Saturday, May 16, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 16, 2020 Presiders: Janet Blakeley, ARCWP and Sally Brochu, ARCWP Lectors: Mary Al Gagnon and Katy Zatsick, ARCWP

Theme: “….and they received the Holy Spirit. (Today’s First Reading)
               “But you can recognize the Spirit because the Spirit remains with you and will be within you.” (Today’s Gospel)


Presider 1: Welcome to the inclusive catholic community of Mary, Mother of Jesus in Sarasota, Florida where all are welcome.   Because of the pandemic, we are unable to gather in St. Andrew UCC Church where we have met for many years.   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 America and sometimes Europe – 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 certain voices while keeping our personal computers on “mute.”    At certain times we like to hear from our community and will invite sharing.   If you feel drawn to share, you must unmute your microphone, speak, and re-mute yourself.

Finally – when the liturgy is finished – the IT person will unmute everyone, giving us a chance to say “hi” to each other.  As for our longstanding custom of sharing dinner after the liturgy, we now do that in our separate homes using FaceTime or Zoom.   Maybe you would like to try that!

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!   Our opening song is:

OPENING SONG   “Welcome Holy Spirit” with lyrics - 2 verses (Chocolate Timun)

Presider 2: After reflecting for a moment, please raise your hand in blessing and say the “Ho’oponopono Prayer.”  
All:      I am sorry.   Please forgive me.   Thank you.   I love you.  

Presider 1:  Eternal God, you are here and now, experiencing human life through us.   There is nothing we go through that is foreign to you.   We know that death is a terrible struggle for our loved ones suffering with the Corona virus.   Silent Companion, let them know that you, too, have experienced the terrors of such a death, and that you are close to them.   Tender Jesus, let this suffering remind us to love as you love, be compassionate as you are compassionate, and be your face and your gentle touch where you are needed.   Good Teacher, have mercy on us and help us to learn what we can from this.  For all that we ask, we count on your Spirit who is always with us to be our Teacher and our Light.  
                                    LITURGY OF THE WORD

FIRST READING: (Mary Al)  Acts 8:5-8,14-17
The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles.

Philip went down to the town of Samaria and there proclaimed the Messiah to them.   Without exception, the crowds paid close attention to Philip, listening to his message and taking note of the miracles he performed.   Many people were freed from unclean spirits, which came out shrieking loudly.   Many people who could not move or could not walk were cured.   The rejoicing in the town rose to a fever pitch.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.   The two went down to these people and prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit.   The Spirit had not yet come down upon any of them, since they had only been baptized in the name of Jesus.   Upon arriving, the pair laid hands on the Samaritans and they received the Holy Spirit.
This a reading from the Acts of the Apostles and we affirm them by saying “Amen”.

 This is a partial rendition of Psalm 66 by Nan Merrill.

Sing a joyful song to the Beloved all the earth, and praise Love’s name;
Sing in glorious exultation!
We say to You, “How magnificent are your ways:
So great is your power that fear and doubt vanish before You;
You are our Teacher for all ages:
We, who choose to listen and learn, sing songs of gratitude and joy.”

You Have allowed us to fall into the net:
You have watched us reap all that we have sown;
We went through fire and through water,
yet you have brought us through our pain and into your dwelling place.
I enter your Heart surrendered to Love.
I commend my soul into your keeping;
All that my lips uttered, all that my mouth promised
when I was in trouble and pain,          
I offer up to You.
Blessed be the holy Name of the Beloved,
Loving Companion Presence, who embraced me, and renewed my life.

This is a reading of a chapter “Human Like Us” from the book ”Prayers for Progressive Christians” by Michael Morwood.
Being fully human is more than enough.
Jesus could not have predicted that in the centuries after his death, he would come to be seen as “consubstantial” with God. As a faithful Jewish prophet he would have considered the idea misguided and a grave misunderstanding of his message. There was no need whatever to elevate his status; for him, being fully human was more than enough!
Driven by a deep conviction that he – and every human person – was imbued with the “Spirit of God”. His dream was that other people would see what he saw, and experience in the depths of his own humanity. He wanted them to feel and know the presence of their God within them as he did. He believed that this would change their understanding of themselves and their GOD, and would encourage them to take on the responsibility of creating “God’s kin-dom’ on earth.
These words are from the book by Michael Morwood and we affirm by saying “Amen”


 GOSPEL READING: John 14:15-21
 A reading from the Gospel according to John.

Jesus said to the disciples,
            “If you love me
                        and obey the command I give you,
            I will ask the One who sent me
                        to give you another Paraclete,
                        another Helper to be with you always –
            The Spirit of truth,
                        whom the world cannot accept
                        since the world neither sees nor recognizes the Spirit.
            But you can recognize the Spirit
                        because the Spirit remains with you
                        and will be within you.
            I will not leave you orphaned.
                        I will come back to you.
            A little while now and the world will see me no more;
                        but you will see me; because I live,
                        and you will live as well.
            On that day you will know
                        that I am in God,
                        and you are in me,
                        and I am in you.
            Those who obey the commandments
                        are the ones who love me,
                        and those who love me
                        will be loved by Abba God.
            I too, will love them
                        and will reveal myself to them.

This is the Good News as told by the followers of the Apostle John and we affirm these words by saying “Amen”.
Gospel Acclamation (2nd Half)
Homilist: 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)

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.


Presider 2: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns. 
Creator God, we look with you at the various life forms that exist on this beautiful Earth, and ask you to open the eyes and hearts of humans to the destruction we seem unable to prevent ourselves from causing.
All: Holy One, hear our prayer.

We see with you our overworked and stressed friends and neighbors who care for the sick and who keep our civilization running.   Stand beside them, strengthen them, and work through them.
All: Holy One, hear our prayer.

For what else shall we pray?  
            Unmute your microphone Speak your concern when there is an opening
            Re-mute your microphone

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

OFFERTORY SONG:  The Servant Song 
(Please set out your own bread and wine.)

Presider 1: 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.

All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider 1: God is within you, blessing the world through you.
All: And within you.

Presider 1: 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) – Mary Theresa’s adaptation

Presider 2: Our Holiness is your Holiness within us. Help us to seize opportunities to reveal it to the world.

All: You 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.  

Presider 2 : Please lift the bread as we pray the Prayers of Consecration:
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)

Presider 2: Please lift the cup as we pray:
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 1: 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.

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.
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.

All: Amen!

Presider: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:
Prayer of Jesus: “Our Father and Mother…”

Sign of Peace: 
Presider 2: If you are with others now, please turn to them and give them 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”,

Prayer for the Breaking of the Bread
Presider 1: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread.

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.)

Presider 2 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.

Presider 1: Please now receive Communion with the words “ I am (You are) the Body of Christ” and “I am (You are) the Blood of Christ”

Presider 2: Let us raise our hands and bless each other.
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.

Prayers of Thanksgiving, Announcements:

Closing Prayer:
Presider: 1 Usually we close our liturgy with a prayer reminding God once more of our needs and concerns. But if we truly believe what we have read and spoken today, we will instead squarely face the God within ourselves. Our prayer must then become a question: “How, God, can I reveal your living presence in the here and now?”

Closing Song:  Blessing to the World – Karen Druker

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