Let us begin in the name of our God; a God of Love, Liberation and Wisdom.
Opening Song: #628 “We Are Called” – all verses
PENITENTIAL RITE (All raise hands extended in prayer)
ALL: God, Father and Mother of Mercy, through his living, dying and rising, Jesus has revealed that nothing can separate us from your infinite love. May You give us pardon and peace, and may we forgive each other our failures to care for one another and our earth. We make this prayer in the name of God our Creator, and of Jesus, our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our wisdom. Amen.
Presider: O God, your love is truth and mercy, yet we so often fear you. Open our eyes to your goodness and let us realize the full life to which we are called. We ask this O God of the evolving universe who invites each of us to focus on you and the beauty that rests in each of us. Amen.
ALL: Glory: sung – “Glory to God, glory, O praise and alleluia, Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God”
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Ezekiel 34: 11-12
Responsorial Psalm 67: #784 “O God , let all the nations praise your name, let all the nations praise your name.”
Second Reading: A Reading from the book “Quest for the Living God – Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God” by Elizabeth A. Johnson
Acclamation – Alleluia
Third Reading: A Reading from “Daily Meditaions” – by Richard Rohr (December 18, 2014)
Homily Starter / Shared Homily
Feast of the Cosmic Christ – Homily
November 25, 2017
Sally A Brochu, ARCWP
Today, we celebrate the last week of what Michael prefers to call Extraordinary Time, in Liturgical Year C. Next week we will begin the Season of Advent which begins Liturgical Year A readings. This week most of the church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King. Other communities, however, are celebrating the Feast of the Cosmic Christ which reflects an updated theology of the God of love and mercy. By emphasizing the theology of the Cosmic Christ, not a theology of Christ as King who is above all or one who judges and punishes, we focus on a God who loves us and delights in us.
The first reading from Ezekiel reflects the endearing story of the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep. He knows them and they know him. The people of the days in which these scriptures were written could relate to and easily understand this as an example of how God loves us. Even today people love this story and so often read or sing Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd. I love it too, but there is more.
People today are aware of the magnificent reality of evolution of how we have evolved over the 14 billion years from the time of the Big Bang and how our mother earth came into existence 4 billion years ago. Then from the time of the evolution of humankind, people throughout the earth have tried to define and understand that which is more than human. We know there is something deeper and all-encompassing and that is the God of many names. As Christians, our understanding of God is evolving and growing. We see a Creator God in relationship with Jesus who took on our humanity, and the Spirit who has and continues to breathe life into us and our world.
For some of us the title, the Cosmic Christ, is not one with which we are familiar. We may have heard it but we may not fully understand it. The second and third readings are just teasers into our opening up our understanding of the Cosmic Christ.
As the third reading by Richard Rohr says, “Christ is not Jesus' last name”. Christ is more than the historical Jesus. Christ existed long before Jesus was among us as a human being and long after Jesus' resurrection.
In a recent article, “Incarnation as Embodiment of Spirit” by Diarmuid O'Murchu, he made this contemporary theology much clearer. O'Murchu said “Traditionally the word 'Incarnation' denotes the coming of God into the world in the person and life of Jesus, which happened for the first and only time 2000 years ago”. He continues “ I want to challenge the narrow reductionism of the inherited tradition and, instead, offer an evolutionary perspective in which we understand Incarnation as a process of embodiment that has been going on for billions of years”. He uses a quote from theologian Sallie McFague who says ”God loves bodies!” O'Murchu continues “And the first and oldest body through which God reveals Godself is not the human, but the cosmos itself”. He goes on to say that “God's embodiment in the human does not begin with Jesus of Nazareth, nor with a non-evolutionary understanding of the human, dating back to a mere 5 -10 thousand years. Instead we need an enlarged view of God's embodiment in the human stretching right back to 7 million years ago”.
So then the next question for us to ask is, why did Jesus come to earth just 2000 years ago? O'Murchu suggests that the coming of Jesus “signifies an affirmation, confirmation, and celebration of all that has evolved in and through our humanity over 7 million years”. Then he takes it one step further, he says “Jesus did not come to rescue us from anything. Salvation becomes our primary responsibility through learning afresh what it means to be authentically human upon our Spirit-infused earth”. He concludes the article “Jesus achieved this integrity in a uniquely remarkable way, leaving us a blueprint on how to become incarnational people in a more authentic way”.
Well, what do you think of these ideas?
STATEMENT OF FAITH
Presider: Let us now proclaim our statement of faith:
All: We believe in God, the Creator – the source of everything that exists in the universe. We believe that God’s divinity infuses all life, in all forms, everywhere with holiness. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, through whom we have become a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life in the cosmos and the One who keeps the Christ vision present to everyone, searching for meaning and wholeness. We believe that you energize those people whose spirits may grow weary in the process. We say: Amen to courage, to hope, to the spirit of truth. We say amen to the partnership and equality of all persons, genders, and colors. We believe in justice and peace for everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. In all of this, O God, we surely believe.
PRAYERS OF THE COMMUNITY
Presider: Aware of God’s unconditional love for us, we, as people of faith, lift up our needs to our gracious God.
Response: Let the Christ within us, respond in love.
Presider: We pray for peace in our world , and in our hearts.
Presider: We pray for the millions of people suffering from useless and destructive wars.
