Saturday, July 18, 2020

Upper Room Liturgy - Feast of Mary Magdalene - July 18, 2020 -Presiders: Donna Panaro, ARCWP, Kim Panaro, ARCWP, and Deven Horne

Recognizing God’s Love in Us 

photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

Kim~Welcome and Theme 
Welcome to the Upper Room. Today we will explore the theme of Weeds and Wheat through the lens of Mary Magdalene’s gospel.  In western Christianity, black and white, all or nothing thinking prevails. However all that exists, all that the Holy One creates, is here for our learning and healing. We call weeds bad and we call wheat good. However our reading will tell us that they can coexist and that it is the Holy One’s job, not ours, to label and sort which is which. Mary the Magdalene models embracing and learning from all that exists for the healing of our souls and from there, the world.

Deven~Opening Prayer
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes,
Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Opening Song
Donna~ Our opening song is traditionally sung about Mary, the mother of Jesus but as we have a focus on Mary Magdalene today, I suggest we think of her during this song. This song touches on some very difficult themes but when we bring them to the wisdom of Mary Magdalene we find hope and redemption.

Requiem by Eliza Gilkyson

Mother Mary, full of grace, awaken
All our homes are gone, our loved ones taken
Taken by the sea
Mother Mary, calm our fears, have mercy
Drowning in a sea of tears, have mercy
Hear our mournful plea
Our world has been shaken
We wander our homelands forsaken
In the dark night of the soul
Bring some comfort to us all
Oh mother mary come and carry us in your embrace
That our sorrows may be faced
Mary, fill the glass to overflowing
Illuminate the path where we are going
Have mercy on us all
In funeral fires burning
Each flame to your mystery returning
In the dark night of the soul
Your shattered dreamers, make them whole,
Oh mother mary find us where we've fallen out of grace
Lead us to a higher place
In the dark night of the soul
Our broken hearts you can make whole
Oh mother mary come and carry us in your embrace
Let us see your gentle face, mary

First Reading 
Excerpt from Mary Magdalene Revealed

In the gospel of Mary, Mary 9:8, ignorance calls the soul “bound by wickedness.” (Which always makes me laugh. It’s what makes ignorance ignorant. It calls out in others what it can’t see in itself.)

Ignorance is the power, or the frame of mind, we all enter into when we have so aligned with the ego that we think we are in a place to judge. And most often if we are judging someone else, we are doing a number on ourselves, also. We’re quietly pouring corrosives into our heart with words that judge where we are on this path that leads back to the heart.

Another word for ignorance is unconsciousness. And this is what can be so tricky about ignorance. We are unaware, unconscious of what we are doing when we judge others and ourselves. And the more we do it, the more it clings to us; judge and we are judged.

In the Gospel of Mary, the soul makes clear that judgment is the only real obstacle that keeps us from a return to consciousness, to love. The soul continues to move through these powers, or to face the inner demons, by refusing to judge. The soul refuses to pass judgment. Because judgment is what binds us then to that power, that demon, that thought or fear. 

Matthew 13:24-30
Jesus presented another parable to those gathered: “The kingdom of heaven is like a farmer who sowed good seed in a field. While everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and then made off. When the crop began to mature and yield grain, the weeds became evident as well.
“The farmer’s workers came and asked, ‘Did you not sow good seed in your field? Where are the weeds coming from?’
"The farmer replied, ‘I see an enemy’s hand in this.’
"They in turn asked, ‘Do you want us to go out and pull them up?'
“'No,' replied the farmer, ‘if you pull up the weeds, you might take the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until the harvest, then at harvest time I will order the harvesters first to collect the weeds and bundle them up to burn, then to gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Donna's Homily Starter
As we approach the feast day of Mary Magdalene on July 22 it seems fitting to bring her voice to today’s gospel reading, the parable of the wheat and the weeds. Mary shows us how being open to everything in our lives including what we choose to call weeds, in a nonjudgmental way, is what our soul knows as the way to be healed and awakened.  Mary teaches us that we need a certain relationship with the weeds and the wheat. A line from the Liberating Prayer in Buddhism voices what Mary teaches: “Please give me the light of your wisdom to dispel the darkness of my mind and to heal my mental continuum.” Mary Magdalene embraced everything into her guest house (that is herself) in an honorable way as Rumi suggests in the opening poem. Imagine walking toward people or situations that you automatically want to label as bad or as a weed in an open-hearted an open-minded way.  Mary’s life demonstrates that it is God’s job to separate the wheat from the weeds it is our job to welcome whatever shows up and choose how to respond in a way that transforms and heals our own souls and therefore the world.

