Sunday, July 5, 2020

Infinite Hope: Irish Traditional Musicians Concert in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter Movement

Meet the Nuns Who Created Their Own Climate Solutions Fund In a collaboration with Morgan Stanley, they put together $130 million.

My Response: A great  example of nuns leading the way to environmental justice  through structural change. They are showing that putting our money where our hearts are can move mountains! Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, Tenn.John Russell/AP
"It’s been five years since Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si,” the celebrated 225-page encyclical in which the pope called for environmental justice and fundamental social change in the face of global warming. To mark the occasion earlier this month, the Vatican urged Catholics around the world to take practical steps to fulfill this mission—including by divesting from fossil fuel-based industries. And in the US, 16 congregations of Dominican nuns (named for their patron saint, Saint Dominic) debuted a collaboration with Morgan Stanley to create a $130 million “climate solutions fund.”
In a press release, the bank called the fund a “first of its kind collaboration … to find investment solutions which focus on climate change and aiding marginalized communities that are disproportionately impacted by global warming.” Examples of the fund’s “holistic” approach to climate solutions could include “early stage investments in energy efficiency software” as well as “more mature opportunities like fruit producers with water-saving hydroponic irrigation systems.”
Sister Patricia Daly, a Dominican nun from a congregation in Caldwell, New Jersey, helped create the fund. The nuns began organizing the fund in 2018 after they pooled $46 million. Daly said the sisters have long wanted to invest in companies and technology that are actively working toward the United Nations sustainable development goals, which include ending poverty, improving access to clean energy, curbing climate change, and more. When they couldn’t find a fund with that focus—most sustainable investment funds do not holistically address all of those goals, according to Daly—the congregations enlisted Morgan Stanley to create a new fund themselves and set a standard for future investing."

Fourth of July Witness for Peace and Justice Outside NSA- Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP

 "We want interdependence not independence, friendship with other nations, neither spying nor war." Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP

"You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument " by Caroline Randall Williams, New York Times

Unsplash: Ian Kiragu

"The black people I come from were owned and raped by the white people I come from. Who dares to tell me to celebrate them?"

"You cannot dismiss me as someone who doesn’t understand. You cannot say it wasn’t my family members who fought and died. My blackness does not put me on the other side of anything. It puts me squarely at the heart of the debate. I don’t just come from the South. I come from Confederates. I’ve got rebel-gray blue blood coursing my veins. My great-grandfather Will was raised with the knowledge that Edmund Pettus was his father. Pettus, the storied Confederate general, the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, the man for whom Selma’s Bloody Sunday Bridge is named. So I am not an outsider who makes these demands. I am a great-great-granddaughter."

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy of Interdependence - July 5, 2020 - Presiders: Denise Hackert-Stoner, ARCWP, and Ann Bayly

Welcome:  Denise
Opening Prayer:  Ann

Please take a moment to meditate on this quote from Nikole Hanna-Jones: “We have a terribly flawed and miraculous country.”
Can we hold both ideas in mind as we contemplate the interdependence of  communities, nations, the world and all creation?

Opening Song:  “Eye on The Prize, “Sweet Honey in the Rock

Paul and Silas bound in jail
Had no money for to go their bail
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Hold on, hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Paul and Silas began to shout
Jail door opened and they walked out
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Hold on, hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

I got my hand on the gospel plow
Wouldn't take nothing for my journey now
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Hold on, hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Well the only thing we did was wrong
Stayed in the wilderness too long
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Hold on, hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

The only thing that we did was right
Was the day we started to fight
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Hold on, hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

We met jail and violence too
But god's love will see us through
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Hold on, hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Only chain that we can stand
Is the chain o' hand on hand
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on

Hold on, hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on


First Reading: The Gospel of Mary 4:25-27

Peter said to him, “Since you have explained everything to us, tell us one other thing.  What is the sin of the world?
Jesus said, “There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called ‘sin.’  That is why the Good came into your midst, coming to the good which belongs to every nature, in order to restore it to its root.”

These are the inspired words of one of our ancient spiritual ancestors.  And we affirm them by saying:  AMEN

Second Reading:  A selection from “I Am Waiting”

I am waiting for every 9th grader in America
to board a school bus to Washington,
camp out for a week on the floors of Congress
and talk some sense into elected leaders.

