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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Upper Room Saturday Liturgy, June 15, 2024 - Presider: Julie Corron

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82512159155 
phone-in for (audio only) Phone Number: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 825 1215 9155

Faith Enough


Presider: Julie Corron



Welcome: Welcome to you all! I’m so happy to be here with you all today as we talk about faith and generosity and the kin-dom of God.


Opening Prayer: Let us pray. Holy One, even when our faith feels small, you remind us of that it is enough, that we are enough. Let us do our work every day with joyful hearts. AMEN.  


Opening Song: You Say by Lauren Daigle
https://youtu.be/sIaT8Jl2zpI?si=Q5QjHldWJjpAZL_O


LITURGY OF THE WORD

 

FIRST READING

A Reading from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel (17:22-23)

Thus says the Holy One:
“As an eagle soars, so shall I.
From the top of the tall cedar tree,
from the highest branch,
I shall take a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain.

“On the mountain heights, I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches,
and bear fruit,
and grow into a noble cedar.
Birds of every kind shall roost beneath it.
Every kind of winged creature will nest in the shade of its branches. 

These are the inspired words of the prophet Ezekiel and the community affirms them by saying AMEN.


PSALM 

Like Cedar They Shall Stand https://youtu.be/yMBKKkFHX40?si=6R6CkgSAlgq6bZkc


SECOND READING 

A Reading from a compilation of Paul’s letters known as 2nd Corinthians (2 Cor 9:5-15)


I encouraged some of our number to visit you in advance and finish the arrangement for your promised gift, so that in this way it might be ready as a bountiful gift and not as one grudgingly given. 


Remember this. Anyone who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. Whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you should give as you have determined, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 


God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: 


“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 


The One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your justice. 


You are being enriched in every way for your generosity. The administration of this public service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. 


You are glorifying God by living out the gospel of Christ through the generosity of your contribution to them and to all others. And in their prayers for you, their hearts go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift! 


These are the inspired words of the one we call the Apostle Paul and the community affirms them by saying AMEN. 


ALLELUIA  Celtic Alleluia by Christopher Walker – 
https://youtu.be/4cs8NDVM3Vk 



GOSPEL

A Reading from the Gospel attributed to Mark (4:1-9, 26-33)


Again, Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd gathered round was so large that Jesus got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen. A farmer went out to sow seed. While was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, with little soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew, and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” 


Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” 


Jesus continued speaking to the crowd, saying, “The reign of God is like someone scattering seed on the earth. The sower sleeps and rises, night and day. The scattered seed sprouts and grows, but the sower doesn’t know how. Of its own accord, the earth yields: first the shoot, then the head, then the full grain in the head. Then, when the grain is ripe, immediately the sower goes in with a sickle, for the harvest has come.”


Jesus also said, “What else can we say the reign of God is like? What parable can we find to describe it? It is like a mustard seed which, at the time it is sown, is the smallest of all the seeds; yet, once sown, it grows into the greatest of shrubs and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 


Using many parables like these, Jesus spoke the word to them, inasmuch as they were able to hear it.


These are the inspired words of the Gospel writer known as Mark and the community affirms them by saying AMEN.


Homily Starter—Julie: I grew up in the country. Not on a farm but farm adjacent. Both of my grandfathers were farmers. And the bane of their farmer existence was mustard. Not the kind we put on hot dogs; they liked that just fine. No, I’m talking about the plants that infiltrated their fields and were impossible to get rid of. The same mustard plants that Jesus told a parable about in today’s gospel. While I never saw a mustard plant big enough to shade the birds, I also never saw a field without any mustard growing in it either. 


That’s the kind of faith Jesus wants for us. Not to be a pest, but not to be completely driven out either. Maybe not as tall as a tree with birds in our branches but not gone either, never gone. Our faith and the kin-dom of God on earth can start tiny and spread, spread beyond all imagining. And while it might seem like we have that today, given the number of churches around the world, I think we still have a long way to go before a majority of people start actually living like we have the kin-dom of God here on earth. 


We can help lead the way. Strengthened by faith, buoyed by love, we can be the cheerful givers that Paul encourages us to be. He’s got a point, right? No one enjoys a gift that is only grudgingly given. So many of us have so much to share. And here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be a big check or thousands of hours of service. Small kindnesses, freely given, lift all of our spirits. Let’s live like the kin-dom of God is here already. Because it is.  


What did you hear? What would you like to share about today’s readings?


Statement of Faith

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.


LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

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


We pray for these and all the unspoken concerns held in the silence of our hearts. AMEN

O Holy One, you have birthed us in goodness, gifted us with life and cherished us in love. In the heart of our being, your Spirit dwells; a Spirit of courage and vision, a Spirit of wisdom and truth. 

In the power of that same Spirit, we lift our hearts in prayer, invoking anew the gift of wisdom and enlightenment, that we may continue to praise and thank you, in union with all who sing the ancient hymn of praise: 

 

Holy, Holy, Holy:  Here In This Place – New
https://youtu.be/uXyu57tR2gk



Holy One, we see around us the work of your hands, the fruit of your wisdom and love. The unfolding story of creation witnesses unceasingly to your creative power.  We, your creatures, often deviate from that wisdom, thus hindering your creative presence in our midst. 
 
Sending among us Jesus, our brother, you birth afresh in our world the power of Sophia-Wisdom, and in the gift of Your Spirit, your creative goodness blooms anew, amid the variety and wonder of life. 
 

(Extend hands in blessing.)  

 
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 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.

(Lift the bread)

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:

Take and eat. Go and love one another.

(Lift the cup)

He then raised high the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying: 

Take and drink.

Whenever you remember me like this, I am among you.

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.

In faith and hope we are sustained; in grace and dignity reclaimed. In praise, we thank you. 
 
Please receive communion with the words: I am the face of God.


Communion Meditation: The Face of God by Karen Drucker
https://youtu.be/rH-BKtAP2q4?si=VIsuHJ-A8rYhMTIE



Prayer after communion: Let us pray. Like Jesus, we will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and we will live compassionate lives, for it is through living as Jesus lived, that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to glorify you, O Holy One, at this time and all ways. AMEN.

 

Let us pray as Jesus taught us: 

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 that 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.  
Adapted by Miriam Therese Winter 


BLESSING

Please raise your hands as we bless each other:

May we carry joy and hope in our hearts every day. May we love and care for each always. May our name be a blessing in our time. AMEN.


Closing Song: Canticle of the Turning by Rory Cooney Video by Denise Hackert-Stoner
https://youtu.be/b-QR_OZB5ik





Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Upper Room Sunday Liturgy, June 16, 2024 - Dennis McDonald and Lindy Sanford-Martinez, Presiders

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82512159155 
phone-in for (audio only) Phone Number: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 825 1215 9155


Father’s Day Liturgy


Welcome and Theme (Dennis): Our relationships with our fathers are complicated.

For some of us, our father's love is like God's love -- too deep, too long, too wide, too strong to measure.


Some of our dads are here; some were never here.


For some of us, God's love fills in the empty spaces our fathers left behind.


All of us are shaped by the relationship or lack of relationship with our fathers.


On this day when we remember what it means to have a father or be a father, we recognize the importance of fathers in our communities. We pledge as a community to love and nurture the fathers among us so that they will manifest the love of God in all that they do. 


Opening Prayer (Lindy): Holy One, we celebrate today all those men who have opened themselves to us as fathers, in their hearts or in actuality.  Thank you for each moment they have given, each kindness they have given us in word or deed, each wisdom they have taught us as we have seen in their actions or heard as they spoke, each joy their smiles have brought to us...  For their actions are often a glimpse of Your compassion, wisdom and love. Amen


Opening Song: You Raise Me Up – Tin Whistle and Violin

Almartino & Daniela Rocchi

https://youtu.be/jJ8tY8l7SE4?si=yGzSO3-MBhASYfom

 



LITURGY OF THE WORD


First Reading: Video: Foster Kid Father’s Day produced by Dan Loewen

https://youtu.be/gP1R9ZmrCwo?si=ZVeUjwpAH4681zhB 




Alleluia: More Light by Christopher Grundy / Video by MTStreck

https://youtu.be/a8XaUlqb8t0 


Gospel (Deven): A reading from the author referred to as John (John 15: 9-12)


As my Abba has loved me,

so have I loved you. Live on in my love. And you will live on in my love

if you keep my commandments, just as I live on in Amma God’s love

and have kept God’s commandments. I tell you all this that my joy may be yours,

and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.


These are inspired words from the author referred to as John and we affirm them by saying, Amen. 

 

 (pause)  

Homily Starter (Dennis) and Shared Reflection 


When I was looking for an image to place at the top of the liturgy, I initially had a bright, colorful Happy Father’s Day logo, but it didn’t fit where my thoughts for the homily starter were.  So, I found the one placed there, a group of blocks spelling out Happy Father’s Day surrounded by tools and screws. You see in watching the video produced by Dan Lowen I began to think of how fatherhood, and for that matter parenthood, are a work in progress, constantly being built, rebuilt, perhaps even at times, renovated. Even now, 45 years into being a dad to my daughter, Chrissy, I’m not always sure how to best be a parent to her. There are times when she still seeks advice, needs a hug, needs encouragement, needs love. And the question becomes, what’s the best way to respond to each of those moments, and will it be the right way.


