Theme: Our God of extravagant love works through us.
GATHERING SONG AND GREETING: “We Gather Here to Celebrate”
We gather here to celebrate, One God Universal,
We gather here to celebrate, the joy within,
In unity we celebrate, the beauty of diversity
Come join us in our fellowship,
You are my sister, you are my brother,
In the One Divine Mind, we are one with each other,
So join with me, in unity,
Let us celebrate our divinity.
Presider: As we gather together in this sacred place and share in banquet of love, let us pray in the name of God, our Creator, of Christ, our liberator, and of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier.
Presider: My sisters and brothers, God is with you! ALL: And also with you.
ALL: O Holy One, in this journey into the heart of compassion, we celebrate your love as we see it unfolding in the healing and wholeness of your creation for everyone and everything. We ask you to open our hearts to the message of the Gospel so that your inspiration and peace may rule in our hearts, your justice guide our lives, and your love direct and support us in our concern and care for one another. You call us to recognize and warmly welcome everyone who comes through our doors as your presence among us, which they are. In communion with Jesus, our brother, and with the power of your Spirit, we will try to live the example of your love each day. Amen.
Presider: Creator God to whom all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and from whom no secrets can be hidden, cleanse our hearts by the inspiration of Holy Wisdom.
ALL: We take your Word into our minds and hearts. Open them to new understanding.
Presider: We ask for the grace to continually acknowledge our need to grow in goodness and caring for ourselves, for others and for our earth, and all the while to be Jesus for others and to meet Jesus in others.
ALL: We accept your love and understanding of the frailty of our human nature.
Presider: And we join with you, Jesus the Christ, believing the strength and insight of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper dedication to justice, equality and peace in our world. ALL: Amen.
(All raise hands extended in prayer)
Presider: God, our Father and Mother of Mercy and Love,
ALL: Through his living, dying and rising, Jesus has revealed that nothing can separate us from your infinite love. May you, Loving God, give us pardon and peace, and may we forgive each other our failures to care for one another and our earth in the name of you, our Creator, of Jesus, our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our wisdom. Amen.
GLORY TO GOD
ALL: (sung) Glory to God, glory, O praise and alleluia. Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God. (3x)
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Leviticus 19:17-18 (Response: Thanks be to God) – Proclaimed by Mary Al Gagnon
Responsorial Psalm 1 – Response “Blessed are those who walk hand in hand with goodness”
Second Reading: First Letter of John: 3 (Response: Thanks be to God) – Proclaimed by Brian Gagnon
: ALLELUIA! (sung)
Gospel: John 15:9-12 – Proclaimed by Rev. Fred Donahoe (Response: Glory and praise to Jesus, the Christ)
Sally Brochu, ARCWP
Today’s readings were selected for two reasons. First, they reflect the loving and extravagant love of our God for us and how we need to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Let’s look at these thoughts, through the lens of today’s scriptures. The Book of Leviticus lists 613 rules or laws that a Jew needs to follow to live a good life. Moses, who is said to be the writer of Leviticus, notes in the last line of the first reading, that you must love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus, as a Jew, followed these teachings of the Torah. In Jesus teachings, he said to Love your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. This isn’t always easy as we all know. The key is to love yourself first. We have to have a healthy sense of who we are, with our giftedness and yes our shortcomings. Any psychologist would say, you have to love the person you are before you can fully love another person. Only then can you love your neighbor. And as you love more deeply, it changes you and it changes the way people respond to you and also how they see themselves. God’s love then becomes more evident.
Our Psalm speaks so clearly of this how manifests. The words “Blessed are those who walk hand in hand with goodness, who stand beside virtue, who sit at the seat of truth, for their delight is in the Spirit of Love”. These are the fruits of God’s love fully alive in us.
Our second reading and Gospel both speak about the love that God lavishes upon us and that we are God’s children. Jesus grew in this awareness of how much his ‘Father’ loved him. The Gospel speaks of keeping the commandments. Let me offer you this thought. If we love ourselves, love our neighbor, we too can grow in the awareness of God’s love. And since love deepens and changes us, we too can walk hand in hand with goodness. Jesus did not discount the hundreds rules or laws of leading a good life as expressed in Leviticus but he emphasized only two. He said simply, love your God with your whole heart and love your neighbor as yourself. So bottom line – if we love fully and deeply, all those other rules will fall in place.
So what is the second reason for the choice of these readings…. Today is a very special day for a very dear member of our community. Mary Al is celebrating her 80th Birthday today and these readings speak of her life. It is such a joy for all of us to celebrate with you, Mary Al. Your children, your brother and dear friends and your MMOJ community are here with you to extend their love and gratitude and warmest wishes to you. And to thank you for the love that you have given them over many years. You have walked hand in hand with goodness, you have loved deeply and we are all better for it. Yours is a life well-lived because love is at the heart of all you do. So thank you for being that witness of God’s love for all of us. Happy Birthday and may God continue to bless you abundantly in all the years ahead.
Q – How do we love fully and walk hand in hand with goodness?
Profession of Faith:
ALL: We believe in one God, a divine mystery beyond all definition and understanding. God the Creator, is the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that will ever exist. God’s divinity infuses the entire cosmos, making everything in it sacred.
We believe in Jesus, the messenger of God’s Word, bringer of God’s healing and the center of God’s compassion. Through his incarnation, we have become a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness.
We believe in the Spirit, the Wisdom that strengthens our call to follow Jesus who is a vehicle of God’s love, a source of God’s compassion and truth, and the instrument of God’s peace in the world.
And we believe that God’s kin-dom is here now and will be forever. It is stretched out all around us for those with eyes to recognize it, and hands to share it with everyone…..with no exceptions.
