Theme: Living the Christ Presence as Love in the World
Gathering Chant: Come Be Beside Us by Jan Phillips
Gathering Chant: Come Be Beside Us by Jan Phillips
Come be beside us.
Come be around us.
Come be within us.
Come be among us.
Presider 1: Welcome to our concluding liturgy. We are grateful for each other and for Dawn’s presence with us this weekend. Our theme today is Living the Christ Presence as Love in the World. Let us begin now with our opening prayer.
Presider 2: Holy One, we celebrate You within us and within creation as we live your loving presence by working for justice, equality and inclusivity each day in the world.
Please join in singing our opening song: We are Called.
Opening Song: We Are Called by David Hass
Come, Live in the light!
Shine with the joy and the love of our God!
We are called to be light for the kin-dom,
to live in the freedom of the City of God.
We are called to act with justice,
We are called to love tenderly,
We are called to serve another;
To walk humbly with God!
Come, open your heart!
Show your mercy to all those in fear.
We are called to be hope for the hopeless,
So all hatred and blindness will be no more!
Sing! Sing a new song!
Sing of that great day when all will be one!
God will reign, and we’ll walk with each other
As sisters and brothers united in love!
First Reading: Micah: A Reading from the Prophet Micah (6:8)
My people, you struggle blindly to know what the Holy One wants, and you act as if you remember nothing from your history, as if you know nothing. From the beginning of time, there has been one message from the Holy One, ONLY this: That we live justly, that we love tenderly, that we walk with integrity in the Holy One's presence!
These are the inspired words of the prophet Micah and we affirm them by saying: AMEN.
Responsorial: Psalm 34 as interpreted by Nan Merrill
Sung Refrain: Your Spirit, O God, is upon me. You have anointed me.
I will bless the Beloved at all times;
a song of praise will I sing.
My soul speaks to the Beloved continually;
let all who suffer hear and be glad.
O, open your hearts, friends,
that your pain and loneliness
be turned to love;
and then, we shall rejoice in the Beloved together!
When I searched for Love, the Beloved
answered within my heart,
and all my fears flew away.
Look to the Beloved, and your emptiness
will be filled,
your face will radiate love.
One with love, you are never alone!
A reading from the Universal Christ
God loves things by becoming them. God loves things by uniting with them, not by excluding them. Through the act of creation, God manifested the eternally outflowing Divine Presence into the physical and material world. Ordinary matter is the hiding place for Spirit, and thus the very Body of God.
As the New Testament dramatically and clearly puts it, “Before the world was made, we have been chosen in Christ… claimed as God’s own, and chosen from the very beginning.” Christ is a good and simple metaphor for absolute wholeness, complete incarnation and the integrity of creation.
Jesus is the archetypal human just like us (Hebrews 4: 15), who showed us what the Full Human might look like if we could fully live into it (Ephesians 4: 12–16). Frankly, Jesus came to show us how to be human much more than how to be spiritual.
The whole of creation—not just Jesus—is the beloved community, the partner in the divine dance. Everything is the “child of God.” No exceptions. When you think of it, what else could anything be? All creatures must in some way carry the divine DNA of their Creator.
These are the inspired words of Richard Rohr, author of the Universal Christ, and we affirm them by saying, AMEN.
Gospel: Mark 14:3-9
(Woman who anointed Jesus head, as example of our prophetic call to be love poured out in our world today.)
A Reading from the Gospel of Mark with Commentary
While Jesus was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon, a woman entered carrying an alabaster jar of perfume made from expensive aromatic nard. After breaking the jar, she began to pour the perfume on his head.
Some said to themselves indignantly, “What is the point of this extravagant waste of perfume? It could have been sold for over three hundred silver pieces, and the money given to those in need!” They were infuriated with her.
But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you criticize her? She has done me a kindness. You will always have poor people among you, and you can do them good whenever you want, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anointed my body and is preparing it for burial. The truth is, wherever the Good News is proclaimed throughout the world, what she has done will be told in her memory.
These are the inspired words of Mark, disciple of Jesus, and we affirm them by saying, AMEN.
Commentary: Bridget Mary Meehan
The passion narrative of Mark’s Gospel provides the context for the story of the woman who anoints Jesus’ head. It is evident from Mark’s perspective that the male disciples don’t comprehend that suffering is part of the mission of Jesus. They reject the suffering Messiah and, in the end, abandon or betray him. However, the female disciples who have journeyed with the Messiah from Galilee to Jerusalem become the true disciples of Jesus.
It is a sad testimony to patriarchy’s influence that in spite of Jesus’ words, Christians throughout the ages have forgotten this courageous woman. Ordinarily, in the customs of the day, it would be unheard of for anyone besides a priest or prophet, usually male, to preside at a public anointing.
This prophetic woman challenges us to risk everything in order to share our gifts. She also challenges us to listen to the urgings of the Holy Spirit in our lives, for the Spirit does at times move us to the unpopular, more daring public action. Like her, we do what we can do—but whatever it is, it amounts to pouring out the extravagance of our love on others. Like her, we can break through the arrogance and fury of those who don’t understand, and anoint Jesus, the Christ who dies and rises each day in women and men everywhere. We can reclaim for woman her position in the tradition as Christian ministers and witnesses. In prayer we can dialogue with these powerful icons of the faith. Then, when the gospel is proclaimed, we will remember and celebrate woman-strength, woman-passion, woman-wisdom, woman-truth and, woman-courage! Praying with Women of the Bible, pp. 95-97.
