Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Sunday Liturgy, August 12, 2018

Deb Trees, ARCWP and Lynn Kinlan, ARCWP, led the Upper Room liturgy with the theme: Theme – Each of us, a perfect human being, is with Jesus, a part of the Bread of Life

Opening Song: Table of Plenty, by John Michael Talbot.

First Reading is from the Gospel of John. 6:41-51.
The temple authorities started to grumble in protest because Jesus claimed, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.“ They kept saying, “Isn’t this Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph? Don’t we know his mother and father? How can he claim to have come down from heaven?“
“Stop your grumbling.“ Jesus told them.
“No one can come to me
unless drawn by Abba God, who sent me-
and those I will raise up on the last day.

It is written in the prophets:
‘They will all be taught by God.’
Everyone who has heard God’s word and has learned from it comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen Abba God -
only the one who is from God has seen Abba God.
The truth of the matter is, those who believe have eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died.
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, and if you eat it you’ll never die.
I myself am the living bread come down from heaven.
If any eat this bread, they will live forever.
The bread I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.“

These are the words from the Gospel of John, and the community affirms then by saying: Amen.

Second Reading, Consecrated by St. Catherine of Siena.

All has been consecrated.
The creatures in the forest know this,

the earth does, the seas do, the clouds know,
as does the heart full of love.

Strange, a priest, would rob us of this

and then empower himself
with the ability

to make holy what
already was.

These are the words of St. Catherine of Siena. And the community affirms them by saying: AMEN.

Lynn Kinlan’s homily starter:
The Temple authorities are grumbling at Jesus sounding boastful by claiming to be the bread that came down from heaven in today’s gospel. Other statements might have us grumbling a bit too – Jesus setting up conditions under which people can come to him seems off putting to our inclusive community ideal. (and at odds with our community’s statement in some of our Eucharistic prayers that “nothing can separate us from the love of God”). And so this gospel sent Deb and I to the Jesus Seminar translation.

         We’ve talked about the Jesus seminar before – the translation arrived at through years of research by Gospel scholars that shows which of the gospel statements were said by Jesus and which are closer to the perspective of a later. In the view of the seminar, today’s gospel of John bears little or no resemblance to what Jesus preached.

And yet, the idea of Jesus as the Bread of Life, as bread coming down from heaven remains an important part of our heritage and our Eucharistic celebrations. It brings to mind the Last Supper. We are to  eat bread,  remember Jesus, and grow as one in Spirit. Through Eucharist, we sense Jesus among us and become with him a  part of the Bread of Life - because even though we are broken, we are also blessed and we are enough.

And coming to understand Jesus through Abba  is not so much a precondition as it is a reminder, a nudge to see both Jesus and ourselves as divine creations, as people yearning for and sparked by the Divine to live in the Spirit, to draw on living breath given by Abba and be nourished by God all the days of our lives. Perhaps Jesus wouldn’t have said it exactly as the gospel writer puts it, but we can see the intent of the words, we can relish the need to live lives guided as Jesus was--  by a a loving God who calls us to be our best selves. Jesus wants us to feel as close to Abba and each other as we can humanly and prayerfully imagine.

Our other reading from Catherine of Siena expresses this too – we live in a consecrated world, blessed and given. What is the bread of life but the consequence of sunshine, seed, water, and the loving vigils of farming and reaping and baking? Every moment of our day is a heavenly experience of blessedness.

We are part and parcel, of the Bread of Life. No one, not any priest who tries to preempt the giftedness and holiness of Eucharist, not the believer who wants to set up preconditions on God’s love, and not our small, scared selves when we feel unworthy can separate us from the love of Abba, and from the grand design for us to live as Bread for and with each other.

Together, the two readings get at the core of who Jesus is and who we are. The readings explain why we come together and why we celebrate Eucharist. How do we bring ourselves to live confidently, even boldly In a world already consecrated?  How can we be the bread of life because we are consecrated? How can we bring heaven into the here and now as Jesus did?

Homily Conclusion by Debra Trees
In our shared homily, we can experience the wisdom of each other. Thank you for that gift. We can see that the evangelist in his time was trying to bring the divine to those he felt compelled to teach. He used the tactics he thought would work. Jesus may have seen a different light before that; the magnificence of each person and of all creation. We are connected to the divine and the divine is connected to us. May we continue in our “work” to see the miracles in each other.

Communion Song: St Teresa’s Prayer.  Sung by Michael Mangan

St. Theresa’s Prayer 
Adapted By Michael Mangan
Christ has no body now but mine
No hands, no feet on earth but mine
Christ has no body now but mine
Let me be Christ, let me shine

My eyes are the eyes with which he looks
Looks with love upon this world
Mine are the feet with which he walks
Walks to do good in this world

Mine are the hands with which he works
Works for peace here in this world
Mine is the voice with which he speaks
Speaks his message to this world

Mine is the face with which he smiles
Smiles a welcome to this world
Mine is the heart with which he loves
Loves all people in this world

Closing song : You are the Voice, David Haas

Final Blessing:

May we continue to be the face of God to each other. May the harmony of being connected across culture, race, time and space create in us the yearning to love as One Body, joyfully and persistently. May each of us shine with the terrific love of Jesus.  AMEN.

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