Imagine an experience of jealousy. We can allow the jealous feelings to cause bitterness, separation and suffering or we can allow it to serve as a signpost to what we want more of in our lives. The key is to start with mindfulness which means to pay attention on purpose to what’s happening now without judgement. (Howard Zen).

One verse in our gospel reading says: “While everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and then made off.” If we go on autopilot and respond to normal human emotions like jealousy, fear and anger in an unloving way we do harm becoming enemies to ourselves and others. A Christian tool to help us respond in the spirit of the Universal Christ would be to make sure our actions or thoughts demonstrate loving God and others. A Buddhist tool for an awakened response would be following this self-reflection activity: Before you speak let your words pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If we use these tools with whole-heartedness and discipline any thought or emotion can lead to the healing of our soul which is the heart of Mary’s Gospel.
Deven~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: Special prayers

Deven~Presider 1: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together:  

Deven~All: O Holy One, you have birthed us in goodness, gifted us with life and cherished us in love. In the heart of our being, your Spirit dwells; a Spirit of courage and vision, a Spirit of wisdom and truth. 
In the power of that same 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
(Words and music by Karen Drucker)

We are holy, holy, holy. (3x)
We are whole.

Spirit Divine, Come to Me,
Healing Love, healing Me.
Open my heart, allow me to see,
Beauty and love, lives in me.

You are holy, holy, holy. (3x)
You are whole.

Deven~ALL: Holy One, we see around us the work of your hands, the fruit of your wisdom and love. The unfolding story of creation witnesses unceasingly to your creative power.  We, your creatures, often deviate from that wisdom, thus hindering your creative presence in our midst. 
Sending among us Jesus, our brother, you birth afresh in our world the power of Sophia-Wisdom, and in the gift of Your Spirit, your creative goodness blooms anew, amid the variety and wonder of life. 
Donna~Presider 2: Please extend your hands in blessing.  
Donna~All: We invoke Your Spirit upon the gifts of this Eucharistic table, bread of the grain and wine of the grape, that they may become gifts of wisdom, light and truth which remind us of our call to be the body of Christ to the world. 

 Lift bread.  

Donna~All: Gathering the disciples around the table of shared wisdom, Jesus took the Passover Bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying, Take and eat, this is my very self. 

 Lift the wine: 
Deven~After the meal, Jesus took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to them 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. 

Donna`Presider 2: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread: 

Donna~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.  

Deven~Presider 1: "This is the bread of life. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other. 

Donna~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.  
 Consume bread and wine

Communion Song: Healer of My Soul by John Michael Talbot

Deven~Presider 1Let us pray the prayer Jesus: 

Beloved One who dwells within the soul of my Being 
Whose name is I Am, veneration to your holy name. 
Your kin-dom is here, Your will prevails throughout the earth 
as it does in the heavenly realms of my soul. 
You open your hands and satisfy the hunger of all living beings. 
You heal all hearts of sorrow so that they in turn may show forgiveness 
to those whose minds are shrouded in ignorance of the Self. 
Beloved One who imparts to all the sense of choice 
so we may finally come to choose You, who are Truth, 
and thus find everlasting freedom. 
Glory to your name, oh Truth, for yours is the kin-dom of existence 
of peace and love.  All power and glory emanates from You alone 
Who imparts to all the wisdom, the light, the love and courage 
to refer to themselves as I Am. Amen 
By Mooji 

Donna~For our final blessing we will use the song I am Willing by Holly Near as we view images of ARCWP priests and supporters. We listen together in a spirit of gratitude for Mary Magdalene and all the brave women and men who show us the way. May we always be willing to walk in their footsteps, each according to their own call.

I am Willing by Holly Near

No comments: