On Sunday, November 8, 2015, five couples from the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community chose to renew their wedding commitments to one another. Planning for the celebration began with the ARCWP facilitators, Kim Panaro and Kathie Ryan, meeting with the couples over meals together. They discussed what the God of Surprises has shown them over the years that they could not have anticipated on the day they were married. The couples were married for thirty or more years each. Further preparations involved the entire community. Each member of the community was invited to contribute readings and ideas. The prayers, vows and music were all written and chosen as an expression of the listening sessions with the couples.
During the Eucharistic Celebration, all of gathered around the table were invited to listen with the ears of our hearts to where God invites a renewed or new commitment in our own lives. This commitment could be to a partner, spouse , child, friend, idea, self, or God. It was a joyful and Spirit-filled celebration of Gratitude to the God of Surprises.
Liturgical Celebration - GratitudeReceiving the stole
Welcome and Theme
Opening Prayer: Incarnate Loving one, We are in You as You are in each of us. You created us to be in relationship with You and each other. We are grateful for your presence today and always. We bring all of our loved ones, our concerns, cares and blessings to the table…….I bring to the table.
Opening Song : Wedding Song by Paul Stookey
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: A reading from the book “Proverbs
Three things are too wonderful for me, Yes, four I cannot understand;
The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent upon a rock,
The way of a ship on the high seas,
And the way of a two people sharing their lives. (Proverbs 30: 18-19)
Taking the road never traveled by Roger Karban
We find one of the most beautiful and important Scriptural passages on marriage in two verses of the Book of Proverbs. Almost no one knows about it; and it’s rarely proclaimed at wedding celebrations. Yet it contains an extremely profound message.
Perhaps the passage is so often overlooked because few of us understand what the Sacred Author intends to convey by using the term “the way.” The Hebrew word “derek” basically means a road or a path.
Once we know its meaning, we also know why the first three things are too wonderful for the author to understand, and what the “zinger” is in the fourth. There’s no road in the air, on the rock or through the sea. The eagle, serpent and ship must make their own path.
Where they actually go becomes their “derek.”
In the same way, the Sacred Author realizes, there’s no road in marriage (committed) relationships. The way of a couple is just as unique and adventurous as the first three ways. Like the eagle, serpent and ship, a couple must make their own “derek.
A couple should listen carefully as their friends and family generously share the “secret ways” by which they’ve reached success and fulfillment in their relationships. Yet at the same time, every couple must realize that God wants them to find their own way. The Holy One has given them special gifts and endowed them with unique personalities. No two pairs are identical.
The commitment we make to one another is primarily a commitment to discover the special road the Holy One wants us to explore. Giving of ourselves to one another is the first step down a path which no one has ever traveled before.
Alleluia: Celtic Alleluia and wedding verse
Second Reading: Life Prayers by Arthur L. Gillom
Renewal of Commitment
I renew my commitment to you because I love you.
I promise to share with you
all that life brings us,
the joys and the sorrows.
I want to continue being surprised by you,
laughing with you, dreaming with you and dancing with you.
I pray that we might always remain in the Holy One
who blesses us and all those whose lives we touch.
Presider 2: Please join us in the Liturgy of the Eucharist
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Presider 1: Great Mystery enfolding us, we lift up our hearts to understand that our spirits are one. You are, and we are in your presence. You are with us, and we live. Everything lives because of you, and everything is one.
Presider 2: Your wisdom moves among us like the wind, and we are blessed.
So now we enter into the oneness, attune ourselves to join in the harmony, let ourselves embrace oneness, thankfulness, joy, as we pray our Eucharistic prayer together.
Presider 1: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together.
Eucharistic Prayer – Gratitude (written by Jay Murnane)
O Holy One, we are amazed by the world around us, and we respond with deep thanks.
We are blessed by the lights of the heavens: the sun and moon, planets and comets and stars; we are blessed by the darkness which keeps us from being blinded by the light, and eases us into contemplation and rootedness.
We are blessed by the generous oceans, and the cliffs and shores which embrace them and allow us to be touched, and to touch. We are blessed by streams and lakes and rivers, by snow and rain.
We are blessed by mountains, which teach us of solitude; where we can feel the power of the softest wind.
We are blessed by all the harmonies of creation, which charge our souls with hope.
We are blessed by the children whose open arms and imaginations teach us enthusiasm and delight at living in the now.
We are blessed by friends who share with us the dark and the light, the tears and the laughter – our companions on the journey.
We are filled with appreciation for all these blessings, as we become aware that all is oneness and oneness is all. And so we sing:
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.
Because of the pain in our hearts and the immensity of the world’s pain, we often walk this good earth without appreciation and awareness.
We are blessed by all those who have asked us to look around, open up, breathe deeply and really see. We appreciate our elders in the family of life – whale and wolf and sunflower and wheat – who simply live with joy and abandon.
We celebrate the troubadours and the truth-tellers who have gone before us, and who are with us now. We celebrate Jesus, who lived fully in love to show us how to live, and who died only for the sake of integrity and life.
On the night before he died, he sat at a table with friends and relived with them his work, his teaching and wisdom of the universe. Then he went among them as servant, washing their feet, touching their hearts. When he returned to his place, he took bread, gave thanks and offered it to them saying:
Take this bread and eat it;
It is my life.
He lifted a cup of wine, gave thanks and offered it:
Take and drink of the covenant
Made new again through my life
Poured out for you and for everyone
That you might really be free.
Whenever you remember me like this,
I am among you.
As we are joined with all of creation, so are we joined with Jesus in life and ministry, death and resurrection.
We are joined with him in standing with the broken and wounded of the earth, with hands open and ready to serve, creativity turned to healing, resolution and reconciliation
We journey towards greater and fuller openness and awareness, a living sense of gratitude. Always opening up to the amazing energies of your creative spirit, we enter into life as Jesus did,
As his companions,
Troubadours and truth-tellers,
Breathing with your own spirit,
We are able to mirror your own glory,
O Holy One,
As we live every day.
Great Amen. (sung)
Presider 2: Let us pray the prayer Jesus as interpreted by Daniel Berrigan:
Our Mother, Father, who are in the world and surpass the world,
Blessed by your presence, in us, in animals and flowers, in still air and wind.
May justice and peace dwell among us, as you come to us.
Your will be our will;
You will that we be sisters and brothers, as bread is bread, water is itself,
For our hunger, for quenching of thirst.
We walk crookedly in the world, and fail of our promise.
But we would be human, if only you consent to stir up our hearts.
Presider 1: 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 2: 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.
Communion Song: Deep Within
Presider 1: Let us pray:
May the Holy One bless and keep us.
May we grow in trust in the love and support of family, friends and this community.
May we know peace, health, happiness and joy in abundance.
May we wake up in the morning welcoming our God of surprises.
May we find our rest at night with gratitude for our God who gives us each day our daily bread.
May it be like this all the days of our lives.
Blessed be God, Creator of all.
The whole of the holy life is relationship. -Buddha
Presider 2: We have two closings songs. Companions of the Journey. During the second song You are the Sunshine of My Life please extend the Sign of Peace to each other.