Saturday, October 8, 2016

Homily for Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordination of Phoebe Joan and Edmund John as Priests , Lindy Sanford and Abigail Elttzroth as deacons, Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan et al

Introduction: Today we rejoice as the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) ordains Phoebe Joan and Edmund John  as priests and Lindy Sanford and Abigail Eltzroth as deacons.

Not only do we celebrate the New Story of original blessing, wholeness and holiness, each of us is a new story.

On right, Lindy Sanford, Abigail Eltzroth, on left Bridget Mary, Kathie Ryan, Lynn and Bernie Kinlan at podium

And together we are a new story of mutual partnership and spiritual equality with the community of the baptized! Like Jesus. Like Phoebe Joan and Edmund John, like Lindy and Abigail, like the Upper Room, Like ARCWP, like everyone in this gathering, this is our vision! 

Bridget Mary lays hands on Lindy Sanford ARCWP

We are all a part of the dance of life, moving and growing, within and without, in the embrace of the Holy One who loves us. We are the beloved! We rejoice that we are loved infinitely, boundlessly, beyond anything we could ever imagine or dream! This is a moment for dancing! 

Bridget Mary lays hands on Abigail Eltzroth ARCWP

 So lift up your hearts and feet as the Holy One dances within us energizing us to take a giant leap forward today to break through injustices that discriminate against women and men called to ordination in an inclusive church.

 Our story is Jesus’s story, spiritual power for us, in us, and moving through us always healing, transforming, loving, empowering , drawing us into deeper wholeness and oneness in the Holy One.  Our mission, like Jesus’ mission is to celebrate our oneness with others in a circle of compassion that welcomes everyone to the feast including the voiceless, the demonized, and the marginalized.

Theologians today are rediscovering the wisdom tradition as a resource for speaking about the mission of Jesus. As Elizabeth Johnson writes in Abounding in Kindness, p. 205 

"The gospel can be proclaimed as the good news of Jesus, a prophet and child of  Sophia sent to announce that God is the God  of all inclusive love who wills the wholeness and humanity of everyone, especially the poor and heavy burdened.
Again and again in imaginative parables, compassionate healings, startling exorcisms and festive meals he spells out the reality of the renewing power of the reign of Sophia-God drawing near. New possibilities of relationships flower among women and men who respond and join his circle. They form a community of the discipleship of equals.”

So we gather today, movers and shakers in a dance of liberating empowerment, changing the Catholic Church, one inclusive community of equals at a time, one ARCWP priest and deacon at a time. Like the prophet, Miriam who “took up tambourine and all the women joined in with her with tambourines and with dancing”, we are leading a new Exodus dance of praise out of patriarchal domination into Gospel inclusivity in our church today.

Now Phoebe Joan and Edmund John will continue our homily.

Edmund John:

 “We are all hungry for wisdom.” In our scripture reading, we encounter the divine feminine in Sophia, holy wisdom, present in every phase of our spiritual development and challenging us to move out of our comfort zones.
“She cares about justice for she is also a "friend of the prophets," and the prophets were summoned to see justice replace injustice.”
Where are the prophets of today? You are here in this room for Wisdom calls us to be disciples of Jesus, disciples of justice and equality.
By our holy baptism we are commissioned to live out the mission and ministry of Jesus. And it was a simple mission but also a dangerous one.  It was seeing the face of God in all people no matter who they are, what their race, what their sexual orientation, what their religion. It is a call for dignity and respect for all of God’s people, as well as all of God’s creation.
Bridget Mary reminds us that we are part of the dance of life.  “That we are loved infinitely, boundlessly, beyond anything we could ever imagine or dream.”  Imagine that you are loved and have been loved since first conceived.  Now look around you, and see all who share this same love.

Our challenge is to embrace the love we have been given, and then to share that love and recognize that love in all those with whom we come in contact.

The further challenge is to speak that message when we see injustice occurring. It is not always the popular stance to take, as it wasn’t for Jesus.  But as his followers, as those who profess belief in him, we are called to be the prophets of today speaking against inequality and injustice in all their forms.
The good news is that we have guidance in this regard, and it is the Beatitudes that we read for our Gospel.  I’m sure you noticed that each phrase did not begin with the usual, “Blessed are” but rather “You’re in the right place”.  Scripture scholars have determined that this is really the more appropriate interpretation, denoting where we should stand and with whom we should stand.  We stand with the meek, those mourning, the peacemakers, those hungry and thirsty, the persecuted.  We are not standing aside them, we are entering the dance of life with them, entwining our lives with theirs, bringing the love and compassion of our God into our shared human experience, the experience that is filled with both joy and sorrow, hope and longing, love and peace.

The dance calls us to share the love of the divine, to recognize in ourselves and help others to recognize in themselves the spark of the divine.  It is this spark that energizes the dance and propels us forward to a more just and equal world. 

Phoebe Joan:

In June of 2015, as we were ordained deacons, I remember saying:

“There is no end to our work.

The wind comes among us and stirs our souls to respond in new ways, unforged ways, and yet ancient ways as well.

Each of us here on the altar and with us in our community, responds as best we can to the call of our human beingness, and to the knowing of our spirit.

In our space together, we create this momentous occasion; we share the sacred here in our midst.” 

Our work then, is to know the joy and love of this place where we find ourselves, and to reflect it to the world.

We see that reflection of love in each of you as a mirror of divine presence wholeness. and compassion.

We know that we are in the right place when we see the face of God everywhere.

As human beings on this path, with all of the wonderful gifts that we have been given, and that we can choose to share, we say to each of you:

Come join us!

Come – Go – into your day with us, and be joyful in the Love that you create and that you witness.

Know that you – each of you – is a dancer in this wonderful Dance of Life!

Bridget Mary:  Conclusion:

Today we celebrate the New Story, that each of us and our world is full of God. Like Jesus in the Gospels, we know that we are in the right place when we care about and for others by living compassion in practical ways each day. Standing in solidarity with all those who are exiled and oppressed in our church, we welcome all to the Sacred Banquet where there is room at the table for everyone. Today, as we ordain Phoebe Joan, Edmund John, Lindy, and Abigail, we walk in the footsteps of prophets Miriam and Jeremiah, leading God’s people to justice and equality “as we go forth with joy and with tambourines in the dance of the merrymakers.” (Jeremiah 31:3-4)