Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday at Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community in Albany, NY


Good Friday Remembrance – March 29, 2018
ECCE HOMO (Behold, the Man)

                                                                                    -Louis Glanzman

Kim Panaro, ARCWP and Jim Marsh, ARCWP prepared the Good Friday Service: Our prayerful Good Friday remembrance is taken from “Prayers For Progressive Christians” by Michael Morwood.  These reflections emphasize Jesus, a man who knew all the longings and pains of the human heart, yet lived with great faith even in the face of death. He showed us the way by loving right up to the moment he breathed his last breath. Let us ‘Behold the man Jesus’ who can empathize with us and companions us in difficult times.

Opening Song      “We Remember” by Marty Haugen    [refrain only]

We remember how you loved us
To your death
And still we celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you,
When you come in your glory,
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.

Reflection 1
Presider 1:  “After John’s arrest, Jesus appeared in Galilee proclaiming the Good News of God: This is the time of fulfillment. The kin-dom of God is at hand! Change your hearts and minds, and believe this Good News!” (Mark 1:14-15)

Reader 1:   Let us remember a man who dreamed of what might be: that people would be set free from religious ideas and images that degraded them; that people would believe that through their everyday acts of human kindness, they are intimately connected with the sacred; that people would be empowered by his words and actions.  (short pause)

All:   WE REMEMBER JESUS, a person driven by dreams!

Reflection 2
Presider 2:  “They went to Capernaum, and on the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and began to teach. The people were spellbound by the teaching, because Jesus taught with an authority that was unlike their religious leaders.” (Mark 1:21-22)
Ruins at Capernaum, Israel - photos by MT Streck


Reader 2:   Let us remember a man who had his moments of breakthrough, when it must have seemed his dream was being realized; times when people really listened and responded; times when men and women were prepared to walk with him and support him; times when he spoke better and more convincingly than other times.  (short pause)

All:   WE REMEMBER JESUS, a person enthused by successes!

Reflection 3
Presider 1:  “Herod had arrested John, bound him, and thrown him in prison… He had John beheaded in the prison… John’s disciples then went and told Jesus… When Jesus heard about the beheading, he left Nazareth by boat and went to a deserted place to be alone.”  (Matthew 14: 3, 10, 12-13)
Sea of Galilee - photo by M T Streck
Reader 3:   Let us remember a man who learned about the cruel death of his cousin. He got into a boat, seeking a lonely place where he could be with his friends, to absorb the shock, to grieve quietly, to calm his feelings of powerlessness, of frustration and of fear for his own future. I wonder what he prayed about that night. I wonder what helped him leave that lonely place and go forward to confront life rather than retreat into isolation and safety?  (short pause)

All:   WE REMEMBER JESUS, a person driven by convictions!

Reflection 4
Presider 2:  “Having sent the crowds away, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray, remaining there alone as night fell.” (Matthew 14:23)

Reader 4:   Let us remember a man who found quiet places to pray and think about things; a man who had to live by faith; a man who had to search for answers; a man who had to think about which path to follow; a man who had to look to his friends for support and understanding.  (short pause)

All:   WE REMEMBER JESUS, a person very much like us!

Reflection 5
Presider 1:  “Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, to suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and religious scholars, and that he must be killed, and on the third day raised to life.”  (Matthew 16: 21)

Reader 5:   Let us remember a man whose dream was shattered, who broke down and cried over what could have been; who knew the pain of failure and powerlessness; who knew what it was like to feel broken and terribly alone.      (short pause)

All:   WE REMEMBER JESUS, a man driven by his convictions!

Reflection 6
Presider 2:  “Jesus said to them, ‘I’ve longed to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. I tell you, I will not eat it again until everything is fulfilled in the reign of God.’ Then taking a cup of wine, Jesus gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and share it among you. I tell you, that I will not drink wine from now on, until the reign of God comes.’ Then Jesus took bread and gave thanks for it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which will be given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” (Luke 22:14-19)

Reader 6:   Let us remember a man who knew he was going to die; who gathered with his friends, knowing it was for the last time; who spoke to them about what he really believed; who wanted them to remember him and to keep his dream alive.  (short pause)

All:   WE REMEMBER JESUS, a testament to love!


