Saturday, April 4, 2015

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Easter Vigil, April 4, 2015

Blessing of Water Rite with Deacon Kathyrn Shea and Son, Seth
left to right; Kathryn Shea and Son Seth, Bridget Mary Meehan on right
63 gathered around the table to celebrate a Eucharist
where all are welcome.

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP and Mary Al Gagnon  co-presided at liturgy

left to right: Priest Michael Rigdon, Deacon Janet Blakeley,, and Priest  Lee Breyer

Easter Liturgy to Celebrate Jesus, the Living One


Presider 1: Welcome to our liturgical gathering. Our liturgical style is highly inclusive and you are invited to participate in the words of consecration. We are happy you are here with us today. All are welcome to share in our simple Eucharistic meal around this friendship table. We begin our liturgical celebration today by lighting our Easter Candle and our individual candles – a symbol of Jesus, alive and with us.
As our individual candles are lighted from the Easter Candle, we sing three times, each time on a higher note:
All: Thanks Be to God!
Easter Proclamation
[adapted by Jim Marsh ARCWP]

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation in God’s presence!
Jesus, the Anointed One, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of life renewed!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of our God!
Christ has risen!
Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!
 Rejoice, O Mother Church!
Exult in glory!
The Risen One shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the song of all God’s people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
Join me in praising God,
as we sing this Easter song.

When all our candles are lighted, we sing the joyful song which proclaims the feast:
Opening Song: Bright Morning Stars (traditional, words adapted)
Refrain: Bright morning stars are rising, bright morning stars are rising, bright morning stars are rising, light is breaking in our world!

The dawn of first creation, new earth, new sky, new creatures,  and humans, male and female, light was breaking in our world.
God's people lost in slavery, no hope, no light no freedom, then Moses clearly calling: “Come, my people, come be free!”    Refrain
The light of servant Jesus, A sense of godly vision, no bonds, no fear, no lying, death defeated through this love.
The chains of death lie broken: new hope for new creation, all living as one family, Light re-kindled in our lives.   Refrain

So, now we sing of Easter, of spring, of resurrection, and of renewed commitment: Lives embracing everyone.  Refrain

Renewal of Baptismal Promises

Presider 2: (Presider asks the following questions and the assembly answers: We promise)

Do you promise to see what is good for your sisters and brothers everywhere, rejecting injustice and inequity and living with the freedom and responsibility of children of God?

All: We promise.

Do you promise to work for the realization of God’s vision of harmony and right relations among people and peoples, rejecting the idols of money and property and color and sex and position? 

Do you promise to seek peace and live in peace in one human family, rejecting prejudice and half-heartedness in every form, and all barriers to unity?

Do you promise to cherish the universe, and this precious planet, working creatively to renew and safeguard the elemental sacraments of air, earth, water?

Do you believe in God, the great Spirit of Creation, in Jesus, the simple servant of justice and love who lived among us so that all might live with abundant fullness; in the breath of God’s center, the Spirit who continues the work of forgiveness and reconciliation, birthing and blessing, challenge and hope, so that together we can continue the work of creation?

Sprinkling with Water

Presider 3: (prays the following while sprinkling the assembly with water)
May you live as a child of God and may your name be a blessing in our time.

Assembly is invited to place their lighted candle on the friendship table.

A Statement of Faithfulness

Presider 4: Please stand and proclaim our statement of faith.

All: 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 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. Amen.


Presider 5: Please be seated. The first Reading is the Story of Salvation History (adapted from the books of theHebrew Scriptures)

In the beginning, there was only chaos and a void. God breathed life into it and said, "Let there be light." And there was light: sun and moon and stars in the heavens. There emerged vast bodies of water filled with live creatures. Then, birds flying across the breadth of the skies, and on the earth, reptiles and animals of every kind, color and shape. And all had a purpose. God saw what had come to be, and God found it very good.

God then said: "Let us make human beings in the divine image; women and men together to take care of all of this, and one another! When this was done, God viewed the whole of creation, and loved it, for it was very, very good.

Presider 1: But human beings did not take care of creation and each other. Human beings corrupted the good-ness of what God had made. Rain fell, a torrential, purifying rain, covering the earth and washing away all the corruption to which people had given birth. Only Noah, his family, and living creatures from every species on earth floated above the flood in an ark made of wood.

