

2nd Reading                                                                                  Louise M

Could you wander for forty years if it meant freedom? If you listen, you can still hear them groaning — they who were rescued, only to find that freedom is never so easily won. That liberation is a path marked by uncertainty and thirst and grief over all that was lost in the revolution. In Exodus, we are faced with a God of slow rescue. When the struggle of the wilderness became apparent, even the Israelites themselves began to pine for the bondage of Pharaoh. How fierce the grip of certainty — to know with clarity what is to come, however terrible and lonesome that fate might be.

Perhaps God knew that part of liberation is confronting anything you might hunger for more than it. Will you cry out longing for the chains that once held you? The wilderness is uncharted, and humans are prone to willful amnesia. We’d rather forget and return to bondage than remember and wade in the unknown. We grow numb.

Assata Shakur wrote, “People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows …. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.” And the freer one gets, the more their hunger for liberation loudens. All the false appetites that spoke over this chief desire begin to quiet.

How does your hunger sound? What are the whispers of desire that drive you?

For forty days leading to the remembrance of the death of Christ, we commit to remembering our chains. We make our home in the wilderness – in the liminal spaces where liberation has begun but sorrow and hunger remain. In this season, we choose

solidarity with all who are suffering — the displaced, the abused, the oppressed and neglected.

Many of us have been trained to believe Lent is about solidarity with Christ alone. But Christ’s forty days in the desert mirror the forty years the Israelites journeyed in the wilderness after being rescued from slavery. The two journeys remind us that the wilderness can be both solitary and communal. That it can defy both the systems and powers of the exterior world, and the despair of one’s interior world. And that these were two physical desert journeys speaks to a necessarily embodied liberation.

As we move in solidarity, we remind ourselves presence is not solidarity. Knowledge is not solidarity. Solidarity is the kind of unity that costs us something. And we choose a form for our fasting that is not about the self, but about those who are most vulnerable. And for those who are suffering and in need, we must grab hold of a charity to self and take a posture of receiving. Lent shifts the scales of the cosmos back toward a balance of provision and justice. In Lent, there are those of us who will position our souls toward sacrifice, and some who will rightfully receive what has been kept from them. Every role holy and necessary for the healing of all.

So, despite prevalent teachings, the question of this sacred season is not, “What food are you giving up for Lent?” It is, “What practice of solidarity with the suffering are you choosing?” Or, “What needs do you need met this Lent?” We honor the complexity of hunger and desire, and we find ourselves liberated into a season not rooted in scarcity, but in justice, healing, and the welfare of those who have long awaited their portion.

Inspired Words

from the book Black Liturgies: Prayers, Poems and Meditations for Staying Human by Cole Arthur Riley

Psalm                                                                                         Maryann

Who Lights the Stars
music/lyrics by Michael Singer, arranged ,produced and performed by Kathy Zavada video edited by James Mylenek Sr.
https://youtu.be/5jF_YWsM4SI  stop at 4:00

Who lights the stars at night?

Who shines the sun?

To this one I give my life

Till my days are done.

to this one i give my heart 

till we merge as one.

Who lights the stars at night?

Who shines the sun?

Who lights the stars?

Who shines the sun?

Who beats my heart?

Who is this one?

3rd Reading                                                                                     Colleen

The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But transformation, the mystery we’re examining, more often happens not when something new begins but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart–chaos–invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is falling apart. Otherwise, most of us would never go to new places. The mystics use many words to describe this chaos: fire, darkness, death, emptiness, abandonment, trial, the Evil One. Whatever it is, it does not feel good and it does not feel like God. You will do anything to keep the old thing from falling apart. This is when you need patience, guidance, and the freedom to let go instead of tightening your controls and certitudes.

Transformation usually includes a disconcerting reorientation. Change can either help people to find a new meaning, or it can cause people to close down and turn bitter. The difference is determined by the quality of your inner life, what we call your “spirituality.” Change of itself just happens; but spiritual transformation must become an actual process of letting go, living in the confusing dark space for a while, and allowing yourself to be spit up on a new and unexpected shore. You can see why Jonah in the belly of the whale is such an important symbol for many Jews and Christians.

In the moments of insecurity and crisis, “shoulds” and “oughts” don’t really help; they just increase the shame, guilt, pressure, and likelihood of backsliding. It’s the deep yeses that carry you through. Focusing on something you absolutely believe in, that you’re committed to, will help you wait it out. Love wins over guilt any day. It is sad that we settle for the short-run effectiveness of shaming people instead of the long-term life benefits of grace-filled transformation. But we are a culture of progress and efficiency, impatient with gradual growth. God’s way of restoring things interiorly is much more patient–and finally more effective. God lets Jonah run in the wrong direction, but finds a long, painful, circuitous path to get him back where he needs to be–and almost entirely in spite of himself! Looking in this rear-view mirror fills you with gratitude for God’s work in your life.

Inspired words

Richard Rohr’s Meditation: Change as a Catalyst for Transformation. 6/30/2016

Homily                                                                                       Mike

Prayer of the People                                                     Tom & Joanne Kyritz

 Our response will be: May Divine Light Shine Through Us.

Transfiguration itself refers to a change in form or appearance, and the root, transfigure, simply means “to transform into something more beautiful or elevated,” so transfiguration is a specific form of transformation. This Lent, may we transform ourselves into more spiritual, or more spiritually aware, followers of Jesus’ message. And we respond: May Divine Light Shine Through Us

May we as a society recognize the inequities and injustices that come from our lifestyle. May society be transformed so that it respects all human life, all plant and animal life and the earth, our home. And we respond: May Divine Light Shine Through Us

Transformation usually includes a disconcerting reorientation. When something old falls apart, may we recognize the Divine’s presence. And we respond: May Divine Light Shine Through Us

Sister Joan Chittister says, “Transformation in any of us calls the rest of us to transformation. Change changes everybody. Relationships shift. Expectations alter. Insight deepens. We begin to see as we have never seen before.” And we respond: May Divine Light Shine Through Us

Lent is not about self-mortification or denial; it is a time to enter the desert, which means the willingness to reexplore those attachments that derail our soul’s growth, driving us through life without awareness of our true motivations. And we respond: May Divine Light Shine Through Us

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity and our sisters and brothers in FCM, Voice of the Faithful and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus. And we respond: May Divine Light Shine Through Us

For what else shall we pray?  Allow 4 petitions.

It is long past time for us to let the LIGHT transfigure us. May we not be afraid. For it is fear itself which destroys life. May Divine LIGHT shine forth in, with, through, and beyond us, so that each of us might be transfigured into the fullness of all that we are created to be. We pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus.

Amen

Sharing of Peace                                                                        Mike

Prayer over the Bread and Wine                                          Linda S

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer for Black History Month                        Mike & Geri Moran

P. We gather today mindful of the quest for freedom that cries out in the heart and soul of every woman and man.  A quest that is fierce with resolve and will not end until freedom is won for all.

Voice: From the time of Moses, people enslaved others for profit and gain. When Israel was in Egypt’s land, the Israelites were oppressed so hard they could not stand.  Let my people go!
P: Four hundred years ago, on the shores of the new-found land which became America, people were once again enslaved for profit and gain.  Let my people go!

Voice: On the backs of these women and men this country was built.  Let my people go!  No consideration, no justice, no mercy for them. Let my people go!
P: A war began that tore a country apart.  The Emancipation Proclamation brought a degree of freedom but injustice and greed still persisted.  Let my people go!

Voice: New ways of indignities and injustices were invented: Jim Crow, Whites Only, Segregation and Red Lining.  Let my people go!
P: And yet, in spite of all this, women and men of color have produced so many beautiful and meaningful creations.  We thank:  Dr. Shirley Jackson for fiber-optic cable, Lewis Latimer for carbon filament (inner light bulb), Marie Van Brittan Brown for closed-circuit television security, Otis Boykin for the pacemaker, Lonnie Johnson for the Super Soaker and thermoelectric energy converters, Charles Drew for the blood bank, Marian Croak for Voice over IP, Lisa Gelobter for animated Gifs on the web, Philip Emeagwali – a drop out, for the world’s fastest computer, Jesse Wilkins, Jr, for the math behind gamma radiation, Garrett Morgan for the gas mask and the traffic signal, Mary and Mildred Davidson for women’s feminine products and the walker and
Onesimus & Cotton Mather for the method that would eventually become vaccinations against infectious diseases.      Appreciating these contributions as just a few among many, we pray recognizing the worth of all, and being grateful to learn what was never deemed important enough to include in our educational experiences.

