Saturday, April 4, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Palm Sunday Liturgy - Presider: Debra Trees, ARCWP

Palm Sunday Liturgy
6th Week of Lent: Embraced in God’s Gentle Wisdom 

Opening Prayer 
Today we remember our brother Jesus in his humanity.  But not only Jesus.  He did not live in a vacuum, just as we are realizing, we do not live alone.  We remember the humanity of his companions, his community of Jewish sisters and brothers, and the Roman cohort at the time. We remember the humanity of us all. May we listen with ears of compassion and non-judgmental understanding. May we open our hearts to see the Divine everywhere.  AMEN.

Opening Song: The Servant Song – David Haas

Will you let me be your servant?
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.
We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are trav’lers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
‘Til we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony.
Will you let me be your servant?
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.
Passion Sunday First Reading. The Entrance into Jerusalem  MT 21: 1-11
As they approached Jerusalem, entering Beth-Phage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent off two disciples with the instructions, “Go into the village straight ahead of you, and immediately you will find a tethered donkey with her colt standing beside her. Untie them and lead them back to me. If anyone questions you, say, ‘The Rabbi needs them.’ Then they will let them go at once.”
So the disciples went off and did what Jesus had ordered.  They brought the donkey and her colt, and after they laid their cloaks on the animals, Jesus mounted and rode toward the city. Great crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road, while some began to cut branches from the trees and lay them along the path. The crowds—those who went in front of Jesus and those who followed—were all shouting, “Hosanna to the Heir to the House of David! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Most High! Hosanna in the highest!” As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred to its depths, demanding, “Who is this?” And the crowd kept answering, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee!””
These are the words from Matthew, and our community affirms them by saying, AMEN.
Spirit of the Living God 
Fall fresh on me (2x)
Melt me, mold me, 
Fill me, use me 
Spirit of the Living God 
Fall fresh on me 