I am waiting for the thunder
to shake us from our sleep,
for the tropical winds
to melt the frozen parts inside us
and warm us up to the lovely sight
of the one walking toward us.

I’m waiting for the end of the red,
white and blues,
the end of commercialism,
consumerism, capitalism.

I’m waiting for fundamentalism to die
so freedom can live
for churches and temples and mosques
to be places of laughter
where the hungry are fed,
the sick are healed,
the elders are cared for.

I’m waiting for the children to teach us,
the trees to save us, the oceans to sail us
into truer horizons
where we can see-
in spite of this darkness-
a love fire rages deep
in the human heart.

These are the inspired words of Jan Phillips and we affirm them by saying: AMEN.

Gospel:  Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me,
all you who labor and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon your shoulders
and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble of heart.
Here you will find rest for your souls,
for my yoke is easy
and my burden is light.”

These inspired words, attributed to Jesus, were recorded by another of our spiritual ancestors.  Let us affirm them by saying:  AMEN

Homily starter: Denise

The people of our world are burdened.  The citizens of our own country, whose birth we celebrate this weekend, are burdened.  Inequity, poverty, the uneven distribution of resources, injustice, racial and religious intolerance, abandonment of those most in need; these burden all of us directly or indirectly.  Our souls cry out for rest.  As we march in the streets demanding justice we cry out for rest.  As we petition our government for needed reform we cry out for rest.  As we look within ourselves with eyes wide-open and examine our own biases, we cry out for rest. 

Jesus invites us to rest.  In the gospel of Mary he reminds us that at our root we are good.  We are rooted in goodness.  Goodness is our natural state. 

The light burden, the easy yoke, is waiting for us to pick up.  It is ours to claim, to bear as individuals, and as a body politic.

But how?  The burden Jesus offers may be light, but the burden we have loaded upon ourselves as individuals, as community, as a nation, as a world, is heavy indeed.  It seems to me that just as Jesus invites us to pick up his light burden he invites us to lay down the heavy one.  He invites us to learn from him.  To live like him.  To follow him.  To love like him.  To become  the goodness that we are at our root.  To shine.  To bring to birth the world Jan Phillips is waiting for when we recognize in “the lovely sight of the one walking toward us” our own true selves.

This is the burden Jesus invites us to carry.  This is the prize.  Let’s keep our eyes on it.

What did you hear in today’s readings?  Please unmute yourself to share your reflection, and re-mute yourself when you are finished speaking.  

Shared Homily

Statement of Faith

Anne: Please join in praying our statement of faith

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.


Ann: As we prepare for the sacred meal, remember that just as Jesus is anointed so is each of us.  And, we bring to this table our blessings, cares, and concerns.  (Dennis reads the intentions)

Ann: We invite you to silently add your own intentions (Pause……..)
For these and all unspoken intentions, we pray.  Amen.

Ann: 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.

Denise: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together:  (Eucharistic prayer taken from the work of Diarmuid O’Murchu and Jay Murnane)

Denise and All: O Holy One, we stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history – a time when humanity must choose its future.

As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future holds both peril and great promise.

May we recognize that, in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms, we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.

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

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

We are holy, holy, holy
We are holy, holy, holy
We are holy, holy, holy
We are whole...

Spirit divine, Come to me
Feeling love, Healing me
Open my heart, Allow me to see
Beauty & love Lives in me

You are holy, holy, holy…..

We give grateful thanks for those who came before us, for all those who gave from their hearts, who gave from their lives, that there might be a better world, a safer world, a kinder world, we pray for peace in their name.

And for the children, that they may live, that they may have children of their own and that it will go on - this great blossoming that is meant to go on and on – we pray for peace, in their name.

And for all peoples of this earth who have no voice in this,
For the animals that have no voice in this,
For the plants, the trees, the flowers that have no voice in this,
For all who share this earth with us, we pray for peace in their name.

We thank you for our brother, Jesus. He showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands. 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.

Denise:  Please extend your hands in blessing.

Denise and All: Your Spirit is upon the gifts of this Eucharistic table, bread of the grain and wine of the grape. They are gifts of wisdom, light and truth which remind us of our call to be the body of Christ to the world.

Denise and All:  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.

