Theme: Let Us Walk Humbly with Our God
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. In this moment in time, we anchor ourselves in our oneness with you and one another. We call forth and remember your forever sustaining words to “act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God.” We know that you are with us as we walk each day in conscious awareness of our responsibility to bring forth your kindom of justice on Earth. This is the day our God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! And to this, we say,
Presider: My sisters and brothers, Spirit Sophia is always with us.
Gathering Hymn: “All Are Welcome” #414, vs 1,3,5
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: We lament there are many in our world and in this city of Sarasota who lack the necessities of daily life. May we all learn the ways of compassion and justice, we pray:
All: Transform us, O Holy One.
Presider: In our hope for a better world we embrace, with humility, the challenge to learn new perspectives because of our respect for diversity, we pray:
All: Transform us, O Holy One.
Presider: In our hope for a better world we embrace that force within ourselves, and the force that is beyond ourselves, that makes forgiveness possible. And so, we pray:
All: Transform us, O Holy One
Presider: Let us lift our voices in praise ….
All: Glory to the Holy One who surrounds us, who lives within us, whose Sacred Word is shared by us in our world.
Glory to the Spirit of Life, who offers us peace, peace in our hearts, and peace with one another as we reach out to one another and ask for blessing.
Glory to the Spirit of Life, who invites us to learn the lessons of our mistakes.
Glory to Jesus who teaches us how to live the Gospels, who invites us to be healers of heart, body and soul.
You, O Holy One, are one with us. We have the strength to live your gospel message, in our Church, and in our world,
We depend upon the ever-present Spirit to be recognized by us as we journey in the present and rejoice in the life before us.
Glory to the Spirit of Life, Amen
Presider: Dear Creator, as we prepare to listen to the sacred word let us be open to the messages of humility and how we can transform our lives embracing new understanding. We call upon the Spirit Divine as we listen to these readings broken open and shared by all. This we ask in the name of the Holy One.
Liturgy of The Word
First Reading: Sirach 35:12 - 14, 16 - 18
For the Most High is a judge
Who does not respect individuals or grant favors
At the expense of the poor; YHWH listens
To the prayers of those who are exploited.
YHWH will never ignore the pleas of the orphan
Or the widowed, as they pour out their heart.
To be accepted, you must give of yourself
As YHWH requires—
Then your prayer wil reach the clouds.
The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds.
Until it is heard, there is no comfort for them;
Yet they do not give up until the YHWH answers them,
Giving the just what is theirs, and granting them justice.
These are the inspired works of the prophet Sirach and to this we say. ALL: Amen.
Psalm 34: Responsorial: Our God Hears the Cry of the Poor.
Second Reading: Living with a Radical Spirit, Sister Mary Ellen Plumb author
Imagine a world where individuals understand that there are multiple approaches to every question.
Ask any 10 people their thoughts on the virtue of humility and you will receive an amazing array of answers and reactions to the inquiry.
Unless you ask a Benedictine.
For Benedictine monastics, humility is the cornerstone of the Rule of Benedict and the foundation of our life.
The central premise of humility is that right relationships are the foundation of justice and peace. Joan Chittister, OSB, in her book on the virtue of humility, “Radical Spirit: 12 Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life,” sparked my imagination enough to envision a world, our world, steeped in humility.
Imagine a world where individuals acknowledge in real and daily ways the existence of God, whomever they believe God to be, and uphold all paths to spirituality, even those not their own.
Imagine a world where individuals understand that there are multiple approaches to every question, every situation, and are open, even delighted, to learn from the wisdom of others.
Imagine a world where individuals are honest about themselves, acknowledge their gifts and their flaws in equal measure and actively seek to grow toward their fullest human selves.
Imagine a world where individuals hold every good thing they have been given, including the Earth itself, with reverent care and an open, generous hand.
Imagine a world where individuals refuse to ridicule or diminish anyone, anytime, for any reason and intentionally communicate as reasonable and righteous people and demand the same of others.
Imagine a world where individuals consciously strive to become a peaceful and serene presence that leads anyone they encounter to a sense of the sacred in life.
For the simple and humble monk, Benedict, who lived in the sixth century, such humility was an antidote to the corrupt world in which he lived. I hope, I dream, I imagine that humility, in this 21st century, might do the same for our broken world.
Imagine with me. Choose any image I’ve offered and carry it around with you for a week, intentionally working to make it real. Add images of your own. Imagine with me and we, together, can shout with integrity: Welcome to the heart of God!
Reflections is a column by religious leaders in the region. Sister Mary Ellen Plumb is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, 6101 East Lake Road, Harborcreek Township, and is on the staff of Monasteries of the Heart.
Gospel Acclamation: CELTIC ALLELUIA! (sung)
Gospel Reading: A reading from the Gospel according to Luke 18: 9 – 14
Jesus spoke this parable addressed to those who believed in their own self-righteousness while holding everyone else in contempt: “Two people went up to the Temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed like this: ‘I give you thanks, O God, that I am not like others – greedy, crooked. Adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I pay tithes on everything I earn.’ “The other one, however, kept a distance, not even daring to look up to heaven. In real humility, all the tax collector said was, ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ Believe me, the tax collector went home form the Temple right with God, where the Pharisee did not. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, while those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Gospel Acclamation: CELTIC ALLELUIA! (sung)
Shared Homily/Community Reflection
Affirmation of Faith
All: We believe in our Creator who nurtures the earth and who resides in our expanding universe.
We believe in Jesus, the Word incarnate, who journeyed on the earth, instilling faith in his followers so that they may continue the work He began.
We believe in the Spirit of Life, the breath of wisdom Sophia, who fills us with the breath of Life,
We believe God through us supports our friends and families and all whom we journey with in this life.
We believe in the communion of saints, our heavenly friends who walk with us in love as we continue our life journey.
We believe in our prophetic call to speak truth to power and live Gospel teachings. Amen.
Prayers of the Community
Presider: We pray that the Holy One renew in our hearts our commitment to journey as Jesus did and speak truth to power as he gave his life to the cause of justice in his lifetime on the earth. Let us share our concerns for justice and peace and the need of the poor and destitute in our country and in our world.
After each intercession, the response is: We Awaken to your call.
Presider: We pray that all who are suffering at the hands of our Nation’s unjust policies know that we stand in solidarity with them and send them our love. Response..
Presider: For what else do 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: “Companions on the Journey” #581, vs. 1,2,3
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”…)
Presider: We celebrate and remember the great works that were done in the presence of the first believers. We remember that they had many doubts concerning the ability of Jesus to heal, to make whole a broken heart, to speak with authority on the readings of the Scriptures.
(raise the bread and the wine): Ever present Sacred Spirit, you who hold us in your loving hands, we offer these gifts of bread and wine as we celebrate life. They are made sacred through our faith. We call upon the Sacred Spirit to awaken in us the sharing of bread and wine remembering Jesus walked on our earth inviting us to follow his example. We ask this in the name of Jesus our brother.
Presider: Loving God, we 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
(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: 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 – Linda Lee Miller
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, as we walk humbly with our God. Let our service continue!
All: Thanks be to God; let it be so.
Closing Song: Go Make a Difference #500, all verses