Sunday, March 25, 2018

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community Palm Sunday Liturgy 2018

Debra Trees, Annabella Roig and Julie Corron led the Upper Room Palm Sunday liturgy. Deb's homily starter is printed below.
Opening Prayer 

The disciples of Jesus, the people of his time, ran to join him on his ride into Jerusalem. They laid their very cloaks on the ground to soften his way and show him their respect and homage. Today, as we hold our palms and remember Jesus’s courageous stand to tell the truth as he saw it, let us bless these palms and each other. Let us hold a minute of silence as we bring peace to our space, each other, our world, our cosmos, and back to ourselves in this holy space that we create. May our blessed palms remind us of all of this during our coming reflection and celebration of Holy Week. Living Today, may we feel the joy of being courageous and standing up for what we believe. Amen.

Opening Song: Who Will Speak if You Don't

First Reading: A reading from the reflections of Joan Chittister, Cry Out, Lent, 2018.

It is your voice and mine, alone as well as together, that are meant to make God’s true nature known in the world. If we don’t point out the breakdowns in human community and make clear the unseen millions in need, they go on being unseen by the many.
It is not a matter of being able to change a thing that must occupy us. It is a matter of being willing to point out the problems – and do something about it – that counts.  To be part of a group intent on change, we must raise a great voice…

Most importantly, we must “cry out” the news of what God wants for the world for as long as it takes.  Our problem is that we expect change to come in our lifetime.  But nothing can ever happen until we ourselves begin to work for it, announcing to others what God desires for us all…  We may not see much improvement in our lifetime, but before we go, we can at least salt the atmosphere with questions where they cannot be ignored.  And that is valor enough for the moment.

These are the words of Joan Chittister and our community affirms them by saying, AMEN.

Responsorial: Spirit of the Living God

The Gospel Reading, Palm Sunday. (Luke 19:29-40)

Approaching Bethpage and Bethany, near what is called the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples with these instructions: “Go into the village ahead of you. Upon entering it, you’ll find a tethered colt that no one has yet ridden. Untie it and lead it back. If anyone should ask you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ Say, ‘The Rabbi needs it.’”
They departed on their errand and found things just as Jesus had said. As they untied the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you doing that?”  They explained that the Rabbi needed it. Then the disciples led the animal to Jesus and, laying their cloaks on it, helped him to mount.

People spread their cloaks on the roadway as Jesus rode along. As they reach the dissent from the Mount of Olives, the entire crowd of disciples joined them and began to rejoice and praise God loudly for the display of power they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of our God! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

Jesus replied, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the very stones would cry out!”

These are the words of Luke, and our community affirms them by saying:  AMEN.

Deb’s Homily Starter:

In his contemporary Book, Prayers for Progressive Christians, Michael Morwood challenges us with these words: “Palm Sunday invites us to consider what calling oneself a “Christian” or a follower of Jesus is really about. Let’s wave our palm branches for the right reason.”  That concept of waving those palm branches, or even putting my cloak down on the ground as Jesus rides “triumphantly” into Jerusalem, gave me pause to think about what I am really doing with my actions.
There was no triumphant entry. Jesus had no perceived power compared to the Roman and Priestly Jewish presence there in Jerusalem. He courageously stood up for what he knew to be true…  We are all created equal in God’s eyes. All of God’s creatures are precious. And the Holy One Loves Us.
Joan Chittister takes this concept then to another personal level when she asks us to consider what we will do in Response to Palm Sunday and the Entry into Jerusalem.  “This week I will cry out,  I will raise my voice for …” whatever it is that speaks to us personally.  As we reflect together in community today, consider how you will answer that challenge.   And if you feel comfortable, please share your personal response in our homily right now…

Liturgy of the Eucharist
(From Jay Murnane and Prayers for Progressive Christians, Michael Morwood)

Presider 1: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we lay our stoles upon the table as a sign that just as Jesus is anointed so is each of us.  We bring to this table our blessings, cares, and concerns. (Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table…”)

Presider 2: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together.  

All:  God beyond our words, we gather today mindful of the many times we have professed our readiness to be true disciples of Jesus, to be salt for the earth, to be light in the world.

We acknowledge the daunting challenge of this profession in the society in which we live, with its economic systems that impoverish and disempower people. We remember that Jesus encountered in his day systems as unjust as those we experience in our day, As we turn our hearts and minds to his message, hopes and dreams for a better society, we lift up our lives and sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy One, God of Justice, God of Light
Heaven and Earth are filled with Your Glory
Hosanna in the Highest.
Blest is the One Who comes in the name of our God.
Hosanna in the Highest, Hosanna in the Highest.

All:   We call to mind how Jesus urged his listeners to put their trust in the power of being neighbor, in the power of God’s Spirit within them, in the power of conversion from religious thinking and practices that made them feel inadequate and worthless. And so we thank you for Jesus, simple servant, lifting up the lowly, revealing you as God-With-Us, and revealing us as one with you and all of creation.

On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would re-member him.

Presider 1:  (lifts bread as community prays the following:)

All: 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 of the Bread of Life 
Given to strengthen you  
Whenever you remember me like this  
I am among you. (pause) 

Presider 2  (lifts the cup as community prays the following: )

All: Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace saying: 
Take and drink of the covenant 
Made new again through my life in you. 
Whenever you remember me like this, 
I am among you.  (pause)

Let us share this bread and cup 
To proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace

All: Our prayer today is a prayer of resolve, a prayer of determination that we, each one of us, will do whatever we can, however small, in whatever way, to bring the real dream of Jesus to fruition in our lives and in our world today.

So, we trust you to continue to share with us your own spirit, the spirit that animated Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, all honor and glory is yours, O Holy One, forever and ever. Amen.

Presider 1: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

O Holy One, who is within, around and among us, 
We celebrate your many names. 
Your Wisdom come. 
Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us, 
Each day you give us all 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  
(Miriam Therese Winter) 

Prayer for the Breaking of Bread

Presider 2:  Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread:
Presiders break the bread
All:   O Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will live justly.
You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will love tenderly.
You call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk with integrity in your presence.
(Presiders hold up bread and wine)

Presider 1: "This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other.
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.

Presider 2: Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. We belong to the divine and to each other, and nothing can separate us. Everyone is invited to receive at this friendship table. We will pass the bread and wine with the words: You are the Face of God.

Communion Song: Jerusalem, My Destiny


Presider 1:  Let us raise our palms in blessing and pray together:

All: At the start of Holy Week, we focus on Jesus human like us. As a man willing to die for what he believed, a man that had to trust that those who came after him would keep his dream alive, may we walk with an awareness of our Call as companions on the journey, knowing we are not alone. May we, like Jesus, be a shining light and a blessing in our time!

All: Amen.

Closing Song: Lean On Me


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