Saturday, May 9, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Mother's Day Liturgy - May 10, 2020 - Presiders: Dennis McDonald, ARCWP, and Margaret Dilgen

Mother’s Day Liturgy – May 10, 2020

Welcome and Theme:  Mother’s Day – a time to remember the women in our lives who have had a profound impact on us, leading us to become the person we are today.  We celebrate and are thankful for women throughout the world who bring to life new creation, born of divine grace and beauty.

Margaret: Source of Life, we thank you for the gift of motherhood. We thank you for the many examples of faithful mothers in scripture, like Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth, and of the many women, whether our actual mother or another woman who touched our lives with love, encouragement, and support. We thank you for the women who celebrate with us today, recognizing the gifts they share with our community.  May all of us gathered here today emulate these examples of faith. And may they model for all the rest of us what it means to be your disciple. Bless them on this special day; in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Opening Song: I and the Mother are One – Jan Phillips

I and the Mother are one,
Like the sky and the moon and sun
Like the ocean and stream,
Like the dreamer and dream,
I and the Mother are one.

I and the Mother Are One
Like the sky and the moon and sun
Like the blizzard and snow,
Like the river and flowI and the Mother are one.

I and the Mother Are One
Like the sky and the moon and sun.
Like the earth and the sea,
Like the branch and the tree
I and the Mother are one.

I and the Mother are one,
Like the sky and the moon and sun,
Like the blanket and warm
Like the thunder and storm
I and the Mother are one.

LITURGY OF THE WORD

1st Reading: When God First Saw His Mother by Jan Phillips
When God first saw His Mother, He cried.
Astonished by her Radiance
He fell to his knees
witnessing a wonder beyond All-Knowing.
She appeared on the shoulders of seven galaxies.
The Milky Way spun a halo around her head..
Andromeda and Centaurus circled her wrists,
bangles from the heavens for the Mother of All.

Orion dropped his shield when she appeared.
Pegasus reared and spread his wings.
A roar from Ursa Major shattered the silence.

"I never knew," God said,
an old man now, aloft on a nebula.

"Look what I made, so I wouldn't be alone,"
he said, pointing everywhere
with his fingers of Light.

Hoping for Her approval, He began His litany:
"Fire, water, wind, stars, planets, creatures."

God's Mother beheld the heavens
delighted at the dance of binary stars,
impressed with the wonder of stellar winds,
moons and tides,
galaxies in the trillions with no beginning or end.

"Is it as you intended?" She asked Her Son.

"Except for Earth, where they are slow to learn.
They fight day and night and poison their young
in all manner of ways."

"Do you not intercede?" the Mother inquired.

"I do not," God said, "for they are born to create.
They are makers of everything,
though they deny this is true."

"What do you think will come to pass?"

"It's in their hands, though by their songs
you would never know."

"Do you not have power over their sun and moon?"
"Yes, but the affairs of earth belong to them.
The infinite is mine, the finite, theirs."

" I see," She said, as she shifted in space,
the galaxies swirling and shining beneath Her.
"You have done well," She praised, then dissolved into dark:
The Mother of Everything returning to Naught.

God entered the deep space of silence and awe,
then broadcast to the cosmos His bulletin of joy:
I and the Mother are one this day.
I and the Mother are One.

These are the inspired words of Jan Phillips, and the community affirms them by saying, Amen.

2nd Reading: A reading from Kate Wallace Nunnelly

In recent years I have been struck by how feminine communion is. At the Last Supper Jesus says, “This is my body broken for you” & “This is my blood shed for you” and all of it is to bring about new life. How similar to what a mother can say to the baby she just birthed. For a mother’s body is also broken and her blood is also shed to make way for new life.

Did these words first find their origin on the lips of Jesus’ mother, as she cradled her newborn baby, telling him of all she went through to bring him new life?

Did they find their way back to her lips as she shouted in anguish, holding the nail-pierced & broken body of her son at the foot of the cross?

In many church traditions women are not allowed to preside over the communion table, or to help serve communion to the congregation. There are a few different reasons given, but I believe the story of Mary shows us that God had a different plan in mind.

After all, it was Mary who first presided over the body & blood of Jesus as she carried him in her womb for 9 months.  And it was Mary who delivered his body & blood into the world, for the benefit of all creation.

