Thursday, April 9, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Holy Thursday Liturgy - Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP, presider

Holy Thursday: Eucharist In Action: A Living Presence - 2020

Welcome.  A few weeks back we had a reading called “Dangerous Words”. That reading and the gospel that Sunday reminded us what Jesus expected of us.  He told us to “turn the other cheek”, walk the extra mile, love one another, and even love our enemy.  Tonight, we celebrate Holy Thursday.  It is Holy because Jesus gathered with his friends one last time, he washed their feet, and fed them.  Jesus’ words had become dangerous actions. How will we put our Eucharistic gathering into action?

Jesus, like all Jews, began his prayers with the Shema.  We will do the same tonight.

Opening Prayer- Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. Blessed be the name of his glorious kingdom forever and ever. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today will be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deut. 6:4-7)

Please join in singing our Opening Song:  The Summons

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be known? Will you let my name be known?
Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen?
And admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Would your summon echo true when you but call my name?
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.


First Reading: A Reading from It’s Time: Challenges to the Doctrine of the Faith

The human reality is that Jesus, the Jew, had a Passover meal with his Jewish friends. In a movement of friendship with Jesus, try to understand what might have been moving in his mind and heart as he came to the end of his life, knowing his ministry had failed. Let us take on board the image of a man who when he came to Jerusalem for the last time, broke down and cried over what might have been. Let us imagine Jesus considering the small group of men and women gathered around him thinking that the future of his dream and everything he was ready to die for rested with them. Only when we meet Jesus heart to heart in this way will we really understand and appreciate the true story of "Eucharist."

Jesus took bread, broke it, and identified the gesture with himself. The point of the gesture was not to raise questions about how the bread was Jesus or became Jesus. Rather, it was Jesus' powerful way of expressing symbolically, this is what it is like to be me. What Jesus wanted his friends to see in the gesture was his willingness to give his all for what he believed, someone blessed and broken and given. Jesus wanted his friends to remember him this way. But, more than that, he asked them to eat the bread. The point of eating the bread was not to raise questions about what they were actually eating. That question would not have risen in the minds of Jews sharing a Passover meal that was permeated with the power of symbol.  No, the obvious question here is: To what were those present committing themselves if they took the bread from Jesus and ate it? They would have realized that Jesus was symbolically asking for their commitment to carry on his ministry. He was asking if they, too, were willing to be blessed, broken and given.

These are the inspired words of Michael Morwood, theologian, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

  Spirit of the Living God-Fall fresh on me. (x2) Melt me, Mold me, Fill me, Use me.
  Spirit of the Living God-Fall fresh on me.
A Reading from the Gospel according to John
JN 13:1-15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to his beloved, the Holy One.

So, during supper, he rose and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples' feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
"Master, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later."
Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet."
Jesus answered him,
"Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me."
Simon Peter said to him,
"Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well."
Jesus said to him,
"Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
 for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all."
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, "Not all of you are clean."

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another's feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

These are the inspired words from John a disciple of Jesus. AMEM       

We know that Jesus ate with his disciples many times, and they most likely ate bread and fish, and drank wine. We know that Jesus fed his disciples just as he fed the crowds. We do not know Jesus’ exact words this night. The words of consecration were attributed to him.  These words were not magic words but dangerous words in action. Take and eat, this is my body, take and drink, this is my blood.

The use and misuse of Jesus’ words have caused arguments, persecutions, schisms, massacres, crusades and wars.  Michael Morwood tells us Jesus was speaking metaphorically and in real time was asking his disciples and us for a commitment. A commitment to love. Jesus’ whole life right up to the last moment asked for our commitment to love one another. Not just in words but in actions. Will you and I agree, to commit, to be Blessed, Broken and Given?