After forty days, the rain subsided, so that the water was no longer a flood, and the ark came to rest on high, dry ground. The people and the animals looked up into the sky and saw something beautiful. God said: "That is my rainbow, the sign of my presence with you and my love for you. It will forever be the sign of my relationship with you, and your responsibility to take care of creation, and each other."

Presider 2: From these survivors of the flood, creation was begun all over again. Many, many years went by and there were many gatherings of people all over the face of the earth. One of these was the people, Israel, and among all of God's precious people, the Jews were very precious. During a time of famine, the Jews were invited by the Egyptians, their neighbors, to share their land and their food. But some centuries after this hospitality, a cruel leader in Egypt forgot the old relationship and made the Jews into slaves.
They lived this way for a long time, until Moses came among them and risked his safety and security to convince the Jews that God loved them and wanted them to be free. So, they left Egypt, filled with the Spirit of God, led by Moses and Miriam through the desert in search of a new home where they could be free again.

During this difficult journey, they were often disillusioned and resentful, and they complained bitterly. Moses asked God for help, and God offered the ten commandments, so that the people might know the simplest possible way to love God and their fellow human beings. And from these survivors of oppression, Israel began all over again.

Presider 3: But the people forgot the simple way of God and were not always faithful, and at times they were as oppressive to each other and to strangers as the Egyptians had been to them. They paid lip service to God, but their hearts were very far from God, and therefore, from justice and compassion. People of wisdom came from among them to remind them of the rainbow of their journey to freedom, and of their promise to God about caring for creation and each other. These were the prophets, and like Moses, they risked everything to convince the people to come home to freedom and responsibility, compassion and justice, faithfulness and integrity.

The prophet Isaiah said: "God is displeased with your prayers and your liturgies because the hands you lift in prayer are covered with blood. God wants prayer from the heart.         God wants justice for the oppressed. God wants food for the hungry. God wants true peace!"

Presider 4: The prophet Amos said: "Some of you have grabbed power and made your own people no better than slaves. You have stripped people of their dignity as God's children, buying and selling them as if they were groceries or sandals. Greed is your god and selfishness, your liturgy!"

The prophet Micah said: "My people, you struggle blindly to know what God wants, and you act as if you remember nothing from your history, as if you know nothing. From the beginning of time, there has been one message from God. What God wants is this, ONLY this: That we live justly, that we love tenderly, that we walk with integrity in God's presence!
These are the inspired words of our prophets.

Responsorial: Sung Alleluia

Presider 5: The Gospel according to John (20:1 – 18)

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance, so she ran off to Simon Peter and the other disciple – the one Jesus loved – and told them, "the Rabbi has been taken from the tomb! We don't know where they have put Jesus!"

At that, Peter and the other disciple started out toward the tomb. They were running side-by-side but then the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He didn't enter, but bent down to peer in and saw the linen wrappings lying on the ground. Then Simon Peter arrived and entered the tomb. He observed the linen wrappings on the ground, and saw the piece of cloth that covered Jesus’ head lying not with the wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the disciple who had arrived first at the tomb went in. He saw and believed. As yet, they didn't understand the Scripture that Jesus was to rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Presider 1: Meanwhile, Mary stood weeping beside the tomb. Even as she wept, she stooped to peer inside, and there she saw two angels in dazzling robes. One was seated at the head and the other at the foot of the place where Jesus' body had lain.

They asked her, "Why are you weeping?"

She answered them, "because they have taken away my Rabbi, and I don't know where they have put the body."

No sooner had she said this than she turned around and caught sight of Jesus standing there, but she didn't know it was Jesus. He asked her, “Why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?"

She supposed it was the gardener, so she said, "Please, if you're the one who carried Jesus away, tell me where you’ve laid the body and I will take it away."

Jesus said to her, "Mary!"

She turned to him and said, "Rabboni!" - Which means "Teacher."

Presider 2: Jesus then said, “Don't hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to Abba God. Rather, go to the sisters and brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Abba and your Abba, my God and your God!’"

Mary of Magdala went to the disciples. "I have seen the teacher!" she announced. Then she reported what Jesus had said to her.

This is the inspired word of John, disciple of Jesus.

