Theme: This saying is hard!...
BELL: Moment of Silence
GATHERING SONG: O Breathe on Me, O Breath of God #657
O breathe on me O breath of God,
Fill me with life anew
That I may love the things you love,
And do what you would do.
O breathe on me o breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until my will is one with yours,
To do and to endure.
O breathe on me o breath of God,
My will to yours incline,
Until this selfish part of me,
Glows with your fire Divine.
O breathe on me o breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with you the perfect life,
Of your eternity.
Every day, we have countless choices and decisions to make. As Christians headed toward eternal life, we are called to align our lives and choices to the examples and teachings that Jesus provided. This is not easy. Jesus’ disciples experienced the difficulty of keeping faith, and some left. Jesus’ words were not easy to swallow. Let us keep our hearts and souls focused on the challenges presented and how they impact on our journey.
Presider: And let us begin our liturgy today in the name of God, our Source of All Being, Jesus our Eternal Word and Sophia Holy Spirit Wisdom.
ALL: O Lover of All, in this journey into the heart of compassion, we celebrate your love unfolding in the healing and wholeness of everyone and of every living thing.
You call us to see goodness and beauty everywhere and to live in harmony with creation.
You call us to heal the wounds of hatred and violence, discrimination and oppression in our world.
You call us to warmly welcome everyone who comes through our doors as your presence among us.
In communion with Jesus, our brother, and in the power of Your Spirit, we will live your love poured out each day. Amen
PENITENTIAL RITE: Litany of peace by Dan Shutte -Response (Let us be your peace)
Presider: God of all creation ALL: Let us be your peace.
God who walks among us ALL: Let us be your peace
God of great compassion ALL: Let us be your peace
God of tender mercy ALL: Let us be your peace.
As we work for justice ALL: Let us be your peace.
With our hands and voices ALL: Let us be your peace
With our words of comfort ALL: Let us be your peace.
With hope and healing ALL: Let us be your peace.
In joy and gladness ALL: Let us be your peace
Now and forever ALL: Let us be your peace.
ALL: Before we bring our gifts to share at the Banquet of love, we ask you loving God for forgiveness for the times we have failed to love one another and to care for your Creation. Amen
LITURGY OFTHE WORD
First Reading: Joshua 24: 1-2,15-17,18b
The Word of God. Thanks be to God
Psalm: 78– Response: Sing out Earth and skies! Sing of the God who loves you!
Raise your joyful cries! Dance to the life around you! BB#556 Refrain
Second Reading: A reading from Clarissa Pinkola Estes
These are the inspired words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes. ALL: Thanks be to God.
Gospel Acclamation: recited by ALL: Praise, honor and glory to our God. Be compassionate as God is compassionate. Praise, honor and glory to our God.
Gospel Reading: John 6:60-69
The good news of Jesus, the Christ! ALL: Glory and praise to you Jesus the Christ!
ALL SING: Celtic Alleluia
Homily by Elena Garcia ARCWP
Last week we heard part of the discourse on the Bread of Life in which Jesus states that whoever eats the flesh of the Son of Man and drinks his blood has eternal life and will be raised on the last day. Today, we are to consider the reaction to that challenge and to the many challenges Jesus put before us throughout his ministry. Food has always been a means of sustenance since the beginning of humankind. People have fished and hunted for the purpose of eating. God’s people in the dessert needed food to make the long journey to who knew where. God provided that food and God provided them, through Moses, with a sense of what was important in relation to their connection with the Divine; what would prepare them for eternal life. Without food, we die sooner rather than later. Some foods that humans have ingested have resulted in death. It appears then, to be important not only that we eat but also to be aware of what we consume. We are born without a notion of what we should or want to eat. We are content with trusting that a nurturing being will provide the food we need and the care and protection that will lead us to maturity and the ability to make good choices regarding food and manner of relating to people in our lives. So too, our spirits depend on what we receive on life’s journey for our spiritual and emotional growth, health and development. This will determine what kind of people we grow up to be, how we view and discern what is of the essence and how we will respond to the call to be fully human and connected to the Divine.
