Monday, August 10, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for Sunday, August 9, 2020 - Presiders: Santa Orlando and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP

Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Welcome and Theme
Presider 1: Welcome everyone, – The theme for today is “Our future is in our hands, WE are the help that is needed.”  Today we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The horror of that moment in time continues as innocent people lose their lives in terrorist acts, school shootings, drug wars, etc. The list goes on and on.
I think we can all agree that we need help both individually and as a society.
Last week, Jesus put the feeding of crowds into the hands of the disciples; they didn’t know what to do... we don’t know what to do either. We are being asked to trust God and one another. Easier said than done. We pray for wisdom.

Opening Prayer
Presider 2: Breath of All that is, preserve us from our own madness. Direct us away from dealing destruction to others, a path which leads to the ruin of ourselves and our world. Help us to hear You. Show us your precious face in all others. You in us, and we in each other, from all places. Teach us how to lower our defenses. You call us, in our minds, in our world, and through each other. Speak to us. Speak through us. Light in us the fire of Your Love. Amen.

Opening Song  
Presider 2:  Please join in singing our centering song: Fire of Love
by Kathy Sherman, CSJ


First Reading: Look with the Eyes of Compassion - A Meditation by Richard Rohr

The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh (born 1926) is one of the world’s most influential spiritual teachers. During the Vietnam War, his work for peace brought him into friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Merton, and other Christians who shared his belief that peace must be who we are, not just something we demand. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches:

This capacity of waking up, of being aware of what is going on in your feelings, in your body, in your perceptions, in the world, is called Buddha nature, the capacity of understanding and loving. . . . It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.

Many of us worry about the world situation. We don’t know when the bombs will explode. We feel that we are on the edge of time. As individuals, we feel helpless, despairing. The situation is so dangerous, injustice is so widespread, the danger is so close. In this kind of situation, if we panic, things will only become worse. We need to remain calm, to see clearly. Meditation is to be aware, and to try to help.

I like to use the example of a small boat crossing the Gulf of Siam. In Vietnam, there are many people, called boat people, who leave the country in small boats. Often the boats are caught in rough seas or storms, the people may panic, and boats can sink. But if even one person aboard can remain calm, lucid, knowing what to do and what not to do, he or she can help the boat survive. His or her expression—face, voice—communicates clarity and calmness, and people have trust in that person. They will listen to what he or she says. One such person can save the lives of many.

Our world is something like a small boat. Compared with the cosmos, our planet is a very small boat. We are about to panic because our situation is no better than the situation of the small boat in the sea. . . . Humankind has become a very dangerous species. We need people who can sit still and be able to smile, who can walk peacefully. We need people like that in order to save us. Mahayana Buddhism says that you are that person. . . .

The root-word “budh” means to wake up, to know, to understand. A person who wakes up and understands is called a Buddha. It is as simple as that. The capacity to wake up, to understand, and to love is called Buddha nature. [Christians would call this Christ nature, the Christ self, or the mind of Christ.] . . .

When you understand, you cannot help but love. . . . To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people.

These are the inspired words of Thich Nhat Hanh and Richard Rohr and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Psalm Response: Psalm 85 
Adapted from Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying

Response: You awaken us to love and peace.

O Beloved, how gracious you are to us.
You restore our souls time and time again.
You forgive our distractions when we wander far from You.
You give us new life.
You awaken our hearts to love.

Response: You awaken us to love and peace.

We cannot Live separate from You.
You are with us as we cast out the demons of fear, doubt, and illusion.
We listen to you in our hearts as you speak.
You guide our footsteps upon the path of peace
as we recognize with open hearts that You are our peace.

Response: You awaken us to love and peace.

Gospel: A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew
 MT 14:22-33
Translation From The Message – the Bible in contemporary language

As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.

Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared to death. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Teacher, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” 

Jesus said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Teacher, save me!”

Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, were in awe of Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”

These are the inspired words of the Gospel writer known as Matthew and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Shared Homily – Santa Orlando

For me today's gospel reading, the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, Richard Rohr and the commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki all intersected.  We are all familiar with this gospel reading. The word in the gospel that continues to cry out to me is “terrified”. I always have trouble with language, so I acknowledge that the word terrified will enact many different emotions and mean different things to different people. 

Over the years I can recall experiences where I was “terrified”, overwhelmed, stopped in my tracks when experiencing  a graced moment that was drawing me closer to the Divine  presence. At those times in my life I was unable or unwilling to fully trust and surrender.

In time, those feelings of being terrified turned into Awe. I wonder if the disciples in the boat discussed their experience with each other, to make sure it really happened; I’m pretty sure they also replaced the initial feeling of terror with Awe at this display of divine power.

I’m also terrified of what humankind is capable of. It’s difficult for me to watch films showing the Holocaust, genocide and mass destruction of our earth and its inhabitants. I’m terrified and unable to understand how society can turn innocent young children into adults who justify the poisoning of the earth and elimination of life for the illusion of possession and power. 

Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe was present in Hiroshima with a fellow priest when the atomic bomb was dropped. This account is taken from the Youtube video Pedro Arrupe's Hiroshima diary: He experienced the blinding light and explosion that caused doors, windows and walls to crumple. As he looked upon the scene he said:

“We did the only thing that could be done in the presence of such mass slaughter. We fell to our knees and prayed for guidance as we were destitute of all human help.”

As Arupe watched burned survivors appear clinging to each other, HE became the help. His medical training allowed him to treat the survivors as best he could. The unimaginable destruction and terror that he must have initially felt did not prevent his humanitarian response, he was not paralyzed with fear; his trust, inner calm and love of neighbor triumphed to allow him to show love and compassion.

In these uncertain times I wonder if we have learned anything, I wonder if we can see each other as members of one human family, if we can take responsibility to keep each other safe. COVID 19, climate change and war are ravaging the planet. Can we emerge from this pandemic, from wars, from destruction of the earth knowing that all creation is sacred and interconnected? Jesus said, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” We need to remain calm, trust and work together to move from terror to Awe. Our future is in our hands, WE are the help that is needed.  These are my thoughts, what did you hear and feel?

Presider 2: Let pray together our statement of faith:

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 1: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to this gathering our blessings, cares and concerns.  (Dennis will read the intentions)

Presider 1 concludes with: We pray for these and all unspoken intentions. Amen.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Presider 2:  With open hands let us pray our Eucharistic Prayer together:

All: O Holy One, the first passion of Jesus was his passion for you and for justice so that all may reap the beauty and bounty of Creation in equal measure. Jesus lived to incarnate your justice for all the world according to your covenant with Israel. In solidarity with Jesus, and with all the faithful men and women who have gone before us, we lift up our hearts and sing:

Here in This Place by Christopher Grundy

Holy One, may your presence here
open our minds
may your Spirit among us
help us to find
you are rising up now
like a fountain of grace
from the holy ground
here in this place.

Holy, holy, holy God
of love and majesty
the whole universe speaks of your glory
from the holy ground here in this place. Here in this place.  (Repeat)

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.

We are standing in the right place with Jesus when we let go of money, possessions, pride and privilege, to become vulnerable and open to you, to accept poverty of spirit and reliance on you.

We are standing with You when we are compassionate for all human beings, and when we extend empathy and love to everyone, especially the poor, oppressed, and mournful. We remember all those who suffer and die each year from war, poverty and unjust disease. We mourn for them, and for all creatures we destroy, and for the earth itself.

We are blessed when we are gentle, nonviolent, courageous and humble, like your saints. We pray to grow in awareness of our unity with all of creation and co-create with You our earth as a sanctuary of peace.

We rejoice, O Holy One, as we join the lineage of Your prophets of justice and peace. We, Your daughters and sons, continue to work with Your grace as we arise and walk forward in the footsteps of our peace-loving brother, Jesus.

Presider 2: Please extend your hands in blessing.

All: We are ever aware of your Spirit in us and among us at this Eucharistic table and we are grateful for this bread and wine which reminds us of our call to be the body of Christ in the world.

On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at supper with his companions and 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. 

Community lifts their plates

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.

(pause) Community consumes the bread  

Community lifts the cup

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.

(pause) Community drinks from the cup

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

Presider 2: Our Communion Meditation is We are the Ones by Karen Drucker
Presider: Holy One, 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. Amen.

Presider 2: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

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) 


Presider 1:  Let us raise our hands and bless each other.

May we be blessed with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships.
May we seek truth boldly and love deeply.
May we continue to be the face of the Holy One, and
May our names be a blessing in our time.

Closing Song
Presider 2: Please join in singing our closing song: Circle Chant

The Eucharistic Prayer created by Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, is adapted from Beatitudes for Peace by John Dear.

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