Passion Sunday, The Passion of Jesus (edited). MT 26:14 – 27:66
Reading 2
Jesus now finished all he had to say, and he told the disciples, “Passover starts in two days, and the Chosen One will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, Caiaphas. They planned to arrest Jesus under some pretext and execute him— “But not during the Festival,” they agreed, “or we might have a riot on our hands.”
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the house of Simon, who had leprosy, a woman approached Jesus with an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment. She poured it on his head while he reclined at the table. The disciples, witnessing this, were indignant. “What a waste!” they said. “This could have been sold at a high price, and the money given to needier people.”
Jesus, aware of their concern, said, “Why do you upset the woman? She has done me a good deed. You’ll always have poor people with you, but you won’t always have me. When she poured the oil on my body, she was preparing me for burial. The truth is, wherever the Good News is proclaimed in the world, she will be remembered for what she has done for me.”
Reading 3
During the meal Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to the disciples. “Take this and eat it,” Jesus said. “This is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them. “Drink from it, all of you,” he said. “This is my blood, the blood of the Covenant, which will be poured out on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. The truth is, I will not drink this fruit of the vine again until the day when I drink it anew with you in my Abba’s kindom.”  Then, after singing the Hallel, they walked out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane and said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Jesus took along Peter, James and John and started to feel grief and anguish. Then he said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death. Please, stay here, and stay awake with me.”
Jesus went on a little further and fell prostrate in prayer: “Abba, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. But not what I want—what you want.” When Jesus returned to the disciples, he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay awake with me for even an hour? Be on guard and pray that you may not undergo trial. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Reading 4
While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived—accompanied by a great crowd with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. Judas had arranged to give them a signal. “Whomever I embrace is the one,” he had said; “take hold of him.” He immediately went over to Jesus and said, “Shalom, Rabbi!” and embraced him. Jesus said to Judas, “Friend, just do what you’re here to do!” At that moment, the crowd surrounded them, laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
Those who had seized Jesus led him off to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the religious scholars and elders had convened. The chief priests, with the whole Sanhedrin, were busy trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put him to death. They discovered none, despite the many false witnesses who took the stand. Finally two came forward who stated, “This man has declared, ‘I can destroy God’s sanctuary and rebuild it in three days.” The high priest rose and addressed Jesus, “Have you no answer? What about this testimony leveled against you?” But Jesus remained silent. The high priest then said to him, “I order you to tell us under oath, before the living God, whether or not you are the Messiah, the Firstborn of God?” “You have said it yourself,” Jesus replied. “But I tell you: soon you will see the Chosen One seated at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” At this, the high priest tore his robes and said, “Blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? You yourselves have heard the blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?” They responded, “He deserves death!”
Reading 5
At daybreak, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took formal action against Jesus to put him to death. They bound him and led him away to be handed over to Pilate, the governor.
Then Jesus was arraigned before Pontius Pilate, the governor, who questioned him. “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You say that I am.” Yet when Jesus was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no reply.  Pilate said to Jesus, “Surely you hear how many charges they bring against you?” But Jesus did not answer Pilate on a single count, much to the governor’s surprise.
At that, Pilate released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus whipped with a cat-o’-nine-tails, then handed him over to be crucified. The governor’s soldiers took Jesus inside the Praetorium and assembled the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and wrapped him in a scarlet military cloak. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they pressed it onto his head and stuck a reed in his right hand. Then they began to mock Jesus by dropping to their knees, saying, “All hail, King of the Jews!” They also spat at him. Afterward they took hold of the reed and struck Jesus on the head. Finally, when they had finished mocking him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes and led him off to crucifixion.
Reading 6
Upon arriving at a site called Golgotha—which means Skull Place — they gave Jesus a drink of wine mixed with a narcotic herb, which Jesus tasted but refused to drink. Once they had nailed Jesus to the cross, they divided his clothes among them by rolling dice; then they sat down and kept watch over him. Above his head, they put the charge against him in writing: “This is Jesus, King of the Jews.”
At noon, a darkness fell over the whole land until about three in the afternoon. At that hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” This made some of the bystanders who heard it remark, “He is calling for Elijah!” One of them hurried off and got a sponge. He soaked the sponge in cheap wine and, sticking it on a reed, tried to make Jesus drink. The others said, “Leave him alone. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to his rescue.” Once again, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, then he gave up his spirit.
Reading 7
The centurion and his cohort, who were standing guard over Jesus’ body, were terror-stricken at seeing the earthquake and all that was happening, and said, “Clearly, this was God’s Own!”
A group of women were present, looking on from a distance. These were the same women who had followed Jesus from Galilee as ministers to him. Among them were Mary of Magdala; Mary, the mother of James and Joseph; and the mother of Zebedee’s children.
When evening fell, a wealthy man from Arimathea named Joseph, who had become a disciple of Jesus, came to request the body of Jesus; Pilate issued an order for its release. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in fresh linen and laid it in his own tomb, which had been hewn out of rock. Then Joseph rolled a huge stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away.
But Mary of Magdala and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb.
These are the words of the Passion of Jesus of Nazareth from Matthew, and our community confirms them by saying AMEN.
Homily by Debra Trees

Last year, our community was reading “The Last Week” by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. We learned that on one side of Jerusalem, the Roman prefect and Army were entering the city gates with flourish.   The High Holy Days of Passover were soon upon the Israelites and their Capital.   Political, monetary, and cultural issues and unrest were part of this world.
On the other side of the city, Jesus of Nazareth enters on a colt, with palms and the people singing his praise. The contrast is black and white: the darkness of oppression, the light of Love.
Jesus and his followers seemed to have no idea of the dangers they were walking into.  His anguish at Gethsemane shows awareness of stirring up the pot.
Today we each are living our own “passions”. We look at our inconvenience, and sometimes our true trials and tribulations, and our focus has been inward.
For Holy Week we re-member our brother Jesus, and his followers. This Passion is a story of all of them, how they responded, what they were fearful of, what they loved.
How have you been living your own sense of Passion? This week, may we walk with Jesus and his companions.  Keeping them close, may we hold their humanity and our contemporary world in our hearts.
Dear friends, remembering this Passion Reading and Holy Week, please share if you would like.
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. 

