Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, 4th Week of Extra-Ordinary Time, January 29, 2022, Presiders: Pat MacMillan and Kathryn Shea ARCWP, Readers: Mary Al Gagnon and Ann Cooke , Music Ministers: Linda Lee and Rick Miller, IT: Peg Bowen
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Theme: “I Chose You”
Welcome and Gathering
Pat: Welcome to our Zoom liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome.
-We invite you to pray the liturgy and respond where it says “All.”
-All participants will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers.
-Please have bread and wine/juice nearby as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.
-Our theme today is, “I Chose You.”
Whoever you are,
Wherever you are,
Just as you are,
You are welcome at this table. (Integral Christianity by Paul Smith)
Let us now take a few minutes to collect ourselves as we prepare to focus our minds and our hearts on our knowledge that we are all one, each chosen by our Holy One before we were born, and brought together at this time to transform ourselves and our world through love; love for our Holy One, love for our neighbors, love for ourselves, and love for our planet. Let us begin our liturgy by expressing this love through song.
Gathering Song: You Are Mine by David Haas
Kathryn: Splendid Creator, we are delighted to gather with You and one another today as we share this sacred space, and as we celebrate our oneness in and with You. We, your chosen ones, respond to your call to “love one another” as you love us. In this time of great turmoil on our planet, we need to more fully embrace and act upon Your words. As we gather today, may we be ever more mindful of our call and responsibility to Be love for one another. We give thanks for our Brother Jesus, who being both fully human and divine, showed us how to Be love. Jesus said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” We are grateful to be among the chosen, bearing witness to the truth that Jesus lived. He showed us by example how to express tenderness, compassion, love, and forgiveness. We have been given all we need to bring the true kin-dom of our Creator on Earth. Holy One, we live with the comfort of knowing You walk with us on our journey and that You continue to teach us through Spirit Sophia, Holy Wisdom. And to this, we say, AMEN.
Pat: Let’s remember now times when messages of our unworthiness 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…… Now place hand over your heart as we say the Ho’oponopono prayer)
All: I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
A Joyful Gloria: Linda Lee Miller and graphics by Rick Miller
Liturgy of the Word
Mary Al: First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19 – From The Message by Eugene H. Peterson
The Message of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah of the family of priests who lived in Anathoth in the country of Benjamin. God's Message began to come to him during the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amos reigned over Judah. It continued to come to him during the time Jehoiakim son of Josiah reigned over Judah. And it continued to come to him clear down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah over Judah, the year that Jerusalem was taken into exile. This is what God said:
"Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations - that's what I had in mind for you."
"But you - up on your feet and get dressed for work! Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say. Don't pull your punches or I'll pull you out of the lineup.
"Stand at attention while I prepare you for your work. I'm making you as impregnable as a castle, Immovable as a steel post, solid as a concrete block wall. You're a one-man defense system against this culture, Against Judah's kings and princes, against the priests and local leaders. They'll fight you, but they won't even scratch you. I'll back you up every inch of the way." God's Decree.
These are the inspired words of the prophet Jeremiah and we affirm them by saying: All. Let it be so.
Anne: Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:31 – 13:13, A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians
And yet some of you keep competing for so-called "important" parts. But now I want to lay out a far better way for you.
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit.
We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete.
But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
These are the inspired words from the gospel writer, Paul, and we affirm them by saying, ALL: Let it be so.
Pat: Gospel Reading: Luke 4:21-30
Then he started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."
All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, "Isn't this Joseph's son, the one we've known since he was a youngster?" He answered, "I suppose you're going to quote the proverb, 'Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.' Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown.
Isn't it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon?
And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian."
That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.
These are the inspired words according to the writings of Luke and we affirm them by saying, ALL: Let it be so.
Homily Starter – Kathryn Shea
Communal Statement of Faith
Mary Al 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 God's Word, bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion, bright star in the firmament of God's prophets, mystics, and saints.
We believe that we are called to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God's love, a source of God's wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God's peace in the world.
We believe that God's 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 and for the Community
Pat: We now bring our prayer intentions to the Table.
Our response is: All: We ask for healing as we awaken to your call.
We pray for our MMOJ intentions on our community prayer list. (Joan shares)
Our response is: We ask for healing as we awaken to your call.
For what else should we pray?
Our response is: We ask for healing as we awaken to your call.
Kathryn: Holy Mystery may we respond to the needs of our sisters and brothers in loving prayer and solidarity. Amen
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Pat: 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.
Mary Al: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together: (Eucharistic prayer taken from the work of Diarmuid O’Murchu and Jay Murnane)
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:
Song: Holy, Holy, Holy (Karen Drucker)
Anne and 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.
(Please extend your hands in blessing)
Kathryn and 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.
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.
Pat and 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 and all that I have taught you!
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!
Great Amen: Linda Lee Miller
The Prayer of Jesus
Anne and ALL: Let us pray as Jesus taught us.
O Holy One, you are 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 your 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 Adapted, Miriam Therese Winter, MMS
Sign of Peace:
Kathryn: Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You. My peace I give You.” Let us now extend a sign of peace to one another by saying, “Namaste, Namaste, Namaste”.
Pat: Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread:
Pat and All: Holy One, You call us to speak truth to power; we will do so.
Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of healing and justice; we will do so. Holy One, You call us to be Your presence in the world; we will do so.
Mary Al: This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to Christ’s table.
Anne and All: What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives. As we share communion, we become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.
