Friday, July 1, 2022

Upper Room Saturday Liturgy, July 2, 2022 - Presider: Lynn Kinlan

Please join us between 4:30 and 4:55 pm via Zoom
Here is the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82512159155 

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


Welcome: 

Welcome everyone to our Saturday liturgy. Today we consider how Jesus invites us to adopt a new and expansive outlook on life. His public ministry is about transforming and reinterpreting scripture and legalisms that can sometimes confine and suffocate our search for the Spirit of God. 


Opening Prayer: 

We rejoice today in the beauty of mid-summer, the flourishing of flowers, crops and the unfurling of warm red sunsets. As the seasons change, so too do the ways we seek out what is sacred and holy about living in Christ. May we grow in our willingness to be present to the revelation and the possibility of the Holy One. May we refresh ourselves in openness to change so that all the world can shine in our eyes as new. Amen.  


Opening Song: Lost Words Blessing by Spell Songs   Video created by Denise Hackert-Stoner

https://youtu.be/aauBmnCJnZQ 



                                                     LITURGY OF THE WORD

A reading from “Radical Renewal: the problem of wineskins today” by Howard Snyder 

God is a God of newness. God is not static or stationary. The story of God’s people in the Bible and the history of the Christian church shows just the opposite. In every age the true biblical gospel is a message of newness, of radical renewal. God has not stopped doing new things. The Bible says, “We wait for new heavens and a new earth where righteousness is at home” (2 Peter 3:13) and. “I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them” (Ezekiel 11:19).

 Many prophecies about “new things” were fulfilled in part with the coming of Christ and the birth of the church, the new community. But the prophetic fund has not been exhausted. 

Unfulfilled prophecies and untapped promises of new things remain. We try to contain the new wine of the gospel in old wineskins-outmoded traditions, obsolete philosophies, creaking institutions, old habits. But with time the old wineskins begin to bind the gospel. Then they must burst, and the power of the gospel pours forth once more. Human nature wants to conserve, but the divine nature is to renew.

These are the inspired words of Howard Snyder and we affirm them. Amen  


A reading from “Why so Many Souls?” by Meister Eckhart

When were you last really happy?

Let that experience ferment,

bring it to mind once

in a while.


Surely in the genesis of that past moment, when you danced,

you would not have wanted a constable

to have knocked

on your

door.


Or have said, “You just entered

A restricted ground.”


Why are there so many stars and souls,

with no end in sight for

them?


Because nothing can interrupt God

when God is having

fun.


creating!


These are the words of the 13th century Christian mystic Meister Eckhart and we affirm them. Amen.

Celtic Alleluia

https://youtu.be/o1rc7ojQtJU


A Reading from the gospel of Mathew 9: 14 - 17

The disciples of John the Baptizer came to Jesus and asked, “Why is it that while we and the Pharisees fast, your disciples don’t?”  Jesus replied, “How can the guests at a wedding feast mourn while they are still all together? The time will come when the guests will be left alone; then they will fast. 

No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth onto an old cloak because the patch will pull away from the cloak and the tear will get worse. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins—if they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out, and the skins will be ruined. No, the put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

These are the words of the gospel writer known as Mathew and we affirm them. Amen.


Shared Homily

Even the humblest person walks around her part of the earth thinking she knows quite a bit; especially we human beings who have earned the wisdom of many years. And yet we are frequently surprised; surprised by people, by events and of course, by the Holy One. Jesus spent his life refusing to conform to expectations. 

He changed the rules, he disregarded rules and did so to reach, to grasp for, to reveal the divinity in every person he encountered. He surprised everyone —the followers of John the Baptist, the Pharisees, the apostles and disciples who traveled for three years with him, sinners and plutocrats, Herod and Pilate and Roman centurions. 

Today’s gospel shows Jesus having little patience for ritual fasting. It will have its time and place but he also insists that there is a time for feasting. Of course, this is a thinly veiled reference to the idea that Jesus will soon be gone and his followers need to make the most of the time they have. 

Now, Jesus is not a hedonist seeking to party simply because the weekend is here … he wants us to celebrate the surprising possibilities and newness that can be found in every age, in every ancient story prophetically told anew. Jesus compares us to unshrunken cloth, too brand new to be sewn into any old old cloak. We are like new wine, bubbling and fermenting, likely to burst any old, used wineskin.

We who can adapt ancient scripture stories for new times, we who can live with ferment and surprise – are the ones of whom Jesus speaks. As Snyder writes in the first reading, “the prophetic fund has not been exhausted, God has not stopped doing new things”. 

So, am I closer to the constable in Eckhart’s poem, protecting and conserving “restricted ground”? Or am I becoming one of the souls, one of the countless stars with vision of no end in sight? I dearly hope I am not the one who is interrupting God to ask about fasting when God is having fun creating.

