Friday, November 27, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community , First Sunday of Advent November 28, 2020 , Co-Presiders: Cheryl Brandi and Elena Garcia, ARCWP, Music Minister: Linda Lee Miller

Zoom link for video and audio: Sat. Nov. 28, 2020, 4 PM Eastern Standard Time

Meeting ID: 862 4086 8327

Password: 1066

Theme: HOPE

(Let’s begin with a moment of silence)

Welcome: (Cheryl) We warmly welcome you to our inclusive Catholic community, Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota, Florida. All are welcome here. We invite you to pray the liturgy where it says: All. And please sing your heart out while muted! Everyone will be muted during the service. We ask all our readers to “unmute” for their reading and then “re-mute” again. All are welcome to share as inspired after the homily starter - unmute yourself and remember to re-mute yourself after your sharing. Please have bread and wine or juice with you as we pray our Eucharistic Prayer 

Advent Candle Lighting Prayer

Cheryl: Like our ancestors, we honor the cycles and the seasons that remind us of the ever-changing flow of life of which we are a part. Ritual acts give life meaning – they honor and acknowledge the unseen web of Life that connects us all. 

Cheryl and All: Hope, like a seed buried deep within the earth; hidden, covered by layers of disappointment, struggle and pain; buried yet stretching, growing and becoming. Hope, like a seed becoming new life. We light a candle for hope. 

Elena (Please light your first Advent candle at the end of this passage.)

We light this first candle and remember the Holy One, our Mother, who created light and life out of darkness by loving.  The dark shadow of space leans over us and we are mindful that the darkness of greed, exploitation, and hatred also lengthens its shadow over our small planet Earth.  (Pause while we light our candles)

Elena and All: Loving God, as we begin our Advent pilgrimage, grant us the courage to hope.

Hope for your presence.     

Hope for your peace.       

Hope for your promise. 

Let us kindle the light of hope!  Amen


Cheryl: Nurturing God, you became human in Jesus and showed us how to live life to the fullest. You know what it means to laugh and cry, walk and talk, love and be loved. You also know what it feels like to be rejected and marginalized. We know that your mothering presence is always with us. May we, like Mary, live in hope and expectation of your coming and may we recognize your presence within all creation in everything we say and do.  ALL: Amen

Opening Song: (Elena) "O Holy Darkness Loving Womb” This song symbolizes darkness as creative bounty and beauty, and connects darkness to the Sacred Feminine, empowering us to end injustice and heal the wounds of Earth. It contributes to racial justice by changing the traditional symbolism of darkness as evil or ominous, to darkness as creative bounty and beauty, affirming the sacred value of people of color through these positive images. Imaging darkness/blackness as sacred lays a foundation for affirming that "BLACK LIVES MATTER."

O Holy Darkness Living Womb

"O Holy Darkness, loving Womb, who nurtures and creates,
sustain us through the longest night with dreams of open gates.
We move inside to mystery that in our center dwells,
where streams of richest beauty flow from sacred, living wells.

Creative Darkness, closest Friend, you whisper in the night;
you calm our fears as unknown paths surprise us with new sight.
We marvel at your bounty, your gifts so full and free,
unfolding as you waken us to new reality.

O Holy Night of deepest bliss, we celebrate your power;
infuse us with your energy that brings our seeds to flower.
The voice out of the darkness excites our warmest zeal
to bring together dark and light, true holiness reveal.

O come to us, Sophia; your image, black and fair,
stirs us to end injustice and the wounds of earth repair.
The treasures of your darkness and riches of your grace
inspire us to fulfill our call, our sacredness embrace."

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians (Eakin Press, 2006).

ALL: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. O loving God, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. O Jesus, holy child of our loving God, you fill us with joy in your presence. You who are with our God, receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are Messiah. You alone are the Most High, Jesus The Christ; with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God. Amen.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: (Maryal)  Still I Will Rise”  by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history 

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trot me in the very dirt 

But still like dust, I’ll rise

Does my sassiness upset you?   

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil well 

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,  

With the certainty of tides, 

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise. 

