Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Remembering Our Dear Departed", Free Spirit Catholic Community, North Carolina, Presider, Ann Harrington, ARCWP

 We had a Table of Remembrance that people brought photos and other mementos to be our Opening ritual.  
Our opening song was,  "Bring Him Home" by The Piano Guys.  https://youtu.be/5mJ08-pyDLg  During this time people came to the Table of Remembrance and lit a candle. 
 We had the readings and then after the homily,

Signposts on the Way to God - from Henri Nouwen's Bread for the Journey

How do we know about God's love, God's generosity, God's kindness, God's forgiveness?  Through our parents, our friends, our teachers, our pastors, our spouses, our children ... they all reveal God to us.  But as we come to know them, we realise that each of them can reveal only a little bit of God.  God's love is greater than theirs; God's goodness is greater than theirs;  God's beauty is greater than theirs.

At first we may be disappointed in these people in our lives.  For a while we thought that they would be able to give us all the love, goodness, and beauty we needed.  But gradually we discover that they were all signposts on the way to God.

Those Who Care
(Henri Nouwen)

When I am down and,
oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still
and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up,
so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.

If You Love Me, Do Not Cry
(St. Augustine)

If You Love Me, Do Not Cry
Don’t cry if you love me
If you know God’s grace
And what Heaven is like,
If you were able to listen
To the angel songs
And you see me among them,
If you were able to think for awhile
About the beauty
That no other beauty can match,
Wipe your tears and do not cry,
If you love me.

Death is nothing.
It is just having moved to the other side.
I am still what I am and you are still what you are.
What we used to be for each other is still the same.
Call me by the name you used to.
And talk to me as you have done before.
Do not use a different tone.
Do not be rigid or sad.
Continue to laugh about what used to make us laugh.
Pray for me.

Think of me and pray with me.
Let my name be mentioned at home as before.
Without any exaggeration or distress.
Life continues to mean what it always did.
And it is still the same
The thread did not break.
Do you feel I have become outside of your thoughts
Because I am far from your sight?
I am not far from you.
I am just on the other side of the road,
And everything is fine.
You will find my heart and my love pure.
Wipe your tears and do not cry.
If you love me

Homily 10/25/15
 As we  planetary pilgrims enter the darkest time of the year, it seems right and holy to descend and process the dark and troubling parts of our own souls.  The leaves are falling in a beautiful dance.  What might we let fall away from our own lives?  In conversations I've had recently, I have heard the need that so many of us have for healthy grieving.  This is one area in my life that I have had some profound experiences.  As I've often mentioned, I suffered my whole life from clinical depression.  One of the most healing things that happened during my time in psychotherapy was the realization that I needed to mourn the loss of my mother.  The woman who had been a loving mother to me descended into mental illness when I was 9.  I was nearly 40 before I realized I needed to grieve that.  The tears were so healing and the feeling of liberation made me feel like an eagle soaring.  
Church should be a safe place to do grief work and we are going to have an opportunity to do that today.  I hope we all feel free to cry here as well as laugh. Psalm 30 says God will turn our mourning into dancing.  But first the tears...  I remember back to a time in church, St. Peter's, that I had tears of mourning.  It was shortly after we moved here and I was sad about leaving our previous home.  I dashed into the bathroom to cry. 
If that's where you need to go, that is fine.  If you need to go outside that is fine, if you want to go sit in your car that is fine too.  I have an exercise that I am offering as part of our celebration today.  It comes from my spiritual director's training program.  We will take a few moments to do this and then come back together to share if anyone wishes to do that. If this isn't for you just take this time to do as you please. If this is too much for you to do here, you may take it home with you to try later.  I am sure any one of us can be a listening ear for your sorrow, if you feel more comfortable doing this one on one.  And of course the Holy Spirit will be with you if you prefer to do it one on one with Her in some other place and some other time.  To me this is the beauty of this model of church.  We take responsibility for our own growth.   You participate here to your own comfort level, no judgment, only acceptance and compassion. 

 Grief Exercise:


 1.  What memories do you hold dear about the person or persons you are remembering today?
 2.  What legacy(ies) did he/she/them leave with you?
 3.How have you felt God's perceived presence or absence or both as you grieve?
 4.  What Scripture verses bring comfort to you as you grieve?
 5.  What lessons have you learned from God as you grieve?
 6.  What would you offer in the way of suggestion to someone who is newly grieving?
 Sara O. Vale, Ph.D. (2006)

 Simple Eucharist

An Invitation
All:  The table of bread and wine is now to be made ready.
It is the table of company of Jesus, and all who love him.
It is the table of sharing with the poor of the world,
with whom Jesus identified himself.
It is the table of communion with the earth,
in which Christ became incarnate.
So come to this table,
you who have much faith
and you who would like to have more;
you who have been here often
and you who have not been for a long time;
you who have tried to follow Jesus,
and you who have failed; Come.
It is Christ who invites us to meet him here.
Iona Abbey Worship Book, Wild Goose Publications,
The Iona Community, www.ionabooks.com.
                                    Eucharistic Prayer
Presider:  When the hour had come, Jesus took a place at the table and said to them, "I've longed to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it, broke it and gave it to them saying: 

All:  "This is my body which will be given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me".

 Presider:  Then taking the cup of wine Jesus gave thanks and said:

All:  "Take this and share it among you.  This cup is the New Covenant in my blood which will be poured out for you".  (Luke 21)
I give you a new commandment:  Love one another the way I have loved you.  This is how all will know that you are my disciples, that you truly love one another.  (John 13)

                        Litany for the Breaking of the Bread
            All:  Loving God, you call us to life, a new life, abundant life
            Loving God, you call us to be transformed by the Life of the Spirit
            Loving God, you call us to join with you in creating the world anew!

Presider:  (lift bread and cup) Through the sharing of this bread and wine may we awaken to the sacredness of our lives and the beauty all around us.  May we experience your divine presence, O Creator God, so deeply, that our lives become reflections of Jesus.  Amen

All:  This is the body of Christ for the Body of Christ. 

Communion Song:Table of Plenty

Presider:  May the Love that passes all understanding be our guide.  Take what you have received and share it lovingly with all you meet.  All:  Amen

Presider:  Christ has no body now but yours.  Go be the eyes, ears, arms and feet of Christ Sophia.  All:  Thanks be to God!

 Recessional: "When the Saints Go Marching In".

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