Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday Way of Compassion at the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Albany, NY

 Good Friday: Way of Compassion  - 2016
Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community of Albany, NY


Centering prayer: Litany of Peace

Welcome
Presider 1: Welcome to our Way of Compassion. Today our service combines the story of Jesus and his courageous pathway to resurrection with the suffering we encounter in our present day.  Suffering is never an end in and of itself and should not be glorified. As followers of Jesus, we are called to live lives that alleviate suffering by working for  justice and peace in our time. Today we focus on five areas of concern: The innocent victims of war, violence against women and girls, poverty, the plight of the immigrants, and global warming. Between the readings, we are using the song Who Will Speak if You Don’t by Marty Haugen throughout the service.

Opening prayer:
Presider 2: O Holy One, in the nighttime of our fears, and in the time of questioning, we know that you are ever present. May those camped out in the fields of hopelessness, with refugees and homeless, those who live lives of quiet desperation, feel your presence until the desert places blossom like the rose and hope is born again.
                    Adapted from a prayer by Kate McIlhagga

Opening song: Who Will Speak If You Don’t?
by Marty Haugen
‎(The words at the beginning are of the late Archbishop Oscar Romero, El Salvador)

Who will speak for the poor and the broken?
Who will speak for the peoples oppressed?
Who will speak so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will speak if you don’t?

Refrain
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will speak if you don’t?


Reader 1: This is the Gospel about Jesus, written by his disciple, John.
(Jn 18:1-13)



STATION 1: MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

Reader 3: Who will speak for the innocent victims of war if you don’t?
In January 1961, US President Dwight D Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn the nation of what he viewed as one of its greatest threats: the military-industrial complex composed of military contractors and lobbyists perpetuating war.
Eisenhower warned that "an immense military establishment and a large arms industry" had emerged as a hidden force in US politics and that citizens "must not fail to comprehend its grave implications". The speech may have been Eisenhower's most courageous and prophetic moment. Fifty years and some later, Americans find themselves in what seems like perpetual war. No sooner do we draw down on operations in Iraq than leaders demand an intervention in Libya or Syria or Iran. While perpetual war constitutes perpetual losses for families, and ever expanding budgets,
In January 2016, the current administration was working to win approval for the Air Force's request to build up to 1,100 new-generation, nuclear-capable, air-launched cruise missiles, nearly double the size of the existing arsenal. The price tag: $30 billion.
These nuclear plans are troubling for at least two reasons.
First, the spending spree is an unconscionable squandering of national resources. These billions of dollars could be better used on any number of programs that would benefit the nation and world, funding projects that would truly make people safer and better-off.
More spending on early childhood development programs, research into preventable diseases like malaria, and investments in renewable energy sources are just three examples of under supported programs that could improve people's lives and increase security.

Second, these newer-smaller-better nuclear weapons aren't safer. They are, in fact, more dangerous than the weapons they replace.  The weapons become more tempting to use, not just in retaliation, but as first-strike weapons.
Eliminating weapons programs and trimming defense budgets are always tough political fights, but it has been done in the past. May it can be done now.
Who will speak for the innocent victims of war you don’t?

Who will speak if you don’t?

Song:

Who will speak for the ones who are voiceless?
Speak the truth in the places of power?
Who will speak so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will speak if you don’t?

Refrain
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will speak if you don’t?

(pause to light first candle)

Reader 4: Jn 18: 19-24

STATION 2: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS

Reader 5:  Who will speak to end violence against women and girls if you don’t?
On February 10 and 11, Brenda Myers-Powell Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Dreamcatcher Foundation visited area colleges to tell her personal story about human trafficking.  Brenda was a product of human trafficking at the age of 14 when she escaped an abusive home life and learned to navigate the streets of Chicago. Living through physical, mental, and sexual abuse not only made her numb to the adversities she faced, they also equipped her to survive as a testament for the young women she was to mentor out prostitution. With 25 years as a teenage and adult prostitute, Brenda now speaks for those who are dismissed by society as damaged goods and helps them to change their lives and successfully live their dreams. We honor her today for her courage to break the chains of oppression for herself and other.  Thank you Brenda for speaking out!

Song:


Who will speak for the children of violence
Who will speak for the women abused
Who will speak so their voice will be heard
Oh, who will speak if you don’t

Refrain
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will speak if you don’t?


(pause to light second candle)

Reader 6 -7:Jn 18: 28-40

STATION 3: POVERTY

Reader 8: Who will speak for the victims of poverty if you don’t?
Two True Stories of Poverty in our Neighborhood
Mrs. Jackson received a note from Kyle’s mother. The note said:  I am sending Kyle to school today without a lunch. Last night while we were sleeping Kyle got up and ate the whole package of hotdogs in the refrigerator. Now his brother and two sisters have nothing to eat tonight for supper. Please do not give Kyle anything to eat today I want him to understand what he did wrong.  Kyle is only 6 years old.
Last summer we were grilling hamburgers on Memorial Day.  The grill is on the side of the house in view of the road. A young boy was riding his bike up and down the street. He rode by our house several times finally pulling into the driveway. He got off his bike and slowly walked up to us.  We smiled and said hello. He quietly said he was hungry.  He ate two hamburgers, thanked us and rode off on his bike, we never saw him again.
Who will feed them if you don’t?

Song:

Who will speak for the shunned and outcasts?
Who will speak for all people with AIDS?
Who will speak so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will speak if you don’t?

Refrain
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will speak if you don’t?


(pause to light third candle)

Reader 9-10: Jn 19:1-16


Reader 10:

STATION 4: IMMIGRANTS

Reader 11: Who will speak for the immigrants if you don’t?
Sana Mustafa completed a six-week U.S. State Department leadership program in Washington and was preparing to return home to Syria when her father, Ali Mustafa, an anti-government activist was kidnapped by police in July 2013 during a crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.  He has not been heard from since.
Mustafa’s mother and two sisters fled to Turkey where they struggled to pay rent on a cramped studio apartment and eke out a living with her sister’s meager wages as an online journalist covering the war.
“I was not allowed to go back because it was unsafe and I had to stay here, with nothing.  I was so sad and it was a big struggle that first year, just trying to survive with so much uncertainty.” She taught herself English and learned a new culture in two years.
I’m coming to Albany to put a human face on refugees and to show we are not terrorists, we are not statistics, we exist and we could end up living next door to you.”
Mustafa, whose first name means “the brightest star in the sky” is hopeful that her mother and sisters will be given asylum and will join her and make the Hudson Valley their home. 
(Selected sections of an Article by Paul Grondahl in Times Union, 3-16-16)
Who will speak if you don’t?

Reader 12: Antonio remembers leaving Mexico: We ran out of water and food. The only thing we found was an irrigation canal in the middle of the desert. Three days later we arrived in Arizona, dehydrated and with our feet full of sores.  “I can still remember the last time I saw my brother.  I thought I would see him again but I haven’t seen him in nine years.
Who will speak if you don’t?

Song:

Who will work for the thousands of homeless?
Who will work in the ghettos and streets?
Who will work so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will work if you don’t?

Who will work if you don’t?
Who will work if you don’t?
Who will work so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will work if you don’t?



(pause to light fourth candle)

Reader 13: Jn 19:17-18 and Jn 19:25-30


STATION 5:  CARE OF PLANET EARCH

Reader 14:  Who will speak for all us affected by global warming if you don’t?
Do any search for Global Warming, climate change and caring for our Home Planet, and it is easy to find hits on the internet. Global Warming and Climate Change is real, and has an effect on every one of us. 
Scientists who have pointed to the reality of Global Warming, have been attacked, and many whom attack science are religiously oriented. Evidence exists that many who deny the dangers of global warming do so out of religious conviction. Droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, extinction of endangered species, melting of polar ice caps, storms and migrations of people and wildlife are all effects of humans making choices that do not support the planet.
Around 100 million people live within 3 feet of sea level and many cities of the world are located near such vulnerable coastal areas.
Melting of glaciers will cause sea levels to rise on one hand and water shortages in areas that depend on natural sources of water.
More than 1 million species have become extinct due to disappearing habitats, ecosystems and acidic oceans all caused due to global warming.
Even though Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position, Scientists continue to be ignored and even condemned.
Can we remove our blinders and realize that our planet is precious and we must do everything we can to protect it? What are we doing to support our scientists? What are we doing to face the challenges of global warming and protection of the Earth?
Who will speak if you don’t?

Song:
Who will care for the plants and the creatures
Who will care for the land and sea
Who will work so their voice will be heard
Oh, who will work if you don’t

Refrain
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak if you don’t?
Who will speak so their voice will be heard?
Oh, who will speak if you don’t?

(pause to light fifth candle)

Presider 1: Blessing and Commissioning
May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom and peace among all people.

Presider 2: May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Let it be so! Amen!


A Franciscan blessing

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful, meaningful service. I look forward to joining you in the near future.