Saturday, May 2, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community - Fourth Sunday in Easter - Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP, and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP


Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

May 2, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Presiders: Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP & Kathryn Shea, ARCWP 

Theme: I have come to bring you life in abundance.


Welcome and Gathering

Presider 1:  Welcome to our Zoom liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community, where all are welcome. Our theme today is from the last line in the Gospel: I have come to bring you life, life in abundance. We invite you to pray the liturgy and respond where it says, All.  All participants will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers. During the shared homily we ask you to raise your hand if you would like to contribute. Please have bread and wine/juice in front of you as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.

Let us begin now with our gathering song: Psalm 139
Sung by Kathryn Christian

I'll not be afraid
You are with me always
I will trust in you
Through this night
I feel your Spirit rise
Deep within me calling
To let go and find new light

For you have formed me
In my mother's womb
My days are safely secured
If I take the wings
of the morning to the sea
There you will follow me

O God you have searched me
And you have known me
When I fall and when I arise
You search out my path
And you guide me knowing
Every word upon my heart

For you have formed me
In my mother's womb
My days are safely secured
If I take the wings
of the morning to the sea
There you will follow me

Opening Prayer

Presider 2:   Holy One, Your desire is for our wholeness and well-being.
We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world.
We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future. 
We pray: may love, not fear, fill our hearts. 
Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
May we find new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
You call us to profound trust in your faithful presence. Amen

Communal Reconciliation Rite

Presider 1: We pause now to remember the times we have not born fruit in loving service to others. Recall one missed opportunity, one broken or damaged relationship. Now imagine this person or situation in the light of healing love as we ask for forgiveness.

(Pause briefly. Then Extend arm over community)

All: Please forgive me, I am sorry, I love you, I thank you.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Adapted from the Frist Letter of Peter to the Christian Community
1Peter 2:20-25

Beloved:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because our brother, Jesus, also suffered,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
By his example you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Responsorial: Psalm 23

O my Beloved, You are my shepherd,
I shall not want;
You bring me to green pastures for rest
And lead me beside still waters
Renewing my spirit;
You restore my soul.
You lead me in the path of goodness
To follow Love’s way.

Even though I walk through the
Valley of the shadow and of death,
I am not afraid;
For You are ever with me;
Your rod and your staff
They guide me,
They give me strength and comfort.

You prepare a table before me
In the presence of all my fears;
You bless me with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
All the days of my life;
And I shall dwell
In Your heart, my Beloved, forever.
Amen.
Translation by Nan Merrill, Praying the Psalms

Second Reading: A reading from Abounding in Kindness by Elizabeth Johnson:

Jesus did not come to die but to live and help others live in the joy of the reign of God. To put it simply, God is not a sadistic father, and Jesus was not a passive victim of divine desire for satisfaction. Rather, his suffering, freely borne in love out of fidelity to his ministry and his God, is precisely the way our gracious God has chosen to enter into solidarity with all those who suffer and are lost in this violent world, thereby opening up the promise of new life out of the very center of death. It is in this vein that we would do well to hand on the story of Jesus, so that faith is lived in the joy of life and compassionate action with those who are suffering, rather than in prizing pain in the name of God.

Alleluia
Gospel: A Reading adapted from the Gospel of John:
Jn 10:1-10

Jesus said:
“In truth, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for her, and the sheep hear her voice,
as the shepherd calls her own sheep by name and leads them out.
When she has brought them all out,
she walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow her,
because they recognize her voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”

Although Jesus used this story,
those questioning him did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “In truth, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be safe,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”


Homily Starter: Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP


In today’s Gospel we hear the metaphor of Jesus as the gate or the door that leads to life in abundance.

I imagine Jesus saying to his followers: If you follow my teachings and walk through this gate where I am leading you, you will experience challenges and barriers and suffering along the way, but that is not the end of the journey. The journey is meant to lead you to a life of blessing. And this is not just about you, it is about caring for the most fragile among you so that they, too have life in abundance.

