Sunday, May 3, 2015

Liturgy in Celebration of Women Spirit Rising, Albany, New York, with Deacon Kathie Ryan and ARCWP and Priest Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP

Liturgy in Celebration of WomenSpirit Rising

Receiving the stole:  A representative from the assembly prays the following prayer as the presiders are vested in stoles.
_______ and _______, we your community call you forth and we bless you as you lead us in our liturgy today.

Welcome and Theme

Presider 1: Welcome to our inclusive catholic community. We celebrate with joy the indwelling of our God among us. Our liturgical style is highly inclusive and you are invited to participate in the words of consecration. We are happy you are here with us today. All are welcome to share in our simple Eucharistic meal around this friendship table. Let us begin by greeting one another with a sign of peace.

Presider 2: Our theme today is WomenSpirit Rising and we celebrate the women prophets, mystics and rebels who understood the message of Jesus and followed faithfully in his footsteps. We stand on their shoulders as we faithfully live the Gospel.
Presider 1:  Let us pray: O Holy One, you bi
rthed us and continue to nurture us.  We are your children and we are united with all of your children, those with us now and those who have gone before us. We are grateful for all of the strong women who continue to encourage and inspire us to live as prophets and mystics in our time.

Please join in singing our opening song:  # 65 I Am the One Within You
words: Janet Carol Ryan
Music: Karen Drucker

I am the infinite presence
I am the one in all
I am the truth in beauty
The answer to Spirits call

I am the one within you
(ever present, ever new)
I am the one you seek
(whispering softly in your ear)
Within your heart there is a doorway
(step through the light)
The arms of love awaits you
With these golden wings take flight…


First Reading: More Than a Father by Mechtilde of Magdeburg

More Than A Father
The name of Father I have always known
This God who creates and holds,
This God who calls and welcomes,
This God who rules and loves,
This God whom I once feared and fought.

But Father is not enough to contain the coming God of my being.
As I grow, God grows,
Deep in my being I know a God who is more,
More than Father,
I now know my God as mother.

I have been held in her embrace
 I have played at her knee
I have found a home in her heart
I have laid my head on her breast

I have touched the lines on her face
I have looked into her eyes
And I have known
A God who is Mother. 

Mother God,
Father God,
Keep me in your embrace.

These are the inspired words of Mechtilde of Magdeburg

Second Reading: A Reading from The Ways of the Mystic: Seven Paths to God
By Joan Borysenko

A mystic sees beyond the illusion of separateness into the intricate web of life in which all things are expressions of a single Whole. You can call this web God, the Tao, the Great Spirit, the Infinite Mystery, Mother or Father, but it can be known only as love.

How can words convey the depth and sweetness of unconditional love, the soul’s joy in coming home to God, the stunning revelation that despite all your errors you are forgiven? How to describe the realization that your every thought and deed is known, and the bliss of being shown that your soul is pure, not because you are perfect, but because you are willing to acknowledge your imperfections? How is it possible that you can think about anything and know instantly, at an infinite number of levels, its very essence? How to convey the perception that everything is interconnected, crafted of an intelligent light that forms a seamless matrix from which all matter springs?

These are the inspired words of Joan Borysenko, mystic and healer

Alleluia (sung)

Gospel: This is the Gospel of Jesus written by his disciple, John (Jn 17 !8:23

(Jesus, looked up to heaven and said,) “ As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world; I consecrate myself now for their sakes, that they may be made holy in truth. I don't pray for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all may be one, as you, Abba, are in me and I in you; I pray that they may be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one – I in them, you and me – that they may be made perfect in unity.
These are the inspired words of John, disciple of Jesus

Shared Homily

Statement of Faith

Presider 2: Please stand and proclaim our statement of faith:

All: We believe in one God, a divine mystery
beyond all definition and rational understanding,
the heart of all that has ever existed,
that exists now, or that ever will exist.

We believe in Jesus, messenger of God's Word,
bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion,
bright star in the firmament of God's
prophets, mystics, and saints.

We believe that We are called to follow Jesus
as a vehicle of God's love,
a source of God's wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of God's peace in the world.

We believe that God's kin-dom is here and now,
stretched out all around us for those
with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it,
and hands to make it happen.