What did you hear in these readings? Did you find any phrases that grab at you? 


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


A Prayer for Being Embraced in God’s Gentle Wisdom


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

 

We pray for these and all unspoken intentions in our hearts. Amen. 

 

Let us pray our Eucharistic prayer with open hearts and hands:

All: Holy One, we yearn to be close to you and to live in the embrace of your gentle wisdom. Your divine grace leads us away from our anxieties, fears and distractions and toward all that is blessed and joyous so that we might live in the Spirit and serve the cause of equality and inclusion.

 

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. We resolve to look upon all our sisters and brothers as precious and deserving so that we can live in harmony and peace


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/sgkWXOSGmOQ



All: 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. 


Lynn: Please extend your hands in blessing.


All: 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 that we are called to renew and to be renewed with the love of God who is in everything, everyone and everywhere.  We thank you for Jesus, beacon of love and wisdom,  offering us a perspective of openness and service to all our brothers and sisters. 


 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. 

 

All 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, this is my very self.

 

  All lift the cup


Then he took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:

Take and drink.

Whenever you remember me like this,

I am among you.

 

Bread and wine are transformed by your Spirit and we are transformed when we open ourselves to Your Spirit. Each time we share this bread with one another we choose to be transformed. We choose to love as you love us. 


Holy One, your transforming grace inspires us to follow our consciences and bring comfort to wherever people are in need.  We pray for willingness, patience and persistence to fresh ourselves and to remake the world anew. We choose to love as Jesus loved, to discern the better angels of our nature with hearts open to your Spirit. 


Please receive the bread and wine with the words: I shine with the love of Christ

 

Communion Song: Let Go of the Shore by Karen Drucker

https://youtu.be/HwWFZk4DI-w



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 


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. 


BLESSING


Presider 1: Please extend your hands in blessing.


ALL:   May the beauty and joy of Creation continue to astound us  

May the Presence of the Divine comfort and inspire us 

May we be the face of the Holy One in all we say and do, and 

May we be never tire of all things becoming new again.

AMEN.

 

Closing Song: I am Willing by Holly Near

https://youtu.be/watch?v=tnmRoNeezWA


  

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Upper Room Sunday Liturgy, July 3, 2022 - Presiders: Dennis McDonald and Rosie Smeed

Please join us between 9:30 and 9:55 am via Zoom

Here is the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82512159155 

phone-in for (audio only).Phone Number: (646) 558-8656

Meeting ID: 825 1215 9155


“Liberty and Justice for All”


Welcome and Theme: Our theme for today is a celebration of and recommitment to working for justice in our world, for liberty and peace proceed from justice for all creatures and Mother Earth. 


Opening Prayer 

Holy One, we gather as a community of believers in the dignity of all people, and the call to be a voice for our sisters and brothers who face oppression and injustice.  We celebrate the example provided by our brother, Jesus, who offered hope and new life to all those to whom he ministered.  He helped them to recognize the power within to overcome adversity and discrimination, which provided them a path to wholeness. We recognize our call to continue the ministry of Jesus and commit ourselves to work for justice and peace in the world today. Amen


Opening Song: The Justice Song - Words and Music by Selorm Tamakloe and Kaign Christy

https://youtu.be/IASdERt3-m0 


LITURGY OF THE WORD



First Reading: “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” our responsibility to stand up to unjust laws and actively work for their change. By Rev. MLK, Jr.4/16/1963


I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled through the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. Now this approach is being dismissed as extremist. I must admit that I was initially disappointed in being so categorized. But as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a bit of satisfaction from being considered an extremist. Was not Jesus an extremist in love? “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice – “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”  Was not Paul an extremist for the Gospel of Jesus Christ – “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”  Was not Martin Luther an extremist – “Here I stand, I can do none other so help me God.”  Was not John Bunyan an extremist, - ‘I will stay in jail till the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist – “ This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.”  Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist – “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”  So the question is, not will we be extremist, but what kind of extremist will we be? Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice -- or will we be extremists for the cause  of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all 3 were crucified for the same crime – the crime of extremism. Two were crucified for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus the Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. So, after all, maybe the South, the Nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial, “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere in this country.  (MLK)  


These are the inspired words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and we affirm them by saying, Amen.




Second Reading: A Reflection on Thomas Merton’s “View of Being a Peacemaker.” His quiet monastic life gave Merton the opportunity to be a spiritual prophet of peace to the world at war. 


