Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Christmas Liturgy, Dec. 25, 2018, Co-Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, Anna Davis, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons




Theme: Let every day be Christmas






Presider 1: GREETING

Opening Song

Christmas: "O Come All Ye Faithful" #79

OPENING PRAYER

Presider2: Nurturing God, you became human in Jesus and showed us how to live life fully.  We know what it means to laugh and cry, to walk and talk, to love and be loved. We rejoice that your mothering presence is always with us. May we, like Mary,  give birth to God within us, and may we give birth to God in everything we say and do so that every day will be Christmas. ALL: Amen.



ALL: Glory to God, glory, o praise God, alleluia, Glory to God, glory, o praise the name of our God (sung 3 times)



LITURGY OF THE WORD

First Reading: Isaiah 9:2-7a



FIRST READING


A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah 9:2-7a


In darkness, a light was born. From deep darkness, a crest of dawn shines. You enlarged life,


and Your people were born.


Even though they knew pain and suffering,


You increased their joy. They rejoice before You


as with joy at the harvest, as children exult at play, and delight in sharing gifts.


For You have shattered the yoke that burdens them,


the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle


and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning,


will be fuel for the fire.


For unto us a baby is born. For unto us a child is given


on whose shoulders our future rests.


The child will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Strength of God,


Everlasting One, Voice of Peace. And of the peace the Child brings,


there will be no end.


The Word of the Prophet Isaiah. Thanks be to God.


  


Response to Reading: Let all the cosmos exult

Psalm: 96:1-2a, 4-5b, 6-10a 11b-13


R: Let all the cosmos exult!


Sing a new song to God! Sing a new song, all the earth! Sing to our God, and bless The Holy Name! R: Let all the cosmos exult!


Great is our God, and greatly to be praised,


revered above all, for our God is Creator, maker of the galaxies. R: Let all the cosmos exult!


God’s presence is full of splendor and mystery. In God’s sanctuary is strength and beauty. Say among all peoples, “It is God who reigns!” R: Let all the cosmos exult!


Let the cosmos rejoice and be glad! Let the galaxies resound in symphonic majesty! R: Let all the cosmos exult!


On earth, let the seas thunder, and all they hold;


the fields exult, and everything in them! Let the trees of the forests sing for joy before God who is coming to bless the earth with healing justice, coming to bless all peoples with truth and faithfulness, coming to bless all creation with respect and justice.

R: Let all the cosmos exult!



Second Reading: Hebrews 1:1-3, 6, 8-9


A Reading from the Book of Hebrews 1:1-3, 6, 8-9


In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways. In these last days, God has spoken to us through Jesus, the Christ, heir of all things, and also through whom the cosmos was made. This Cosmic Christ is the radiance of God’s glory and the fullness of God’s being, sustaining all things by a powerful word. After Jesus’ life and death, the Cosmic Christ filled the majesty of the heavens.


When God brings a holy child into the world, God says:


“Let all God’s angels praise.”


About the Christ, God says:


“Your reign will last for ever and ever! A scepter of justice


will be the scepter of your kin-dom. You have loved righteousness and shunned evil. Therefore God, your God, has made you-in-all,


anointing you with the oil of joy.”


The Word of an Early Church Apologist. Thanks be to God.



Gospel Acclamation


ALLELUIA! (sung)



GOSPEL Gospel: Luke 2:1-20


Our God is with you...

A Reading from the Good News attributed to Luke 2:1-20


Glory to you, O God.

In those days, a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first census and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David and Bathsheba. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was pledged to be married and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. She gave birth to her firstborn and wrapped the babe in bands of cloth. She laid the newborn in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.


In that region, there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Then an angel, a messenger of God, stood before them. The glory of God shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people:


Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Messiah, the Anointed One. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, there was with the messenger a multitude of the heavenly beings, praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to all God's people!”

When the angels had left them, retreating into cosmic splendor, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which God has made known to us.” They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

Mary treasured all these words, and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned to their pastures, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, which was just as they had been told.

Reader: The good news of Jesus, the Christ!

ALL: Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!
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Homily Starter by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Today we rejoice, my sisters and brothers, as we celebrate Christmas and ponder together what the Gospels teach about Jesus’ birth and how can we live Christmas every day.

There are two different stories about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Matthew presents the birth story from Joseph’s perspective and Luke writes it from Mary’s perspective. For Matthew and his community,  Jesus is the Messiah, the fulfillment of God’s promise and Israel’s  yearning for Emmanuel, the presence of God among us. Matthew’s gospel affirms that the birth of Jesus is the fulfillment, the completion, of the Jewish tradition described by the prophet in our first reading:  “The child will be called Wonderful Counselor, Strength of God , Everlasting One, Voice of Peace. And of the peace the Child bring, there will be no end. “

For Luke and his community, angel chorus proclaim  the divine conception and birth of the child, as greater than all other conceptions, especially that of the emperor Caesar Augustus because Jesus, born of Mary, is destined to transform the human race by bringing peace through justice on earth.  

Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan offer the following insights into the First Christmas: “…therefore the proper question is not about the biology of the mother, but the destiny of the child What is that destiny, and once you know it, are you willing to commit your life to it? To Caesar the Augustus or to Jesus the Christ?” ( (The First Christmas, pp.126-127)

The central question of the Christmas stories is as Meister Eckhart preached in the thirteenth century, how can we give birth to Christ in our lives every day?

I found one way in the good news proclaimed on Facebook!  In an article entitled:  “For Women, by Women: A Sisterhood of Carpenters Builds Tiny Houses for the Homeless” Lornet Turnbull  describes the wonderful camaraderie that took place among volunteer tradeswomen who came together over several cold, wet weekends in the spring to build a tiny-house village for homeless women and same sex couples in north Seattle.

Whittler Heights Village -A mostly female crew constructs a village of emergency shelters in north Seattle, and finds camaraderie along the way. Photo by Lornet Turnbull


For me, birthing Christ each day, is about doing small acts of kindness such as sharing a newspaper with Randall, an unhoused man and conversing with Carol, a woman with special needs. Both  are  simple moments, nothing earth-shattering or heroic, but real encounters with the Christ presence in two beautiful people.

The unknown author of the book Hebrews urges us to see the divine everywhere as “This Cosmic Christ, as the radiance of God’s glory and the fullness of God’s being, sustaining all things. When God brings a holy child into the world, God says: “Let all God’s angles praise.”

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas season, let us remember that every child as a holy child, and continue to spread the kindom of justice and peace for all God’s people especially those who are most marginalized like the homeless, migrant parents and  children, and the children of those who are incarcerated.

Now we take a few moments of silent reflection and, then, share one way you and/or we can live as if every day is Christmas.

 Merry Christmas dear sisters and brothers!

Dialogue HOMILY: Community shares
Profession of Faith: ALL: We believe in God who is creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge injustices. We believe in the communion of saints our heavenly friends, who support us on life’s journey. We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and world. We believe that all are one in the community of creation. We believe that God who calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously. Amen.


GENERAL INTERCESSIONS

Presider1: For a deeper realization that the Spirit of God dwells within us and within everyone ,let us pray.

Response: Nurturing God, you embrace us

Presider2 : That we may experience the birthing of the Spirit in our world today, we pray. R. Presider1: That those who suffer from destitution and despair may experience the liberating strength of the Holy One in our solidarity, we pray. R.

Presider2: That the sick and suffering may experience the healing love of God, in our compassionate service, we pray. R. Presider1: That those who have died may rest in God's eternal embrace, we pray. R.

(Other Intentions)

What Child is This ( traditional and new verses to traditional melody) Mindy Lou Simmons


1. What child is this, who laid to rest, On Mary's lap is sleeping?


Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?


This, this is Christ the king, whom shepherds guard and angels sing:


Haste, haste to bring him laud, The babe, the son of Mary.


2. Our God arrives in humble guise as baby born of woman,


That we might see the dignity enfleshed in every human.


This, this is Christ the king, whom shepherds guard and angels sing:


Haste, haste to bring him laud, The babe, the son of Mary.


3. What child is this in every land who cries when food is lacking,


Whose parents mourn their newly born, whom sickness is attacking?


When will injustice cease, when will the nations live at peace?


When all have learned from him, the babe, the son of Mary.


Verse 1: William C. Dix, 1837-1898 Verse 2: John Becker Verse 3: Rae E. Whitney, sung by Mindy Lou Simmons


PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS

Presider1+2: 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.


(Join us around the table)

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Presider1: God dwells among us. ALL: And is in all people everywhere.

Presider2: Lift up your hearts. ALL: We lift them up to the Indwelling Presence evolving through all creation.

Presider1: Let us give thanks with the entire cosmos. All: Alleluia

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

Voice One: Mothering Presence, you brought forth all creation from your Life-Giving Womb. O Love of the Ages, we praise you and leap for joy in your presence everywhere.


Voice Two: Holy One of ancient Israel, you revealed yourself in Mary's womb, in a shining star, in humble shepherds, in a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. You embrace us with infinite love in every situation and relationship. You dwell in the depths of our hearts and continue to reveal yourself through each of us and through all beings.