Dialogue Homily – Presider 1 begins


Presider 3: As we prepare for this sacred meal, we stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers and we bring our many needs and concerns to the table.

(Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table….”) 

Presider 4:  We pray for all who have asked for our prayers and for all who need our prayers. Amen.

Presider 5: Let us pray our Eucharistic prayer together.
(Easter Preface adapted from a poem by e.e. cummings)

All: We thank you, God, for this most amazing day/ for the leaping, greenly spirits of trees/ for the true, blue dream of sky/ for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. We who were dead are alive again today/ is the sun's birth-day, the birth-day of wings/ in all of this wonder, how could we human merely beings/ lifted from the no of all nothing/ doubt unimaginable you? Now the ears of our ears awake/ now the eyes of our eyes are open/ awakened, quickened, alive, we join with all living creatures, and we sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy
(Words and music by Karen Druker)

We are holy, holy, holy,
We are holy, holy, holy,
We are whole.

Spirit Divine, Come to Me,
healing Love, healing Me.
Open my heart, allow me to see,
Beauty and love, lives in me.

You are holy, holy, holy…

All: Holy One, what we can ever say about you is revealed in the harmony of nature all around us, and all right-relations. We have been taught that it can be found within us and among us, as well.

We give thanks for all your visionaries throughout our history, in so many traditions, who have enacted your peace in the fragile vessel of their humanity.

We are grateful for our brother Jesus, whose life forever shows us the truth of your love and our own capacity for loving in a godly way, to create with you a place of peace for everyone.

He lived what he taught, and in him, as in the emergence of your springtime, we understand that death has no final dominion. Through this recognition comes our own rebirth to freedom, courage, and encouraging love.

On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with his friends. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would know how to remember him. Back again at the table, he lifted up the bread of freedom, spoke the grace, broke the bread, and offered it them, saying:
(presider lifts the bread)
Take and eat; this is my very self. (pause)

Then he lifted up the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine, saying: (presider lifts the wine)
Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life, for you and for everyone, that all captivity might cease. Whenever you do this, you re-member me. (pause)

We will never make peace if we do not re-member, if we do not realize that your light and life and love are a heritage for all of creation, and that you see each of us as precious, bearing your image.

We can only make peace if we are passionately doing the work of justice and right-relations, working skillfully to eliminate the illusion of separateness so that we can live in communion, and rise up from our slavery: the dominion of death, and the attitudes, structures, and weapons of death.

We will learn to trust you, God of creation, liberation, rainbows and life. We will learn to trust creation and ourselves and each other enough, to open ourselves and our small circles until they are as wide as your own love.

We remember our brothers and sisters who have gone before us and all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages. We praise you in union with them, and give you glory through Jesus, our brother.

(Presiders hold bread and wine)

Through him, we have learned to how to live.
Through him, we have learned how to love.
Through him, we have learned how to serve.


Presider 1: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus

Oh 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

Presider 2:  God’s peace is with you always. As we share our joy, let us share God’s abundant peace. Please share a sign of peace.

Peace Song: Peace is Flowing Like a River # 41

Presider 3Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread.

All: Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.  
Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will love tenderly.
Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.


Presider 4: This is Jesus, the Bread of Life. How blessed are we who are called to the table.

All: What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.
Presider 5: Please join in singing our Communion Song.
Communion Song:  #22  Morning Has Broken


(Presider 1 begins announcements and recognition of special events during the month, etc.)

Presider 1:  You are light for the world, you are salt for the earth. It is God’s own Spirit alive with you Who animates you, consecrates you, and blesses you. Let us go now and live the Gospel! 

All: Amen.

