Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Solemnity of Christmas, Monday, December 25, 2017, 10 am. The Community of St. Bridget: An Inclusive Catholic Community at BUCC Presider: Mary Eileen Collingwood, ARCWP

Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP, Presides at Christmas Liturgy in Cleveland, Ohio

A genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of Miriam, the daughter of Anna:

Sarah was the mother of Isaac,
And Rebekah was the mother of Jacob,
Leah was the mother of Judah,
Tamar was the mother of Perez,
The names of the mothers of Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon and Salmon have been lost.

Rahab was the mother of Boaz,
and Ruth was the mother of Obed.
Obed's wife, whose name is unknown, bore Jesse.
The wife of Jesse was the mother of David.
Bathsheba was the mother of Solomon,
Naamah, the Ammonite, was the mother of Rehoboam.
Maacah was the mother of Abijam and the grandmother of Asa.
Azubah was the mother of Jehoshaphat.

The name of Jehoram's mother is unknown.
Athaliah was the mother of Ahaziah,
Zibiah of Beersheba, the mother of Joash.
Jecoliah of Jerusalem bore Uzziah,
Jerusha bore Jotham; Ahaz' mother is unknown.

Abi was the mother of Hezekiah,
Hephzibah was the mother of Manasseh,
Meshullemeth was the mother of Amon,
Jedidah was the mother of Josiah.
Zebidah was the mother of Jehoiakim,
Nehushta was the mother of Jehoiachin,
Hamutal was the mother of Zedekiah.
Then the deportation to Babylon took place.
After the deportation to Babylon
the names of the mothers go unrecorded.
These are their sons:
Jechoniah, Shealtial, Zerubbabel,
Abiud, Eliakim, Azor and Zadok,
Achim, Eliud, Eleazar,
Matthan, Jacob and Joseph, the husband of Miriam.
Of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The sum of generations is therefore:
fourteen from Sarah to David's mother;
fourteen from Bathsheba to the Babylonian deportation;
and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Miriam,
the mother of Christ.

Gathering Hymn:  #341: O Come, All Ye FaithfulGenia P. Haddon/adapt

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold this child born of Mary!

Refrain:  O come, let us adore them, O come, let us adore them,
              O come, let us adore them, Mother and Child!

Sing choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
Sing, all you messengers of God's holy word.
Glory to God in-carnate, all glory.  R

Christ-child, we greet thee, born this happy morning,
Born of the Woman Mary, glory given;
Word of creation, now in flesh appearing.  R

P:      My sisters and brothers, we gather today to rejoice in the presence of the
         Holy One, who abides as Spirit in each of you! 
ALL:   And also with you!

P:      Welcome, Everyone!  (optional) For those of you who are celebrating with
us for the first time, I am Mary Eileen Collingwood, a bishop with the
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, and your presider here
this happy morning!  On behalf of Ann Klonowski, my sister priest and
co-presider here at the CSB, Sue Guzik, our deacon, and all the members of the CSB, we wish you a very blessed and holy Christmas season.  I also want to thank Jan Snow, our pianist here this morning, for sharing her talent with us to make this a wonderful uplifting celebration. For those who are new, and those who have returned after an absence, know that your presence always enriches us during our time of celebration together.  All of you are always welcome at this Table, and our hearts are glad and honored to be with you.  And so, we begin in the name of the Divine:  Source of All Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit.
ALL:   Amen.

Blessing of the Manger (sprinkling of manger and assembly)
O Holy Creator of every nation and people, from the beginning of creation you have manifested your love.  When our need for you was great, you sent Jesus to be born of Mary.  Into our lives Jesus brings joy and peace, justice, compassion, and love.  O Holy One, bless all who look upon this manger.  May it remind us of the humble birth of the Holy Child and raise our thoughts to the one who is God-with-us and who lives and loves forever.  Amen.

Transformation Rite:
P:      The One we awaited is already among us.  Do we have the courage to see?
1.    Most Tender Being, as you gift us with your constant presence, it is with Joy that we have begun to see that the One we have longed for is already with us, waiting for our acceptance, hoping for our recognition.
ALL:   Transform us, O Holy One!

2.    Open our hearts, as well as our eyes, to see the Wonder that you are as you enter into our lives with your tender compassion and gentle love
ALL:   Transform us, O Holy One!
         May we rejoice in your work in us and in our world, calling us to be your
living and abiding presence for one another and for our world, becoming
messengers of hope and love, compassion and peace as we celebrate your living in us and among us.

Gloria:  # 347: Angels We Have Heard on High
Refrain:  Gloria in excelsis Deo! (x2)

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains;
And the mountains in reply echo back their joyous strains.  R

Shepherds why this jubilee?  Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be, which inspire your heavenly song.  R

Come to Bethlehem and see, Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come adore on bended knee, Jesus Christ our newborn kin.  R

See him in a manger laid, whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, while our hearts in love we raise.  R

Opening Prayer:
P:      O God, you have sent Jesus to earth to show us how to live life
         fully.  He laughed, cried, walked and talked, and by his
         example, we learn how to love and be loved.  O Holy One,
         there is nothing we could experience that you do not
         understand.  We know that your mothering presence is always
         with us.  May we, like Mary, rejoice as we give birth to God
         within us, and may we give birth to God in everything we say
         and do.    ALL:  Amen


First Reading:      Isaiah 52: 7-10
Reader:                The inspired words of the prophet, Isaiah.
ALL:                     Amen.

Responsorial:      #95: All the ends of the earth have seen the power of
       God (x2)

Second Reading:   Hebrews 1: 1-6
Reader:                The inspired words of the apostle, Paul.
ALL:                     Amen.

Acclamation:        8 Alleluias
                           “A holy day has dawned upon us.  Come, you nations, and
adore God.  Today a great light has come upon the earth.”
8 Alleluias

Gospel:                Luke 2: 15-20
Reader:                The inspired words of the evangelist, Luke.
ALL:                     Amen.

HOMILY:  Christmas Day 2017
Our Advent journey this year was centered around “Imaging God Together.”  No one can really accomplish this alone.  It takes a community supporting and encouraging one another in prayer and action to truly image what our Christian vocation is all about.  And as we continue on this path of discovery, we experience the Creative Spirit working in the darkness of night, the earth, and the womb.
As the hymn says:  The shepherds kept their watching o’er silent stars by night, and behold, throughout the heavens there shown a holy light.  (Traditional)
And we know that seeds are planted in the darkness of earth’s soil, and behold, the flowers bloom toward the light.
The child is formed in the darkness of the mother’s womb, and behold, is born into the light of day.
And today, the day we have anticipated these last four weeks, we gather together to behold, the rebirth of Christ in our lives.  We celebrate becoming once again, the people who honor Emmanuel, God-with-us.
We honor Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who carried him in her womb and birthed him.  She was literally, the bearer of Christ.
And we have this manger, a symbol of the first manger that the Babe was placed in after birth—another bearer of Christ.
And we have been told, and have come to know through faith, that every time we break bread together and receive from this Table, we become what we experience, the Body of Christ, and are bearers of Christ for our world. 
In essence, we are asked this Christmas Day to make a dwelling place within ourselves and within our world for the Christ.
We are celebrating hope born again: 
A ray of hope, flickers in the sky
A shiny star lights up way up high.
All across the land, dawns a brand-new morn
This comes to pass, when a child is born.  (music/Ciro Dammicco, lyrics/Fred Jay)
Ah, but this Christmas Child is born, and appears as a troublesome child.
As troublesome as the Word that stirred the deep waters to let God’s voice be heard.

This Christmas Child is a spirited child, who seems to question the law and flouts the face of every pious convention, who laughs and plays the fool.
This Christmas Child is a generous child, excessively extravagant,
who spends his life of hope to recreate and bless.
This Christmas Child is a dangerous child, who becomes the prophet,
whose vision takes a thorny path, whose cross may be our own.
This Christmas Child is a radiant child, whose peace the angels sing,
whose star no darkness overcomes, and illuminates everything with his very life.  
(adapted/lyric by Shirley Erena Murray)
Providentially, Pope Francis recently shared a similar message with the Roman Curia:
Christmas reminds us that a faith that does not put itself in crisis, is a faith in crises.
A faith that does not grow, is a faith that must grow.
A faith that does not question the church, is a faith that we must question.
A faith that does not animate the church, is a faith that must be re-animated.
A faith that does not upset the church, is indeed, a faith that must be upset.”
Sounds very much like what the Christmas Child is all about, doesn’t it?
We are called to be the earthen vessels that allow this Holy Child to live once again.
Behold a treasure, not made of gold, in earthen vessels wealth untold.  One Treasure only, Jesus the Christ, in earthen vessels. (adapted/St. Louis Jesuits)
May we all be blest this Christmas as we become once again, the earthen vessels that carry the presence and message of Jesus born anew this very day!
Merry Christmas!

Profession of Faith:
O Holy One, Creator of this vast universe:

We believe that you are not far from us,
and that your loving care is shown
in the life, ministry, death, and continued presence
of Jesus, the Christ whom you sent
to show us the way to your living presence.