As Elizabeth Johnson so clearly states in the second reading, “Jesus did not come to die but to live and help others live in the joy of the reign of God… It is in this vein that we would do well to hand on the story of Jesus, so that faith is lived in the joy of life and compassionate action with those who are suffering.

Meditating on today’s Gospel through a 21st century lens, I thought about the many gates or doors that lead to a union with the Holy one and that no one religion or tribe has sole access to these gateways.

Matthew Fox in his book One River, Many Wells, uses the well metaphor as John uses the gate metaphor. He writes:
"The Holy One is like an incredible underground River flowing throughout the world.
Jesus is like a well that taps into the underground River.
Jesus is not the Water. He is a well. 
Christ IS the Water. Christ is the anointing Spirit of God.
Any well that taps into the River (The Holy One) is a real well. 
All wells that tap into the River tap into Christ, the water,
whether they call the Holy One’s Spirit by that name or not.
Jesus is the decisive well for Christians, who may also visit and drink from other wells."

All wells or doors or gates that lead to union with the Holy One, lead to life in abundance for everyone.

What do you think?
Communal Statement of Faith

We believe in You, Holy One,
Love poured out in all creation.
We follow our brother, Jesus
Who reminds us of Your love.
We believe in Your Spirit within us,
Your Presence evolving here and now
as we live justly, love tenderly and walk with integrity.
Amen.

Prayers of and for the Community

Presider 1: We now remember all those who need our prayers.

Voice 1: May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
Voice 2: May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
All: We remember and we pray. 

Voice 1: May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health and making their rent.
Voice 2: May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
All: We remember and we pray. 

Voice 1: May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.
Voice 2: May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
All: We remember and we pray. 

Voice 1: May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
Voice 2: As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
All: We remember and we pray. 

Voice 1: And during this time when we may not be able to physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.  Amen.
Prayers written by by Fr. Michael Graham, S.J.

Preparation Of The Gifts

Presider 1:  Blessed are You, O Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of Life. 

All: Blessed are You forever.  

Presider 2:  Blessed are You, O Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink. 

All: Blessed are You  forever.

Presider 1:  Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Jesus in communion with all who proclaim the liberating power of  your Spirit, rising in our midst.

All:  Amen.

Presider 2:  O Heart of Love, You dwell in us,

All: And we dwell in You.

Presider 1:  O Pursuer of Justice, You speak truth through us.

All: In service to our sisters and brothers.

Presider 2: O Source of All Life, in you we live and move and have our being,

All: All the days of our lives.

Eucharistic Prayer

Presider 1: Your Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is rising up in all who work for humanity’s healing and well-being. With thankful hearts, in the company all holy women and men, your liberating Spirit rises up within us, works through us and we sing:

All:  Holy, Holy, Holy (adapted from Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker)

We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x , You are Holy, Holy, Holy, I am Holy, Holy, Holy, We are Holy, Holy, Holy

Presider 2: O Heart of Love, Your Spirit moved through Mary of Magdala and the Easter women as they stood by the broken body of Jesus and encountered the Risen One.  Your Spirit moved through your disciples as they joined with you after you ascended to be eternally with the Holy One.  Your Spirit moves through us as we serve the broken body of Christ rising up in our world today.

Presider 2:  Please extend Your hands in blessing.

Presider 1:  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 came to table with the women and men he loved. 
Jesus took bread blessed and broke it, saying,
“Take, eat, this is my body. Do this in memory of me.”

(pause)

Presider 2: After supper, Jesus poured a cup of wine and shared it with his friends, saying,
“This is the cup of the covenant of my love. As often as You drink of it, remember me.”

Presider 1:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died in all those who have passed away in the Coronavirus.
Christ is rising in all those working for the well-being of humanity.
Christ comes each day in our work for a renewed world with justice for all.

Presider 2:  Embracing Presence, we remember all the companions who have gone before us:  Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, and all holy women and men who are rising up in loving service to heal our world, For it is through living as Jesus lived, and loving as he loved, that we awaken to Your Spirit empowering us to work for justice. 
All: AMEN.

