Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Upper Room Liturgical Celebration: January 22, 2017

Presiders: Dennis McDonald, ARCWP and Lindy Sanford, ARCWP


Homily Reflection by Dennis McDonald, ARCWP

Excerpt from Pope Francis statement on economic justice: “Before all else, I would restate my conviction that a world economic system that discards men, women and children because they are no longer considered useful or productive according to criteria drawn from the world of business or other organizations, is unacceptable, because it is inhumane.  Those who cause or allow others to be discarded – whether refugees, children who are abused or enslaved, or the poor who die on our streets in cold weather – become themselves like soulless machines.”

The last two days I heard about/saw two very different gatherings.
The first was the inauguration and a message of doom and gloom, of carnage in the United States, a message of all that is wrong in our world and the changes that must be made to make it better. It is a continuing message of disavowing the dignity of people, of denying certain people of their rights and their freedom to be who they are.

The second was yesterday’s Women’s March throughout the world and in Albany. It was a message of hope, a message of all that is right with our world, and the need to stand up and protect what is right with the world for those who are women, people of color, the LGBTQ community. It was a message of justice and equality for those of different faiths other than Christian, for those who are in need of health insurance, for those who are differently abled. 

The first spoke from a position of darkness while the second spoke from a position of light.

Our readings today call us to be a people of light, to be followers of Jesus, who delivered a message of light, a message of hope, a message of love and compassion, of justice and equality. 

The Gospel reading reminds us of the words of Isaiah, “On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
The light that dawned was Jesus, and we are called to continue to be that light that shines on the darkness and dispels it.  We are called to stand up and speak out against oppression, injustice and inequality.  We cannot allow the darkness that suppressed and oppressed people to take hold again.  It is our responsibility to join with others who believe in the dignity of every person to speak truth to power nationally, regionally and locally.  We can make a difference and be light-bearers for our world. 

What did you hear in the readings?  What action can you take?  What will it cost you?



STATEMENT OF FAITHFULNESS  


I 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.

I 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.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the life of God that is our innermost life,
the breath of God moving in our being,
the depth of God living in each of us.

I believe that I am called to be Jesus' twin,
allowing myself to be a vehicle of God's love,
a source of God's wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of God's peace in the world.

I believe that God's reign 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,

I believe in the community of God seekers
in all the religions, as well as outside of them,
the great prophets, mystics, and saints,
and those just beginning their spiritual journey.

I believe in a future on this earth when all
will be God-centered and God-conscious,
when we will learn to live in love and peace,
in the fellowship of brothers and sisters.

I believe that in death, life is changed,
not taken away, and that we will go
from step to step in God's life, God's love.
and God's glory for all eternity. Amen



CLOSING PRAYER:
Mother, Sophia, Divine One, You are within each of us.  Open our eyes, our ears, our hearts more each day to your Wisdom.  Bring your amazing Love to our community, our country, and our World through us.  Living lives of inclusivity, compassion and justice, we will become like yeast, changing our world from within.  You have nourished us today by this gathering.  May we go now and live justly, compassionately, and lovingly.  May every step we take bring closer women and men standing together, equals in our time.  

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