True Eucharist began when Jesus bent down and washed the disciple’s feet. Washing feet was a sign of hospitality.  Hospitality was much more than being welcoming, saying hello, offering a cup of coffee. Hospitality meant taking care of each other. In those days, hospitality could mean life or death. Today I think of Mother Teresa when I think of the original definition of hospitality. She took care of the marginalized. She literally picked them up out of the gutter, gave them something to eat and drink and washed them. Mother Teresa put Jesus’ words into actions. She provided life-saving hospitality.  Okay, maybe you and I do not have the strength or opportunity to live out our commitment like Mother Teresa. Instead of being on the streets of Calcutta we are here in the middle of a global pandemic.  Although we may feel powerless, overwhelmed, frustrated and lonely, our quality of hospitality for some may be life or death. How are we caring for one another, comforting one another while we have to shelter in place?  You and I already know some of the answers to this question. 

Washing of Hands-Imitating Jesus as we Shelter at Home.

Presider: We normally would rise and wash each other’s hands now. Tonight, I ask you to briefly share how you or others you know are imitating Jesus, putting his words into actions, taking care of one another during this difficult time. We are not powerless. We can do “small things with great love.” (Mother Teresa)

Song:  Namaste. We cannot touch one another with our hands but we can send the loving sign of Namaste to one another.

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste.
The Divine in me blesses and honors the Divine in you.
The beauty of God stands before me, expressing uniquely as you.
The spirit of goodness within you shines forth in all that you do.
Namaste, Namaste, Namaste.
The Divine in me blesses and honors the divine in you.

Statement of Faith
Presider: Please join in praying our Statement of Faith:

All: We believe in one God, 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 God's Word,
bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion,
bright star in the firmament of God's
prophets, mystics, and saints.

We believe that we are called to follow Jesus
as a vehicle of God's love,
a source of God's wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of God's peace in the world.

We believe that God's 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:  We bring to this table our blessings, cares, and intentions. Please pray these intentions in the silence of your hearts.  Amen.

Presider:   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.

Presider:  Please join with open hearts and hands in praying the Eucharistic prayer together: (written by Jay Murnane)

All: Great Spirit of the wonder-ful expansion and evolution of creation, we come together with joy and amazement in this season of grace and rebirth.

We join together in an open, hopeful circle of life, to bring courage out of the heart of our fear, to bring a gentle acknowledgement of communion out of the alienation of the illusion of our separations.

Joined consciously with the fire and wind of your Spirit, with the emerging buds of spring’s regeneration, with the laughter of children this precious world ‘round, we sing out a simple song of thanksgiving:

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!

We thank you for Jesus, our way to the truth about living.

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, be bent down and washed their feet.

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.
Receive your bread

Then he took the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace, and offered it to the saying:
Take and drink.  Whenever you remember me like this, I am among you.
Receive your cup
ALL: What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.

Since you for-ever breathe forth your Spirit, we will, like Jesus, be opened up wide and filled and given in love. 

For it is through learning to live as he lived,
and why he lived,
that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to worship you truly, life-giving God, at this time and at all time, and in all ways.
And we say yes to you!
Communion Song:  The Servant Song

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 travelers 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

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, and the
empowerment around us, and the celebration among us,
now and forever. Amen.

Presider: In the beginning, Your Spirit was poured into the void, and there came to be universes. We, people of your Spirit, can be poured into the chaos of our world’s blindness, for the sake of life. This is the springtime of the earth and we are one with all creation.

All: Glory be to God! As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.


      Let us raise our hands and sing our final blessing.

 Blessing Song  (Jan Phillips)

May the blessing of peace be upon you may peace be all you know
May the blessing of peace be upon you may it follow wherever you go.
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem May peace prevail on earth
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem May peace prevail on earth.

May the blessing of joy be upon you may joy be all you know
May the blessing of joy be upon you may it follow whenever you go.
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem. May joy prevail on earth.
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem.  May joy prevail on earth

May the blessing of love be upon you may love be all you know
May the blessing of love be upon you may it follow whenever you go.
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem. May love prevail on earth.
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem.  May love prevail on earth

May the blessing of light be upon you may light be all you know
May the blessing of light be upon you may it follow whenever you go.
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem. May light prevail on earth.
Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem.  May light prevail on earth

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