Sunday, August 23, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy of Interdependence - August 23, 2020 - Presiders: Julie Corron, ARCWP, and Annabella Roig

Liturgy of Interdependence—August 23, 2020

Welcome and Theme: Presider 1: Good morning and welcome. Our theme today is Interdependence. We are a community of believers joined together by Jesus’s love. None of us can do it all. Tom would have us remember the concept of Ubuntu, I am because we are. No one of us can do it alone.

Opening Prayer: Presider 1:  Please join me in our opening prayer. Holy One, be with us this morning as we come together to open our hearts to you and to each other as we do the work of lifting up the lowly and ourselves in peace and justice and love. Amen.

Opening Song: Blessing Song by Jan Phillips


Reading 1: A reading from the Letter to the Romans
Oh, how deep are the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge, how inscrutable the judgments, how unsearchable the ways of God! For, “Who has known the mind of God or been God’s counselor? Who has given God anything to deserve anything in return?” For all things are from God and through God and for God. To God be glory forever! Amen.

These are the inspired words of Paul and the community affirms them by saying Amen!

Reading 2: A reading from Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr., “Loving Your Enemies,” from Strength to Love

Love is the most durable power in the world. This creative force, so beautifully exemplified in the life of Christ, is the most potent instrument available in mankind's quest for peace and security. Napoleon Bonaparte, the great military genius, looking back over his years of conquest, is reported to have said: “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have built great empires. But upon what did they depend?  They depended on Force. But centuries ago Jesus started an empire that was built on love, and even to this day, millions will die for him.”
Who can doubt the veracity of these words?  The great military leaders of the past have gone, and their empires have crumbled and burned to ashes.  But the empire of Jesus, built solidly and majestically on the foundation of love, is still growing.  

These are the inspired words of Martin Luther King Jr. and the community affirms them by saying Amen!


Reading 3: A reading from the Gospel of Matthew
When Jesus went to the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi, he asked the disciples this question: “What do people say about who the Chosen One is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptizer, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“And you,” he said, “who do you say that I am?”
"You are the Messiah,” Simon Peter answered, “the Firstborn of the living God!”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon ben-Jonah! No mere mortal has revealed this to you, but my Abba God in heaven. I also tell you this: your name now is ‘Rock,” and on bedrock like this I will build my community, and the jaws of death will not prevail against it.
Here—I’ll give you the keys to the reign of heaven:
whatever you declare bound on earth
will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you declare loosed on earth
will be loosed in heaven.”
Then Jesus strictly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

These are the inspired words of Matthew and the community affirms them by saying Amen!

Homily Starter:
Annabella: We are told by the lectionary that this is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time.  But these are hardly ordinary times!  During these times, how many of us are experiencing disorientation, where there is little we see as we used to know it. 
During these volatile times, we see a worldwide pandemic the likes of which we have never seen sweep through our cities, turning our world upside down.  Further, our communities are in upheaval as we renegotiate old social contracts and rebuild trust in our civic life.  
We feel, I feel, an utter loss of control. And it is in these times that we are reminded, as in reading from Romans, the ways of the Lord are inscrutable. We cannot know them.   That is how I feel every day now.  We play the odds with our health every time we go out into the street.  We wonder about our schools, our institutions.  We wonder about our mental health, and that of our loved ones. We wonder about our elections, we wonder about trust in our government, our law enforcement.  And it goes on and on.  A perfect storm, some people say.  And who is taking the hit the most?  Those most at the edge, the poor, the ones with least resources.  While many of us are seriously impacted, it is three times more likely that those that have less, less income, less stability, are or will be hit with more cases of the virus in their family, are impacted by loss of jobs, and worse.  And this is just this country. These are not ordinary times.  
It is also at this time that we see extravagant wealth in the news every day.  In a recent piece in late July, I took a gut punch when I heard that Jeff Bezos amassed $13 billion in one day (July 21, 2020).  So, I am thinking, while families are made homeless due to loss of jobs, or illness and children are trapped in cages at the border, there are others making even more money.  In these times, in the country, we see extremes just become more so.  Those in vulnerable stations in life, fragile circumstances, and undefended conditions are brought lower under the multiple pressures of these extraordinary times. 
But, you know, maybe these times are not so extraordinary or different from another era, long, long ago.   Actually, this time of inequity and injustice probably looks a lot like the times when Jesus lived, when the Romans and others lived in high luxury as slaves toiled in poverty and squalor.  Maybe we HAVE been here before.  And it was in times like this that Jesus often talked about the lowly being exalted.  In the readings today, we are reminded. 
In Romans 11, we are reminded of how unsearchable are the ways of the Lord, who can know them.   Quite frankly, I find little comfort in these words. They actually raise my anxiety.  I want to understand!   There are days during this time of pandemic, where I am just sick of it all.  It is all upside down.  People making money off misery.  And every day, we hear about the leader of this country removing laws that protect the environment, keeping defenseless children trapped in a limbo, and creating chaos and fomenting division.   It is painful. But the ways of the Lord are inscrutable. Who can know them. And it is during these times that we are told Jesus raised the lowly.  How are we called to raise the lowly in this time of extreme pressures and extraordinary times.   We are shown how and why. 
In Matthew 16, Simon Peter becomes the Rock on which Jesus will build his church.  He is given the Keys to the Church.  How did Jesus choose him? It was because of Peter’s faith, because he recognized Jesus as Lord, that he was raised. It is by faith that we are exalted.    
How can we know what the ways of God are?  In today’s world where we plan the future one week at a time, our faith in what is right, we don’t know. There is one way we can know.  We know, in faith. 
It is through faith that we navigate these inscrutable times. It is through Faith that we rise up, and it is through faith, that we are raised.  It is faith, and moreover, this faith that give us strength to Love. In the final reading, we are reminded by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s words that Love endures longer than any regime, over the mightiest armies.  
And so, in closing, while in the thick of these extraordinary times, I am reminded to watch for the helpers, and raise the lowly among us and with us.   These are the people that are changing the world; the lowly shall be lifted up and maybe lifting us all up in the process. 

