Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community blesses Kathryn Elaine Shea and James Thomas Marsh on Jan. 10, 2015, Homily and Liturgy for Baptism of Jesus

Deacons Sally Brochu ARCWP and Janet Blakeley ARCWP co-preside at Liturgy celebrating Baptism of Jesus, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons
On Sat. Jan. 10, 2015 at an inclusive Eucharistic liturgy, Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community blesses Kathryn Elaine Shea and James Thomas Marsh who will be ordained deacons on Jan. 17th at 2:00 PM at Christ Church Unity in Orlando, Florida. Deacons Janet Blakeley and Sally Brochu presided at the liturgy celebrating the Baptism of Jesus.

MMOJ – HOMILY, Baptism of Jesus by Janet Blakeley
          Saturday, January 10, 2015

Before launching into his Gospel, which is a chronicle of the events of Jesus’ life, Mark establishes for the reader who Jesus is.   He is the one who
                    Fulfills the promise of OT prophets,
                    For whom John the Baptist prepares the way, and (this is new!)
                    Who will, himself, baptize with the Spirit.
People of the middle-east would have understood John’s baptism for what it was - a washing ritual signifying giving up old ways, other religious practices, past actions – and a wholehearted commitment to worshiping the God of Israel.

But how would they have understood the idea of being baptized with the Spirit?   Was that a new concept for them?   Even today we have not yet fleshed out what baptism of the Spirit might mean.   

For most of our lives, we have thought of baptism as a way to wash away past sins and the effects of original sin – namely death – in order to enjoy eternal life.   We get the idea of “washing away..”
But we spend little time focusing on what Jesus brought to baptism - the gift to us of his Spirit.   How often do we consciously turn to, or listen to, the Spirit within us – the Spirit who became one with our spirit, who is now inseparably galvanized to our spirit?

Do we even have an idea of what to look for when turning to the Spirit?   We know that when the Spirit of God was “activated” in Jesus, he experienced God’s love, he felt led into the wilderness, he was drawn to fast and pray, he resisted great temptations and he was motivated to return to the Galilee to enter into a public ministry of preaching, teaching, healing, forgiving, loving.    All of that was the action of the enlivened Spirit in him.

When he gives us his Spirit, we can look for those same movements within ourselves, and many more.   He himself said that we would do greater things than he did.   So what happened?   Have we paid attention to the Spirit in us?   Do we even recognize the Spirit within us?    Perhaps we have given up the effort to recognize the movement of the Spirit – in ourselves and in others.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus frequently talks of himself and a little later the Spirit, saying in effect, you will recognize the Spirit when I send it because it is MY SPIRIT.   The attributes of Jesus are the attributes of the Spirit – his Spirit.  If you know me, you know the Sprit.   Just as he said “the Father and I are one”, so he indicates that the Spirit and he are one.  

If you are privileged to know Jesus to a greater or lesser degree, then you can recognize the Spirit within you, given to you by Jesus at baptism.  
The more we pay attention to the Spirit, the more quickly the world will be transformed.   Isn’t that the reason Jesus came?   To transform the world?   And why he gave his spirit to us?   To carry on that transformation? 


When have you recognized the Spirit at work in you or in others?

What hitherto un-thought-of possibilities does the Spirit suggest to you now? (Be open – the sky’s the limit!)         

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
Baptism of Jesus - January 10, 2015
Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons
Co-Presiders: Janet Blakeley & Sally Brochu, Deacons ARCWP
 Opening Song: “Wade in the Water” #659
Presider:  In the name of God, our father/mother, and of Jesus Christ Sophia, and of the Holy Spirit, our liberator.  ALL:  Amen.
Presider:  My sisters and brothers, God is with you!  ALL:  And also with you.
Presider:  Let us pause to reflect on God’s boundless love and our need for forgiveness and healing.
(Silent reflection)

(all extend hands and recite prayer of general absolution)
ALL:  God, the Father/Mother of mercies, through the death and resurrection of Jesus has reconciled the world and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.  Through the ministry of the Church, may God give us pardon and peace and we absolve you from your sins in the name of God the Father/Mother, and of Jesus, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Presider:  May the God of love, forgive us our lack of trust in God’s Spirit moving with us, in us and through us as witnesses of God’s love for all. 
ALL: Amen.

ALL:  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.  O loving God, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  O Jesus, Christ, Sophia, Loving God; You take away the sin of the world:  have mercy on us.  You who are one with our God, receive our prayer.  For you alone are the Holy One; you alone are Messiah.  You alone are the Most High, Jesus, Christ Sophia; with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God.  Amen.
Presider:  Spirit of God, you moved over the waters breathing life, freedom and joy into creation. Fill us, bathe us, drench us with your healing, refreshing love. Make us a life-giving river spilling over and splashing justice, truth and love over all.   ALL:  Amen

Blessing of the Water:
Presider:  May this water remind us of the holiness of earth.  May the Spirit of God move in this water once again and make us a wellspring of love spilling over with compassion for all.   ALL:  Amen

Blessing of the People:
Presider:  May you be blessed and renewed in your baptismal promises to God, yourself, and the People of God! (Sprinkle all, including presider, with blessed water.)
1st Reading: Isaiah 42: 10-4, 6-7
Psalm 29
2nd Reading: Acts 10: 34 - 38
Gospel Acclamation: ALLELUIA! Raise the Gospel” -                              # 629  Refrain only
Gospel: Mark 1: 7 - 11

Profession of Faith: ALL:  We believe in God, the creator and lover of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who shows us how to live in the fullness of God’s love. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, who empowers us with spiritual gifts for loving service of our sisters and brothers. We believe in Shekinah, God’s dwelling among the people. We believe in Sophia, Holy Wisdom, leading us to justice, and equality.  We believe in Christ Sophia, nourishing us with abundant life as the Body of Christ at the table, on the table and around the table at the Banquet of love.
Presider:  That we may be faithful to our promises to the People of God, we pray... Response: Hear us, O God!   
Presider:  That we may use earth's resources wisely, we pray...R.
Presider:  That the Spirit of God, like Living Water, would break down resistances and barriers between people and between groups of believers, we pray...R.
Presider: For what else shall we pray?

