Sunday, June 9, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Pentecost 2019 - Presiders: Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, and Denise Hackert-Stoner, ARCWP

Art by Sister Mary Southard, CSJ

Presider 1
: Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, Pride Month and the unity and diversity in our community, and the baptism of Ziggy Knox Van Bergan. We welcome to our community Kellie and T’Quomas and Enzo and Ziggy Van Bergen, and their extended family and anyone joining us for the first time today. 

Precious Ziggy was born on January 6, 2019 and his mother, father and brother Enzo welcomed him to this beautiful world on that special day. Today, we formally welcome Ziggy to the Christian Community through the sacrament of Baptism.

Our theme for this liturgy is “Recognizing the Spirit of the Holy One in, around and among us.” As we pray together let us be mindful of the gifts we are meant to be for each other and for the world.

Opening Prayer 

Presider 2: We will begin now, with our opening prayer. Spirit of the Holy One, you are present to us today in little Ziggy, his parents, family and friends, and all gathered here for prayer.  We see you in our world, blooming now into its summer splendor.  We feel you on the morning breeze, in the sun as it warms our skin.  Your fragrance fills our world as every flower opens to your touch.  We pray this morning that all gathered here, and especially Ziggy, will remember your constant presence in our lives, your abiding love as we journey on this wonderful earth.  We celebrate you this morning, Oh Spirit, as you bless this day, these people, and especially this beautiful child.  Amen

Opening Song: Breath of the One Life by Jan Notvoka


Reading 1: A Reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians
Message Bible: Cor 12: 4-13
God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. The Spirit’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but the Holy One is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that expresses the Divine Presence: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful. All these gifts have a common origin.
You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of the Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which God has the final say in everything. This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized. Each of us is now a part of the resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain where we all come to drink.
Song between readings: Spirit of the Living God Sung by Michael Crawford

Reading 2: A reading from When God Made You by Matthew Turner

When God made you,
God made you all shiny and new.
An incredible you, a you all your own,
A you unlike anyone else ever known.
An exclusive design, one God refined,
You’re a perfectly created one of a kind.
‘Cause when God made you,
Somehow God new
That the world needed someone
Exactly like you.

You, you, when God dreams about you,
God dreams about all that in you will be true.
That you – God’s YOU – will be hopeful and kind,
A giver who lives with all heart, soul and mind.
A dreamer who dreams in big and small themes,
One who keeps dreaming in journeys upstream.
A mover, a shaker, a lover of nature.
A builder of bridges, you, the peacemaker.

A you who views others as sisters and brothers
And lives by three words: love one another.
A confident you, strong and brave, too.
You being you is God’s dream coming true.

These are the inspired words of Matthew Turner and we affirm them by saying, AMEN.


Gospel: A reading from the Gospel of John
JN 15-16, 23-26

Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you.

I ask the Holy One to provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take the Spirit of Truth in because it doesn’t have eyes to see and doesn’t know what to look for. But you know the Spirit already because the Spirit is with you, and will even be in you!

I will not leave you orphaned. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in the Holy One, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.”

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


Mary Theresa’s homily reflection:
Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost. The readings recount a beautiful faith story of the early followers of Jesus who bonded together in community and fell in love with his message. As with most of the faith stories we read during our liturgies, we bring our sacred imagination to the text to discern what it meant for the early followers of Jesus and what it means for us today.

This is what I imagine:  The followers of The Way gathered in grief over losing their beloved prophet and teacher.  And as time went on, their grief led them to deep conversations about his message and why they followed him. They were living in oppressive times and Jesus’ message was a powerful indictment of the prevailing culture.

And as time went on, they came to realize, or were inspired by the Spirit, to embrace the message with their lives and use their gifts to challenge the crushing systems that oppressed the poor and marginalized. They could not remain silent. It was their way of remembering Jesus, who continued to be alive and walked with them. Their hearts were on fire and once on fire, there was no stopping them. They went out to spread the good news. And for some, it was at a great cost.

So why is the Pentecost story important for us, the Upper Room Community?  Because we too, are living in oppressive times, and the Spirit is working through us to speak out for the poor and marginalized as we confront the systems of oppression. As a  community, we are discerning our personal gifts and our collective gifts and we are challenging and inviting each other to use them to create a better world for Enzo and Ziggy and all of the precious members of our human family. Our hearts are on fire!!

Today, we are welcoming Ziggy to the Christian Community. We are welcoming him to a community committed to following our brother Jesus as we renew our baptismal promises.

What did you hear in today’s readings and how do they inspire or challenge you?

