|Sally Brochu ARCWP and Janet Blakeley ARCWP, Presiders|
|Ann Cooke, lector, Linda Lee Miska, Music Minister at piano|
|Anna Davis, Sally Brochu, Bob MacMillan|
GATHERING SONG: #47 - “Beyond the Moon and Stars” - (Dan Schutte) Verses 1,4,5
Presider: As we gather together in this sacred place and share in this banquet of love, let us pray in the name of God, our Creator, of Christ, our liberator, and of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier.
Presider: My sisters and brothers, God is with you! ALL: And also with you.
ALL: O Holy One, in this journey into the heart of compassion, we celebrate your love as we see it. Open our eyes and hearts to the message of the Gospel so that your inspiration and peace may rule in our hearts, your justice guide our lives, and your love direct and support us in our concern and care for one another. You call us to recognize and warmly welcome everyone who comes through our doors as your presence among us, which they are. In communion with Jesus, our brother, and with the power of your Spirit, we will try to live the example of your love each day. Amen.
Presider: Creator God to whom all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and from whom no secrets can be hidden, cleanse our hearts by the inspiration of Holy Wisdom.
ALL: We take your Word into our minds and hearts. Open them to new understanding.
Presider: We ask for the grace to continually acknowledge our need to grow in goodness and caring for ourselves, for others and for our earth, and all the while to be Jesus for others and to meet Jesus in others.
ALL: We accept your love and understanding of the frailty of our human nature.
Presider: And we join with you, Jesus the Christ, believing the strength and insight of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper dedication to justice, equality and peace in our world. ALL: Amen.
(All raise hands extended in blessing over one another)
Presider: God, our Father and Mother of Mercy and Love,
ALL: Through his living, dying and rising, Jesus has revealed that nothing can separate us from your infinite love. May you, Loving God, give us pardon and peace, and may we forgive each other our failures to care for one another and our earth in the name of you, our Creator, of Jesus, our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our wisdom. Amen.
GLORY TO GOD
ALL: (sung) Glory to God, glory, O praise and alleluia. Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God. (3x)
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Acts 2: 42-47 (Response: Thanks be to God)
Responsorial Psalm 118 (written by Nan Merrill)
Response: #814 “This is the day that our God has made, let us rejoice and be glad, for this is the day our God has made; alleluia, alleluia”.
Second Reading: Excerpt from the Book “Mercy – The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life” by Cardinal Walter Kasper (p. 111) (Response: Thanks be to God)
Gospel Acclamation: # 565 - “Alle, Alle, Alleluia!”
Gospel: Luke 24: 1-12 (Response: Glory and praise to Jesus, the Christ)
Today’s readings, which seemingly are not connected, give me the opportunity to speak of the good news of the resurrection with a slightly different focus. Let me first say that the first reading from Acts is a look at the early community of Christians after the resurrection and after the Spirit-filling event of Pentecost. These Christians, although there were well aware of the possible threats from the outside, they lived with love and caring for one another and without fear. As in the Psalm 118 that we read, they knew that God was with them and walked with them each day. For me, this is a reminder of how we are called to live each day, with a deep trust in a loving and merciful God.
The second reading is an excerpt from Cardinal Walter Kasper’s book, “Mercy”. Although, it is a very dense read, the message of God’s loving mercy, as the central message, reminds us that we too will experience our resurrection after we die and return to our loving Source of all Life – this same God who created us with that spark of the divine within us, desires union again with us. Now you might say, yes but am I good enough! After all, we were taught that we are sinful people and may not be deserving of heaven, or at least not right away. We really need to look at the theology behind this, namely the Theology of Atonement. This was developed in the 5th century by the Dominican, to somehow explain evil in the world. These teachings taught that we were all born with original sin and that Jesus had to come to die for us, to save us and then open the gates of heaven for us. These teachings also almost took God out of the picture, and made God in our own image. God became a judging, fearful God, much like the Roman gods and the Roman leaders. What happened to the God of Mercy? And what happened to the Theology of Blessing that was actually taught by the Franciscans during this same period of time as the Theology of Atonement. Sadly, the Theology of Atonement won out and became the teaching of the Roman Church. Gone was the God who delighted in us and created us without original sin – yes, without! Gone was the God of Mercy who in God’s own way looked at our broken lives, yet saw into our hearts and then said “Come on home”.