Voice: We pray, recognizing our true worth, and our understanding of what it means to be human. No longer unworthy exiles, we are people with a glorious cosmic history, with great responsibility, and a noble destiny.  Along with everything else in the universe, we are on a journey beyond our imagining.
P: We remember Jesus.  He challenged us to confront any influence within us, any social, family, religious or cultural influence, that prevents us from recognizing the power within us and within all people – the power of love; a power that could join all people as one in their common dream of a better humanity.Voice:  So we take this bread, as Jesus took bread, and give thanks for the wonder of the Divine in, and with us, and we eat, committing ourselves to love as Jesus loved, wholeheartedly, generously, and compassionately, so that people will see expressed in us what we have seen expressed in Jesus.
P: We take this wine, and we remember Jesus drinking wine with his friends.  We drink, giving our “Yes” to being on earth the heart of the Holy One.Voice: Our prayer is that Justice Rolls down like water.  We have a Dream. That one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all women and men are created equal.”

P: We have a dream that people of color will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.Voice: We have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight.

P: This is our hope. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood and sisterhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Voice: From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
P: To wherever the Spirit of Life and Love may lead us we give our, Amen. 

Prayer of Jesus (Please pray along)                                            Sue B

Radiant One: you shine within us, outside us —

even darkness shines—when we remember.

Focus your light within us, make it useful:

as the rays of a beacon show the way.

Create your reign of unity now

through our fiery hearts and willing hands.

Let all wills move together in your vortex,

as stars and planets swirl through the sky.

Give us the food we need to grow through each day,

through each illumination of life’s needs.

Forgive our hidden past, the secret shames,

as we constantly forgive what others hide.

Help us not forget our Source,

yet free us from not being in the Present.

 Out of you the astonishing fire, the birthing glory,

returning light and sound to the cosmos.

Truly—power to these statements—

may they be the ground from which all my actions grow:

Sealed in trust and faith.

From Giving Thanks With the Aramaic Jesus by Tom Leonhardt. Copyright 2002. (English Translation) page xvii

Prior to the Breaking of the Bread                                                     Mike

Breaking of the Bread                                                            Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Make us One Now.
In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Make us One Now.
In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus.  Make us One Now.

Communion                                                                                       Mike

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                               Bill


Beautiful Instrumental Hymns, Peaceful Music, “A Hint of Spring Morning Sunrise” by Tim Janis

Closing Prayer                                                                                   Mike

We confess that we, as individuals and nations, have engaged in self-protection and delusion. Let this be a season when we reclaim the practice of telling the truth about our histories, that we would no longer shield ourselves and others from the harm we have caused by coddling our guilt and insecurity. Let our love be made of unapologetic truth-telling.

Let those of us who have been gaslit find our stories centered and affirmed in this season. May we be guided toward spaces that have grown weary of delusions, desiring to see the world for what it is, in all its complexities, beauties, tragedies, and oppression and as we cultivate honest communities, let our healing and liberation rise to meet us. Amen

Sending Forth Song                                                                         Maryann

This Little Light of Mine by ODETTA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2kDsqGeoLU up to 3:40

This little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Oh, this little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Hallelujah

This little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Ev’ry where I go

I’m going to let it shine

Oh, ev’ry where I go

I’m going to let it shine

Hallelujah

Ev’ry where I go

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

All in my room

I’m going to let it shine

Oh, all in my room

I’m going to let it shine

Hallelujah

All in my room

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Oh, this little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Hallelujah

This little light of mine

I’m going to let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Announcements

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/QPY2v_-jWKpjZ1uvyT3ST_79q1BgvTTU7WeZo4DWvmDT1fCBkeQQNxVZFjFWfBJZ.sSVF3gSbjZ9vn5JM?startTime=1708268414000

 1st Sunday of Lent and Black History Month; – February 18, 2024

Theme:  Metanoia, Leadership, Giving up Blinding Perspectives

We pray for those individuals in need           (please be brief)    Mike

Gathering Song                                                                       Mike

Civil Rights Music Video “We Shall overcome” by Peter Seeger

Wisdom Bowl                                                                          Maryann

Opening Prayer                                                                       Mike 

As we reflect on the resilience of the Black community during Black History Month, we seek guidance. May we have the insight to understand the challenges faced, and the strength to appreciate the resilience displayed. May this liturgy lead to greater empathy and unity. Amen.

From Prayers for Life website (adapted)

Reading 1                                                                                 Linda Schaller

A reading of the Gospel in the tradition of Mark (Mk 1:12-1)

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,

and he remained in the desert for forty days,

tempted by Satan.

He was among wild beasts,

and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested,

Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:

“This is the time of fulfillment.

The kingdom of God is at hand.

Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Inspired Words

Psalm                                                                                         Mike

Sweet Honey in the Rock performs, “Give Love”

Reading 2                                                                      Colleen Walsh White

By Krieg Published On: January 29, 2024

In about three weeks, spring will have arrived in areas of the US, the Super Bowl will be a game of the past, folks will be recovering from Mardi Gras, and some people will have ashes on their foreheads to mark the first day of a season called Lent. We can pretty much guess that the ashes symbolize mortality- ashes to ashes-, but Lent, what’s that about?

According to the gospels, when Jesus was baptized by John, he heard a voice come out of heaven affirming his mission from God, and he left John the Baptist and went into the wilderness for forty days and nights, where “the angels ministered to him” and where the devil tempted him.

Although fundamentalists will accept all this at face value, the story is symbolic but not historical. When Jesus left John after being baptized by him, he set off on his mission accompanied by some friends who were also former disciples of John, and he or they no doubt reflected upon their move. Having decided on a course of itinerant action he travelled about teaching and preaching God’s love and justice, and those who heard and followed were captivated by Jesus’ charisma. They got to see who he was. One of the key ingredients in their encounter with him was that he was not egocentric, he did not insist on his own way, he had no box into which he tried to force reality. A story -that of the temptation in the wilderness- came to be describing how he continually refused the temptation to impose his will on others,- no matter how pure. Think of what the devil throws at him. “You’re hungry. Command these stones to become bread. You want the world to see God’s power. Throw yourself off a high place so that God can save you. You want all the world to do God’s will. Make them! …and bow down to me.”

What do these temptations represent? They embody the inclination to make the world as I want it to be. When Jesus encountered people he listened, he understood, he led along a path they could follow. He did not command or impose or insist that others lived according to his prescription. His charismatic self showed others what they could be and invited them to become what at heart they already were. And so his followers created a story to show that side of Jesus, a story about how he refused the temptation to impose his perception on others, instead inviting them to see reality in a new and non-egocentric way.

That’s what Lent is all about. Historically, the essence of the season is self-denial, based on the idea that Jesus was denied earthly comforts while in the desert, and therefore so should we. What we understand now is that what Jesus denied himself was the egocentricity that seems to develop as life moves along, accompanied by the invitation to follow him in denying that egocentricity in our own lives. Lent is not about giving up chocolate. It’s about uncovering the blindness in our perception and being open to what others have to share with us. The irony is that when we give up our narrow and blinding perspective, a whole new world is opened to us and life becomes expansive and joyful.

This is not an exercise for Christians only. The Buddha also knew. Life is suffering, he said, and the cause of suffering is desire. When we desire, consciously or unconsciously, to have the world be according to our self- contained perception, we suffer, because reality refuses to be confined and distorted according to our ego, and we feel that refusal. The message from Jesus and the Buddha is clear: leave your cave, walk into the light, experience life anew. Whether we be Christian or Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, Lent is a good time to renew our unfolding process.

