Theme: The Power of Faith
Welcome and Centering Prayer
Presider: Oh Holy One, we are delighted to gather with you as we share this sacred space and as we celebrate our oneness in you. Our faith sustains us in all that we do. We recognize that if we had the faith of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. We envision moving mountains. We know that you are with us as we walk each day in conscious awareness of our responsibility to bring forth your kindom on Earth. And to this, we say,
Gathering Hymn: “All Are Welcome” #414, vs 2,3,5
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 and we open them to new understanding.
Presider: We ask for your grace to continually acknowledge our need to grow in goodness and caring for ourselves, for others and for our earth.
ALL: We accept your love and understanding of the frailty of our human nature.
Presider: And we join with you, Jesus, the Anointed One, believing the strength and insight of Spirit Sophia will lead us to deeper dedication to justice, equality and peace in our world. ALL: Amen.
(Pause briefly and reflect on the need to grow more in love with others and with creation.)
Presider: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and no secrets hidden. Our desire is to be continually conscious of this in our own lives and recognize this in all we do with others.
All (with an outstretched arm): May we reach deep within ourselves to hear Wisdom’s many messages, to faithfully understand them, and to respond to them with compassionate actions to our brothers and sisters. May we emulate the virtues of pardon and peace that Jesus taught us so that we may- in turn-be more forgiving in our care for ourselves, for one another and for our planet Earth.
May we gather strength through the Divine Presence within us, to extend your merciful and forgiving presence that is your gift – through us – to everyone, everywhere - with whom you share your unending love. We ask this in the name of all that is. Amen.
Presider: Let us give glory to our loving Holy One.
All (Sung): Glory to God, glory, O praise God, Alleluia. Glory to God, glory.
O praise the name of our God. (3X)
Liturgy of The Word
Second Reading: James 2:14-18
Gospel Acclamation: CELTIC ALLELUIA! (sung)
Shared Homily/Community Reflection
Twenty-Fourth Week in Extra-Ordinary Time
September 15, 2018
Kathryn Shea, ARCWP
Theme: The Power of Faith
Our readings again today talk about the importance of action, of doing good deeds, not just talking about good deeds. And we are told faith has no power if we do not practice it. Again, a call to action. We are called to take up our cross or challenge and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Following in the footsteps of Jesus means carrying out the actions of Jesus, feed the hungry, cloth the naked, care for the sick. In Mathew 17:20 we hear Jesus say, “You don’t have enough faith. I tell you the truth, if you had the faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Look at your mustard seed you are holding in your hand. It is so small. It would be easy to lose it.
Faith is more than hope. It is more than believing. It is knowing.
One of my very favorite movies of all time is “Oh God.” How many have seen this? It was made in 1977 and was and still is so very profound. And, George Burns, with his baseball cap, is the perfect God. I want to share some lines with you that really stand out for me. I think this movie is all about faith.
God says to Jerry, played by John Denver, “God is very insistent. And determined. Religion is easy. I’m talking about Faith. Trust me.”
Jerry says in response, “But, Why me, God?” God responds, “Why not you? I can appear anyway you want. I could even appear as a woman!”
Jerry is asking many questions of God, as I am sure we all would. Jerry says, “Wait. What? You don’ t’ control our lives?” God responds, “I gave you a world and everything in it. It’s all up to you.”
Jerry says, “But, God, we need help!! And God says, “That’s why I gave you each other. You have the strength that comes from knowing.” Jerry, “but God, why have you chosen to appear at this time?” God responds, “Because I want to say to everyone that everything around them that they can see and hear and smell and feel, they should delight in all of this. And I really don’t want all of this to go down the drain.”
So, my friends, it’s up to us. Hold onto your mustard seed. Keep the faith, and let us work together to not let this beautiful Earth and all that we’ve been given go down the drain. Remember, everything is possible.
Profession of Faith
ALL: I believe in you, O Holy One, Source of all, the incomprehensible mystery of love beyond imagining.
I believe that I am in you and that you are in me.
I believe that our relationship is transforming my life.
I believe that you surround me with forgiving, abounding kindness in the midst of darkness, injustice, sin, and death.
I believe in Jesus, anointed by Your Spirit, who embodies your ways in his ministry.
I believe that Jesus did not come to die but to live and help others live in abundance on this beautiful earth.
I believe that Your Spirit anoints me to share in the same ministry by living justly, loving tenderly and walking with integrity.
I believe that you nourish and sustain me through prayer.
I believe that you summon my conscience to action on behalf of justice that will change oppressive structures.
I believe that Your Spirit is at work in all of creation.
I believe that you call me to be a co-creator with you and to join with companions on the journey as you beckon us to birth with you a new creation.
Amen. (A personal creed by Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP)
Prayers of the Community
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 people throughout our world to our gracious and comforting God.
After each intercession, the response is: Compassionate God, we know that you hear our prayers and respond. Of this, we have no doubt. (For what else shall we pray?)
Presider: Healing God, we know you attend to our prayers and respond with what is best for all. In you, we place our faith. ALL: Amen.
Preparation of the Gifts
Offertory Song: “We Come to Your Feast” – Kate Cuddy & Michael Joncas
We place upon your table a gleaming cloth of white.
The weaving of our stories, the fabrics of our lives.