Voice Three: We invite you this day to deepen our awareness of your boundless love as we gather around the table of abundant love. With grateful hearts, we proclaim your praise:

ALL: Holy, Holy, Holy, Creator of heaven and earth. All beings are pregnant with your glory. Namaste, alleluia, Namaste. Blessed are you who dwell in all creation. Namaste, alleluia, Namaste



Voice Four: Praise to you, all-giving Love, born of Mary. We rejoice in the dawning of the sacred promise of God's Anointed, fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ and in us each day.

Voice Five: We celebrate the birth of Jesus, our newborn Emmanuel, and the Christ Presence born anew each day in us, illuminating the cosmos. Now, we share the bread of life and lift the cup of blessing.

(raise hands toward bread and wine for Invocation of the Holy Spirit)

All: Come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine.

All::  On the night before he died, while at supper with his friends, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat. Do this in memory of me.”

Pause

ALL
: In the same way, Jesus took the cup of wine. He said the blessing, gave the cup to his friends and said, “Take this all of you and drink. Do this in memory of me.” 

Presider2: Let us proclaim the sacred presence of our nurturing God:

ALL: Jesus, by your life, death and rising, you have shown us the fullness of our humanity and divinity, as the Beloved of God.

Second Invocation of the Holy Spirit: (Place hands on each other's shoulder)

All: God of all people, You call us "beloved." You give us courage to live as the compassion of God in the world. You infuse us with Sophia, Holy Wisdom, to recognize the light of Christ in everyone we meet.


Voice Six We remember the prophet and saints who have gone before us:, Mary, Mother of Jesus, Joseph, and all our beloved friends

(Community names mentors whom they want to remember, living and dead.)

Voice Seven: God of our dreams,  As we serve our sisters and brothers, we make everyday Christmas. We bow in deep reverence for earth’s gifts and pledge ourselves to live in harmony with all creatures on the earth.
ALL: Through Christ, in Christ, with Christ, all praise and glory resounds through the cosmos as the Holy Spirit moves among all. Amen.

THE PRAYER OF JESUS

ALL: Our Father and Mother ...


THE SIGN OF PEACE
deep peace and justice in our world as we sing “Peace is flowing like a River”, love, joy, alleluia.

LITANY FOR THE BREAKING OF BREAD

ALL: Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power. We will do so.
Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will do so. Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world. We will do so.


Presider2: This is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, loving us forever. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. ALL: We are the hands and feet of Christ in our world.

Presider1: Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ! ALL: Amen.

COMMUNION- Meditation: Let every day be a Christmas by Mindy Lou Simmons

Community Sing "Silent Night"  with traditional and new words

1. Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright


'Round yon virgin mother and child.


Holy Infant so tender and mild,


Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.


2. Silent Night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight


Glories stream from heaven afar


Heavenly hosts sing alleluia


Christ, our brother is born, Christ, our brother is born.



3. Silent night, holy night! When will peace conquer might?


Pray that justice will set victims free,


Those who are shackled to bleak poverty.


Christ be born in each heart, Christ be born in each heart.

Verse 1&; 2: Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848 Verse 3: Rae E. Whitney


PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Presider2: Creator of new beginnings, we awaken to your love born anew in our lives each day. May your tender presence continue to open our hearts to the daily miracles of life that surround us each day, through Emmanuel, God-with-us.

ALL: Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

Presider1: The Holy One is within you.

ALL: andwithin all.

BLESSING

(everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)

ALL: May we sing and dance for joy as we celebrate every day as Christmas !

DISMISSAL

Presider2: Let us birth Christ anew in our world today. Go in the peace of Christ. 
ALL: Thanks be to God.

CONCLUDING HYMN: Joy to World ( see new words!)

Sound forth the news that Wisdom comes
to bring new life to birth.
Arise with hope, Her labor join,
and peace shall fill the earth,
and peace shall fill the earth,
and peace, and peace shall fill the earth.

No more let fear and custom hide
the path of Wisdom fair.
She leads the way to life and joy,
with gifts for all to share,
with gifts for all to share,
with gifts, with gifts for all to share.

Joyful are we who heed the call
of Wisdom in our souls.
With Her we break oppression’s wall,
so love may freely flow,
so love may freely flow,
so love, so love may freely flow.

Crown Wisdom Queen of heaven and earth;
Her reign will set us free.
Fling wide the gates that all may come
join hands and dance with glee,
join hands and dance with glee,
join hands, join hands and dance with glee.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians

“Sound Forth the News That Wisdom Comes” calls us to co-create with Wisdom a world of justice, peace, equality, love, freedom, and joy. This Christmas carol comes with the hope that Wisdom will guide us to change our violent culture and to co-create with Her a peaceful world. Let us join together in our churches, communities, and home in 
caroling for change."



Liturgy by Bridget Mary Meehan
 https://arcwp.orghttps://marymotherofjesus.org


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