Inspired words

Homily                                                                                                     Mike

Prayers of the People                                                   Teri Corso

We search for meaning, understanding and purpose in this wider world, as we do so, we make these desires known.

After each statement there will be a meditative silence (pause 5 seconds)

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in all houses of worship….

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism at every level of government…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in our healthcare industry…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism at every level of education…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in our judiciary…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in our law enforcement agencies…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in our prison system…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in every branch of our military…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism at every level of sport…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in business…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in the wage gap…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in the wealth gap…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in theater….

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in the music industry….

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in the entertainment industry…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in the renting of apartments and houses….

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in the buying and selling of homes…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in our pharmaceutical industry….

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in the media….

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in hiring practices….

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity, and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM, and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them. May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus…

Let us pray for an end to systemic racism in those areas not mentioned here and you may say aloud….

As we search to find who we are in this world and to find our meaning and purpose, we are secure in the knowledge that there are many people like us who share our dreams and goals to form a better humanity to bring peace, harmony and justice.  Amen.

Sharing Peace                                                                         Mike

Prayer over the Bread                                                  Margie McFadden

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

Prayer over the Wine                                                            

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer for Black History Month           Mike & Kathy Schiro

P: We gather today mindful of the quest for freedom that cries out in the heart and soul of every woman and man.  A quest that is fierce with resolve and will not end until freedom is won for all.Voice: From the time of Moses, people enslaved others for profit and gain. When Israel was in Egypt’s land, the Israelites were oppressed so hard they could not stand.  Let my people go!  
P: Four hundred years ago, on the shores of the new-found land which became America, people were once again enslaved for profit and gain.  Let my people go!  Voice: On the backs of these women and men this country was built.  Let my people go!  No consideration, no justice, no mercy for them. Let my people go!

P: A war began that tore a country apart.  The Emancipation Proclamation brought a degree of freedom but injustice and greed still persisted.  Let my people go!

Voice: New ways of indignities and injustices were invented: Jim Crow, Whites Only, Segregation and Red Lining.  Let my people go!  
P: And yet, in spite of all this, women and men of color have produced so many beautiful and meaningful creations.  We thank Dr. Shirley Jackson for fiber-optic cable, Lewis Latimer for carbon filament (inner light bulb), Marie Van Brittan Brown for closed-circuit television security, Otis Boykin for the pacemaker, Lonnie Johnson for the Super Soaker and thermoelectric energy converters, Charles Drew for the blood bank, Marian Croak for Voice over Internet Protocol, Lisa Gelobter for animated Gifs on the web, Philip Emeagwali – a drop out, for the world’s fastest computer, Jesse Wilkins, Jr, for the math behind gamma radiation, Garrett Morgan for the gas mask and the traffic signal, and Mary and Mildred Davidson for women’s feminine products and the walker, and Onesimus & Cotton Mather for the method that would eventually become vaccinations against infectious diseases.   Appreciating these contributions as just a few among many, we pray recognizing the worth of all, and being grateful to learn what was never deemed important enough to include in our educational experiences.Voice: We pray, recognizing our true worth, and our understanding of what it means to be human. No longer unworthy exiles, we are people with a glorious cosmic history, with great responsibility, and a noble destiny.  Along with everything else in the universe, we are on a journey beyond our imagining.

P: We remember Jesus.  He challenged us to confront any influence within us, any social, family, religious or cultural influence, that prevents us from recognizing the power within us and within all people – the power of love; a power that could join all people as one in their common dream of a better humanity.Voice: So we take this bread, as Jesus took bread, and give thanks for the wonder of the Divine in, and with us, and we eat, committing ourselves to love as Jesus loved, wholeheartedly, generously, and compassionately, so that people will see expressed in us what we have seen expressed in Jesus.
P: We take this wine, and we remember Jesus drinking wine with his friends.  We drink, giving our “Yes” to being on earth the heart of the Holy One.Voice: Our prayer is that Justice Rolls down like water.  We have a Dream. That one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all women and men are created equal.”
P: We have a dream that people of color will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.  Voice: We have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight.  
P: This is our hope. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood and sisterhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.  Voice: From every mountainside, let freedom ring!  
P: To wherever the Spirit of Life and Love may lead us we give our, Amen. 

Prayer of Jesus (Please pray along)                                   Geri Moran

The Lord’s Prayer – from the original Aramaic

O Breathing Life, your Name shines everywhere!

Release a space to plant your Presence here.

Envision your “I Can” now.

Embody your desire in every light and form.

Grow through us this moment’s bread and wisdom.

Untie the knots of failure binding us,

as we release the strands we hold of others’ faults.

Help us not forget our Source,

Yet free us from not being in the Present.

From you arises every Vision, Power and Song

from gathering to gathering.

Amen!

May our future actions grow from here!

© 1995 – Neil Douglas-Klotz – Desert Wisdom

Breaking of the Bread                                                            Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

Communion                                                                             Mike

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal” 

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                   Mike

Duke Ellington: Single Petal of a Rose

Mike will advance a slideshow of Black Inventors.

Closing Prayer                                                                         Mike

In our efforts to dismantle racism, we understand that we struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities – those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of the family are inferior and others superior.

May we have a new mind and heart that will enable us to see sisters and brothers in the faces of those divided by racial categories.

May we have the grace and strength to rid ourselves of racial stereotypes that oppress some of us while providing entitlements to others.

May we create houses of worship and a nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed people of color where we live, as well as those around the world.

May we heal the human family, and make us one with the Divine and all people. Amen.Pax Christi (adapted)

Sending Forth Song                                                               Mike

Sweet Honey In The Rock – Ella’s Song

Announcements

Celebrating Sister Thea Bowman

Be Courageous and Speak Truth to Power

February 11, 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/aGpolr1PRUAehtS79pWZkw2Vcl4xTr0RbZOHzA5TqYHz9eoBSNpMH8uamef5sLY_.5sZe7vkqC_23KDps?startTime=1707663609000

We Pray for Others                                           Mike

Introduction                           

Sister Thea Bowman and Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes 5/3/87

START THE VIDEO AT 40 SECONDS IN                [13 minutes]

Wisdom Bowl                                                    Margie

Opening Prayer                                                 Mike

Sister Thea Bowman was filled with an ardent love for all people, a love expressed through her indomitable spirit, deep and abiding faith, dedicated teaching, exuberant singing, and unwavering witnessing of the joy of the Gospel.

May her prophetic witness continue to inspire us to share the Good News with those whom we encounter, most especially the poor, oppressed, and marginalized. May Sister Thea’s life and legacy compel us to walk together and to pray together.

May we be filled with Sister Thea’s grace and perseverance. For in turbulent times of racial injustice, she sought equity, peace, and reconciliation. In times of intolerance and ignorance, she brought wisdom, awareness, unity, and charity. In times of pain, sickness, and suffering, she taught us how to live fully until our time on this earth is over. Amen.

Adapted from the prayer for her canonization

First Reading Spot   Two voices alternate reading the quotes.

Judy and Dave

Words of Inspiration from Thea Bowman

Slideshow of Quotes – Marie will advance the slides

  • God is present in everything.  In the universe, in creation, in me, and all that happens to me, in my brothers and sisters, in the church – everywhere.
  • Remember who you are and whose you are.
  • I try to make sense of life.  I try to keep myself open to people and to laughter, and to love, and to have faith.
  • I know that God is using me in ways beyond my comprehension.
  • I think the difference between me and some people is that I’m content to do my little bit.  Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change.  But if each one would light a candle, we’d have a tremendous light.
  • God has given me the grace to see some of the seeds that I have sown bear good fruit, and I am so grateful.
  • I find that when I am involved in the business of life, when I’m working with people, particularly children, I feel better.  A kind of strength and energy comes with that.
  • I know that suffering gives us new perspectives and helps us to clarify our real value.  I know that suffering has helped me to clarify my relationships. . .  Perhaps suffering stops us in our tracks and forces us to confront what is real within ourselves and in our environment.
  • Part of my approach to my illness has been to say I want to choose life, I want to keep going, I want to live fully until I die.

