Monday, December 12, 2016

Third Sunday of Advent at the Upper Room, Albany, NY


Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP and Lynn Kinlan led the liturgy for the third Sunday in Advent. The theme of the liturgy was light and hope.


Prayer for lighting the Candles:
We light this third candle and remember that in the heart of every person on this earth, and in all of creation there burns the spark of luminous goodness – the presence of the Divine.
And so we respond: Let us kindle the light of joy!

Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP and Lynn Kinlan

Welcome
Thank you for gathering here with us so that we can birth again and again the message of Jesus.  Together, we birth the dawning of a new age, a new humanity in our time. Today’s theme of light and hope calls us to acknowledge ourselves as active participants, essential coaches, and helpful companions in a momentous birth – the daily bringing forth of Peace, Joy, and Inclusivity into our fear-filled world.

Opening Song: Berakah, the Blessing by Jan Novotka

Opening Prayer
O Holy One, in this season of Advent we celebrate your presence with us. As co-creators, we are birther and birthed. We are in labor with you and we are midwives - birthing a time when all creation will learn to live in peace with justice. You bless us with your generous love. May we learn from our brother Jesus to share our bounty with all who are in need and treat everyone with honesty and fairness.
Amen.

First Reading was read by Bridget Ball Shaw.

First Reading:
Light Bearer by Joyce Rupp

Eternal Lamp of Love,
(You) remind me often of how much radiance comes
From the glow of one small candle flame.
When my spiritual window is heavily clouded, 
And your abiding love seems far from me,
(You) restore my belief in your vibrant presence.
When I doubt my ability to be a bearer of your light,
(You) shine your truth and wisdom into my faltering spirit. 

Radiant Star in my heart,
In every generation you pass into holy souls.
Thank you for the illuminated beings
Who have touched my life with their goodness.
Your light shining through them
Has inspired me and filled me with spiritual energy. 

(You) assure me that I can be a light bearer for others,
A clear window of your eternal starlight.
(You) stir and whirl your dynamic presence in my being.
(You) Stream your loving kindness through me.
I will open my mind and heart to our presence
As you greet me in the unexpected and the challenging.
I, too, can make a difference in my world
Because of your radiant light shining through me.
I am ready to pay the price for transparency.
May my desire for deeper union with you be realized. 
These are the inspired words of Joyce Rupp, mystic of the 21st Century.
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From Prayers to Sophia (2004), p.64

Sung response: May the Christ Light Shine in You by Kathy Sherman, 

Gospel proclaimed by Mary Kay McGraw
Mary Theresa' Homily Starter:

In Matthew’s Gospel, John the Baptist sent some of his followers to Jesus asking an important question. “Are you the one we have been waiting for our do we look for another?” I wonder if John was sitting in his prison cell waiting for the revolution to happen? I wonder if he had put his hopes on Jesus as a mighty warrior messiah and was getting a bit impatient?

Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP
So the answer from Jesus just may not have been what he wanted to hear. “Tell John, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk.” Jesus is letting John know that he is about a different kind of change, a change that involves the liberation of those who have always been cut off from the ‘main branch’ of society, the victims of injustice.

AND THOSE LIVING IN DARK TIMES SAW A GREAT LIGHT!

The first reading from Joyce Rupp reads like a psalm to the Beloved. 
Assuring us that we can choose, like Jesus, to be light bearers 
making a difference in this time and in this place
because the Beloved, the source of light and life is within us.    

In our time in history, we are called to be light bearers 
to see our neighbor’s needs
to hear the cry of the poor
to speak for justice
to be a light bearer of the Beloved’s compassionate love.

What does a light bearer look like…in you, in those around you?
The readings today have much to say to us.
What did you hear? What will you do? What will it cost you to be a light bearer?

At the Upper Room, members of the community are encouraged to add their wisdom and insights to in a shared homily. 

Kim Panaro, ARCWP 

Joan Chesterfield, ARCWP, Bernie Kinlan, Lindy Sanford, ARCWP
Eucharistic Prayer by Jay Murnane

Source of All That Is, we seek you in a cold season, when the earth, icy beneath our feet, is resting and preparing for new life. Like the earth, we long for new life and hopeful beginnings.

This is the time of the pregnant woman, filled with life and hope powerful enough to topple structures of oppression.  This is the time of her song of fidelity and celebration.

We are grateful for crisp air, skies sparkling with a million stars, the wonder of snowfall upon the land. We are grateful as our earth circles towards the winter solstice when the time of light grows longer each day.

During this gentle season of Advent, we recognize that you have made us capable of bringing forth justice, like a rising sun. We are one with all who have gone before us, and all creatures throughout this holy earth, and all the energies of the universe, and so we sing:


Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker


We thank you that the good news is a simple message, meant for all of us, and written in the marrow of our bones: we are your children, we are like you, we are all one.

We thank you for those in times past who believed this good news, and lived what they believed.

Blessed is Isaiah and every visionary who insisted on a better future that would break through the deception, disaster and broken promises of the age in which they lived.


Blessed is John, in the stark desert of careful focus, inviting the people to start their lives over again with right relations.

Blessed is Miriam, who believed that she could birth a new beginning for the earth by opening herself up to the unbelievable.

And blessed is her child Jesus, who felt the sorrows of humankind in the nerve endings of his soul, and responded with deep and tender compassion.

As he spent his days with a small circle of friends in the work of healing and making peace, so he spent one of the last nights of his life with them, to celebrate the ancient festival of Passover.

ALL: On the night before he faced his own death, 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 with them, he bent down and washed their feet.
  

When he returned to his place, he took bread, gave thanks and offered it to them saying:

Take this bread and eat it;
It is my very self.
(pause)



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

Take and drink of the covenant
Made new again through my life
Poured out for you and for everyone
That you might really be free.

Whenever you remember me like this,
I am among you.

(pause)

All: We give thanks for our tradition, which is a living history born of the love of creator and creation. We join ourselves with that tradition, as the visionaries and healers and peacemakers of our own time in history.

We also celebrate the many creative traditions which guide and form human beings, and we are grateful that there are many paths to wisdom and life.

Each Advent the world holds new horror and desolation, and we make a place in this prayer for every anguished scream and hopeless silence in so many places throughout this earth, and right here among us.

We are grateful for the gift of your Spirit, always drawing beauty and balance out of chaos.  And like Jesus . .

Standing where he stood,
and for what he stood,
and with whom he stood,
we are united in your Spirit,
and worship you with our lives,

All: Amen.

Presider 2: Let us pray the prayer Jesus:

Source of all Life, you are within, around and among us. 

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.

Adapted by Miriam Therese Winter

Presider 1: Please join in our 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.

(Presiders hold up bread and wine)

Presider 2: "This is the bread of life. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other.

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 1: Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. You are a spark of the Divine and nothing can separate you from God’s love. All are welcome to receive at this friendship table. 

Communion Song:  You Have Anointed Me
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The Dameans



Blessing
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May we continue to be the face of God to each other.  May we call each other to extravagant generosity!  May our light shine for all to see, and may our name be a blessing in our time!


Closing Song: Let Your Light Shine in Us by Kathy Sherman

















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