Theme: Be pure in heart and willing in spirit
Welcome and Centering Prayer
Presider: We gather at the table to share the compassionate presence of God, aware that “we are called to act with justice, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with God”.
All: The love of God loves through us as we comfort the troubled and confront injustices in the most practical and immediate ways. Being in Spirit with Jesus, we walk in his footsteps with pure and clean hearts and a willing Spirit. Let it be so. Amen.
Gathering Hymn: In The Name of All That Is - by Jan Novotka (words on last page)
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
First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8 All: Thanks be to God.
Psalm 51. Responsorial: Create in me, create in me, a pure heart, Oh God, a willing spirit. #777
Second Reading: James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27 All: Thanks be to God.
Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia
Gospel: Mark 7:1-8, 14-16, 21-23 All: Glory to you, O God.
el: Mark 7:1-8, 14-16, 21-23 All: Glory to you, O God.
Shared Homily and Community Reflections
Homily Starter: Kathryn Shea ARCWP
This has been emotional week for me, as I am sure for many of you. We lost Aretha Franklin and Sen. John McCain, both heroes in their own unique ways. We also remembered and celebrated the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28th. So, I wondered what these three people had in common? The answer for me: They all lived life with a “clean heart and willing Spirit” and exemplified the human spirit.
Dr. King, like Jesus, was willing to die for what he believed in, and wanted all of us to share the same dream. He fought for racial equality, for justice and liberty for all, and he too paid the ultimate price. But, we know his legacy lives forever and his soul is eternal. We are all better people because of his life and his death and the vision of his dream.
Aretha Franklin was born in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, the fourth of five children. Her parents separated by the time she was six, and four years later her mother succumbed to a heart attack. Her father was a Baptist preacher, and eventually landed at the New Bethel Baptist church in Detroit, where he gained national renown as a preacher.
Aretha’s musical gifts became apparent at an early age. Largely self-taught, she was regarded as a child prodigy. She was a gifted pianist with a powerful voice and began singing gospel songs in front of her father’s congregation. By the age of 14, she had recorded some of her earliest tracks, and while on tour, she befriended gospel greats such as Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke.
But life on the road exposed her to adult behavior and she was pregnant at the age of 14. A second child followed two years later. This could not have been easy. She continued with her gospel music and singing and began to be recognized and eventually was dubbed the “Queen of Soul”. In 1968 Franklin was enlisted to perform at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., where she sang her heartfelt rendition of “Precious Lord”. My two favorite quotes by Aretha are, “We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right,” and “The milk of kindness flows through my body, I shall follow Jesus to the Taco Bell and give thanks.” Rest in peace our beloved Aretha Franklin.
And today, we bury our beloved Sen. John McCain. How many of you watched his funeral this morning? What a hero among us, and we are all blessed to have been sharing the Earth with him while he dwelt among us. I did not always agree with his political beliefs, but I believe he spoke his truth, in spite of some awful criticism. He was dedicated to bring forth the great possibilities of our Nation. There have been so many eloquent eulogies given that I cannot possibly begin to site them all, but I especially loved President Obama’s eulogy this morning. He said, “John, called out the best in all of us. He was a warrior, a statesman, with an enormous spirit to see the common ground. His principles and values transcend parties. He believed that our membership in America is based on adherence to a common creed; that all of us are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
So you might be thinking, how does this homily starter tie into today’s Readings? I’m not exactly sure, but these are the words that my White Owl Sophia gave to me. So, if there’s a problem with it, you can take it up with Her. What I see is that in all the Readings, we are called to listen and welcome the word that has been planted in us. But, we must act on this word –because “if all you do is listen to it, you are deceiving yourselves.” And then, in the Gospel Reading, Jesus tells us that nothing that enters us from the outside makes us impure. It is from within, from our own hearts, that evil intentions emerge. All of these evils come from within and make us impure.”
I think that Aretha Franklin, Sen. John McCain, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., are examples of living with a pure heart and a willing spirit, and I am so grateful to them; for their courage, their speaking truth to power, and their actions. They were not perfect. None of us are. Jesus was not perfect. But, he was perfectly human. These dear ones we remember today were perfectly human and their “best selves” are what we remember and honor. We are a better America because they were here. We are a better world because they lived.
I will close with Sen. John McCain’s favorite quote from Hemingway, “Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.”
Shared Homily and Community Reflections
Profession of Faith
All: We believe in the Divine Mystery, beyond all definition and understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist in the expanding universe.