Gospel Spot                                                   Marie

Thea Bowman – What Does It Mean to Be Black and Catholic?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6pBrBOawII&list=RDTT5Yv97zF-Q&start_radio=1                                                     [4.26 minutes]

Homily                                                     Bill Stevens

Prayer of the People                         Joanne and Tom Kyritz

We lift up our prayers in confidence knowing that we stand united with Sister Thea Bowman.

Our response will be: Let justice flow like a river.

For the citizens and leaders of the global community, may they enact policies that uphold the dignity and equality of all people, that ensure a sustainable and equitable distribution of our resources to advance the common good, we pray:  Let justice flow like a river.

For an end to systemic racism: that we may reform and rebuild all our institutions – policing, education, healthcare, housing, politics, and economics – with justice and love as our guide.  And for reconciliation and reparation for centuries of violence and oppression against People of Color, we pray:  Let justice flow like a river.

For us gathered today: that we may honestly seek to understand ourselves and others, as well as the ways we benefit from privilege and power, that we may be allies who confront bias and prejudice in ourselves and one another, we pray:  Let justice flow like a river.

For those marginalized, especially young women of color: that they may be emboldened by the witness of Sister Thea Bowman to embrace their wholeness, to lift up their voices, and to claim their rightful place in our midst, as they seek to respond to the Spirit within guiding them, we pray:  Let justice flow like a river.

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity, and for our sisters and brothers in Voice of the Faithful, FCM, and RAMP, may they know of our love and care for them. May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus…we pray…

For what else shall we pray? Allow 4 petitions.

We pray with confidence that these petitions and those unspoken concerns and needs deep within each of us will be heard and answered with loving compassion. Amen.

Adapted from Future Church’s Witnessing for Racial Justice Prayer Service in

The Sister Thea Bowman Resource Packet, page 40

Sign of Peace                                                  Mike

Prayer over the Bread and the Wine                  Linda Schaller

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer for Black History Month (modified)Mike & Tom Schaller

Presider: We gather today mindful of the quest for freedom that cries out in the heart and soul of every woman and man.  A quest that is fierce with resolve and will not end until freedom is won for all.

Voice: From the time of Moses, people enslaved others for profit and gain.

When Israel was in Egypt’s land, the Israelites were oppressed so hard they could not stand.  Let my people go!

P: Four hundred years ago, on the shores of the new-found land which became America, people were once again enslaved for profit and gain.  Let my people go!

Voice: On the backs of these women and men this country was built.  Let my people go!  No consideration, no justice, no mercy for them. Let my people go!

P: A war began that tore a country apart.  The Emancipation Proclamation brought a degree of freedom but injustice and greed still persisted.  Let my people go!

Voice: New ways of indignities and injustices were invented: Jim Crow, Whites Only, Segregation and Red Lining.  Let my people go!

P: And yet, in spite of all this, women and men of color have produced so many beautiful and meaningful creations.  We thank Dr. Shirley Jackson for fiber-optic cable, Lewis Latimer for carbon filament (inner light bulb), Marie Van Brittan Brown for closed-circuit television security, Otis Boykin for the pacemaker, Lonnie Johnson for the Super Soaker and thermoelectric energy converters, Charles Drew for the blood bank, Marian Croak for Voice over Internet Protocol, Lisa Gelobter for animated Gifs on the web, Philip Emeagwali – a drop out, for the world’s fastest computer, Jesse Wilkins, Jr, for the math behind gamma radiation, Garrett Morgan for the gas mask and the traffic signal. Mary and Mildred Davidson for women’s feminine products and the walker. Onesimus and Cotton Mather for the method that would eventually become vaccinations against infectious diseases.   Appreciating these contributions as just a few among many, we pray recognizing the worth of all, and being grateful to learn what was never deemed important enough to include in our educational experiences.

Voice: We remember Jesus. He challenged us to confront any influence within us, any social, family, religious or cultural influence, that prevents us from recognizing the power within us and within all people – the power of love; a power that could join all people as one in their common dream of a better humanity.

P:  So we take this bread, as Jesus took bread, and give thanks for the wonder of the Divine in, and with us, and we eat, committing ourselves to love as Jesus loved, wholeheartedly, generously, and compassionately, so that people will see expressed in us what we have seen expressed in Jesus.

Voice: We take this wine, and we remember Jesus drinking wine with his friends.  We drink, giving our “Yes” to being on earth the heart of the Divine.

P: Our prayer is that Justice Rolls down like water.  We have a Dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all women and men are created equal.”

Voice: We have a dream that people of color will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

P: We have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight.

Voice: This is our hope. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood and sisterhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

P: From every mountainside, let freedom ring! Amen.

By Michael Corso

Prayer of Jesus Spot                                          Florence Noctor

An Act of Commitment to Racial Justice

We stand in the shadow of the prophets crying out for justice and peace. We are called to be a people of reconciliation, serving a country in need. Courageous women and men have taken the risk of standing up and speaking out for the least and the lowest. This work involves risking ourselves for the sake of love and moving beyond ourselves in order to serve one another. We are all called to the work and ministry of social justice and reconciliation.

The response to each question will be I will.

Will you proclaim the good news of reconciliation in both word and deed? I will.

Will you acknowledge and address the prejudices that keep you from loving all persons? I will. 

Will you strive to see Jesus in all persons, and value those with whom you disagree? I will.

Will you seek to mend what is broken by greed and inequities? I will.

Will you strive to speak words that liberate, heal and break the bonds of silence about racism throughout our country? I will.

Will you work toward dismantling the abuse of power? I will.

May we be empowered to continue the work of reconciliation.  May we have the courage to overcome our fears and embody love for all.  May we have the grace to grow in self-awareness of our white privilege and may we use our personal integrity to work for racial justice and equity in our neighborhoods and throughout our country.  Amen.

Inspired by the Act of Commitment to Racial Justice in

Liturgical Resources for Black History Month 

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-10/liturgical-resources-for-black-history-month-final.pdf

Breaking of the Bread                                   Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we knew you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

Presider: We gather together this morning and every Sunday to remember Jesus and his teachings.  We come to be nourished spiritually, so we eat and drink bread and wine in his memory.

Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our willingness to follow Jesus.

When sharing the bread, say: “This is and you are the bread of life.”

Once everyone has the bread.

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup, say: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                              Margie slides and music

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child – sung by Thea Bowman on the CD Songs of My People – The Complete Collection – Disk 1 #3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT5Yv97zF-Q       [3.17 minutes]

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,

A long way from home,

Margie: start to lower the sound here and stop at 1.23.

a long way from my home.

Closing Prayer                                                  Mike

Our closing prayer is from the conclusion of Sister Thea Bowman’s address to the Catholic bishops in June 1989 at Seton Hall University where she spoke to them as a sister having a “heart to heart” conversation with her brothers.

May her hope become our prayer.

Today we’re called to walk together in new ways and to celebrate who we are and whose we aren’t.

If we walk and talk and work and play together and stand together in Jesus’ name – we will be who we say we are – truly followers of Jesus and we shall overcome – overcome the poverty – overcome the loneliness – overcome the alienation – and build together a holy city, a new Jerusalem, a city set apart where they’ll know that we are here because we love one another. Amen.

Adapted from Future Church’s Witnessing for Racial Justice Prayer Service in

The Sister Thea Bowman Resource Packet, pages 40-41

First Sunday of Black History Month 2024

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/HYbKuomts3hXq5IOyHJLVhgP9wUO8G93BUCXi55LItWioV95uyXtl0hfPCqkQ3w6.cFzByewCTX955jCe?startTime=1707058967000

 1st Sunday of Black History Month; 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 4, 2024

 Theme:  Accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope

We pray for those individuals in need           (please mute yourself)Mike

Opening Song                                                                          Margie

Ebony and Ivory                                    by Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder

Introduction                                                                                             Margie

As we begin Black History Month, we think about the song Ebony and Ivory, sung by Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney in 1982. What a beautiful image – the black and white keys of the piano truly exist in “harmony.”  It seems like it should be so simple. Yet, here we are over 40 years later and we wonder if things have improved. We can certainly feel disappointed by the pace of change … sometimes a little forward, but then always backwards as well.

