Sunday, February 5, 2017

Upper Room Liturgy - Afire with Divine Presence

Liturgy at the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community, Albany, NY
February 5, 2017
Presiders: Marge Milanese and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP.

Welcome to our inclusive catholic community. On this fifth day of February we begin a new month in ordinary time. Our theme today is Afire with Divine Presence. As we begin, "let us be ever mindful that the day begins with the sun and ends with the moon and stars, and what we do in between is our gift to the world." (Reyna Craig)

Opening Song: Imagine by John Lennon

Opening Prayer: We gather as a community committed to the creative power of Love, the human expression and the Spirit of that Love dwelling in each of us.   As we prepare to celebrate this glorious mystery of the Divine Presence within us and our gathering, we open our minds and hearts to hear your Word. We ask for the grace to continually acknowledge our need to grow in goodness and caring for ourselves and for others. And joining with Jesus, we believe the strength and insight of the Holy One will lead us to deeper dedication to justice, equality and peace in our world.   

First Reading:
A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah - IS 58:7-10
 Thus says the Holy One:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the Holy One shall be your rear guard.
If you remove from your midst
oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
if you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

Second Reading:
 A Reading from Psalm 112  - Interpreted by Nan Merrill

Praises be to you, O Gracious One!
Blessed are those who reverence the Holy One,
who delight in Love Consciousness!

For they dwell with the Beloved,
and their children will learn of peace and justice.
Abundance and wholeness will be their heritage,
and truth will be their banner.
Light penetrates the darkness for those
who face their fears;
love stands by them with mercy and forgiveness.

It goes well for those who are loving and kind,
who live their days with justice and integrity.
They become co-creators with the Divine One;
they bless the world with their presence.

In times of trouble, they know not fear;
their hearts are firm,
trusting in your loving Companion Presence.
Yes their hearts are steady, they are not afraid,
even their enemies are blessed by their love.

They are generous and give freely;
the needy are offered shelter and food;
justice and mercy make their home there;
and their righteousness endures forever.

The unloving are witness to this;
Who knows when the Seed
will find a fertile heart?
The fruits of those who know love
are blessing to all!

These are the inspired words of our ancestors as interpreted by Nan Merrill. And to these inspired words we say, Amen.

Light from Light  - A reading based on the Gospel of Matthew
Written by Archbishop Oscar Romero

A Christian community is evangelized in order to evangelize.
A light is lit in order to give light.
A candle is not lit to be put under a bushel, said Christ.
It is lit and put up on high in order to give light.
That is what a true community is like.
Community is a group of men and women who have found the truth in Christ and in his gospel,
and who follow the truth
and join together to follow it more strongly.
It is not just an individual conversion,
but a community conversion.
It is a family that believes, a group that accepts God.
In the group, each one finds that the brother or sister is a source of strength,
and that in moments of weakness they help one another,
and by loving one another and believing,
they give light and example.
The preacher no longer needs to preach,
for there are Christians who preach by their own lives.
I said once and I repeat today
that if, unhappily, someday they silence our radio
and don't let us write a newspaper,
each of you who believe must become a microphone,
a radio station, a loudspeaker,
not to talk, but to call forth faith.
I am not afraid that our faith may depend only on the archbishops preaching;
I don't think I'm that important.
I believe that this message,
which is only a humble echo of God's word,
enters your hearts,
not because it is mine,
 but because it comes from God.

These are the inspired words of Archbishop Oscar Romero, prophet, visionary and saint.


Enlivened by the Spirit of Hope rooted in Love “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire." (Teilhard de Chardin)

May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart
May you see in what you do, the beauty of your own soul.

May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light, and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you. May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration, and excitement.  May you be present in what you do.

May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises.  May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected.
May your soul calm, console, and renew you.     
(from Anam Cara by John O’Donohue)

May the fire of God's love ignite our hearts in love; may the passion of Jesus radiate through us; may the Spirit of truth and justice burn within us forever. 
All:  Amen.

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