Communion Rite

The Prayer of Jesus
Presider 2:  Let us pray as Jesus taught us. Our Father and Mother…

Sign of Peace
Presider 1:  Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.” 
The peace of the Holy One is also with You. 
(Let us place our hands in front of us, palms up, as we sing, “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”)

Presider 2: Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread
Holy One, You call us to speak truth to power; we will do so.
Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of healing and justice; we will do so.
Holy One, You call us to be Your presence in the world; we will do so.

Presider 1:  This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to the table.

All:  We are the Body of Christ.

Communion

Presider 2: Pease share Eucharist now. 

Communion Meditation: St. Theresa's Prayer
Sung by John Michael Talbot

Anointing of Bridget Mary

Blessed are you, Loving God,
The boundless love of your presence blesses us at every moment of our lives.
May your compassion radiate from each of us
And bring the blessing of your healing, tender touch to (Name).

Bridget Mary, the same Spirit that moved in Jesus,
Dwells in you and fills you with love and peace beyond all imagination.
All of your loved ones in this community and in the Communion of the Saints join you in prayer.
In their name and in the name of the Holy One, We now anoint you for your journey. (anoint forehead and hand)

Bridget Mary, you are embraced by the Holy One and by all who are praying for you.
May you feel the power of divine love healing, comforting and strengthening you.
Amen.
Concluding Rite

Presider 1:   The Holy One is within You. 

All:  And also within You.
Blessing

Presider 2: Please extend Your hands as we pray our final blessing.

All: May we be the face of God to each other.  May we call each other to extravagant generosity!  May we use our hands as Jesus did to reach out to one another for love, support, and healing for our human family and our Earth.  May We go forth with the energy of Spirit within us to heal and transform our church and world, never being afraid to doubt what might not be Truth. 

Closing Song: We Rise Again

Closing Prayer: We Rise Again sung by Choir of Women Physicians sings RISE AGAIN (virtually)

(Leon Dubinsky 1985)

When the waves roll on over the waters
And the ocean cries.
We look to our sons and daughters
To explain our lives
As if a child could tell us why.
That as sure as the sunrise
As sure as the sea
As sure as the wind in the trees.
We rise again in the faces of our children.
We rise again in the voices of our song.
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean,
 And then we rise again.
When the light goes dark with the forces of creation
Across a stormy sky.
We look to reincarnation to explain our lives.
 As if a child could tell us why.
That as sure as the sunrise
As sure as the sea
As sure as the wind in the trees.
We rise again in the faces of our children.
We rise again in the voices of our song.
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean,
And then we rise again.
We rise again in the faces of our children.
We rise again in the voices of our song.
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean, And then we rise again.
And then we rise again.


Podcast - Healing Anxiety Guided Prayer, Episode 1 with Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

https://anchor.fm/bridget-m-meehan

Episode 1


Songs for Today's Liturgy

Come Be Beside Us By Jan Phillips
https://youtu.be/Tdv_AEec7kI

Come be beside us.
Come be around us.
Come be within us.
Come be among us.

Holy, Holy, Holy (Karen Drucker)
https://youtu.be/nTewBnxBy30
We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x (Karen Drucker)
We are whole. 

Spirit divine, Come to me 
Feeling love, Healing me. 
Open my heart, Allow me to see, 
Beauty & love, Lives in me. 

You are Holy, Holy, Holy… 

 Communion Meditation, John Michael Talbot’s “I Am the Good Shepherd (Psalm 23).”

Closing Song: Anthem, Tom Conry

We are called, we are chosen,
We are Christ for one another,
We are promised to tomorrow,
While we are for him today.
We are sign, we are wonder,
We are sower, we are seed,
We are harvest, we are hunger.
We are question, we are creed.

(Repeat)

Then where can we stand justified?
In what can we believe?
In no one else but Christ who suffered,
Nothing more than Christ who rose.
Who was justice for the poor,
Who was rage against the night,
Who was hope for peaceful people,
Who was light.

(Refrain)

Then how are we to stand at all,
This world of bended knee?
In nothing more than barren shadows,
No one else but Christ could save us
Who was justice for the poor,
Who was rage against the night?
Who was hope for peaceful people,
Who was light.

