Saturday, December 22, 2018

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Fourth Sunday of Advent - December 22, 2018 Presiders: Elena Garcia ARCWP, Sally Brochu ARCWP Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons Lectors: Cathy Alexander and Anna Davis

(left) Sally Brochu ARCWP and Elena Garcia ARCWP

Presider: Holy Creator, the day draws near when the glory of Jesus will make radiant the night of the waiting world. You are continually developing and expanding the universe, continually giving birth to each of us and all life on planet earth.  Help us to prepare the stable within our hearts for the birth of our  Beloved Brother Jesus.    (Fourth candle is lit as the community prays)
 All: We light the fourth candle of Advent and remember that luminous Goodness and Love – the presence of the Divine, burns in the being of every person on this earth. May we kindle the light of joy for others in your name. Amen.
Opening Song: “You Come, You Come, Emmanuel”
You come, You come, Emmanuel
You gather all who stumbled and fell.
You share Your life, you share your love; Your dawn breaks forth in wondrous light above.

Refrain: Rejoice, rejoice, O people of the earth! In God’s great love we comprehend your worth!

You come with grace, O Source of Light.
You teach us to find courage in the night.
Your way is justice, mercy and peace,
Your wisdom is the path to true release.


Presider:  …into new life.      All: Amen
Advent Prayer of Confession  Written by Rev. Jan Brooks at the Cottonwood Falls Presbyterian Church and adapted by Elena Garcia ARCWP (inspired by John16:23 and John 20)

First Reading: Micah 5: 1-4   

                                                         All: Thanks be to God
Psalm 80      Response: Restore us O Holy One! Let your face shine upon us, teach us to love.
Second Reading: “The Reed of God” By Caryll Houselander       

  All: Thanks be to God
Gospel acclamation:  Litany of the Word: # 44 verses 1 and 2            
Gospel: Luke 1:39-45     After Gospel repeat #44 verses 3 & 4

Fourth Sunday Of Advent—Peace
Elena Garcia ARCWP

If we look in the dictionary for the meaning of the word Peace we find it defined as “a freedom from disturbance, quiet, tranquility, mental calm, serenity.” We often connect it in our minds as a state or period in which war has ended.  During Advent and the Christmas season we hear the world extending wishes for peace, joy, and love.  The word peace is repeated and wished throughout the scriptures in Isaiah, the gospels, and the Letters of Paul and his companions. It is often accompanied by Joy and Gratitude and named as a fruit of the Spirit.  In Proverbs we hear that “those who promote peace have joy.” In the psalms we are urged to “seek peace and pursue it.” We are encouraged to cast all anxiety on God because we are loved, to let peace rule in our hearts, since as members of one body, we are called to that peace which surpasses all understanding. To arrive at that goal of attaining the Peace promised to us by God, we need to trust, find our still-point and surrender to that Love in a way that surpasses all understanding.

I will share with you a personal event I witnessed about 48 years ago and which has now become an operative part of my spiritual journey. The event was my father’s preparation as he waited for the moment of his transition to eternal life. Having been born in a town located in the foothills of a rainforest in Puerto Rico, he was a person grounded in an awareness of the presence of God in all of nature and all of creation.  His formal education was limited by his family’s need to have the eldest of twelve children work to help support his siblings.
He was not catechized as such by the church and his only devotion was to God through Creation. He knew only from his mother’s verbal instruction about the existence and love of God, thus a very simple uncomplicated relationship with his Creator.

At his hospital bedside family members in attendance began to hear him utter the word Peace. As he struggled to make every breath count with eyes closed, he repeated the word Peace. Although he was conscious he was in a contemplative mode as he uttered his sacred word to the end, preparing himself to let go of all anxiety and connect with his God, in peace, here and in eternity. Yes, he sought peace and pursued it. He had arrived at that understanding.

In Isaiah 26 we read, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” And again, in Isaiah 55, “You will go out in peace, the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the tress of the field will clap their hands.” And I understand that Joy which follows when one attains Peace. Yes, the one that surpasses all understanding.

I now pursue that Peace which is God who lives in me. I want to trust Her and find my still-point and union with the Holy One.

Peace (God’s self) is present in each and every one of us. Pursue Her presence in you, find encouragement for Peace in the scriptures and in all of Creation, trust that you are loved and surrender to that love waiting in your still-point. Let us  greet one another at all times with a wish for Peace.


Can you think of a person in your life that has demonstrated the presence of peace in their lives? How?
How have you shared Peace (God) with others?
What did you learn from them?
What difference has it made in your life.



