Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy: Baptism of Jesus – January 9, 2016 Music Ministers: Mindy Lou Simmons & Russ Co-Presiders: Janet Blakeley ARCWP & Sally Brochu ARCWP

Deacon Janet Blakeley, ARCWP and Priest Sally Brochu, ARCWP
Opening Song: “You Have Called Us” #651, verses 1,2,3
Presider:  In the name of God, our father/mother, and of Jesus Christ Sophia, and of the Holy Spirit, our liberator.  ALL:  Amen.
Presider:  My sisters and brothers, God is with you!  ALL:  And also with you.
Presider:  Let us pause to reflect on God’s boundless love and our need for forgiveness and healing.
(Silent reflection)
(all extend hands and recite prayer of general absolution)
Presider:  May the God of love, forgive us our lack of trust in God’s Spirit moving with us, in us and through us as witnesses of God’s love for all.
ALL: Amen.
ALL:  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.  O loving God, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  O Jesus, Christ, Sophia, Loving God; You take away the sin of the world:  have mercy on us.  You who are one with our God, receive our prayer.  For you alone are the Holy One; you alone are Messiah.  You alone are the Most High, Jesus, Christ Sophia; with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God.  Amen.
Presider:  Spirit of God, you moved over the waters breathing life, freedom and joy into creation. Fill us, bathe us, drench us with your healing, refreshing love. Make us a life-giving river spilling over and splashing justice, truth and love over all.   ALL:  Amen

1st Reading: Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7
Psalm 29
2nd Reading: Acts 10: 34 – 38
Gospel Acclamation: “ Alleluia, Word of God” –  # 932
Gospel: Luke 3: 15-16,21-22

MMOJ – HOMILY – Baptism of Jesus, Year C – January 9/10, 2016
Janet Blakeley

Remember the story about Mary who went to visit her cousin Elizabeth –
Mary walked into the room, carrying Jesus within her,
and John – recognizing the presence of Jesus – jumped for joy!

Well, here we are – thirty years later – the two cousins face to face.
Jesus knew of John’s reputation for prophesying about the coming Messiah,
and calling people to prepare for his coming.
So Jesus comes to where John is preaching and says “Baptize me.”
John responds with “What?” -or perhaps “Why?”
John knows that he is standing in the face of holiness.
Does he intuit that Jesus is THE Messiah?

If so, why would HE be preparing for the coming of the Messiah?

That may seem like a silly question,
But I suggest that Jesus had to prepare for the coming of the Messiah – within himself.

St. Paul tell us that Jesus  “was a man like us in every way but sin.”   Now -
A human being like us does not know everything when he or she comes into the world.
and I doubt that Jesus knew who he was or the role he was to play in God’s plan – until he was baptized.
The presence of the Holy Spirit was so noticeable at his baptism that people wrote about it!
It was in receiving of the Spirit in fullness, that Jesus was compelled to retreat to the dessert to come to terms with what it meant to be God’s Beloved.  
While he was contemplating that, Scripture tells us that he was “tempted by the Devil.”
We recognize the temptations he struggled with as the temptations experienced by every human being –
            the attraction to power,
            the attraction to wealth,
            thinking of oneself as superior to others, etc.
What this shows us is that Jesus had to deal with his humanness – those parts of his humanity that made it difficult to simply accept God’s love for him.

Jesus emerged from the dessert a new man,
            with ego completely in check,
            heart locked on God.
Going through his inner hurdles, he met his divinity,
and from then on his life was lived in God.
From then on, the face he showed to the world was the face of God.

This is what receiving the Holy Spirit at baptism meant for the man, Jesus,
It is what it means for us.
This is why Jesus told the disciples to “keep on baptizing”
Most of us can’t recall our baptism, but it happened nonetheless.
We too are God’s Beloved, but much of our inner “stuff” prevents us from experiencing that love.
We too received the light of the Spirit,
We too are called to go within to come to know and accept ourselves,
to face our own weaknesses and failings,
to encounter Divinity.
We too are to emerge from our inner work, our faces shining like the sun, showing God to the world.

Ultimately, why did Jesus have to be baptized?
To show us the way to God.

Blessing of the Water:
Presider:  May this water remind us of the holiness of earth.  May the Spirit of God move in this water once again and make us a wellspring of love spilling over with compassion for all.   ALL:  Amen
Blessing of the People:
Presider:  May you be blessed and renewed in your baptismal promises to God, yourself, and the People of God! (Sprinkle all, including presider, with blessed water.)

Profession of Faith: ALL:  We believe in God, the creator and lover of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who shows us how to live in the fullness of God’s love. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, who empowers us with spiritual gifts for loving service of our sisters and brothers. We believe in Shekinah, God’s dwelling among the people. We believe in Sophia, Holy Wisdom, leading us to justice, and equality.  We believe in Christ Sophia, nourishing us with abundant life as the Body of Christ at the table, on the table and around the table at the Banquet of love.
Presider:  That we may be faithful to our promises to the People of God, we pray… Response: Hear us, O God!
Presider:  That we may use earth’s resources wisely, we pray…R.
Presider:  That the Spirit of God, like Living Water, would break down resistances and barriers between people and between groups of believers, we pray…R.
Presider: For what else shall we pray?

