All: In the name of God our creator, and of Jesus our beloved Brother, and of Sofia Holy Spirit our wisdom. Amen.
Presider: God is with you. All: And also with you.
All: O God, Source of all good, you constantly broke through our history calling us to love, peace and justice. Your Word made flesh in Jesus is a new call and a new beginning. As we celebrate his birth we ask to renew this vision and our fidelity to Jesus who is the Way. We ask this in his name. Amen.
See Sheet for Readings
Shared Homily “Who am I as I visit the stable this year?”
Profession of Faith. All: We believe in God who is creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus the Christ our brother and Beloved Son of God who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge injustices. We believe in the Communion of Saints our heavenly friends and family, who support us on life’s journey. We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and world. We believe that all are one in the community of creation. We believe that God calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously. Amen.
Presider: Always mindful of God’s love and care for us, we bring the needs of God’s people to our loving Creator and Sustainer.
Response: Emmanuel God with us, hear our prayer.
Presider: That the 2018 Federal and State budgets will provide for the Common Good of Americans and a healthy environment for all, we pray. Response.
Presider: For what else should we pray…
Presider: We know you hear our prayers; those we speak and those we keep in our hearts. Energize our community coming to the stable especially at this Christmas season. All: Amen
PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS
Presider: Blessed are you, O God, Seeker of all. This bread is your MMOJ community coming to your birth place in our hearts bringing ourselves as a gift for you. Through your divine providence, we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of life. ALL: Praise to God forever.
Presider: Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all. This wine is our desire to live following your Way for healing and peace. Through your divine providence, we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink. ALL: Praise to God forever.
Presider: Divine Presence, we are united in this sacrament by the love of our Brother Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate and all those who seek to be the Compassionate presence of God in our world ALL: Amen.
All: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have this bread and this wine and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal and the gifts of faith and hope may we become your new creation. Amen.
All Sing: We are holy holy holy (x3) We are whole; You are holy holy holy (x3) You are whole; I am holy (x3) I am whole; We are holy holy holy (x3) We are whole.
All: Come Holy Spirit and settle on this bread and wine. Fill them with the wholeness of our living Cosmic Christ born in a stable and living in us today.
Remembering Jesus. (hand extended in blessing):
All: On the night before he died, while at supper with his friends, Jesus took bread, broke it, and shared it with those present, saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat. This is my body which will be broken for you.”(Pause)
Then Jesus took a cup of wine and shared it with those present, saying, “Take this all of you and drink. This is the cup of my life-blood. Do this in memory of me.”
All (2nd Invocation of Spirit, with hand on each other’s shoulder): Come Holy Spirit to rest on us. Refreshed from our worship together and joined with Jesus’ parents Joseph and Mary, the shepherds, and the wise ones; may we extend your Love and peace to all we meet. Amen
Prayer of Jesus “Our Father and Mother”
Song of Peace Love is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me, flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free. Hope is flowing…Alleluia
Litany for Breaking of Bread.
All: Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power. We will do so!
Loving God, you call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will do
Loving God, you call us to be your presence in the world. We will do so!
Presider: This is Jesus born in a humble stable who liberates, heals and transforms us and our world. All are invited to partake of this banquet of love and to live as the Heart and Hands of Christ in our times. All: We are the Body of Christ.
Prayer of Thanksgiving (Didache, 100CE)
Men 1: For the thanksgiving, give thanks this way: First, for the cup: We thank you, Abba God, for the sacred vine of David your son, whose meaning you made clear to us through our brother Jesus, yours ever be the splendor.
Women 2: And for the bread fragment: We thank you, Abba God, for the life and wisdom whose meaning you made clear to us through Jesus, yours ever be the splendor.
All 3: As this fragment was scattered high on hills, but by gathering was united into one, so let your people from earth’s ends be united into your single reign, for yours are splendor and might through Jesus Christ down the ages.
Prayers of Gratitude from community
All (hand extended over community):
May God’s Light encircle you
May God’s Love enfold you
May God’s Peace encourage you
May God’s Hope fill your heart and soul.
May God’s Presence enrich you
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus in the stable and in our hearts each day. Amen
Presider: Let us go in the peace, faith, and hope of Christ, let our service continue! All: Thanks be to God.
A Very Merry and Blessed Christmas to you all and to your families and friends.
A blessed and safe New Year in 2018.
