Monday, August 20, 2018

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Presiders: Lindy Sanford, ARCWP and Jim Marsh, ARCWP



Lindy Sanford, ARCWP, and Jim Marsh, ARCWP, led the Upper Room Community’s Sunday liturgy. Their homily reflections are printed below the readings for the day.

Opening Song:  All are Welcome

LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading              from the Book of Proverbs 9:1-6

Wisdom has built her house; she has set up her seven pillars.
She has prepared her food, decanted her wine, and set her table.
She has sent out her household staff to call from a spot overlooking the city.

"Whoever wants enlightenment, step this way!” she says, inviting all who lack understanding. “Come, eat my bread and drink the wine which I have prepared for you.

Forsake your foolishness that you may live, and walk the path of understanding!”

These are inspired words from the Book of Proverbs, and the community affirms them by saying AMEN!

Responsorial Psalm   Psalm 34 [Nan Merrill]      
L.      I will bless the Beloved at all times; a song of praise will I sing.
My soul speaks to the Beloved continually.
Open your hearts, friends, and then together, we shall rejoice in the Beloved!

R.      When I searched for Love, the Beloved answered within my heart.
Look to the Beloved, and your face will radiate joy.
For when you weep, the Beloved hears and comes to companion you;
One with Love, you are never alone!

L.      Happy are all who dwell in the Beloved’s heart!
Those who give themselves to the Beloved, lack no good thing.
Everyone separated from Love is empty and hungry within;
But those who open their hearts to the Beloved, are filled to overflowing!

R.      O come and see, come and hear.
There are many who desire Life, who yearn for fulfillment,
who covet the wisdom of Truth.

L.      Keep your heart open and free, take time to dwell in the Silence,
become a peaceful presence in the world.
For the Beloved sees the deeds of our hearts, and hears our innermost thoughts.

R.      Though we are beset with many fears that cause illness and troubles,
the Beloved is patient and ever-ready to comfort us,
to strengthen us on our journey to wholeness.
The Beloved renews the life of all.
Alleluia   

Gospel                John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the crowds: "I myself am the living bread come down from heaven.
If any eat this bread, they will live forever; the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Temple authorities then began to argue with one another. "How can he give us his flesh to eat?"
Jesus replied: "The truth of the matter is, If you don’t eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Chosen One, you won’t have life in you. Those who do eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. Everyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in them. Just as the living Abba God sent me and I have life because of Abba God, so those who feed on me will have life because of me.
These are inspired word of John the Evangelist and the community affirms them by saying AMEN.

Shared Homily

Homily Starter by Lindy Sanford:

Sophia Wisdom, Spirit, the Holy One, this sacred energy found in every mystical experience, calls us to Her table. To eat that bread, and to drink that wine shows us a new way of living. She offers us a life filled with understanding.

In the last week of his life Jesus encouraged his family and friends to use bread and wine as a reminder of his time with them. A time he spent focused on how to live a life filled with receiving love from the Creator and returning that love. Being in communion with all creation, knowing that when we show love and concern for others, be in communion with them, they will feel the Love of the Holy One.

It is believed that Jesus taught that living this way gave us eternal life. The mystical writing of the book attributed to John leads me to believe that living as Jesus taught, loving all creation, including every woman, man and child that walks on this planet, loving the planet itself, and all creatures living in all universes that exist will give us a deeper awareness of the wonder of Creation. I believe that love, shared, will change reality for all time. Making all that is, or ever shall be even, more filled with Divine love, to me, is an eternal and sacred life.Are you ready to receive that bread and wine from the Holy one? Are you ready to give it to all, everyday? How will that change you?

Homily Conclusion by Jim Marsh

In closing, I want to say that both Lindy and I were really taken with the three Lectionary readings for this Sunday. However, in the interest of time, we decided to use the two we heard proclaimed today.

I call your attention to the second reading which we did not use; it is Paul’s letter to the believers in Ephesus and follows the Proverb reading so well . I dare say Paul could have been written this for us today given the social, political and economic realities we are experiencing. Paul says “these are evil days …. watch your conduct … don’t be foolish … discern the will of God … be filled with the Spirit … make the most of your time by being wise and thoughtful.”

