Sunday, May 13, 2018

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for Mother's Day 2018

Liturgy in Celebration of Women-Spirit Rising
Deb Trees, ARCWP, and Deven Horne led the Upper Room Mother’s Day liturgy with the theme: Women-Spirit Rising.

Opening Prayer  PEACE REFLECTION by Deb Trees
Please close your eyes and feel the quiet space around you. As you breathe in, note your own center. Send quiet peace to the person on your left, and around the circle. Switch to the right and send quiet peace around. As we reach ourselves, let us send that quietness to the center of our group, up to the sky above, flowing out to our surrounding areas, and finally back to ourselves in compassion. Love is our quiet awareness.

With our final breath, we feel the Holy Ones’ presence within. Amen. 

Opening Song:  I and the Mother are One by Jan Phillips

First reading:  One Living God
From She Who Is by Elizabeth Johnson

Even if this were not the case, it would obviously be advantageous to reclaim the power and vulnerability of mothering as metaphor for God. The experience of originating others and of nurturing them into maturity is not solely a male one but is intensely female on a fundamental biological and psychological level. Women conceive, bear in their own bodies, and give birth to new persons; human beings receive life and nurture from their mothers in a diversity of ways, and the consequent complex relationship is profoundly formative of persons and society.  Human relationship to the creative origin of the world traditionally expressed in relation to God as father is thus excellently carried in the symbol of God as mother. Speaking about God critically in these terms yields an understanding of divine reality shaped by the wonder, greatness, and hard work of a particular female experience, suggesting that where good mothering is found there we have hints to divine relationality with the world. In the patriarchal social context the maternal metaphor brings to bear a different vision. Language traced on this female pattern intimates that birth-giving, nurturance, play and delight in the other, unmerited love, fierce protectiveness, compassion, forgiveness, courage, service and care of the weak and vulnerable characterize what surrounds us as absolute mystery. Women’s living and life-giving experience as mothers is fitting metaphor for speech about the gracious Sophia-God of Jesus and her world-renewing Spirit.

These are the words of Elizabeth Johnson, and the community affirms them by saying: AMEN.

Gospel:  Mark 16: 15-20

Then Jesus told them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation.
“The one who believes it and is baptized will be saved, the one who refuses to believe it will be condemned. Signs such as these will accompany those who have professed their faith: In my name they will expel demons, they will speak in new tongues; they will be able to handle poisonous snakes; if they drink anything deadly, it will not harm them, and the sick upon whom they lay their hands will recover.
Then after speaking to them, the Savior was taken up into heaven and was seated at God’s right hand. The disciples went forth and preached everywhere. Christ worked with them and confirmed their message through the signs which accompanied them.
These are the words of Mark, and the Community affirms them by saying: AMEN.

Shared Homily 

Homily Reflection by Deven Horne

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus shares one last time a teaching with his disciples. Like a good mother who has given all she can of her wisdom, love and protection, he now releases them to the world with confidence that they are ready and he tells them to go out into the whole world. Then Jesus leaves them. Imagine the confidence of a parent telling a child he or she is ready for the whole world. Not stay close to home so I can keep track of you or help you. But go far and wide. My mother recently ascended, left me, and I could not help but think of the parallels of her life to this scripture and to Jesus. I never remember my mother telling me I couldn’t do something that I told her I wanted to do.  Where did I get that confidence except from knowing she believed I could do it. Jesus believed his disciples could do anything if they believed as he believed in them. He told them they could speak new languages, heal the sick, fight off serpents and much more than him.

Where would we be without the feminine God preparing us to be on our own? The One who as Elizabeth Johnson tells us in her book “She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse”, “that where good mothering is found there we have hints of divine relationship with the world”.

Throughout Jesus’s life as throughout my mother’s life, I learned about “birth-giving, nurturance, play and delight in the other, unmerited love, forgiveness, courage, service and care for the weak”. Ascension and separation has to happen in life so that we can have life. As the disciples wept as Jesus left, so I wept when my mother left with the ingrained memory of divine love which I am ever grateful. Whether the life of giving and teaching was short as in Jesus’s case or very long as in my mother’s, the impact is the same and as powerful as only the Divine Grace can be. In an instant, and over time, and throughout time eternal, we are born into the creative, nurturing love that only the Divine spirit can give and we are sent forth to continue to create that love wherever we go and for as long or as short a time we live, because we were created from and know that maternal love.