Yes, in recent years I have been struck by how feminine communion is. And every time I get to receive communion from a woman at church, I am reminded that my God isn’t afraid of being perceived as having feminine characteristics and doesn’t stray away from showing sacrificial, motherly love.
These are the inspired words of Kate Wallace Nunnelly, adapted from the work of Samuel Wells & Abigail Kocher
Homily Starter by Dennis McDonald

Imagine, God having a mother. Not so far-fetched when you think that humankind has for millennia viewed God as a man in the sky amongst the clouds, in a place called heaven.  So, why not a mother for this entity.  And what of his reaction, sheer joy knowing that there was someone, his mother, who he could impress and seek approval from for all that he had done.  Sounds somewhat familiar as I think about myself and others growing up, loving mommy, seeking approval, wanting to impress her and win her love.  And what joy, what happiness when, like God, our mother said, “you have done well”. But there is a difference. Unlike God’s mother, who praises, says well done and then disappears back into the darkness from which life began, our mothers aren’t always approving, aren’t always supportive, aren’t always perfect.  There are any number of reasons for this including lack of interest in what we are doing, or lack of knowledge, or an inability to offer what we are seeking.  As we celebrate Mother’s Day today, we celebrate not just birth mothers, but women who have been significant in our lives, offering support and encouragement, urging us onward, challenging us to be who we are created to be.  It is one of the beauties of being human, the ability to provide nurturance to another person who is seeking approval as they come into their own, no matter what age.
God, in our story does not intercede in human relations, “for they are born to create. They are makers of everything”.  St. Hildegarde of Bingen said it this way: "Humankind, full of all creative possibilities, is God’s work. Humankind alone is called to assist God. Humankind is called to co-create. With nature’s help, humankind can set into creation all that is necessary and life-sustaining.” It is up to us to create a world where love is primary, where approval and praise are at the forefront of all of our interactions. 
Our second reading speaks of the body broken and blood shed by a mother, in this case Mary, when a child is born.  Those who are mothers can attest to this. I can only attest to what I witnessed at the birth of our daughter, and what my wife endured.  And yet, at the same moment, the sheer joy she exhibited at the birth of her child.  It is in this moment of birth that a communion is consummated, new life comes into being in the breaking and the bleeding, leading to a connection that is never fully broken. 
Jesus, at his final meal with his disciples, both men and women, used the symbolism of a body broken and blood shed to invite them to bring new life to a broken and bleeding world.  This is what we, as followers of Jesus, are asked to do, to bring a new way of loving, healing the hurt and the pain that causes some to not be approved, supported, or encouraged. Kate Wallace Nunnelly expresses concern in the inability of women in some faith traditions to offer the body and blood of Jesus to their community.  Women who understand body broken, blood shed, are kept from delivering the new life that emerges from this symbolism given to us by Jesus. 
Similar to individuals who seek others as nurturing companions, the Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement, hasn’t just accepted Mother Church’s denial and non-support of their call to be life-bearers to the world.  Instead, they have birthed an alternative path that encourages and supports women called to priesthood.  As the Upper Room Community we celebrate those women in our lives who have nurtured and sustained us over the years, and we, in particular recognize the women among us who have embraced the call of the Divine Mother to be life-bearers, bringing, in this Easter season, and throughout the year, the message that out of brokenness, out of darkness, new life emerges.  For all women who have touched our lives with love and compassion, we say, “You have done well”. 
What or who do you celebrate today? Where have you found support and approval? When have you been a source of new life to another?   
Margaret: Let us continue our liturgy by reciting our Statement of Faith

We believe in the Holy One, a divine mystery
beyond all definition and rational understanding,
the heart of all that has ever existed,
that exists now, or that ever will exist.

We believe in Jesus, messenger of the Divine Word,
bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion,
bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's
prophets, mystics, and saints.

We believe that We are called to follow Jesus
as a vehicle of divine love,
a source of wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of peace in the world.

We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One,
the life that is our innermost life,
the breath moving in our being,
the depth living in each of us.

We believe that the Divine kin-dom is here and now,
stretched out all around us for those
with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it,
and hands to make it happen. 

