Monday, November 2, 2015

Liturgical Celebration: All Saints Day 2015: Upper Room Community, Albany, New York, Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP

Liturgical Celebration: All Saints Day 2015

Table of Remembrance: Members of the community are invited to place pictures on the table of family and friends who have crossed over and continue to walk with us.
Gathering Song: # 2. The Face God
Receiving the stole
(a member of the community places stoles on the presiders and prays the following:)  We, the Upper Room Community, call you forth and bless you as you lead us in liturgy.

Welcome and Theme
Presider 1: Welcome to our liturgical gathering. Our theme today for All Saints is a celebration of the mystics, prophets, visionaries, saints who are with us or have walked before us.  We celebrate all those who are and have been actively engaged in a spirituality that lives and prays justly, that unites flesh and spirit, that celebrates life even as it confronts the powers of death and destruction in the world and in ourselves.  We are happy you are here with us today. All are welcome to share in our simple Eucharistic meal around this friendship table. 
Opening Prayer
Presider 2: God of our ancestors, today we gather to our hearts all those who have influenced our lives with their love and goodness. Although some have passed on to the other side of this life, their lives continue to affect who we are and what we do. Like the sound of a bell resounding in the welcoming air, so has the goodness of these holy ones resonated in our lives. We are grateful for all of our companions on this journey and the bond we have with them. Please join in singing our opening song, “When the Saints Come Marching In.”
Opening Song: When the Saints Come Marching In


Reading 1 – A reading from Inviting the Mystic and Supporting the Prophet:

The challenge facing Catholics and all Christians today is to rediscover a spirituality that lives and prays justly, that unites flesh and spirit, that celebrates life even as it confronts the powers of death and destruction in the world and in ourselves. This new yet old spirituality is ecumenical in the most profound sense; reconciling and uniting sisters and brothers everywhere, and so extending the body of Christ throughout the whole world. To live this spirituality is to actively expect the resurrection, to look forward to the restoration of all creation, and to celebrate and share that future hope now in the Eucharist, the sacrament of the new community that exists not for itself but for the world and for God.

These are the inspired words of Francine Cardman.
from Francine Cardman, "Lightning look at the history of Christian spirituality," in The Wind is Rising (Washington, D.C.: Quixote Center, 1978), p. 40.

(For this reading we are using two versions of the Beatitudes.  Two readers will read the Gospel alternating reading the traditional version of each beatitude followed by the contemporary version.)
Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3) and  Beatitudes for the 21st Century
 (Adapted by Jan Phillips)
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed be the story-tellers, music-makers, and artists at life, for they are the true light of the world.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed be the tender-hearted who mourn and grieve the wars we've fought, the lives we've lost, may peace ride in on the river of their tears.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.

Blessed be the Earth and those who tend her, for she is the source and sustenance of our lives.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed be the children who hunger for food, learning, and homes that are safe, for their future is shaped by our choices today.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed be the persecuted and wrongly judged,
for theirs is a sorrow lessened only by mercy and human kindness.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed be the prophets who speak and write of a world beyond war, for theirs are the words becoming flesh.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Blessed be those who are calling for freedom, resisting oppression and risking their lives in the struggle for justice, for they are the shapers of a brighter world.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed be the refuges fleeing the violence of war and poverty may they find shelter, peace, and work that sustains them.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

Shared Homily

Litany of the Saints and Companions on the Journey
Presider 1: Let us listen now as we are invited to remember various groups of our saints and companions on this journey. After each group is mentioned, we will light a candle to remind us of their luminous presence and ring our chimes to remind us that their goodness continues to resonate with us. 

Presider 2: Divine Light, Radiant Holy One, Light of all Lights, we remember the saints who are with us. We remember how each one brings a touch of your light into our world. We recall how each reflects the radiance of your goodness.  We recount their loving deeds and rejoice in their faithfulness.

Voice 1: Let us remember the light-filled ones, who enkindle our spirits with their teachings, and the spark of their beliefs…

All: (sung) All you holy men and women, pray for us.

Voice 2: Let us remember the risk-takers, who faced their fears and took action, who sought justice even though they had to pay a price for it… 

All: (sung) All you holy men and women, pray for us.

Voice 3: Let us remember the vulnerable ones who allowed us to care for them, to be with them in their time of need… 

All: (sung) All you holy men and women, pray for us.

Voice 4: Let us remember the faith-filled ones who brought us to the Holy One, who led us, by their words and their example, into deeper relationship with God…

All: (sung) All you holy men and women, pray for us.

Voice 5: Let us remember the brave ones who walked through their struggles with hope, who taught us how to trust and have confidence during our times of sorrow and difficulty…

All: (sung) All you holy men and women, pray for us.

Voice 6: Let us remember nurturers, who birthed us physically or spiritually, who gave us sustenance by their caring presence...