We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, the human Jesus, an enlightened soul who carried the message of God’s Word, who showed us how to heal ourselves and others, and the heart of God’s compassion. He is the bright star in the firmament of God’s prophets, mystics, and saints. And it is through him that we become a new people with a different story of salvation. We are here to share his stories of the new message, that we are all holy, we were born holy, and we shall be holy forevermore.
We believe in the Spirit, the one that inspires our innermost life. She keeps the Anointed One present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives.
She strengthens our call to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God’s love, and is the one who helps us reach within ourselves to heal and energize us when our spirits may grow weary in our lives.
And we believe that God’s 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.
Prayers of the Community
Presider: With heads and hearts mindful of God’s unconditional love embedded in each one of us, let us bring our needs and those of our community forward. After each intercession, we respond: Holy One, we offer these prayers. (Intentions are mentioned here.)
Presider: That those who suffer abuse, may be healed and empowered, we pray.
All: Holy One, we offer these prayers.
Presider: That those bound by hatred, hostility, and violence will be set free, we pray. R.
Presider: That the sick may be healed, especially (mention names), we pray. R.
Presider: That those who have gone ahead of us -- especially, Sen. Joe McCain and Aretha Franklin, who dwell forever in our heavenly home, we pray. R.
Presider: And for whom else do we pray at this time? Other Intentions followed by R.
Presider: We hold these and all our unspoken intentions in our hearts and take them with us when we will gather around the Banquet Table.
Preparation of the Gifts
Offertory Song: We Come to Your Feast – Kate Cuddy & Michael Joncas
(words on last page)
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”…)
Voice 1: Gracious Wisdom, you embrace us with your extravagant affection in both our blessedness and times of weakness. You are always with us and live in us, and we in you. In this festive meal, your Spirit is poured out to each of us gathered in this circle of your disciples to share your gift of shalom, our peace. And we break out in joy as we sing our “family camp song.”
All: We are holy, holy, holy (3x), we are whole. You are…I am… We are (Karen Drucker)
Voice 2: Gracious God, you have set the banquet table and have invited all of us to the feast of unending delight. Here we celebrate your divine love beyond what all words can describe. Your divine compassion connects us to the young and the old, the least and the last, to everyone, everywhere, on our journey into the heart of your mercy.
Voice 3: We thank you, Holy Mystery, for the gift of Jesus of Nazareth in history –and the gift of Jesus in faith. You brought him from among your people to baptize us in your Spirit. His life was moved by his vision of your presence in himself and in his mission, and he recognized you in everyone he met. He showed us, through his example, not only how we should live, but also what was worth dying for.
Voice 4: And when his time on earth had come, to a close, Jesus – aware of and accepting his destiny – gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death. And then, in providing an example of this wisdom for all people in the ages to come, he opened wide his arms…and died. And the Spirit that lived in Jesus is resurrected in all of us who live the new story. Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.
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 5: God, we know that you bless your church throughout the world. We, your people, desire to grow in our love and caring for Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and with everyone we come in contact, especially those who live on the margins of church and society. They are all our brothers and sisters, and reflections of your presence in them. We remember also all those, living and dead, who touched our lives and left their foot prints on our hearts. We remember especially….(mention names, if you would like to…)
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
All (sing): Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven, blessed is your name…...
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 Hymn: Get Ready My Soul - Daniel Nahmood
Chorus – (2 times)
“Get ready my soul I’m divin in.
Get ready my soul I’m divin in,
To the deepest kind of love.
To the sweetest kind of life.
Get ready get ready my soul “
Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion
Presider: Holy One, may this Eucharist in which we share Jesus’s healing love, deepen our oneness with you and with one another. May we reflect like Mary, your mothering love for all your people everywhere. And may wonder and thanksgiving fill us with knowledge and understanding as we experience the infusion of your love and compassion in us, your sacred people. We join in unity in this prayer with Mary, and her son, Jesus.
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 remain clean of heart and willing in Spirit. 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 (extend a hand in mutual blessing.)
All (extend an arm in mutual blessing): May our gracious God, bless us all gathered here, in the name of God our Creator, in the name of Jesus our Liberator, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier as we minister in love to one another and to all those we meet on our journey. Be with us as we continue on our path and follow in the footsteps of Jesus -- for we are the face of God to the world. Amen.
Closing Song: Oh Happy Day – Aretha Franklin
Oh happy day, (oh happy day)
Oh happy day, (oh happy day)
When Jesus washed, (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed, (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed, (when Jesus washed)
When my Jesus washed, (when Jesus washed)
Washed my sins away
Presiders: May we all go in the peace of Christ and our caring love for one another. Let our service continue!
All: Thanks be to God; let it be so.