Thanks to and adapted from a liturgy by Michael and Imogene Rigdon of MMOJ-Sarasota
First Reading: “Receiving” as told by Latifa Amdur (read by a woman)
I was practicing as a naturopath in my small clinic in one rom of my two-room home in Sololá, Guatemala, 1973. I knew midwifery was next. My midwife and I were the only ones present at my son’s birth that same year. She had arrived just I time to catch him. It was, and remains, the most precious moment of my life. I knew I had more karma with that. I had spoken with my neighbors about the local comadrona. One day I was walking back from market with my son, Dov, on my back and she approached me. Shew as tiny, maybe 4 feet 8 inches, thin, her unwrinkled skin tight across her high cheekbones, her grey hair in thin braids, and her sparkling black eyes meeting mine. She wore traje (traditional woven Mayan dress) from Sololá. We were the only people on the path. Ancient comadrona and a gringa medicine woman. An odd couple.
Without introduction she said “Tienes que aprender a reciber el nen.” “You will learn to receive the baby. (Not deliver, but Receive!) And that’s what we spent the next two and one-half years doing together.”
“Learning to receive. We receive a baby. We don’t deliver it. We receive the gifts of the Creator. We don’t make them happen. We receive love, we can’t make people love us. When we risk learning to receive, we risk getting what we want.” The inspired words of Anne Wilson Schaef. All: Thanks be to God.
Psalm Response: Men recite bold, women respond.
Come o Wisdom, Sophia’s Child and Mary’s too
Bring us back to you.
Come O Adonai, Child of Ancient Israel
Set us free of fear, despair, and misogyny.
Come O of Flower of Jesse’s tree, uproot our hatreds.
Wash us clean in just-reign waters
Plant us deep in thee.
Come O Key of David, Open heaven’s gate.
Unlock, unblock, this captive Church
Too long enthralled with (power).
Come O Radiant Dawn, dispel death’s dark shadow.
Light the way of all who long
To preach, to teach, to consecrate Heavenly Hosts
Of God’s indwelling.
Come O Emmanuel, God’s gladsome “with us” news,
Strengthen weary arms, steady trembling knees.
Bring surcease of sorrow.
All: Come O Advent Light, Pierce December gloom,
Quicken our waiting world with life’s fresh blessed tomorrow.
Bring joyful tidings of God’s new birth.
Come through the labor of a woman, borne
So all know well Emmanuel. Amen (Chris Schenk CSJ, 10/98 based on the O Antiphons)
Second Reading: “Her Amazement at Her Only Child” by Karol Wojtyla* (read by a man)
“Light piercing, gradually, everyday events; a woman’s eyes, hands used to them since childhood. Then brightness flared, too huge for simple days, and hands clasped when the words lost their space.
In that little town, my son, where they knew us together, you called me mother; but no one had eyes to see, the astounding events as they took place day by day. Your life became the life of the poor in your wish to be with them through the work of your hands.
I knew: the light that lingered in ordinary things, like a spark sheltered under the skin of our days—the light was you; it did not come from me.
And I had more of you in the luminous silence than I had of you as the fruit of my body, my blood.” The Inspired word of Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II. All: Thanks be to God.
Gospel: Luke 2:1-19 In those days, Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a consensus of the whole Roman World. This first census took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All the people were instructed to go back to the towns of their birth to register. And so Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the city of David—Bethlehem, in Judea, because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David; he went to register with Mary, his espoused wife, who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her delivery. Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son; she put him in a simple cloth wrapped like a receiving blanket, and laid him in a feeding trough for cattle, because there was no room for them at the inn.
There were shepherds in the area living in the fields and keeping night watch by turns over their flock. The angel of God appeared to them, and the glory of God shown around them; they were very much afraid. The angels said to them, “you have nothing to fear! I come to proclaim good news to you—news of a great joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in David's city, a savior—the Messiah---has been born to you. Let this be a sign to you: you'll find an infant wrapped in a simple cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly; there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in high heaven! And on earth, peace to those on whom God's favor rests. “
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see this event that God has made known to us.” They hurried and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger; once they saw this, they reported what they had been told concerning the child. All who heard about it were astonished at the report given by the shepherds. Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. The Good News of our salvation. ALL: Glory and Praise to our Brother Jesus, newborn Prince of Peace.
* (translated by Jerzy Peterkiewicz, Karol Wojtyla- Collected Poems, page 45, Random House, 1982)