All: (sung) All you holy men and women, pray for us.

Voice 7: Let us remember the great lovers of life, whose humor and enthusiasm lifted our spirits and brought us joy…

All: (sung) All you holy men and women, pray for us.

Voice 8: Let us remember all of our loved ones who have gone before us and are here with us now.

All: (sung) All you holy men and women, pray for us.

Presider 1(transition prayer to liturgy of Eucharist)
Sacred One, Giver and Sustainer of life, thank you for the holy ones who are with us. May our lives model their virtues. May our hearts resonate with their goodness. Amen.
Please turn to page 47 as we pray together our Eucharistic prayer.

Eucharistic Prayer: Calling Forth The Adult - Diarmuid O’Murchu
Gracious God, we gather to acclaim our thanks and praise.
You have called us into birth and gifted our youthfulness.
You have protected our growth and blessed our maturity.
You have graced our transitions, amid the changes of life.
And you have called us as a people of faith, to embrace
our world with faith and new vision.

With gratitude in our hearts we thank you for being our companion
on the journey. And in union with all who lift their voices in joy,
we, too, acclaim our song of praise: 

We are Holy, Holy, Holy… (Karen Drucker)
You are Holy, Holy, Holy,…
Spirit divine, Come to me 

Feeling love, Healing me .

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

Gracious God, all creation celebrates your empowering presence.
All your creatures hunger for the new life you promise.
In Jesus, our friend and liberator, you reveal our humanity come of age,
the evolutionary fulfillment of many eons,
the invitation to wholeness and the promise of new life.

Presider 2:
In the power of the creative Spirit, Jesus lived life to the full.
We, too, are blessed in the power of that same Spirit,
which we now invoke upon all gathered here,
to celebrate the transformative energy,
symbolized in our gifts of bread and wine,
given to nourish and sustain us into the fullness of life.

While sharing a feast at table, Jesus took bread,
blessed you, God of all good gifts.
Jesus broke the bread, and along with the cup,
shared it among friends and said:
Take this all of you: eat and drink;
this is my body which will be given up for you. (pause)

After the meal, Jesus took another cup,
poured out in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment.
Jesus gave thanks and handed the cup to those at table saying:
Take this all of you and drink from it;
this is the cup of my life-blood,
the life of the new and everlasting covenant.
In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all.
Sustain one another in sacred memory. (pause)

Nurtured by your Word, nourished by your food;
Called anew to be your people, we acclaim your praise.

As a Christian people we inherit a story of liberation and new life.
We remember the blessings of ages past, and we look forward in hope,
knowing that you, our wise and faithful God,
will continue to empower us in our earthly mission.

Presider 1:
As a people called to mature and adult faith, we invoke upon
all gathered here, the empowering Spirit of courage and wisdom,
so that we, too, are empowered to be agents of Gospel liberation.

We unite in thought and prayer with all who are weighed down by oppression,
trapped in poverty, victimized by violence and exploitation.
We grieve for all who will never reach their full potential,
because of the greed perpetuated by unjust systems.

You bless us, O God of liberation, as we work for the freedom of all,
to bring about a world where justice can reign and love can flourish.
In the fellowship of our faith, with all the living and those gone before us,
we confirm our hearts in this resolve. May we never betray that fullness of life
to which you invite all your people.

This prayer we make in the name of our Creator God and liberating Spirit,
whom Jesus embodied as our primary model: in with and through whom
we offer our praise, this day and forever.

Great Amen (sung)

Presider 2: Let us pray as Jesus taught us: ( sing or say Creator of All written by the Monks of Weston Priory)

Creator of all,
You are with us.
Holy is your name.
May Your kin-dom come,
Your will be done
by all who share the work of your creation.
Give us bread for the world’s hunger
And forgiveness in your mercy
As we forgive those who are in debt to us
For You are compassion, justice and love
Amen, amen, amen!

Presider 1: In the beginning, Your Spirit was poured into the void, and there came to be universes. We, people of your Spirit, can be poured into the chaos of our world’s blindness, for the sake of life.
All: Glory be to God! As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Presider 2: Let us pray our communion prayer together. (Presiders hold up bread and wine)
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.
Presider 1: Our Eucharistic celebration is all inclusive. You are a spark of the Divine and nothing can separate you from God’s love. All are welcome to receive at this friendship table.  Please join in singing our communion song, “Blest Are They, #
Communion Song:  # 19 Blest Are They


Presider 2: Please extend your hands as we pray our final blessing together.

 May we continue to be the face of God to each other.  May we, like the saints among us, call each other to extravagant generosity!  May we, like Jesus, be a shining light and a blessing in our time!  Amen.

Presider 1:  Let us sing our concluding song, # 62 “We Are Marching in the Light of God” and then offer each other a blessing of peace.

Closing Song: # 62 We Are Marching in the Light of God

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