Did you want to see me broken?   

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling like teardrops.   

Weakened by my soulful cries.


Does my haughtiness offend you?  

 Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines 

Diggin in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words, 

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness  

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?  

Does it come as a surprise? 

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds at the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame               


Up from the past that’s rooted in pain         


I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide

Welling and swelling I bear the tide

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear       


Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear     


Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.


These are inspired words of Maya Angelou            Response: AMEN

Psalm 80    Response: Restore us O Holy One; let your face shine upon us, teach us to love 

  “Psalms for Praying – An Invitation to Wholeness” by Nan C. Merrill

~Joan:  Eternal Listener, give heed to your people,

You, who are our Guide and our Light! You who dwell amidst the angels,

shine forth into the heart of all nations!

Enliven your people with compassion that peace and justice might flourish

Joan and All:  Restore us, O Holy One; let your face shine upon us, teach us to love!

~Joan: Gentle Teacher, help us to turn to you in prayer,

fasting from our negative thoughts.

In your steadfast Love, You weep with our tears, tears that rise from fear, doubt, and illusion.

You uphold us when we feel the string of pride, when our anxiety threatens to paralyze us.

Joan and All:  Restore us, O Holy One; let your face shine upon us, teach us to love!

~Joan: You companion us through the wilderness, through the shadows created by fear,

You plant your Seed into each heart. You uproot the weeds of our sin, You cultivate the soil of our goodness. Truly, in You, we become like a tiny acorn, holding the secret of a mighty oak.

Joan and All: Restore us, O Holy One; let your face shine upon us, teach us to love. 

~Joan: You nourish us with the food of Love, with streams of the Living Water.

Be our strength as we break down walls that separate and divide;

let not fear pluck away the gifts we would share.

Roll away the stones that become obstacles to growth, to producing a bountiful harvest.

Joan and All:  Restore us, O Holy One; let your face shine upon us, teach us to love!

~Joan: Receive our gratitude, O Heart of all hearts!

Look upon us and see what Love can do; rejoice in the new birth that You create!

Be glad that your Seed has found fertile soil.

How much more the return of one healthy plant than ten thousand useless weeds!

Joan and All:  Restore us, O Holy One; let your face shine upon us, teach us to love.

~Joan: May those who have borne the fruit of love radiate your Spirit into the world!

May we always walk and co-create with You; receive the gratitude of our hearts,

as we share in the Great Plan!

Joan and All:  Restore us, O Holy One; let your face shine upon us, teach us to love!

Second Reading: (Joan) Excerpt from a meditation by Richard Rohr (April 17,2020)

Pain is physical or emotional discomfort, but suffering often comes from our resistance to that pain. The soul must walk through such suffering to go higher, further, deeper, or longer. 

Necessary suffering allows us to grow, but “in secret” (Mark 4:26–29), which is an amazingly common concept, both in the teachings of Jesus and of many of the mystics. Such growth must largely be hidden because God alone can see it and steer it for our good. If we try too hard to understand it, we will stop the process or steer it in the wrong direction.

The virtue of hope, with great irony, is the fruit of a learned capacity to suffer wisely, calmly, and generously. The ego demands successes to survive; the soul needs only meaning to thrive. Somehow hope provides its own kind of meaning, in a most mysterious way.

The Gospel gives our suffering both personal and cosmic meaning by connecting our pain to the pain of others and, finally, by connecting us to the very pain of God. Did you ever think of God as suffering? Most people don’t—but Jesus came to change all of that.

A life of inner union, a contemplative life, is practicing for heaven now. God allows us to bring “on earth what is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) every time we can allow, receive, and forgive the conflicts of the moment. Such acceptance allows us to sit in some degree of contentment—despite all the warring evidence.

God alone, it seems to me, can hold together all the seeming opposites and contradictions of life. In and with God, we can do the same. But we are not the Doer. 

These are the inspired words of Richard Rohr and our response is:     AMEN                            

Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia 🎶

Gospel: (Cheryl)  Mark 4:26-34  

Jesus had just finished talking to his followers about the merits of being a giver rather than a receiver. He went on to tell a story that went like this: “God’s kingdom is like a seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows---he has no idea how it happened. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps-----harvest time!

