Sunday, July 21, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community, July 21, 2019 - Liturgy in Celebration of WomenSpirit Rising, Presiders: Lindy Sanford, ARCWP, Julie Corron, ARCWP, and Denise Hackert-Stoner, ARCWP

Welcome and Theme: Welcome. Thank you for joining us as we celebrate Mary of Magdala whose feast day is tomorrow. Let us honor and learn from her as we come together as a community.

Opening song: Thank You for This Day by Karen Drucker


First Reading from the Gospel of Mary of Magdala

Then Peter said to him:
Since you have explained everything to us, tell us one more thing. What is the sin of this world?
The Savior replied:
Sin as such does not exist. You only bring it into manifestation when you act in ways that are adulterous in nature. It is for this very reason that the Good has come among you pursuing its own essence within nature in order to reunite everything to its origin.

These are the inspired words of the anonymous storyteller we call Mary of Magdala and the community affirms them by saying: AMEN.


Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42

As they traveled, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at Jesus’ his feet and listened to his words.

Martha, who was busy with all the details of hospitality, came to Jesus and said, "Rabbi, don’t you care that my sister has left me all alone to do the household tasks? Tell her to help me!"

Jesus replied, "Martha, Martha! You’re anxious and upset about so many things, but only a few things are necessary—really only one. Mary has chosen the better part, and she won’t be deprived of it.”

These are the inspired words of the anonymous storyteller we call Luke and the community affirms them by saying: AMEN.

Homily Starter: Lindy Sanford

Our first reading is from the only gospel written by a contemporary of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, known as His Beloved Companion. And yet, it can seem harsh the first time we read it. “Acting in ways that are adulterous”? In context, we see Jesus explaining how the distractions of everyday living can get in the way of our relationship to the Holy One unless we stay focused on the “essence” or Divine Spirit.

This reading reminds us that the Divine mystery is here and now, within us and around us, the Mystery that created us and loves us. When we neglect that, we can become distracted by everyday life which affects everything around us. Think of a time when any one of us lost our temper and how it affected everyone around us and our relationship with God.

Martha and Mary experienced this when they had a special dinner guest. Can you imagine what it would be like if Jesus or the Dalai Lama showed up for dinner? Even brought friends? This visit may not have happened exactly as we have heard it today, but like all stories in Sacred Writings, there is a reason for the telling.

Martha must have been annoyed that Mary wasn’t helping…saying to herself, “Doesn’t Mary get it that Jesus is important and there’s a lot to do? We need to make him the best dinner he’s ever had. And Mary is just sitting there!” Even if Martha doesn’t voice these thoughts, others might see her in a huff.

What do we suppose Mary is thinking? “Should I be helping Martha? Am I right to stay with Jesus or is Martha resentful and are things going to be tough between us after Jesus leaves?” Or maybe, Mary is focused solely on not wanting to miss a thing Jesus is saying…and she has no idea that Martha is carrying a burden.

The first reading reminds us that the Divine Mystery is with us always but each time we put something else first, we can lose sight of it. The gospel shows two ordinary women honoring Jesus, each in her own way but both maybe feeling torn and distracted. The story seems to be telling us to listen and communicate with each other about our priorities and needs. And to try and stay happily focused on pursuing our own inspired gifts.

What do you hear in these readings? Are you Martha or Mary? How do you deal with daily challenges that divide us from the Holy One?

Homily Wrap-Up: Denise
Martha and Mary, the activist and the mystic.  One loved Jesus by doing, the other by listening.  Like two parts of the same person, they represent each one of us.  Our prayer is that we respond to the Christ presence according to our own gifts of activism and mysticism.  Thank you all for your inspired thoughts on today’s readings.  As always, we are so enriched by your wisdom.

Statement of Faith

All: 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.


Julie: 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…”)
Julie:  We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Denise:  O Holy One, you have been called by many names by many people in the centuries of our planet’s life. Yet, no name truly defines you or describes you.  We celebrate you as the marvelous, loving energy of life who caused us and our world to be. We celebrate you as the Source of light and life and love, and we celebrate your presence and all-ways care.

Julie: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together: WomanSpirit Rising written by Jay Murnane.

O Holy One, You give us life, and we live and breathe with your Spirit. You create us female and male; You call us good, and we live as equal partners. You share the earth with us, and we, as co-creators with you, complement your ongoing activity of creation.

Among all our blessed ancestors, we celebrate the women who gently and firmly confronted the structures of oppression in their times with unique vision and compassion: Sarah, Deborah, Judith, Miriam, Ruth, Esther, Anna, Miriam of Nazareth, Julian, Hildegard, and so many more.

United with them, with WomenSpirit rising, with our Mother-Planet and her people everywhere, with one another and You, O Holy One, our spirits dance and sing this song of praise:

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!
(Alleluia Sing by David Haas)

We give grateful thanks for all your faithful servants, opening for all of us a path to life. We are thankful for all the women who risked everything they had so that all of us could live in a better, brighter world.

We give grateful thanks for our brother, Jesus who showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands.  He showed us how to be free of the blindness and paralysis of fear.

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.

On the night before he faced his own death and for the sake of living fully, 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 within them, he bent down and washed their feet.
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

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.

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

O Holy One, we have felt deeply the barrenness of our lives and of our community. Yet, we have always been pregnant with your creative Word and your life-giving Spirit.

We make new our commitment to the harmony of the original vision of creation living
justly, loving tenderly, and walking this earth with integrity.  We will bind and blind and burden no longer and use our gifts only for life.

We will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and our small circles. Like Jesus, we are filled with your Spirit and with You, we renew the face of the earth.

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.

Denise: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

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)  

Denise: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of 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.

Julie: "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.

Denise: 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 table.  Please pass the gluten-free bread and the cup of non-alcoholic juice with the words The Divine Mystery is within you.

Communion Song: I and the Mother Are One by Jan Phillips
Denise: Please raise your hands as we pray the blessing together:
May we continue to be the face of God to each other and may our name be a blessing in our time!  Amen.

Closing Song: Women’s Spirit by Karen Drucker

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