Homily: Rev. Dawn Hutchings (posted in separate blog post)
Statement of Faith
All: We believe in the Holy One, who is love poured out in creation.
We believe in Jesus, who showed us how to live, who prayed that “All may be one.”
We believe that we are called to follow the Spirit, the source of wisdom and truth within, around and among us.
We believe that we are the Christ Presence evolving here and now as we live justly, love tenderly and walk with integrity.
Prayers for the Community
Presider 1: We bring to the table the challenges and struggles of our sisters and brothers. Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”
Spontaneous intentions from assembly
Presider 2: Healing God, you faithfully accompany us as we reach out in love to those who need our prayers and those we hold in our hearts. Amen.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Presentation of the bread and wine
Presiders hold up bread, wine and book of intentions
Presiders 1: Blessed are you, O Holy One, and blessed are we as we gather around this table. We bring this bread, wine and our lives to share at this banquet of love.
All: Blessed are you, forever.
Presider 2: Our God is with us.
All: And with all of creation.
Presider 2: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up to our God.
Presider 2: Let us give thanks to our loving God.
All: It is right to give thanks and praise.
All: Passionate God, you kindle your fire of enthusiasm in us as we contemplate the boundless, depths of your love.
In the power of your Spirit, we lift our hearts in prayer, invoking anew the gift of wisdom and enlightenment, that we may continue to praise and thank you, in union with all who sing the ancient hymn of praise:
Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker
We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x
We are whole.
Spirit divine, Come to me
Feeling love, Healing me .
Open my heart, Allow me to see,
Beauty & love, Lives in me.
You are Holy, Holy, Holy…
All: Sending among us Jesus, our brother, You birth afresh in our world the power of Sophia-Wisdom within us. You give us eyes to see human needs, hearts to care for our sisters and brothers and hands and feet to lighten their burdens.
Presider 1: Please extend your hands in blessing.
All: Holy One, You transform these gifts of bread, wine, and our lives, with boundless grace that nourishes and sustains us on our journey.
Presider 2: On the night Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions. He reminded them of what he taught them and bent down and washed their feet. Jesus returned to his place at the table, lifted the Passover bread and spoke the blessing, and then broke the break with these words,
All: Take and eat, this is my very self.
Presider 1: Jesus then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine with these words:
All: Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life for you and for everyone. Whenever you do this, you remember me.
Presider 2: Let us proclaim the mystery of wonder in our midst.
All: Jesus who walks with us on the path of holiness, you are the spark of love in whom we believe; the Wisdom of Sophia in whom we trust; and the desire for justice that consumes us.
Presider 1: As we celebrate the memory of Jesus, we remember our prophetic leaders. We remember the communion of saints who have gone before us and all who have inspired and loved us.
Presider hold up bread and wine
All: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we awaken to your Spirt loving through us to promote justice and equality in our service to our sisters and brothers.
Great Amen (Lilies of the Field)
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 1: Let us hold hands as we pray for peace in our world.
Song: Peace is flowing like a river by Carey Landry
Peace is flowing like a river,
flowing out of you and me.
Flowing out into the desert,
setting all the captives free.
Love is flowing like a river, …
Healing’s flowing like a river, …
Presider 2: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread:
Presiders break the bread
All: 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.
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. All are welcome to receive at this friendship table. Please pass the bread with the words: You are the Body of Christ. Please pass the cup with the words: You are the Face of God.
Communion Meditation: Song of Thanksgiving by The Dameans
Love that’s freely given
wants to freely be received.
All the love you poured on us
can hardly be believed.
And all that we can offer you is thanks
All that we can offer you is thanks.
Creation tells the story
That began so long ago
A love that longed to share its life
In hope that love would grow.
The sun repeats each morning.
The story is retold.
And just in love’s retelling
New chapters yet unfold.
Your care called other people
Your love made them your own.
You freed their hearts and calmed their fears,
And finally brought them home.
It is when our trials are ended,
We most easily forget.
But your friendship never ceases;
Your love shows no regret.
Presider 1: As we leave this retreat, let us extend our hands and bless each other.
May Spirit Energy ignite us to be a flame of love in our world.
May Spirit Love reconcile and heal all divisions.
May Spirit Peace enliven us in prophetic obedience.
Together, we are one in Christ, loving and serving God’s holy people.
: Please join in singing our closing song: Companions on the Journey
By Carey Landry
We are companions on the Journey
Breaking bread and sharing life.
And in the love we bear
Is the hope we share,
For we believe in the love of our God
We believe in the love of our God.
No longer strangers to each other.
No Longer strangers in God’s house.
We are fed and we are nourished
By the strength of those who care,
By the strength of those who care.
We have been gifted with each other,
And we are called by the Word of God,
To act with justice to love tenderly,
And to walk humbly with our God,
And to walk humbly with our God.
Liturgy prepared by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP