Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Liturgy at the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Albany, NY


Presider 1: Welcome to our liturgical gathering. Our liturgical style is highly inclusive and you are invited to participate in the words of consecration. We are happy you are here with us today. All are welcome to share in our simple Eucharistic meal around this friendship table. We begin our liturgical celebration today by lighting our Easter Candle and our individual candles – a symbol of Jesus, alive and with us.

As our individual candles are lighted from the Easter Candle, we sing three times, each time on a higher note:

All: Thanks Be to God!

Easter Proclamation
[adapted by Jim Marsh ARCWP]
Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation in God’s presence!
Jesus, the Anointed One, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of life renewed!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of our God!
Christ has risen!
Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church !
Exult in glory!
The Risen One shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the song of all God’s people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
Join me in praising God,
as we sing this Easter song.

Our God is with you.
R. And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to God.

Let us give thanks to our gifting God.
R. It is right to give God thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices,
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful creator,
and the beloved one, Jesus the Cosmic Christ.

On this night, we remember our ancestors who escaped their slavery through the waters of the Red Sea .

Abba God, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your infinite love!
To gift us with Jesus, your beloved,
born of Miriam and Joseph.

Jesus went to his death remembering the words of Micah:
Live justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God.
Yet, this is our Passover feast,
for Jesus, the Christ, broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

This is the night when Christians everywhere
bathed in grace freely given,
promise to reject all that is evil and grow together in holiness.

Therefore, O Holy One,
in the joy of this night,
hear our evening song of prayer and praise.

Accept this Easter candle,
may it dispel all darkness and evil,
and renew our confidence and bring us joy.

May Christ, the morning Star,
who sheds peaceful light on all creation,
find this hope burning brightly in our lives,
today and evermore.

When all our candles are lighted, we sing the joyful song which proclaims the feast:

Opening Song
: Bright Morning Stars (traditional, words adapted)

Refrain: Bright morning stars are rising, bright morning stars are rising, bright morning stars are rising, light is breaking in our world!

The dawn of first creation, new earth, new sky, new creatures,  and humans, male and female, light was breaking in our world.
God's people lost in slavery, no hope, no light no freedom, then Moses clearly calling: “Come, my people, come be free!”    Refrain
The light of servant Jesus, A sense of godly vision, no bonds, no fear, no lying, death defeated through this love.
The chains of death lie broken: new hope for new creation, all living as one family, Light re-kindled in our lives.   Refrain

So, now we sing of Easter, of spring, of resurrection, and of renewed commitment: Lives embracing everyone.  Refrain

Renewal of Baptismal Promises

Presider 2: (Presider asks the following questions and the assembly answers: We promise)

Do you promise to see what is good for your sisters and brothers everywhere, rejecting injustice and inequity and living with the freedom and responsibility of children of God?

All: We promise.

Do you promise to work for the realization of God’s vision of harmony and right relations among people and peoples, rejecting the idols of money and property and color and sex and position? 

Do you promise to seek peace and live in peace in one human family, rejecting prejudice and half-heartedness in every form, and all barriers to unity?

Do you promise to cherish the universe, and this precious planet, working creatively to renew and safeguard the elemental sacraments of air, earth, water?

Do you believe in God, the great Spirit of Creation, in Jesus, the simple servant of justice and love who lived among us so that all might live with abundant fullness; in the breath of God’s center, the Spirit who continues the work of forgiveness and reconciliation, birthing and blessing, challenge and hope, so that together we can continue the work of creation?

Sprinkling with Water

Presider 3: (prays the following while sprinkling the assembly with water)
May you live as a child of God and may your name be a blessing in our time.

Assembly is invited to place their lighted candle on the friendship table.

A Statement of Faithfulness

Presider 4: 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. Amen.


Presider 5: The first Reading is the Story of Salvation History (adapted from the books of the Hebrew Scriptures by Jay Murnane)

In the beginning, there was only chaos and a void. God breathed life into it and said, "Let there be light." And there was light: sun and moon and stars in the heavens. There emerged vast bodies of water filled with live creatures. Then, birds flying across the breadth of the skies, and on the earth, reptiles and animals of every kind, color and shape. And all had a purpose. God saw what had come to be, and God found it very good.

