Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community: Christmas Liturgical Celebration 2015 - God With Us

Christmas Liturgical Celebration 2015 - God With Us

Receiving the stole: All present are invited to wear a stole during this liturgy.

Welcome and Theme
Presider: Welcome to our Christmas liturgy.  Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus, human like us, who reveals God always with us in our everyday loving. We celebrate Jesus, human like us, who challenges us to let his story be our story, too.
Opening Prayer
Presider: O Holy One, we are thankful for our brother Jesus who led us to see the sacred in the ordinary. Through his teaching, we believe that we live in You, and You live and come to a wonderful expression in us. Amen.
Please join in singing our opening song:

Opening Song: # 59 Glory to God by Marty Haugen

Glory to God, in the highest (3x)
And peace to God’s people on earth.

We sing praises to you,
God of life, God of wonder,
Hearts filled with joy,
let our voices be thunder.

Sing to Jesus the Christ,
Word of life to the nations,
Raised up in glory
As our hope and salvation.

In the Spirit we come
For the feast and the stories,
Speaking of God
In the pain and the glory.
Refrain (2x)

Reading 1: A reading from In Search of Belief by Joan Chittister 

I believe that in the humanity of Jesus lies the glory of us all.
If Jesus is the Breath of the Spirit, if the Spirit can work through the
 humanity of Jesus, then the Spirit can work through our humanity,
as well.

The Jesus who was “conceived by the Holy Spirit” not only reminds us
of the Spirit within but shows us the character of the life
we shape by opening ourselves to the impulse of God who, daily, leads us
 beyond ourselves. As Jesus responded to the Spirit in his own life, so we
 realize, can we. As Jesus was formed by it, we now know we are.
The awareness of the Spirit within us is the awareness of the Cosmic,
 created by God and embodied in Jesus.

The Spirit opened Jesus to a world beyond his own. The Spirit does
 the same for us, if only we allow ourselves to become bigger
than the limitations of a humanity in which the divinity has
never been unleashed.
We tie ourselves to the religions of the world: to national
chauvinism, to religious intolerance, to racist conclusions
 and sexist structures and call it fidelity to the law of God.
But all the while, the conception of Jesus leads us to
 reach out to the Samaritan Woman, the Roman soldier,
 the needy in our midst, where the  Holy Spirit is also working,
also struggling to bring life to the full.

The conception, the impulsion, the kindling of Jesus
by the Spirit of the Holy calls us to become less concentrated
on sin and more on grace, less concerned with the restrictions
of law and more with the limitless possibilities of love,
 less obsessed by the limitations of being human more in awe of its potential.
It is humanity that is the womb of the divine in us."

Presider: Please join in praying our response:
Response: We are birthing a new creation.
What are we birthing?
Wisdom and justice,
Peace and compassion,
Concern for all God’s little ones,
For the homeless and the destitute,
The hungry, and all who bear the brunt
Of indifference and oppression.

With joy we say: We are birthing a new creation.

What are we birthing?
A deep respect for our planet ,
Its windsong and its waters,
Its topsoil and its forests,
And a oneness with the wilderness
That is image of our soul.

With joy we say: We are birthing a new creation.

What are we birthing?
An unbreakable bond in the Spirit
That binds as one - all brothers and sisters,
Transcending class, color, culture,
Religion, race and gender.

With joy we say: We are birthing a new creation.
(adapted from A Psalm of Bringing to Birth by Miriam Therese Winter in WomanWord (1990.)


Gospel: A reading from the Gospel of John. (John 1: 1-9)

In the beginning there was the Divine word and wisdom.
The Divine word and wisdom was there with God,
And it was what God was.
It was there with God from the beginning.
Everything came to be by means of it;
Nothing that exists came to be without its agency.
In it was life,
And this life was the light of humanity.
Light was shining in the darkness,
And darkness did not master it.

There appeared a man sent from God named John.
He came to testify – to testify to the light –
So everyone would believe through him.
He was not the light; he came only to attest to the light.

Genuine light the kind that provides light for everyone
Was coming into the world.

Followed by:
Cosmic Silent Night


Statement of Faith

Presider: Please join in proclaiming 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: We pray acknowledging God’s Spirit here with us. Standing in solidarity with our sisters and brothers, we bring our many needs and concerns to the table. Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table….”. (at conclusion) We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Presider: Please join in praying our Eucharistic Prayer: Oneness

All: O Holy Wisdom enfolding us, we lift up our hearts and proclaim 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.

Your Spirit moves among us like the wind, and we are blessed.

With joy, we enter into the oneness and attune ourselves to this harmony as we sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy
(Words and music by Karen Druker)

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

Spirit Divine, Come to Me,
healing Love, healing Me.
Open my heart, allow me to see,
Beauty and love, lives in me.

You are holy, holy, holy…

All: O, Holy One, we wish to be more fully alive, children of wisdom and of oneness; we wish to drink deeply of your spirit.

We thank you, O Holy One, for those who have come among us pointing to your wisdom, those who have come as our mirrors, our advocates, our friends.

We thank you for Jesus, our brother, so full of life and generous love. We find you and our truest selves in him.

Before he walked towards his greatest challenge, he called his friends together around a table and he reminded them of oneness and the fullness of life.

At the Seder meal, they sang together the psalms of liberation, and then carefully he went among them, to wash their feet.

Presider: (lifts bread) Please extend your hands in blessing over these gifts.

All: Back at the table, Jesus took bread from the meal into his hands, said the grace and shared it with them, saying,

Come, eat this bread;
it is my life. (pause)

Presider: (lifts bread)

All: Then he took a cup of wine, said the grace and shared it, saying,

Come, share the cup of my life,
which makes the covenant  new again for you and for everyone,
so that you might be truly free.

Whenever you do all this, you are what I am. (pause)

All: We remember our brothers and sisters who have gone before us and all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages.

We praise you in union with them, and give you glory through Jesus, our brother. For it is…

Through him, we have learned to how to live.
Through him, we have learned how to love.
Through him, we have learned how to serve.

Great AMEN (sung)

Presider 1: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus:

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


Presider: Please join in our prayer for the breaking of the bread.
All:   Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will live justly.  
Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will love tenderly.
Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk with integrity in your presence.

(Presiders lift the bread and wine)

Presider: This is Jesus, the 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.
Presider: Please pass the bread and wine with the greeting: You are the face of God.  
Communion Song: Instrumental

Communion Meditation Song: # 92 O Little Town by Over the Rhine (p.32)

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy dark and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

The lamplit streets of Bethlehem
We walk now through the night
There is no peace in Bethlehem
There is no peace in sight
The wounds of generations
Almost too deep to heal
Scar the timeworn miracle
And make it seem surreal

The baby in the manger
Grew to a man one day
And still we try to listen now
To what he had to say
Put up your swords forever
Forgive your enemies
Love your neighbor as yourself
Let your little children come to me

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy dark and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by


(Presider begins announcements and recognition of special events during the month, etc.)

Presider: Please raise your hands as we bless each other.
“May today there be peace within.
May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities
that are born of faith in yourself and others.
May you use the gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are.

Let this knowledge settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us." ...”
~ Saint Terese of Liseaux

Presider: Please join in singing our closing song and wish each other a Christmas blessing of peace.

Closing Song:  #11. Blessing Song
© Jan Phillips 2012
May the blessing of peace be upon you may peace be all you know
may the blessing of peace be upon you may it follow wherever you go.
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem May peace prevail on earth
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem May peace prevail on earth.

(continue with joy, love, light) 

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