Presider: We pray for the people of Puerto Rico and all the victims of recent hurricanes and disasters.
Presider: And for what else shall we pray?
Presider: Healing God, we ask you to strengthen us in our concerns for one another, here and throughout the world. We ask you to bless our efforts for peace, justice and equality so that, with our sisters and brothers, we may promote cultures of peace and nonviolence in our world. As we always do, we make these prayers to you, O God, our Creator,of Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom Amen.
Offertory Song: “# 310 “Table of Plenty” – all verses
Presider: Blessed are you, God of Creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer, this grain of the earth that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Blessed are you, God of Creation, through your goodness we have this wine to offer, this fruit of the vine that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become for us our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our tables, now invites all of us to join him at his. Everyone is welcome to share in this meal. Please join us around our family table.
Presider: Let us give thanks to the Creator of all that exists.
All: With hearts full of love, we give God thanks and praise.
Presider: Let us acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit among us gathered at the family table.
All: We will develop our respect and reverence for you, for one another, and for all creation.
Presider: Let us lift up our hearts.
All: We lift them up to the One who lives in us – and loves others through us.
Presider: Christ dwells in each one of us.
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER: NOURISH MY PEOPLE – Diarmuid O’Murchu
Voice: God of life, you nurture and sustain your people.
You bless us with abundance; you gift us with your graciousness;
you know our every need.
In the birthing forth of creation you call us into being.
You gift us with health and wholeness; you sustain our every endeavor.
You feed your hungering people.
Voice: You call us to work for justice, to share our table with all creation,
to feed the needy at our door, to see nobody left in need.
For the blessing of your gifts, and the challenge of your call to us,
we lift our voices as we acclaim in song your gracious love:
“We are holy, holy, holy, we are whole” (You, I, We) (Karen Drucker)
Voice: The table we share is adorned with the gifts of creation,
gifts given for all to share in equality and justice, a table where all are welcome,
and from which nobody is to be excluded, from the greatest even to the least.
As a Christian people we celebrate the open table,
proclaimed by Jesus our liberator and our friend,
a table of abundant life, inclusive love, and redemptive liberation.
Voice: In the power of the creative Spirit, Jesus lived life to the full.
We, too, are blessed in the power of that same Spirit,
which we now invoke upon all gathered here,
to celebrate the transformative energy
symbolized in our gifts of bread and wine,
given to nourish and sustain us into the fullness of life.
ALL: While sharing a feast at table, Jesus took bread,
blessed you, God of all good gifts.
Jesus broke the bread and along with the cup,
shared it among friends, and said:
Take this all of you and eat and drink:
this is my body which will be given up for you.
ALL: After the meal, Jesus took another cup,
poured out in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment.
Jesus gave thanks and shared the cup with his friends,
saying: Take this all of you and drink from it; this is the cup of my life-blood,
the life of the new and everlasting covenant.
In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all.
Sustain one another in the power of sacred memory.
Voice: As we celebrate this Eucharistic feast, we call to mind that we are a people
nourished throughout the ages; and we look forward in hope to that day
when the justice of our God will guarantee food
for all who hunger for the fullness of life.
Voice: In the spirit of this celebration, we rejoice and thank our God for all
we have received; but we do so in the painful awareness
of all who are excluded from the table of God’s abundant life.
Presider: This prayer we make in union with all God’s people, living and dead,
and particularly with those laboring for justice in our world.
May we all know the blessing of our loving God,
Creator, Liberator, and Holy Spirit, in whose power we gather here,
nourished and sustained, now and forever.
Amen: (sung) #936 “Amen, Amen, A—men”
ALL: (sung) Our Father and Mother…………
Sign of Peace
Presider : As we prepare to bring our gifts in the celebration of this Eucharist, let us strive to be faithful to the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. And where we struggle, may God transform us to be a healing balm of love. Divine healer of all, we pray.
Presider: Let us share a sign of peace with one another as an expression of our recognizing the Christ that lives within each of us.
LITANY FOR THE BREAKING OF BREAD
Presider: Let us join then with the disciples of all ages, as we pray together:
Presider: Christ of the Cosmos, ALL: we will live our oneness with you and all creation.
Christ of the Cosmos, ALL: we will work for the healing of the earth.
Christ of the Cosmos, All: we will celebrate rising up in a global communion everywhere.
SHARING OF THE MEAL:
Presider: This is Jesus, the Cosmic Christ, who called women and men to be partners and equals, and who liberates, heals and transforms us and our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.
Presider: Jesus, you invite us to receive you and become you for others. We are the Body of Christ. May the Source of Life whose power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, be given glory through all generations. Amen
Distribution of Bread and Wine: You are the Body of Christ. You are the Blood of Christ.
Communion Song: Instrumental and moment of silence
After Communion Song: “Let the Christ Light Shine” – Kathy Sherman (sing 3 times)
Let the Christ light shine in you,
Let the Christ light shine in me,
And together, we will shine
With Christ’s light to the world.
Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions, Announcements
Final Blessing (extend hands in blessing)
Presider: As we go forth from this sacred space, let us purposefully look with new eyes and hearts, always with the purpose of enhancing life, as we recognize the Christ within all whom we meet.
Closing Song: # 385 – “Take Christ to the World “ (Sing twice)