Dennis:  As we prepare for the eucharistic meal, we recognize that just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us. We pray today, this special litany of intentions in honor of Mother’s Day
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year–we mourn with you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment—we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is

  • To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms–we need you
  • To those who have warm and close relationships with your children–we celebrate with you
  • To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children–we sit with you
  • To those who lost their mothers this year–we grieve with you
  • To those who did not have a positive experience of being mothered – we offer solace
  • To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother–we acknowledge your experience
  • To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year–we grieve and rejoice with you
  • To those who placed children up for adoption–we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart
  • To those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising–we anticipate with you
Please voice your own silent intentions

Dennis: Divine Mother, loving us with a sweeter and deeper love than we have ever known, hear our prayers this day, Amen.
(Source: By Amy Young, and Carol Penner )

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

Margaret: Please join in praying the Eucharistic Prayer.

Loving Mother, who gives life and breath to everyone and everything in our world, let us find life, breath and meaning for ourselves and our world.
We celebrate and give thanks, together, for the women in our communities.
That women and men are different invites us into partnership, invites us to share the burdens and the joys of life.

In the gentle care of the Holy one we find our home. And in the living Spirit we are united this day in offering praise as we sing: 
https://youtu.be/9LKivUf48AA

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)  

Great Mystery with a mother’s heart, you gather us as your children. You comfort and hold us in your warm embrace. Eternal and loving Source of Life, we thank you this day, for being part of your family.

Great Mystery, with a mother’s heart, love surrounds and supports us, in good and difficult times, in the midst of joy and pain, always and everywhere. We are never left alone nor abandoned.

When we hurt we are held in love’s embrace. When we are afraid we are surrounded with compassionate care. When we are hungry we are nourished with the bread of life.

Please extend your hands as we pray the prayers of consecration

We are grateful for Sophia Wisdom at our Eucharistic Table and for this bread and wine which reminds us of our call to be the body of Christ in the world, standing in solidarity with the oppressed and the broken.  



All: 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.  
 
All lift their plate as the community prays the following: 

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:  
Take and eat, this is my very self. 
 (consume bread and pause)  
 
All lift their cup as community prays the following: 

Then he took the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying: 
Take and drink. 
Whenever you remember me like this, 
I am among you. 
(drink and pause) 

ALL: We share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace. 

For those who have been blessed with an awareness of mothering care, who have looked to be guided and nurtured, we give thanks, and we pray for unity of the human family.  May we be a nurturing influence on others, that they too may enjoy a life of nurturance and acceptance.
For those who hunger and thirst, who are lost and alone, who yearn to be given new direction, new hope and new life, we pray that they experience through us care, compassion and love. Let us be seen and known as faithful followers of Jesus the Christ through this community of faith. Help us to uphold the teachings of Jesus, our brother, as we seek to bring justice and peace to the world.
For the many strengths of women, their gifts of peace-making, nurturing, education, entrepreneurship, healing, wisdom, creativity, endurance, collaboration, physicality –
and so much more, we are grateful.

So, we trust that the Spirit of Sophia Wisdom will continue to beckon us to live out the Gospel values of compassion and equality, bringing peace and justice to the world in which we live. 

Let us pray the Prayer of Jesus:
Our Mother who art within us,
Each breath brings us to you.
Thy wisdom come,
Thy will be done,
as we honor your presence within us.
You give us this day all that we need.
Your bounty calls us to give and receive
all that is loving and pleasurable.
You are the courage that moves us to be true to ourselves
and we act with grace and power.
We relax into your cycles of birth,
growth, death and renewal.
Out of the womb, the darkness, the void, comes new life.
For you are the Mother of All Things.
Your body is the Sacred Earth and our bodies.
Your love nurtures us and unites us all.
Now and forever more.
“Our Mother” by Dale Allen

Communion Meditation: Woman Spirit by Karen Drucker
Upper Room Tribute to Mothers 2020



Margaret: Let us pray together our Closing Prayer

Go now in the comfort and peace of the One who gave birth to us.
Go in the assurance that the Comforter is with us always.
Go to give comfort and peace to others.
Divine Wisdom guide us as we go forth on Her paths of peace.
May She give us blessings more precious than silver or gold (Prov. 3:13-15, 17).
May we find joy in sharing these blessings with others.
May Wisdom empower us to change our world! Amen.

Closing Song: We Will Rise Again by David Haas

The Eucharistic Prayer used within this liturgy was modified from the writings of Jann Aldredge-Clanton (www.jannaldredgeclanton.com ), Christine Sine (https://godspace-msa.com/ ), and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).


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