Sunday, November 19, 2017

Upper Room Liturgy of Thanksgiving and Gratefulness 11/19/2017

Dave DeBonis and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, led the Upper Room's liturgy with the theme of thanksgiving and gratefulness. Mary Theresa's homily starter based on the Parable of the Talents (MT 25:14-15, 19-21) is below followed by a reading by David Steindl-Rast on "A Good Day."

Jesus told his disciples this parable:

A wealthy landowner going on a journey called in three workers, entrusting some funds to them. The first was given $5000 the second $2000 and the third $1000, according to each one’s ability.
Then the landowner went away.

After a long absence, the traveler returned home and settled accounts with them. The worker who had received the $5000 came forward bringing an additional five saying you entrusted me with $5000; here are $5000 more. The landowner said, “Well done! “You are a good and faithful worker. Since you were dependable in small matters, I will put you in charge of large affairs. Come share my joy!

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These are the inspired words of Matthew, disciple of Jesus, and we affirm these words by saying, Amen.


Mary Theresa’s Homily Starter:

In our Gospel reading, Matthew is telling a story about Jesus presenting a parable to his followers. Remember, Matthew is concerned about the delayed second coming of Jesus and wants the faithful followers to be ready when that day comes. In the parable, Jesus is reminding his followers that they do not know when the landowner will return, so be prepared, or else…

But what if we listen to this parable from a new perspective, from what we have come to know and understand about Jesus and his assurance that absolutely nothing can separate us from the Holy One and that the kin-dom, the companionship of empowerment, is right now.

Jesus taught that the most important way to manifest or make visible the kin-dom is through love for the Divine, the Holy One, and through love for each other. We have listened to this “greatest commandment” many times. So, what does that look like in light of this parable?

As I was reflecting on this reading, I thought of the talents as our DNA – a gift freely given.  And what we make of that raw material, “according to our ability” is our life journey. The talents are our unique blueprints for manifesting the Divine – and they are meant to be developed and celebrated and shared for the sake of the kin-dom.

In the parable, the landowner speaks words of gratitude for those who developed what was given to them. In this season of Thanksgiving, we speak words of gratitude for all those who have gone before us or are with us now, giving of themselves, sometimes at great cost, for the sake of the kin-dom. We say, “Well done, good and faithful companions on the journey!”

And that brings us to the second reading – a reading about grateful living by Brother David Steindl-Rast. Listen now his inspired words and then after a few moments of silence we will share our inspired words on today’s readings.


A Good Day

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Br. David Steindl-Rast
https://youtu.be/zSt7k_q_qRU


You think that this is just another day in your life?  It is not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you. Today. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.

Begin by opening your eyes and being surprised that you have eyes that you can open - that incredible array of colors that is constantly being offered to us for
pure enjoyment.

Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely look at how different it is from moment to moment with clouds coming and going. Open your eyes and look at that.

Look at the faces of the people you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face. Not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors. All that life from generations and from so many places all over the world flows together and meets you here like life-giving water, if you only open your heart and drink.

Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. You flip a switch and there is electric light. Turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water, and drinkable water. A gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.

And so I wish that you will open your heart to all of these blessings and let them flow through you that everyone whom you meet on this day will be blessed by you, just by your presence.

Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing around you. Then, it will really be a good day.

These are the inspired words of Br. David Steindl-Rast, and the community affirms these words by saying, amen.



Communion Meditation:
Standing on the Shoulders
by Joyce Johnson Rouse

I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me
I am stronger for their courage, I am wiser for their words
I am lifted by their longing for a fair and brighter future
I am grateful for their vision, for their toiling on this Earth

We are standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before us
They are saints and they are humans, they are angels, they are friends
We can see beyond the struggles and the troubles and the challenge
When we know that by our efforts things will be better in the end

They lift me higher than I could ever fly
Carrying my burdens away
I imagine our world if they hadn't tried
We wouldn't be here celebrating today

I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me
I am honored by their passion for our liberty
I will stand a little taller, I will work a little longer
And my shoulders will be there to hold the ones who follow me

They lift me higher than I could ever fly
Carrying my burdens away
I imagine our world if they hadn't tried
We wouldn't be so very blessed today

I am standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me
I am honored by their passion for our liberty
I will stand a little taller, I will work a little longer
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And my shoulders will be there to hold the ones who follow me





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