With our theme this morning, “Accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope,” taken from a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we will look at reasons for hope in race relationships. And in all honesty, this started out with a “pollyannaish” desire & need for good news.

But our readings and prayers, all written by people of color, point to a hope that is far from flowers and rainbows. This hope is difficult, hard-won, and comes from a place deep inside of human beings who have experienced great hardship and struggle. May their determination to go on, move forward, and never stop hoping, teach and inspire us as we do all that we can to live as antiracist allies.

Wisdom Bowl                                                                          Margie

Opening Prayer                                                                       Mike

Today’s opening prayer is modified from “Lord, Lord, Open Unto Me,” by Howard Thurman from “Meditations of the Heart”.

I open myself and share …light for darkness

I open myself and share … courage for fear

I open myself and share … hope for despair

I open myself and share … peace for turmoil

I open myself and share … joy for sorrow

I open myself and share … strength for weakness

I open myself and share … wisdom for confusion

I open myself and share … forgiveness for sins

I open myself and share … tenderness for toughness

I open myself and share … love for hates

I open myself, recognizing the Divine within

…and my connection to the whole human family.

We learn to live, when we learn to give

each other what we need to survive, together alive.

May it be so.

Reading 1                                                                                 Margie

Hope Is a Woman Who Has Lost Her Fear               by Alice Walker

Inspired words

Reading 2                                                  Sue

MLK and the Limitless Legacy of Hope

modified from an article by James Peterson 1/12/2024

Hope is infinite. In one of his writings from shortly before his death, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. advised us that “we must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” This is King-as-Preacher, ministering to the congregation of humanity, delivering a salve for what ailed us then and, of course, what ails us now.

These days, the disappointments feel infinite. How then, can we talk about hope in this moment and in this time of critical crises at home and abroad?

This is where the power of infinite hope kicks in. King’s words about finite disappointment and infinite hope compel us to take his directive as a whole. These words are a bifurcated rhetorical model, one through which we can wrestle with disappointment — accept disappointments at some point — but … and the “but” in the aforementioned King quote is doing yeoman’s work here. That acceptance is inextricably linked to an infinite reservoir of hope available to all of us.

Hope is not a commodity. It is the essence of the optimistic energy accessible to us in our times of need. Hope is at the ready to motivate us through and beyond the mundane disappointments that too often threaten to overwhelm us. We will not be overwhelmed.

Our hope that things can get better — that things will be better — is embarrassing sometimes. Many people feel hopeful and don’t always (or ever) want to show it. And still others would rather center on the disappointments, ad infinitum. It is so much easier to talk about everything that’s wrong with the world than it is to do something about it. This is why the MAGA mentality is so compelling to a certain segment of the American electorate. The acronym — Make America Great Again — represents a statement of faux hope that America might return to a mythological greatness that Dr. King dedicated his life to deconstructing. The MAGA slogan represents those who truck almost exclusively in grievance culture, a hopeless political enterprise designed to feed off of pain, anger, and racial resentment. The truth is that America wasn’t ever that great for a whole lot of Americans through much of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

In Dr. King’s “Other America” speech he said, “[t]here are two Americas. One America is beautiful … But there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair. In this other America, thousands and thousands of people … walk the streets in search for jobs that do not exist. In this other America, millions of people are forced to live in vermin-filled, distressing housing conditions …” This is King-as-Professor. But like a preacher, he makes it plain: “The most critical problem in the other America is the economic problem.” This is true even today. As of late last year, 66.6 percent of the total wealth in America was owned and controlled by 10 percent of the richest families and corporations in this country.

In “A Proper Sense of Priorities,” a speech that King delivered less than two months before he was assassinated, his critical assessment of America was on full display. “I need not go into a long discussion about the [Vietnam] war and its damaging effects. We all know.” he said to an audience of thousands in 1968. This is King-as-Prophet. “We live in a nation that is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today. And any nation that spends almost $80 billion of its annual budget for defense channeled through the Pentagon and hands out a pittance here and there for social uplift,  is moving towards its own spiritual doom …. We’ve played havoc with the destiny of the world … Somewhere we must make it clear that we are concerned about the survival of the world …”

King-as-Prophet is probably the King we will continue to hear less and less of, but we should not confuse this deliberate cover-up with the enduring truth of Dr. King’s critique of this nation. Late last year, President Joe Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. This act allocates $816.7 billion for the defense budget. The United States spends more on defense than any other nation in the world. Meanwhile, 12 percent of our fellow Americans live in poverty; we boast the largest prison population in the world; have the highest infant and maternal mortality rate among developed countries — especially among Black Americans; and one in five children here go hungry. The criticisms of America brought by King-as-Prophet continue to ring true. Our priorities are hopelessly out of alignment with our humanity.

Most people will likely associate Rev. King’s sense of hope with his most widely-quoted (and truncated/edited) “I Have A Dream” speech. Far fewer will reference King’s much less popular “Unfulfilled Hopes” speech, a sermon that predates King’s hopeful “I Have a Dream” message by nearly a decade.

In “Unfulfilled Hopes” King says, “We discover in our lives, soon or later, that all pain is never relieved. We discover, soon or later, that all hopes are never realized. We come to the point of seeing that no matter how long we pray for them sometimes, and no matter how long we cry out for a solution to our problems, no matter how much we desire it, we don’t get the answer.”

This is King-as-Preacher, again. He connects with the congregation of humanity through a transparent analysis of our “shattered dreams.” But he won’t allow the hopelessness of his message to outstrip the power of hope itself. Later in the sermon, Minister King points to the concept of the “dynamic will,” a concept he borrows from Deep River, by the great and influential theologian Howard Thurman. In his sermon, King defines the dynamic will as existing in “the individual who stands up in his circumstances and stands up amid the problem, faces the fact that his hopes are unfulfilled. And then he says, “I have one thing left. Life has beaten it down; it has broken away from me many things, sometimes my physical body. But at least it has left me with a will, and I will assert this, and I refuse to be stopped.”

The vast valley of difference between “I Have a Dream” and “Unfulfilled Hopes/Shattered Dreams” is a critical chasm across which we are all called to continuously revisit Dr. King’s rhetorical mastery and the many ways that his thinking about this world (and the next) evolves through his work, and evidences itself in his words over time. The power of this critical exegesis of King’s work is that it directly confronts the naivete of any sanitized versions of King’s legacy in perpetuity. King’s vision for infinite hope was not naïve; it was cultivated in the cauldron of conflicting conceptualizations of hope — hope unfulfilled and hope infinite.

Understanding King in these complicated ways should give all of us hope. His is a limitless legacy of hope bestowed upon us in ways that challenge us to embody all of its infinite potential. But —and here I hope my “but” can do the work of King’s, “but” – hope in both its infinite and unfulfilled meanings, ultimately requires us to act.

Inspired words

Psalm                                                                                         Margie

Those Who Dream                                                             by The Many

Reading 3                                                                                 Kathy

Opinion: ‘Origin’ brilliantly exposes America’s caste system. Here’s how we tear it down                          modified from an opinion by Keith Magee, CNN January 20, 2024

https://www.cnn.com/2024/01/20/opinions/origin-movie-caste-racism-duvernay-wilkerson-magee/index.html

I know it will take a long time to deconstruct race. However, there are reasons for optimism. Among Black Americans, attitudes to race are evolving. Although most Black adults in the US still see their racial identity as being important or extremely important to how they think about themselves, young Black Americans are less likely than their older peers to say this. I suspect this trend will continue, as identity becomes an increasingly complex mix of factors, including ancestry, economic status, faith and sexuality.

At the same time, the racial makeup of the US is changing. According to the 2020 census data the proportion of people who identify as non-Hispanic White is in decline. The good news is, most Americans don’t actually think this matters — the majority of adults (including, significantly, 62% of White people) now see this demographic change as being neither good nor bad for society. So maybe, as we begin to redefine and expand the intersecting communities to which we feel we belong, rather than the castes to which we are assigned, race is gradually losing its hold over us.

