Friday, March 20, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 21, 2020 Presiders: Sally Brochu ARCWP and Janet Blakeley ARCWP also Music Minister


Theme: “While I am here, I must make God visible to the world”. (Today’s Gospel)

We welcome each you to our community gathering through ZOOM – a way of being together and being a “home church”. Even though we are “sheltering in place”, this is one way for us to share the Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of Eucharist. Please prepare and place your own bread and wine on a table in front of you so that we can collectively consecrate these elements during the Consecration.  Our theology of the Eucharist allows us to do this.  

Opening Song:   “Gather Us In”  verses 1,4

Here in this place a new light is streaming now is the darkness vanished away.
See in this space our fears and our dreamings, brought here to you in the light of this day.
Gather us in the lost and forsaken, gather us in the blind and the lame;
Call to us now and we shall awaken, we shall arise at the sound of your name.

Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven light years away,
but here in this place a new light is shining, now is the kin-dom, now is the day
Gather us in and hold us forever, gather us in and make us your own
Gather us in all peoples together, fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

Opening Prayer:
Presider:  Holy One, you created us holy and whole, yet life took us to places where we sometimes lost sight of you and your love for us. Still we are trying to expand our awareness of your unconditional love for us. Help us to keep your love at our center of being as we struggle with life, especially in these difficult times. For even when we fail, your love is unfailing. Creator God, give us the eyes to see, hearts and souls to heighten our awareness of you, so that we can respond to your call as you draw us closer to you. Help us trust in the future. Amen.

Communal Reconciliation Rite
Presider: We pause now to remember the times we have not asked for forgiveness.
(Pause briefly.   Please extend your hand in blessing and say the Ho’oponopono Prayer)
 I am sorry.   Please forgive me.   I thank you.  I love you.

First Reading:  First Letter of John 2:7-10

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment, one you have had from the beginning. This old commandment is the word that you have heard. Yet I do write you a new command to you since you are experiencing it anew. The word of love holds true in the Christ, and among you. Chaos is yielding to new insight through which you will see and understand differently.
Whoever says they know and understand this commandment, and yet hates another, remains blind to its meaning. Whoever choses to love is truly understanding. Nothing will cause that person to stumble and fall.

These are words of an early pastor and we affirm them by saying Amen.

                                                             LITURGY OF THE WORD
Psalm 23 – (As adapted by Nan Merrill)
O my Beloved, You are my shepherd, I shall not want;
You bring me to green pastures for rest and lead me beside still waters, renewing my spirit;
You restore my soul. You lead me in the path of goodness to follow Love’s way.

Refrain: O my Beloved, You are my shepherd, I shall not want.
Even tough I walk through the valley of the shadow and of death, I am not afraid;
For You are every with me; your rod and your staff they guide me,
They give me strength and comfort.

Refrain: O my Beloved, You are my shepherd, I shall not want.
You bless me with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the heart of the Beloved forever. Amen.

Refrain: O my Beloved, You are my shepherd, I shall not want.

Gospel Acclamation: #391
All sing: “Open my eyes, God, help me to see your face, open my eyes, God, help me to see” X2

Gospel: John 9:1-3.5-17,24-41

As Jesus walked along, he saw someone who had been blind from birth. The disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, was this person’s sin that caused the blindness or that of the parents?” “Neither,” Jesus answered. “It wasn’t because of anyone’s sin – not this person nor the parents”. It was so God’s works might be made visible through this child of God……While I am here, I must make God visible in the world.”

With that, Jesus spat on the ground, made mud with his saliva and smeared it on the eyes of the one born blind. Then Jesus said, “Go. Wash in the pool of Siloam” which means “sent”. So the person went to wash and returned, able to see.

Neighbors, and those who had gotten used to seeing the beggar born blind, began to ask, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said “yes”. Others said “no”, that the one who had been healed only looked like the beggar. But the one whose vision had been restored said “Yes. I am the one.” Then the people asked “then how were your eyes opened?” The answer came, “The one they call Jesus made mud and smeared it on my eyes, and told me to go to Siloam and wash. When I went and washed, I was able to see.” “Where is Jesus?” they asked. The person replied, “I don’t know.”

Then they took the one who had been born blind to the Pharisees. It was on a Sabbath that Jesus made the healing mud paste for the one born blind. The Pharisees asked how the person came to see. The person again answered, “Jesus put mud on my eyes. I washed it off. Now I can see.” This prompted some Pharisees to say, “This Jesus is not from God because he does not keep the Sabbath.” Others argued, “But how could a sinner perform signs like this?” They were sharply divided.

