Thursday, September 28, 2023

Upper Room Weekend Liturgy, September 30 - October 1, 2023 - Presiders: Kathie Ryan, Dennis McDonald and Debbie Trees

Zoom link: 
phone-in for (audio only) Phone Number: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 825 1215 9155

Welcome (Dennis): Today marks the end of our celebration of the Season of Creation, and appropriately it ends with the celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, which is actually on October 4.  As we know, St. Francis was in touch with all of creation and his writings reflect his deep commitment to the all that reflected the Divine.  We gather together to listen, reflect, and be called to action in the ways of St. Francis in caring for the Earth and all Creation. 

Opening Prayer:

The Earth is the Creator’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all that dwells therein.  We share this life with the heavens and the earth, with the waters and the land, with trees and grasses, with fish, birds, and animals, with creatures of every form, and with all our brothers and sisters. Together we form strands in the web of creation woven and held together by the Divine Creator. 

Great Spirit of Creation come worship with us, embrace us with your spirit of life. We celebrate the power of creation, the gift of life and relationships, we celebrate the diversity of life on this planet, the oceans and lands, people and wildlife. We open our hearts and minds to hear the voice of creation. Amen.

Opening Song: Prayer of St. Francis by James Twyman


First Reading: A Reading from the Book of Genesis : “God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them. And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind, cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. And God saw  that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind.’ And God blessed them. God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

These are the inspired words from the Book of Genesis, and we affirm them by saying, Amen. 

Second Reading: A reading from It’s Time for a Franciscan Renaissance by Brian McLaren and Patrick Carolan

We have a proposal that addresses both the crises in the world at large and the crises in the Christian church: the possibility of a Franciscan Renaissance…. 

First, at this time of ecological crisis, the Franciscan legacy is powerfully ecological…. We need a spiritual vision that integrates love for God and love for our neighbor with love for the earth….  

The ecological vision of Francis was about … the interconnectedness of all creation, so that we see every creature as sister or brother.… 

Over the centuries, many forms of Christianity have become religions of fear. But Christianity wasn’t always like that. It began as a nonviolent peace movement, a community known for love, a community gathered around a table of fellowship and reconciliation, a people armed with the basin and towel of service, not the bomb and gun of violence. A Franciscan Renaissance would invite us to become, in the language of St. Clare, not violent warriors, but nonviolent mirrors of Christ for others to see and follow.   

Third … the Franciscan vision is deeply economic. Today, a larger and larger percentage of wealth is being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals and families…. St. Francis arose in the early stages of modern capitalism, and he saw its potential dangers. He exemplified an alternative value system where the poor, the leper, and the outcast matter more than money, luxury, and power. Our current economic model places no intrinsic value on creation, except as a source for raw materials that we consume…. A Franciscan Renaissance would help us “redeem”—which means to re-assess and revalue—everything, so we rediscover the priceless beauty of the earth and its creatures, including our neighbors and ourselves.   

Fourth, we live in a time of exclusion, division, classism, racism, and religious prejudice. We need the example of St. Francis and St. Clare, who clearly modeled deep inclusiveness and solidarity…. In this spirit of solidarity, I see that my life and your life are interconnected. I refuse to settle for my own happiness, because my life is in solidarity with yours as my neighbor. 

The relationship between Francis and Clare modeled this: we’re all equal—male and female, rich and poor, healthy and sick, well-clothed and clothed in rags, Pope and Bishop and lay person. Francis even teaches us to refuse to discriminate between Christian and Muslim, Jew and Atheist, for we all are beloved by God. 

These are the inspired words of Brian McLaren and Patrick Carolan, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.  

Alleluia: More Light by Christopher Gundy

The Good News of St. Francis of Assisi 

“God requires that we assist the animals, when they need our help. Each being (human or creature) has the same right of protection.”

“If you have people who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have people who will deal likewise with other humans.”

“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”

These are the inspired words of St. Francis of Assisi and we affirm them by saying, Amen. 

Homily Starter & Sharing

The reading from Genesis reminds us of the beginning of the Earth, being populated with all forms of creation, reflecting what the people of that age saw in the world that surrounded them.  The author of the book found it important to provide a means for that to happen, a supreme being, God, creating the heavens and the earth, and finding it good. In this process of creation our ancestors appear and are called to be in right relationship with all of creation. 

Thomas Berry, Catholic priest and Cultural historian has this to say, “The universe, by definition is a single, gorgeous celebratory event” which I, and I believe you, can appreciate when we experience the beauty of the celestial heavens on a clear night, or the beauty of an eagle or blue heron in flight, or the majesty of a mountainside ablaze with autumn colors.  

Yet, we also know that over the millenniums that right relationship has not always been upheld and has been broken. As we search the heavens, they are littered  with spent satellites, and the habitat of the eagle and heron are destroyed, and forests are cut down for development, for “progress”.