I hope DuVernay’s powerful movie will inspire everyone who sees it to defy racism. I would urge you to go and watch “Origin,” then walk out of that movie theater determined to make a connection with someone who is not considered to be of what society could consider to be your caste. Listen to their stories, learn about their aspirations, look for the things you have in common.

If we each do that on a regular basis, we will eventually sweep away the rotten social structures that have divided us for far too long. Together, we can fix up this country, just as Wilkerson fixes up her old house in the movie, by building new foundations based on true equality, empathy and love.

It’s never too late. Every single one of us has skin in the game, for, as Wilkerson points out, the caste system diminishes us all, wherever we may sit in its fabricated hierarchy.

Inspired words

Homily                                                                                 Mike

Shared Homily                                                               All

Prayers of the People                                                   Linda K & Maryann

Linda K: Litany for Those Not Ready for Healing              by Dr. Yolanda Pierce

Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound.

Let us not rush to offer a bandaid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction.

Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment.

Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and restoration, or how we can repair the breach and how we can restore the loss.

Let us not rush past the loss of this mother’s child, this father’s child…someone’s beloved son.

Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while human lives hang in the balance.

Let us not value a false peace over a righteous justice.

Let us not be afraid to sit with the ugliness, the messiness, and the pain that is life in community together.

Let us not offer clichés to the grieving, those whose hearts are being torn asunder.

Instead…

Let us mourn Black and brown men and women, those killed extrajudicially every 28 hours.

Let us lament the loss of a teenager, dead at the hands of a police officer who described him as a demon.

Let us weep at a criminal justice system, which is neither blind nor just.

Let us call for the mourning men and the wailing women, those willing to rend their garments of privilege and ease, and sit in the ashes of this nation’s original sin.

Let us be silent when we don’t know what to say.

Let us be humble and listen to the pain, rage, and grief  pouring from the lips of our neighbors and friends.

Let us decrease, so that our brothers and sisters who live on the underside of history may increase.

Let us listen to the shattering glass and let us smell the purifying fires, for it is the language of the unheard.

Let us pray with our eyes open and our feet firmly planted on the ground.

And as we turn to our own community and the whole world…

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester and for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity, Voice of the Faithful, RAMP, and FCM… may they continue to allow hope to power their works of justice, we pray. (Allow prayerful silence)

For what else shall we pray?  Allow 4 petitions, followed by prayerful silences.

May we allow ourselves to feel the pain and hurt, and have the humility to see our complicity in injustice. May we rouse ourselves from our indifference. May we speak out and not remain silent. May we dream fierce dreams. May we learn to accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. Amen.

Sharing Peace                                                                         Mike

Prayer over the Bread                                                            Janet

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

Prayer over the Wine

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer for Black History MonthMike & Peter

Presider: We gather today mindful of the quest for freedom that cries out in the heart and soul of every woman and man.  A quest that is fierce with resolve and will not end until freedom is won for all.

Voice: From the time of Moses, people enslaved others for profit and gain.

When Israel was in Egypt’s land, the Israelites were oppressed so hard they could not stand.  Let my people go!

P: Four hundred years ago, on the shores of the new-found land which became America, people were once again enslaved for profit and gain.  Let my people go!

Voice: On the backs of these women and men this country was built.  Let my people go!  No consideration, no justice, no mercy for them. Let my people go!

P: A war began that tore a country apart.  The Emancipation Proclamation brought a degree of freedom but injustice and greed still persisted.  Let my people go!

Voice: New ways of indignities and injustices were invented: Jim Crow, Whites Only, Segregation and Red Lining.  Let my people go!

P: And yet, in spite of all this, women and men of color have produced so many beautiful and meaningful creations.  We thank Dr. Shirley Jackson for fiber-optic cable, Lewis Latimer for carbon filament (inner light bulb), Marie Van Brittan Brown for closed-circuit television security, Otis Boykin for the pacemaker, Lonnie Johnson for the Super Soaker and thermoelectric energy converters, Charles Drew for the blood bank, Marian Croak for Voice over Internet Protocol, Lisa Gelobter for animated Gifs on the web, Philip Emeagwali – a drop out, for the world’s fastest computer, Jesse Wilkins, Jr, for the math behind gamma radiation, Garrett Morgan for the gas mask and the traffic signal, and Mary and Mildred Davidson for women’s feminine products and the walker, and Onesimus & Cotton Mather for the method that would eventually become vaccinations against infectious diseases.   Appreciating these contributions as just a few among many, we pray recognizing the worth of all, and being grateful to learn what was never deemed important enough to include in our educational experiences.

Voice: We pray, recognizing our true worth, and our understanding of what it means to be human. No longer unworthy exiles, we are people with a glorious cosmic history, with great responsibility, and a noble destiny.  Along with everything else in the universe, we are on a journey beyond our imagining.

P: We remember Jesus. He challenged us to confront any influence within us, any social, family, religious or cultural influence, that prevents us from recognizing the power within us and within all people – the power of love;

a power that could join all people as one in their common dream of a better humanity.

Voice:  So we take this bread, as Jesus took bread, and give thanks for the wonder of the Divine in, and with us, and we eat, committing ourselves to love as Jesus loved, wholeheartedly, generously, and compassionately, so that people will see expressed in us what we have seen expressed in Jesus.

P: We take this wine, and we remember Jesus drinking wine with his friends.  We drink, giving our “Yes” to being on earth the heart of the Holy One.

Voice: Our prayer is that Justice Rolls down like water.  We have a Dream. That one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all women and men are created equal.”

P: We have a dream that people of color will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Voice: We have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight.

P: This is our hope. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood and sisterhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Voice: From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

P: To wherever the Spirit of Life and Love may lead us we give our, Amen.

Prayer of Jesus (Please pray along)                                   Colleen

Our Prayer of Jesus this morning invites us to see the words and dreams of Jesus expressed in the poetry of Langston Hughes:

I dream a world where man

No other man will scorn,

Where love will bless the earth

And peace its paths adorn

I dream a world where all

Will know sweet freedom’s way,

Where greed no longer saps the soul

Nor avarice blights our day.

A world I dream where black or white,

Whatever race you be,

Will share the bounties of the earth

And every man is free,

Where wretchedness will hang its head

And joy, like a pearl,

Attends the needs of all mankind-

Of such I dream, my world!

Amen.

Breaking of the Bread                                                            Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

Communion                                                                             Mike

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Song                                                                   Margie

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Closing Prayer                                                                         Mike

“Seeds grow in the dark

Hope’s born in the dark

Dreams start in the dark

So don’t give up

Don’t give up, Don’t give up”

These words from “Those Who Dream” by The Many, remind us not to give up even when things seem dark. Despite disappointments, we can believe. Like Jesus, our guide and teacher, as well as many throughout history, may we hold on to infinite hope! Amen.

Closing Song                                                                           Margie

Let Justice Rain                                                                 by the Many

Announcements

Resources

I Dream a World                                                       by Langston Hughes

“Langson Hughes, the first Black American to earn his living solely from his writing and public lectures, lived his life as a poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and columnist.  He is a renowned leader of the Harlem Renaissance.”

A Culture Where We All Belong

MLK AND THE LIMITLESS LEGACY OF HOPE                 BY JAMES PETERSON

Full article: https://thephiladelphiacitizen.org/mlk-limitless-legacy-of-hope/

Today’s closing prayer is by Howard Thurman from “Meditations of the Heart”.

Thurman was born in 1899 and raised in the segregated South. He is recognized as one of the great spiritual leaders of the 20th century renowned for his reflections on humanity and our relationship with God. Thurman was a prolific author (writing at least 20 books); perhaps the most famous is “Jesus and the Disinherited” (1949), which deeply influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Thurman was the first black person to be a tenured Dean at a PWI (predominantly white institution) Boston University. He cofounded the first interracially pastored, intercultural church in the United States.