All lift their plate and pray the following:

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; this is my very self.
(pause, consume bread)

All lift their cup and pray the following:

He then raised high the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:

Take and drink.
Whenever you remember me like this,
I am among you.
(pause and drink)

Ann and All: Loving Source of All, we have looked for others to save us and to save our world. Yet, we are called, and consecrated and sent into the world to establish justice and show the blessed fulfillment that comes with simplicity and the giving of ourselves in love.  We will make new our commitment to the harmony of the original vision of creation.

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

For it is through learning to live as he lived,
And why he lived,
And for whom he lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within,
Moving us to worship you truly,
O Holy One,
At this time and all time and in all ways.
And we say yes to You!

Ann: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus:

Ann and 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)  

Communion Song :  This Is My Song (Finlandia), Jean Sibelius

This is my song O God of all the nations
A song of peace for lands afar and mine
This is my home the country where my heart is
Here are my hopes my dreams my holy shrine
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine
But other lands have sunlight too and clover
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine
O hear my song Thou God of all nations
A song of peace for their land and for mine


Denise: Let us pray together our blessing:

May wonder and thanksgiving fill us, may compassion penetrate us, that we may penetrate the numbness that continues our society’s injustices. May we know that we are loved.
May we continue to be the face of the Holy One to each other and may our name be a blessing in our time!  Amen.

Closing Song:  What a Wonderful World, Playing for Change, Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green
Red roses too
I see them bloom
For me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow
So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces
Of people going by
I see friends shaking hands
Saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying
"I love you"

I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They'll learn much more
Than I'll never know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Oh yeah

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Independence Day Tribute: "This Is My Song"

THIS IS MY SONG (lyrics provided by This is my song, O God of all the nations, A song of peace for lands afar and mine. This is my home, the country where my heart is; Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine; But other hearts in other lands are beating With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine. My country's skies are bluer than the ocean, And sunlight beams on clover-leaf and pine. But other lands have sunlight too and clover, And skies are everywhere as blue as mine. Oh, hear my song, O God of all the nations, A song of peace for their land and for mine. My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride, From every mountainside, A song of peace. Music: "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) Words by Lloyd Stone (1912- )

Hallelujah! Like the stars that illuminate the heavens, Divine Presence dwells within you and lights up the world with kindness, peace and joy.
Give thanks that you are a brilliant light shining divine presence everywhere! 
Rejoice that the power of love within you shines in the darkness around you. Hallelujah!
Bridget Mary

Unsplash:Robson Hatsukami Morgan 

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community - 14th Sunday in Extraordinary Time - Presiders: Elena Garcia, ARCWP, and Cheryl Brandi

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
Fourteenth Sunday in Extraordinary Time

July 4, 2020 Presiders: Cheryl Brandi and Elena Garcia ARCWP 
Lectors: Katy Zatsick and Maryal Gagnon 
Theme: Prophetic Freedom -Then and Now

SILENCE followed by: “America The Beautiful
America The Beautiful:

O Beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain.

America America
God shed his grace on thee.
And crown thy good with unity
From sea to shining sea.

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years,
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.
America America
God mend thy every flaw, 
 confirm thy soul in self control 
 thy liberty in law.

CHARYL: We warmly welcome you to the inclusive catholic community of Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota, Florida where all are welcome.  Because of the pandemic, we have been unable to gather in St. Andrew UCC where we have met for many years.  At these difficult times, it is now more important than ever to gather together to support one another.  As usual, God has brought good out of what seems bad, and has given us the gift of being able to go beyond the boundaries of space and time to include friends and family from north and south, east and west- something we would love to have done before, but couldn’t imagine how!  
With this new technology we are learning new ways to experience liturgy.   These include being able to hear prayers, readings and music while keeping our personal computers on “mute.”  At certain times we invite sharing from the community, as at The Prayers of the Community and The Shared Homily.  If you feel drawn to share, you must unmute your microphone, speak, and re-mute yourself.  Even though your microphone is muted, wherever you are, please respond where the liturgy is marked “All,” and feel free to sing your heart out! Please have bread and wine/juice in front of you during the Liturgy.

