Friday, January 20, 2017

Women's March On Washington - Liturgy

Liturgy in Celebration of WomenSpirit Rising - January 20, 2017
Eve of Women's March on Washington

Members of the ARCWP Community anoint and bless Peg Bowen and Kathie Ryan as they begin their new role as circle leaders:

We your community have called you forth and we bless you as you begin your year of service to the community as our circle leaders.

We anoint your head that you may have wisdom,
We anoint your ears so that you may hear clearly

We anoint your heart for the love you will share
We anoint your hands for the service you provide
We anoint your feet for the many miles

you will journey through this year.

Welcome and Theme:

Presider 1: We celebrate with joy the indwelling of the Holy One among us and honor the Divine Feminine with the theme WomenSpirit Rising. We celebrate women mystics, prophets and rebels who understood the message of Jesus and followed faithfully in his footsteps.  We stand on their shoulders as we faithfully live the Gospel.

Presider 2: Let us pray:  O Holy One, you birthed us and continue to nurture us.  We are your children and we are united with all of your children, those with us now and those who have gone before us.  We are grateful for all of the strong women who continue to encourage and inspire us to be prophets and mystics in our time.

Please join in singing our Opening Song:   

In A Circle of Women
By Jan Phillips


First Reading: Soul Sister 

By Edwina Gateley

I saw the God-light
Spilling from your eyes
Like a thousand stars
To light my way.
And as I smiled
Upon your radiant grace,
The face of God
Was all let loose
Upon the earth.

So now
I walk in awe
Conscious that I am tip-toeing
Upon divinity,
Waiting to spring forth
From beneath me
And surprise me
Like the thousand stars
I saw
Shining in your eyes.

Soul Whispers (2015)  p.84


Gospel: Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3) and Beatitudes for the 21st Century
 (Adapted by Jan Phillips)


"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed be the story-tellers, music-makers, and artists at life, for they are the true light of the world.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed be the tender-hearted who mourn and grieve the wars we've fought, the lives we've lost, may peace ride in on the river of their tears.

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.

Blessed be the Earth and those who tend her, for she is the source and sustenance of our lives.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.

Blessed be the children who hunger for food, learning, and homes that are safe, for their future is shaped by our choices today.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed be the persecuted and wrongly judged,
for theirs is a sorrow lessened only by mercy and human kindness.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed be the prophets who speak and write of a world beyond war, for theirs are the words becoming flesh.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Blessed be those who are calling for freedom, resisting oppression and risking their lives in the struggle for justice, for they are the shapers of a brighter world.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed be the refuges fleeing the violence of war and poverty may they find shelter, peace, and work that sustains them.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Shared Homily

Statement of Faith -Let up 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.


Presider 1: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to this table our blessings, cares, and concerns.

We remember all those who are having difficulty with their life's stories and working
through hard times… may they find and feel support and direction
We remember our fragile world struggling with serious ecology issues and those who
are striving to save our earth from destruction by humans.
We remember those who are struggling with war in their neighborhoods, towns and
nations... that world peace become a reality, neighbor to neighbor
We remember those who are involved with human trafficking.... victims and their
captors… that their lives become their own to cherish what they love.
We remember those who are unemployed and under employed suffering poverty that
they may find meaningful work that will give them dignity and sustenance enough to
simply live
We remember those lives that are endangered simply by their race, their beliefs or
their sex… that we as a human race Respect all our brothers and sisters because we
are all one people.
We remember those who are victims of abuse: sexual, spousal, child, elderly, that we listen to their individual stories and provide them safety from their abusers.
We pray for the perpetrators of terror that they may see themselves in their victims
and for the victims of their terrorism that they may find peace in living every day.
We remember those who cling to misogynistic ways, demeaning half the human race
that they begin to recognize women as equals.
We remember those who will lead our country and pray that wisdom will enlighten
them to work for the good of all.
We remember all these intentions with our ritual as well as with our lives.
(Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table…”)

Presider 1:  We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Presider 2:  O Holy One, you have been called by many names by many people in the centuries of our planet’s life. Yet, no name truly defines you or describes you.  We celebrate you as the marvelous, loving energy of life who caused us and our world to be. We celebrate you as the Source of light and life and love, and we celebrate your presence and all-ways care.