Please receive/share Eucharist now, saying: “You are the bread of life.” And “You are the cup of compassion.”
Communion Song: Psalm 139 by Kathryn Christian (shortened)
Pat: Oh Holy One, We accept your invitation to be your Chosen Ones. As we go forth in our calling to serve and “be the change we wish to see in the world”, we pray: Timeless One, Your eternal love wraps courage around us as we enter into your invitation to bring your Light into the world as we further our spiritual transformation. Your ageless presence draws us to you as we step forward, ready to embrace where you lead us. Your sustaining peace rests within our every heartbeat and accompanies us into the unknown future. We are forever grateful to live in your presence and your love. Amen.
Kathryn: Please raise your hands in blessing: And together with our arms extended to one another we say:
May our lives radiate the love of the Holy One.
May we live justice and equality in our church and our world.
May we be humble enough to be like children in receiving the kindom of our Creator.
May we demonstrate through our words and actions that we are all God has called us to be.
May we be a blessing in our time and the Face of God to all whom we meet.
ALL: Thanks be to God. Let it be so! Alleluia!
Closing Song: We Are Called by David Haas
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People's Catholic Seminary Announces TWO Celtic Celebrations: Feast of St. Brigit - February 1 and St. Patrick's Day - March 17
Celebrating Brigit of Kildare
February 1, 2022 – noon EST: one hour
In this one-hour sacred journey, meet Brigit of Kildare as a wisdom figure and mentor for our time.
Facilitator: Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan
Register for free at: https://pcseminary.teachable.com/p/pcs-705-celebrating-st-brigid-of-kildare
Celebrating Celtic Spirituality
March 17, 2022 - noon EST: one-hour
Join Bridget Mary Meehan for a celebration of Celtic spirituality with prayers, blessings and music.
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Reproductive Justice: A movement affirming women, families and communities -United Church of Christ Position
by Essence Ellis | published on Jan 20, 2022
Almost 50 years after Roe v. Wade, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled that the United States Constitution protects women’s rights to choose an abortion without government intervention, the reproductive justice issue is once again up for debate. In this commentary, Essence Ellis outlines the United Church of Christ General Synod position and invites action.
As with each passing year, our society was shifting and transforming every single day in the year 1994. The very first photo of Pluto was revealed in 1994. Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as President of South Africa in 1994. Edvard Munch’s The Scream was stolen and recovered in 1994. And in June of 1994, during the Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance, a caucus of Black American women came together to share their stories and discuss the state of reproductive health for Black women across the country. It is from their coming together that we have the term “reproductive justice.” Defined as “the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities,” the reproductive justice movement invites us all to consider reproduction beyond the individual and legalities.
Approaching the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we reconsider the lens through which we understand reproductive health. As a movement with a womanist foundation, reproductive justice invites us to consider the whole; to pass the mic to those who are being oppressed by intentional lack of access, to center the narratives of those who have been marginalized, and to understand that this conversation includes, but is not limited to, abortion. It is for this reason, and many more, that we refer specifically to Reproductive Justice as opposed to reproductive health and/or reproductive rights.
Many may be asking themselves why the United Church of Christ should join this conversation. The simple answer is – we’ve been a part of this conversation for decades. Dating back to 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade, our General Synod has passed several resolutions that speak to the issues named by the Reproductive Justice movement. From assisting people in choosing options for unwanted pregnancies to calls for education about human sexuality in churches to acknowledging the divide between poor and wealthy women regarding access – the circle has been drawn wide. Of course, it is not perfect. There is room to grow, nuances to name, and new information to consider with each passing day. But one thing remains the same: individual bodily autonomy must be protected, and we must continue dismantling systems that infringe upon that autonomy.
Many faith traditions believe that we are all moral agents of our bodies. In turn, it is up to us to affirm all women in the decisions they make regarding their bodies and their reproductive health. True to UCC polity, there will be stark disagreements and our theologies may never align. But we must honor our covenant to justice by being committed to continuing the conversation about reproductive justice.
While non-white women and queer folx have been engaging in this conversation for nearly two decades, the recent threats to Roe v. Wade have brought reproductive healthcare back to the national forefront and societal culture. Thankfully, many organizations across the country are working diligently to educate people about reproductive justice, teach us how to support our communities on the reproductive front, and give us the tools we need to organize to take political action.
With the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan. 22, we invite you to tune in. To participate in some of the events being held by reproductive justice organizations across the country, share your own reproductive health stories, read articles about the movement – be present with millions of people around the country as we continue to strive towards reproductive justice. If you aren’t sure where to start, here’s a list of resources.
- Fiction or Reality: The Future of Reproductive Justice hosted by National Advocates of Pregnant Women
- #RaceAnd the Fight for Reproductive Justice hosted by Race Forward
- Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts
- Reproductive Justice: An Introduction by Loretta Ross and Rickie Solinger
- Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice by Marlene Gerber Fried, Elena R. Gutierrez, Loretta Ross, and Jael Silliman
- Abortion after Roe by Johanna Schoen
- How Reproductive Justice Is Part of an Anti-Racist Agenda by At Liberty Podcast
- Black Women and the Reproductive Justice Movement with Monica Simpson by Parenting and Politics
- A Step Toward Justice
- Advancing Reproductive Rights, Health, and Justice with Local Resolutions Toolkit
- Queering Reproductive Justice: A Mini Toolkit by the National LGBTQ Task Force