Closing Song: #59 Glory to God

Friday, April 3, 2015

"Pope Francis and the New Rome"/Wall Street Jounal

As pontiff, Francis has used the moral authority of his office to push a sharply different agenda, demanding a “poor church for the poor” and excoriating free-market ideologies. He has said that the church should show “mercy” toward divorced and remarried Catholics (whom church law forbids from receiving Communion), flouted liturgical rules to wash the feet of Muslims and women, and received a transsexual at the Vatican...
Church leaders have privately complained that the pope’s oft-quoted comment about gay priests—“Who am I to judge?”—has made their job more difficult in upholding church teachings. In November 2013, Catholic legislators in Illinois cited those words to explain their support for a same-sex marriage bill.Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis had not yet made a major statement on abortion, not even during his homily at a special Vatican Mass with antiabortion activists. “I’m a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis that he hasn’t…said much about unborn children, about abortion,” said Rhode Island Bishop Thomas J. Tobin in September 2013. “Many people have noticed that.”
... Pope Francis, by contrast, has called for the devolution of more power. “Excessive centralization,” he has written, “rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.”
Just weeks into his pontificate, Pope Francis established a new body consisting of eight (later nine) cardinals, including representatives from each continent, to advise him on major issues of church governance, including a sweeping reform of the Vatican bureaucracy. “The pope is effectively telling [the bishops and cardinals], ‘I need to hear your voices, not just the voices of the people who live in Rome,’ ” says Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.
The most ambitious—and disruptive—way in which Pope Francis has promoted collegiality is through the Synod of Bishops, a representative body established by Pope Paul VI in the immediate aftermath of Vatican II. Pope Francis has called a two-part meeting of the synod—the first session was held last fall, and the second will take place this October—to discuss issues relating to the family, including such controversial topics as homosexuality, contraception and the eligibility of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.
The synod excited controversy even before its start, when the Vatican sent the world’s bishops’ conferences a questionnaire and encouraged them to seek the views of ordinary Catholics. The bishops’ conference of England and Wales even put the questionnaire on the SurveyMonkey site so that parishioners could fill it out online. Several conferences and individual bishops published summaries of the responses, generating complaints that church teaching should not be fodder for a public-opinion survey.
At the synod’s first session, the pope told the nearly 200 members to speak “without fear” and “to say what one feels duty-bound in the Lord to say.” The ensuing debate, inside and outside the synod hall, was the fiercest the Vatican had seen since Vatican II itself, with sotto voce accusations of heresy and racism and even warnings of schism.
A document issued at the gathering’s midpoint set off a furor because of its conciliatory language toward cohabiting couples, divorced and remarried Catholics, and those in same-sex unions. Australian Cardinal George Pell, the pope’s finance chief, was prompted to denounce the document. “We’re not giving in to the secular agenda; we’re not collapsing in a heap,” he told Catholic News Service...
Such tension was very much in the spirit of Vatican II, which aimed to update the pastoral practice of church doctrine, says Cardinal Wuerl, who helped to draft a final document for the synod’s first session that left the most disputed questions unresolved.
“If your starting point is ‘We already have the answers,’ this process becomes difficult to deal with,” says Cardinal Wuerl. But the pope “is saying, ‘We have the revelation, but we don’t have the application for all times; don’t presume that we know everything and that we have every answer.’

Good Friday: We are the Body of Christ, Broken and Shared Today

Jesus ministered to and welcomed all to the table including tax collectors, sinners, women, the poor, the broken and the shunned. He confronted the the unjust  structures of his time, thereby, alienating  religious and political powerful authorities of his time. They executed him.
Jesus' death and resurrection shows that ultimately, God's infinite passionate love, compassion and liberation will triumph over  every injustice, sorrow, hurt, disappointment and evil in our world.
We are called to live Christ's message of love, justice, empowerment and transformation in our world by our service to everyone we encounter. We are  the Body of Christ, broken and shared today! Let us recognize that the Christ Presence everywhere we turn, and love one another with the Heart of God.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Ecumenical Eucharist and Enactment of Holy Thursday- Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community and St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota, Florida

On Holy Thursday, April 2, 2015, Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community and St. Andrew UCC joined together to celebrate an Ecumenical Eucharist which included an enactment of the Last Supper. The role of Jesus was played by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP and the disciples included both women and men from both congregations. Phil Garrison, coordinated, directed and co-presided at this celebration. Jesus prayed that "all may be one." At St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota, Catholics and Protestants welcome each other and all to the table of God's extravagant love. We are living Jesus' prayer today! Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Inclusive Catholic Community of the NYS Capital Region/ Holy Thursday Liturgy and Good Friday: Way of Compassion

Nourish Your People

Opening Song – The Servant Song

Opening Prayer:

Presider: God of Divine Nourishment, we gather this evening to celebrate the gift of life that Jesus presented in the symbols of bread and wine, signifying his body and blood, broken and shed for all. Shower us with your blessings, as we come together at table to become communion to each other and to the world, re-membering the call to be humble servants, treating all with dignity and respect.