ELENA:  O Holy One, God of all nations and ages we recall the day when our country claimed its place among the family of nations. For what has been achieved we give you thanks, for the work that still remains we ask your help. Just as you have called us from many peoples to be one nation, grant that under your providence, our country will share your blessings and welcome people who seek to arrive at our shores with the same hopes and aspirations as our forefathers many years ago. We ask this through Jesus, your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of Holy Spirit Sophia Wisdom, for ever and ever.           ALL: AMEN

ELENA:  Today on the 4th of July,  we celebrate the birth of our country and our independence from British rule. We begin this liturgy by singing a song that is sure to enkindle in our hearts the joyful awareness that we all came from foreign countries.  Let us join Buffe St. Marie in singing our
Welcoming Song:  Welcome Welcome Emigrante.

Refrain:   Oh Welcome Welcome emigrante to my country welcome home,                                                                                        
welcome welcome emigrante to the country that I love.
Verse:  I am proud, I am proud, I am proud of my forefathers,  and I say they built this country, and they came from far away to a land they didn’t know,  the same way you do my friend.
Refrain:  Welcome welcome………………..
Verse:   I am proud, I am proud, I am proud of my forefathers and I sing about their courage                                                                                                                                                
For they spoke a foreign language and they labored with their hands, the same way you do my friends. 
Refrain:  Welcome welcome…………………
Verse:  I am proud, I am proud, I am proud of my forefathers and I sing about their patience, for the work they did was lowly  and they dirtied up their clothes,                                                                           
they spoke a foreign language and they labored with their hands            and they came from far away to a land they didn’t know, the same way you do my friend.               
Refrain:   So Welcome Welcome emigrante to my country welcome home, welcome welcome emigrante to THE COUNTRY THAT I LOVE!

CHERYL: Let us pause for a moment to reflect, on a time when in hindsight we wish we had been less judgmental, more patient, more compassionate, more present, kinder and forgiving. Now imagine this person(s) or situation in the light of healing love as we ask for forgiveness and reconciliation.
Please raise your hand in blessing and say the “Ho’oponopono Prayer.”  
CHERYL and ALL:   I am sorry.   Please forgive me.   Thank you.   I love you. 

ELENA:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, to the Holy One who surrounds us, who lives within us, whose Sacred Word is shared by us in our world.
ALL:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, who offers us peace; peace in our hearts, peace in our thoughts, peace with one another as we reach out to one another and ask for blessing. 
ELENA:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, who cares for the health workers, postal workers, store clerks, garbage collectors and all who serve our special needs in numerous ways.
ALL:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, who sent Jesus who teaches us how to live the Gospels, who brings hope and healing to all those in need. 
ELENA:  O Holy One, you are one with us.  We are strong in our faith and will live life in hope and faithfulness to you, to be Church committed to the message of the Gospels. We depend upon the ever-present Spirit Sophia Wisdom to walk with us as we journey in the present and rejoice in the life before us.  
ALL:  Glory to the Spirit of Life, Amen

Old Testament Book of the Prophet Amos (as found in “The Message” by Eugene Peterson)
“But also on that Judgement day I will restore David’s house that has fallen to pieces. I’ll repair the holes in the roof, replace the broken windows, fix it up like new. David’s people will be strong again and seize what’s left of enemy Edom, plus anyone else under my sovereign judgment.” GOD’S DECREE. God will do this.
“Yes indeed it won’t be long now.” GOD’S DECREE.
“Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heal of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. I’ll make everything right again for my people Israel:
“They’ll rebuild their ruined cities. 
They’ll plant vineyards and drink good wine. They’ll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables. And I’ll plant them, plant them on their own land. They’ll never again be uprooted from the land I’ve given them.”
God, your God, says so.

These are the words spoken by the Prophet Amos and we all respond: SO BE IT!

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 145:  (Maryal) (From “Psalms for Praying” by Nan Merrill.)

MARYAL AND ALL:  The Beloved is gracious and merciful, allowing every soul free to follow the ego’s illusions or to choose Life.

MARYAL:    Lift up your hearts all you who choose the path of Life! My heart is lifted up! Do you not know that your whole being is encompassed by my Love? I am the infinite and the eternal within your soul; O, that I might make myself known to you! Choose Love that you may overcome oppression and blind obedience to false idols!

