Sunday, September 26, 2021

When God Gave Up on Humans by Jan Phillips

It came to pass, in the 21st century, that God gave up on the human race. He scrawled his message across the sky in words that were understood by every tribe and nation:

“You are on your own. In 20 centuries, you have failed to love each other. You use me as a reason to hate and kill. You endanger your children. You poison your planet. I am done with you. You’ll have to find me in each other from now on.”

The people on earth wept and worried. “What will become of us?” they wondered. “Who will we run to? Who will provide for us? How will I find my car keys?” they asked, throwing up their arms in despair.

Over the years, even the adults had become like children in their notions of God. While every holy book encouraged them to find God in themselves and each other, they insisted on keeping God up in the heavens. They made God responsible for everything, saying ” God did this” and “God did that.” As long as God was the Heavenly Father, they could act as children, and they did.

Even when great teachers came to tell them they were one with God, they were the hands and arms and legs of God, they were the breath of God, they would not grow up, for growing up would mean they would have to change their ways-and they did not want to.

When the sky bulletin came, people flocked to the churches and temples to see what to do. But no one there had an answer, for they, too, had kept God high upon a cloud, referring to God as “up there” or “out there.” It was God who made miracles, they preached. God who made the rules, God who punished, God who gave men all the power. They, too, were like children and were lost without God.

Years passed, seasons changed, and life on earth changed dramatically when God left the people on earth. There was a great sadness, except for the few who claimed they had felt all along that God dwelt within them. Those people had no sadness, and in fact, quite the opposite occurred. They were secretly relieved that the people stopped calling out God’s name for their reasons to hate and hurt others. Once God disappeared, people stopped fighting over what God meant in the Bible or the Koran. There was no point in fighting over God if God wasn’t even around. If there was no God, there was nobody condemning anyone’s behavior, no more infidels, no reason to take “an eye for an eye.”

People stopped seeking out priests and caliphs, rabbis and ministers, for there was no God for them to mediate. They sought out, instead, the people who were joyful and calm in this time of abandonment, thinking they must know something special and secret to be so happy.

One such person was a woman who sat under a tree in a village.

“How can you be so happy when God has left us?” a villager asked her.

“Only that God who was far away has left,” she answered. “The spark inside still remains. It is our breath. That, to me, is God. It is the love within. If I am breathing, I am being breathed by God. For that, I am joyful, for I am not alone.”

A soldier came to the woman, put down his gun and sat beside her.

“I have been a patriot. I have gone to war for God and my country. I do not understand why God has left me. I do not know what to do.”

She smiled and took his hand. “Those ideas in your head, you have learned from someone else. Have you learned to listen to the voice within?

“I do not know what the voice inside me has to say,” he said.

“Then you must sit with someone and tell your story, for only then will you hear it. And when you are done with your story, listen to the story of the one who heard you. Be real when you speak, and be ready when you listen, for it is in that conversation that you will find the answer for your next move.”


The wise woman under the tree counseled people through the day, as did all the wise women in towns and villages around the world. They addressed the people’s fears of living without God and reminded everyone that God lived right inside them. Over and over, they held the hands of fearful people saying “an old myth is dying but a new one is being born.”

They helped people grow up with a view of the Holy One deep within. They passed on secrets about finding the sacred in the sap of a maple, the flow of a river, the majesty of a mountain, and the people, in time, grew reverent toward the Earth.

They stopped asking questions like “What is your religion?” or “Have you been saved?” for everyone knew the other was holy and a spark of that Flame they once called God.

People learned to share their stories, to listen to their hearts and help each other. They changed their ways, replenished the soil, cleaned the waters, and harnessed the powers of Wind and Sun.

Over time, the people grew up and saw the light. Wars stopped as Allah/God was welcomed home in the hearts of the people.

Once they found God in themselves and each other, the people rejoiced and were glad. They were free at last, bowing in joy to the Earth and all creatures.