Presider: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we voice our intentions beginning with the words, “I bring to the table…..”  
We pray for these and all unspoken intentions. Amen.  

Presider: Let us pray our Eucharistic prayer with open hearts and hands: 

Holy One, we yearn to be close to you and to live in the embrace of your gentle wisdom. Your divine grace and love lead us away from our anxieties, fears and distractions and toward all that is blessed and joyous.  

Each of us is divinely created in Your image. We are precious to you and to each other because of who we are. We are beloved and blessed in your unconditional love, quite apart from how we act or fail to act.  
Thankful for Jesus who treated all of Creation with respect and abundant love, we resolve to follow his example to be a light in the darkness. We recognize Your loving Presence here with us today and always, and we sing:

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)

All: Dearest Holy One, there are times when we feel scarcity and emptiness even though we know You love us more than our human imagination can grasp. May we have the presence of mind to live in Your love. We strive to see You reflected in every person we meet. Guide us in sharing our gifts and in being open hearted so that we may accept help from others.   
We thank you for Jesus, who knew what it was like to be an outsider in occupied and foreign lands. May his presence prompt us to bring gospel kindness and understanding to the divisions and conflicts of our time.  
Presider: Please extend your hands in blessing. 
All: We call upon your Spirit that is present in us at this Eucharistic table. We are grateful for the bread and wine that remind us of our call to be the light of Christ to the world.  
All: On the night before he faced betrayal and death, Jesus shared supper with his friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet.  
Presider 1 lifts plate and prays: 
When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:  Take and eat, this is my very self.  (Bread is consumed)

Presider 2 lifts the cup and prays: 
Then he took 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. 
(Wine/juice is consumed)

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

All: Holy One, your transforming grace inspires us to follow our consciences and bring comfort to wherever people are in need.  We pray for wisdom, patience and persistence to make a difference in our world. We resolve to love as Jesus loved, to discern the better angels of our nature with hearts open to your Spirit. Amen. 
Presider: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:  
Holy One, you are 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 that 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.    Adapted by Miriam Therese Winter  

All: Loving Source of our being, you call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We choose to live justly, love tenderly, and walk with integrity in Your Presence. 
Meditation Song : Christ in Me Arise – Trevor Thomson

Christ in me arise and dispel all the darkness.
Christ in me arise with your power and your strength.
Christ in me pour out your blessing and healing.
Christ in me arise and I shall rise with you.

Be now my vision; open these eyes,
showing me all that I must see.
Onward to the kingdom, you are the way.
Arise in me and I shall rise with you.


Be now my footsteps, leading the way,
taking me where I must go.
Onward to the kingdom, you are the way.
Arise in me and I shall rise with you.


You know my heart and you know my ways,
you who formed me in my mother’s womb.
I live and move in you, my whole being thrives in you.

Final Refrain
Christ in me arise and dispel all the darkness.
Christ in me arise with your power and your strength.
Christ in me pour out your blessing and healing.
Christ in me arise and I shall rise with you.
Christ in me arise, Christ in me arise,
Christ in me arise and I shall rise with you.

Presider 1: Please extend your hands in blessing. 
 ALL:   May the infinite beauty and joy of Creation continue to astound us   
May the Presence of the Divine always comfort and inspire us  
May we be the face of the Holy One in all we say and do, and  
May we be a blessing in our time. AMEN. 

Closing Song: God Beyond All Names – Bernadette Farrell

God, beyond our dreams, you have stirred in us a memory,
You have placed your powerful spirit in the hearts of humankind.

Refrain: All around us, we have known you;
All creation lives to hold you,
In our living and our dying
We are bringing you to birth.

God, beyond all names, you have made us in your image,
We are like you, we reflect you, we are woman, we are man.


God, beyond all words, all creation tells your story,
You have shaken with our laughter, you have trembled with our tears.


God, beyond all time, you are laboring within us;
We are moving, we are changing, in your spirit ever new.


God of tender care, you have cradled us in goodness,
You have mothered us in wholeness, you have loved us into birth.


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