Saturday, March 17, 2018

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy: Fifth Sunday of Lent (A), St. Patrick's Day, Presiders Kathryn Shea ARCWP and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, Music Minister Janet Blakeley ARCWP

Presiders: Left to right: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Kathryn Shea ARCWP


Welcome and Greeting

Presider 1:  Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome to share Eucharist at the Banquet Table. We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers. We invite sharing at the homily and prayers of intercession. Everyone prays the words of Consecration in the Eucharistic Prayer. We welcome our newcomers at announcement time after Communion. All are invited to join us for supper after liturgy at a local restaurant.

Presider 2 - Today we celebrate St. Patrick’s day and the fifth Sunday of Lent.  Celtic spirituality has an intuitive wisdom of the connection between everyday life and the spirit world. Angels and saints are near. The Gospel shares the story of the raising of Lazarus and Jesus’ encounter with Martha and Mary. In this liturgy, we open our hearts to the Great Mystery of Life whose presence is always unbinding us from fear and transforming us beyond our imagination with new life as we live the dream of Jesus and work for justice in a world of joy and pain.  (Cycle A ,5th Sunday of Lent) 

Opening Song:  The Holy Three:
Carmel Boyle
In the name of the One who loved us into being.
In the name of the One Who longs to give us peace,
In the name of the Breath of Wind that enfolds us
Filling our hearts. Amen

Opening Prayer:

All: I arise today through the strength of heaven,
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightening,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea, Stability of earth, Firmness of Rock.

(St. Patrick’s Breastplate)

                                 Rite of Communal Reconciliation

Presider 1:
Before we bring our gifts to share at the Banquet of Love, we ask for forgiveness for our failures to love one another and care for God’s creation.
ALL: In your love, we open our hearts to personal growth and healing.
Presider 2: We give thanks for Divine Love that fills our souls and makes us one family.

                                                      General Absolution

Presider 1: Please extend your hands in mutual blessing.
ALL: God, Father and Mother of Mercy, through his living, dying and rising, Jesus has revealed that nothing can separate us from your infinite love. Grant us your pardon and peace and move us to forgive each other our failures to care for one another and our earth. We ask this in the name of Jesus our brother and of Holy Spirit our Wisdom. Amen
Liturgy of the Word

First Reading:
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (Cycle B Reading)
Psalm 104 #806.  Responsorial: Send forth your Spirit, O God, and renew the face of the Earth. 
Second Reading:  Prayer of St. Bridget of Kildare
Saint Brigid

You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.

Gospel Acclamation: Spirit of the Living God
Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on me.
Melt me mold me
Fill me use me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on me.

Gospel: John 11:23-27 (Cycle A: 5th Sunday of Lent, Martha's profession of faith)
“Your brother will rise again!” Jesus assured her. 
Martha replied, I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her;
“I am the Resurrection,
and I am Life:
those who believe in me
will live, even if they die;
And those who are alive and believe in me
will never die. 
Do you believe this?”
“Yes," Martha replied,

“I' have come to believe that you are the Messiah, God’s Only Begotten, the One who is coming into the world.'” (John 23:11-17) The Inclusive New Testament

Homily Starter by Bridget Mary Meehan

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I would like to begin with a story I heard on the Cruise of the Irish Stars this year with a few of my own embellishments. You may not know that I kissed the Blarney Stone, not once but three times!
My Dad, Jack, was a great storyteller as some of you know. At sleepovers with his grandchildren, Katie and Danny, Grandpa Jack would share stories about his life as a child in rural Ireland. He always began by saying:
 Once upon a time, a long, long time ago…So, in his memory, I begin this story with the same opening words.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago on a stormy St. Patrick’s night, Seamus and Kevin were driving down an old, windy bog road. They could not see twenty feet in front of them with the lashing rain and blinding fog.
 “Begob, Kevin,” Seamus said, “we are not going to make it home tonight. We better look for shelter somewhere.”  “Well,” Kevin said, after a few minutes, I see a small cottage up above on the left. So they pulled in on the side of the road, knocked on the door, and asked the woman who opened the door if they could sleep in the barn.
She told them her name was Noreen and that she was a widow.  She kindly gave them a cup of tea, blankets, then lit a lantern and showed them a clean spot in the cow house where they could sleep for the night. 

