Monday, November 27, 2017

Upper Room Liturgy - November 26, 2017

Sunday, November 26th -  Final Sunday of Liturgical Year A
Debra Trees, ARCWP, and Pat Gumson lead the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy with the theme: Celebrating our oneness in the Cosmic Christ. Deb’s and Pat's reflections are below followed by a reading from Integral Christianity by Paul R. Smith.

Welcome: As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year, and go forward in preparation for what is to come, let us be in this space of knowing and awareness that has been so graciously gifted to us.
Opening Song: God Beyond All Names

Reflection by Deb Trees
You may have noticed that the second half of the gospel was not included in today’s reading. The scholars of the Jesus Seminar unanimously consented to the idea that this Non-parable, is not attributable to Jesus, but maybe to one of his followers, many years after his lifetime here. The concept of a ruling King and God in the sky are contemporary to Jesus’s time and place.

The idea of oneness of me with you sounds like Jesus’s teaching. Perhaps, we are continuing to get it a little at a time; to see ourselves in each other; to know that God is loving and the opposite of punitive. Perhaps we are continuing the progression of life-long, eon-long learning to slowly understand what Jesus tried to teach us two thousand years ago: “I am in You, and You are in Me”, and we are in each other:  A spark of the divine.
Reflection by Pat Gumson
Last Sunday, when Deb asked me to preside with her, I experienced many emotions all at once....surprise, almost shock, honor and fear....that I am not ready.    But it was an invitation, an opportunity I did not want to refuse.  I believe that opportunities are a lot like new born babies, they often arrive full of promise, but at unexpected, inconvenient times.
This Thanksgiving weekend in my little house I was feeding 22 with 9 sleeping over . .

The traditional gospel reading has some uncomfortable language about judgement, "separating the sheep from the goats", but the words "Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” speaks to me as a reference to eternal Christ Consciousness.  The next lines "I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me " reminded me of Richard Rohr's statement, "God is hidden in plain sight, yet religion seems determined to make it more complex." God is right there in front of you. Jesus is mystically saying that his divinity is in the hungry, the thirsty in everyone.

As for those who did not feed the hungry, etc.,  perhaps God was not so much turning them away as they were turning away from God  ... failing to see the divine in the human..  reminds me of the words of Marianne Williamson, "We are not punished FOR our sins , but By our sins"

Jesus was saying that how we treat others is how we treat him because we are all a spark, a fractal of his divinity. We are icons of the invisible Divine.

Traditional religion hid God in plain sight and suppressed our divine identity due to its' own lack of comprehension and a need to maintain power and control over the people.

How will we honor the divine in ourselves and in others?

Closing Song: O Great Love, by Jan Novotka

 Integral Christianity: Owning Our Divinity by Paul R. Smith
As I am writing today, I am reminded that this week is my birthday.  At least, it is my birthday into this body and dimension. My deepest, highest, truest Self was never born and will never die.  I can say with Jesus, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Before my parents were born, I am. The same “I Am” that was in Jesus is also in me.  The same mind of Christ that was in Jesus is also in me.  It is a truly happy birthday realization.
I insist upon the theme of Jesus’ divinity and ours because that is the only path that Christians can follow to the ultimate goal of the nonduality which Jesus called “the Kingdom of God” – identification and union with God.
The traditional church believes in original sin.  The postmodern church believes in original goodness.  The integral church believes in original divinity!

These are the inspired words of Paul Smith and the community affirms them by saying, AMEN.

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