Sunday, June 30, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for the Seventh Sunday of Easter - Presider: Donna Rougeux, ARCWP

Donna Rougeux, ARCWP, led the Upper Room Liturgy with the theme: Fears and Transformation and the dragonfly symbol.

In almost every part of the world, the dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization.

The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life. The dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water represents an act of going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into the deeper implications and aspects of life. The Dragonfly moves with elegance and grace. The Dragonfly is iridescent both on its wings and body. Iridescence shows itself in different colors depending on the angle and how the light falls on it. The magical property of iridescence is also associated with the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self and removing the doubts one casts on his/her own sense of identity.
The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life. This symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living in the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t, and to make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis. The eyes of the dragonfly symbolize the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self. dragonfly’s can be a symbol of self that comes with maturity. They can symbolize going past self-created illusions that limit our growth and ability to change.

The dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries. The dragonfly means hope, change, and love.

Peace Meditation Song: Deer's Cry

First Reading

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I'm either hanging on to a trapeze bar or swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I'm hurtling across space in between trapeze bars. Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar- of-the-moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I'm in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I'm merrily (or not so merrily) swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It's empty, and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart- of-hearts, I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well-know bar to move to the new one.

Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn't matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing, I have always made it. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantee, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging onto that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. It’s called transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs. The transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to hang out" in the transition between the trapeze bars. It can be terrifying. It can be enlightening, in the true sense of the word. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.

These are the inspired words from the Essene Book of Days and the community affirms them by saying: AMEN

Gospel Reading: Luke 9:51-62

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

These are the inspired words from the gospel of Luke and the community affirms them by saying: AMEN

Donna's homily starter:

In almost every part of the world, the Dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization.

The first reading gives a great image of our common responses to these important tasks of living life fully and well. We experience fear of change and transformation by clinging to sameness. We hang on to the trapeze bar by creating and adhering to religious traditions, rules, cultural expectations and norms. It is important to feel safe and protected so traditions and norms have a healthy purpose. The stepping stones to our growth and development are these traditions, rules and norms that the first reading images as trapeze bars.

To experience growth and transformation and the life Jesus calls us to, we have to let go of the bars so that we can learn to fly. The readings are challenging us to become more vulnerable and open to a different way of living. Jesus modeled this by living his whole life in the space between the trapeze bars. Once we learn to fly we have no need for the bars. The trapeze bars are training us to fly.

The gospel reading at first glance paints Jesus as a harsh person. What does he mean by having no place to lay his head, letting the dead bury the dead and that looking back while plowing renders one unfit for the kingdom of God?

The beginning of the reading gives us a clue. The Samaritans and Jews of Jesus’s tribe were enemies. When the disciples saw that the Samaritans were not welcoming Jesus they wanted to respond to lack of hospitality the same way the Hebrew scriptures pictured God responding to Sodom and Gemorah’s lack of hospitality by striking them dead. Jesus’s refusal to use this punishment is an example of letting go of a trapeze bar. This bar is a view of a vengeful God who kills the enemy.

Jesus is teaching that following the way is not easy, predictable and about following rules. The rule says to bury the dead within 24 hours. Jesus is not being callous about not burying the dead. This is a reference to letting those who are spiritually dead handling this task. To follow Jesus means becoming spiritually alive and letting go of rules that keep us confined to the status quo.

We are unfit for the kingdom of God when we look back while plowing. To be fit for the kingdom of God we must be fully present to the now. We must not be in the past nor the future but be fully alive to the now. Living in the Christ means letting go of the illusions of security that come from over reliance on religious rules and social norms.

How can we like Jesus learn to fly? Jesus was afraid and did not let fear keep him from his mission. Our task is to identify the bars that we are holding on to and learn to embrace the fear in between. It is here like Jesus that we learn to fly. What did you hear and what does it mean for you?

Communion Song: Imagine by John Lennon

Closing Song: You are the Voice by David Haas

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