Sunday, September 16, 2018

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for Twenty-Fourth Sunday 2018 - Margaret Dilgen and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, Presiders

Margaret Dilgen and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, led the Upper Room Liturgy with the theme: Jesus: "Who Do You Say I am?"

Welcome (Margaret):  Welcome to all of you. My vision of Jesus the carpenter is more like the picture we have here. He was a man from the middle east, not blue eyed and blond. Please take a good look at it, this is probably what Jesus really looked like. Jesus is also known as a prophet, storyteller, rabbi, healer, teacher. Today we will share our thoughts of "Who Do You Say I am"?

Ed Dilgen placed stoles on Margaret and Mary Theresa and blessed them as they led the community’s liturgy.

Opening Prayer: (Mary Theresa) In this season of the Jewish High Holy days, we focus our attention on Jesus, our Jewish brother, who lived so fully into his humanity that the divine was seen in, with, through and beyond him. And we acknowledge the divine presence in each of us as we send peace and blessings to all in this circle and to the wider circle of creation. Please join in praying our peace meditation.

Peace Mediation: Namaste by Mark Hayes
Namaste, Namaste, Namaste.
The divine in me blesses and honors
the divine in you.
The beauty of God stands before me,
expressing uniquely as you.
The spirit of goodness within you shines forth
in all that you do.
Namaste, Namaste, Namaste.
The divine in me blesses and honors
the divine in you.

First Reading: The Good Shepherd by Rev. Dawn Hutchings

The good news that Jesus of Nazareth lived so fully into his humanity that the divine was seen in, with, through and beyond him, is once again calling us into a new way of being in the world. That Jesus of Nazareth lived so fully, loved with such abandon that his contemporaries were able to see the divine in him represents a giant leap forward in our human development. Where humanity was obsessed with its own survival and individual human beings could not see beyond their own needs, Jesus steps into the human consciousness and embodies a new way of being in the world, a way of loving that enables Jesus to see beyond his own survival to risk loving so deeply that injustice perpetrated on the least of humanity, cannot be ignored but must be resisted, a way of loving that enables Jesus to have the courage to resist injustice not with violence but with love, even if the very act of love might get him killed. A way of loving that inspired in Jesus such tenderness for those he loved that he was willing to give his life, his whole being to that love. A way of loving that enabled Jesus not to flee from the wolves that threatened those he loved but to resist the temptation to seek only his own survival, to step in and stand up to the forces of evil and injustice. A way of being human that understood the consequences of loving fully and deeply and trusted that the love itself could not die. A way of being human that lives on in the love we continue to share with one another.

These are the inspired words of Pastor Dawn Hutchings and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

A reading from the Gospel of Mark:
MK 8:27-30

Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples this question,
"Who do people say that I am?"
They replied, “Some say
John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets."
And he asked them,
"But who do you say that I am?"
Peter said to him in reply,
"You are the Anointed One."
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

These are inspired words from the Gospel of Mark and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Mary Theresa’s Homily Starter:
So here we are, 2000 years later, pondering the words of Jesus as recorded in Mark’s Gospel: “Who do you say that I am?” Mark is setting the scene for the disciple’s statement of faith, their understanding of Jesus’ words and actions. And the disciples’ response is a model for us, as we ponder the stories told by and about Jesus.

In the first reading, we hear a strong statement of faith by Pastor Dawn responding to the perennial question, “Who do you say that I am?” To paraphrase her words, Jesus was the Face of the Holy One. He lived fully, loved with abandon, and that loved moved him to resist injustice for the sake of the powerless.

Margaret and I posted a short YouTube video with the readings this week by scripture scholar, Amy Jill Levine. If you have not had a chance to listen to her lecture on Jesus, I highly recommend it to you. The title of the lecture is: Who did they say he was? Jesus in Text and Context? It is a delightful and insightful lecture by a Jewish woman about the Jewish Jesus.

If Jesus were to ask me today, “Mary, who do you say that I am?,  I would use my historical imagination and some paraphrasing of Pastor Dawn and Amy Jill Levine to answer in this way:

“Jesus, You are a healer – bodies are important to you. You remind me to pay attention to other peoples’ bodies to make sure they have enough food, shelter, clothing and health care.

You are a teacher – You tell me to engage with the biblical texts of my tradition, take them seriously and take them beyond blind adherence to written laws to a higher law of the heart based on love and justice and mercy and compassion.

You are a storyteller – Your parables perform heart surgery on me when I probe their deeper meaning. You remind me to pay attention to who is left out or ignored.

You are one with the Heart of All Hearts, and as a son of the Holy One, you remind me that I too, am a child of the Holy One, called to be fully human and to love with abandon.”

So that is how I would answer Jesus. How would you answer him?

Margaret’s Homily Conclusion: 
Thank you for sharing all your thoughts today. You have given us much to think about in regards to Jesus and what he is to us. Let us continue to remember Him in our words and caring for others.

Communion Meditation: Until All Are Fed by Brian Field McFarland and Jacob's Join
How long will we sing?
How long will we pray?
How long will we write and send?
How long will we bring?
How long will we stay?
How long will be make amends?

Until all are fed we cry out!
Until all on earth have bread.
Like the One who loves us
Each and every one
We serve until all are fed.

How long will be talk?
How long will be prod?
How long must we fret and hoard?
How long will be walk
To tear down this fa├žade?
How long, how long O God?

How long can we stand by
And fail to be aghast?
How long til we do what’s right?
How could we stand by
And choose a lesser fast?
How long til we see the light?

On the green, green grass
They gathered long ago
To hear what the Master said.
What they had they shared =
Some fishes and some loaves.
They served until all were fed.

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