The next day, at dawn, the rain was gone. So Seamus and Kevin, not wanting to wake Noreen, drove away.
Nine months later Seamus got a registered letter in the mail. After opening it, he immediately called Kevin and asked if he had left the barn in the middle of the night and paid a visit to Noreen and, by any chance, did he tell her that he was Seamus. After an awkward silence, Kevin, reluctantly admitted this indeed had happened.
“Well then,” said, Seamus, “the letter I received was from Noreen’s solicitor, informing me that she died, and left her entire estate, which includes a 100 acre farm, to me! “
Life is full of surprises! Jesus surprised Martha in our Gospel story!
The story of the raising of Lazarus appears only in John’s gospel and is one of the signs that John’s Jesus does. Biblical scholar Marcus J. Borg sums up its deep meaning: “Martha thought of the resurrection as a future event at the end of time; but Jesus’s response,” – “I am the resurrection and the life.” “corrects her misunderstanding and speaks of resurrection as a present reality.”  Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary Harper One, 2006, p. 199.  

When we think of resurrection as a present reality in our lives, we draw strength from the Spirt of faith and courage that dwells within us. We experience eternal life in the present moment energizing us as we live fully, love passionately and work for justice and compassion in our world.  One powerful example of the resurrection as a present reality occurred this week.

Exactly one month after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Floeis survivors of the massacre joined tens of thousands of students across the U.S. by walking out of school on March 14th. They solemnly spilled onto the high school football field, holding signs protesting gun violence and wearing shirts that read "March for our lives." They waved at a crowd of onlookers who had gathered to show support. "Change is coming, change is here and change is here to stay," David Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas student who survived the shooting, told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "It shows that we have a national movement of young people, future voters ... coming out and standing together with us."

At Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, we participate in marches, call our representatives, lobby against the death penalty, sexual harassment, gun violence, hunger and a host of other issues. The list is open and ongoing as we join others rising up for justice and equality.

During times of loss and grief, our belief in resurrection as a present reality means that we can take comfort and strength in our faith that our loved ones who cross over are unbound, free, healed and whole in the embrace of Divine Love beyond all pain and suffering.

We also draw strength from the awareness that our loved ones are still with us, supporting us as we live God’s love in our world today. Our dear departed ones are in the Communion of Saints with holy women and men from all times and with all of us who are living.
There has been much written about near-death events in which people share that their experiences of the other side- where they encounter family members who have crossed over- guiding them toward a light, love and peace beyond anything they can describe.
This understanding is similar to the ancient Celtic mystical awareness of death as a “thin time and place” where the veil between heaven and earth is very thin.  Past, present and future seem to come together as we glimpse Divine Presence unbinding and embracing the one who is crossing over into the fullness of eternity.
The ancient Celts believed: “Heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter.”~
I leave you with the words of the Irish proverb and my personal philosophy:
“Dance as if no one was watching, sing as if no one was listening, and live every day as if it was your last.”
Shared Homily: How can an understanding of resurrection as a present reality in which the same Spirit that was in Jesus is in us now and moves through us as we love others and rise up for justice?


Statement of Faith

ALL: We believe in the Holy One, a divine mystery beyond all definition and rational understanding, in whose infinite love all creation exists and evolves.

We believe in Jesus, messenger of the Divine Presence, 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 reflection of divine compassion and healing 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.

                                                       General Intercessions

Presider 2:
As we prepare for the sacred meal, we pray for the needs of the people of God in our community and around the world. Our response is: Holy One, you hear our prayers. Please share your spontaneous prayers.

Presider 1: We give thanks for all whom we held in the circle of grace and will continue to pray for and use our talents to serve our sisters and brothers with joyful hearts in the coming weeks. Amen.
                                                              Offertory Song:  “We Belong To You” #662 vs. 1,2,4 (substituting God for Lord)
                                                       Preparation of the Gifts

Presider 2: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer.
Presider 1: Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation as we respond to your call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers.

ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Presider 2: All are welcome to join us around God’s table.

                                                       Liturgy of the Eucharist

Presider 1: God is with you.

ALL: And also with you.

Presider 2: Lift up your hearts.

