Saturday, December 5, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Second Sunday of Advent - Presiders: Donna Panaro, ARCWP, and Diane Geary

photo by MT Streck

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Meeting ID: 825 1215 9155
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        +1 646 558 8656

Welcome and Theme- Kim

Welcome to the Upper Room community. We welcome friends near and far to this celebration. The second Sunday of Advent is dedicated to peace. Today we will look at the way in which Jesus our brother and role model came to experience the peace that passes all understanding so as to become a beacon of peace in our world.  We believe that if there is no wisdom, there is no peace. We believe that to know wisdom is to know peace. 

Lighting of Advent Candle – Lynn W

As we light today’s candle, remember that Jesus came into the world so that we are now messengers by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To prepare the way for just peace is a choice that we must make daily. Messengers know that what we see is not all there can, will, or should be. Messengers face the troubles of the world receptively, perceptively, and attentively as they proclaim, “We shall overcome.”

Opening Song 

Every Valley



First Reading: Dave D. 

Isaiah 40: 1;3-8

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

A voice cries out, “Clear a path through the wilderness for YHWH!

Make a straight road through the desert for our God!

Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low;

Let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges become a valley!

Then the glory of YHWH will be revealed, and all humankind will see it.”

The mouth of YHWH has spoken!

A voice commands, “Cry out!”

And I answer, “What will I say?”

All flesh is grass and its beauty is like the wildflowers:

The grass withers and the flower wilts when the breath of YHWH blows on them.

How the people are like grass!

Grass withers, and flowers wilt, but the promise of our God will stand forever.”

These are the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah and the community affirms them by saying: Amen

2nd Reading- Terri K. 

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.  I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

These are the inspired words from the Gospel of Mark and the community affirms them by saying: Amen

Alleluia (Dennis)

Third Reading: Debbie T. 

Excerpts from: The Wisdom Jesus, Chapter 2, Jesus in Context by Cynthia Bourgeault

Jesus was a Near Eastern event. We need to keep reminding ourselves of this.

The Christianity of the East saw things radically differently. Theirs was not a soteriology, but a sophiology. The word “sophiology” has as its root the word “wisdom.”  Christianity was supremely a wisdom path. For the earliest Christians, Jesus was not the Savior but the Life-Giver. In the original Aramaic of Jesus and his followers there was no word for salvation. Salvation was understood as a bestowal of life, and to be saved was “to be made alive.” Entering the waters at the hand of John the Baptist, Jesus emerged as “the Life-Giver.” He came forth also as “the Single One” or “the Unified One.” Nowadays we’d call him “the Enlightened One,” a person whose life is full, integrated, and flowing. Jesus’s disciples saw in him a master of consciousness, offering a path through which they, too, could become enlightened ones. A sophiological Christianity focuses on the path. It emphasizes how Jesus is like us, how what he did in himself is something we are also called to do in ourselves.

Jesus stayed close to the perennial ground of wisdom: the transformation of human consciousness. He asked those timeless and deeply personal questions: What does it mean to die before you die? How do you go about losing your little life to find the bigger one? Is it possible to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself? These are the wisdom questions, and they are the entire field of Jesus’s concern.

These are the inspired words of Cynthia Bourgeault and the community affirms them by saying: Amen

Shared Homily  

 “Then the glory of YHWH will be revealed, and all humankind will see it,” says the prophet, Isaiah. As we come together on this second Sunday of Advent, during a global pandemic, with a country in political and social unrest, experiencing the holidays on zoom instead of in person, with refugee children still living in cages at the border, how can we see the glory of YHWH? I can relate to the song in movie, The Grinch called “Where are you Christmas?” This year, I ask “Where are you glory of God?”. In times like these there is a need to find a path that brings comfort. We need to find the good news that the gospel writer talks about and revisit these familiar scripture passages in order to gain a deeper understanding of what we hope will be birthed in us anew.

Cynthia Bourgeault contrasts sophiology with soteriology. Most of us were raised on Western Christianity which is grounded in soteriology. This teaches that Jesus died to atone for humanity’s sins that originated with the naughty disobedient woman named Eve.  Bourgeault points out that this western stance is not congruent with the actual context of who Jesus is. Eastern Christianity and sophiology can give us a more accurate lens to understand what the good news is. 

