Saturday, November 28, 2015

Liturgy for the First Sunday of Advent MMOJ Inclusive Catholic Community November 28 2015 Pat MacMillan and Katy Zatsick ARCWP co-presiders, Mindy Simmons music minister

Blessings of the Advent Wreath, lighting the first candle
Presider: Our help is in the name of our God.
All:  Who made all of creation, our heavens and earth.
(Raising our hands we bless the wreath)
All; Loving God,
we praise you for your Son, Jesus our Cosmic Christ:
Jesus is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples,
Jesus is your wisdom that teaches and guides us,
Jesus is your Presence in the peoples of every nation.
Loving God,
let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of our wreath this Advent.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us to the fullness of our humanity.
May Jesus come quickly and not delay. Amen.
(We light the first candle)
When we look at the first candle, we remember God’s promise.  God takes care of God’s people.  We know the Gospel witness helps us understand that God loves us and brings peace.  This gives us hope. We anticipate again the birth of the baby Jesus within us remembering that Jesus helps us know God’s love for us.
As the candle is lit we pray
All: Loving God, we thank you for your son Jesus.  Help us to live each day, allowing you to form us in a way that brings forth your kindom on earth in our time and place. Amen.

Opening Song: #38 O come, O come Emmanuel:  Verses 1, 2, 7

Opening Prayer
AllNurturing God, you became human in Jesus and showed us how to live life fully. You know what it means to laugh and cry, to walk and talk, to love and be loved. We know that your mothering presence is always with us. May we, like Mary, rejoice as we give birth to God within us, and may we give birth to God in everything we say and do.  Amen.

Presider: Let us reflect on the areas in our lives where we need healing and reconciliation  (pause for a few moments)

(Extend hands and recite Prayer of Healing)
ALL:  God our Father-Mother of mercies, you reconcile all creation into One  through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Loving Creator send the Holy Spirit upon us for our healing. Through the ministry of the People of God may you receive the peace of healing and reconciliation in the name of our Loving God and of Jesus our Brother, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16
…The Word of God. All: Thanks be to God.
 Psalm Response  Psalm 25 #755 “To you, O God, I lift up my soul.” 
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
…The Word of God. All: Thanks be to God.
Gospel Acclamation:  Alleluia  (sung)
Gospel: Luke 21:25:-28, 34-36
…The Good News of our salvation. ALL:  Glory and praise to you our Brother Jesus Christ.  

Dialog homily Starter
Michael Morewood:

“Joy to the world!” we Christians sing at Christmas.  But what if we are joyful for the wrong reason? What if the wrong reason actually limits the joy we should be celebrating?

There is something not quite right with our traditional understanding of Christmas.  We have been taught that we are celebrating God coming into our world in the birth of this child, and that sentence highlights the problem.

It is time to reflect on what “coming into” suggests.  For most of my life I understood Christmas in terms of a God who had disconnected from humanity, who lived in the heavens and sent His Son down from to take on human form in the baby Jesus.  There was a “sending” and a “coming into” from outside the earthly realm.

I no longer imagine “God” in that way.  I now believe that everything that exists unfolds with a Divine Presence, always and everywhere active.  There is no “elsewhere” with this Presence.  There is no disconnection from this Presence.  The Presence always has been, is now, and always will be, sustaining everything in existence.

Here on this wonderful planet, where the conditions are ideal for life to evolve, this presence came to magnificent expression as nowhere else in the known universe.  Here, this Presence came to expression in the human, a life form capable of wonder, creativity, love, compassion, appreciation and communion.  Here, the Divine Presence took on human form.

This is our true story, It is the story Jesus knew well because it was embedded in hi own human reality.  It is the story he told.  It is the story he desperately wanted people to hear because he knew it had the power to change their lives.

Christianity, unfortunately, took its eyes and ears away from the story Jesus told, in favor of another story about disconnection from a God in heaven and that only Jesus could bridge the gap between heaven and earth. 

For Jesus, there was no gap.  That was not the story he told.  He wanted people to see the connection between living in love and intimacy with the Divine Presence.  He wanted to see God’s Presence clearly established on earth through belief that all people carried this Presence in their lives.

Rather than celebrating God coming into our world uniquely in this baby, let us celebrate the Divine Presence in every baby, in each of us.  Let us look around our Christmas gathering of family and friends and acknowledge that each person here bears the same reality we acknowledge in Jesus.  We are all human expressions of the Divine Presence. 

Joy to the world, indeed, if people could hear such a story about Jesus and about themselves! 
                                                              (From Corpus Reports Nov/Dec 2015: p 43)

What is my understanding of Michael’s reflection?
What does this reflection speak to my heart?
After reflecting on the reading by Michael Morewood how might I prepare to celebrate Advent and Christmas differently this year?

“Namaste” a translation “My divine soul recognizes the divine soul in you” is very much in keeping with Hindu belief. The literal translation is “I bow to you.”

Profession of Faith: 
ALL:  We believe in God who is creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge injustices.  We believe in the communion of saints our heavenly friends, who support us on life’s journey.  We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and world.  We believe that all are one in the community of creation. We believe that God who calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously.  Amen.

Prayers of the People of God
Presider: O God, you gave us Jesus to teach us that you hear the cry of those who are poor and those in need.  Give us hearts of flesh that we may respond with compassion.
Response: Loving God within, hear us.
PresiderO God, you reached out to lepers and healed them; help us to embrace the outcasts of our society. Response: Loving God within, hear us.
Presider: Jesus, you talked with the Samaritan woman and healed the child of the Canaanite woman; teach us to cross the thresholds of prejudice.  R.
PresiderFor those who suffer from war, unemployment, addictions and despair may they experience the mothering comfort of God in their lives, we pray.  R.
 (Other Intentions)

Offertory Song: "Prepare Ye the Way of Our God," to melody from Godspell
Presider:  Blessed are you, God of evolving existence; past, present and future, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all of creation, our own faith and lives to offer as an acceptable gift of our worship. Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation knowing Jesus dwells in the center of our souls. 
ALL:  Blessed be God forever. 

