Saturday, April 20, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Easter Vigil - Presiders: Debra Trees, ARCWP and Denise Hackert-Stoner, ARCWP


Welcome to our celebration of the New Life we have chosen in Jesus. 
Our liturgical style is highly inclusive and you are invited to participate in the words of consecration. We are happy you are here with us today. All are welcome to share in our simple Eucharistic meal around this friendship table. We ask you to please place your stole on the back of the chair you will be seated in. Then, we begin our liturgical celebration today by lighting our Easter Candle and our individual candles – a symbol of Jesus, alive and with us in this world.
As our individual candles are lighted from the Easter Candle, we sing three times, each time on a higher note

All: Thanks Be to God!

Opening song:  Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world.
Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day.

Renewal of Baptismal Promises
Presider 2: (Presider asks the following questions and the assembly answers: We promise)

Do you promise to see what is good for your sisters and brothers everywhere, rejecting injustice and inequity and living with the freedom and responsibility of children of God?

All: We promise.

Do you promise to work for the realization of God’s vision of harmony and right relations among people and peoples, rejecting the idols of money and property and color and sex and position? 
We promise

Do you promise to seek peace and live in peace in one human family, rejecting prejudice and half-heartedness in every form, and all barriers to unity?
We promise

Do you promise to cherish the universe, and this precious planet, working creatively to renew and safeguard the elemental sacraments of air, earth, water?
We promise

Do you believe in God, the great Spirit of Creation, in Jesus, the simple servant of justice and love who lived among us so that all might live with abundant fullness; in the breath of God’s center, the Spirit who continues the work of forgiveness and reconciliation, birthing and blessing, challenge and hope, so that together we can continue the work of creation?
We promise

Please bring your candle and place it on the friendship table, and as you go back to your seat, place your neighbor’s stole on him/her, using these words:

Jesus led the way, now it is your turn to love as he loved.

An Invitation to Grace, Isaiah, 55.
All you who are thirsty, come to the water!
You who have no money, come, buy food and eat;
Come, buy wine and milk without money, without price!
Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy?

Bend your ear and come to me; listen, that you may have life.
I will make an everlasting Covenant with you ---, in fulfillment of the blessings promised to David.

See, I have made of you to be a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the nations,
See, you will summon nations you never knew, and a nation that never knew you will come hurrying to you---
For the sake of YHWH, the Holy One of Israel, who will glorify you.
Seek me, YHWH, while I may still be found, call upon me while I am near.

 “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.
For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the sower and bread for food,
So will my word be that which goes forth from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will carry out my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

The mountains and hills before you will break into cries of joy, and all trees in the countryside will clap their hands.
The cypress will grow in place of the thorn bush; the myrtle will replace the briers. And they will stand in memorial to YHWH, an everlasting sign never to be destroyed.

These are the words from Isaiah, and the community affirms them by saying:  AMEN.

A reading from a letter of Paul to the Ephesians. 2:1-10

God, rich in mercy and loving us so much, brought us to life in Christ. God gave us a place in the heavenly realm, to display in ages to come how immense are the resources of God’s grace and kindness. This grace is not a reward for anything that you have done, so nobody can claim the credit. We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to do the good things God created us to do from the beginning.  
These are the words of the servant, Paul, and the  community affirms these words by saying: AMEN.

A Gospel reading from the Book of Mark.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Salome brought perfumed oils to the burial tomb so that they could anoint Jesus. Very early, just after sunrise on the first day of the week, they came there.

They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”  When they looked, they found that the huge stone had been rolled back.

On entering the tomb, they saw a young person sitting at the right, dressed in a white robe.  They were very frightened, but the youth reassured them. “Do not be amazed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the One who was crucified.  He has risen, he is not here.  See the place where they laid him. Now go and tell the disciples and Peter, ‘Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee, where you will see him just as he told you’”

They made their way out and fled from the tomb bewildered and trembling, but they said nothing to anyone because they were so afraid.
This is the Easter story from the Gospel of Mark, and the community affirms this reading by saying: AMEN.

Alleluia  (Ralph Manuel) 

Debra Trees’ Easter Vigil Homily Starter
It was dark. As they walked through the narrow streets and paths, they were crying. They were in shock. They were grieving women, doing the job that was allocated to women, because it was dirty, smelly and uncomfortable. And of course, it made them “unclean”.  On top of all of that, they were very afraid. They feared for their lives. But they did it anyway. Because they loved.