THE END

©2015 Jan Phillips

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Twenty Sixth Week in Extraordinary Time Presiders: Elena Garcia and Janet Blakeley, Lectors: Joan Pesce & Joan Meehan, Linda Lee & Rick Miller, Music September 25, 2021


Zoom link for video - 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85108095506       

ID 851- 0809-5506, Passcode 1066

Dial 1-929-436-2866 

Meeting ID: 851 0809 5506

Password: 1066                    

                      


Theme: Humanity in Progress


Welcome! (Elena) We warmly welcome you to the inclusive Catholic Community of 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! Everyone will be muted during the service. Some of you will unmute yourself to read one of the parts, then mute yourself again. Also during the shared homily and prayers of the community, we invite you to unmute yourself to contribute, then mute yourself again. Please have bread and wine or juice with you as we pray the Eucharistic Prayer. 


Gathering 🎶 

All Sing: Everyday God:


https://youtu.be/F1oNP4vaW_c


Janet & All: We begin our celebration together ✝️ in the name of The Holy One the Source of all Being, Jesus the Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit Sophia our Wisdom within. Amen. 



Please welcome each other with a sign of Christ’s peace! Bow toward your camera with hands folded as we say together All: I bow before the presence of God in You. Namaste, Namaste, Namaste


Reconciliation Rite. Joan P & All: We pause now to remember times when messages of our unworthiness have clouded our vision of the infinite love within us. Let us imagine our imperfections, the chaos and messes of our lives all brightly lit by a love that heals and transforms us as we evolve and grow in awareness of our divinity and our humanity. (Pause for several moments. Then extend arm over your heart.) 

All: I love you. Thank you. I’m sorry. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you. 


Opening Prayer. Janet & All: Spirit of the Holy One, we gratefully acknowledge your presence among us and within us. We humbly ask that our consciousness be as wide as the skies and the earth and the peoples of the earth; as deep as the past, the desert, the ocean; as tenuous as the atoms of matter or the thoughts of the human heart. Amen


Joyful Gloria:


https://youtu.be/_lA5I0nODZI


Liturgy of the Word

First Reading. (Joan M) (Please pause for a moment of silence) A reading from The Practice of Faith, page 236.


While praising grace we should not forget that it does not always rush over us in a wave of victory, sweeping aside all obstacles; nor is it a simple and unhindered growth; neither does it develop our spiritual life only to the extent that we suffer all in silence, leaving everything else in the hands of God.  Generally speaking, the spiritual life is grace precisely because it must be painstakingly cultivated day by day; it requires constant training and drilling.  In short, the spiritual life is also (even though not exclusively or even predominately) work, planned exercise, and conscious development of the believing, hoping, and loving life in us according to the laws of nature and grace, and according to the motives of a total dedication to God.


These are  Spirit inspired words of Karl Rahner, and we respond,  All: Thanks be to God. 


((Joan P)  Psalm of Praise:  ---- Response: The Whole Universe is Aflame!


Holy One, You truly contain within your gentleness, within your humanity all the unyielding immensity and grandeur of the world.

The Whole Universe is Aflame!


We love you as the source, the activating and life-giving ambience, the term and consummation of the natural world, and of its process of becoming.

The Whole Universe is Aflame!


We praise you for the extensions of your  body and soul to the farthest corners of creation through grace, through life, and through matter.

The Whole Universe is Aflame!


🎶Alleluia:


https://youtu.be/gIHnZn3JjcM

(Joan P)  Gospel: A reading from Hymn Of The Universe- Humanity in Progress #23


The development in our souls of supernatural life (based on the natural spiritualization of the world through the efforts of mankind): this in the last resort is the field where the operative power of faith is positively and without any known limits exercised.

Within the universe it is spirit, and within spirit it is the moral sphere, that are par excellence the actual subjects of the development of life.  Consequently, it is there, on that plastic centre of ourselves where divine grace mingles with early drives, that the power of faith should be brought vigorously to bear.

