Sunday, February 15, 2015

Inclusive Catholic Liturgy by Priest Michele Birch-Conery, ARCWP and Deacon Barbara Billey, ARCWP

We Journey in Radiance: From Epiphany to the Transfiguration of Jesus
                        Heart of Compassion Inclusive Faith Community
Feb. 8, 2015

Welcome and Introduction: Michele Birch-Conery, Celebrant (CM)
Barbara Billey, Co-Celebrant (CCB) All Gathered (CC)

In the name of our Mother and Father God, in the name of Jesus, our brother and of the Holy Spirit our liberator. The graces of the Source of All Being are with us. All: Amen

Throughout the season of the Epiphany, we see Jesus’ call unfolding as he begins the realization of his God destiny in the daily enactment of his mission with and among others. Surrounding him and surrounding us is the radiance of God's loving embrace, apparent in numerous healings and teachings. As it was for the prophets and those following God then, so it is with us in God's being, individually and in community. It was a time of miracles then, and it still is.

Opening Chant: Ubi Caritas (Taize)
Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est.
(Where there is charity and love, God is found.)

Rite of Forgiveness and Peace

CM:  In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Jesus Sophia’s compassion enfolds us.
CCB: Let us enter silence to recall the times we may have lost hope or felt alienated, entirely alone without light or not knowing a way forward out of darkness. (Period of silence)

CM: I invite you now to join in General Absolution held in the power of our praying community.
CCB: Please raise your hands and extend them in prayer as we say together:
All:  Our Father and Mother of mercies, through your living, through your dying and rising, you have revealed that nothing can separate us from your infinite love. Fill us with the Grace of your Light, Wisdom Jesus.
CCB:  We ask your pardon and peace.
All: May we remember that you always bring us out of times of darkness and wavering hope; in the name of our Light-filled Creator; in the name of Jesus, speaker of the Word.
CM: In the name of Holy Spirit Wisdom Sophia, our source of divine compassion, may we remember the height and depth, the length and breadth of God’s love for us.
CCB: In this remembrance, may we protect ourselves and others from violence of all kinds. May we find the way to reconciliations as we need and be your light-filled presence for others.
CM: May we give and receive forgiveness, may we act in justice and may we find deep peace in ourselves and in community with others.
All: Amen.

Music:  Do not be afraid for I am with you (Bernadette Farell)

Liturgy of the Word
Narratives of Jesus, the Radiant Anointed One
CM: When the Magi followed the light of a star in search of the newborn Messiah, they encountered Divine Presence beyond anything they could have imagined from their wise studies. They were enfolded in the Radiant Light of God entering the human condition.
All: Fill us with the Light of your Grace, Jesus Wisdom.
CCB:  When Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan River, the heavens opened, the Dove descended, and He was filled with the radiant light of the Holy Spirit.
All: Fill us with the Light of your Grace, Jesus Wisdom.
CC: Jesus Wisdom, Word of God draws disciples who call him Rabbi, Teacher, Anointed One. “Where do you stay?” they ask. “Come and see” he replies.
All: Fill us with the Light of your Grace, Jesus Wisdom.
CC:  Encounters with Jesus draw eager enthusiasm from these new disciples. They are riveted by the light of his Divine Presence.
All: Fill us with the Light of your Grace, Jesus Wisdom.
CC:  Rabbi, teacher Jesus Wisdom stays and stays with the disciples. He teaches the difficult understanding of the reign of God through parables that illuminate Divine Mystery.
All: Fill us with the Light of your Grace, Jesus Wisdom.
CC: Jesus speaks in the synagogue and his authority astonishes. A man possessed with a demon announces Jesus as Divine. Jesus casts out the demon by reason of this recognition and of his authority.
All: Fill us with the Light of your Grace, Jesus Wisdom.
CC: Jesus’ ministry becomes complete in all aspects of God’s purposes as he preaches, heals every kind of affliction and casts out demons. His holiness sends light into every kind of darkness and in this, he comes into opposition with the priests of the temple, challenging unjust laws embedded in the Jewish religious tradition.
All: Fill us with the Light of your Grace, Jesus Wisdom.
CC: Like us, Jesus experiences the temptations of the human condition, especially when tested in the wilderness just after his baptism and prior to his public ministry. The church places this gospel during Lent and it precedes the intensification of challenges in his ministry, particularly with the temple authorities. Jesus does not yield to the material offers for wealth or the empire offers for kingship. For us it is important that Jesus teaches how to stay faithful to our Christian calling in the midst of worldly challenges that would take us away from his way of peace, love and compassion.
All: Fill us with the Light of your Grace, Jesus Wisdom.
CM: Jesus’ transfiguration on a mountain brings us full circle to another mountain top vision, that of Moses before the burning bush.  Whereas Moses experiences God in the magnificent power of the Spirit’s overshadowing, he sees only the bush burning as if in an eternal flame.
All: Fill us with the Light of Your Grace, Jesus Wisdom.
CCB: The vision of Peter, James and John, on this mountain with Jesus is direct. Jesus becomes radiant light in his entire body and in his spirit transfigured before them. This time Moses and Elijah appear and they speak with Jesus as if they have always known each other. The disciples, so overcome with awe, want to stay there forever.
All: Fill us with the Light of your grace, Jesus Wisdom.