They watched him to the end. They watched where he was placed. They bought oils and cloth, and they took it to him lovingly, grievingly, and with the determination that only close family has as the final responsibility to their loved ones. One could say that Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Salome were family. These people, the first believers of Jesus’s way, were just like us. And we can understand their bewilderment, because we feel it too.

Usually at Easter, we do not read this version of Easter morning and the Resurrection. It is not pretty. It is not Jesus walking out of the hewn rock, radiant and determined to bring his message to the world, as depicted in Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ. But coming from Mark, it is the closest we have to the reality of the day. Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan note in their book, The Last Week, “For Mark, as well as other early Christians, the story of Good Friday is incomplete without Easter.”

For those of us who follow Jesus, there are all different levels of believing in the Resurrection. How could it be that this man who was alive, rose from the dead?!?  People just don’t do that. But  “Thinking” this way brings us back to these women, and their witness; the very first Disciples of Jesus and the Way.

Something happened to them. It was unnerving and frightening and real. It was awe inspiring and unexplainable. Down this corridor of two thousand years, we are still talking about it. Whether we believe in a full body resurrection or not, Jesus Christ is here with us today!

And so my friends, I ask you. What did you hear? What will you do about it? And What will it cost you?

Liturgy of the Eucharist
(Written by Jay Murnane)

Presider 1: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we wear our stoles and remember that we have chosen to follow Jesus.  Let us 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 2: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together.  

All:  God beyond our words, we gather to give thanks and open our awareness to the goodness of all of creation. You invite us to co-create with you and we remember our responsibility to serve.

We open this circle to the memory of all of the joyful troubadours and faithful servants who have gone before us. Joined with all that is alive, we lift up our lives and sing:
Blessed be our God! 
Blessed be our God!  
Joy of our hearts, source of all life and love!  
God of Heaven and Earth! 
God of Heaven and Earth! 
Dwelling within, calling us all by name!  
Alleluia, sing! 
Alleluia, sing! 

Gift of love and peace!
Gift of love and peace!
Jesus Christ, Jesus our hope and light!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
Proclaiming the day, shining throughout the night!
Alleluia, sing!
Alleluia, sing!
(Alleluia Sing by David Haas) 

All:   We thank you for Jesus, simple servant, lifting up the lowly, revealing you as God-With-Us, and revealing us as one with you and all of creation.

On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would re-member him.

Presider 1:  (lifts bread as community prays the following:)

All: When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying: 
Take and eat of the Bread of Life 
Given to strengthen you  
Whenever you remember me like this  
I am among you. (pause) 

Presider 2  (lifts the cup as community prays the following: )

All: Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace 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)

Let us share this bread and cup 
To proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace.

All: We are willing to do everything Jesus did, to re-create the living presence of a love that does justice, of a compassion that heals and liberates, of a joy that generates hope, of a light that illumines people and confronts the darkness of every injustice and inequity.

So, we trust you to continue to share with us your own spirit, the spirit that animated Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, all honor and glory is yours, O Holy One, forever and ever. Amen.

Presider 1: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

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) 
Prayer for the Breaking of Bread

Presider 2:  Please join 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 hold up bread and wine)

Presider 1: "This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. 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.

Please pass the Bread and Cup with the words: You are the Face of God.

Communion Meditation Song:

God Beyond All Names (Bernadette Farrell)
God, beyond our dreams,
you have stirred in us a memory,
you have placed your powerful spirit
in the hearts of humankind.

Refrain: All around us,
we have known you;
all creation lives to hold you,
In our living and our dying
we are bringing you to birth.

God, beyond all names,
you have made us in your image,
we are like you, we reflect you,
we are woman, we are man.

God, beyond all words,
all creation tells your story,
you have shaken with our laughter,
you have trembled with our tears.

God, beyond all time,
you are laboring within us;
we are moving, we are changing,
in your spirit ever new.

God of tender care,
you have cradled us in goodness,
you have mothered us in wholeness,
you have loved us into birth.


Presider 1:  Let us raise our hands in blessing and pray together:

All: May we continue to be the face of God to each other. May we call each other to extravagant generosity! May we walk with an awareness of our Call as companions on the journey, knowing we are not alone. May we, like Jesus, be a shining light and a blessing in our time!  AMEN.

Closing Song: City of God by

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