We have also recently experienced the destruction of right relationship within the human family. The hostility, the partisanship, the injustices that have entered more directly into the public discourse and in every day life destroys the fabric of love and peace that Jesus and Francis modeled and called for us to live.  

The Season of Creation was created to call attention to the need to rebuild that right relationship both individually and collectively, both with nature and with each other.  Thomas Berry says, “We will go into the future as a single sacred community, or we will all perish in the desert.” 

In a section of the full version of “It’s Time for a Franciscan Renaissance”, McLaren and Carolen share that the prayer of Jesus states, “thy kin-dom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. The prayer asks us, “How do we join Jesus in his concern for God’s good desires to become actualized on earth?” The prayer directs us to address this world and its injustices, joining God in God’s healing work within this world.” It is creating the Kin-dom here on Earth, bringing love, peace, and justice to all things. 

What is our role in bringing about the mending of this right relationship, in creating that Kin-dom? 

McLaren and Carolen offer this, “a Franciscan Renaissance would help us “redeem”—which means to re-assess and revalue—everything, so we rediscover the priceless beauty of the earth and its creatures, including our neighbors and ourselves.”  Phillis in her homily two weeks ago said it this way, ‘it is only when we take the “social approach” seriously enough… to a radical reconfiguration of how we live, will we “do no evil to the neighbor” and love all of creation generously.”  

As an individual, I can assess how the way I live impacts the environment and then reconfigure how I can live in a way that lessens my impact. I can assess my relationship with others, especially those with whom I disagree and then reconfigure how I relate to them, how I might bring healing to a relationship. 

We can take time to assess one or two things we value that spark our passion. It might be global warming, immigration, or violence against a marginalized group, or any number of other issues that bring pain and suffering to the earth or to people. This is where a collective body of people with a similar passion work together to bring awareness to the issue, and action to bring about change for the good.  

As we work toward the Renaissance, we can pray this beautiful end to today’s Prayer of Jesus, written by Lynn, “Strengthen us to work for local and global justice so that we may one day reap a harvest of equality and fairness as if they were wildflowers, propagating spontaneously, unerringly and in surprising abundance. Amen.”

Statement of Faith 

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 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.

Prayers of the Community

As we prepare for the sacred meal we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.  Please feel free to voice your prayers beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”

We bring our blessings, cares, and concerns to the Table of Friendship and Peace, as well as those in the depth of our hearts. Amen.


Presider 1: Please join in praying the Eucharistic Prayer

Loving God, all creation calls you blessed, and so do we. Your spirit imprints the whole universe with life and mystery. Yes, all creation proclaims your love. We now join this chorus of praise. 

Holy, Holy, Holy:  Here in This Place by Christopher Grundy 

All: Loving God, all of nature calls you blessed, and so do we. For you have woven an intimate tapestry and call it life and call it good. In love you have formed a universe so diverse yet so related, and into its web you call us forth to walk the land and swim the sea with all our natural brothers and sisters. To the stars we seem no more than blades of grass.

Yet to you, each of us, as each blade of grass and each star, is an irreplaceable treasure, an essential companion on this journey of love. Loving God, as you lure the whole world into salvation, guide us with your Spirit that we might not be only pilgrims on the earth, but pilgrims with the earth, journeying home to you. Open our hearts to understand the intimate relationship that you have with all creation. Only with this faith can we hope for tomorrow’s children. Loving God, all creation calls you blessed, and so do we.

We are thankful for the passion of the children and youth among us who push us to recognize the urgency of the environmental crisis. 

Thank you creator and giver of passion. We are thankful for the wisdom of the aged among us who remind us of what it means to respect the earth and to live in community with one another. 

Thank you creator and giver of wisdom. We are thankful for the insights of our native brothers and sisters among us, who draw on their tradition and teach us about the sacredness of all creation and how to live in kinship with it. 

Thank you creator and giver of insight. 

Presider 2: Please extend your hands in blessing. 

All:  We invoke that same Spirit upon the gifts of this Eucharistic table, bread of the grain and vine of the grape, that they may become gifts of passion, wisdom, insight and inspiration, which remind us of our call to be the body of Christ in the world. 

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. 

All: Upon returning to the table, Jesus lifted the bread, spoke a blessing and shared the bread of life for all who hunger. 


Then he lifted the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace and shared the cup of compassion for a broken world. 

Therefore we ask that, in the sharing of this bread, and in the drinking from this cup, our own eyes might be opened to behold you in the glory of your Creation, in the Wisdom of your Word, and in the faces of our sisters and brothers gathered in your name to celebrate your astounding love for us. 

Please receive communion with the words, I am one with creation. 

Communion Meditation: All Things Bright and Beautiful – John Rutter sung by Tabernacle Choir 

Post-Communion Prayer: 

All: We are thankful for the inspiration of those among us who have already begun to live their lives in ways that show a caring for the earth, water, and the skies. Thank you creator and giver of inspiration.

