Welcome and Theme (Kim): Good morning and welcome to the Upper Room Community. We wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. We celebrate the many ways that we experience mothering. Mothering is a verb, an action, relational. We are mothered by God, the earth, organizers, activists, maidens, mothers and crones. Just as we are never separate from the Holy One who is Love, we are never separated from the life-giving energy of mothering.
Opening Prayer (Dennis) : Source of Life, we thank you for the gift of motherhood. We thank you for the many examples of faithful mothers in scripture, like Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth, and of the many women, whether our actual mother or another woman who touched our lives with love, encouragement, and support. We thank you for the women who celebrate with us today, recognizing the gifts they share with our community. May all of us gathered here today emulate these examples of faith. And may they model for all the rest of us what it means to be your disciple. Bless them on this special day; in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Opening Song: Celebrating “Moms” video by Donna Panaro
Music: Gabriel’s Oboe by Ennio Morrocone (1986)
LITURGY OF THE WORD
1st Reading (Clare Julian): When God First Saw His Mother by Jan Phillips
When God first saw His Mother, He cried.
Astonished by her Radiance
He fell to his knees
witnessing a wonder beyond All-Knowing.
She appeared on the shoulders of seven galaxies.
The Milky Way spun a halo around her head..
Andromeda and Centaurus circled her wrists,
bangles from the heavens for the Mother of All.
Orion dropped his shield when she appeared.
Pegasus reared and spread his wings.
A roar from Ursa Major shattered the silence.
"I never knew," God said,
an old man now, aloft on a nebula.
"Look what I made, so I wouldn't be alone,"
he said, pointing everywhere
with his fingers of Light.
Hoping for Her approval, He began His litany:
"Fire, water, wind, stars, planets, creatures."
God's Mother beheld the heavens
delighted at the dance of binary stars,
impressed with the wonder of stellar winds,
moons and tides,
galaxies in the trillions with no beginning or end.
"Is it as you intended?" She asked Her Son.
"Except for Earth, where they are slow to learn.
They fight day and night and poison their young
in all manner of ways."
"Do you not intercede?" the Mother inquired.
"I do not," God said, "for they are born to create.
They are makers of everything,
though they deny this is true."
"What do you think will come to pass?"
"It's in their hands, though by their songs
you would never know."
"Do you not have power over their sun and moon?"
"Yes, but the affairs of earth belong to them.
The infinite is mine, the finite, theirs."
" I see," She said, as she shifted in space,
the galaxies swirling and shining beneath Her.
"You have done well," She praised, then dissolved into dark:
The Mother of Everything returning to Naught.
God entered the deep space of silence and awe,
then broadcast to the cosmos His bulletin of joy:
I and the Mother are one this day.
I and the Mother are One.
These are the inspired words of Jan Phillips, and the community affirms them by saying, Amen.
Second Reading (Judy): Mother’s Day Proclamation by Julia Ward Howe
Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.” Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
These are the inspired words of Julia Ward Howe, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.
Gospel: A reading from the anonymous writer known as John.
Three days later, there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, was there. Jesus and his disciples had likewise been invited to the celebration. At a certain point, the wine ran out, and Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no wine.” Jesus replied, “Mother, what does that have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” She instructed those waiting on tables, “Do whatever he tells you.”
These are inspired words by the anonymous writer known as John, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.
Homily Starter: Kim
Let’s clear up a major misconception about Mother’s Day. It is NOT a
holiday invented by Hallmark to sell cards. This is no more factual than
asserting that Hallmark invented Christmas and Easter to sell cards. No,
Mother’s Day is a powerful holiday that reflects the potential for mothering energy and mindsets to change the world.
In our first reading by Jan Phillips we are given a beautiful image of an old man God who wants mom’s approval for all He has created. Isn’t that an awesome thing to consider: the idea that even God has a mom? Mom is
very pleased with the beauty of her son’s creation but does question the
one quirky design decision called free will. When questioned about his
ability to intervene , God asserts that while he could intervene in human
affairs, He has decided to take a hands off approach leaving humanity in
charge of the finite things. God’s mother is concerned for humanity and
she shows concern as any mother or grandmother might. God and the
Mother are One. Caring for humanity and the planet but accepting that their fate is in their own hands. This powerful reading reflects both the creative, mothering mystery of the Divine and the very familiar challenge of accepting the need to “let go” of control over the decisions and fate of our children. God seems to know that we have the capacity for learning from our experience and also for not learning and destroying our world. The design allows for both choices. Creating through infinite Love but then letting go of control is both a divine and human challenge. This is a
universal and compassionate yet hands off view of the Divine Mother.
Our second reading is the declaration of the institution of the holiday we
call Mother’s Day, The idea first came into being from the mother’s who lost loved ones in the American Civil war. Howe was an American poet who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic She authored this original pacifist Mother’s Day proclamation in 1870. It took until May 9, 1914 for it to be declared a national holiday by President Wilson. Mothering comes now into a global, activist view. All mothers of the world must unite around the basic concept that we should never raise our children to kill another woman’s child. The glorification of war is not the way of the mother. This Mother’s Day call reflects the fierce potential for a mother’s mindset to impact society and the fate of the planet through committed, organized activism. By relating to the hearts of all moms and calling on that love, these visionary women gave us all a model for a just and lasting peace.
Finally, we have the wedding feast at Cana. This is where we find the first
public miracle of Jesus. The provision of wine at any gathering, especially
an important one like a wedding, was a critical part of hospitality. We see
now a very personal mom moment. Jesus has no intention of doing
anything about the wine shortage. In this case, mom does 2 things of note.
