Monday, November 13, 2017

Upper Room Liturgy - November 12, 2017

Dennis McDonald, ARCWP, and Deven Horne led the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community liturgy on Sunday, November 12, 2017. Dennis’ homily starter (below) is based on the theme of Divine Wisdom and the need to be always prepared for the appearance of the Divine in our lives. 

The liturgy began with the song, NamastĂ© followed by a guided mediation on peace led by Deven.

Peace Meditation led by Deven Horne

Begin by folding your hands across you heart and finding the peace inside your heart, the indwelling spirit of peace and kindness.

Drawing upon this source of peace, extend your right hand toward the person on your right and send out peace to him or her.

Continue drawing upon your source of peace and extend your left hand toward the person on your right extending peace.

Continuing further send that spirit of peace to this community gathered here and now in this room.

Further extend our circle of peace to the community whose building we share, giving peace.

Take our circle of the spirit of peace to the city that we live in and all those living beings and things calling this home.

Extend the circle further to bring to mind our country and all those residing here, may there be peace.

Lastly widen the circle to the whole planet earth and all its inhabitant, living things and creatures and send the spirit of peace.  Amen.

Dennis’ homily starter based on Wisdom 6:12-16 and Matthew 25:1-13.

The Gospel this week is another example of the author expressing his views and those of some members of the early Christian community, that there will be those who have prepared and those who haven’t for the second coming, and thus face the reward and the consequences.  The Jesus Seminar Fellows deem this as not the language of Jesus, who was about breaking down barriers and the division of people into the haves and have-nots.  He was about the presence of the Divine being here and now.  There is no need to talk of the Second Coming, because Jesus’ message we So, what can we gain from today’s readings?

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom (side note, not in most protestant bibles), speaks of Wisdom, another name for the Spirit, and the call for us to prepare for her revelation in our lives.  It is the seeking of Divine Wisdom on our path of life, where she will meet us right where we are, not necessarily when we complete our journey of seeking, but even halfway in our attempt to be open to where we might be led by the Spirit. If we are attentive, our light of faith will be seen.

This brings us to the Gospel and the ten maidens, five with oil and five without.  As mentioned above this parable was written by the author and is not as one told by Jesus.  But here’s what we can take away from it as members of the Upper Room. We are being called to prepare, to have the flame of our desire to know the Divine calling in our lives.  This takes continuous practice, continuous prayer. We see in this parable those who stay connected, who keep the oil and wicks fresh for the fire when it ignites their souls.  There are times when we don’t do so well in this regard. We get distracted with family matters or work, or relationships. And so we don’t remain focused on our relationship with the Holy One or with Jesus.  We disconnect, run out of fuel, to the point that we don’t think about it until something occurs that we suddenly recognize the need for the connection to the Divine. 

The good news for us, is that unlike the outcome of this story, where those without oil are left out of the feast, the message attributed to Jesus is that all are welcome into relationship with the Divine at anytime, anywhere, being met where they are on their journey, for the kindom is here and now and our relationship with the Divine is assured.  We only have to open ourselves to the deep love that will refill us and rekindle the flame of desire in our relationship with the Holy One. 

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener.
It is to keep the vigil of mystery, earthless and still. One leans to catch the stirring of the Spirit, strange as the wind’s will.
turns like a wandering weather-vane toward love.
It may lament like Job or Jeremiah,
echo the wounded hart, the mateless dove.
It may rejoice in spaciousness of meadow
that emulates the freedom of the sky.
it has cast down forever from its hand
the compass of the whither and the why.
It is becoming love, and like to Him
toward Whom we strain with metaphors of creatures:
fire-sweep and water-rush and the wind’s whim.
The soul is all activity, all silence;
and though it surges Godward to its goal,
it holds, as moving earth holds sleeping noonday,
the peace that is the listening of the soul.
The soul that walks where the wind of the Spirit blows
Always it walks in waylessness, unknowing;
To live with the Spirit of God is to be a lover.

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