Sign of Peace/Washing of Hands

Presider: Scripture tells us that if a person is not at peace with someone to “leave your gift at the altar. First go away and make peace with that person. Then come back and offer your gift.” As we prepare to bring our gifts in the celebration of this Eucharist, let us strive to be faithful to the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. And where we struggle, may God transform us to be a healing balm of love. Divine healer of all, we pray.

All: Amen.

Presider: We will share a sign of peace with one another. We then ask that you approach the fountain, in remembrance of Jesus’ witness to service and the creation of a community of equals, and in response to his words, "Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other. This is how all will know you for my disciples: by your love for one another" (John 13, 34-35), and wash the hands of another member of our community.


Reading 1 – With Burning Hearts (Henri Nouwen)

Responsorial Psalm – Taste and See (Haughen)

Gospel – Mark 14: 22- 26

Shared Reflection

Statement of Faith

Presider: Please stand and proclaim our statement of faith:

All: 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 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.

All: God of life, you nurture and sustain your people. You bless us with abundance; you gift us with your graciousness; you know our every need.

In the birthing forth of creation you call us into being. You gift us with health and wholeness; you sustain our every endeavor. You feed your hungering people.

You call us to work for justice, to share our table with all creation, to feed the needy at our door, to see nobody left in need.

For the blessing of your gifts, and the challenge of your call to us, we lift our voices as we acclaim in song your gracious love:

Holy, Holy, Holy (Words and music by Karen Druker)

We are holy, holy, holy,

We are holy, holy, holy,

We are whole. (2x)

Spirit Divine, Come to Me,

Healing Love, healing Me.

Open my heart, allow me to see,

Beauty and love, lives in me.

You are holy, holy, holy

You are holy, holy, holy

You are whole (2x)

The table we share is adorned with the gifts of creation, gifts given for all to share in equality and justice, a table where all are welcome, and from which nobody is to be excluded, from the greatest even to the least.

As a Christian people we celebrate the open table, proclaimed by Jesus our liberator and our friend, a table of abundant life, inclusive love, and redemptive liberation.

First Invocation:
All: In the power of the creative Spirit, Jesus lived life to the full.
We, too, are blessed in the power of that same Spirit,
which we now invoke upon all gathered here,
to celebrate the transformative energy
symbolized in our gifts of bread and wine,
given to nourish and sustain us into the fullness of life.

While sharing a feast at table, Jesus took bread, blessed you, God of all good gifts.
Jesus broke the bread and along with the cup, shared it among friends, and said:
Take this all of you and eat and drink: this is my body which will be given up for you.

After the meal, Jesus took another cup, poured out in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment.
Jesus gave thanks and shared the cup with his friends, saying:

Take this all of you and drink from it; this is the cup of my life-blood, the life of the new and everlasting covenant.

In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all. Sustain one another in the power of sacred memory.

Eucharistic Acclamation:
Nurtured by your word, nourished by your food; Called anew to be your people, we acclaim your praise.

As we celebrate this Eucharistic feast, we call to mind that we are a people nourished throughout the ages; and we look forward in hope to that day when the justice of our God will guarantee food for all who hunger for the fullness of life.

Second Invocation:
With grateful hearts we receive the gifts of this table.
May the creative Spirit who energizes these gifts,
activate in our hearts, too, a hunger for that justice
that will guarantee sustenance for every human being.

In the spirit of this celebration, we rejoice and thank our God for all we have received; but we do so in the painful awareness of all who are excluded from the table of God’s abundant life.

Awaken in us, O God, a passion for equality and generosity of spirit, that all may be brought to the table of abundance, from which our God wants no one to be excluded.

This prayer we make in union with all God’s people, living and dead, and particularly with those laboring for justice in our world.
May we all know the blessing of our loving God, Creator, Liberator, and Holy Spirit, in whose power we gather here, nourished and sustained, now and forever. Amen.

Presider: Let us join then with the disciples of all ages, as we pray together:

All: Eternal Spirit, Earth Maker, Life Giver, Pain Bearer,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all, Loving God, in who is heaven

The hallowing of your name echoes through the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the people of the world!

