Birth of John the Baptist – June 23, 2018
Co-Presiders: Pat MacMillan & Sally Brochu, ARCWP
Lectors: Cheryl Brandi & Mary Al Gagnon
Music Minister: Linda Lee Miller
“Then came one named John, sent by God, who came as a witness to testify about the Light, so that through his testament everyone might believe”.
GATHERING SONG: “Come to the Water” by John Foley, SJ
Presider: As we gather together in this sacred place and share in this banquet of love, let us pray in the name of our God for us whom we call Creator, in the name of our God alongside us whom we call Jesus, and in the name of our God within us whom we call Spirit.
Presider: My sisters and brothers, our Loving 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 lighten 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: Divine Mystery and Compassionate 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. (2x)
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6 (Response: Thanks be to God)
Responsorial Psalm 139 (written by Nan Merrill)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have loved you and you are mine,
I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have loved you and you are mine”.
Second Reading: Acts: 13: 23-26 (Response: Thanks be to God)
Gospel Acclamation: “Alle, Alle, Alleluia!”
Gospel: John 1: 6-8, 15, 19-28 (Response: Glory and praise to Jesus, the Christ)
Sally Brochu's homily starter:
Our readings today reflect the man, John, cousin of Jesus, the man who saw something extraordinary in the ordinary man, Jesus. He saw him as the One who was the Messiah whom prophets like Isaiah had foretold as coming to show us a new way of living one’s life. John seemed astounded that Jesus would come to him to be baptized, by saying simply, “I baptize only with water, but you baptize with the Spirit”. As I reflected on the relationship of these two cousins, who knew each other growing up, they attended the same family gatherings, and saw the goodness in each other. But John knew there was more. I think it was a growing awareness of Jesus and his goodness over the years and John so clearly saw this that day. It was his living faith and ability to see who Jesus was, that he became the first one at the beginning of Jesus public life to tell people: here is the One you have been waiting for, here is the One to follow. Listen to what he is teaching, watch how he lives his life, see how he loves. Because of his relationship with Jesus, John, by and through his life, encouraged people to follow Jesus.
How then does this scripture have meaning for us today? What I take from this is, do we like John in the way we live our lives speak of whether or not we are followers of Jesus and all that he taught and stood for. Do our lives reflect Jesus?
I’d like you to turn to the front page of today’s liturgy and look for the quote in blue letters. Now read it slowly to yourself, putting your name in place of John’s name. Read it twice, each time speaking your name. Can you believe this? Can you see yourself as being called by God for a special purpose in your life that only you can do? Is your life a “witness to testify about the Light” which is Jesus. Is your life such that “through your testament (the way you live your life) everyone might believe”?
Profession of Faith
All: We believe in the Divine Mystery, beyond all definition and understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist in the expanding universe.
We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, the human Jesus, an enlightened soul who carried the message of God’s Word, who brought the ability to show us how to heal ourselves and others, and the heart of God’s compassion. He is the bright star in the firmament of God’s prophets, mystics, and saints. And it is through him that we become a new people with a different story of salvation. We are here to share his stories of the new message, that we are all holy, we were born holy, and we shall be holy forevermore.
We believe in the Spirit, the one that inspires our innermost life. She keeps the Anointed One present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives. She strengthens our call to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God’s love. She is the one who helps us reach within ourselves so that we can heal and energize ourselves when our spirits may grow weary in our lives.
And we believe that God’s 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 take it to share with those around us.
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: 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: That hearts in Washington are changed so that the innocent, terrified immigrant children will be reunited with their parents.
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: “Our God is Here”
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 1: Gracious Wisdom, you embrace us with your extravagant affection in both our blessedness and times of weakness. You are always with us and live in us, and we in you. In this festive meal, your Spirit is poured out to each of us gathered in this circle of your disciples, to share your gift of shalom, our peace.
ALL: We are holy, holy, holy (3x), we are whole (You, I, We) - (Karen Drucker)
Voice 2: Gracious God, you have set the banquet table and have invited all of us to the feast of unending delight. Here we celebrate your divine love beyond what words can describe. Your divine compassion connects us to the young and the old, the least and the last, to everyone, everywhere, on our journey into the heart of your mercy.
Voice 3: We thank you, Holy Mystery, for the gift of Jesus of Nazareth in history –and the gift of Jesus in faith. You brought him from among your people to baptize us in your Spirit. His life was moved by his vision of your presence in himself and in his mission, and he recognized you in everyone he met. He showed us, through his example, not only how we should live, but also for what was worth dying.
Voice 4: And when his time on earth had come to a close, Jesus – aware of and accepting his destiny – gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death. And then, in providing an example of this wisdom for all people in the ages to come, he opened wide his arms…and died. And the Spirit that lived in Jesus is resurrected in all of us who decide to live the new story. Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.
ALL: We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died. He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this all of you and eat it. This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me and all I have taught you. (pause a moment, then continue….)
ALL: In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this all of you and drink it. This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me and all I have taught you.
Presider: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of our faith.
ALL: The Anointed One lives in us and through us in the world today.
Voice 5: God, we know that you bless your church throughout the world. We, your people, desire to grow in our love and caring for Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and with everyone we come in contact, especially those who live on the margins of church and society. They are all our brothers and sisters and are reflections of your presence within all your people. We remember also those, living and dead, who touched our lives and left their footprints on our hearts. We remember especially….(mention names, if you would like to…)
ALL: We believe that the Spirit of God is at work in and among us and will do more than we can ever ask or imagine. Amen. (sung, x times)
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: God of Love, 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 Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of nonviolence for peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God….All: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of forgiveness and understanding, healing and compassion everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.
Presider: Loving God . All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk humbly with you.
Presider: This is Jesus, who calls us to open doors that are closed and share our bread and wine on the altar of the world. All are invited to eat and drink at this sacred banquet of love.
All: When we share in this meal, we who have always been worthy, commit to live your teachings, dear Jesus, and to tell your stories that allow Spirit to rise up within us and empower us to bring the kin-dom of God to this world. This is the good news of salvation.
Presider: Let us share and spread this good news!
(As we share this sacred meal, we say to one another with the passing of the bread, “You are the love of God in the world.” When we share the wine we say, “You are the face of God in the world.”)
After Communion Song: Taste and See” by James Moore
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 one another. 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: “Canticle of the Sun” by Marty Haugen