Presider 1: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we lay our stoles upon the table as a sign that just as Jesus is anointed so is each of us.  And, we bring to this table our blessings, cares, and concerns.

(Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table…”)
Presider 1:  We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Presider 2:  O Holy One, you have been called by many names by many people in the centuries of our planet’s life. Yet, no name truly defines you or describes you.  We celebrate you as the marvelous, loving energy of life who caused us and our world to be. We celebrate you as the Source of light and life and love, and we celebrate your presence and all-ways care.

Presider 1: Please (gather around our friendship table and) join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together: WomanSpirit Rising written by Jay Murnane.

O Holy One, You are both Mother and Father to us human beings. You give us life, and we live and breathe with your own Spirit.

You create us female and male; You call us good, and ask us to live as equal partners. You share the earth with us, and ask only that we compliment your ongoing activity of creation.

Among all our blessed ancestors, we celebrate the women who gently and firmly broke through the death-structures of their times with unique vision and compassion: Sarah, Deborah, Judith, Miriam, Ruth, Esther, Anna, Miriam of Nazareth, Julian, Hildegard, and so many more.

United with them, with WomenSpirit rising, with our vast universe, with our Mother-Planet and her people everywhere, with one another and You, Loving God, our spirits dance and sing this song of praise:

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

We are holy, holy, holy
We are holy, holy, holy
We are holy, holy, holy
We are whole...

Spirit divine,  Come to me
Feeling love, Healing me 

Open my heart, Allow me to see
Beauty & love Lives in me 

You are holy, holy, holy

We give grateful thanks for all your faithful servants, opening for all of us a path to life. We thank you for all the women who risked everything they had so that all of us could live in a better, brighter world.

We thank you for your child and our brother, Jesus. He showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands.  He knew that we would be afraid; he showed us how to be free of the blindness and paralysis of fear.

He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough, and that remains our clarity in the midst of confusion: the miracle of healing, new hope, nurturance, nourishment, liberation and life.

On the night before he faced his own death and for the sake of living fully, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly within them, be bent down and washed their feet.

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

Take and eat; this is my very self.

He then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine saying:

Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life,
for you and for everyone,
for liberation from every oppression.
Whenever you do this, Re-member me!

Loving God, we have felt deeply the barrenness of our lives and of our community. Yet, we have always been pregnant with your creative Word and your life-giving Spirit.

We have looked for others to save us and to save our world. Yet, we are called, and consecrated and sent into the world to establish justice and show the blessed fulfillment that comes with simplicity and the giving of ourselves in love.  

We will look at our world with open eyes, and make compassion our truest vision.  We will live in the belief that blindness, death and illusion have no final dominion.

We will make new our commitment to the harmony of the original vision of creation. We have held our sisters captive in so many ways and will no longer stand in the way of the development of any living creature, be that a person, a gathering of persons, or the earth herself.

We will live justly, love tenderly, and walk this earth with integrity.  We will bind and blind and burden no longer.  We will deliberately lay down our various weapons, and use our gifts only for life.

We will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and our small circles. Like Jesus, in all openness, we will be filled with your own Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

For it is through learning to live as he lived,
And why he lived,
And for whom he lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within,
Moving us to worship you truly,
Life-giving God,
At this time and all time and in all ways.
And we say yes to You!

Presider 2: Let us sing together the prayer of Jesus:
Words: Miriam Therese Winter, Music: Pamela Parker

"Our Mother who is within us,
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come; your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Oh, 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, now and forever, now and forever,
now and forever. Blessed be!"

(Presiders lift bread and wine)

Presider 1: This is Jesus, Bread of Life.  How blessed are we who are called to the table.

All:  What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.

Communion Song:  # 65 I Am the One Within You
words: Janet Carol Ryan
Music: Karen Drucker

I am the infinite presence
I am the one in all
I am the truth in beauty
The answer to Spirits call

I am the one within you
(ever present, ever new)
I am the one you seek
(whispering softly in your ear)
Within your heart there is a doorway
(step through the light)
The arms of love awaits you
With these golden wings take flight…

Presider 2: Let us pray:
May we continue to be the face of God to each other and may our name be a blessing in our time!  Amen.

Presider 1: Please join in singing our Closing Song: #63 Woman’s Spirit
words and music: Marvella McPartland & Lynn Fugua
sung by: Karen Drucker

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.

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