Presider: We are people of faith. We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that we send blessings to those who are struggling and who need to experience hope, to those who are grieving and need to be comforted in their loss, to those who are facing medical challenges that they be granted hope and healing. We bring the needs of the people throughout our community and our world to our gracious God.
After each intercession, the response is: ALL: Loving God, bless our petitions.
Presider: For Mary Al as she celebrates her 80th Birthday today, that she may continue to be blessed with the love, compassion and caring that she herself has extended to others over her lifetime, especially to her children and all her family , we pray. ALL: Loving God, bless our petitions.
Presider: That those who are hungry and homeless, especially the children, that they may receive the food and shelter that they so badly need, we pray. ALL: Loving God, bless our petitions.
Presider: For what else shall we pray?
Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. Strengthen us as we strive to respond to the needs of your people. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.
Offertory Song: “Blessed Are the Gifts That We Receive”
Blessed are the gifts that we receive
As we give so love returns in kind,
So let us breathe love, and live peace,
And do the best we can,
To give ourselves in service to our God Divine.
PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS
Presider: Blessed are you, gracious God of all life, through your goodness we have this bread, wine, all creation and our own lives to offer. ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation as we respond to your call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers. ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our table, now invites all of us to join him at his. There is room and a place for everyone at this table. Please join us in this circle of love that feeds us all on our life’s journey. (Everyone is welcome and has a place at God’s table).
Presider: As we recognize God within each other, let us greet one another at this table.
ALL: Namaste! Namaste! Namaste!
Presider: Pray my friends that as we celebrate this breaking of bread and blessing of wine we accept more fully the mission of our Church by actively living our response to God’s call.
ALL: May our gracious God accept these gifts for the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good, and for the good of all our Church.
Presider: God is always with you. ALL: And also with you.
Presider: Together, we lift up our hearts. ALL: To God and one another we lift them.
Presider: Together, we give thanks to our gracious God. ALL: Indeed it is right to constantly give thanks and praise.
Voice 1: Gracious God, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit who enlivens all that exists, we beseech your healing power upon us and all for whom we pray today. We join together with our community, with all creation everywhere, with all those who have gone before us and live in the eternal now (Names of our loved ones…………)
Let us sing:
ALL: We are holy, holy, holy (x3), we are whole. (You, I, We) By Karen Drucker
Voice 2: We ask you to enliven anew in our hearts the empowering grace of your abundant Spirit, who infuses for us these gifts of bread and wine with the transforming energy of life, to nourish and sustain us in all times and especially in times of need.
(Please all extend hands as we recite the consecration together.)
ALL: Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted, Jesus took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread and gave it to his disciples and said: take this, all of you, and eat it; this is my body which will be given up for you.
ALL: When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup. Again he gave You thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said, take this all of you, and drink it; this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all. Do this in memory of me.
Presider: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
ALL: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
Voice 3: (Please place your hand on the shoulder of the person to your right)
As we gather around this Eucharistic table, we recall God’s blessing and love from ages past, and we celebrate anew the gift we share among us at this Eucharistic feast. May the Spirit of life and wholeness, who transforms the gifts we present, transform us too, that we may be refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring mercy, love and healing to those whose lives we touch and who are Jesus to us.
Voice 4: Remember Gracious God, your Church throughout the world that we are open to all of your creation, all of your people everywhere who are made in your image, for you are a God of Extravagant Love for all of us.
Voice 5: Grant that, in union with all peoples living and dead, we may strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished, where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can live in health and wholeness. Let us be united in acclaiming the God of Life, whose abundance is offered to each and to all, until the Kin-dom arrives in the fullness of time.
ALL: Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, gracious God, forever and ever. Amen (sung).
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
Presider: Let us join hands and raise our voices as we say the Prayer Jesus taught us:
ALL: Our Father and Mother…….
Presider: Deliver us, God of Love, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us holy in your sight and protect us from all anxiety and fear. We watch and wait, discerning signs that You are continually with us.
THE SIGN OF PEACE
Presider: Jesus, You said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you. My peace I give you.” Look on the faith of all and grant us the peace and unity of your kin-dom where you live forever and ever. ALL: Amen.
Presider: May the peace of our gracious and loving God be always with you. ALL: And also with you. Let us offer each other the gift of peace as we join hands and sing:
“Peace is Flowing like a River” (Joy, Love, Alleluia)
LITANY FOR THE BREAKING OF BREAD
Presider: Loving God,
ALL: You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God,
ALL: You call us to be the presence of Jesus in the world. We will love tenderly.
Presider: Loving God,
ALL: You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.
Presiders: This is Jesus, our Light, who liberates, heals and transforms our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. ALL: We are the Body of Christ.
After Communion Song: “Endless Is Your Love” Sung by Mindy
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
Presider: May love, wonder, gratitude and thanksgiving fill us, may compassion fully fill our hearts, that you may heal the numbness that continues because of our society’s injustices. May we each know that we are loved and may we continue to be the face of God to each other. Amen.
Prayers of Gratitude/ Introductions/Announcements
Presider: May God be with you. ALL: And also with you.
Presider: Let us call upon our gracious God as we share blessings with each other. We bless one another and pledge to live the Gospel of Christ. ALL: Amen.
(Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing.)
ALL: May our gracious God, bless us all gathered here, in the name of God our Creator, in the name of Jesus our Light, in the name of the Holy Spirit our Wisdom, as we care and minister to one another in love, for we are the Body of Christ and the face of God to the world. Amen.
Presider: Go in the peace of Christ. Let our service continue!
ALL: Thanks be to God.
CLOSING HYMN: #384 – “The Summons”
80th Birthday Celebration of Mary Al Gagnon