How can we picture God’s kingdom? What kind of story can we use? It’s like an acorn. When it lands on the ground it is quite small as seeds go, yet once it is planted it grows into a huge oak tree with thick branches. Eagles nest in it.

With many stories like these he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke.  When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots. 

These inspired words are attributed to Mark, the Evangelist and we respond to it by exclaiming: 

Glory and praise to you Jesus the Christ

Homily Starter (Elena) 

Dialogue (Please unmute yourself to share and re-mute when finished.)                                              What  did you hear in today’s readings?

Profession of Faith: (Elena) and ALL: We believe in God who is Creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes us and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge injustices. We believe in the communion of saints, our heavenly friends, who support us on life’s journey. We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and in the world. We believe that all are one in the community of creation. We believe that God calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously. Amen


Cheryl:  As we prepare for our sacred meal, we bring before The Holy One our cares and concerns as we pray:  

Cheryl and All:  Come down, come in, come among us and make us whole, loving God.

Cheryl: Into our troubles and weaknesses, 

Into the barren places of our souls,             Cheryl and All: Come down, come in…..

Cheryl: Into the war torn and the refugee,

Into those who live in conflict,                      Cheryl and All: Come down, come in…..

Cheryl: Into the homeless  the unemployed, and the underemployed

Into those who feel abandoned,                   Cheryl and All: Come down, come in…..

Cheryl: Into the sick and the disabled, Into those with chronic and life threatening conditions.

                                                                            Cheryl and All: Come down, come in….

Cheryl: Into the poor and the starving,

Into those who are oppressed or abused,      Cheryl and All: Come down, come in…..

Cheryl: Into the lives of loved ones,

Into those from whom we are estranged,      Cheryl and All: Come down, come in…..

Cheryl: Into our joys and celebrations,

Into our work and our achievements,             Cheryl and All : Come down, come in…..

Cheryl:  Into the lives of those recorded in our community petition book, (Katy)

And for whom or what else shall we pray?    Cheryl and All: Come down, come in……

Cheryl:  Into the hearts of so many we hold in the silence of our hearts.                                          Cheryl and All: Come down, come in…….

Cheryl: O Christ we long for your coming. Hasten that day when those who seek you in every nation will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south and sit at table in Your Kindom. Hasten the day when your Kindom will come in all its glory and suffering and pain and sickness and oppression and death will be overcome forever. Hasten the day when we will be resurrected as a great multicultural family and live in peace, harmony, joy and love together in your kindom.         All: AMEN

~ written by Christine Sine on Godspace for the 1st Sun of Advent


Elena: Blessed are you, God of all life. Through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation.  

All:  Blessed be God forever.

Elena: God is with you.  All: And also with you. 

Elena: Let us lift up our hearts.  All: We lift them up to God.

Elena: Let us give thanks and praise to our God.


Jim B: In the midst of the end-of-year weariness, as we gather here we declare our intention to live as if the greatest gift in the world were about to be placed into our hands, 

and as if the Giver has understood our deepest needs, our most heartfelt prayers.

Judy: Like Mary, may we be surprised by our calling; like Simeon and Anna, may the years increase our faith; like sleepy shift workers on a hillside, may our eyes be opened;

like Joseph may we listen to our dreams; for this season requires our creative imagination.

Kevin: There is a Presence in our world that asks to be seen, who will stay awake?

There is one coming to our world that seeks a welcome, who will offer hospitality?

Even now Jesus the Christ is moving towards us.

(written by Ann Siddall, posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre and Faith Community)


Jim B: Mothering God, you brought forth all creation from your Life-Giving Womb. O Love of the Ages, we praise you and leap for joy in your presence. Holy One of ancient Israel, you revealed yourself in Mary’s womb, in a shining star, in humble shepherds, in a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. You embrace us with infinite love in every situation and relationship. You dwell in the depths of our hearts. 

