236: 11/7/2020 Holy Darkness: Learning to Befriend the Dark
Emmaus Intentional Eucharistic Community Liturgical Order of Service
Sunday, November 8, 2020
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Victoria: Rings the singing bowl X 3 to gather everyone so that we may begin our liturgy.
Steve: Welcomes all and introduces any new or visiting people:
Steve: Introduction of Theme for tonight’s liturgy:
There were a number of factors that influenced our theme of “Holy Dark” for tonight’s liturgy:
• the escalating tensions and divisions of this political season;
• the ever-increasing spread and death rate of the Coronavirus pandemic;
• the increasing severity of incidents of police brutality;
• the growing realization of the roots of systemic racism that have been baked into our many, political, social and religious institutions.
Kay, Victoria and I were so fortunate to attend the University of Creation Spirituality, and thought that what we each had learned about the mystical dimensions of “light,” “dark,” and living with the contradictions, could make for a helpful liturgy.
Focusing our liturgy on “Holy Darkness: Learning to Befriend the Dark” might help our Emmaus community in this time when so much may feel dark and uncertain, and so many in our community, nation and world are suffering from deep losses and grief, especially now, as we all deal with the very recent loss of our dear friends, Tess and Bill.
Jeanine: Opening Prayer:
Whatever happens to me in life
I must believe that somewhere,
in the mess or madness of it all,
there is a sacred potential ---
a possibility for wondrous redemption
in the embracing of all that is.
For in the unfolding of my journey,
in all its soaring delight
and crushing pain,
I may be sure that God is there ---
always ahead, behind, below, and above,
encompassing all that befalls me
in a circle of deep compassion.
above the darkness
that wraps me round
the bright wings of the Dove
hover and beat
in gentle healing love
and invitation to
New Rising. (by Edwina Gately from A Mystical Heart)
JoAnne Consiglieri: First Reading: Darkness
Another theme [of Holy Dark] that is translatable into mystical language is that of illumination---the idea that we are illuminated, that we are enlightened, that the light in us increases and paradoxically so, as we go more deeply into the dark, as we sink.
This is the via negative theme of the mystics, that illumination comes at the end of bottoming out in the darkness experience. The psychic experience of the dark night of the soul and suffering as darkness, something that we do not have control over, something we can’t really name but which is big in us, the great mystery once again. Our culture would try to intervene with quick remedies, whether it’s drugs or palliatives of some kind. A lot of our addiction are efforts to intervene with the darkness that’s happening. But the mystical traditions would all say there’s something deep to be learned by making the journey into the darkness.
(The words of Matthew Fox from the book: Natural Grace by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake, p 139)
Hermine: Responsorial Psalm: To Know the Dark by Wendell Berry
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
Jim McFadden : Gospel Reading: John 1: 1-4
In the beginning was the Word:
the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came into being,
not one thing came into being except through him.
What has come into being in him was,
life that was the light of men;
and light shines in the darkness,
and darkness could not overpower it.
Victoria: Homily Starter (Victoria will offer a short Homily Starter. Kay and Steve will then offer short stories. The Shared Homily will follow using the following questions for reflection and their own sharing):
All: Shared Homily: Community now shares their reflections
• How do you, as a person of faith, live with, and hold both the light and dark aspects of life?
What helps you do this?
• As a person of faith, what can you do to confront the deep-seated beliefs and assumptions of light as good and superior over darkness as bad and inferior?
Steve: This evening...What is it that we bring to the Table?
Music: Offertory Song: Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel
Steve: O Mother God, Father God, it has been a difficult and challenging 2020. Shine your Holy Light on our preconceived perceptions that darkness is dangerous and bad. May these perceptions be transformed into opportunities to grow in our spiritual life. Give us the wisdom to bring about positive change in our struggling world.
All: We come with open arms and open hearts.
Victoria: We bless this bread and this wine. May it become the nourishment we need for our souls to carry on and not give up. May it unite us in our desire to bring about social and ecological justice. It will become our spiritual food and spiritual drink.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Steve: Let us summon the Holy Spirit for strength and courage.
All: The Divine Spirit is always with us.
Victoria: May we be open to your holy grace, and know that “light shines in the darkness,
and darkness cannot overpower it.”
All: We trust Your Holy Word.
Steve: In our Hearts, let the embers of love and compassion ignite into a roaring flame, so intense, that the world will never be the same.
All: May our love change the world.
Victoria: To our table we bring both our strengths and our weaknesses our light and our darkness.
All: Let us know the difference and use our strengths for good and acknowledge our weaknesses so we may do no harm.
Victoria: May the Spirit be with us.
All: And with the whole world.
Steve: O’ Great Spirit, 2020 has burdened us with a deadly virus pandemic, with record unemployment and financial stress and uncertainty, fires and storms related to climate change, racism and an escalation of white supremacy and hate in our divided country. We lift up our hearts with Courage and Hope. We lift all of our struggles into your light.
All: We lift them up to you God.
Victoria: On the night before he died, Jesus was at table with his friends.
He took bread, gave thanks to you, broke it, and gave it to his friends saying,
All: “This is my body, broken for you.”
Steve: As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine. Again he gave thanks to you, gave it to his friends and said,
“This cup is the new covenant of my blood shed for you and for all.
And as often as you do this, Do this in remembrance of me.”
All: (spoken not sung)
We remember how you loved us all your life.
And we still celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you. When you come, when you come again!
We remember! We celebrate! We Believe!
Now gathered at your table,
we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine,
and ourselves, a living sacrifice.
Pour out your Spirit upon all these gifts that
they, and we, may be the Body and Blood of Christ.
Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us your new creation.
In the fullness of time
bring us with all your saints
from every tribe and language,
from every people and nation
to feast at the banquet prepared
from the foundation of the world.
Now together, as one community, we offer to you O God,
our prayer, in the name of your beloved son and our brother, Jesus:
Our Mother, Our Father who art in heaven...(the traditional version)
Offering our Blessing of Peace:
(Let us now offer one another this blessing):
“I wish you peace!”
Everyone is welcome to this table.
Our God, whom the universe cannot contain
is present to us in this bread.
Our God, who redeems us and calls us by name,
now meets us in this cup.
So, come, Beloved Friends, and take this bread,
Drink this wine,
In them, God comes to us,
so that we may come to God.
Victoria: [Victoria will invite everyone to partake of their communion]
Music: Communion Song: The Dark Night of the Soul by Lorena McKennitt
Victoria: Closing Prayer: A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark by Jan Richardson
if you can.
More slowly still.
this is no place
to break your neck
by crashing into
what you cannot see.
it is true:
have different tasks,
and if you
have arrived here unawares,
if you have come
or in pain,
this might be no place
you should dawdle.
I do not know
what these shadows
ask of you,
what they might hold
that means you good
It is not for me
whether you should linger
or you should leave.
But this is what
I can ask for you:
That in this darkness
there be a blessing.
That in the shadows
there be a welcome.
That in the night
you be encompassed
by the Love that knows
Closing Song: Music: (Victoria will introduce this last song briefly):
In honor of Bill and Tess: Oh Healing River