Your will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need today, feed us,

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From the trials too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all this is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever. Amen.

Anglican Church of New Zealand


All: Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.

Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world. We will love tenderly

Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.


Presider: This is Jesus, who called women and men to be partners and equals, and who liberates, heals and transforms us and our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.

All: Jesus, you invite us to receive you and become you for others. We are the Body of Christ. May the Source of Life whose power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, be given glory through all generations. Amen

Distribution of Bread and Wine: You are the Body of Christ. You are the Blood of Christ.

Communion Song: One Bread, One Body (39)

Final Blessing (all extend hand)

Presider: Let us go forth recognizing that we are Communion and Community, empowered by the body and blood of our brother, Jesus. Go forth, reaching out and feeding those you meet with the good news of God’s ever-present love.

All: Amen

Closing Song: Companions on the Journey (Landry) #31

Good Friday: Way of Compassion

Opening song: Who Will Speak If You Don’t?
by Marty Haugen

‎(The words at the beginning are of the late Archbishop Oscar Romero, El Salvador)

Verse 1 and Refrain

Readers 1 and 2: This is the Gospel about Jesus, written by his disciple, John.
(Jn 18:1-13)


Reader 3: Who will speak for the innocent victims of war if you don’t?
On December 10, 2014, International Human Rights Day, federal Magistrate Matt Whitworth sentenced Kathy Kelly to three months in prison for having crossed the line at a military base that wages drone warfare. Kathy was simply walking the Gospel message of “love thy neighbor” while exercising her First Amendment right (and responsibility) to assemble peaceably for redress of grievance. Her brothers and sisters in Afghanistan had entrusted her with a simple message, their grievance, which they couldn’t personally deliver: please stop killing us.

Reader 4: Who will speak if you don’t?
Chris Nelson, a nurse practitioner who was arrested at Beale Air Force base in November 2014, wrote the following to the commander of the base:  “My husband Michael Pike died in September of Agent Orange related cancer. My husband was Special Forces in Vietnam and came to regret his role in the war and what the US government did. I am here today in loving memory of that fine man to ask you to stop your role in the kill chain which uses the Northrup Grumman Global Hawk drone to identify human targets for extrajudicial execution. This is neither lawful (international and higher law) nor moral and you must know that. Horrible acts, like drone strikes, are leading to the atrocities we are seeing now. Inhumanity met with inhumanity.”

Reader 5:  Who will speak if you don’t?
The U.S. is the undisputed world leader in military dominance. The crimes that most threaten the safety and livelihood of people in the U.S. of course remain the crimes of the powerful, of the corporations that taint our skies with carbon and acid rainfall, peddle weapons around an already suffering globe, shut down factories and whole economies in pursuit of quick wealth, and send our young people to war. Who will speak if you don’t?

Song: Who will speak if you don’t? Vs.2 and refrain

(pause to light first candle)

Reader 6: Jn 18: 19-24


Reader 7:  Who will speak to end violence against women and girls if you don’t?
President Jimmy Carter, Co-founder of the Carter Center in Georgia writes the following in his book: A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power:
Although economic disparity is a great and growing problem, I have become convinced that the most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge is the deprivation and abuse of women and girls, largely caused by a false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts and a growing tolerance of violence and warfare. Some selective scriptures are interpreted, almost exclusively by powerful men leaders within the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and other faiths, to proclaim the lower status of women and girls. This claim that women are inferior before God spreads to the secular world to justify gross and sustained acts of discrimination and violence against them. This includes unpunished rape and other sexual abuse, infanticide of newborn girls and abortion a female fetuses, a worldwide trafficking in women and girls, and so-called honor killings of innocent women who were raped, as well as the less violent but harmful practices of lower pay and fewer promotions for women, and greater political advantages for men. Who will speak if you don’t?

Reader 8: Jim Wallace, author, founder and editor of Sojourners Magazine is quoted in the same book saying:
It's time for all people of faith to be outraged. It's time for our Christian leaders to stand up and say that women, made in the very image of God, deserve better. And it's time for us in the faith community to acknowledge our complicity in a culture that too often not only remains silent, but also can propagate a false theology of power and dominance. There is a growing understanding that women must be central to shaping solutions… There is a new generation of young leaders determined to ensure the bright future of all people regardless of gender. Who will speak if you don’t?