Gethsemane - photos by MT Streck
Reflection 7
Presider 1:  “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mark 15:34)

Reader 7:   Let us remember a man crucified. He was a failure, abandoned by his male friends, taunted, despised, enduring a shameful and agonizing death, no consoling or heartfelt presence of his Abba God to help him.  (short pause)

All:   WE REMEMBER JESUS, a man whose faith in all he believed was tested to the limits!

Reflection 8
Presider 2:  “Two others were also led off with Jesus, criminals who were to be put to death… one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, ‘Abba forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.’… One of the criminals insulted Jesus too… but the other said ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your glory.’ Jesus replied, ‘Today you’ll be with me in paradise!’  Jesus uttered a loud cry and said, ‘Abba, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (John 23:32-34, 39, 40-43, 46)

Reader 8:   Let us remember a man who forgave, not just once, but over and over; a man who embodied the generosity and limitless outpouring of the Source of all life; a man whose life and death point to another dimension of what it means to be human. No power on earth, nothing could move this man from what he believed.  (short pause)

All:   WE REMEMBER JESUS, a man who inspires us by the way he lived and died!

Reflection 9
Presider 1:  “Believe me, the hour is coming when you’ll worship Abba God neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… Real worshippers will worship Abba God in spirit and truth… It is just such worshippers whom Abba God seeks… Many Samaritans believed in Jesus on the strength of the woman’s testimony.”
(John 4:21, 23, 39)

Reader 9:   Let us remember a man of extraordinary religious insight, a man utterly convinced of the connection between human love and the Source of All; a man determined to give people personal authority in their relationship with the God they believed in; a man who wanted to set people free from fear of the Unknown, a man who set his heart on breaking down barriers between people.  (short pause)

All:   WE REMEMBER JESUS, a man who set us free!

Silent Reflection
How do we as followers of ‘The Way’ live faithfully and not lose hope, especially during times of pain, struggle and darkness?  In the past year, has there been someone you know who showed extraordinary courage in facing their life situation(s). In the past year, how have you responded to your own personal difficulties, struggles and sufferings? Suffering is part of being wholly human; loving in the face of suffering makes us whole and holy!

Prayer (together)
O Holy One, We give thanks for Jesus who knew the longings and pains of being human and “inspires” our faith journey.

Like Jesus, may we listen to the voices whispering to us, calling us to follow close lest we leave ourselves behind, calling us to walk into evening shadows one more time.

Like Jesus, may we live beyond the fears that close us in and have the courage to walk past horizons that we know.

May we grow in faith and courage to “act justly and love extravagantly” as we seek to make your kin-dom a reality in our world. Amen.

A Benedictine Blessing
Presiders:    May God bless us with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
          
All:    so that we may speak truth boldly and love deeply.

Presiders:    May God bless us with a holy anger at injustice, oppression, and all exploitation of people,
          
All:    so that we may tirelessly work for justice, freedom and peace among all people.

Presiders:    May God bless us with the gift of tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish,

All:    so that we may reach out our hands to comfort and transform their pain into joy .

Presiders:    May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we really can make a difference in this world,
          
All:    so that we are able by God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done. May it be so, this day and evermore – AMEN!

Closing Song       “Holy Darkness” by John Michael Talbot 

Refrain:     Holy Darkness, blessed night
Heaven’s answer hidden from our sight
As we await you, O God of silence
We embrace your holy night.

I have tried you in the fires of affliction
I have taught your soul to grieve.
In the barren soil of your loneliness,
There I will plant my seed.

Refrain

In the deepest hour of the darkness
I will give you wealth untold
When the silence stills your spirit,
Will my riches fill your soul.

Refrain

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