Our two chosen readings talk about eating and drinking—certainly a necessity to sustain human life. I think about table meals and all that happens around tables …. not only the sharing of food that nourishes, but also the conversation(s) that ensue, sometimes very amicable and at other times maybe quite the opposite, but after some good food and drink we listen with our hearts and we ‘lay down our weapons’—are disarmed, and discover that despite our differences, we are connected … and our sharing communion should inspire us to seek the common good that sustains and nurtures all life.

Thank you everyone for your sharing and breaking open the Word today! So let us continue by sharing our simple meal of bread and wine, singing and giving thanks to the Holy One for all that is,

Statement of Faith

We believe in the Holy One, a divine mystery
beyond all definition and rational understanding,
the heart of all that has ever existed,
that exists now, or that ever will exist.

We believe in Jesus, messenger of the Divine Word,
bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion,
bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's
prophets, mystics, and saints.

We believe that We are called to follow Jesus
as a vehicle of divine love,
a source of wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of peace in the world.

We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One,
the life that is our innermost life,
the breath moving in our being,
the depth living in each of us.

We believe that the Divine kin-dom is here and now,
stretched out all around us for those
with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it,
and hands to make it happen.

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Jim:                    As we prepare for the sacred meal, we lay our stoles upon the table as a sign that just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us. And we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.  Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”
                           Presider ends with We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Lindy:                 Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together.

All:             O Holy One, you are always with us. In the blessed abundance of creation, we gather to celebrate Your nourishing gift of life. May our hearts be open to You as You invite us to participate in the wise and wonderful work of co-creation.

May we be ever aware of Your Spirit within and among us as our world unfolds amid pain and beauty into the fullness of life. 

We are grateful for Your Spirit whose breath inspired the primal waters, calling into being the variety and abundance we see around us. Your Spirit sustains and animates our every endeavor, inviting us to act in wisdom and in truth.

In gratitude and joy we embrace our calling and we lift our voices to proclaim a song of praise:

We are Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

All:             As a community, we gather in the power of your Spirit, refreshing wind, purifying fire and living breath, for the variety and diversity of life. We seek to live as Jesus taught us, wise and holy as Spirit-filled people, courageous and prophetic, ever obedient to your call.

Jim:           Please extend your hands in blessing.

All:             We invoke Your Spirit upon the gifts of this Eucharistic table, bread of the grain and wine of the grape, that they may become gifts of wisdom, light and truth which remind us of our call to be the body of Christ to the world.
On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet.

(Presiders stand at table, Presider 1 lifts bread.)

All:             When he returned to his place, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and offered it to them saying: Take this bread and eat it; This is my very self. (pause)

 (Presider 2 lifts cup)
All:             Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace and offered the wine saying: “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)

All:             In union with all peoples living and dead, we unite our thoughts and prayers, asking wisdom and courage to discern more wisely your call to us in the circumstances of our daily lives: to act justly and courageously in confronting the pain and suffering that desecrates the Earth and its peoples; to take risks in being creative and proactive on behalf of the poor and marginalized; and to love all people with generosity of heart, beyond the labels of race, creed and color.

Holy One, your transforming energy is always moving within us and working through us. Like Jesus, we will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and we will live compassionate lives, for it is through living as Jesus lived, that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to glorify you, O Holy One,
At this time and all ways.  Amen.

Lindy:        Let us pray the prayer of Jesus:
All:            O Holy One, who is 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 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  (Miriam Therese Winter)
  
Jim: Please join us in the prayer for the breaking of the bread: (Presiders break the bread )

All:             O Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will live justly. You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will love tenderly. You call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk with integrity in your presence.

(Presiders lift the bread and cup)
Lindy:         This is the bread of life. 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.

Jim:           Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. You are a spark of the Divine and nothing can separate you from God’s love. All are welcome to receive at this friendship table.  Please pass the bread and cup with the words:” You are the Face of God.”

Communion meditation: One Bread, One Body by John Foley, SJ

Blessing

Lindy:        My friends, we have just re-committed ourselves as disciples of Jesus by sharing in this simple meal of bread and wine. Please extend your hands as together we pray our blessing over each other.

May you bring good news to the poor,
bind up the brokenhearted,
comfort those who mourn,
give hope to those discouraged,
embrace new possibilities to heal our world’s brokenness,
as you work to re-create God’s vision for all creation.
May your living and loving be a blessing to all you meet this week.
May it be so, AMEN!

Closing song: City of God by Dan Schutte





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