(Refrain)




Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thunder Perfect Mind- A Prayer Poem Exploring the Feminine Face of the Divine in Ancient Christian Gnostic Writings, see lecture by scholar Dr. Celine Lillie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O16jXtvhdt8&feature=youtu.be



https://youtu.be/m4kPM7sthfk

Celene Lillie (Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary) is the Director of Adult Education and Spiritual Formation at First United Methodist Church in Boulder, Colorado, and an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.  She is the author of The Rape of Eve: The Transformation of Roman Ideology in Three Early Christian Retellings of Genesis, the director of translations for A New New Testament...

The Thunder, Perfect Mind 'Safe In These Arms' May all beings be happy May all beings be safe May all beings everywhere, be free! 'The Thunder, Perfect Mind' The Nag Hammadi Library I was sent forth from the power, and I have come to those who reflect upon me, and I have been found among those who seek after me. Look upon me, you who reflect upon me, and you hearers, hear me. You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves. And do not banish me from your sight. And do not make your voice hate me, For I AM the first and the last. I AM the honored one and the scorned one. I AM the whore and the holy one. I AM the wife and the virgin. I AM the mother and the daughter. I AM the members of my mother. I AM the barren one and many are her sons. I AM she whose wedding is great, and I have not taken a husband. I AM the midwife and she who does not bear. I AM the solace of my labor pains. I AM the bride and the bridegroom, and it is my husband who begot me. I AM the mother of my father and the sister of my husband and he is my offspring. I AM the slave of him who prepared me. I AM the ruler of my offspring. But he is the one who begot me before the time on a birthday. And he is my offspring in (due) time, and my power is from him. I AM the staff of his power in his youth, and he is the rod of my old age. And whatever he wills happens to me. I AM the silence that is incomprehensible and the idea whose remembrance is frequent. I AM the voice whose sound is manifold and the word whose appearance is multiple. I AM the utterance of my name. Why, you who hate me, do you love me, and hate those who love me? You who deny me, confess me, and you who confess me, deny me. You who tell the truth about me, lie about me, and you who have lied about me, tell the truth about me. You who know me, be ignorant of me, and those who have not known me, let them know me. For I AM knowledge and ignorance. I AM shame and boldness. I AM shameless; I am ashamed. I AM strength and I am fear. I AM war and peace. Give heed to me. I AM the one who is disgraced and the great one. Give heed to my poverty and my wealth. Do not be arrogant to me when I am cast out upon the earth, and you will find me in those that are to come. And do not look upon me on the dung-heap nor go and leave me cast out, and you will find me in the kingdoms. And do not look upon me when I am cast out among those who are disgraced and in the least places, nor laugh at me. And do not cast me out among those who are slain in violence. But I, I AM compassionate and I am cruel. Be on your guard! Do not hate my obedience and do not love my self-control. In my weakness, do not forsake me, and do not be afraid of my power. For why do you despise my fear and curse my pride? But I AM she who exists in all fears and strength in trembling. I AM she who is weak, and I AM well in a pleasant place. I AM senseless and I am wise. Why have you hated me in your counsels? For I shall be silent among those who are silent, and I shall appear and speak, Why then have you hated me? For I AM the wisdom of the Greeks and the knowledge of the barbarians. I AM the judgement of the Greeks and of the barbarians. I AM the one whose image is great in Egypt I AM the one who has been hated everywhere and who has been loved everywhere. I AM the one whom they call Life, and you have called Death. I AM the one whom they call Law, and you have called Lawlessness. I AM the one whom you have pursued, and I AM the one whom you have seized. I AM the one whom you have scattered, and you have gathered me together. I AM the one before whom you have been ashamed, and you have been shameless to me. I AM she who does not keep festival, and I AM she whose festivals are many. I, I AM Godless, and I AM the one whose God is great. And I will speak his name, And they will find me there, and they will live, and they will not die again. * (Shortened Version) "On Behalf of Humanity so that Peace May Prevail, May We All Re-member Oneness! In Honor of our Sacred Warrior Protectors of Anonymous, for their Courage, Strength, & Divinity in Protecting and Revealing Truth! Mother Gifts Us All We Need for Free!" ~Unanimous "Calling all Sacred Brothers & Sisters of Anonymous, We Invite you to Protect the Divine Feminine in Reality; Our Beloved Sisters, Wives, Daughters, Mothers, and Mother Earth's Primal Waters, Pure Air, Abundant Food and Free Energy! Defend Her!" ~Anonymous Music: 'Safe In These Arms' by Jennifer Berezen http://www.edgeofwonder.com/ Footage: Edited faces of all aspects of the Sacred Goddess A Unanimous Thank You! *'Thunder, Perfect Mind' Gnostic Poem of Sophia Nag Hammadi Library Translated by George W. MacRae For FULL VERSION: http://gnosis.org/naghamm/thunder.html

Thunder Perfect Mind - Lecture by Dr. Celene Lillie

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

What ever Happened to Separation of Church and State?, "The President and the Prelate"

https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/distinctly-catholic/president-and-prelates-parody-or-parable

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, shown here delivering his homily during the chrism Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City last year, welcomed President Donald Trump to a livestreamed Mass April 26, after a weekend call between the president and Catholic leaders. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)


"The archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, announced he was resigning as the spiritual leader of the "capital of the world" in order to dedicate all his energies to his new position as co-chairman of the Committee to Re-elect the President. The resignation has yet to be accepted by Pope Francis, but there is little doubt the Supreme Pontiff will grant Dolan's request to be relieved of his spiritual duties.
Sources close to the campaign said they had intended to announce the job shift by the 70-year old prelate later in the year. But it became obvious over the weekend, after a phone call between Catholic leaders and the president, followed by an ingratiating homily by the cardinal Sunday morning, that the news was likely to leak any moment."

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Rite of Anointing of the Sick - Contemporary and Traditional Rites Adapted by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP




Blessed are you, Loving God,
The boundless love of your presence blesses us at every moment of our lives.
May your compassion radiate from each of us
And bring the blessing of your healing, tender touch to (Name).

(Name) , the same Spirit that moved in Jesus,
Dwells in you and fills you with love and peace beyond all imagination.
All of your loved ones in this community and in the Communion of the Saints join you in prayer.

In their name and in the name of God, I/we now anoint you for your journey. (anoint forehead and hand)

(Name), you are embraced by the Holy One and by all who are praying for you.

May you feel the power of divine love healing, comforting and strengthening you.
Amen.


(The Rite of Anointing the Sick was written by 
By Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP)



Rite of Anointing of the Sick -Adapted from Roman Catholic Rite

Prayer:
(Name) you are embraced by a God who loves you and by a community who is praying for you.
May you feel the power of that love and care and may you experience comfort and strength in the days ahead.
Amen

(Anoint forehead and say)
Through this holy anointing, may our God of Love help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

(Then, anoint hands)
May our God who loves you unconditionally hold you close during this time of illness, carry your fear and give you peace. Amen

Recite Prayer of Jesus:
Our Father and Mother….

Closing Prayer
God in heaven, through this holy anointing, grant (Name) comfort in his/her suffering.
When he/she is afraid, give him/her courage, when afflicted give him/her patience, when discourage, give him/her hope.
And when he/she feels alone, assure him/her of the support of your holy people.
We ask this through Christ, our healer. Amen.

Blessing
May the blessing of our loving God be with you forever.