First, she continues to guide her son with motherly advice and he yields to her wisdom. Jesus’ heart and mind was changed by his mother’s practical compassion. Second, she calls on him to act in service of the current situation. It is not the universal mother or the global activist. It is the personal, community minded and service oriented mother. She sees a
need and she seeks to meet the need, right in the moment.
We have all experienced mothering in all 3 of these ways and surely many
others. The earth, our divine creator who is both masculine and feminine,
religious sisters, family, friends, moms, activists, poets, artists, spiritual
teachers and path makers all give birth to us and nurture us. Whether we
meet them once or for a lifetime, their nurturing, challenging, fierce and
unconditional love and commitment teach us how to manifest the divine
mother in our words, deeds and relationships.
What touched you in the readings today?
Reader: Let us continue our liturgy by reciting our 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.
As we prepare for this sacred meal, we are aware of our call to serve, and just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us. We bring to this table our special intentions on Mother’s Day. Our response is We Lift Them Up
Eternal Mother, on this day we lift up all mothers to you. Scripture has prepared us to recognize that by your grace, mothering takes many forms.
For all those who have experienced joy and fulfillment in mothering
For all those who have known the pain of a child’s death
For all those who are facing motherhood again, or for the first time
Response: We Lift Them Up
For all those for whom childlessness represents a loss
For all those who have such unbounded love that they mother all God’s children
For all those who lament their separation from their children for whatever reason
Response: We Lift Them Up
For all those who mother those of the previous generation who are again childlike
For all those who are the previous generation’s loving extended families
For all those who have cherished memories of being mothered
Response: We Lift Them Up
For all those who may have suffered abuse, neglect or emotional harm
For all those who remember with joy being mothered by a broader community of women
For all those who have experienced, or are in the midst of, grief for the loss of a mother or mother figure
Response: We Lift Them Up
For all those who were adopted into the loving arms of a mother
For all those who may continue to experience estrangement from their mother
For all those who have been raised by their mother with deep, abiding love and respect for the feminine, including their own
For all those who mourn the loss of their mother
Response: We Lift Them Up
Eternal Mother, we also lift up any experiences of motherhood or being mothered that have been left unspoken. Amen
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Kim: Let us pray our Eucharistic Prayer together:
Loving Mother, who gives life and breath to everyone and everything in our world, let us find life, breath and meaning for ourselves and our world.
We celebrate and give thanks, together, for the women in our communities.
That women and men are different invites us into partnership, invites us to share the burdens and the joys of life.
In the gentle care of the Holy One we find our home. And in the living Spirit we are united this day in offering praise as we sing:
Holy, Holy, Holy: Here in This Place by Christopher Grundy
Dennis: Great Mystery with a mother’s heart, you gather us as your children. You comfort and hold us in your warm embrace. Eternal and loving Source of Life, we thank you this day, for being part of your family.
Great Mystery, with a mother’s heart, love surrounds and supports us, in good and difficult times, in the midst of joy and pain, always and everywhere. We are never left alone nor abandoned.
When we hurt we are held in love’s embrace. When we are afraid we are surrounded with compassionate care. When we are hungry we are nourished with the bread of life.
Kim: Please extend your hands as we pray the prayers of consecration
We are grateful for Sophia Wisdom at our Eucharistic Table and for this bread and wine which reminds us of our call to be the body of Christ in the world, standing in solidarity with the oppressed and the broken.
All: 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.
All lift their plate as the community prays the following:
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.
(consume bread and pause)
All lift their cup as community prays the following:
Dennis: 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.
(drink and pause)
ALL: We share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace.
Please receive the bread and cup with the words, I Am Loved.
Communion Meditation: A Mother’s Love by Jim Brickman performed by Mark Masri
Kim: For those who have been blessed with an awareness of mothering care, who have looked to be guided and nurtured, we give thanks, and we pray for unity of the human family. May we be a nurturing influence on others, that they too may enjoy a life of nurturance and acceptance.
For those who hunger and thirst, who are lost and alone, who yearn to be given new direction, new hope and new life, we pray that they experience through us care, compassion and love. Let us be seen and known as faithful followers of Jesus the Christ through this community of faith. Help us to uphold the teachings of Jesus, our brother, as we seek to bring justice and peace to the world.
For the many strengths of women, their gifts of peace-making, nurturing, education, entrepreneurship, healing, wisdom, creativity, endurance, collaboration, physicality – and so much more, we are grateful.
So, we trust that the Spirit of Sophia Wisdom will continue to beckon us to live out the Gospel values of compassion and equality, bringing peace and justice to the world in which we live.
Let us pray the Prayer of Jesus:
Our Mother who art within us,
Each breath brings us to you.
Thy wisdom come,
Thy will be done,
as we honor your presence within us.
You give us this day all that we need.
Your bounty calls us to give and receive
all that is loving and pleasurable.
You are the courage that moves us to be true to ourselves
and we act with grace and power.
We relax into your cycles of birth, growth, death and renewal.
Out of the womb, the darkness, the void, comes new life.
For you are the Mother of All Things.
Your body is the Sacred Earth and our bodies.
Your love nurtures us and unites us all.
Now and forever more.
“Our Mother” by Dale Allen
Closing Prayer (Dennis):
Go now in the comfort and peace of the One who gave birth to us.
Go in the assurance that the Comforter is with us always.
Go to give comfort and peace to others.
Divine Wisdom guide us as we go forth on Her paths of peace.
May She give us blessings more precious than silver or gold (Prov. 3:13-15, 17).
May we find joy in sharing these blessings with others.
May Wisdom empower us to change our world! Amen.
Closing Song: I Am Willing by Holly Near