Throw into the mix what the video also speaks to, as does our Gospel, to love as God loves, to love as Jesus loved his disciples and thus also loves us. Now that is a tall order, if we believe that God is all-loving and all-knowing. Although we speak of having the Divine Spark with us, I am not in any way all-loving and all-knowing. And if I’m to be honest, I don’t even know what the really means.  It is that metaphor that I think sets us up to second guess ourselves, to wonder if we’ll get it right. 


So, as I was pondering all of this, I realized that over the years, I have let the metaphor of God as the loving parent go, because It is not something I really experience in my everyday life. It is a nice idea for when I personally may be struggling to grasp that idea of being loved by a universal source of life. But when I’m being a a father, a dad, what I actually do is go to the people who have been fathers to me in my life, starting with my own dad, who was a man of integrity and wisdom, and who gave me love the best way he knew how. And I think of others whose insights, knowledge, wisdom and love I can pull from when I’m called upon to offer likewise to my daughter, and in reality to others in my life. Will I be perfect in this, not always, but what I offer is the best of what I have, and that is my knowledge, my wisdom, and my love, thanks to those who gave me the same.  

Statement of Faith (Lindy) Let us now pray our Statement of Faith


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


Lindy:  As we prepare for this sacred meal, we are aware of our call to serve, and just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us. We bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.


Intentions read As intentions are offered Lindy goes to the Eucharistic Table


Lindy: We bring these and all deeply held blessings, cares, and concerns to the table of friendship and peace. 


LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST


Lindy: With open hands let us pray our Eucharistic Prayer together: 

Holy One, we yearn to be close to you and to live in the embrace of your gentle wisdom. Your divine grace and love lead us away from our anxieties, fears and distractions and toward all that is blessed and joyous.  

Each of us is divinely created in Your image. We are precious to you and to each other because of who we are. We are beloved and blessed in your unconditional love, quite apart from how we act or fail to act.  

Thankful for Jesus who treated all of Creation with respect and abundant love, we resolve to follow his example to be a light in the darkness. We recognize Your loving Presence here with us today and always, and we sing: 


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

https://youtu.be/uXyu57tR2gk 


Dearest Holy One, there are times when we feel scarcity and emptiness even though we know You love us more than our human imagination can grasp. May we have the presence of mind to live in Your love. We strive to see You reflected in every person we meet. Guide us in sharing our gifts and in being open hearted so that we may accept help from others.   

We thank you for Jesus, who knew what it was like to be an outsider in occupied and foreign lands. May his presence prompt us to bring gospel kindness and understanding to the divisions and conflicts of our time.  


Lindy: Please extend your hands in blessing. 


We call upon your Spirit that is present in us at this Eucharistic table. We are grateful for the bread and wine that remind us of our call to be the light of Christ to the world.  

On the night before he faced betrayal and death, Jesus shared supper with his 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.  

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


(pause)


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

                   

(pause)


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. 


Lindy: Let us share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace, using the words, You are a spark of the Divine.


(consume bread and drink from the cup)


Communion Meditation: Always There by Russell Watson from Secret Garden


https://youtu.be/985-jX-PAl4?si=Ja7cUW1BZuNMUb4D  


Post-Communion Prayer


All: Holy One, your transforming grace inspires us to follow our consciences and bring comfort to wherever people are in need We pray for wisdom, patience and persistence to make a difference in our world. We resolve to love as Jesus loved, to discern the better angels of our nature with hearts open to your Spirit. Amen. 

 

Reader: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:  


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 that 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.    

Adapted by Miriam Therese Winter  


BLESSING

Closing Prayer: Lindy – Let us raise our hands and bless each other.

 

Holy One, You have heard our prayers honoring You, and our praise for those who are our fathers who have opened themselves as fathers in their hearts or in actuality.  Remind us today and every day that in our hearts we are Your children.  Fill us today with joy as we remember our father figures, honor them , and learn from them, today and always.  Amen  

Closing Song: Be a Light by Thomas Rhett, video by Denise

https://youtu.be/3uOBbC6lFwk?si=jiH0S_gshtRz0gvl 




Resources: 

Gospel Reading: Priests for Equality. The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation (p. 2328). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Kindle Edition.