Presider 1: Please (gather around our friendship table and) join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together: WomanSpirit Rising written by Jay Murnane.

O Holy One, You are both Mother and Father to us. You give us life, and we live and breathe with your own Spirit.

You create us female and male; You call us good, and ask us to live as equal partners. You share the earth with us, and ask only that we compliment your ongoing activity of creation.

Among all our blessed ancestors, we celebrate the women who gently and firmly broke through the death-structures of their times with unique vision and compassion: Sarah, Deborah, Judith, Miriam, Ruth, Esther, Anna, Miriam of Nazareth, Julian, Hildegard, and so many more.

United with them, with WomenSpirit rising, with our vast universe, with our Mother-Planet and her people everywhere, with one another and You, Loving God, our spirits dance and sing this song of praise:

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

We give grateful thanks for all your faithful servants, opening for all of us a path to life. We thank you for all the women who risked everything they had so that all of us could live in a better, brighter world.

We thank you for your child and our brother, Jesus. He showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands.  He knew that we would be afraid; he showed us how to be free of the blindness and paralysis of fear.

He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough, and that remains our clarity in the midst of confusion: the miracle of healing, new hope, nurturance, nourishment, liberation and life.

On the night before he faced his own death and for the sake of living fully, 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 within them, be bent down and washed their feet.

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:

Take and eat; this is my very self.

He then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine saying:

Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life,
for you and for everyone,
for liberation from every oppression.
Whenever you do this, Re-member me!

O Holy One, we have felt deeply the barrenness of our lives and of our community. Yet, we have always been pregnant with your creative Word and your life-giving Spirit.

We have looked for others to save us and to save our world. Yet, we are called, and consecrated and sent into the world to establish justice and show the blessed fulfillment that comes with simplicity and the giving of ourselves in love.  

We will look at our world with open eyes, and make compassion our truest vision.  We will live in the belief that blindness, death and illusion have no final dominion.

We will make new our commitment to the harmony of the original vision of creation. We have held our sisters captive in so many ways and will no longer stand in the way of the development of any living creature, be that a person, a gathering of persons, or the earth herself.

We will live justly, love tenderly, and walk this earth with integrity.  We will bind and blind and burden no longer.  We will deliberately lay down our various weapons, and use our gifts only for life.

We will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and our small circles. Like Jesus, in all openness, we will be filled with your own Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

For it is through learning to live as he lived,
And why he lived,
And for whom he lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within,
Moving us to worship you truly,
Life-giving God,
At this time and all time and in all ways.
And we say yes to You!

Presider 2: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus:
By: Miriam Therese Winter

"O Holy One who is within us, around and among us, We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come; your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us.
Oh, 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!"

(Presiders lift bread and wine)

Presider 1: This is Jesus, 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.

Presided 2: Please pass the bread with the words, You are the Face of God, and the wine with the words, You are a spark of the Divine and please join in singing our communion song:

Communion Song: The Beauty of the Dancer
By Sara Thomsen


Presider 2: Let us pray together our blessing:

May we be blessed with discontent with easy answers, half truths, superficial relationships, so that we will live from deep within our hearts.
May we be blessed with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that we will work for justice, equality, and peace.
May we be blessed with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we will reach out our hands to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.
May we be blessed with the foolishness to think we can make a difference in this world, so that we will do the things which others tell you cannot be done. Amen.
Adapted from a “Mixed Blessing by Sister Ruth Fox, OSB

Presider 1: Please join in singing our Closing Song: Woman’s Spirit
words and music: Marvella McPartland & Lynn
Fugua  sung by: Karen Drucker

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