Sophiology is a school of thought which holds that Divine Wisdom (or Sophia) is identified with God's essence. The gospel writer pictures John the Baptist introducing Jesus as “one who is more powerful” and who will “baptize with the Holy Spirit.” Jesus therefore baptizes with Wisdom. Power for Jesus was not political or rooted in institutional religion. He prayed alone during every significant event in his life and spoke in parables, consistent with the wisdom traditions of his time. His power was that of transformation of consciousness. Preparing the way of the Lord means we can access Divine Wisdom when we follow the example of Jesus to become “Life-givers.” Preparing the way of the Lord puts us on the path to enlightenment, to becoming a person whose “life is full, integrated, and flowing.” The good news is we have the capacity to cultivate Divine Wisdom within ourselves. Jesus teaches and models that we have the ability “to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being” 

When grounded in Sophia Wisdom we awaken to a mindful presence that allows us to live fully and peacefully now, on earth. When we know wisdom we know peace. This inspires us to let go of our little life so that we can live the bigger one that is filled with meaning and purpose. People who have been the principal figures in social movements can easily be understood as those who embodied wisdom and then acted with courage. Dorothy Day, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., the Danube Seven, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the four women martyrs of El Salvador were grounded in wisdom. Like followers of Jesus, people who came in contact with these individuals or their stories responded to the wisdom of their message. The way to prepare the way of the Lord is to do what Jesus and countless wisdom figures have done. They start with knowing that it begins as an inside job rooted in cultivating personal alignment with the mind and heart of God. As we prepare the way of the Lord may we embrace the wisdom path of Jesus so that through our efforts all will come to know the peace of God’s kin-dom. 

Statement of Faith: Margaret and Ed  

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. 




Dennis:  Prayer intentions


Donna: Source of light, we seek you in this season of winter, when the days are short and we lift up our hearts and ease our souls into that quiet place which is your presence among us.    


Diane: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together.  

(written by Jay Murnane) 


Diane:  Source of All That Is, we seek you in this season, when the earth is resting and preparing for new life. Like the earth, we long for new life and hopeful beginnings. This is the time of the pregnant woman, filled with life and hope powerful enough to topple structures of oppression.  This is the time of her song of fidelity and celebration. 


During this gentle season of Advent, we recognize that you have made us capable of bringing forth justice, like a rising sun. One with all who have gone before us, we sing this song of praise: 


Alleluia, Sing! By David Haas

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 those in times past who believed the good news and lived what they believed. 


Blessed is Isaiah and every visionary who insisted on a better future that would break through the deception, disaster, and broken promises of the age in which they lived. 


Blessed is John, in the stark desert of careful focus, inviting the people to be born again in your love.  


Blessed is Miriam, who believed the words of Isaiah and opened herself up to the unbelievable. 


And blessed is her child Jesus, who felt the sorrows of humankind in his soul, and responded with deep and tender compassion. 


Diane: On the night before he faced his own death, 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 with them, he bent down and washed their feet. 


 (Lift plate) 


When he returned to his place at the table, 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 



(Lift cup) 


Donna: 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. 

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

(Consume the bread and wine)

Communion Song 

Ancient Wisdom, Mother Earth

Diane: We give thanks for our tradition, which is a living history of your love for all creation. We join ourselves with that tradition, as the visionaries and healers and peacemakers of our own time in history. 


We celebrate the many creative traditions which guide and form us and we are grateful that there are many paths to wisdom and life. 


Each Advent we make a place in our prayer for all those who are oppressed and marginalized in so many places throughout this earth, and right here among us. 


We are grateful for the gift of your Spirit, always drawing beauty and balance out of chaos.  And like Jesus. 


Standing where he stood,  

and for what he stood,  

and with whom he stood, 

we are united in your Spirit, 

and worship you with our lives,  


Donna: Let us pray as Jesus taught us: 

O 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 


Diane: Let us pray: 

May we continue to be the face of God to each other.  May we call each other to extravagant generosity!  May our light shine for all to see, and may our name be a blessing in our time! 


All: AMEN 


Closing Song  

Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord

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