In this discourse on the bread of life, I have come to understand that Jesus was teaching us that the body and the spirit need to be nourished and nurtured to a maturity that leads to union with our divine creator.
The disciples’ reaction was “This saying is hard!….” and they turned away. Every day we have countless choices and decisions to make. As Christians, that is, as followers of Jesus The Christ, we are called to align our choices to the example and teachings that Jesus provided. This is not by any means without a challenge. I allowed myself to browse through my mind’s chip to find other such challenges presented by Jesus in the Gospels. I found a few and I am certain you too, can come upon with some.
Jesus wants us to believe that He is God become incarnate to lead us to the fullness of life with our Creator; to believe that He is present in every person everywhere.
Do I live as if I believe that? Or do I walk away because this is hard?
Numerous times He mandated us to forgive those who trespass against us. This was not easy for our brothers and sisters in His time, who lived in a culture of hatred and revenge going at life “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. And it is not easy for us this many years later who live with the residual habit of revenge. How is my revenge meter these days? Have I walked away?
Numerous times Jesus taught us how to minister to the sick, the poor, the marginalized.
How often do I fail to do what Jesus has taught me to do? Do I walk away from this also because it is too hard to stay alert and see Jesus standing before me?
If you have ever been in love, then you know about experiencing life through a clear lens that is able to respond to any and all challenges and no “saying is too hard”. When you are loved and in love there is no walking away.
In His last discourse and throughout the gospels Jesus was inviting us to fall in Love. I believe all of us have fallen in Love with Jesus. Our task now, as with human love, is to stay in love, and we will never walk away.
Shared Homily: Consider
Times when the word of God has been a challenge?
When have you observed others meet those challenges?
What virtues do you want to develop to meet those challenges?
CREED: Taken from “The Friends in Faith” and shared by Joan Meehan
ALL: Gathered together as people of faith, we profess our belief in a God who is larger than we can name, a God unable to be contained, yet present in each one of us. We have come to know this God in the living of our lives, and in the holiness of the earth we share.
We believe in a God revealed in all peoples—all genders, religions, and orientations.
We embrace a compassionate God, who champions justice and mercy, and is always faithful when we call. Our God gives and forgives, patiently loving without conditions.
We gratefully believe in a God who feels our deepest struggles, and celebrates our greatest joys. A God who both dances with us in celebration, and holds us when we cry. This God is not “other” to us, but shares our breath in every moment, and promises we are never alone.
We believe in a God who believes in us- believes that we are precious and incredible gifts, worthy to claim image and likeness to the divine. We hold fast to our God who journeys with us, who continually calls us to choose the shape of our days through the choices we make. This God accepts us as we are, and shares each hope we have for our becoming.
This is the God in whom we believe, our Creator, our Mother and Father who became human in Jesus, our brother. Our God is the Spirit of Life, the voice that continues to speak love, and asks us to answer. In this God, we choose to believe. AMEN
GENERAL INTERCESSIONS (Response is: God of Compassion, hear our prayer.
Presider: With hearts filled with loving compassion, we now lift up the needs of our community.
Presider: O God you are present to us, yet our minds cannot contain the mystery of your being.
~Let what we know of you in the life and love of Jesus draw us to you in ever deepening faith.
ALL: God of Compassion…
Presider: It is difficult to wait with hope for what we think is good and just.
~Increase our faith, and help us to hold fast to our dedication to you.
ALL: God of Compassion…
Presider: Let the harvest of our land yield enough for all.
~Banish famine from our world and teach us to share.
ALL: God of Compassion…
Presider: Eye has not seen nor ear heard, what you have prepared for those who love you.
~Let the hundredfold that we seek be only to love you totally with our hearts.