God then said: "Let us make human beings in the divine image; women and men together to take care of all of this, and one another! When this was done, God viewed the whole of creation, and loved it, for it was very, very good.

Presider 1: But human beings did not take care of creation and each other. Human beings corrupted the good-ness of what God had made. Rain fell, a torrential, purifying rain, covering the earth and washing away all the corruption to which people had given birth. Only Noah, his family, and living creatures from every species on earth floated above the flood in an ark made of wood.

After forty days, the rain subsided, so that the water was no longer a flood, and the ark came to rest on high, dry ground. The people and the animals looked up into the sky and saw something beautiful. God said: "That is my rainbow, the sign of my presence with you and my love for you. It will forever be the sign of my relationship with you, and your responsibility to take care of creation, and each other."

Presider 2: From these survivors of the flood, creation was begun all over again. Many, many years went by and there were many gatherings of people all over the face of the earth. One of these was the people, Israel, and among all of God's precious people, the Jews were very precious. During a time of famine, the Jews were invited by the Egyptians, their neighbors, to share their land and their food. But some centuries after this hospitality, a cruel leader in Egypt forgot the old relationship and made the Jews into slaves.
They lived this way for a long time, until Moses came among them and risked his safety and security to convince the Jews that God loved them and wanted them to be free. So, they left Egypt, filled with the Spirit of God, led by Moses and Miriam through the desert in search of a new home where they could be free again.

During this difficult journey, they were often disillusioned and resentful, and they complained bitterly. Moses asked God for help, and God offered the ten commandments, so that the people might know the simplest possible way to love God and their fellow human beings. And from these survivors of oppression, Israel began all over again.

Presider 3: But the people forgot the simple way of God and were not always faithful, and at times they were as oppressive to each other and to strangers as the Egyptians had been to them. They paid lip service to God, but their hearts were very far from God, and therefore, from justice and compassion. People of wisdom came from among them to remind them of the rainbow of their journey to freedom, and of their promise to God about caring for creation and each other. These were the prophets, and like Moses, they risked everything to convince the people to come home to freedom and responsibility, compassion and justice, faithfulness and integrity.

The prophet Isaiah said: "God is displeased with your prayers and your liturgies because the hands you lift in prayer are covered with blood. God wants prayer from the heart.            God wants justice for the oppressed. God wants food for the hungry. God wants true peace!"

Presider 4: The prophet Amos said: "Some of you have grabbed power and made your own people no better than slaves. You have stripped people of their dignity as God's children, buying and selling them as if they were groceries or sandals. Greed is your god and selfishness, your liturgy!"

The prophet Micah said: "My people, you struggle blindly to know what God wants, and you act as if you remember nothing from your history, as if you know nothing. From the beginning of time, there has been one message from God. What God wants is this, ONLY this: That we live justly, that we love tenderly, that we walk with integrity in God's presence!
These are the inspired words of our prophets.


Presider 5: The Gospel according to John (20:1 – 18)

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance, so she ran off to Simon Peter and the other disciple – the one Jesus loved – and told them, "the Rabbi has been taken from the tomb! We don't know where they have put Jesus!"

At that, Peter and the other disciple started out toward the tomb. They were running side-by-side but then the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He didn't enter, but bent down to peer in and saw the linen wrappings lying on the ground. Then Simon Peter arrived and entered the tomb. He observed the linen wrappings on the ground, and saw the piece of cloth that covered Jesus’ head lying not with the wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the disciple who had arrived first at the tomb went in. He saw and believed. As yet, they didn't understand the Scripture that Jesus was to rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Presider 1: Meanwhile, Mary stood weeping beside the tomb. Even as she wept, she stooped to peer inside, and there she saw two angels in dazzling robes. One was seated at the head and the other at the foot of the place where Jesus' body had lain.