Presider:  God is with you.  ALL:  and also with you. 
PresiderMay we lift up our hearts.  ALL:  We lift them up to God. 

Voice One:  Mother-Father, you bring forth all creation from your loving energy of evolution. Lover of all humanity in every age, we praise you and leap for joy in your Presence.

O Holy One of ancient Israel, you revealed yourself in Mary's womb, in a shining star, in humble shepherds, in a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. You embrace us with infinite love in every situation and relationship. You dwell in the depths of our hearts.

We invite you this day to deepen our awareness of your boundless love as we gather around the table of  abundant life. With grateful hearts, we proclaim your praise:

ALL:  We are holy, holy, holy…we are whole.  I am holy, holy, holy…I am whole; you are holy, holy, holy…you are whole; We are holy, holy, holy…we are whole. 

Voice Two:  Praise to you, all-giving God, born of Mary. You are born of the body and blood of woman. We glorify you, nurturing God for the dawning of the sacred promise of God's Anointed, fulfilled in Jesus the Christ.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus, our newborn Emmanuel who came to give us fullness of life. During this holy season we share the bread of awakening consciousness and lift the cup of thanksgiving.  

All: Come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine, that they may become the Body of Christ

(please all extend hands as we recite the consecration together)
Presider:  As Jesus gave birth to the Christian Covenant, he took bread, gave thanks, broke the bread, and shared it with all those present saying:

ALL: Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body.

Presider: Then Jesus took a cup of wine, blessed you Loving God;  shared the cup with his family, friends and disciples  saying:
ALL: Take this all of you and drink from the cup of the covenant, poured out for you and for everyone. Do this in memory of me.

Presider:  Let us proclaim the sacred presence of our nurturing God:
ALL: Christ, by your life, death and rising, you have blessed us with truth and abundance that will never end.

Second Invocation of the Holy Spirit: (placing hands on each other's shoulder)
All: God of all people, You call us "beloved" give us courage to accept your faith in us and to live your compassion in our world. Continue to infuse us with Sophia, Holy Wisdom, that we may serve you in the last and the least.

Voice Three:  As we wait with joyful hearts for the fulfillment of your loving presence in our lives, we remember the prophet,martyrs and saints who have gone before us: Deborah, Isaiah, Mary of Magdala, Peter, Martha, Bishop Oscar Romero, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, Jean Donovan and all those we remember as heros and heroines in our church who inspire us today 
(Community names mentors whom they want to remember, living and dead.)

Voice Four:  God of our dreams, may we give birth to the Word Made Flesh in us everyday of our lives. May we give birth to the church of Your dreams and hopes. May we give birth to a deep reverence for earth and live in harmony with all creatures on the earth.

ALL:  Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all praise and glory are yours, Holy God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Prayer of Jesus:  All: Our Father and Mother ...

The Sign of Peace: Presider:   Let us join our hearts praying for peace in our world for all people and our planet earth, as we sing first the words, and then add gestures. .
Peace before us, Peace behind us, Peace under our feet, Peace within us, Peace over us, Let all around us be Peace

ALL:   Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power, grant us courage.  
Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice, grant us wisdom.  Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world grant us peace.

Presider:   This is Jesus, Emmanuel, God within us, loving us forever. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.  ALL:  Jesus you make us worthy to receive you and become your compassion for others.  We are the Body of Christ. 

Presider(lift up the bread and wine)
Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ!   ALL:  Amen.

COMMUNION Song When all have returned to their seats.
You are the face of God, I hold you in my heart,
You are part of me; You are the face of God.
You are the face of God, I hold you in my heart, You are my family; You are the face of God.

PresiderGod of new beginnings and unending evolution, thank you for nourishing us through our worship as your community. May your tender Presence continue to open our hearts to the daily miracles of life that surround us each day. We pray through Emmanuel, God-with-us. ALL: Amen.

Individual prayers of thanksgiving, last thoughts
Introduction of visitors

CONCLUDING RITE-please stand
Presider:  Our Loving God is with you.
ALL:  and also with you. 

(everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
ALL:  May our loving God fill you with radiant joy through out this Advent season.  May our liberating God fill you with  deep peace, and may our compassionate God bless you always with strength to serve those who are broken and excluded.  Amen.

Presider:  Let us birth Christ anew in our hearts and our world today. Let us go in the peace of Christ to continue our service in and for the world.  ALL:   Thanks be to God.

Closing Song: #584 They’ll Know we are Christians.  Please sing “our God” for “the Lord” Verses 1, 2, 3.

The sun does not demand a plant to grow more quickly than it should,
it simply shines and allows the plant to soak in the rays that it gives. So should our love be, never forcing but always radiating, allowing growth to happen in time
.~~ T.B. LaBerge

About the Advent Wreath
The color green symbolizes life

The evergreen on the wreath reminds us that God’s love for us never changes.

The wreath is a circle because a circle has no beginning and no end.  The circle means our life with God just keeps going; God loves us and we should always love God.

The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent.
Three of the candles are violet which represent our failures in living fully as Christians
The pink candle which is lit on Laetare (to rejoice) Sunday, the third week of Advent means joy or happiness and reminds us that Jesus will soon be born anew in our hearts at Christmas.  

Taize Chant before liturgy
1st Sunday of Advent


The more I seek You
The more I find You
The more I find You
The more I love You
I wanna sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in Your hands
Lay back against You and breathe
Feel Your heart beat
This love is so deep
It's more than I can stand
I melt in Your peace
It's overwhelming

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