Monday, November 4, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for Sunday, November 3, 2019 - Presiders: Debra Trees, ARCWP, and Joan Chesterfield, ARCWP

Debra Trees, ARCWP, and Joan Chesterfield, ARCWP, led the Upper Room Liturgy with the theme: “The Call to Sainthood, Going Out on a Limb.” Deb’s homily starter and Joan’s homily conclusion are printed below the readings. The community prayed the Liturgy of the Beatitudes adapted from Beatitudes for Peace by John Dear.

Opening Song: Dear’s Cry

The First Reading. Solemnity of Saints, November 1.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountainside. And after he had sat down, and his disciples gathered around, Jesus began to teach them.

"Blessed are those who are poor in spirit,
the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Blessed are they who are mourning,
they will be consoled.

Blessed are those who are gentle,
they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
they will have their fill.

Blessed are those who show mercy to others,
they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are those whose hearts are clean,
they will see God.

Blessed are those who work for peace,
they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their struggle for justice,
the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

You are fortunate when others insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward in heaven is great; they persecuted the prophets before you in the very same way."
These are the words from the writings of Matthew, and we affirm them by saying AMEN.

The Gospel Reading for November 3rd LK 19:1-10

Entering Jericho, Jesus passed through the city.
There was a wealthy person there named Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector. Zacchaeus was trying to see who Jesus was, but he couldn’t do so because of the crowd, since he was short.

In order to see Jesus, Zacchaeus ran on ahead then climbed a sycamore tree that was along the route. When Jesus came to the spot, he looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, hurry up and come on down. I’m going to stay at your house today."
Zacchaeus quickly came down and welcomed Jesus with delight.

When everyone saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
"Jesus has gone to a sinner’s house as a guest.”

Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to Jesus,
"Here and now I give half my possessions to poor people,
If I’ve defrauded anyone in the least, I’ll pay them back fourfold."
Jesus said to the tax collector, "Today salvation has come to this house, for this is what it means to be a descendent of Sarah and Abraham. The Promised One has come to search and save what was lost."

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

The Call to Sainthood, Going Out on a Limb. Homily reflection, Deb Trees

It is almost a cliché these days, that all of us are saints in our own right. It is true of course: We are all aspiring saints. Wanna bees. Reaching for heaven in our human way. For many of us, we’ve been told that we can never really make it there, without the hand of God, the Spirit, Jesus, and the very saintly humans who are given the official title and crown of sainthood.  But I ask, do you really believe it?  Do you really think you can be a saint?  Do you really aspire to that call?

In his “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus gives us a beginning blueprint for sainthood. That is why the Beatitudes are used for All Saints Day Liturgy each year. And this time of the year, with the three days of All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, we are introduced to the Ancient Celtic practice of recognizing the “thin veil” between our worlds. Uncomfortable thoughts for some; welcoming for others. We can reflect on those in our lives who have made an impact. Those who have followed the beatitudes. Joyce Rupp suggests that we reflect on those who have touched our lives:
  • Whose wisdom significantly marks the path of life you have taken?
  • Who stood by you and moved you through troublesome times?
  • Whose spirituality or theology has guided and grounded your own?
  • Who brought you steadfast love and indelible acceptance?
  • Who inspired and encouraged you to believe in your abilities?

These are the Saints of your individual lives.

In our other reading, Zacchaeus goes out on a limb, both figuratively and literally for Jesus. Barbara Reid in her Abiding Word Sunday Reflections notes that one wonders what Zacchaeus is giving up by changing his entire way of being in his community, and going out on a limb to follow Jesus.  She comments: “Jesus was accustomed to going out on a limb for people who were poor, sick, possessed by demons or marginalized.” The life-changing beatitudes.

While listening to John Dominic Crossan’s video, The Challenge of Paul, I heard the statement, “Don’t confuse charity with Justice.”  That speaks to me.  What speaks to you? We really are saints.  And we can each find the personal ways we act with holiness. We learn from the individual saints in our lives.  And all together we go out on a limb to stretch ourselves, change our lives, and remain in the holy embrace.

So, What did you hear dear friends? What will you do about it? How will it change you?

Homily Conclusion, Joan Chesterfield.

Who are you dear friends of the Upper Room Community? You are the saints who are being called upon to contribute to the evolution of the species says Pastor Dawn. Saints fit for the task, as the 14th century Christian mystic, Julian of Norwich insisted “We are not just made by God, we are made of God.