Lord, Lord, Open Unto Me

Open unto me, light for my darkness

Open unto me, courage for my fear

Open unto me, hope for my despair

Open unto me, peace for my turmoil

Open unto me, joy for my sorrow

Open unto me, strength for my weakness

Open unto me, wisdom for my confusion

Open unto me, forgiveness for my sins

Open unto me, tenderness for my toughness

Open unto me, love for my hates

Open unto me, Thy Self for myself

Lord, Lord, open unto me!

Martin Luther King, Jr. on ‘Infinite Hope’

https://guideposts.org/inspiring-stories/stories-of-faith-and-hope/martin-luther-king-jr-on-infinite-hope

Today’s challenges should never stop us from imagining a better tomorrow.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these words in a Washington, D.C., address in February 1968, just two months before he was assassinated in Memphis. They echo across the decades and endure as one of the most positive messages of the great civil rights leader’s legacy—that the challenges that weigh us down today should never dissuade us from imagining a better, more just, and more love-filled future.

I was taught—and I believe—that no feeling can last forever. Disappointment, sadness, embarrassment, excitement, relaxation, joy—not one of those emotional states, for better or worse, can be sustained indefinitely.

But could hope be the single exception to that rule? Dr. King thought so, and the impact of that belief continues to reverberate, even a half century after his death.

In his personal and public life, he endured many disappointments. Dr. King encouraged that we “accept” those challenges even as we hold onto the hope that makes his message so relevant. A disappointment or setback can put any of us in danger of giving up on our goals, hopes and dreams, whether for ourselves or for the world. Accepting that setback is simply part of the road toward what he famously called “the promised land” frees us to process our failures in a larger context of progress, connection and above all, hope.

So is hope in fact “infinite?” The poet Emily Dickinson said as much in her famous verse:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all

Ebony and Ivory                                    by Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder

Lyrics

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?

We all know that people are the same wherever you go

There is good and bad in ev’ryone

We learn to live, when we learn to give

Each other what we need to survive, together alive

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord why don’t we?

Ebony, ivory, living in perfect harmony

Ebony, ivory, ooh

We all know that people are the same wherever you go

There is good and bad in ev’ryone

We learn to live, when we learn to give

Each other what we need to survive, together alive

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord why don’t we?

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we

Ebony, ivory, living in perfect harmony

Ghat GPT on

You

tell me reasons for hope in race relationships in the US

ChatGPT

ChatGPT

While challenges persist, there are several reasons for hope in race relationships in the U.S.:

  • Increased Awareness: There is a growing awareness of racial issues and systemic inequalities. Conversations about racism have become more mainstream, leading to increased understanding and empathy.
  • Youth Activism: Young people are actively engaging in social justice movements, advocating for equality, and challenging discriminatory practices. Their energy and commitment can contribute to positive change over time.
  • Policy Reforms: There is an ongoing push for policy reforms to address systemic racism. Efforts to reform criminal justice, voting rights, and other areas aim to create a more equitable society.
  • Representation: Increasing representation of diverse voices in media, politics, and various sectors is helping to break stereotypes and promote a more inclusive narrative.
  • Interconnected Movements: The intersectionality of various social justice movements (racial, gender, LGBTQ+, etc.) is fostering solidarity and collective efforts toward a more just and inclusive society.
  • Education and Awareness: Educational institutions and organizations are implementing programs to educate people about the history of racism and its impacts. This knowledge can contribute to a more informed and empathetic society.
  • Community Engagement: Many communities are actively working towards building bridges and fostering understanding between different racial and ethnic groups. Grassroots efforts can have a significant impact on improving relationships.
  • Technology and Social Media: Social media platforms provide a space for marginalized voices to be heard and for information to be disseminated rapidly. This can lead to greater awareness and mobilization for positive change.
  • Corporate Initiatives: Some companies are taking steps to address racial inequalities within their organizations and in the broader community. Corporate initiatives can influence societal norms and practices.
  • Legal Advocacy: Legal organizations and advocates are working to challenge discriminatory laws and practices, leading to legal victories that promote justice and equality.

While progress may be slow and challenges remain, these factors provide reasons to be hopeful for positive developments in race relationships in the U.S.

MLK Speech

We as a people have long dreamed of freedom, but we are still confined to an oppressive prison of segregation and discrimination.25 Must we respond to this disappointed hope with bitterness and cynicism? Certainly not, for this will only distort and poison our personality. Must we conclude that the existence of segregation is a part of the will of God, and thereby resign ourselves to the fate of oppression. Of course not, for such a course would be blasphemy, because it attributes to God something that should be attributed to the devil. Moreover, to accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor. Our most fruitful course of action will be to stand up with a courageous determination, moving on non-violently amid obstacles and setbacks, facing disappointments and yet clinging to the hope. It will be this determination and final refusal to be stopped that will eventually open the door of fulfillment. While still in the prison of segregation we must ask, “How can I turn this liability into an asset?” It is possible that, recognizing the necessity of suffering, we can make of it a virtue. To suffer in a righteous cause is to grow to our humanity’s full stature.26 If only to save ourselves from bitterness, we need the vision to see the ordeals of this generation as the opportunity to transfigure ourselves and American society. Moreover, through our suffering in this oppressive prison and our non-violent struggle to get out of it, we may give the kind of spiritual dynamic to western civilization that it so desperately needs to survive.

Of course some of us will die having not received the promise of freedom. But we must continue to move on. On the one hand we must accept the finite disappointment, but in spite of this we must maintain the infinite hope. This is the only way that we will be able to live without the fatigue of bitterness and the drain of resentment.

Movie Review: Ava DuVernay’s ‘Origin’ is a powerful, artful, interpretation of ‘Caste’

BY LINDSEY BAHR Updated 9:26 AM EST, January 17, 2024

Alternate Theme: Everything is harder for people of color

Black Mamas Matter Alliance – Advancing Black Maternal Health, Rights & Justice

Hold for later

I Belong Here – what we tell young women

Holy Family 2023 – All Families are Holy

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/XzLMPxH5mj3sWYvUzrUufhW3bSa1rg5uIikT1E-0LFz4hm-SZBDSoWG2fpZGtu4w.5ItWS6K8-owZk0Ml?startTime=1704034849000

Holy Family Liturgy                    12/31/2023

We pray for others

Opening Song                                                                                    Mike

Christmas Heart

Slide Show

©1996 Rouse House Music, ASCAP. All rights reserved. www.earthmama.org

Wisdom Bowl                                                       Maryann or Margie

Opening Prayer                                                                                 Mike

(from Upper Room Adapted)

Let us remember the greater part of the life of Jesus was led in humility and respectfulness to Mary and Joseph. He came to enlighten our world by sharing his teaching and example. We now have a more encompassing view of our tumultuous everchanging world. Let us hope and pray with hands linked in unity, with voices lifted in joyful noise and with works of dedication.  May we have wisdom to make the best choices for this global family. Amen.

First Reading                                                                           Linda Kaul

The implications of Christmas

Christmas is the celebration of small things, particular things, barely noticeable things. It is Jesus in a manger—an animal byre—the child who will grow into the voice of God that is heard around the world.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the magnificence of Jesus and so miss the simplicity of Jesus, the normalcy of Jesus, the invisibility of the Jesus who lives almost totally unseen, unheralded, for the first 30 years of his life. Just like us.

The implications of that reality, especially at a time like Christmas with all the gifts and glitter, all the great Christmas icons and triumphant hymns—cue trumpet, hit flashing lights, turn spotlight on angels—turn real life upside down. There weren’t any trumpets, the night was quiet and dark as pitch, no heavenly choir sang. It was a moment of crisis, of abandonment, of loss, of total dependence for this little family. They knew too much of what the families of the world know yet, in fact.

This was a refugee family. They were homeless. In a highly communal society their survival depended on the hospitality and support of strangers. That’s the real story. Where has it been for so long?

Maybe we’ve never wanted to face the implications of this birth, its social status, its neediness. Maybe it has been so well-masked that we have never realized the demands it makes on us. It has implications for now, for the world we’re in where we ourselves are turning refugees away so we can make “America first.” First in wealth. First in power. First in prominence. First in isolation from the racial reality of the rest of the world—from the pain of all of it.