ALL: We lift them up to God.
All:  O God of St. Patrick, St. Bridget and of each of us, we praise you with our names and rejoice that You call us to be your disciples in our world today. We give thanks for the rich diversity of talents we have in this community. We open this circle of grace to remember the angels and saints and all who have gone before us. Joined with all creation, we lift up our hearts and sing:

We are holy, holy, holy by Karen Drucker

Voice 1: We thank you for Jesus, our brother, who called women and men to be disciples and equals to proclaim the Good News of divine love for all creation. He lifted up the lowly, and revealed your abundant tenderness toward each of us especially those who are sick and suffering, lonely and grieving, lost and excluded.

Voice 2: We celebrate our call to use our talents to reflect the One Who Embraces All with love in our relationships and actions each day.

(raise hands toward bread and wine for Invocation of the Holy Spirit)

All: Now, as we share the bread of life and lift the cup of joy, we pray come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine.

All: On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would re-member him.

Presider 1:
(lifts bread as community prays the following:)
All: 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. (pause)

Presider 2:
(lifts the cup as community prays the following )
All: 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. (pause)

Let us share this bread and cup, and welcome everyone to the Banquet as we live the gospel of justice and peace in our world.

Voice 3:
We are called to do everything Jesus did, to be the living presence of a love that does justice, of a compassion that heals and liberates, of a joy that generates laughter, of a light that illumines right choices and confronts the darkness of every injustice and inequity.

All: So, we trust you to continue to share with us your own spirit, the Spirit that filled Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, his loving and healing all honor and glory is yours, O Holy One, forever and ever. All sing: Amen.
Presider 1:
Let us pray as Jesus taught us:  All: Sing -Prayer of Jesus:-Our Father and Mother

Presider 2:  Sign of Peace: Let us hold hands sing “Peace is flowing like a River” as we pray for peace and justice to spread through our world.

                                        Prayer for the Breaking of Bread

Presider 1: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread:

All: 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.

(Presiders hold up bread and wine)

Presider 2: “This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other. All are welcome to the Feast.

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:  Instrumental

Communion Meditation: “Inside (To Find MY God)” – Daniel Nahmod

                           Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions and Announcements

Presider 3
: Let us raise our hands in blessing and pray together:

All: May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm on your fields, And until we meet again, may you be held in God’s hands.
All: Amen.

                                                     Closing Song:  “Dance Then Wherever You May Be” by John Ogrodrodowczyck  (NOTE:  Different words - on last page)

Dance Then Wherever You May Be -By John Ogrodowczyk

I danced in the Moon, and the stars, and the Sun
I came to the Earth and I danced on the sea
From the dust of stars I came to be.
Dance then, wherever you may be
I Am the Life in your dance you see!
And I'll lead you all, and you will dance with me,
For I am Life, The Great Mystery!

I danced for the strong and I danced for the weak,
I danced for those who wouldn't dance with me,
I danced for the rich and I danced for the poor,
I danced till the king’s gold lustered no more.
Dance then, wherever you may be
I Am Life, The Great Mystery!
And I'll lead you all wherever you may be
and I lead you all in your dance with me.

I danced in the springtime, in the summer and fall
I danced when the cold winds blew in winter's call
I danced in the rain under rainbow's bend,
I danced in the sun to horizon's end.

Dance then, wherever you may be
I Am the Life in your dance you see!
And I'll lead you all, and you will dance with me,
For I am Life, The Great Mystery!

I danced in the cities under coal skies black
I danced in the forest where the trees fell fast
I danced on the waters where poison rivers flowed
Still I dance and hope, love's just biding I know

Dance then, wherever you may be
I Am Life, The Great Mystery!
And I'll lead you all wherever you may be
and I lead you all in your dance with me.

There are those that doubt and fear what they don't know
They run and they fight, seeds of hate they sow
But they cannot take my soul, from their chains I will break free
I'm the Light in the darkness for all humanity.

Dance then, wherever you may be
I Am the Life in your dance you see!
And I'll lead you all, and you will dance with me,
For I am Life, The Great Mystery

(The Eucharistic Prayer in this liturgy was written by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP)

Interfaith Women of Sarasota and Manatee Meeting and Saint Patrick's Day at St. Andrew UCC

Arlene and Bridget Mary