Again, the one born blind was summoned by the Pharisees. They persisted, “Just what happened? How were your eyes opened?” “I already told you, but you won’t listen to me. Why do you want to hear it all over again? Do you want to become disciples of Jesus too?” They retorted scornfully, “You’re the one who is Jesus’ disciple. We’re Moses disciples. We know God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this Jesus comes from”. The one born blind retorted, “That is so amazing! You are blind to where Jesus is from even though he opened my eyes! You say that God does not listen to sinners, You say God listens to those who are devout and who do the desire of God’s heart. It is unheard of that anyone ever gave sight to a person blind from birth. If Jesus were not from God, he would never have done such a thing!” “What!” they exclaimed. “You are steeped in sin, and have been from birth, and you’re teaching us?” With that they kicked out the accused.

When Jesus heard of the expulsion, he sought out the one whose sight had been restored and asked, “Do you believe in the Chosen One?” “Who is the Chosen One that I may believe?” “You are looking at him,” Jesus replied. “The Chosen One is speaking to you now.” The healed one said “Yes, I believe,” and praised Jesus. Jesus said, “I came into this world to bring justice, so that those who are blind might see.”

These are the inspired words of the Gospel writer, John, and we affirm them by saying AMEN.

Gospel Acclamation: #391
All sing: “Open my eyes, God, help me to see your face, open my eyes, God, help me to see” X2

Homily and Sharing

Statement of Faith  (Taken from “The Friends in Faith” and shared by Joan Meehan)
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 struggles, 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.

Prayers of the Community
 Presider: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we first bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.   All please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”  

Our response is “Holy One, may your healing touch open our eyes for us to see how to respond.”

Presider: I bring to the table all people around the world who are dealing with spread of the Coronavirus, that government officials will have the wisdom and resolve to put in place measures to stop the spread and respond quickly to all those who have contacted this virus. We pray,

Presider: For what else shall we pray? Please raise your hand and say “I bring to the table” so we can turn on your mic.

Presider: We pray for these and all unspoken concerns that we hold in our hearts.   Amen.

Offertory Song: #391 “Open My Eyes, God”

Open my eyes, God, help me to see your face, open my eyes. God, help me to see.
Open my ears, God, help me to hear your voice, open my ears, God, help me to hear.
Open my heart, God, help me to love like you, open my heart, God, help me to love.

Preparation of Gifts (presiders lift up bread and wine)
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, 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.
All: Blessed be God forever.
                        LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Presider:  God is within you, blessing the world through you.
All: And within you.
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up in the Holy One.
Presider: 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 decisions we make.  This transformation usually comes through difficulties and pain, yet you are there with us through all our days. 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 (we, you, I, we) by Karen Drucker
Presider: Holy One, we celebrate the life of your son and our brother, Jesus.   He lived his life and walked forward to his death knowing that You were leading him.   We walk forward in his pathway and follow his teaching.
Presider: We pray for the grace to see the suffering of others, to respond with open and loving hearts

All: On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him.   He washed their feet.   For this they would remember him.  
Presider: Let each of us lift the bread to be blessed and consecrated.
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 given to strengthen you.   Whenever you remember me like this, I am among you. (pause)
Presider: Let each of us raise the cup of blessing.
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)
Presider: 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.
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.

Presider: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:
Prayer of Jesus: “Our Father and Mother…”
Sign of Peace:
Presider: In these uncertain times, may God’s peace be with you to sustain you and give you peace of heart.
All:  Namaste, Namaste, Namaste.

Presider: Let us each lift up the bread and wine.
All: This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing.   Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other.  
All: Through him, we have learned how to live.                                                
Though him, we have learned how to love.                                                                       
Through him, we have learned how to serve. AMEN.

Take the time now to receive Holy Communion. If there are two or more of you gathered, share it with one another.
Communion song: “Taste and See” - Instrumental

Presider: Does anyone have a Prayer of Gratitude to share? Please, raise your hand and say “Prayer of Gratitude” so we can open your mic.


Presider: As we close our liturgy, we call upon our God of Love to heal our world and all of its nations. All are in dire need of healing from the spreading Coronavirus and we are in need of peace and the quieting of fear. Give us eyes and vision to see the needs of our world and the courage to respond in love. Our world desperately needs this. Amen.

Presider: Just as we began in silence, let us finish in silence and quietly bless and pray for each other.
Go now in the peace of Christ and let our service continue.

*****We would appreciate your feedback on how this experience was for you. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this gathering and if this is something you would like to continue to do.

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