Today’s Gospel, is not the gospel for this week, but one that I chose to take another look at the resurrection and dove-tails with the previous readings. It tells of the story, about the women who were there at the crucifixion. This gospel isn’t often told because it favored the women who were there and who first experienced Jesus resurrection – and then tried to tell the men about it – and who didn’t believe them. I can’t help making this aside, but things haven’t changed much! But I digress!
The point that I want to make about the resurrection story is contained in an article that I recently read. It was a book review of a recent book that was written by Scripture Scholar, John Dominic Crossan and his wife Sarah. The article speaks an icon that the Crossans saw in an 11th century Cappadocian Church that led them to an in-depth quest of deeper understanding of the implications of the theology behind this icon. May I add that this icon can be seen today in every Greek Orthodox Church throughout the world. “Unlike the lone figure of a triumphant Christ generally seen in Western Churches, this icon that they first saw in Turkey showed Christ surrounded by other human beings. This led them to question why Western Christianity depicts the individual resurrection of Jesus, whereas Eastern Church icons show a universal resurrection for Jesus and all humanity together”. Resurrection in Greek is referred to as ‘anastasis’ which literally means ‘up-rising’. The conclusion of the Crossans’ study, as believed by the Eastern Church, was that “Christ’s resurrection was a divine, universal, communal event. It was not for the sake of stunning us with his (Jesus) divine glory. It was so we – the new Adam and the new Eve created in God’s image – can rise and live fully in the light of divine goodness.” For me, this new way of seeing the resurrection, speaks of the God of love and mercy, a God who never abandons us and who walks the walk with us, and who in the end, welcomes us home.
Article: Book Review, written by Melissa Jones, National Catholic Reporter:- ‘ “Eastern Icons Challenge Notion of Resurrection” a new book by Scripture Scholar John Dominic Crossan and Sarah Sexton Crossan’.
Profession of Faith:
ALL: We believe in one God, a divine mystery beyond all definition and understanding. God the Creator, is the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that will ever exist. God's divinity infuses the entire cosmos, making everything in it sacred.
We believe in Jesus, the messenger of God's Word, bringer of God's healing and the center of God's compassion. Through his incarnation, we have become a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness.
We believe in the Spirit, the Wisdom that strengthens our call to follow Jesus who is a vehicle of God's love, a source of God's compassion and truth, and the instrument of God's peace in the world.
And we believe that God's kin-dom is here now and will be forever. It is stretched out all around us for those with eyes to recognize it, and hands to share it with everyone.....with no exceptions.
Presider: We are people of faith. We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that we send blessings to those who are struggling and who need to experience hope, to those who are grieving and need to be comforted in their loss, to those who are facing medical challenges that they be granted hope and healing. We bring the needs of the people throughout our community and our world to our gracious God.
After each intercession, the response is: ALL: Loving God, bless our petitions.
Presider: Presider: That those who are hungry and homeless, especially the children, that they may receive the food and shelter that they so badly need, we pray. ALL: Loving God, bless our petitions.
Presider: For what else shall we pray?
Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. Strengthen us as we strive to respond to the needs of your people. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.
Offertory Song: “#553 – The Sacrifice of Praise” (Michael Joncas) Verses. 1,2,3
* * Please change “Father” to “God” and “Master” to “Creator”
PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS
Presider: Blessed are you, gracious God of all life, through your goodness we have this bread, wine, all creation and our own lives to offer. ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation as we respond to your call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers. ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our table, now invites all of us to join him at his. There is room and a place for everyone at this table. Please join us in this circle of love that feeds us all on our life’s journey. (Everyone is welcome and has a place at God’s table).
Presider: As we recognize God within each other, let us greet one another at this table.
ALL: Namaste! Namaste! Namaste!
Presider: Pray my friends that as we celebrate this breaking of bread and blessing of wine we accept more fully the mission of our Church by actively living our response to God’s call.
