Monday, September 2, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Season of Creation Liturgy: Oceans, Presiders: Debra Trees, ARCWP and Santa Orlando

September 1, 2019  

Welcome and Theme:
We worship this Sunday with the oceans of Earth, all designed by the Wisdom of God. We join the Psalmists and call the sea to roar with songs of praise. We sing with the swirling seas and celebrate with the wondrous creatures of the watery deep. With our Creator, we rejoice with whales, dolphins and other ‘sea monsters.’  With the Spirit we groan with species that are suffering from human acts of pollution. (Season of Creation, September 1)
Welcome to September 1st, Creation Day and The Season of Creation. As we quiet ourselves, let us bring peace to this morning, to our lives, and send that peace around the circle of our world.

Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens.

Opening Prayer, Santa Orlando.

You are matter and spirit
Everywhere and nowhere
We are united in the energy that holds the cosmos together but divided by the illusion of separateness
Your indwelling presence is found in all living things and in the matrix of all the earth
All is sacrament steeped in the ever present Energy of Communion
Help us to Re-member we are part of the great cycle
Help us to Re-member we were chosen as caretakers of the earth
Help us to Re-member we are co-creators with the Divine
Let us stay connected and give thanks to the earth that provides food for the body and soul
Let us stay connected and give thanks  to all living things that are an intricate part of the web of life
Let us stay connected  to each other, our hearts and thoughts and words must be turned into action
Let us commit ourselves to giving Reverence to all of creation and to embracing our role in the evolution of our universe.

The First Reading, From OnBeing, In the Presence of Elephants and Whales.

Krista Tippett: This work you do, this passion you have, how does that make you think differently about what it means to be human?

Katy Payne: Well, the ocean is really huge. When you get out on a little boat, you know it. You’re clinging to a cork. It’s huge, and it’s capable of immense hugeness. And out there, rolling around and swimming through and perfectly at home in the waves, are these enormous animals. And by golly, they’re singing, of all things. They’re doing something that we recognize as singing. And so what that has done for me is to make me feel that what lies ahead to be discovered is absolutely limitless. We are not at the pinnacle of human knowledge. We are just beginning.

These are the words from Katy Payne and Krista Tippett, and we affirm them by saying, AMEN.

The Gospel Reading, from Luke,  The Message Bible

One time, when Jesus went for a Sabbath meal with one of the top leaders of the Pharisees, all the people had their eyes on him, watching his every move.

He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said,
"When you are invited to dinner, don’t take the place of honor.
Somebody more important than you may have been invited by the host. Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody,  “You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.” Red-faced, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.
When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then, when the host comes he may very well say,
Friend, come up to the front.  That will give the dinner guests something to talk about!  What I’m saying is, if you go around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will end up more than yourself.
Then he turned to the host, “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, The kind of people who return the favor.

Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be – and experience – a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned – Oh, how it will be returned! – At the resurrection of God’s people.”

These are the writing and words from the writer of Luke, and we affirm them by saying, AMEN.

Homily Starter, Deb Trees, September 1, 2019
Creation is a concept that can take on many faces. As Christians, we have been called to be good stewards of Creation, taking care of the world around us. Some bible verses tell us that we are the caretakers of the world. In Genesis (1: 26) we are told: “God spoke, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them, reflecting our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea and the birds in the air, the cattle, and yes, the Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of the earth.’ We might think, we are the owners of the earth and all that is here. Hey, we’ve been given the sole responsibility. We can do what we please. And therefore, we must be “better than” all the rest of creation.

Arrogance is defined as an attitude of superiority manifesting in an overbearing manner. Some synonyms include haughtiness, self-importance, or even lordliness.  The opposite is humility, modesty, and even confidence. An arrogant person is intolerant of people who are different. A confident person sees the value of every human being. (

How can we break out of our misunderstanding of our special place in Creation? Maybe if we realize how much we are loved, how special we are in the sight of the Holy One, and how wonderful it is to be a part of this creation, we will remember our blessings.  We can grow into inviting “everyone and everything” to the banquet.
Jesus, in our reading today, addressed the members of his community, seeing their arrogance and insecurity. None of us want someone to tell us that we are not the center of everything. And we surely don’t want to hear that we do not have control over all in our lives. It is so much easier to presume that we are better than others. And by design in this day, better than all of creation.

