Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday: Eucharist as Re-membrance: A Living Presence - Upper Room Community - Albany NY

Holy Thursday: Eucharist as Re-membrance: A Living Presence - 2016

Receiving the Stole: “We, your community, call you forth and bless you as you lead us in today’s liturgy.”

Welcome and Theme
Presider 1:
We, the Inclusive Catholic Community of Albany, NY, welcome you to our liturgical gathering. We gather together on this journey of Good News for those who long for the fullness of the Body of Christ for the life of the world. 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 of re-membrance around this friendship table.

Opening Prayer
Presider 2:  O Holy One, throughout his life, Jesus revealed that nothing can separate us from Your infinite love. He lived a life of apparent joy in sharing meals with the people of the Galilean countryside. The open table of his public life challenged the discriminatory social code of his time and taught us that all people are to be included as equals in Your kin-dom. May we, like Jesus, continue to open our table, and our lives to all, especially those in need.

Please join in singing our Opening Song:  We Are Many Parts –  by Marty Haugen


First Reading: On Being a Eucharistic Community

On Being a Eucharistic Community

Meals are the most frequent settings for Gospel stories. They range from informal picnics on hillsides to banquets given by dignitaries. They introduce us to some of the most of diverse and colorful of Gospel characters: a woman with long hair who washes Jesus’ feet, a little boy who has loaves and fishes hidden in the folds of his robe, and a short man, named Zacchaeus, who is about to have an unexpected dinner guest. Meals transport us from the wedding in Cana to a quiet dinner at a little house in Emmaus. They invited us to a party for a prodigal and let a share of a Passover supper with a carpenter’s son.

This theme of inclusivity is one of the benchmark of Jesus’ teaching. Everyone ought to have a place at the table, especially those who have been marginalized. Obviously, this includes many who do not qualify for the guest list–people who have been relegated to the back roads and slums of the towns. When we give a luncheon, we need to make sure that no one who wants to be there is left out. Inclusivity is a Gospel mandate. It is not separate from Sabbath observance, but essential part of it.

These are the inspired words of Fran Ferder & John Heagle

Alleluia:  Servant of God, lowly and humble
                 Show us the way to live a life of love

Gospel according to John:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body."
He then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine saying:
Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life,
for you and for everyone,
for liberation from every oppression.
Whenever you do this, Re-member me!

These are the inspired words from the Gospel of John.


Washing of Hands

Presider 1: We are washing one another hands as a gesture in imitation of what Jesus did in washing the disciples’ feet.  It is a symbol of our willingness to serve one another and meet one another’s needs.  

Song during ritual:
The Servant Song by David Haas

Presider 2: Closing prayer for ritual

Leader: God of life, help us to remember,
that, for some, the earth is parched.
We lift to you
those for whom clean water is
not a basic right but a luxury,
We cry out, O God,
against conflict and violence
that leaves crops to wither
and drives families from their homes
to lands where fresh, clean water is only a dream.

All: In this season of rebirth,
may we heed your call
to hunger and thirst
for righteousness —
and may your justice and righteousness
roll down as an ever-flowing stream.

Statement of Faith
Presider 1: Please join in praying 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 1: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we lay our stoles upon the table as a sign that just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us.  And, we bring to this table our blessings, cares, and concerns. Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table…”(Presider  - at conclusion)  We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Presider 2: O Holy One, you have been called by many names by many people in the centuries of our planet’s life. Yet, no name truly defines you or describes you.  We celebrate you as the marvelous, loving energy of life who caused us and our world to be. We celebrate you as the Source of light and life and love, and we celebrate your presence and all-ways care.

Presider 1: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together: (written by Jay Murnane)

All: Great Spirit of the wonder-ful expansion and evolution of creation, we come together with joy and amazement in this season of grace and rebirth.

We join together in an open, hopeful circle of life, to bring courage out of the heart of our fear, to bring a gentle acknowledgement of communion out of the alienation of the illusion of our separations.

Joined consciously with the fire and wind of your Spirit, with the emerging buds of spring’s regeneration, with the laughter of children this precious world ‘round, we sing out a simple song of thanksgiving:

Holy, holy holy…. (by Karen Drucker)

We thank you for Jesus, our way to the truth about living.

On the night before he faced his own death and for the sake of living fully, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly within them, be bent down and washed their feet.

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:

Take and eat; this is my very self.

He then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine saying:

Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life,
for you and for everyone,
for liberation from every oppression.
Whenever you do this, Re-member me!

Since you for-ever breathe forth your Spirit, we will, like Jesus, be opened up wide and filled and given in love. 

For it is through learning to live as he lived,
and why he lived,
that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to worship you truly, life-giving God, at this time and at all time, and in all ways.
And we say yes to you!

Presider 1: Let us pray as Jesus taught us
(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
Amen, amen, amen!

Presider 2: In the beginning, Your Spirit was poured into the void, and there came to be universes. We, people of your Spirit, can be poured into the chaos of our world’s blindness, for the sake of life. This is the springtime of the earth that we work for.

All: Glory be to God! As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

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: All are welcome to receive at this friendship table. 

Communion Song:  Companions on the Journey by Carey Landry


Presider 1:
Know that the God of all creation
Is here with us,
Understanding our hearts.
From those hearts,
We speak a blessing:

Presider 2:
The richness of the promise
Of light and water be yours
The light that call you
To continue in hope
The water that flows
In renewal and generosity.

Presider 1:
The healing of the promise
Of love be yours
The love which has formed you
And called you
And makes of you creators of a world.

Presider 2:
Strong vision be yours
Strong and gentle hearts
And resilient spirits.
May God’s own peace
The peace born in justice
And shared in tenderness and cherishing
Be with you always.


Presider 1:  Let us sing our concluding song and offer each other a blessing of peace as we  continue this re-membrance meal with good food and amazing companions on the journey.

Closing Song: Blessing Song by Jan Phillips

Pictures courtesy of Helen Blanchette, Lynn Kinlan, and Mary Theresa Streck

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