ALL: God of Compassion…
Presider: Jesus, you prayed that we all might be one.
~Help us to recognize those who differ from us as our sisters and brothers sharing this one earth that you have given us. ALL: God of Compassion…
Presider: Loving God, grant physical, mental and emotional healing to all that are in need of your tender touch and grant that those who have gone on ahead, may dwell forever in Your presence, especially those we now name, (pause for names) ALL: God of Compassion…
Presider: For what else shall we pray? Presider: We hold these and all our unspoken intentions in our hearts as we gather around the Banquet Table today.
OFFERTORY: Blessed are the Gifts (By Mindy Lou Simmons
Blest are the gifts that we receive. As we give, so love returns in kind.
So, let us breath love and live peace
And do the best we can,
To give ourselves in service to
Our God Divine. 3x
PREPARATION OF THE TABLE
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: God is with us, loving and healing through us.
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
ALL: We lift them up in tender love, open to serve.
Presider: Let us give thanks to our God.
ALL: It is our joy to give God thanks and praise.
Voice: Gracious Wisdom, You embrace us with extravagant affection in our blessedness and brokenness. We thank you that in this festive meal, your spirit continues to be poured out among the circle of disciples gathered here. We give and receive forgiveness and offer the gift of your shalom/peace. We join with the angels and saints and people of every race, faith and nation to glorify your presence as we sing:
ALL: (sing) We are Holy, holy, holy. You are…. I am…. We are…. (Karen Drucker)
Voice: Gracious God, you set the banquet table and invite all to the feast of unending delight. Here we celebrate divine love beyond what words can describe in our evolving cosmos. Here your divine compassion connects us to the young, the old, the least and the last, to everyone everywhere on our journey into the heart of mercy.
Voice: We especially thank you, nurturing God, for Jesus - Your anointed, who shows us how to love with a peaceful and courageous spirit. In Jesus, you show us how to care for those who face illness and grief, and how to help those who experience rejection and marginalization.
Voice: God of tenderness, Jesus showed us the heart of mercy when he preached good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and healing to the broken. Jesus called women to be apostles and disciples and treated them as equals in his circle of companions.
Voice: In response to people’s sufferings, Jesus broke rules and violated religious taboos. He shared meals with women, saved a woman from being stoned and said that prostitutes would enter heaven before religious leaders. He healed the sick and comforted the lonely. He challenged the priestly class and political leaders of his time and so they ridiculed, tortured and put him to death.
Voice: In faithful love, you raised the crucified Jesus radiant and glorious to new life. Like the holy ones throughout the ages, Moses and Miriam who led their people from oppression to freedom, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection shows us how to live freely and joyously in the midst of injustice, darkness, evil and death.
(Please extend hands as we recite the Epiclesis and Consecration together)
ALL: May your Spirit, present in these gifts and in us, fill us with a new outpouring of love that makes us more deeply one Body in the Cosmic Christ living the fullness of your compassion.
On the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gathered with his friends for a meal. He took bread into his hands, broke it and said: Take this all of you. This is my Body. Do this to remember me.
Pause: In the same way after supper, Jesus took the cup, raised it with love beyond all telling, gave thanks and shared the cup with those at table and said: Take this all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my life blood, of the new and everlasting covenant. Every time you drink of it remember me.
Presider: In sacred memory, let us proclaim the mystery of our faith.
ALL: In every creature that has ever breathed, we see your tenderness; in every living being that has passed on before us, we see your goodness; in everything yet to be, Jesus The Christ will come again! In our breaking of the bread of earth, Jesus the Christ of the Cosmos is being re-membered!
ALL: Holy One, your transforming energy is always moving within us and working through us. We give thanks for all holy women and men who have been your face in our lives. They showed us how to forgive self and others, let go of guilt, refrain from judging others and see the good in people who irritate us. Let us pause to remember and name some of these holy women and men aloud or in the silence of our hearts.