ALL: May our gracious God accept these gifts for the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good, and for the good of all our Church.
Presider: God is always with you. ALL: And also with you.
Presider: Together, we lift up our hearts. ALL: To God and one another we lift them.
Presider: Together, we give thanks to our gracious God. ALL: Indeed it is right to constantly give thanks and praise.
Voice: Gracious God, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit who enlivens all that exists, we beseech your healing power upon us and all for whom we pray today. We join together with our community, with all creation everywhere, with all those who have gone before us and live in the eternal now (Names of our loved ones…………)
Let us sing:
ALL: We are holy, holy, holy (x3), we are whole. (You, I, We) By Karen Drucker
Voice: We ask you to enliven anew in our hearts the empowering grace of your abundant Spirit, who infuses for us these gifts of bread and wine with the transforming energy of life, to nourish and sustain us in all times and especially in times of need.
(Please all extend hands as we recite the consecration together.)
ALL: Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted, Jesus took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread and gave it to his disciples and said: take this, all of you, and eat it; this is my body which will be given up for you.
ALL: When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup. Again he gave You thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said, take this all of you, and drink it; this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all. Do this in memory of me.
Presider: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
ALL: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
Voice: (Please place your hand on the shoulder of the person to your right)
As we gather around this Eucharistic table, we recall God’s blessing and love from ages past, and we celebrate anew the gift we share among us at this Eucharistic feast. May the Spirit of life and wholeness, who transforms the gifts we present, transform us too, that we may be refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring mercy, love and healing to those whose lives we touch and who are Jesus to us.
Voice: Remember Gracious God, your Church throughout the world that we are open to all of your creation, all of your people everywhere who are made in your image, for you are a God of Extravagant Love for all of us.
Voice: Grant that, in union with all peoples living and dead, we may strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished, where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can live in health and wholeness. Let us be united in acclaiming the God of Life, whose abundance is offered to each and to all, until the Kin-dom arrives in the fullness of time.
ALL: Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, gracious God, forever and ever. Amen (sung).
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
Presider: Let us join hands and raise our voices as we sing the Prayer Jesus taught us:
ALL: Our Father and Mother…….
Presider: Deliver us, God of Love, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us holy in your sight and protect us from all anxiety and fear. We watch and wait, discerning signs that You are continually with us.
THE SIGN OF PEACE
Presider: Jesus, You said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you. My peace I give you.” Look on the faith of all and grant us the peace and unity of your kin-dom where you live forever and ever. ALL: Amen.
Presider: May the peace of our gracious and loving God be always with you. ALL: And also with you.
Presider: Let us offer each other the gift of peace..
LITANY FOR THE BREAKING OF BREAD
Presider: Loving God,
ALL: You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God,
ALL: You call us to be the presence of Jesus in the world. We will love tenderly.
Presider: Loving God,
ALL: You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.
Presider: This is Jesus, our Light, who liberates, heals and transforms our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. ALL: We are the Body of Christ.
After Communion Song: #332 – “Bread That Was Sown” (Weston Priory) Verses 1, 4, 6
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
Presider: May love, wonder, gratitude and thanksgiving fill us, may compassion fully fill our hearts, that you may heal the numbness that continues because of our society’s injustices. May we each know that we are loved and may we continue to be the face of God to each other. Amen.
PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE / INTRODUCTIONS / ANNOUNCEMENTS
Presider: May God be with you. ALL: And also with you.
Presider: Let us call upon our gracious God as we share blessings with each other. We bless one another and pledge to live the Gospel of Christ. ALL: Amen.
(Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing.)
ALL: May our gracious God, bless us all gathered here, in the name of God our Creator, in the name of Jesus our Light, in the name of the Holy Spirit our Wisdom, as we care and minister to one another in love, for we are the Body of Christ and the face of God to the world. Amen.
Presider: Go in the peace of Christ. Let our service continue!
ALL: Thanks be to God.
CLOSING HYMN: #422 – “Canticle of the Sun” – (Marty Haugen) Verses 4,5,6)