Sunday, October 23, 2016

Upper Room Celebrates the Divine Dance

The Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community in Albany, NY celebrated its final gathering in Troy before moving next week to a new location in Albany. The theme for today's liturgy was "Come, Dance With the Divine!"

Bridget Ball Shaw and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, led the liturgical celebration. Mary Theresa provided the following homily starter based on the readings below.

"Our first reading is a beautiful interpretation of Psalm 34 written by Nan Merrill in Psalms for Praying. We are more familiar with verse 8 of the traditional text that reads: Taste and see that the Holy One is good.

I find myself drawn to Merrill’s interpretations of the psalms because she uses the word beloved for the Holy One. Beloved is a tender, intimate word. When I think of the word beloved, I call to mind all those who tenderly touched my life – and the experiences with them that transformed my soul. In this beautiful psalm, I can picture the young David with his harp, singing a song to the Holy One, who he experiences as tenderly touching his life and transforming his soul. He is in communion with the Beloved.

In the second reading, William Paul Young writes the passage as part of an introduction to Richard Rohr’s new book, The Divine Dance. Like David, Young is expressing his experience with the Holy One. And I thought, what would this look like if Young had written it as a psalm to the Beloved?
So here is a Psalm to the Holy One based on the inspired words of William Paul Young:

O my Beloved, in the deep places of our souls,
you have invited us to a great celebration.
You raise a toast to us, and we can scarcely believe it.
You reach out your hand and
Lead us in the Divine Dance.
You whisper in our ears
that we were always made for this.
Your tender kiss awakens our sleeping hearts to life.
O my Beloved, you made us for this
And we are found in your relentless affection.

This is communion. What do you think?"

First Reading: Psalm 34 as interpreted by Nan Merrill

I will bless the Beloved at all times;
a song of praise will I sing.
My soul speaks to the Beloved continually;
let all who suffer hear and be glad.
O, open your hearts, friends,
that your pain and loneliness
be turned to love;
and then, we shall rejoice in the Beloved together!

When I searched for Love, the Beloved
answered within my heart,
and all my fears flew away.
Look to the Beloved, and your emptiness
will be filled,
your face will radiate love.
For when you weep, the Beloved hears
and comes to companion you;
your burdens are eased by love.

The Beloved sends angels when you
call upon these messengers
for guidance and light,
for their gracious inspiration,
One with love, you are never alone!

Happy are all who dwell in the
Beloved's heart!
Abandon yourself into Love's hands,
O you holy ones,
for those who give themselves
to the Beloved,
lack no good thing.

Everyone separated from Love is empty
and hungry within;
but those who open their hearts to
the Beloved,
are filled to overflowing!

Oh come and see, come and hear,
how we honor the Beloved.
Many there are who desire Life,
who yearn for fulfillment,
who covet the wisdom of Truth.
Keep your heart open and free,
take time to dwell in the Silence,
become a peaceful presence in the world.

For the Beloved sees the deeds
of our hearts, and
hears our innermost thoughts.
The Beloved is kind and merciful and
remembers not our transgressions.

The second reading is from the forward to Richard Rohr’s book, The Divine Dance

There is a rising rumble, like a midnight train approaching through the wastelands. Not only do we hear it from the distance, but we can feel it if we put our hands on the ground or in the water or in the torn bread and poured out wine. The rumor in the deep places of our souls is that there is a party going on, and we can scarce trust our invitation. Could there ever be a toast raised to us? Might a hand reach out and lead us into the divine dance, whispering in our ears that we were always made for this? And so we wait for the kiss, the breath in and out that awakens our sleeping hearts to life. We were made for this, utterly found within Relentless Affection!

These are the inspired words of William Paul Young

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