It is my intention to make my entire life a rejection of, a protest against the crimes and injustices of war and political tyranny which threaten to destroy the whole human race and the world. By my monastic life and vows, I am saying no to all the concentration camps, the aerial bombardments, the staged political trials, the judicial murders, the racial injustices, the economic tyrannies, and the whole socio-economic apparatus which seems geared for nothing but global destruction in spite of all its fair words in favor peace. I make monastic silence a protest against the lies of politicians, propagandists and agitators, and when I speak it is to deny that my faith and my Church can ever seriously be aligned with these forces of injustice and destruction. My life, then, must be a protest against [those who invoke their faith in support of war, racial injustice and tyranny] also, and perhaps against these most of all… If I say no to all these secular forces, I also say yes to all that is good in the world and in humanity. I say yes to all that is beautiful in nature… I say yes to all the men and women who are my brothers and sisters in the world.


I think that’s a noble way of living–to speak out against all the violence, killings and war making, and to say yes to life, peace and hope.


These are the inspired words of Thomas Merton and we affirm them by saying, Amen.   


Alleluia


Gospel: A reading from the writer known as Luke

After this, Jesus appointed seventy-two others, and sent them on ahead in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.  He said to them, “The harvest is rich, but the workers are few; therefore, ask the overseer to send workers to the harvest.  “Be on your way, and remember I am sending you as lambs in the midst of wolves.  Don’t carry a walking stick or knapsack; wear no sandals and greet no one along the way.  And whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be upon this house!’  If the people live peaceably there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will come back to you.  Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you, for the laborer is worth a wage. Don’t keep moving from house to house.  “And whatever city you enter, after they welcome you, eat what they set before you  and heal those who are sick in that town. Say to them, ‘The reign of God has drawn near to you.’ 

These are inspired words from the writer known as Luke, and we affirm this by saying, Amen.  



Homily Starter & Sharing

Rosie: Catholic Social Teaching is a central part of our living our lives following in the footsteps of Jesus. Our Gospel and Readings today from scriptural and contemporary writings exhort us to be active participants in establishing fairness, justice, and closing the poverty gap, as only then will we have peace. We are bringing folks up to speed understanding differences and inclusiveness, and actively work toward eliminating violence. But we have a long way to go to change the culture of retribution to a culture of reconciliation. The retributive mindset has influenced us throughout U.S. history and is pervasive today. For example, we know that making high school and college courses available in prisons is the single most powerful action to cut recidivism, but these classes have been cut in almost every State, as persons opposed to “rewarding” prisoners with education suppress allowing them. We know the arc of justice swings wide; how can you make a difference in your life to keep hope alive by working for justice in your own world? 


Dennis: Rosie’s question is a good one, and a hard one, if we reflect on today’s readings.  Martin Luther King, Jr. calls for us to be extremists in something in which we believe that fights against injustice and to do so in the way of Jesus, that is with “love, truth, and goodness”.  Thomas Merton proclaims his extremism of living his entire life in the battle against injustice and tyranny, and points specifically to the end to war, racial injustice, and tyranny.  It is unfortunate that both of these men’s hopes for a better world are still very much a work in progress, as we continue to see and experience wars around the world, racial and religious injustice rearing it’s ugly head, and tyranny entering our political arena.  


The Gospel today has Jesus sending forth the 72 disciples to spread “love, truth, and goodness”. He forewarns them that he is sending them “as lambs in the midst of wolves”. If we reflect on that for a moment, each of those quoted by King in the first reading, were “lambs in the midst of wolves”, speaking out against the injustices of their day. As followers of Jesus, we are also called to speak out against all the violence, killings and war making, and to say yes to life, peace and hope. We will also come up against the wolves. So, back to Rosie’s question, how can you make a difference to keep hope alive by working for justice in your own world? 


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


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 beginning with the words, I bring to the table.


Intentions shared


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


With open hands let us pray our Eucharistic Prayer together (1)

We gather today mindful of the many times we have professed our readiness to be true disciples of Jesus, to be salt of the earth, and light for the world. 

We, recognizing the call of Jesus to love our neighbor and all of creation, join in the everlasting song of praise to the Great Mystery of Light and Love: 

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

https://youtu.be/sgkWXOSGmOQ 



We acknowledge the daunting challenge of this time in the society in which we live, with its economic systems that impoverish and disempower people and its political systems that enables the rich to get richer and the earth to become poorer. 

We remember that Jesus encountered in his day, systems as unjust as those we experience in our day, and who surely felt powerless to change anything on his own. 

We turn our hearts and minds to his message, to his hopes and dreams, to his ardent desire for a better society. We focus on his struggle his reflections his prayer his questions – where to start? how to start? what to say? whom to choose? how to keep going? how to be salt? how to be light?

We call to mind how Jesus urged his listeners to put their trust in the power of being neighbors, in the power of the Divine Spirit within them, in the power of conversion from the religious thinking and practices that made them feel inadequate and worthless. 

Our prayer today is a prayer of resolve, a prayer of determination that we, each of us, will do whatever we can, however small, in whatever way we can to bring the real dream of Jesus to fruition in our lives and in our world today. 