CM: But they too, with Jesus, are overshadowed by the cloud of the visitation, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  The vision precedes the descent into darkness of the final days of Jesus public ministry. The vision bathes the three disciples in the illumination and light they will need as the newly anointed ones who will lead the fragile founding communities Jesus must leave to them.
All: Fill us with the Light of your Grace, Jesus Wisdom
CCB: As in his birth and in the astonishing illumination and a light-filled universe experienced by the Magi, the universe on that mountain pulsed in the recognition of the Presence of Jesus in his Divine Essence.

Chant: The Kin-dom of God (Taize)
The kin-dom of God is justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Come, Lord, and open in us the gates of your kin-dom.

Communal Reflection
CM: What is moving within in response to these readings and reflections? (Share in pairs, followed by communal sharing of wisdom).

CM: In our Sacramental encounter today, we become light, word and compassion through our worshipping prayer. We ourselves are sanctuaries of Jesus’ loving presence and light, agents in furthering Divine Presence in local, global and cosmic justice.

All Chant:     Come to the inner ray of light.
                        Yes, your truth is a lamp for my feet;
                        And a light to my path.

Profession of Faith:

All: We believe in God, the Fountain of Life, flowing through every being. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who reflects the face of God and the fullness of humanity. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God in the cosmos, who calls us to love and serve. We believe in our global oneness with all in the circle of life. 

Prayer of the Faithful

CCB: The response to our prayers is Your truth is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path.     

CM: Jesus Wisdom, you came to us bringing the Light and the Word of our Divine Father and Mother. Enlighten us in understanding. Fill our hearts as we deepen in knowing you as our faithful companion, our guide, and our light.
All: Your truth is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path.     
CCB: You are the One we encounter in Sacrament, you are the One who taught and who healed. You are the one who strengthens us in our journey with you now and always.
All: Your truth is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path.     
CCB: The light of Wisdom fills us with infinite creativity. Stay with us and teach us how to listen for the promptings of your Spirit and to act from the fullness of your grace in us.
All: Your truth is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path.     
CCB: Invitation to offer your prayers.
CM: Jesus Wisdom, you are the light of the world and of the entire Cosmos. Jesus, Holy Spirit, you are the Source of all Being. In God, you are the first and last light. Even in all this power, you continue to come to us in humility and compassionate love. Accept our needs, our desires and our gratitude for all that you are for us and for all that we are with you and with each other.
All: Your truth is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path.     

Liturgy of the Eucharist
Preparation of the Gifts

CM: Blessed are you, God of all Creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer which earth has given and we have made.  It is for us the bread that nourishes us in remembrance of your life.
 All: Blessed is God forever
CCB: Blessed are you, God of all Creation, through your goodness, we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and pressed by winemakers. It is our spiritual drink in remembrance of your covenant with us.
All:  Blessed be God forever.
CM: Loving Mother and Father God, we are united in this Sacrament by the Love of Jesus, the Christ, in communion with Mary and all saints. They are your light in a world often in darkness. Where there is cruelty and injustice, especially non-acceptance of differences, they are your power and mercy.
All: Holy One, accept these gifts from our hands for the praise and glory of your name, for our good and the good of all your people.
CCB:   Ever gentle God, Jesus showed us how to live a compassionate and loving life, strong in truth and in integrity and bringing hope to all. He spoke for justice for the poor and outcast as did many prophets and spiritual leaders in other faith traditions. Accept our gifts and our worship.
CM: We offer our lives in service to you and your people. Fill us with your spirit and light in all we say and do. We ask this from the Divine heart present to us always.
ALL: Amen