There above all, surely, creative energy awaits us, ready to work in us a transformation beyond anything the human eye has seen or ear heard.  Who can say what God would fashion out of us if, trusting in his word, we dared to follow his counsels to the very end and surrender ourselves to his providence?

Let us then, for love of our Creator and of the universe, throw ourselves fearlessly into the crucible of the world of tomorrow.


These are Spirit inspired words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and we respond,  (Joan P & All): Thanks be to God. 


 🎶 Alleluia:


https://youtu.be/gIHnZn3JjcM


Shared homily. (Janet) As the Spirit moves you, now is your opportunity to share your thoughts about the readings, the liturgy, or something else. Please turn your microphone on to share, then off when you’re finished. 


Profession of Faith: (Elena & All):

~We believe in the all-embracing Source of Life, birthing and healing, making all things possible.

~We believe that the transformative Divine sparks relationship across Earth and Eternity, with love beyond our wildest dreams.

~We believe that The Beloved waits patiently for us to erase the boundaries we place around human consciousness, and to realize heaven in the here and now.

 ~We believe that in the twists and turns of difficult times, The Holy One invites us into relationship with a love that can soothe and unify a hurting world.

~We believe in Jesus whose radical blend of divinity and humanity reveals the promise and the challenge of being crafted in the image and likeness of Our Creator.

~We believe that like Jesus, we are called to bring generous presence to the lonely and despairing, the hurting and broken, the yearning and

disenfranchised.

~We believe in the Spirit of Sophia Wisdom, nudging the universe to unfold as it would  making each new day one filled with promise and possibility.

~We believe that the Spirit inspires within and among us the gentleness to comfort, the daring to challenge and the strength to lift up.

~We believe in the wildfire of the Spirit, sweeping through this amazing journey of life, urging us toward wholeness, forever and ever.

(December, 2016 A Creed for all times By Lynn Kinlan)


Prayers of the Community (Joan M)

 We bring to the table prayers for our community and the world. 

 Our response is:  Christ of the universe graciously hear us!)


~We bring to the table all who have died from covid,  who suffer from “long haul covid” as well as their family and friends who bear an enormous burden of grief.  R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us!

 

~We bring to the table those who continue to suffer from active fires that have destroyed homes, hurricane devastation and flash floods. 

 R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us!


~We bring to the table all the refugees coming to our shores in search of safety and opportunities for growth.

R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us


~We bring to the table Mary Kay, Diane Burroughs, and all of our community members who need healing, comfort, and strength in their illness. 

R Christ of the universe graciously hear us! 


~We bring to the table the intercessions in our Community Prayer Book……

R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us!


Who and what else shall we bring to the table today? 

(Please unmute yourself to offer a prayer, to which we all respond:

R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us.    (Then remember to remute.) 


(Joan  M): Christ, we will be your presence in the world today and every day of our lives. All: Amen



We offer our gifts. 

🎶 All Sing: Seed Scattered and Sown         


https://youtu.be/r7CWT7q5ybQ


(Let us pause for a moment of silence before we begin the Eucharistic Prayer.)


Preparation of our Communion Gifts


(Joan M and All):  Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness, each one of us has bread to offer in this sacred meal, this grain that the earth has given and human hands have made.  It will become for us our Bread of Life.  Blessed be God for all the love that has been given to each one of us. 


(Joan P and All): Blessed are you, God of all creation.  Through your goodness, each one of us has fruit of the vine to offer in this sacred meal, that earth has given and human hands have prepared.  It will become for us our Spiritual Drink.  Blessed be God for all the graces that have been given to each one of us.