They asked her, "Why are you weeping?"

She answered them, "because they have taken away my Rabbi, and I don't know where they have put the body."

No sooner had she said this than she turned around and caught sight of Jesus standing there, but she didn't know it was Jesus. He asked her, “Why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?"

She supposed it was the gardener, so she said, "Please, if you're the one who carried Jesus away, tell me where you’ve laid the body and I will take it away."

Jesus said to her, "Mary!"

She turned to him and said, "Rabboni!" - Which means "Teacher."

Presider 2: Jesus then said, “Don't hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to Abba God. Rather, go to the sisters and brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Abba and your Abba, my God and your God!’"

Mary of Magdala went to the disciples. "I have seen the teacher!" she announced. Then she reported what Jesus had said to her.

This is the inspired word of John, disciple of Jesus.

Shared  Homily


Presider 3: As we prepare for this sacred meal, we stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers and 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….”) 

Presider 4:  We pray for all who have asked for our prayers and for all who need our prayers. Amen.

Presider 5: Let us pray our Eucharistic prayer together.
(Easter Preface adapted from a poem by e.e. cummings)

All: We thank you, God, for this most amazing day/ for the leaping, greenly spirits of trees/ for the true, blue dream of sky/ for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. We who were dead are alive again today/ is the sun's birth-day, the birth-day of wings/ in all of this wonder, how could we human merely beings/ lifted from the no of all nothing/ doubt unimaginable you? Now the ears of our ears awake/ now the eyes of our eyes are open/ awakened, quickened, alive, we join with all living creatures, and we sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

All: Holy One, what we can ever say about you is revealed in the harmony of nature all around us, and all right-relations. We have been taught that it can be found within us and among us, as well.

We give thanks for all your visionaries throughout our history, in so many traditions, who have enacted your peace in the fragile vessel of their humanity.

We are grateful for our brother Jesus, whose life forever shows us the truth of your love and our own capacity for loving in a godly way, to create with you a place of peace for everyone.

He lived what he taught, and in him, as in the emergence of your springtime, we understand that death has no final dominion. Through this recognition comes our own rebirth to freedom, courage, and encouraging love.

On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with his friends. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would know how to remember him. Back again at the table, he lifted up the bread of freedom, spoke the grace, broke the bread, and offered it them, saying:
(presider lifts the bread)
Take and eat; this is my very self. (pause)

Then he lifted up the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine, saying: (presider lifts the wine)
Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life, for you and for everyone, that all captivity might cease. Whenever you do this, you re-member me. (pause)

We will never make peace if we do not re-member, if we do not realize that your light and life and love are a heritage for all of creation, and that you see each of us as precious, bearing your image.

We can only make peace if we are passionately doing the work of justice and right-relations, working skillfully to eliminate the illusion of separateness so that we can live in communion, and rise up from our slavery: the dominion of death, and the attitudes, structures, and weapons of death.

We will learn to trust you, God of creation, liberation, rainbows and life. We will learn to trust creation and ourselves and each other enough, to open ourselves and our small circles until they are as wide as your own love.

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.

(Presiders hold bread and wine)

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.


Presider 1: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus

Oh Holy One, who is within, we celebrate your many names. Your wisdom come. Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us. Each day you give us all that we need. You remind us of our limits, and we let go. You support us in our power, and we act with courage. For you are the dwelling place within us, the empowerment around us, and the celebration among us, now and forever. Amen.
The Prayer of Jesus as interpreted by Miriam Therese Winter

Presider 2Please join in the 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.


Presider 3: 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 4: Please join in singing our Communion Song.

Communion Meditation: Learn to Live the Story by Marty Haugen


(Presider 5 begins announcements and recognition of special events during the month, etc.)

Presider 1:  You are light for the world, you are salt for the earth. It is God’s own Spirit alive with you Who animates you, consecrates you, and blesses you. Let us go now and live the Gospel! 

All: Amen.

Presider 2:  Please join in singing our closing song and then offer each other a sign of peace.

Closing Song: Glory to God by Marty Haugen

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