Isn’t it time to grow beyond the fairy tale spirituality and face our own part in the drama? Aren’t we the missing people in the Christmas frieze, the people absent from the beggar’s birth, the real deciders of what this birth will bring? At least in our own time. Now.

Isn’t it time to realize that this birth is meant to change us all? To make us the bringers of a Merry Christmas to others.

—from The Monastic Way by Joan Chittister, Dec. 2018

INSPIRED Words.

Second Reading                                                                      Sue Bove

Human Family by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences

in the human family.

Some of us are serious,

some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived

as true profundity,

and others claim they really live

the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones

can confuse, bemuse, delight,

brown and pink and beige and purple,

tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas

and stopped in every land,

I’ve seen the wonders of the world

not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women

called Jane and Mary Jane,

but I’ve not seen any two

who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different

although their features jibe,

and lovers think quite different thoughts

while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,

we weep on England’s moors,

and laugh and moan in Guinea,

and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,

are born and die in Maine.

In minor ways we differ,

in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences

between each sort and type,

but we are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.

Inspired Words

“Psalm”                                                                                     Marie

We Are Unity.. edited by Bhanu..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THv65eAWf78%22%20%5Ct%20%22_blank

Gospel                                                                             Colleen Walsh-White

A reading from the Gospel in the Tradition of Matthew.

After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight.

They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.)

Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt:

“Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel.

When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee.

On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Inspired Words.

Homily                                                                                                  Mike

Prayer of the People                                                       Margie McFadden

(Slowly): We gather today, painfully aware for the need of mercy in our country and in our world.
AFTER each petition there will be a prayerful silence: (allow 5 seconds)

That we dwell on the simplicity of Jesus, the normalcy of Jesus, the invisibility of the Jesus who lives almost totally unseen, unheralded, for the first 30 years of his life. Just like us…we pray,

For all Holy Families in moments moment of crisis, of abandonment, of loss, of total dependence… we pray,

For all refugee families. They are homeless. Whose very survival depends on the hospitality and support of strangers. …we pray,

For non-traditional families especially those in the LGBTQ community, that all may come to not only accept but to welcome and love them…we pray,

For the implications the refugee story of Jesus, Mary and Joseph has on our present-day world… we pray,

For the sick of our community, for those to whom we have promised our prayers, for those who struggle with mental health or addiction, for courage to reach out and ask for help… we pray,

For all who have died, especially those who died violently… we pray,

For our sisters and brothers in Sophia, in our sister parish in Rochester, for all those involved with Pathways to Prosperity, Voice of the Faithful, RAMP and FCM, may they know of our love and care for them.  May they continue to do good as they follow the Way of Jesus, we pray,

For what else shall we pray?  Allow 4 petitions.

May the Spirit of Jesus live in us, that a new world can take shape in us and keep growing.  May we grow beyond the fairy tale spirituality and face our own part in the drama that now unfolds.  May we be resolved to be agents of mercy in all out comings and goings.   And we pray this and all prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sharing of Peace                                                                               Mike

Prayer over the Bread and the Wine              Linda Schaller

We are grateful – for this bread,

Which earth has given and human hands have formed.

This bread nourishes our spirit.

We are grateful – for this wine,

Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It is our spiritual drink.

Eucharistic Prayer                                                 Mike & Grace Collins

Eucharistic Prayer Michael Morwood: Prayers For Progressive Christians

(Please pray the part of the voice at home)

Presider: We come together at this special time,

moved by a light within us

and within all people,

a light embedded in every baby,

in every child,

in every woman and in every man,

a light that burns and shines brightly

a light that is the precious gift of love.

Voice: We believe that this light,

this love within

has a dimension beyond our words and images.

It is the light of the Great Mystery

that grounds and sustains

everything that exists.

P:  It is the light we name

God

Love

Creator

Infinite Spirit

Breath of God.

Voice:  The light burning within us

burns in galaxies and stars

in everything that exists,

in everything around us,

in everything within us.

P:  Like Jesus we give human expression to this light,

in our love,

in our compassion,

in our co-operation,

in our deepest hopes and desires

for a world of good will,

peace,

and respect for the earth.

Voice:  We rejoice in the birth of Jesus.

We rejoice that today

we are able to see and believe

that his birth,

his story,

is the story of every human baby,

that the light that burned inside him is burning inside each of us.

P:  We rejoice that he is more like us

that we ever imagined.

Voice:  Like each of us

he grew in wisdom as he aged.

He questioned,

he searched for meaning,

he shaped his convictions,

he experienced love

and came to know love’s connectedness

with the reality he called God.

P:  Standing firmly in his own religious tradition

he preached good news

to people dreaming

of a better humanity,

dreaming of reaching out to one another

in the truth that binds us all.

Voice:  We rejoice that his teaching

sets us free from

imagining a punishing God

and thinking we are distant

from the Ultimate Light

that grounds our very existence.

P:  We rejoice that Jesus led people

to discover the sacred in the ordinary:

in the crowd,

in the lowly,

in the everyday life,

in human yearnings to be better people,

in being neighbor to one another.

Voice:  We rejoice that his teaching

set us free to believe

that we give human expression

to the Light and Love

underpinning all that exists

and giving meaning to who we are.

P:  Our Christmas prayer

is that we may recognize

and actively acknowledge

the presence of the sacred

in places we are reluctant to look.

Voice:  We are thankful for Jesus’ courage

in the face of opposition

and powerful influences

wanting to silence him.

P:  We remember the night before he died

when he shared a meal with his friends.

He gave thanks

for all the blessings in his life

and shared the bread with his friends,

asking them to gather in memory of him

to keep his dream alive.

Voice:  We break bread

as Jesus broke bread,

mindful of the call

to love generously and faithfully,

whatever the cost.

P:  We eat this bread,

giving our “Amen”

to living in love,

as Jesus lived in love.

Voice:  We take wine,

mindful of our responsibility to be bearers of forgiveness, tolerance,

and understanding.

P:  We drink,

committing ourselves

to allow the spirit of generosity

that moved so boldly in Jesus

to move in our lives.

Voice:  To this commitment

we give our “Amen”

and offer it as our Christmas gift

to our family and friends

our colleagues and our neighbors.

Prayer of Jesus                                                                       Geri Moran

(Please pray at home)

O Divine Birther of all that is – from the smallest particle to the vastness of

the cosmos, you are present.  Holy are your infinite names chanted, sung or whispered.

Abba, Beloved, Divine Breath, Great Mystery, Sophia

May we walk in peace, speak with tenderness, touch with compassion and love unconditionally.  With gratitude for the abundance we’ve been given, may we always share with any who hunger or are in need.  May we be filled with humility and regret for the times we did not reflect your love.  May we always offer forgiveness to those whose words or actions have caused us pain.  May we understand our individual purpose and seek to fulfill it without distraction.

We pray what we believe and believe what we pray.  Amen.

By Colleen Walsh White 2020

Breaking of the Bread                                                        Alice or Colleen

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

In the breaking of the bread, we know you, brother Jesus, Alleluia.

Presider: “…happy are we to share in this meal”

All:  Our sharing in this meal is a sign of our gratitude and commitment to be one with Jesus.

When sharing the bread: “This is, and you are, the bread of life”

Presider:  With great joy, we state.

All: We are followers of Jesus.

When sharing the cup: “The cup of the Covenant”

Communion Meditation Song                                                        Mike

Beautiful Relaxing Music, Peaceful Soothing Instrumental Music, “Winter Woods” by Tim Janis (youtube.com)

With Slide Show

Closing Prayer                                                                                   Mike

(from Upper Room Adapted)

Jesus signaled a new consciousness, a new way of looking at the Divine, self and others.  We are this holy family, this kin-dom here and now.  May we be mindful that our spirit impacts each and every person we meet.  As we are blessed, let us be a blessing.

Closing Song                                                                           Marie

We Are Family Sister Sledge