(Adapted from RC Rite of Anointing the Sick by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP)

Loving Kindness Song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLwm68BlH_4

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community -April 26, 2020 - Presider: Donna Panaro, ARCWP

Third Sunday of Easter  

Theme Fire – The Spirit Within and Around Us 

Opening Song: Loving Kindness by Karen Drucker

May I be filled with loving kindness 
May I be well 
May I be peaceful and at ease 
May I be happy (2x)

May you be filled with loving kindness 
May you be well 
May you be peaceful and at ease 
May you be happy (2x)

May we be filled with loving kindness 
May we be well 
May we be peaceful and at ease 
May we be happy (2x)


Liturgy of the Word 
Readings

burn brighter by Ray Angle


ignatius calls us
to go forth
and set
the world on fire

we embrace this metaphor
because we believe
our purpose
is inextricably linked
to helping others
clarify and attain theirs

but how do we
set our world on fire
in this age of sickness,
uncertainty,
and fear

how do we
serve and lead
when we
are disconnected
from each other
and the physical space
that unifies our team

who will show us
how to press on

lives perish
while the flames
of leaders
around us
dance erratically
in the blistering
winds of change
their lights
flicker
to near extinction
their sparks
barely visible
struggle
to light the way

we cannot wait
for them
to lead

let us turn
to our God
and
to the sacred light
of the Holy Spirit
that burns
in
each of us

let our spirits
draw closer
to each other
in spite of
the distance
between us
and march boldly
into tomorrow

maybe it helps
to imagine
this time
as a dousing
of gasoline
tossed onto our
already steady
burning flames
of
purpose and love

let this accelerant
consume and quicken us
for the greater good

shine on
my friends
may the bright flames
of our spirits
burning in unison
create a bonfire
that
sparks hope
ignites faith
Illuminates love
and lights the way

in this uncertain age
a time when
our brothers and sisters
yearn for
peace and light
we are called
and stand ready
to do magis
to do more
than we did
before

to
burn
brighter



Alleluia
 
Gospel 

A reading from the Gospel of Luke

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”  He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.  Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”  Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.  But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”  That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.  They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”  Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Homily Starter: Hearts Burning Within by Donna Panaro


It is not hard to relate to the disciples in today’s story because it takes place right after Jesus has been crucified. The disciples are struggling with loss, confusion, fear, and dwindling hope. As we continue fighting COVID-19 with dramatic changes to our lives, jobs and connections we experience similar reactions and feelings as the followers of Jesus did when this story takes place.

It can be a little confusing to hear today’s narrative right after the reading about Doubting Thomas that we heard last week. It is important to note that last week’s story was in the Gospel of John and today’s is from Luke. Therefore in this post resurrection appearance story this is the first time Jesus is seen by these disciples. Each Gospel has unique post resurrection stories. As Jim said last week, it is important to not focus as much on timelines and fact finding as it is to focus on meanings and insights.

The disciples are unable to recognize Jesus when he joins them on the journey. Could their grief, confusion and dwindling hope be blocking their ability to see him? Jesus is pretty hard on their inability to see in this story. But the fire in their hearts is re-ignited when he explains the scriptures to them and connects it to their current situation. Once their hearts are burning within they are able to recognize Jesus when they break bread together.

As we are shaken by the events of our current situation we must find ways to recognize Jesus and keep the fire of our hearts ignited. The poem we heard in the first reading says “maybe it helps to imagine this time as a dousing of gasoline tossed onto our already steady burning flames of purpose and love.” We are staying connected in the Upper Room with technology. The purpose and love in our community is not being extinguished rather it continues to burn brighter. Each time a leader like Gov. Cuomo shares inspirational stories about how people are sharing masks and ventilators the flame of our hearts burns brighter. May the fire of our hearts continue to burn brighter so that the sacred and holy in our midst is recognized.

Statement of Faith:  
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 in the Holy Spirit,  
the life of God that is our innermost life,  
the breath of God moving in our being,  
the depth of God living in each of us.  

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 1: As we prepare for this sacred meal, we lay our stoles upon the table as a sign that just as Jesus is anointed, so each of us is anointed.   
And we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns. please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”    
[end with]   We bring all of these prayers and unspoken concerns to the table of friendship. Amen. 

Liturgy of the Eucharist 

Presider 2: Please join in praying our Eucharistic Prayer: 

ALL:  O Divine Fire of Love, glowing embers dance in our hearts. Our souls are purified by the searing truth that ignites our spirits and by the fire that penetrates the cold around us, setting our hearts aglow with tenderness.  