MARY AND ALL: The Beloved is gracious and merciful, allowing every soul free to follow the ego’s illusions or to choose the path of Life!

MARYAL: Divine Light shines in those who live in Love. I shall uphold all who are burdened with fear, and raise up all who call to me. The time is nigh for you to choose, for great is the new dawn that fast approaches; I call each of you to open your inner ears, to see with spiritual eyes, and to trust that even amidst the outward chaos, all is working toward the wholeness of humanity.

MARYAL AND ALL: The Beloved is gracious and merciful, allowing every soul free to follow the ego’s illusions or to choose Life.

MARYAL:  O, Heart of my heart, envelop me! I know you are near to all who call upon You. Bring to my recollection all that I have denied, that I might be accepting and free to help rebuild the soul of the world with radical trust, love, and wonder!

MARYAL AND ALL: The Beloved is gracious and merciful, allowing every soul free to follow the ego’s illusions or to choose life.

SECOND READING (Katy)  Civil Rights and Obligations by Simone Campbell, a modern day Prophet

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS—known as “the nun on the bus”—is  considered by   some as a  modern prophet. She is the Executive Director of NETWORK, an organization that lobbies for socially just federal policies. On this “Independence Day” (in the United States), reflect on Sr. Simone’s invitation to co-create our collective freedom.
In the last half of the twentieth century, thankfully, our society began to engage in a serious process of trying to atone for the sin of slavery, and in doing so much emphasis was placed on promoting civil rights. An unintended consequence of this important movement was a heightened focus on individuals and individual exercise of the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. The civil rights movement came out of community, but the legal expression focused on individuals’ capacity to exercise their freedoms. Some fearful Americans—largely white men who professed a conservative version of Christianity—felt threatened, as if there were not enough rights to go around. They sought to create their own “movement.” This reaction in part fueled the rise of the tea party movement. . . .
But a democracy cannot survive if various groups and individuals only pull away in different directions. Such separation will not guarantee that all are allowed the opportunity for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” All people must be recognized for their inherent dignity and gifts regardless of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, or their place of origin. And all these gifts need to be shared in order to build up the whole.
So I have begun to wonder if the new task of the first half of the twenty-first century should be a commitment to civil obligations as a balance to the focus on civil rights.
Civil obligations call each of us to participate out of a concern and commitment for the whole. Civil obligations call us to vote, to inform ourselves about the issues of the day, to engage in serious conversation about our nation’s future and learn to listen to various perspectives. To live our civil obligations means that everyone needs to be involved and that there needs to be room for everyone to exercise this involvement. This is the other side of civil rights. We all need our civil rights so that we can all exercise our civil obligations.
The mandate to exercise our civil obligations means that we can’t be bystanders who scoff at the process of politics while taking no responsibility. We all need to be involved. Civil obligations mean that we must hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, and we must advocate for those who are struggling to exercise their obligations. The 100 percent needs the efforts of all of us to create a true community.
It is an unpatriotic lie that we as a nation are based in individualism. The Constitution underscores the fact that we are rooted and raised in a communal society and that we each have a responsibility to build up the whole. The Preamble to the Constitution could not be any clearer: “We the People” are called to “form a more perfect Union.”
These are inspired words of Simone Campbell known as “The nun on the bus” and we all respond:                                          LET IT BE.