We focus on Jesus, human like us, a man with a dream for a better world, a man of extraordinary courage, a man on a journey to the end of his life, a man willing to die for what he believed, a man who knew he would never see his dream fulfilled, a man who had to trust that those who came after him would keep his dream alive. 

As we gather once more around the table of friendship and love, we remember how Jesus washed the feet of those gathered, both women and men, to remind them of the call to be a servant to all.   We all gather to recall the bread and cup that Jesus shared with them shortly before he died. He invited them to eat and drink as a sign of their readiness to keep his memory alive and to continue the work for what he believed and lived. 

Gathered at the table, Jesus lifted the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them saying, 

“Share this bread among you; this is my body which will be broken for justice.
Do this to remember me.” (pause)

He then took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
“Share this wine among you; this is my blood which will be shed for liberation.
Do this to remember me.” (pause)

Let us share this bread and this cup in solidarity with all peoples of the world, to be strengthened, so that peace and justice may prevail everywhere.

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.  

Please receive Communion with the words: I am the hands and feet of the Christ.  

Communion Meditation: America, the Beautiful: 2020

https://youtu.be/IiydluD0PyM



Post Communion Prayer: 


When our eyes do not see the gravity of racial justice,

Shake us from our slumber and open our eyes, O God


When out of fear we are frozen into inaction,

Give us a spirit of bravery, O God


When we try our best but say the wrong things,

Give us a spirit of humility, O God


When the chaos of this dies down, 

Give us a lasting spirit of solidarity, O God


When it becomes easier to point fingers outwards, 

Help us to examine our own hearts, O God


God of truth, in your wisdom, Enlighten us.

God of hope in your kindness, Heal us.

Creator of All People, in your generosity, Guide Us.


Racism breaks your heart.

Break our hearts for what breaks yours, O God.

Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Prayer of Jesus


Let us pray the prayer Jesus:  

O Holy One, who is 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 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  

(Miriam Therese Winter)   

 

Final Blessing

 

Dennis: Please extend your hands and pray our blessing together.


Ever present God, you called us to be in relationship with one another and promised to dwell wherever two or three are gathered. In our community, we are many different people; we come from many different places, have many different cultures. Open our hearts that we may be bold in finding the riches of inclusion and the treasures of diversity among us. We pray in faith. Amen

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Closing Song: Go Make A Difference

https://youtu.be/Q2vYFN1YNIk



(1)Eucharistic Prayer adapted from Michael Morwood’s book “Prayers for Progressive Christians”, and “The Words of Eucharist” by Kurt Struckmeyer)


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Moment of Oneness - June 29, 2022

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81507551772
Meeting ID: 815 0755 1772
To connect by phone dial: +1 646 558 8656


Opening Prayer:  Holy One we are grateful for everyone and everything we have in our lives. May we live our gratitude by recognizing the Divine in everyone we meet. Amen.


Namaste by Mark Hayes and Dominique Danielle

https://youtu.be/Hxf8QFTkYY8



Reading: 

 “For all Beings” May all beings be cared for and loved, Be listened to, understood, and acknowledged despite different views, Be accepted for who they are in this moment, Be afforded patience, Be allowed to live without fear of having their lives taken away or their bodies violated. May all beings, Be well in its broadest sense, Be fed, Be clothed, Be treated as if their life is precious, Be held in the eyes of each other as family. May all beings, Be appreciated, Feel welcomed anywhere on the planet, Be freed from acts of hatred and desperation including war, poverty, slavery, and street crimes, Live on the planet, housed and protected from harm, Be given what is needed to live fully, without scarcity, Enjoy life, living without fear of one another, Be able to speak freely in a voice and mind of undeniable love. May all beings, Receive and share the gifts of life, Be given time to rest, be still, and experience silence. May all beings, Be awake. 

These are the inspired words of Zenju Earthlyn Manual and we affirm them by saying, Amen. 

Intentions: 

For our intentions tonight let us sit in silence for one full minute and recall all those we have been asked to pray for and all those in need of prayer.  In the silence of our hearts we hold in prayer……


The Holy One hears us and knows our needs. Amen Let it be so.


Psalm of Love

Love is my light and my salvation, who shall I fear.

Love is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.

When fears assail me, rising to accuse me, each one in turn shall be seen in Love’s light. 

Though a multitude of demons rise up within me, my heart shall not fear. 

Thought doubts and guilt do battle, yet shall I remain confident.

One thing have I asked of Love, that I shall ever seek: that I might dwell in the Heart of Love all the days of my life. 

To behold the Beauty of my Beloved, and to know Love’s Plan


Closing Blessing:

May we offer the Holy One’s love to every one we meet.

May we be aware of presence in all creation and in each other.

And may we know deep in our hearts we are loved.

Amen.


Closing Song: Being Kind by Empty Hands Music (Nimo)

https://youtu.be/mJhZ64BvvFU