What did you hear?  
Please unmute yourselves so we can hear you.

Shared Homily

Homily Wrap Up
Julie: Thank you everyone for your keen insights and heartfelt observations. As Annabella mentioned at the start, these are challenging readings, with no easy answers. For some of us, for me, the biggest challenge is wondering why the lectionary never includes John 11:27 where Martha, not Peter, proclaims Jesus Messiah. Wouldn’t Church leadership look different if it did?

Statement of Faith

Presider 1: Please join in praying 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.


Presider 1: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to this table our blessings, cares, and concerns. (Dennis reads the intentions.)
We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Presider 2:  O Holy One, you have been called by many names by many people in the centuries of our planet’s life. Yet, no name truly defines you or describes you.  We celebrate you as the marvelous, loving energy of life who caused us and our world to be. We celebrate you as the Source of light and life and love, and we celebrate your presence and all-ways care.

Presider 1: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together:  (Eucharistic prayer taken from the work of Diarmuid O’Murchu and Jay Murnane)

Presider 1/All: O Holy One, we stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history – a time when humanity must choose its future.

As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future holds both peril and great promise.

May we recognize that, in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms, we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.

United with our vast universe, with our Mother-Planet and her people everywhere, with one another and You, Holy One, our spirits dance and sing this song of praise:

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

We are holy, holy, holy
We are holy, holy, holy
We are holy, holy, holy
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

Presider 2/All: We give grateful thanks for those who came before us, for all those who gave from their hearts, who gave from their lives, that there might be a better world, a safer world, a kinder world, we pray for peace in their name.

And for the children, that they may live, that they may have children of their own and that it will go on - this great blossoming that is meant to go on and on – we pray for peace, in their name.

And for all peoples of this earth who have no voice in this,
For the animals that have no voice in this,
For the plants, the trees, the flowers that have no voice in this,
For all who share this earth with us, we pray for peace in their name.

We thank you for our brother, Jesus. He showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands. He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough, and that remains our clarity in the midst of confusion: the miracle of healing, new hope, nurturance, nourishment, liberation and life.

Presider 1: Please extend your hands in blessing.

Presider 1/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.

Community lifts their plates.

All: On the night before he faced his own death and for the sake of living fully, 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 within them, he bent down and washed their feet.

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:

Take and eat; this is my very self.
(pause) Community consumes the bread.  

Community lifts the cup.

Presider 2/All: He then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine saying:

Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life,
for you and for everyone,
for liberation from every oppression.
Whenever you do this, Re-member me!

(pause) Community drinks from the cup.

Loving Source of All, we have looked for others to save us and to save our world. Yet, we are called, and consecrated and sent into the world to establish justice and show the blessed fulfillment that comes with simplicity and the giving of ourselves in love.  We will make new our commitment to the harmony of the original vision of creation.

We will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and our small circles. Like Jesus, in all openness, we will be filled with your own Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

For it is through learning to live as he lived,
And why he lived,
And for whom he lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within,
Moving us to worship you truly,
O Holy One,
At this time and all time and in all ways.
And we say yes to You!
Presider 1Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus:

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 2/All:  We are called to live the Gospel of peace and justice in harmony and with joy. We will live justly, love tenderly and walk with integrity in Your Presence.

Communion Song: Beatitudes, Sweet Honey in the Rock


Presider 1: Let us pray together our blessing:

May wonder and thanksgiving fill us, may compassion penetrate us, that we may penetrate the numbness that continues our society’s injustices. May we know that we are loved.
May we continue to be the face of the Holy One to each other and may our name be a blessing in our time!  Amen.

Presider 2: Please join in singing our Closing Song.

Closing Song:  Good Job, Alicia Keys

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