GOSPEL (CHERYL)  From Joan Chittister “Prophets Then Prophets Now”
A spiritual path that does not lead to a living commitment to . . . the Kingdom of God within and around us everywhere for everyone, is no path at all. . . . It is a dead end on the way to God. . . .
Contemplation, you see, is a change in consciousness. It brings us to see the big picture. It brings us to see beyond our own boundaries, beyond our own denominations, beyond even our own doctrines and dogmas and institutional self-interest, straight into the face of a mothering God from whose womb has come all the life that is.
To claim to be aware of the oneness of life and not to regard all of it as sacred trust is a violation of the very purpose of contemplation, which is an immersion in the God of life. To talk about the oneness of life and not to know oneness with all of life . . . is not contemplation. . . . Transformed from within then, the contemplative becomes a new kind of presence in the world who signals another way of being. . . . The contemplative can never again be a complacent, non-participant in an oppressive system. . . . From contemplation comes not only the consciousness of the universal connectedness of life, but the courage to model it as well.
Those who have no flame in their hearts for justice, no consciousness of personal responsibility for the reign of God, no raging commitment to human community may, indeed, be seeking God; but make no mistake, God is still, at best, only an idea to them not a living reality. Indeed, contemplation is a very dangerous activity. It not only brings us face to face with God, it brings us, as well, face to face with the world, and then it brings us face to face with the self; and then, of course, something must be done. Something must be filled up, added to, freed from, begun again, ended at once, changed, or created or healed, because nothing stays the same once we have found the God within. . . . We become connected to everything, to everyone. We carry the whole world in our hearts, the oppression of all peoples, the suffering of our friends, the burdens of our enemies, the raping of the earth, the hunger of the starving, the joyous expectation every laughing child has a right to. Then, the zeal for justice consumes us. Then, action and prayer are one.
. . . To be contemplative, we must have zeal for the God of love in whom all things have their beginning and their end. Fortunately, you will know when that happens to you, because you will find yourselves consumed with love not only for God but for everything and everyone God has created and who lives and is shaping this world right now. There is no clearer sign of real contemplation.
This is the Good News as shared by  Joan Chittister and we affirm these words by saying:       “AMEN”.

Repeat Gospel Acclamation :
Homilist: (Elena) If you feel called to share, unmute yourself, raise your hand and wait to be asked to speak.  Mute yourself again after speaking.

STATEMENT OF FAITH  (Taken from “The Friends in Faith” and shared by Joan Meehan)
ELENA: Let us now profess our faith.
ELENA and ALL:  Gathered together as people of faith, we profess our belief in God who is larger than we can name, unable to be contained, yet present in each one of us.   We have come to know this God in the living of our lives. And in the holiness of the earth we share.
We believe in a God revealed in all peoples, all genders, religions, and orientations.   We embrace a compassionate God, who champions justice and mercy, and is always faithful when we call.   Our God gives and forgives, patiently loving without conditions.
We gratefully believe in a God who feels our deepest struggle, and celebrates our deepest joys.   A God who both dances with us in celebration, and holds us when we cry.   This God is not the “other” to us, but shares our breath in every moment and promises we are never alone.
We believe in a God who believes in us – believes that we are precious and incredible gifts, worthy to claim image and likeness to the divine.   We hold fast to our God who journeys with us, who continually calls us to choose the shape of our days through the choices we make.   This God accepts us as we are and shares each hope we have for becoming.   This is the God in whom we believe, our Creator, our Mother and Father, who became human in Jesus, our brother.   Our God is the Spirit of Life, the voice that continues to speak love, and asks us to answer.   In this God we choose to believe.   Amen.

CHERYL: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns. 
In this time of bewilderment and fear, we ask you to give us the courage to take care of one another. For those who are ill, especially those who are frightened and alone, for those who cannot access health care, for those who are homeless and lost we pray.                          
In the midst of our sadness and grief, we ask you to give us words to comfort one another. For those who are dying, and for those who have already died from this virus, for those who tend them and for those with no one to tend to them, we pray.                                             
In the midst of our own anxiety we ask you to give us the courage to support one another as you would. For those who are unexpectedly unemployed, for employers who share what they can, for our government and financial institutions and those who lead them, we pray.                     
In the midst of our struggle to ensure a healthy future for all who live on this planet, we ask you to give us the hope that surpasses our current understanding. For health care workers, spiritual leaders and our faith communities, for artists and poets, for prophets and teachers we pray.             
HEAR OUR PRAYER.                          
In the midst of our growing awareness that all life on earth is connected, we ask for the heart to respect and cherish all life. That all peoples recognize that we are all your children we pray.           
CHERYL : For what else shall we pray?                                                                                                                               (Unmute your microphone. Speak your concern when there is an opening. Re-mute your microphone.)    Respond to each petition with:   HEAR OUR PRAYER.                                                                                                         
CHERYL: We pray for these and all the unspoken concerns we hold in the silence of our hearts.

PRESENTATION OF GIFTS     (Please set out your own bread and wine.)
ELENA:  Blessed are you, God of all life.    Through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, these prayers of the heart, and our own lives to offer.   Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation as we respond to your call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers.

ELENA AND ALL:        Blessed be God forever.