We believe that each of us is called
to continue your presence and your work in this world,
by loving and caring for one another.

We believe that no one is beyond
the reach of your love,
and so no one should be beyond
the reach of our caring.

We believe that you call us to be
one with you and with one another.

We believe that you will give us
the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit
to live fully in your love
when we are open to you.

We believe that you pardon our weaknesses
And use them to teach us how to come to you.

We believe in the resurrection of Jesus in our lives,
and life everlasting in your Divine Presence.

May God, the source of all patience and encouragement,
enable us to live as we believe,
in harmony with one another
so that with our hearts and voice and lives,
we may glorify the God who names us
and calls us to live in the fullness of being.  Amen.

Prayer of the Faithful:
P:      Always mindful of our Creator’s love and care for us, we now bring to this
Table our blessings, cares, and concerns.
ALL:   Spirit Sophia, hear our prayer!
P:      Compassionate Presence, hear the prayers of your people.  In your
tenderness and love embrace our petitions and hold them and all our
unspoken desires close to your heart.
ALL:   Amen.

Sign of Peace:
P:      O Life-giving God, we celebrate your fruitful love as we embrace one
another with joy.  May the peace that our brother, Jesus, offers be
always with us!
ALL:   Amen.
P:      Before we prepare the Table and join in prayer with one mind and heart,
let us extend a sign of communion and charity to one another.

P:      Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have this
bread, this wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer.  Through this
sacred meal, may we become a new creation.
ALL:   Blessed be the Divine Presence forever.

Prayer Over the Gifts:
P:      Let us pray…   O Holy One, in this bread and this wine you give us food
for body and spirit.  May our strength be renewed by your generous
blessings that will bring us health in mind and body.
ALL:   Amen.

P:      The Holy One is with you, abounding in love!
ALL:   And also with you!
P:      Open your hearts in Christ who lives and loves, heals and empowers
through you!
ALL:   We open them up to the Holy One.
P:      Let us give thanks to the Source of All Life.
ALL:   It is right to offer thanks and praise.

P:      O Sacred Mystery, Maker of all the universe, you brought forth all
creation from your Life-giving Womb.  O Love of the Ages, who was born
from Mary’s womb, we praise you and leap for joy in your presence.
O Holy One of ancient Israel, you revealed yourself in Mary’s womb, in a
shining star, in humble shepherds, in a baby wrapped in swaddling
clothes.  You embrace us with infinite love in every situation and
relationship.  You dwell in the depths of our hearts.
We invite you this day to set us free, heal us, transform us and empower
us as we gather around the Table of your love.  As we celebrate your sacred mystery, in our Creator’s loving embrace, we sing your praise:

ALL:   Holy, Holy, Holy One; Spirit of Love and Peace,
         Heaven and earth are full of your glory.  Hosanna in the highest!
         Blessed are all who come in your Holy Name,
         Hosanna in the highest. (x2)

  1. Praise to you, all-giving Child, born of Mary.  You are the body and blood of woman.  We glorify you, our Creator, for the dawning of the sacred promise of the Anointed One, fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ.

  1. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, our newborn Emmanuel who came to give us fullness of life.  During this holy season we share the bread of freedom and lift the cup, the new wineskin of compassion.
ALL:   We now call the +Spirit of the Living God
upon the gifts of this Eucharistic Table.
May the bread of the grain, and vine of the grape,
become the nourishment we long for,
nurturing afresh within us
the discerning gifts of wisdom, light and truth.
P:      As Jesus gave birth to the New Covenant, he took bread, gave thanks,
broke the bread, and shared it with all those present saying:

ALL:   Take and eat, this is my very self.  (pause)
P:      Jesus then raised the cup of blessing, and spoke the grace saying:

ALL:   Take and drink of the covenant
         made new again through my life in you.
         Whenever you remember me like this,
         I am among you.  (pause)

P:      When we share this bread and cup, let us embrace the gospel of
justice and peace as we proclaim this mystery of faith:

ALL:   In every creature that has ever breathed, Christ has lived;
         In every living being that has passed on before us, Christ has died;
         In everything yet to be, Christ will come again;
         In our breaking of the bread of earth, Christ is with us still!

  1. As we wait with joyful hearts
for the fulfillment of your birthing power in our own lives,
we remember the prophets, martyrs, saints and mystics
who have gone before us,
and all those we remember as heroes in our church
who inspire us today, both living and dead.

  1. Open us to the in-breaking of your healing love
in every area of our lives, creating within us new life.
When we feel sorrow, give your comfort.
When we are empty, fill us with your fullness.
When we are confused, guide us with your wisdom.
When we are lost, search for us and bring us home.

  1. Embrace us in our brokenness
and help us celebrate Christ’s birth in our lives.
Impregnate the people of God
with the power of a Spirit-filled community of faith.

  1. May your Spirit birth a new world of peace and justice. 
May everyone feel accepted and welcome in our community.

P:      May we give birth to the Word Made Flesh in us every day of our lives. 
May we give birth to the church of our dreams and hopes.
May we give birth to a deep reverence for earth, and live in harmony with
all creatures.

ALL:   For it is through learning to live as Jesus lived,
         and why he lived,
         and for whom he lived,
         that we awaken to your Spirit within,
         moving us to worship you truly,
         O Holy Life-Giver,
         at this time and all time and in all ways.  (sing) Amen!

P:      Let us pray together the Prayer of Jesus:
ALL:   O Holy One, 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.  (Sr. Miriam Therese Winter)

P:      Please join in the 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
Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk with
integrity in your presence.

P:      This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing.  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.

P:      Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive.  You are a spark of the
Divine and nothing can separate you from the Holy One’s love.  All are
welcome to receive at this Table.

Communion Hymn:  #363: sung to the tune of:  “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (words by Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Eakin Press, 2006)

O Holy Darkness, Loving Womb, who nurtures and creates;
Sustain us through the longest night with dreams of open gates.
We move inside to mystery that in our center dwells,
Where streams of richest beauty flow from sacred living wells.

Creative Darkness, closest Friend, you whisper in the night;
You calm our fears as unknown paths surprise us with new sight.
We marvel at your bounty, your gifts so full and free,
Unfolding as you waken us to new reality.

O Holy Night of deepest bless, we celebrate your power;
Infuse us with your energy that brings our seeds to flower.
The voice out of the darkness excites our warmest zeal,
To bring together dark and light, true holiness reveal.

O come to us, Sophia, your image black and fair,
Stirs us to end injustice and the wounds of earth repair.
The treasures of your darkness and riches of your grace
Inspire us to fulfill our call, our sacredness embrace.

P:      Life-giving God,
as we find ourselves wrapped in this season of wonder and light,
the astonishment that is life ignites our spirits,
and we feel, if merely for a moment,
         that we are as we were meant to be.
         May we hold fast to this sliver of mystery,
         this truth upon which we understand who we are.
         May we call ourselves back to it time and again.
         May the sacredness of life enfleshed in a Holy Babe,
          fill us with the wonder that is our life:
         its hope, its peace, its joy, its love.
ALL:   Amen.

While there will not be a social gathering after our liturgy today, so that everyone can get home to celebrate with their family and friends, our next liturgy here at the CSB will be held on Saturday, Dec. 30th at 5pm, when we will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family.  All are welcome!

Before we take leave, I would like to thank our musicians with us today, Ann and Kate Klonowski for sharing their beautiful voices, and Jan Snow accompanying us on the piano.  Thank You!  We are blest by your gifts of talent and presence!

And, once again, I thank everyone here today for your courage to worship in a spirit of equality and justice!

P:      Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing:
         May our mothering God bring us to birth in every area of our living. 
         May Emmanuel, God-with-us, fill us with radiant joy.
         May we be creators of hope in our world, and
         May God bless us always with divine strength
         to walk justly and serve generously all those we encounter.
         And in so doing,
May we be blessed in the name of the Divine:  Source of
         All Being, Eternal Word, and +Holy Spirit.
ALL:   Amen.

P:      Let us birth Christ anew in our world today, as we
         go forth with faith to ponder in our hearts the mystery and the
wonder of this holy season.
ALL:   Thanks be to God!

P:      Please join in our Closing Hymn:  #362: "Good Christian Friends,
Rejoice!” – John Mason Neale, 1853, alt., Gretta Vosper, 2007

Good Christian friends, rejoice, 
with heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say:
All our dreams are born today.
Love has come to lead the way
and will with us forever stay,
Dreams are born today!
Dreams are born today!

Good Christian friends, rejoice, 
with heart and soul and voice!
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Every child was born for this.
Love has opened heaven’s door
and we are blest for evermore.
Joy is born today!
Joy is born today!

Good Christian friends, rejoice, 
with heart and soul and voice!
Wondrous news have we to tell:
Love with us is born to dwell.
Born within, it outward grows
and then to all the world, it flows. 
Love is born today!
Love is born today!  

“We thank You for this holy season which reminds us of your love and gifts always present and active in our lives.  Amen.

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