Prayers of the Eucharist

CM: Our God is with you.
All: And with you.
CM: Come to the table in the fullness of your hearts.
All: We open our hearts to God and one another.
CM: Let us give thanks to our God.
All: We offer our thanks and praise to you, Our God.
CM: Creator God, Creator Spirit, Cosmic One beyond our imagining, we give you thanks for the gift of consciousness and for awareness that leads us to see you in our universe.
CC: Everything we have, everything we see and do, everyone we love and all who love us reveal your sustaining presence. We thank you that your presence brings energy and light to life and all that exists.
CC: We recognize that you express yourself in human life and that through us, you sing and dance, speak and write, love and create.
CC: In this we never cease to hope and for this we thank you and we praise you.
CC: We thank you for Jesus, who loved so greatly, taught so clearly, and proclaimed so courageously.  He set people free from images, ideas and religious practices that bound them in fear and a false sense of separation from you. Through Jesus, we know our loving actions become a share in your life.  In Jesus, we see your Spirit challenging us to make your presence more visible on earth.
CM: We thank you for Your spirit of life and love among us. We are grateful that Your Spirit sets us free to discover your presence within us and in all of creation. And for this we thank and praise you.  We join with the saints of all times as they sing forever to your glory:

All Chant: (#20 Songs of Presence)
Jesus said, “What are you looking for?
The kin-dom of God is within you and outside you.
This is my very body. This is my blood.
I am here, I am with you, I am He
I am here, I am with you, I am She (3 times)

CM: (Hands over the gifts) Loving God, intensify the presence of Your Spirit in these our gifts, as they, and we, become the + Body and Blood of Jesus the Christ for the sake of our wholeness and the wholeness of all of creation.

Please extend your hands towards the gifts as we say together:

On the night before he died,
while at supper with his friends,
Jesus took the Bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it them saying: Take and eat, this is my body.
When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup of wine, spoke the blessing and offered it to them saying:
Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in you.
Do this in memory of me.

CCB: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.
Eucharistic Acclamation

Nurtured by your Word,
Nourished by your food;
Called anew to be your people,
To be your light.

CCB: Loving God, through Jesus You entrusted this pledge of love to us.  We celebrate the memory of his life, death and resurrection, and bring to You the gifts You have given us: reconciliation, justice, and peace. 
CM: You fill us with Your Spirit and light in the sharing of this meal.
You keep us in communion with one another. Your Spirit makes us a sign of unity, a model of equality and instruments of your peace.
CCB: We now pray for all who invite the mind and heart of Divine Spirit Wisdom to motivate action.
CM: We pray for people of all faiths that equality in their understanding becomes a touchstone for Sacred practices.
All: We marvel at the wonders of the universe and our place within it with all of creation. We remember those who suffer physically and mentally and we regret the degradation of our planet. Have mercy on us all. Unite us with you and with the rights of all life forms. Teach us to nurture and care for all the life we encounter. Guide us in being your light.

All: Through Christ, with Christ and in Christ, all honor and glory is yours Holy God, forever and ever.
All sing: The Great Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

CM: Please join hands as together we pray...

Our Father/Mother God who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kin-dom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from all evil. Amen.

The Sign of Peace:

CM: Jesus said to his friends, “Peace I leave you. My peace I give you.” Look on the faith of all of us, Jesus who liberates, heals and transforms us and our world.
All: Amen
CCB:Let us share our gesture of peace with one another.

Breaking of the Bread and Communion:

CM: (Break bread) This is Jesus the Christ who wishes to dwell in us. This is Jesus Christ who liberates, heals and transforms us and our world.
CCB: Blessed be Jesus Christ who provides food and drink for the journey.

When giving communion say ...
Jesus, Bread of Life ... (reply) Amen
Jesus, Cup of Hope ... (reply) Amen
(Period of silence)

Music: Bread of Life, Hope of the World (Bernadette Farrell)
All Sing Chorus: Bread of life, hope of the world, Jesus Christ our brother. Feed us now, give us light, lead us to one another.

Prayer after Communion

CM: Loving Mother and Father God, we thank you for your love and your presence of light within and among us.  Today we have remembered you and all holy ones of all time. We ask you to continue to be with us every day of our lives as we follow in your way, your truth and your life.

Final Blessing

CM: Endless Light of Life, Divine Word, Jesus Wisdom, you are Healer and Lover of each of us. You are our Prophetic hope.

The love of Jesus Wisdom is ours. May we be strengthened in hope even as we are embraced by the love of the Holy Spirit who lights our path forward always

CCB: Go in the peace of Christ. Let our service begin!

All: We give thanks to our gracious God.

Closing Song and Dance: Prayer for Peace (David Haas)

Created by:
Rev. Dr. Michele Birch-Conery, Priest ARCWP
Barbara Billey, Deacon ARCWP
(Feb 2015)

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