ELENA: God is within you, blessing the world through you.
ELENA AND ALL: And within you.

ELENA: O Holy One, we lift up our hearts to You, You who gently invite us to enter into a deeper relationship with you that will affect how we live our lives and make decisions.   This transformation seems to come through difficulties and pain, yet you are there with us always.   Come Holy Spirit, be with us and with all who have gone before us, as we lift up our hearts in praise and sing:

All: We are holy, holy, holy (Karen Drucker)

CHERYL: Our Holiness is your Holiness within us. Help us to seize opportunities to reveal it to the world.

Extend hands over the bread and wine as we pray:
CHERYL AND ALL:  Pour out Your Spirit anew upon this bread and wine and upon us as we become more deeply the Christ Presence in our world. On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the men and women he loved.   He washed their feet.   For this they would remember him.

CHERYL: Please lift the bread as we pray the Prayers of Consecration:

CHERYL and ALL:  When he returned to his place, 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, my body, given to strengthen you.   Whenever you remember me like this, I am among you. (pause)

CHERYL: Please lift the cup as we pray:

CHERYL and 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)

ELENA: Let us share this bread and cup, and welcome everyone to the Banquet as we live the gospel of justice and peace in our world.
ELENA and ALL: We are called to do everything Jesus did, to be the living presence of a love that does justice, of a compassion that heals and liberates, of a joy that generates laughter, of a light that illumines right choices and confronts the darkness of every injustice and inequity.
ELENA and ALL: We trust you to continue to share with us your own Spirit, the Spirit that filled Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, his loving and healing that all honor and glory is yours, O Holy One, forever and ever. Amen

ELENA:  Let us pray as Jesus taught us:                                                                                                   
ALL:   Our Father and Mother who are in heaven, whose presence is with us always, and whose spirit dwells within. Hallowed be your name. May your kingdom come, and may your will be done, in our lives, and on earth, just as it is in heaven. Thank you for giving us this day, all that we need for sustenance, nourishment and growth. Forgive us, forgive us when we turn away from your love, when we trespass against you and those you put in our lives. Help us to forgive those who turn away from love and who trespass against us.  Keep us from yielding to temptation. Direct us away from anything or anyone that would distract us from your will, your highest good for our lives. Deliver us and protect us from all that is evil. For all glory and power is yours Almighty God just as it was in the beginning, it is now and always shall be, world without end.

CHERYL:  Sign of Peace: (If you are with others now, please turn to them and share a sign of peace. Then let us all face the screen and express a sign of peace to one another.)   
“May God’s peace be with you”

ELENA: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread.
ELENA and ALL:  O God of Courage, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will live justly.   O God of Compassion, You call us to be your presence in the world.   We will love tenderly.   O God of Truth, You call us to speak truth to power.   We will walk with integrity in your presence.
(All hold up the bread and wine.)

CHERYL:  This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing.   Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other.

CHERYL and ALL: Through him, we have learned how to live.                                                
Through him, we have learned how to love.                                                                      
Through him, we have learned how to serve. AMEN.


God prepare me to be a sanctuary,
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving,
I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.

God prepare me to be a sanctuary,
Acting boldly in your name.
Seeking justice where there’s hurting
Offering hope where, there is pain.
God prepare me to be a sanctuary. 
Pure and holy, tried and true. 
 With thanksgiving, 
 I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.

ELENA:   Please now receive Communion with the words “ I am (You are) the Body of Christ” and “I am (You are) the Blood of Christ”


CHERYL: Let us raise our hands and bless each other.

CHERYL AND ALL:    May you be blessed with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships.  
May you seek truth boldly and love deeply within your heart.
May you continue to be the face of the Holy One to all you meet.
May your name be a blessing in our time.

ELENA:  Prayers of Thanksgiving, Introductions, Announcements:

ELENA:  O Holy One we believe that Jesus, your Incarnate Word lives in you and in us. Strengthen our faith, hope and love that your reign will be proclaimed in our lives and the presence of your Spirit be manifested in our thoughts words and actions. We ask this through Jesus and in the Holy Spirit.

God Bless America, Land that I love,
Stand beside her, And guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.

From the mountains to the prairies
To the ocean white with foam,
God Bless America
My home sweet home, God Bless America,  My home sweet home.