Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Upper Room and New Covenant Celebrate World Communion Sunday - Oct 1, 2017

The Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community and New Covenant Presbyterian Church celebrated World Communion Sunday on October 1, 2017. 

World Communion Sunday offers congregations a distinctive opportunity to experience Holy Communion in the context of the global community of faith. The first Sunday of October has become a time when Christians remember that they are part of the whole body of believers. Whether shared in a grand cathedral, a mud hut, outside on a hilltop, in a meetinghouse, or in a storefront, Christians celebrate the communion liturgy in as many ways as there are congregations.

Pastor Katy Stenta of New Covenant with Margaret Dilgen and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, of the Upper Room presided at an ecumenical Eucharistic Celebration that brought both communities together. 

Katy called the community to worship and before the community heard the readings, she met with the children in the center of the circle to tell the Gospel story.

The presiders decided to use the USCCB readings for the day and chose the theme: God meets us where we are.” Each presider provided a brief homily starter based on the readings below:

Mary Theresa’s reflection for Psalm 25 

God meets us where we are! In the beautiful psalm that we prayed together, we affirm the message that God, the Holy One, Source of all Life, meets us where we are. The line that particularly struck me in this beautiful translation by Nan Merrill is “You forgive the many times I have walked away from you.”

How many times have my words not matched my actions?

I say one thing, and then do another. And yet, the Holy One awaits in a “no judgment zone”, inspires, beckons, and as the psalmist sings: “You companion me as I open to your will!” The psalmist knew then, as we know now: The Holy One meets us were we are.

Psalm 25: 1, 4-7

To you, O Love, I lift up my soul!
O Heart, within my heart,
In you I place my trust.

You lead me in your truth,
And teach me,
For through you I know wholeness;
I reflect your light
Both day and night.

I know of your mercy, Blessed One,
and of your unconditional love;
You have been with me
from the beginning.
You forgive the many times

I have walked away from you
choosing to follow my own will.
I seek your guidance, once again,
I yearn to know your Peace.
You companion me as I open to your will!
(adapted by Nan Merrill - Praying with the Psalms)

Margaret’s reflection on Phil 2:1-5

These words from Paul are powerful and beautiful.
But they are much harder to live.
Be united in your convictions,
but, what if my convictions are different than yours.
Be united in your love with a common purpose,
but, what if I don't like your purpose.
Then I realize there is always love.
Paul says there must be no competition among us,
no conceit, value others over myself.
Again, hard to do.
I think of the people of Puerto Rico and I see that I can value others over myself 

because of what Jesus has taught.
There is love.

Philippians, 2: 1-5

Brothers and sisters: If our life in Christ means anything to you –

if love, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness or sympathy can persuade you at all – then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind.
That is the one thing that would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit, but everybody is to be humble; value others over yourselves, each of you thinking of the interest of others before your own. Your attitude must be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Katy’s reflection on Matthew 21: 28-32

As we look at these texts, I am reminded that we are defined, first and foremost, by God. God sees both what we say and what we do. God sees not only who we are right now, but also, who we have the potential to be. That is why God looks at us, sees who we truly are, and calls us each by name.
Calling out our name, to action, to do God's work. 
And we get to choose how to respond

Matthew 21: 28-32
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people "what do you think? There was a landowner who had two children. The land owner approached the elder and said, “My child, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ This first child replied, ‘No, I won't,’ but afterwards regretted it and went. The landowner then came to the second child and said the same thing. The second child said in reply, ‘I'm on my way’, but never went. Which of the two did but was wanted?"
They said, "The first."
Jesus said to them, “The truth is, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came walking on the road of justice, you didn't believe him, but the tax collectors in the prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that you didn't repent and believe.

The presiders ended the liturgy with a blessing and anointing. The community blessed Dennis who was scheduled for surgery on Monday.

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