Denise’s homily reflection:

My favorite insects are from the group called Odonates, dragonflies and damselflies.  I think that they are both interesting and very beautiful.  And for today, on the feast of Pentecost and the occasion of Ziggy’s baptism, I think they can teach us a great lesson.

To meet a developing dragonfly you will have to look underwater.  Here, for most of its life it swims around, eating other aquatic insects, and I presume, enjoying its underwater existence.  And then, after a number of years something remarkable happens.  This aquatic insect is drawn upward, as if with a magnet, or gravity.  It climbs up a stem or leaf, to a world it never knew existed.  It is then, after leaving its world behind and entering into a new world of air and light that the dragonfly becomes the winged and jeweled insect it was created to be. 

Jesus tells us in the gospel today that we will see him because he “is alive” and that we “are about to become alive.”  Jesus is alive because he is the human being he was created to be. He is like the glittery dragonfly with the glistening wings which after years of living under water has finally become its true self.  We too, are called to become our true selves.  We are called into the light, into the air, into the knowledge that our creator lives in us, and has created us for a wonderful purpose. 

When I, and you, become what we are created to be, the beautiful words of Matthew Turner will ring:  “You being you is God’s dream coming true.”
Baptism of Ziggy Knox Van Bergan

Mary Theresa: Let us begin our welcoming of Ziggy to the Christian Community with a prayer to the Source of all Life.

O Holy One, you continually remind us that you love your creation by sending us brand new possibilities in the form of daughters and sons.  May Ziggy grow in his understanding of your infinite love as he learns the meaning of faith through service. May he come to appreciate his gifts and responsible place as co-creator of his life in You. Amen.

Mary Theresa: Introduction to Rite of Baptism
The Rite of Baptism begins with a statement of intent on the part of the parents and godparents. Ziggy is too young to speak for himself, so Ziggy’s parents, Kellie and T’Quomas and his godparents, Cathy and Earl, speak on his behalf.

Reception of the Child

Mary Theresa: I invite Kellie, T’Quomas, Enzo and Ziggy to stand with Ziggy’s Godparents Earl and Cathy.

Mary Theresa: (to the parents) Kellie and T’Quomas, what do you ask of this Christian Community?

Kellie and T’Quomas: We ask that our son Ziggy be welcomed into the Christian community through the sacrament of Baptism.

Mary Theresa: By asking for Baptism within the Christian community, you are promising to teach Ziggy to live justly, to love tenderly and to walk with integrity for all to see and celebrate. You are promising to teach him about his brother, Jesus and his message of love.  Do you promise to do this to the best of your ability?

Kellie and T’Quomas: We do.

Mary Theresa: (to the godparents) Earl and Cathy, do you promise to help Kellie and T’Quomas as they teach Ziggy about the Source of All Life and about Jesus, our brother?

Godparents: We do.

Baptismal Ritual

Mary Theresa: In our ritual today, we use many sacramental symbols and signs. We now continue the baptismal ritual with a blessing of the water and the oil.

Kellie: O Holy One, Source of all that is, we experience your grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of your unseen presence.

T”Quomas: At the dawn of creation, Your Spirit breathed on the waters making them the wellspring of all holiness.

Godparent 1 (Earl): The water of the Red Sea, through which our ancestors traveled, is a symbol of our liberation from all that holds us captive. In the waters of the Jordan River, our brother Jesus was baptized by his cousin, John, and anointed with your Spirit.

Godparent 2 (Cathy): After the resurrection, the disciples of Jesus celebrated baptism in water and the Spirit with those who answered Your call to holiness.

Kellie: From age to age, oil has been used to anoint the priests, prophets, leaders and visionaries.

Mary Theresa: I invite all present to please extend your hands in blessing the water and oil.

O Holy One, you call us to be co-creators of a world filled with blessing and abundance. As co-creators with you, we bless this water and oil as a symbol of your grace filled presence in our community.  (pause)

Baptismal Promises

Mary Theresa: In this part of the baptismal ritual, Kellie and T’Quomas make baptismal promises for Ziggy. I invite everyone to renew your baptismal promises and respond “I do” to each of the following:

Do you promise to see what is good for your sisters and brothers everywhere, rejecting injustice and inequity, living with the freedom and responsibility of children of God?

All: I do.

Mary Theresa: Do you promise to work for the realization of God’s vision of harmony and right relations among all peoples, rejecting the idols of money, property, color, sex and position?

All: I do.

Mary Theresa: Do you promise to seek peace and live in peace in one human family, rejecting prejudice and half-heartedness in every form, and all barriers to unity?

All: I do.

Mary Theresa: Do you promise to cherish the universe, and this precious planet, working creatively to renew and safeguard the elemental sacraments of air, earth, water and fire?

All: I do.

Mary Theresa: Do you believe in the Holy One, the Source of all life, in Jesus our brother, who loved and lived among us so that all might live with abundant fullness; in the breath of the Holy One’s center, the Spirit who continues the work of forgiveness and reconciliation, birthing and blessing, challenge and hope, so that together we can continue the work of creation?

All: I do.

Pouring of Water

Mary Theresa: Kellie, T’Quomas will now pour the baptismal water on Ziggy.

Mary Theresa: (as Kellie and T’Quomas pour water over Ziggy’s head, presider speaks the following:)
We baptize you, Ziggy
-       in the name of the Holy One who is the Source of all life,
-       Who is revealed through Jesus and in all of creation,
-       And Whose Spirit invites and inspires us as co-creators. Amen.

Anointing with Oil

Mary Theresa: Kellie and T’Quomas will now anoint Ziggy

Mary Theresa: (As Kellie and T’Quomas anoint Ziggy’s forehead as the presider speaks the following:)
Ziggy, you were conceived in love and welcomed to life with love. We anoint you with this oil in recognition that all creation is sacred, that you are sacred.

Presentation of Stole

Mary Theresa: Earl will now place the stole on Ziggy,

Mary Theresa: (as Earl places stole on Ziggy, the presider speaks the following:)
Ziggy, we present you with this stole. May it remind you that you are called to live a life of love in service to others.

Lighting Candle

Mary Theresa: Cathy will now light Ziggy’s candle from the Easter Candle.

Mary Theresa: (as Cathy lights Ziggy’s candle from the Easter Candle the presider speaks the following: )
Ziggy, may this candle remind you of Jesus, who opened peoples’ minds and hearts to see the “light” of God’s presence within them. And, may your light shine for all to see.

Presentation of Ziggy to Community

Mary Theresa: (Kellie and T’Quomas lift Ziggy and present him to the community as the presider say the following:)
 It is with great joy that we welcome Ziggy Knox Van Bergen to the Christian Community.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Presider 1: Let us pray together our Eucharistic Prayer:

ALL:  O Divine Fire of Love, how often have we felt your tender love, for you love us without limits or boundaries! How often have we been consumed with delight by your love in human touch!  How often have we felt your embrace through Earth's beauty, as part of your beloved creation! Your Spirit energizes us to work for a just and peaceful world and we raise our voices with grateful hearts as we sing:

Blessed be our God!
Blessed be our God!
Joy of our hearts, source of all life and love!
God of Heaven and Earth!
God of Heaven and Earth!
Dwelling within, calling us all by name!
Alleluia, sing!
Alleluia, sing!

Gift of love and peace!
Gift of love and peace!
Jesus the Christ, Jesus our hope and light!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
Alleluia, sing!
Alleluia, sing!

Come, O Spirit of Truth!
Come, O Spirit of Truth!
Promise of hope, kindness and mercy!
Come and dwell in our hearts!
Come and dwell in our hearts!
Alleluia, sing!
Alleluia Sing! By David Haas

All:  Holy One, we recognize Your Spirit in the gifts of this Eucharistic table and the gifts within each of us.  May they become gifts of wisdom, light and truth.

We thank you for Jesus whose message blesses and transform our lives. He showed us how to live as your new creation.

Presider 2:  Please extend your hands in blessing.

On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet.

Presiders stand at table, Presider 1 lifts bread.

All:  When he returned to his place, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and offered it to them saying:
Take this bread and eat it;
This is my very self. (pause)

 (Presider 2 lifts cup)

All:  Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace and offered the wine saying:
Take and drink of the covenant
Made new again through my life in you.
Whenever you remember me like this,
I am among you.

Holy One, your transforming energy is always moving within us and working through us. Like Jesus, we will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and we will live compassionate lives,
for it is through living as Jesus lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within,
Moving us to glorify you,
At this time and all ways.

Presider 2: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

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.  Amen 
(Miriam Therese Winter)  

Presider 2: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread:
Presiders break the bread

All:   O Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will live justly. You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will love tenderly
You call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk with integrity in your presence.

Presiders lift the bread and wine

Presider 1: "This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other.

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.

Presider 2: Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. You are a spark of the Divine and nothing can separate you from God’s love. All are welcome to receive at this friendship table.  Please pass the bread with the words: You are the Face of God. Please pass the cup with the words: You are the Body of Christ.

Presider 1: Our Communion Meditation is: Breathe On Me
By John Michael Talbot


Presider 2: Let us pray together our blessing.

ALL:  May the Fire of Love ignite our hearts and radiate through us; may the Spirit of truth and justice burn within us forever. Amen.
Presider 1: Please join in singing our closing song: Sing a New Church
by Michelle Sherliza and Delores Dufner

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