Song: Who will speak if you don’t? Vs.3 and refrain

(pause to light second candle)

Readers 9 and 10:Jn 18: 28-40


Reader 11: Who will speak for the victims of poverty if you don’t?
Poet and prophet Joyce Rupp writes: To my brothers and sisters in developing countries:
While I was deciding which oat bran cereal to eat this morning, you were searching the ground for leftover grains from the passing wheat truck.

While I was jogging at the health center, you were working in the wealthy landowner's fields under a scorching sun.

While I was choosing between diet and regular soda, your parched lips were yearning for the touch of water.

While I complained about the poor service in the gourmet restaurant, you were gratefully receiving a bowl of rice.

While I poured my "fresh and better" detergent in the washing machine, you stood in the river with your bundle of clothes.

While I watched the evening news on my wide screen TV set, you were being terrorized and taunted by a dictatorship government. Who will speak if we don’t?

Reader 12: Who will speak if we don’t?
While I read the newspaper and drank my cup of steaming coffee, you walked the dusty, hot miles to the tiny crowded schoolroom to try to learn how to read

While I scanned the ads for a bargain on an extra piece of clothing, you woke up and put on the same shirt and pants that you have worn for many months.

While I built a 14-room house for the three of us, your family of 10 found shelter in a one-room hut.

While I went to church last Sunday and felt more than slightly bored, you looked out upon the earth and those around you and felt gratitude to God for being alive for one more day.

My brothers and sisters, forgive me for my arrogance and my indifference.  Forgive me for my greed of always wanting newer, bigger and better things.  Forgive me for not doing my part to change the unjust systems that keep you suffering and impoverished.

I offer you my promise to become more aware of your situation and to change my lifestyle as I work for transformation of our world. Who will speak if we don’t?

Song: Who will speak if you don’t? Vs.4 and refrain

 (pause to light third candle)

Readers 13 and 14: Jn 19:1-16


Reader 15: Who will speak for the immigrants if you don’t?
This past summer, tens of thousands of immigrant children and women arrived at our southern border after making the harrowing journey from Central America and Mexico to the north. These children and women fled countries that are not only some of the most violent in the world, but countries where the rule of law is in tatters.
Carolina, a Salvadoran woman, was quick to explain that she left El Salvador because of a common concern among those fleeing Central America: gang violence.
“The crimes, the gangs, it’s terrible. “I left because of fear, because of threats –threats to mothers, saying that if you don’t go along with the gang members they will take your daughters from you.

Carolina said the journey with her 14 and 5 year old daughters took 12 days total; 9 from El Salvador to Mexico and three from Mexico to the U. S. border.  Hunger remained a constant issue throughout the trip. Who will speak if you don’t?

Reader 16:
Antonio remembers leaving Mexico: We ran out of water and food. The only thing we found was an irrigation canal in the middle of the desert. Three days later we arrived in Arizona, dehydrated and with our feet full of sores.  “I can still remember the last time I saw my brother.  I thought I would see him again but I haven’t seen him in nine years.
Who will speak if you don’t?

Song: Who will speak if you don’t? Vs.5 and refrain

(pause to light fourth candle)

Reader 17: Jn 19:17-18 and Jn 19:25-30


Reader 18:  Who will speak for all us affected by global warming if you don’t?
 If current trends continue, this century will witness unprecedented climate changes and ecosystem destruction that will severely impact us all.” “The massive fossil fuel used at the heart of the global energy system deeply disrupts the Earth’s climate and acidifies the world’s oceans.”

 “Energy systems can be made much more efficient and much less dependent on coal, petrol and natural gas to avoid climate change, protect the oceans, and clean the air of coal-based pollutants.

We have the innovative and technological capability to be good stewards of Creation.
Humanity needs urgently to redirect our relationship with nature by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals so as to promote a sustainable pattern of economic development and social inclusion.” Who will speak if you don’t?

Song: Who will speak if you don’t? Vs.6 and refrain

(pause to light fifth candle)

Reader 19: Blessing and Commissioning
May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Let it be so! Amen!

A Franciscan blessing