We thank you God for all signs of hope that keep us from despairing and point us toward new ways of living. We confess our part in hurting the earth. We express our thanks for creation and those who care for it. We are ready to commit ourselves to a new way of living. 

This we know, the earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth.

This we know, all things are connected, like the blood that unites one family

This we know, we did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it.

This we know, whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.

Let us give thanks for the gift of creation. Let us give thanks that all things hold together    in Christ.

Prayer of Jesus

All: Generous Creator, the intricate and elegant biodiversity of our world is your hallowed autograph on our lives, on our souls and in our hearts. 

We yearn for the wholeness of being in harmony with Your will and with all living things. 

Each day we draw on your creative, life-giving energy with gratitude and awe as we find nourishment in seed and field, river and forest. 

May we be stewards and co-creators with you in caring for the gifts of Your Creation.  

We acknowledge our shortcomings, especially our neglect of the environment on this Creation Sunday. We seek to be reconciled with those we have hurt and we resolve to do better.  

With your unfailing wisdom and the wind of Your Spirit, inspire us that we may reach out and love one another and care for the world, our home.

Strengthen us to work for local and global justice so that we may one day reap a harvest of equality and fairness as if they were wildflowers, propagating spontaneously, unerringly and in surprising abundance. Amen.         Lynn Kinlan


Let us bless one another and all of creation. 

Go out from this place, ready to hear creation’s call. 

Go out, ready to answer, “I am here, standing in solidarity with you!” 

And as you go, know that the love of Divine Mystery surrounds you, 

the peace of Christ empowers you, 

and the companionship of the Spirit moves within you 

and all of creation, now and always. AMEN

Closing Song:  Love Song to the Earth – Paul McCartney and Company


Brian McLaren and Patrick Carolan, “It’s Time for a Franciscan Renaissance,” Red Letter Christians (blog), January 18, 2023.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Moment of Oneness, September 27, 2023

Meeting ID: 815 0755 1772
To connect by phone dial: +1 646 558 8656

Building Blessings

Our prayer tonight is our being a blessing to the earth and to each other.



My soul honors the place where the entire universe resides.

I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you because it is also within me.

In sharing these things we are united,

We are the same,

We are one.

Meditation:  Skywoman Falling: A Creation story told by Robin Wil Kimmerer

Tonight is the ending or the beginning of our Creation Season. There is always more to come.

She fell like a simple seed, pirouetting on an autumn breeze. It took a long time for her to fall. In fear, or maybe hope, she clutched a bundle tightly in her hand. The geese tried to hold her above the water but knew they could not, so they called a council of all the other animals to decide what to do. Skywoman saw them all gather: loon, otters, swans, beavers, fish of all kinds. A  great turtle floated in their midst and offered his back for her to rest on. The animals knew she needed land for her home.

The great divers had heard of mud at the bottom of the water and agreed to go and find some. Soon only muskrat was able to dive deep and bring the mud back. He had given his life to aid this helpless human. Turtle said, ”here, put it on my back and I will hold it. 

Skywoman, bent and spread the mud with her hands across the shell of the turtle. Moved by the extraordinary gifts of the animals, she sang in thanksgiving and then began to dance, her feet caressing the earth.

The land grew and grew as she danced her thanks, from the dab of mud on Turtle's back until the whole earth was made. Not by Skywoman alone, but from the alchemy of all the animals' gifts coupled with her deep gratitude.  Together they formed what we know today as Turtle Island, our home.

Skywoman brought a gift clutched in her hand. She had reached out to grab unto the Tree of life, she had branches - fruits and seeds of all kinds of plants. She scattered onto the new ground and tended each one until the world turned from brown to green. Wild grasses, flowers, trees and medicines spread everywhere.

{These are some of the words of Robin Wall Kimmerer from her book Braiding Sweetgrass}

Pause for Reflection

Ending Prayer: (From the DRCC)

I thought we could pray for all who build in various ways:


~For spiders and all creatures who build webs and nests in order to create places to trap food or give birth to their young.  We honor your creations.

~For architects and engineers who design buildings, machines, bridges, computer chips, and more.  We honor your creations.

~For those who construct buildings, furniture, vehicles, roads and more. We honor your creations.

~For those who knit, crochet, sew, quilt, weave and more.  We honor your creations.

~For children, students and dreamers who build with blocks, scissors and paper, imagination and ideas. We honor your creations.

~For the grace of perseverance in whatever task we attempt to accomplish. May God help us to try and try again as we create in the midst of sometimes challenging circumstances.

Be well and be at peace.

Prayer from the (DSLCNY)

Song:  “This Girl Is on Fire” by Alicia Keys

This song is for you... whether you are female or male.

You are the builders of our church and our planet Earth.