Theme: Prepare Our Hearts in Faithful Anticipation
(Mary Kay) We warmly welcome you to our inclusive Catholic community, Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota, Florida. All are welcome here. We invite you to pray the liturgy where it says: All. And please, sing your heart out while muted! Everyone will be muted during the service. We ask all our readers to “unmute” for their reading and then “re-mute” again. All are welcome to share as inspired after the homily starter - unmute yourself and remember to re-mute yourself after your sharing. Please have bread and wine or juice with you as we pray our Eucharistic Prayer
Advent Candle Lighting and Blessing Prayer
(Kathryn) Like our ancestors, we honor the cycles and the seasons that remind us of the ever-changing flow of life of which we are a part. Ritual acts give life meaning—they honor and acknowledge the unseen web of Life that connects us all.
ALL: We light this second candle and remember our ancestors who feared death, evil and the darkness of winter. We, too, in our day fear the darkness of war, the pandemic, discrimination, xenophobia and selfishness that threaten to isolate us and consign our planet to an eternal winter. And so we respond: Let us kindle the light of peace!
Gathering Hymn: “Come As You Are” – by The Many
(Pause briefly and reflect on the need to grow more in love with others and with creation.)
(Mary Al): We give you thanks most loving and compassionate God, for this time of waiting when we search to find you present in our midst. Open our hearts to finding you in new and unimaginable ways during this time of waiting. Plant the seed of your presence deeper in us and help us to nourish it into new life.
Liturgy of The Word
(Cheryl) First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5; 9-11
Comfort, give comfort to my people, says our God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end. A voice cries out in the desert: prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! He comes with power, the Holy One, who leads by his compassion. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.
These are the inspired words from the prophet, Isiah, and the community responds, AMEN!
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia
(Jim B) Gospel Reading: Mark: 1:1-8
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert; “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of forgiveness. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their lack of faith. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
These are inspired words of the evangelist named Mark, and the community responds, AMEN!
Shared Homily/Community Reflection
Profession of Faith
(Harvey and ALL): 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 vehicles of God’s divine love, as spreaders of Jesus’ wisdom and truth, and an instruments of their 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.
Prayers of the Community
(Mary Kay): We are people of faith. We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that we send blessings to those who are struggling and who need to experience hope; to those who are grieving and need to be comforted in their loss, to those who are facing medical challenges that they be granted hope and healing. We bring the needs of people throughout our world to our gracious and comforting God.
Response: We are filled with joy as we awaken to your call.
(Mary Kay): For what else do we pray? (Response)
(Mary Kay): Joyful God, we know you attend to our prayers and respond with your wisdom and love. In you, we place our faith. ALL: Amen.
Liturgy of the Eucharist
(Joan M) Source of light and joy, we seek you in this season of winter, when the days are short and we lift up our hearts and ease our souls into that quiet place which is your presence among us. Please join us in praying the Eucharistic prayer.
(written by Jay Murnane)
(Joan M & All): Source of All That Is, we seek you in this season, when the earth is resting and preparing for new life. Like the earth, we long for new life and hopeful beginnings. This is the time of the pregnant woman, filled with life and hope powerful enough to topple structures of oppression. This is the time of her song of fidelity and celebration.
During this gentle season of Advent, we recognize that you have made us capable of bringing forth justice, like a rising sun. One with all who have gone before us, we sing this song of praise:
Song: Holy, Holy, Holy
(Jerry): 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! We thank you for those in times past who believed the good news, and lived what they believed.
(Anna D): Blessed is Isaiah and every visionary who insisted on a better future that would break through the deception, disaster and broken promises of the age in which they lived.
Blessed is John, in the stark desert of careful focus, inviting the people to be born again in your Love.
Blessed is Miriam, who believed the words of Isaiah and opened herself up to the unbelievable.
And blessed is the child Jesus, who felt the sorrows of humankind in his soul, and responded with deep and tender compassion.
(Joan P) and All: Let us pray as Jesus taught us.
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)
(Kathryn and 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.
(Presider lifts plate)
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 of the Bread of Life
Given to strengthen you
Whenever you remember me like this
I am among you
(Presider lifts cup)
(Judy): 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.
Let us now eat and drink this bread and cup as we proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace. (please take/share the Sacred meal at this time)
(Kathryn and 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.
Communion Meditation and Reflection:
Be Still and Know that I am God
Introductions/Prayers of Gratitude/Announcements
((Ann C. and ALL) Christmas Eve Prayer
Adapted from Frank Borman, Apollo 8 space mission, 1968
May we be love in the world in spite of human failures.
May we trust our goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.
May we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.
May we show what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace.
(Jack D): May we all go in the peace that Jesus gave us, caring for one another. May joy abound as we walk with our brother, Jesus, on our journey of compassion. Let our service continue!
All: Thanks be to God; let it be so.
Closing Song: Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord from Godspell
If you want to add an intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayer book, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to invite someone to attend our liturgy, please refer them our website at MaryMotherofJesus.org
To support our community, please send your check to:
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
St Andrew UCC, 6908 Beneva Rd, Sarasota, Florida 34238