Judy: We invite you this day to deepen our awareness of your boundless love as we gather around the table of abundant life. With grateful hearts, we proclaim your praise. 

All: Holy, Holy, Holy, Creator of heaven and earth. All beings are pregnant with your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed are you who dwell in all things. Hosanna in the highest.

Kevin: Praise to you all-giving God, born of Mary. You are the body and blood of woman. We glorify you, nurturing God for the dawning of the sacred promise of God’s Anointed, fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ.

Kirsten: We celebrate the birth of Jesus Our newborn Emmanuel, who came to give us the

fullness of life. During this holy season, we share the bread of freedom and lift the cup of salvation. 

(Please raise hands toward bread and wine for the Invocation of the Holy Spirit)

Elena and All: Come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine, that they may become the body of Christ.

Elena and All: As Jesus gave birth to the New Covenant, he took the bread and shared it with all who were present saying:  Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body.   

Then Jesus took a cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to all those who were present saying: Take this all of you and drink of the covenant, made new again through my life in you. Whenever you remember me like this, I am among you.

Elena: Let us now eat and drink mindful that The Holy One is present in each one of us. Thus we proclaim the sacred presence of our nurturing God. 

Communion Meditation Song:     “I Am The One Within YOU” Jan Phillips sung by Linda Lee

Elena: God of new beginnings, thank you for nourishing us in your sacrament. May your tender presence continue to open our hearts to the daily miracles of life that surround us each day, through Emmanuel, God-with-us.  All: AMEN

All: Christ, by your life, death and rising, you have blessed us with abundance that will never end. God of all people, you call us “beloved.” Give us courage to accept your faith in us and to live your compassion in the world. You infuse us with Sophia, Holy Wisdom, to serve you in the last and the least.

Harvey: As we wait with joyful hearts for the fulfillment of your loving presence in our lives, we remember, the prophets, martyrs and saints who have gone before us: Deborah, Isaiah, Mary of Magdala, Peter, Martha, Bishop Oscar Romero, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, Jean Donovan. In the same way we remember all our MMOJ and ARCWP sisters and brothers and all our beloved dead in the great cloud of witnesses who blessed our world and continue to inspire us by their lives.

Mary M: God of our dreams, may we give birth to the Word Made Flesh in us every day. May we give birth to the church of our dreams and hopes. May we give birth to a deep reverence for earth and live in harmony with all creatures on the earth. 

Elena:  Let us All pray the  prayer of Jesus                                                                                                 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 we need. 

You remind us of our limits, and we let go. 

You support us in your 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, Miriam Therese Winter, MMS)




Elena: Our God is with you.   All: and also with you.

 (Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)

All: May our loving God fill us with radiant joy. May our liberating God fill us with deep peace, and may our compassionate God bless us always with strength to serve the broken and excluded. Amen

Cheryl and Elena: As we leave here in the peace of Christ and the joy of God, let us be the joyful and compassionate people that God created us to be. And let our service continue!

All: Thanks be to God. Let it be so!

CLOSING SONG: Hills of the North Rejoice (Brotherhood of Hope)

Hills of the North rejoice, 

river and mountain-Spring,

hark to the advent voice;

valley and lowland, sing.

Christ comes in righteousness and love,

He brings salvation from above.

Isles of the Southern seas,

Sing to the listening earth, 

Carry on every breeze

Hope of a world’s new birth;

In Christ shall all be made anew,

His word is sure, his promise true.

Lands of the East arise, 

He is your brightest morn,

greet him with joyous eyes,

praise shall his path adorn;

your seers have longed to know their God;

to you he comes, the final word.

Shores of the utmost West,

Lands of the setting sun,

Welcome the heavenly guest

In whom the dawn has come;

He brings a never-ending light

Who triumphed o’er our darkest night.

Shout as you journey home,

Songs be in every mouth,

lo, from the North they come,

from East and West and South;

in Jesus all shall find their rest,

in him the universe be blest.

If you want to invite someone to attend our liturgy, please refer them to the day’s liturgy and zoom instructions at      

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Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

St Andrew UCC, 6908 Beneva Rd, Sarasota, FL 34238

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