The dreams of those before us, the ancients hopeful cry.
The promise of our future, our needing and our nurture,
lie here before our eyes.
Refrain: We come to your feast.
We come to your feast
The young and the old, the frightened, the bold,
the greatest and the least.
We come to your feast.
We come to your feast.
With the fruit of our lands and the work of our hands,
we come to your feast.
We gather 'round your table, we pause within our quest.
We stand beside our neighbors, we name the stranger "guest."
The feast is spread before us; you bid us come and dine:
In blessing we'll uncover, in sharing we'll discover
your substance and your sign.
Presider: Blessed are you, Jesus of Nazareth, through your goodness we have this bread and this wine and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we remember how to live the new story.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Divine Presence, we believe that you are always with us, loving in each of us and healing others through us.
All: Namaste (with a nod…3x)
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up in tender love, open to serve.
Presider: Let us give thanks for all that we have.
All: It is our joy to be grateful for our many blessings as we gather at our family table.
(so… let us “gather at our family table”…)
(Eucharistic prayer adapted from the work of Diarmuid O’Murchu and Jay Murnane)
Voice 1: O Holy One, we stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history – a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future holds both peril and great promise. May we recognize that, in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms, we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. United with our vast universe, with our Mother-Planet and her people everywhere, with one another and You, Loving God, our spirits dance and sing this song of praise:
All: We are holy, holy, holy (3x), we are whole. You are…I am… We are (Karen Drucker Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker
Voice 2: We give grateful thanks for those who came before us, for all those who gave from their hearts, who gave from their lives, that there might be a better world, a safer world, a kinder world, we pray for peace in their names. And we pray for the children, that they may live, that they may have children of their own and that it will go on - this great blossoming that is meant to grow and spread in all time – we pray for peace in their names.
And we pray for all peoples of this earth who have no voice in this, For the animals that have no voice in this, For the plants, the trees, the flowers that have no voice in this, For all who share this earth with us we pray for peace in their names.
Voice 3: We thank you for our brother, Jesus. He showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands. He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough, and that remains our clarity in the midst of confusion: the miracle of healing, new hope, nurturance, nourishment, liberation and life.
(Please extend hands over our gifts as we say together)
All: We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died. He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this all of you and eat it. This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me and all I have taught you. (pause a moment, then continue….)
All: In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friend saying: take this all of you and drink it. This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me all I have taught you.
Presider: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of our faith.
All: The Anointed One lives in us and through us in the world today.
Voice 4: Loving God, we have looked for others to save us and to save our world. Yet, we are called, and blessed and sent into the world to establish justice and show the blessed fulfillment that comes with simplicity and the giving of ourselves in love. We will make new our commitment to the harmony of the original vision of creation. We will open up wide all that has been closed around us, and our small circles. Like Jesus, in all openness, we will be filled with your own Spirit and renew the face of the earth.
All: We believe that the Spirit of God is at work in and among us and can do more than we can ask or imagine. Amen. (sung, x times)
The Prayer of Jesus
Presider: Let us join hands and raise our voices as we say the Prayer Jesus taught us:
ALL: (sung) Our Father and Mother…….
The Sign of Peace
Presider: God, we know that you give us peace and unity beyond what any words can express. You are here with us as we join hands in a circle of love and sing our prayer: “Let there be peace on earth.” (#532)
Litany at the Breaking of the Bread
Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of non-violence for peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God….All: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of forgiveness and understanding, healing and compassion everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.
Presider: Loving God….All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk humbly with you.
Presider: This is Jesus, who calls us to open doors that are closed and share our bread and wine on the altar of the world. All are invited to eat and drink at this sacred banquet of love.
All: When we share in this meal, we who have always been worthy, commit to live your teachings, dear Jesus, and to tell your stories that allow Spirit to rise up within us and empowers us to bring the kin-dom of God to this world. This is the good news of salvation.
Presider: Let us share and spread this good news! ALL: Amen. (As we share this sacred meal, we say to one another with the passing of the bread, “You are the love of God in the world.” When we share the wine we say, “You are the peace of God in the world.”
Communion Music: Instrumental
Post-Communion Meditation and Reflection - Face of a Faith - Nellie McKay
Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion
Presider: May wonder and thanksgiving fill us, may compassion fully fill our beings, that we may heal the numbness that continues because of our society’s injustices. May you know that we are eternally grateful for our many blessings. ALL: Amen.
All: May our hearts be glad on our journeys as we dream new dreams and see new visions.
May we live and work for mercy, peace and justice, in our hearts for ourselves and our brothers and sisters…whoever they are and wherever they are.
May we learn to bless, honor and hold in reverence one another and the planet Earth.
May we continually strive to be the faith of a mustard seed, so we can move mountains that are barriers to justice and equality.
And may we be the face of God to the world, reflecting a compassionate and caring presence in us to everyone we meet.
Closing Community Blessing
(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 brother, and in the name of the Spirit Sophia, as we care and minister to one another, and all those we meet, in love. We know that you are with us as we continue on our path and follow in the footsteps of Jesus, for we ARE your face oh God, to the world. Amen.
Presiders: May we all go in the peace that Jesus gave us, caring for one another. Let our service continue!
All: Thanks be to God; let it be so.
Closing Song: City of God #379, all verses