How often have we felt tender love that is without limits or boundaries! How often have we been consumed with delight by love in a human touch!  How often have we been embraced through Earth's beauty, a part of the beloved creation that surrounds us! We are energized to work for justice and peace in our world and we raise our voices with grateful hearts as we sing: 

Alleluia, sing!

   
(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! 

Gift of love and peace!  
Gift of love and peace! 
Jesus Christ, Jesus our hope and light!  
A flame of faith in our hearts! 
A flame of faith in our hearts! 
Proclaiming the day, shining throughout the night!  
Alleluia, sing!  
Alleluia, sing! 

ALL:  Holy Mystery, may we listen with assurance and excitement as the infinite, boundless, depths of love are revealed within and among us. May we awaken to the promise that we are always, no matter what the obstacles or setbacks we experience, embraced with love and compassion. May we be consumed with such a hunger and thirst for justice that our words and actions inflame others to become signs of justice. May we have eyes to see human need, hearts to care for our sisters and brothers and hands and feet to lighten others' burdens. 

We are thankful for Jesus, and his strong, but gentle presence, whose message blesses and transform our lives. He showed us how to live as your new creation. 

Page Break 
Presider 1: (lifts bread as community prays the following:) 

All: On the night before Jesus died, he gave us a special gift of love divine. He took bread, broke it and shared it with friends who gathered around the table saying: 

Take and eat of the Bread of Life  
Given to strengthen you   
Whenever you remember me like this   
I am among you. (pause)  

Eat the Bread of Life

Presider 2  (lifts the cup as community prays the following: ) 

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) 

Drink from the Cup of Blessing

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

All: As we celebrate this memory of Jesus, let us experience, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, in the sharing of the bread and the cup of blessing, the divine presence in our midst.  
May we become Spirit-Fire, as we fan the flames of love over the entire cosmos. 
May all of our families and friends, the young and old, the sick and dying and all those in need experience nurturing love this day.  

May all creation dance and become one heart, one mind, one spirit with everything. May we touch the earth with reverent awe and live in harmony with all creatures. May we turn away from all efforts to dominate anyone or anything. May we see the divine presence shining in the stars and in the sun. May we embrace the universe's treasures and celebrate life's simple pleasures each day. May love kindle our friendship with all life, as we dwell as one with all of creation. 
Presider 2: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus: 

ALL:  O Holy One, who is within, 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.  
The Prayer of Jesus as interpreted by Miriam Therese Winter 

Communion Song: The Voice – Celtic Women

Presider 2: Holy One, we are thankful for this holy meal which reminds us of the need to willingly give of ourselves completely. Our hearts are fueled with divine energy. May we share the love we have experienced with all of creation and may we live always as instruments of faithful love. Amen. 

Final Blessing: 
  
Presider 1: Please extend your hands in blessing. 

ALL:  May the Fire of Love ignite our hearts and radiate through us; may the Spirit of truth and justice burn within us forever. Amen. 

Closing Song:   Lean in Toward the Light – Carrie Newcomer

Winter is the oldest season-
but quietly beneath the snow
Seeds are stretching out and reaching-
faithful as the morning glow

Carry nothing but what you must-
lean in toward the light
Let it go, shake off the dust-
lean in toward the light

Today is now, tomorrow beckons-
lean in toward the light
Keep practicing resurrection-
lean in toward the light

The shadows of this world will say-
There’s no hope-why try anyway?
Every kindness large or slight
shifts the balance toward the light.

Waters wind and open wide-
lean in toward the light
Don’t just walk when you can fly-
lean in toward the light

When justice seems in short supply-
lean in toward the light
Let beauty be your truest guide-
lean in toward the light

The shadows of this world will say-
There’s no hope-why try anyway?
Every kindness large or slight
shifts the balance toward the light

The prayer I pray at eventide-
lean in toward the light
All left undone be put aside-
lean in toward the light

When forgiveness is hard to find-
lean in toward the light
Help me at least to be kind-
lean in toward the light

Lean in-lean in toward the light.