Sunday, August 18, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for August 18, 2019

Denise Hackert-Stoner, ARCWP, and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, led the Upper Room Liturgy with the theme: Prophetic Division. Denise's homily starter is printed below the readings.


Welcome.  As we listen to the readings, we urge you to think of situations in your own life that may have called for you to take a stand. Did it bring unity? Or division?

Centering Meditation

We will begin with a centering meditation. Place your hands below your heart and feel the movement of your breath. Breathe in / breathe out. Enter into the natural, flowing rhythm. Breathe in oxygen, essential for existence, the unseen gift of life. Breathe out carbon dioxide, offer it as your gift for other forms of life. Breathe in communion, union, kinship with the Holy One, your spiritual Breath. Then breathe out kindness, caring, and compassion to yourself; to those gathered here and to the wider world. Amen. (adapted from Breath of Life by Joyce Rupp)

Opening Prayer:

Divine Spirit, you call us forth each day to act with justice and mercy. We ask for courage as we take up your call in the face of a growing tide of hate and injustice. In a world that seems less and less able to respond with love, help us to plant the seeds of your infinite love. At a time when wisdom seems scarce, help us to speak your wisdom. While so many people suffer from injustice, help us to bring the justice that Jesus was willing to die for. Amen.

Opening song: “Our God is Here” by Chris Muglia

First Reading: 

“Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
These are the inspired words of Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird, and the community affirms  them by saying AMEN. 


Gospel: Lk 12: 49-53 

“I’ve come to light a fire on the earth. How I wish the blaze were ignited already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

“Do you think I’m here to bring peace on earth? I tell you, the opposite is true: I’ve come to bring division. From now on a household of five will be divided—three against two and two against three, father against son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother….”

These are the inspired words from the Gospel of Luke. The community affirms them by saying AMEN.

Denise's Homily Starter:

Imagine a summer barbecue. This summer. Family and friends at picnic tables, passing the hot dogs and macaroni salad. Kids running through the sprinkler. People pitching horse shoes, batting around whiffle balls. Suddenly Auntie stands up, gets everyone’s attention, and announces that she’s glad everyone is here today, and she hopes you all brought your checkbooks, because she’s decided to raise money for RAICES (The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services)! She says she wants to raise a thousand dollars, then enough more to rent a bus for the trip to the border where she and her posse will present the check and then demonstrate at one of the detention centers. First there is silence. Stunned silence. Forks stop half-way between plates and open mouths. Then a cousin speaks up: “I’m in,” grabs his checkbook and writes a check on the spot. A few friends mumble something about “illegals.” A few others argue that refugees are not illegal. A cousin pipes in that calling a whole group of people “illegals” dehumanizes them. A few more people write checks. Grandma says that she’s proud of Auntie, that she is doing exactly what Jesus would do – look after those who need help. Grandpa says that’s all well and good, but what happens when all these people move in down the street, and take all the jobs? The next-door neighbor offers to pay for the bus. His wife grabs her potato salad and storms home. Eventually the conversation runs its course and the picnic gets its legs back. But a discussion has been started that will not end there. It will follow the next door neighbors home. It will be the third party that comes between many husbands and wives, grandmas and grandpas, children and parents, friends and neighbors as the days and weeks go by, as conditions at the US southern border continue to shock and sadden so many.

My little story is just a small example of how taking a stand for justice is like walking a road. It is the road that Jesus walked. It is the road he led us to. What will it mean for us to follow? As we pass the mike we invite you to offer your thoughts on today’s readings.

Concluding meditation by Jan Phillips: To be on a Spiritual Path

To be on a spiritual path means to look inward as often as outward,
knowing that the externals of our lives are reflections of our thoughts and words, 
manifestations of that which we are energizing into being with the fuel of our passion.

To be on a spiritual path means to use the rearview mirror
to be sure that the path behind is clear of debris
and that we do not obstruct another’s journey with clutter of our own.

It means making peace with our past, knowing our future contains it,
and summoning the courage it takes to acknowledge,
forgive, and release whatever we have clung to that impedes our movement.

To be on a spiritual path is to take responsibility for creating our own creed, 
based on our commitments, and to respect the rights of others to do the same. 

It also means to reflect anew on what beliefs we’ve inherited
to be sure they are compatible with our inner knowing.

To be on a spiritual path, it is necessary to forgive yourself
for wrong turns, for failing to yield, for driving under the influence of others.
These are minor and forgivable infractions.

The more important rules of this road are to be attentive,
to notice when you stray, and to get back on the path as soon as possible.

Communion meditation:  Peace on Earth by Kathy Zavada

Blessing for Lindy and Ernie who will marry next Saturday, August 24, 2019.

Presider 1: Lindy and Ernie, please come to the center of the circle.
I invite everyone to please stand and raise your hands to bless Lindy and Ernie as they prepare for their wedding ceremony and begin their new life together.

Presider 2: Lindy and Ernie,
May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.

Presider 1: May the saddest day of your future
Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

Presider 2: May your hands be forever clasped in friendship
And your hearts joined forever in love.

Presider 1: Your lives are very special,
The Holy One has touched you in many ways.

Presider 2: May those blessings rest upon you
And fill all your coming days. Amen.

Closing Song: “If I Had a Hammer”  sung by Peter, Paul and Mary

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