Lindy Sanford, ARCWP and Kathie Ryan, ARCWP presided at liturgy today at the Upper Room. The theme for the liturgy was, "Celebrating the Feminine Face of God." Lindy wrote the beautiful homily starter and Eucharistic prayer below.
Lindy's Homily Starter:
Today many Christian calendars focus on Mary, Jesus’ mother, known in her day as Miriam. So why are we honoring the life of a woman we know so very little? What is the most important thing we know about her?
What did Mariam do after she found out she was having an important baby in a profound mystical experience? A baby who would teach us how the Divine wants us to live?
You and I would probably have felt overwhelmed. Probably would pull away from everyone and everything ...trying to get it all figured out…
That is not what Miriam did…In the midst of all this she heard her cousin was pregnant. Elizabeth needed help,,,so Miriam went... and helped…
Little else is recorded about Miriam. Some bits are of what she did in the hardest experience of her life. Each time, she goes and helps, often by just being with someone else facing crisis.
This is a time of crisis in our world. In our families, our communities, our country. World wide crisis. Her example seems important ...what do you think?
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.
Presider 2:We pray acknowledging God’s Spirit here with us. Standing in solidarity with our sisters and brothers, 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 1: (Lifting the bread)We praise You, Creator, and thank you.Your love has given us everything we need.
We offer you this bread, made of grain sown within this beautiful earth . We ask You to feed us in a way only You can. Make this bread our Spiritual Food.
Presider 2: (Lifting the cup)We praise You, Creator, and we thank you.Through your goodness we have this wine to offer.
Juice from the fruit You created and we pressed.Make it our Spiritual Drink.
All: We praise you, Creator, and thank you. Your love has given us everything we need.
Presider 1: Jesus washed the feet of his friends as a servant would. We are told his mother, Miriam, chose to help whoever she could, even if all she could do is be with them. Ever-gentle Creator, today we chose to follow their example of service to all around them as an act of inclusive love.
All: Again, we praise you, Creator, and thank you. Your love has given us everything we need. With joy we sing:
Holy, Holy, Holy
(Words and music by Karen Drucker)
We are whole.
Presider 2 : ( Invites all to extend hands over bread and wine in blessing)We ask that You bless our gifts and transform them for us into the body and blood of Jesus as we celebrate this Eucharist in his memory. Through him, with him, and in him we will accept Your love and pour it out onto all around us.
ALL: On the night before he died, Jesus gathered the people closest to him for supper. Like a servant, he washed their tired and dusty feet.
Presider 1 breaks the bread in half and lifts it.
ALL: Back at the table, he took bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying: Take and eat, this is my very self. (Pause)
Presider 2 lifts the wine:
All: He took the cup of wine, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying: “Take and drink of the love the Creator made visible through the life I have shared with you. Whenever you do this, I am among you.” (Pause)
ALL: Creator, we also remember our brothers and sisters who have gone before us and all the saints. Our memory of their choices helps us as we make our own. Thank you for pouring Your love out on them and all of us throughout eternity.
Presiders hold up bread and wine:
All: Through Jesus, we have learned how to live.
Through Jesus, we have learned how to love.
Through Jesus, we have learned how to serve.
Presider 1:Let us pray together as Jesus taught us
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.
May our Creator’s peace and joy be with you. Please share a sign of peace with each other.
Presider 1:Loving Creator, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.
All: We will live justly.
Presider 2: Loving Creator, You call us to be Your presence in the world.
All: We will love tenderly.
Presider 1: Loving Creator, You call us to speak truth to power.
All: We will walk with integrity in your presence.
Presider 2: This is Jesus, the Bread of Life. We are blessed to be called to this 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.
Presiders break the bread
Presider 1:As we share this Bread and Wine, one with the other, please say, “You are a Spark of the Divine.”
Join us in singing our Communion Song:
Presider 1: Loving Creator, may we pour out Your love on each other. May we like Jesus and his mother, Miriam, pour out that same love onto everyone we meet!