Eucharistic Prayer


(Janet and All):  Loving God, you embrace us with your extravagant affection in our times of both blessedness and weakness.  You are always with us…you live in us and we live in you.  May we reflect your compassionate care in everything we do and say with everyone we meet today.  And moved by the Spirit, each one of us will sing our shared blessing:

Song:  Holy, Holy, Holy (Karen Drucker) 


https://youtu.be/orKBBIj5LZA


(Elena  and All): Creator God, we thank you for the gift of Jesus of Nazareth in history – and the gift of Jesus the Christ in faith. You brought him from among all your people to baptize us in your Spirit.  His life was moved by his consuming vision of your presence both in himself and in his earthly mission.  He revealed you to us through his compassionate life well lived. And he showed us, through his teaching and example, not only how we should live, but also for what we may suffer and even die…as he did. Through him and your Spirit, you breathe life into us so that we may be witnesses to his gospel messages. 


(Janet)  When his time on earth had come to an end, Jesus - aware of and accepting his destiny - gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death.  And then, in providing an example of his wisdom for all people in every age to come, he opened wide his arms and died on a cross.  The Spirit that lived in Jesus resurrected him to a new life, a promise that he made to all of us too.  Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.

(Outstretch an arm as we pray the Consecration together.)

We remember the gift that Jesus gave us the night before he died.  He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal.  And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this, all of you, and eat it.  This bread is you; this bread is me.  We are one body, the presence of God in the world.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.  This is the new and everlasting covenant.

(Take a short pause here)

(Elena) In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this all of you and drink it.  This wine is you; this wine is me.  We are one blood, the presence of God in the world.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.  This is the new and everlasting covenant.


(Janet and All): Jesus, who was with God in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth, is with us now in this bread.  The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup.  

Let us proclaim this mystery of faith…All: Christ dies, Christ rises, Christ comes again and again and again.


(Joan P): Jesus who walks with us on the path to holiness, you are the spark of love in whom we believe; the Wisdom of Sophia in whom we trust; and the desire for justice that consumes us.


(Joan M): As we celebrate the memory of Jesus, we remember our prophetic leader. We remember the communion of saints who have inspired and loved us and all who have gone before us leaving their foot prints on our hearts.(Names………..)

All: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we awaken to your Spirit loving through us to promote justice and equality in our service to our sisters and brothers.  AMEN


Prayer of Jesus

(Joan P) & All:  Eternal Spirit, Earth maker, Pain bearer, Life giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be. Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven –The hallowing of your name echos through the  universe.

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world,

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings.

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come to earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In the times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trial too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever.  Amen

 (A contemplative prayer in the style of Taize from St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Seattle.) 


(Joan M) PRAYER FOR THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD

 ~O God of Courage, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.

 ~ O God of Compassion, You call us to be your presence in the world. We will love tenderly.

 ~ O God of Truth, You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.


Chant before Communion:  “Sanctuary”      https://youtu.be/8wUi1S8UBI0


https://youtu.be/F58K3CHK0HI


All Chant: God prepare me to be your sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sanctuary for you. 


(Joan P 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.


(Elena) Please share Eucharist with the words “You are the Body of Christ”, “You are the Face of God”. 


COMMUNION:  “I am the One Within You” (Karen Drucker)            


https://youtu.be/wXZ6Je4xeRU


Final Prayer. (Janet) : Spirit of the Holy One, we gratefully acknowledge your presence among us and within us. We  thank you for the grace you have bestowed on us during this Eucharistic celebration, so that our consciousness  may expand to become  as wide as the skies and the earth and the peoples of the earth; as deep as the past, the desert, the ocean; as tenuous as the atoms of matter or the thoughts of the human heart.  All: AMEN



PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE, INTRODUCTIONS, ANNOUNCEMENTS


(Elena and All)  COMMUNAL BLESSING

~May you be blessed with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships.

~May you seek truth boldly and love within your heart.

~May you continue to be the face of the Holy One to all you meet.

~May you hold steadfastly to your faith and belief that when the Beloved speaks, it comes to pass.