Thank you for sharing your inspired words with us today as we remember and rejoice in all the saints who have been a blessing to us and have revealed the LOVE that IS God in each of us. May we continue to live fully, love extravagantly, and be all that we were created to be.

Eucharistic Prayer – Liturgy of Beatitudes

Presider:  With open hands let us pray our Eucharistic Prayer together:

All: O Holy One, the first passion of Jesus was his passion for you and for justice so that all may reap the beauty and bounty of Creation in equal measure. Jesus lived to incarnate your justice for all the world according to your covenant with Israel. In solidarity with Jesus, and with all the faithful men and women who have gone before us, we lift up our hearts and 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 Christ, Jesus our hope and light!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
Proclaiming the day, shining throughout the night!
Alleluia, sing! Alleluia, sing!   Alleluia Sing by David Haas

All:  Holy One, we celebrate the life of your son and our brother, Jesus. He lived his life and walked forward to his death knowing that you were leading him. We walk forward in his pathway and follow his teaching.

We are standing in the right place with Jesus when we let go of money, possessions, pride and privilege, to become vulnerable and open to you, to accept poverty of spirit and reliance on you.

We are standing with You when we are compassionate for all human beings, and when we extend empathy and love to everyone, especially the poor, oppressed, and mournful. We remember all those who suffer and die each year from war, poverty and unjust disease. We mourn for them, and for all creatures we destroy, and for the earth itself.

We are blessed when we are gentle, nonviolent, courageous and humble, like your saints. We pray to grow in awareness of our unity with all of creation and co-create with You our earth as a sanctuary of peace.

We rejoice, O Holy One, as we join the lineage of Your prophets of justice and peace. We, Your daughters and sons, continue to work with Your grace as we arise and walk forward in the footsteps of our peace-loving brother, Jesus.

Presiders stand at table

All: On the night before he died, Jesus did more than ask us to remember him.  He showed us how to live in humility and generosity when he washed the feet of his friends.

Presider 1 lifts bread

All: At the table, he took the Passover Bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:
Take and eat of the Bread of Life
Given to strengthen you
Whenever you remember me like this
I am among you.  (pause)

Presider 2 lifts the cup

All: Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace 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.

All: Let us share this bread and cup as we proclaim and live the gospel of peace through justice.

Holy One, we trust You to continue to share with us Your own Spirit, the Spirit that filled Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, his loving and healing that all honor and glory is Yours. Amen.

Presider: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

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) 

Prayer for the Breaking of Bread

Presider:  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 hold up bread and wine)

Presider: 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: 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 table.  Please pass the bread and the cup  with the words: You are a spark of the Divine.

Communion Song: Standing on the Shoulders by Earth Mama

Presentation of Prayer Shawl and blessing of Deb

Deb, we Your community bless this shawl for 
warming, comforting, enfolding and embracing you with our love.
May this mantle be a safe haven… 
a sacred place of security and well-being…
sustaining and embracing in good times as well as difficult ones. 
As you wear this shawl, may you be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace, and wrapped in love.11

Final Blessing

Presider:  Let us raise our hands and bless each other.

All: May we be blessed with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships.
May we seek truth boldly and love deeply.
May we continue to be the face of the Holy One, and
May our names be a blessing in our time.

Closing Song: Go Light Your World by Chris Rice
The Eucharistic Prayer is adapted from John Dear’s Beatitudes for Peace by Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, and Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP.

Beatitudes for the 21st Century by Jan Phillips

Blessed be the Earth and those who tend her,
for she is the source and sustenance of our lives.

Blessed be the children who hunger for food, learning,
and homes that are safe, for their future is shaped by our choices today.

Blessed be the refuges fleeing the violence of war and poverty;
may they find shelter, peace, and work that sustains them.

Blessed be those who are calling for freedom, risking their lives, and resisting oppression, for they are the shapers of a brighter world.

Blessed be the persecuted and wrongly judged,
for their sorrow is lessened only by mercy and kindness.

Blessed be the prophets who speak and write of a world beyond war, for theirs are the words becoming flesh.

Blessed be the story-tellers, music-makers, and artists at life,
for they are the true light of the world.

Blessed be the tender-hearted who mourn and grieve the wars we’ve fought, the lives we’ve lost; may peace ride in on the river of their tears.

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