Presider: Loving God, we have spoken of our needs and hopes and some of them remain silently in our hearts. Listen to the fullness of our petitions and help us to effect these changes for the better in our world.
ALL:  Amen
Offertory – #61 “Come to the Water”, verses 1,2,4

Presider:   Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer.  Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation.
ALL:  Blessed be God forever.

Presider:  God dwells in you.  ALL:  And also with you.    Presider:  Lift up your hearts.  ALL:  We lift them up to God.
Presider: Let us give thanks to our God.   ALL:  It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Everyone is welcome to join us around the altar and to receive Holy Communion

Voice 1:
We praise you, Wellspring of Love, in whom we live and move and have our being. You have sent Jesus, Sophia’s child, the Wisdom of the Ages, to show us that the heart of religion is worshipping you in spirit and in truth. You revealed your identity to the Samaritan woman at the well. You continue to reveal your identity to us today. You embrace every nation, race, creed and culture as your own.

Voice 2: O Divine Companion, you look at each of us with great tenderness. May we see ourselves loved by you totally. God of relationships, you reveal yourself in other people.  Holy One, Compassionate One, Gracious One, your glory embraces heaven and earth. Like sun-drenched waters that sparkle, all human faces reflect your radiant splendor. You love each of us as if we were the only person in the world. Blessed is Jesus who comes in the name of Sophia! Hosanna in the highest.

Voice 3:
O surging Ocean of Grace, you energize us with Spirit and passion, connecting us with all creatures in the depth of your unending love. You wash us clean of resentment and hostility and scrub away the debris that pollutes our spirits. We ask you to make us new as you did in the waters of our baptism. Immerse us in the Love that dances for joy in your presence. We gather to celebrate our sacred stories as we welcome all people around this banquet table. We remember Jesus-Sophia who invites us to come and drink of the waters that will quench our thirst forever.

(please all extend hands as we recite the consecration together)

ALL:  The night before pouring forth his love for all people, Jesus took bread, broke it and shared it with his beloved companions, saying:
Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my body which will be given for your healing.

Then, looking with tender warmth on his friends, Jesus took a cup of wine, praised Sophia, and shared the cup, saying:

ALL:  Take this all of you and drink from it; this is the cup of my blood, the blood that will satisfy the longings of human hearts for all times. It will be poured out for the healing and wholeness of all creation. Remember always you are a reflection of divinity.

Let us proclaim the mystery of our dying and rising in Christ:   ALL:  Jesus-Sophia comforts us in our losses, cries with us in our sorrow, and promises that our innermost beings will flow with rivers of living water, even in the midst of our suffering and pain.

Voice 4: As we share this holy meal, we remember the holy men and women who drank from Wisdom’s well and showed us how to live as courageous disciples: the prophet Miriam, the woman at the well, Paul of Tarsus, Prisca and Aquila, Clare and Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day, Ita Ford, Bishop Oscar Romero and all those companions we cherish and who bless and challenge us on our faith journey…..whose names we now name……..

Voice 5:
May the Church be anchored in the still waters of your presence where abundant blessings flow forever. O Holy One who lives in our hearts, we celebrate your radiant image in men and women everywhere. Your creativity flows through our beings. Your joy fills us. Your blessings are the wellspring of grace all around us. Your mercy is fresh, like dew, every morning. Your healing liberates us from all darkness and oppression. Your empowerment bubbles up inside us.

ALL:  For you are the Love that dwells in our depths, the Wisdom of the Ages that speaks through us, the Divine Connection that makes us all one  Amen.

ALL:  Our Father and Mother… (Spoken)
Presider:  Deliver us, God, from every evil and grant us peace in our day.  In your mercy keep us from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
ALL:  For the kin-dom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.
Presider: Peaceful Waters, we share the abundant love that flows among us as we embrace each other with open hearts.  Look on the faith of all and grant us the peace and unity of your kin-dom where you live forever and ever.  ALL:  Amen.
Presider:  May the peace of Christ Sophia be always with you.  ALL:  And also with you.
Presider:  Let us offer each other a sign of peace

ALL:   Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power, have mercy on us.   Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice, have mercy on us.  Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.  Grant us peace.

Presider:  Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ!   ALL:  Amen.

Communion: Instrumental (“Jesus, Come to Us”)
Communion Song:  #400, “Jesus Come to Us”, verses 1,2,3

Presider:  O God, thank you for refreshing us in your sacrament. May we experience your life-giving waters welling up within us as we serve others with glad hearts.   ALL:  Amen.

Presider:   Christ Sophia is with you   ALL:  and also with you.
(Please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
Presider:  May the Spirit who moved over the waters of creation renew the earth. May Jesus Sophia satisfy our thirst for living fully. May the God of play fill our hearts to overflowing this day with our hearts’ delights.
ALL:  Amen.
Presider:   Go in the peace of Christ Sophia.  Let the service begin!  ALL:   Thanks be to God.
Closing Hymn: #651 “You Have Called Us”

(With gratitude to Bridget Mary Meehan for the use of this liturgy)

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