O Holy One, Creator of this vast universe, we believe that you are not far from us, and that your loving care is shown in the life, ministry, death, and continued presence of Jesus the Christ, whom you sent to show us the way to your loving presence. We believe that each of us is called to continue your presence and your work in this world, by loving and caring for one another.  We believe that no one is beyond the reach of your love, and so no one should be beyond the reach of our caring.  We believe that you call us to be one with you and with one another.  We believe that we have in our hearts the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to live fully in your love, when we are open to you.  We believe that you pardon our weaknesses and use them to teach us how to come to you. We believe in the resurrection of Jesus in our lives, and life everlasting in your Divine Presence. May God, the source of all patience and encouragement, enable us to live as we believe, in harmony with one another so that with our hearts and voices and lives we may glorify the God who names us and calls us to live in the fullness of being. Amen.

After each intercession, respond: Compassionate God, bless our petitions.
Presider: We pray for those broken families, torn apart...suffering in their separation... unsure of their futures. Compassionate God…….
Presider: For what other concerns do we pray at this time? (other intentions mentioned here....)
OFFERTORY SONG:  “Rejoice, Rejoice Believers” (Brotherhood of Hope) Sung by Mindy

Presider: Blessed are .... become a new creation.   ALL: Blessed be the Divine Presence forever.
Presider: Let us pray, O Holy One,…..  in mind and body.    All: Amen.

Presider: The Holy One is with you, abounding in love!
All: And also with you!

Presider: Open your hearts in Christ who lives and loves, heals and empowers through you!
All: We open them up to the Holy Spirit dwelling everywhere.

Presider: Let us give thanks that we are co-creators in the miracle of life.
All: It is right to proclaim our oneness with all.
All: (sing) Holy, Holy, Holy One; Spirit of Love and Peace,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed are all who come in your Holy Name. Hosanna in the highest!

Voice: Creator God, we see around us the work of your hands, the fruit of your wisdom and love. The unfolding story of creation witnesses unceasingly to your creative power. We, your creatures, often deviate from that wisdom, hindering your creative presence in our midst. Sending among us Jesus, our brother, you birth afresh in our world the power of Sophia- Wisdom, and in the gift of the Spirit, your creative goodness blooms anew, amid the variety and wonder of life.
Presider: That same Spirit…. light and truth.
All: Gathering the disciples around the Table of shared wisdom, Jesus took bread; blessed you, God of all good gifts, broke the bread and handed it to those seeking nourishment, with these words:  Take and eat; this is my very self. (pause)
All: Then taking the cup of wine, Jesus gave thanks, and shared the cup with those gathered at table, with these words: Take and drink of my cup of life, through which the covenant is made new again, for you and for everyone, for liberation from every oppression. Whenever you do this, remember me! (pause)
Voice: As we celebrate this sacred meal, we recall the wise and gracious gifts bestowed on us down through the ages; and we look forward in hope, knowing that you, our wise and faithful One, will continue to endow us with abundant blessings. In the power of this Eucharistic meal, bless us afresh with the gift of Spirit, that our hearts may be open and receptive as you invite us into the fullness of life.
Voice: In union with all peoples living and dead, we unite our thoughts and prayers, asking wisdom and courage to discern more wisely your call to us in the circumstances of our daily lives; to act justly and courageously in confronting the pain and suffering that desecrates the Earth and its peoples; to take risks in being creative and proactive on behalf of the poor and marginalized.
Presider: And may we ever… of co-creation.
All: For it is through learning to live as Jesus lived, and why he lived, and for whom he lived, that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to worship you truly, Life-giving God, at this time and all time and in all ways.  (sing) Amen!                                                                                       
Presider: Prayer of Jesus: (Miriam Therese Winter, MMS)                                                                                                           All: O Holy One, who is within, around, and among us, We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come, Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us.                                                Each day you give us all we need; You remind us of our limits, and we let go. You support us in our power, and we act with courage. For you are the dwelling place within us,
The empowerment around us, and the celebration among us, now and forever.  (Sing) Amen
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 throughout the world, to everyone, everywhere, no exceptions. Amen.
                                                                                                                                                      PRAYER FOR THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD.

All: Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world. We will love tenderly.
Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.
Presider: This is Jesus…….. this Table.
All: What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.
COMMUNION MEDITATION Music/ Followed byAlma Redemptoris Mater(Brotherhood of Hope)
Presider: … and ruled by justice.  All:  Amen.
Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions and Announcements:
Closing Prayer                                                                                                                                                  Presider:                                                                                                                                 

Gathered together, All: We wait for the light.                                                                      
Standing together, All: We trust in the light.                                                                                 
Praying together,   All: We hope for the light.                                                                                  
Seeking together,  All: We step out with the light.                                                                     
 Singing together,   All: We are blessed by the light.  
All: May vision and truth companion you. May beauty be in your eyes.                                                                                                            
May peace fill your being, Love hold you close.                                                                     
Earth give you guidance. Stars give you hope. Blessings of life to you! (Jan Novotka)
Presider: Go….our Companion,  All: May it be so, may it be now, may it be.                
Presiders: ...holy season. All: Thanks be to God!                                                                                            
Closing Song: (Make a joyful noise to our God!)  “Revelation Canticle”