Homily Conclusion by Deb Trees

Thank you everyone for your wonderful insights and sharing. Deven and I wanted to say how the words of Jesus to his disciples impacted us:  Not just go and share the Good News with the other people, but with “ALL of CREATION.”  In another version of the Gospel, “with All CREATURES”.  That message of Constant Love impacting everything we do and then sharing it with ALL is what is amazing to us about the Creator’s Mothering Ways. We wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day!

Statement of Faith

All: We believe in the Holy One, a divine mystery
beyond all definition and rational understanding,
the heart of all that has ever existed,
that exists now, or that ever will exist.

We believe in Jesus, messenger of the Divine Word,
bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion,
bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's
prophets, mystics, and saints.

We believe that We are called to follow Jesus
as a vehicle of divine love,
a source of wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of peace in the world.

We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One,
the life that is our innermost life,
the breath moving in our being,
the depth living in each of us.

We believe that the Divine kin-dom is here and now,
stretched out all around us for those
with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it,
and hands to make it happen.


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.  And, 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 1:  We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Presider 2:  O Holy One, you have been called by many names by many people in the centuries of our planet’s life. Yet, no name truly defines you or describes you.  We celebrate you as the marvelous, loving energy of life who caused us and our world to be. We celebrate you as the Source of light and life and love, and we celebrate your presence and all-ways care.

Presider 1: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together: WomanSpirit Rising written by Jay Murnane.

O Holy One, You give us life, and we live and breathe with your Spirit. You create us female and male; You call us good, and we live as equal partners. You share the earth with us, and we, as co-creators with you, complement your ongoing activity of creation.

Among all our blessed ancestors, we celebrate the women who gently and firmly confronted the structures of oppression in their times with unique vision and compassion: Sarah, Deborah, Judith, Miriam, Ruth, Esther, Anna, Miriam of Nazareth, Julian, Hildegard, and so many more.

United with them, with WomenSpirit rising, with our Mother-Planet and her people everywhere, with one another and You, O Holy One, our spirits dance and sing this song of praise:

Blessed be our God!
Blessed be our God!
Joy of our hearts, source of all life and love!
God of Heaven and Earth!
God of Heaven and Earth!
Dwelling within, calling us all by name!
Alleluia, sing!
Alleluia, sing!

From Alleluia Sing
by David Haas

We give grateful thanks for all your faithful servants, opening for all of us a path to life. We are thankful for all the women who risked everything they had so that all of us could live in a better, brighter world.

We give grateful thanks for our brother, Jesus who showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands.  He showed us how to be free of the blindness and paralysis of fear.

He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough, and that remains our clarity in the midst of confusion: the miracle of healing, new hope, nurturance, nourishment, liberation and life.

On the night before he faced his own death and for the sake of living fully, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly within them, he bent down and washed their feet.

(Presider 1 lifts plate)

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

(Presider 2 lifts cup)

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.

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

O Holy One, we have felt deeply the barrenness of our lives and of our community. Yet, we have always been pregnant with your creative Word and your life-giving Spirit.

We make new our commitment to the harmony of the original vision of creation living
justly, loving tenderly, and walking this earth with integrity.  We will bind and blind and burden no longer and use our gifts only for life.

We will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and our small circles. Like Jesus, we are filled with your Spirit and with You, we renew the face of the earth.

for it is through living as Jesus lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within,
Moving us to glorify you,
O Holy One,
At this time and all ways.

Presider 2: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

All:  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)  

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 lift the bread and wine

Presider 1: "This is the bread of life. 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. You are a spark of the Divine and nothing can separate you from God’s love. All are welcome to receive at this table.  Please pass the bread and the cup with the words “You are the Mothering Spirit of God.”

Communion Song:  Berakah, The Blessing by Jan Novotka

Presider 2: Please raise your hands and join in our blessing:

Blessed is She who spoke and the world became.  Blessed is She.
Blessed is She who in the beginning gave birth.
Blessed is She who says and performs.
Blessed is She who declares and fulfills.
Blessed is She whose womb covers the earth…
Blessed is She who lives forever and exists eternally.
Blessed is She who redeems and saves. Blessed is Her Name.

Final Blessing: (From E. Johnson, She Who Is…)

Closing Song  Women’s Spirit  by Karen Drucker

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