Presider: Loving God, we have spoken of our needs and hopes and some of them remain silently in our hearts. Listen to the fullness of our petitions and help us to effect these changes for the better in our world. 
ALL:  Amen
Presider:   Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer.  Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation. 
ALL:  Blessed be God forever. 

Presider:  God dwells in you.  ALL:  And also with you.    Presider:  Lift up your hearts.  ALL:  We lift them up to God.  
Presider: Let us give thanks to our God.   ALL:  It is right to give God thanks and praise.

 Everyone is welcome to join us around the altar and to receive Holy Communion

Part One:
We praise you, Wellspring of Love, in whom we live and move and have our being. You have sent Jesus, Sophia's child, the Wisdom of the Ages, to show us that the heart of religion is worshipping you in spirit and in truth. You revealed your identity to the Samaritan woman at the well. You continue to reveal your identity to us today. You embrace every nation, race, creed and culture as your own.

O Divine Companion, you look at each of us with great tenderness. May we see ourselves loved by you totally. God of relationships, you reveal yourself in other people.  Holy One, Compassionate One, Gracious One, your glory embraces heaven and earth. Like sun-drenched waters that sparkle, all human faces reflect your radiant splendor. You love each of us as if we were the only person in the world. Blessed is Jesus who comes in the name of Sophia! Hosanna in the highest.

Part Two:
O surging Ocean of Grace, you energize us with Spirit and passion, connecting us with all creatures in the depth of your unending love. You wash us clean of resentment and hostility and scrub away the debris that pollutes our spirits. We ask you to make us new as you did in the waters of our baptism. Immerse us in the Love that dances for joy in your presence. We gather to celebrate our sacred stories as we welcome all people around this banquet table. We remember Jesus-Sophia who invites us to come and drink of the waters that will quench our thirst forever.

(please all extend hands as we recite the consecration together)
ALL:  The night before pouring forth his love for all people, Jesus took bread, broke it and shared it with his beloved companions, saying:
Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my body which will be given for your healing.

Then, looking with tender warmth on his friends, Jesus took a cup of wine, praised Sophia, and shared the cup, saying:

ALL:  Take this all of you and drink from it; this is the cup of my blood, the blood that will satisfy the longings of human hearts for all times. It will be poured out for the healing and wholeness of all creation. Remember always you are a reflection of divinity.

Part Three:
Let us proclaim the mystery of our dying and rising in Christ:   ALL:  Jesus-Sophia comforts us in our losses, cries with us in our sorrow, and promises that our innermost beings will flow with rivers of living water, even in the midst of our suffering and pain.

As we share this holy meal, we remember the holy men and women who drank from Wisdom's well and showed us how to live as courageous disciples: the prophet Miriam, the woman at the well, Paul of Tarsus, Prisca and Aquila, Clare and Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day, Ita Ford, Bishop Oscar Romero and all those companions we cherish and who bless and challenge us on our faith journey.

Part Four:
May the Church be anchored in the still waters of your presence where abundant blessings flow forever. O Holy One who lives in our hearts, we celebrate your radiant image in men and women everywhere. Your creativity flows through our beings. Your joy fills us. Your blessings are the wellspring of grace all around us. Your mercy is fresh, like dew, every morning. Your healing liberates us from all darkness and oppression. Your empowerment bubbles up inside us.

ALL:  For you are the Love that dwells in our depths, the Wisdom of the Ages that speaks through us, the Divine Connection that makes us all one  Amen.

ALL:  Our Father and Mother…(Sung)
Presider:  Deliver us, God, from every evil and grant us peace in our day.  In your mercy keep us from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
ALL:  For the kindom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.
Presider: Peaceful Waters, we share the abundant love that flows among us as we embrace each other with open hearts.  Look on the faith of all and grant us the peace and unity of your kindom where you live forever and ever.  ALL:  Amen.  
Presider:  May the peace of Christ Sophia be always with you.  ALL:  And also with you. 
Presider:  Let us offer each other a sign of peace as we sing “Peace is Flowing Like a River” – Peace, Love, Healing, Alleluia

ALL:   Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power, have mercy on us.   Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice, have mercy on us.  Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.  Grant us peace.

Presider:  Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ!   ALL:  Amen.

Communion: Instrumental
Communion Song: “Spirit of Life” by Carolyn McDade (Sing twice)
Spirit of Life, come unto me
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
Move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.

Presider:  O God, thank you for refreshing us in your sacrament. May we experience your life-giving waters welling up within us as we serve others with glad hearts.   ALL:  Amen.

Presider:   Christ Sophia is with you   ALL:  and also with you.
(Please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
ALL:  May the Spirit who moved over the waters of creation renew the earth. May Jesus Sophia satisfy our thirst for living fully. May the God of play fill our hearts to overflowing this day with our hearts' delights.
ALL:  Amen.
Presider:   Go in the peace of Christ Sophia.  Let the service begin!  ALL:   Thanks be to God.
Bring Christ to the World”  #385 (Sing twice)

(With gratitude to Bridget Mary Meehan for the use of this liturgy)

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