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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

236: 11/7/2020 Holy Darkness: Learning to Befriend the Dark

Emmaus Intentional Eucharistic Community Liturgical Order of Service

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Directions for ZOOM:

Please join us tomorrow at 4:45 for our Sunday celebration

Join Zoom Meeting with this link and please note you'll need the passcode to enter the meeeting:

Passcode: 1234

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.

And there,

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

Eucharistic Prayer:

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

Go slow

if you can.


More slowly still.

Friendly dark

or fearsome,

this is no place

to break your neck

by rushing,

by running,

by crashing into

what you cannot see.

Then again,

it is true:

different darks

have different tasks,

and if you

have arrived here unawares,

if you have come

in peril

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

or ill.

It is not for me

to reckon

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

your name.

David: Announcements:

Closing Song: Music: (Victoria will introduce this last song briefly):

In honor of Bill and Tess: Oh Healing River

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