ALL: Through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, all praise and glory are yours, Loving God. Amen
The Prayer of Jesus (Adapted by Maria Gullo for centering prayer)
Our Father and Mother who is in Heaven, whose presence is with us always and whose spirit dwells within. Hallowed be your name. May your kindom come and may your will be done in our lives and on earth just as it is in heaven. Thank you for giving us this day, all that we need for sustenance, nourishment and growth. Forgive us, forgive us when we turn away from your love and when we trespass against you and those you put in our lives. Help us forgive those who turn away from love, who have trespassed against us. Keep us from yielding to temptation. Direct us away from anything or anyone that would distract us from your will, your highest good for our lives. Direct and protect us from all that is evil. For all glory and power is yours almighty God just as it was in the beginning, it is now and always shall be world without end. Amen
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 those gathered here today and...ALL: …. grant us your peace. O God, following the example of Jesus and with the strength of the Spirit, help us spread that peace through our words and actions to everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. Amen
Hold hands as we sing: Peace is Flowing like a River. Love is…. Joy is…Alleluia…
LITANY AT THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD
Presider: Loving God, you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of peace and justice.
ALL: We will live justly
Presider: Loving God, you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of understanding and compassion, forgiveness and healing, everywhere in your name.
ALL: We will love tenderly.
Presider: Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power.
ALL: We will walk humbly with you and with one another.
Presider: This is Jesus, who liberates, heals and transforms us and our world. He calls us to open doors that are closed and share our bread on the altar of the world. All are invited to eat and drink at this sacred banquet of love.
ALL: We are the body of Jesus the Christ.
Presider: Precious God, as we come to share the riches of your table, we cannot eat this bread and not think of those who are hungry.
ALL: O God, your world is one world and we are just stewards of this nourishment for all your people.
Presider: We cannot drink this wine and not think of those who are thirsty.
ALL: O God, this very earth and its people everywhere cry out for environmental justice.
Presider: We cannot listen to your words of peace and not grieve for the world at war’s doors.
COMMUNION MUSIC: INSTRUMENTAL
COMMUNION SONG: “We Remember”
We remember how you loved us to your death and still we celebrate,
for you are with us here;
and we believe that we will see you, when you come, in your glory God.
We remember, we celebrate, we believe.
Verse: Here a million wounded souls, are yearning just to touch you and be healed.
Gather all your people and hold us to your heart. Refrain
Verse: Now we recreate your love; we brought the bread and wine to share a meal.
Sign of grace and mercy, the presence of our God. Refrain
Verse: Christ, Divine’s great Amen, for all the hopes and dreams of every heart.
Peace beyond all telling and freedom from all fear. Refrain
Verse: See the face of Christ revealed, in every person standing by your side.
Gift to one another and temples of your love. Refrain
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AFTER COMMUNION
Presider: Loving God, may this Eucharist in which we shared Jesus’ healing love, deepen our oneness with you and with one another, our sisters and brothers. May your grace fill us all with the strength we need on our journeys, especially when your words are challenging. We will strive to live our lives in such a way that your compassion may be felt through us to all your children, as we live the Gospel values of justice, peace and equality. ALL: Amen
COMMUNITY PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE, INTRODUCTIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
CLOSING COMMUNITY BLESSING (Extend an arm in mutual blessing
ALL: Loving Jesus, the salvation to which you call us leads us from life, through death, to new life. Our frailty tempts us to hide from the cross and to seek an easy way. Keep us faithful to the celebration of the Eucharist and all of the mysteries of your life. Help us to build our lives on the firm foundation of your Good News, that grounded in your truth we may overcome any obstacles to accepting your challenge to walk with you in a field of unimaginable, infinite possibilities. Amen
CLOSING HYMN: “Be Not Afraid” #430 Verses 1,2,3
Presiders: Let this service continue in union with Jesus, the Light that dispels all darkness. Amen.