(Elena) Full of Christ’s peace, may we go out to love and serve one another in our community and in our wider world. Remember: We are the face of Christ to the world! All: Amen



Closing Song:   We Shall Be Known


https://youtu.be/Vt_VQs8LP6k



If you want to add an intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayer Book, please send an email to Joan Meehan: jmeehan515@aol.com 


If you want to invite someone to attend our liturgy, please refer them to the day’s liturgy 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, FL 34238

A Scripture Meditation of God’s Protective Wings For Trauma Survivors by Mary Sue Barnett ARCWP



Hide me in the shadow of Your wings Psalm 17:8

My God, Holy Intimacy. You absorb the palpitations and painful constrictions of vulnerability. With Your protective wingspan, hover over, and draw me into safety. Quiet my body and spirit within the hiddenness of You. To breathe and rest.  To know relief from the turmoil. 


Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of 

Your wings Psalm 61:4


My God, Spirit of Love. You know I am near. From Your tent of safety, You whisper, You call, You summon. To draw me that much closer. Where You will listen to my heart; its beat, its cry, its emptying, its hope. In the shelter of Your wings, tend the frightful trauma and buried wounds. With the balm of deep seeing. Your eyes upon me. My eyes upon You.


My soul takes refuge in You. And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by Psalm 57:1


My God, Holy Protector. Your wings of strength hold my body and soul with care. Within Your embrace You breathe into my depths a spirit of renewal. You calm the persistent reverberations of suffering. Pressed within Your wing hold, a glint of new life shows itself. Something subtle. Shifting. Forming from the ash heap.



You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance Psalm 32:7


My God, Holy Deliverer. Your majestic wings swoop with power. Surrounding gently. Removing threat. Vanquishing danger. Though inescapable is unjust suffering, Your beloved wingbeat casts sacred layers of impenetrable shield. Guarding with vigilance my sacred center. Where we dwell together. Where I indwell You, You indwell me. Where You allow no harm. Where I allow no harm. Where there has never been harm.





For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy Psalm 63:7


My God, Spirit of Healing, I trust You, an eternally unfurling trust. Enfolded in Your care, You give sacred darkness. Where there is no light, there is stillness. Where there is stillness, You inspire Wisdom. In this womb-like place, You implant most kind hints of a new song to live. A song of horizons born of the darkness.


God shall cover you with feathers, and under God’s wings you

shall take refuge Psalm 91:4


My God, Mystery of Comfort. There is nothing so soft. So sustaining. As the in-gathering of Your Love. Like the brush of luxurious feathers upon the skin, You hold, soothe, calm, and guide. There is nothing in all the world, in all the vastness of land, sea, and skies, in all the universe. As certain and delicate as the nearness of You.



You God, are a shield around me, my glory, the One Who lifts my head high. I lie down and sleep; I awake again because God sustains me Psalm 3: 3-5


My God, Healer of depression and Rescuer from the abyss. You are never absent. You are in the middle of the fog. You permeate the chaos. You are ever present. Waiting to be perceived. Longing for the suffering heart to feel You. To reach for You. To adhere itself with abandon to Your Divine Heart. This Oneness. This Glory. Is Life.



I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself Exodus 19:4


My God, Holy and Fierce Liberator. There You are. In the dust of human anguish. Intermingled with suffering is the essence of You. For to be broken with the broken is the depth and breadth of Your Divine Compassion. Deserts of oppression. Streets of violence. Rooms of loneliness. These are no stranger to You. You Yourself taste the dust. Gasp for air. Know the suffering. Inflamed, with sound of hurricane winds, You lift the suffering out of the captors’ grasp. You bring the rejected to Your very Self. 






How often have I desired to gather the children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings Luke 13:34


Jesus, Prophet and Mother Christ. The desire of Your heart is unfathomable. So powerful the desire for Your beloved, You endure a Holy Pathos. Your wings ache to hold. Your arms tremble to give peace. Your voice breaks through and Your call sounds. And resounds. 

Echoing a mighty Love,

It is under My wings that You will heal completely.




God will never leave you or forsake you Deuteronomy 31:6


My God, My Abiding Light. My God, My Abiding Darkness.

In, With, and Through Whom, I am loved.

In, With, and Through Whom, I love.



Chaplain Mary Sue Barnett

September 2021