The opposite of that is Faith.  It is what Jesus is trying to tell us.  We are not to worry.  We are loved and taken care of, at all times, even when we are not the center of attention.  And that is more than ok. When we remember our place as one part of the Creation of the Cosmos, Our Holy One, the Creator of All, who has created us as well, is watching out for us.  Cooperation and caring make a difference and demonstrate our respect for all aspects of creation around us.
Part of our path and vision is to remember this, to follow Jesus, and to realize that we are equal with all others in creation.  That means the fish and the worms, the trees and the flowers, the rocks and gases, the oceans and whales.

As stewards of the creation that is “the Earth”, we must throw away our arrogance.  And in that vision of cosmic reality, we can open our hearts to the Great Spirit. The Holy One, the Great Spirit, moves and breathes through our existence, and we are but conduits as servants on this earth.
May we continue to embrace that reality, live lives of Peace and Justice for all, including the Fish and Worms, Earth, Whales, Oceans, and each other. May we learn the awe of our humanity, by having visions of the limitless Creation around us.
What did you hear? What will you do about it? How will it change you?
Healing Service for Lindy
We gather today as Lindy's friends and community, to bless her as she prepares for surgery and for the healing that we pray will come after.  We know that Lindy's road may not always be easy, and we offer our own individual gifts and the gifts of our community to support her along her journey of healing.
As we bless Lindy this morning we will also anoint her with oil.  Oil, the essential fluid of a living organism, is holy.  It represents the innermost life of creation.  Please raise your hands in blessing as we bless this oil as a sign of the healing power of the Holy One:

All:  Oh Holy One, it is in you that we live, move, and have our being.  You call us all to wholeness and health in your kin-dom.  We bless this oil today as a sacramental sign of the wellness that comes from you alone, and ask that it bring peace and healing to all who receive it.  Amen.

Lindy, you are a valued and beloved member of this community.  You have gifted us with your gentle wisdom, quiet strength, and ready smile.  You are part of the beauty of creation, and as such you are an incarnation of the Holy One, a spark of the Divine. 
Today, as you face health challenges and surgery, we as individuals and as a community offer our own gifts and strengths to you.  We pray that the Spirit of the Holy One guide the hands and hearts of the nurses and physicians who will work with you, giving you hope and relieving your pain.  We surround you with loving thoughts as we bless you. (To the community:  Please hold your hands in blessing)
May the Wholeness from which creation sprang wrap you in wholeness, holiness, and healing.  May the Love that made the universe and placed you within it wrap you in a healing embrace.  May the Boundless energize you for the journey ahead.  May you return to us, your loving community, in due time.

Mary:  (Please continue to hold your hands in blessing for the anointing)
Denise anoints, Julie lays hands on Lindy’s head.
Lindy, we anoint you with the chrism of healing.  We call on our Beloved, the ever-present Holy One, to keep you safe and sound, and we pray that you face your journey without anxiety.

Mary:  Let us pray together the Prayer of Saint Patrick:
All:  Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Blessing of the Prayer Shawl

Denise:  Please raise your hands as we bless this prayer shawl.
Lindy, we bless this shawl, which was lovingly made, and which represents the prayers of your community for your healing.  We pray that it will bring you comfort as you make your journey back to health. (Deven presents the shawl to Lindy)

As we continue to bless Lindy as we live from day to day, and as Lindy begins her walk toward healing, may the words of Jennifer Williamson bring wisdom and comfort to all of us:

"Healing is an honor,
Though perhaps one wrapped in darkness,
Like a star is."

Eucharistic Prayer: Celebrating Our Mystical Oneness in the Cosmic Christ, Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

Communion Song:  Song at the Center by Marty Haugen
Refrain: From the Corners of Creation, to the center where we stand, Let all things be blessed and holy. All is fashioned by your hand. Brother Wind and Sister Water, Mother Earth and Father Sky.   Sacred Plants and Sacred Creatures, Sacred People of the Land.

Closing Song: Sing Out Earth and Skies by Marty Haugen

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