314 Sunday Celebration for January 24th, 2021: The hope that all of us can change our lives
Day 314: Emmaus Celebration
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Join us on ZOOM today at 4:45
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Is it the hope that all of us, not just some of us, can really change our lives?
Please download the Liturgy by using these links to the celebration in WORD and PDF formats.
Begin with Victoria (Who welcomes all and introduces theme):
What an historic time we live in! In the length of just a few weeks we have experienced an insurrection, an impeachment (a second one!), and an inauguration (where an incredible 22 year old poet laureate said: “[T]here is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it...to be it!” ) How do we, as a living faith community, make sense, and more importantly, glean God’s message to us through it all?
When I first know that I am presiding for an Emmaus liturgy, I look to the lectionary readings for that Sunday. Some of this Sunday’s readings are seldom heard, like Jonah, chapter 3. Usually we hear about Jonah and the whale.
But this portion, where Jonah is asked to warn people in an enemy city, Ninevah, to repent and change their ways or their city will be destroyed, is heard only once every three years! That seems important!
But the Gospel reading of Mark, Jesus’ calling his disciples, is better known. We hear about Jesus, traveling to Galilee, who spots Andrew, Simon, James and John “casting their nets” and we all know those famous words by heart: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” My first insight: Joe Biden, is carefully selecting, not only his cabinet, but also calling all of us, to work together to unify this nation...that seems fitting!
And, so Peter and Cathy Schneider and I, as co-presiders, began to talk...would our theme focus on prophetic warnings or prophetic calls to discipleship? Or are these two not so very different?
Jonah was quite a reluctant prophet and actually ran away from God’s first call to him to go to Ninevah (that’s when he got caught up in that whale-of-a-tale!). In chapter 3 we catch up with Jonah, when God gives him a “second chance” to go to Ninevah. And actually, God is giving the Ninevites a second chance to turn their lives around and save their city...and quite quickly, and miraculously, they do! But is Jonah happy with their repentance? No! He wanted them to pay and be accountable for their “evil ways!”
So, in this Old Testament story, the Ninevite’s repent and change, but it’s the prophet Jonah, who is unrepentant!
In Mark’s gospel, Jesus is fresh after his baptism and just returning from his time in the desert, as he travels to Galilee. There, walking near the shore, Jesus sees men tending their nets, and calls out to them. And just as quickly, they “drop their nets” and follow him!
What are we to make of these recent events and these readings? Are they calling out to you in some way? Is it that God’s mercy and forgiveness is unbounded, certainly more than our own? Or, is it that we expect God’s mercy for us, but God’s justice for our perceived enemies? Or, is it that Jesus’ message of “metanoia,” “turn your life around,” is a message that change, real change, is possible? Is it the hope that all of us, not just some of us, can really change our lives?
As we prepare for our liturgy, I invite you to listen to these readings and see what shimmers and surfaces for you...and maybe these invitations will spark insights for all of us to share.
Switch to Cathy, who offers: Opening Blessing: A Prophet’s Blessing by Jan Richardson
A Prophet’s Blessing This blessing finds its way behind the bars. This blessing works its way beneath the chains. This blessing knows its way through a broken heart. This blessing makes a way where there is none. Where there is no light, this blessing. Where there is no hope, this blessing. Where there is no peace, this blessing. Where there is nothing left, this blessing. In the presence of hate. In the absence of love. In the torment of pain. In the grip of fear. To the one in need. To the one in the cell. To the one in the dark. To the one in despair.
Let this blessing come as bread. Let this blessing come as release. Let this blessing come as sight. Let this blessing come as freedom. Let this blessing come. Amen
Switch to Reader, Ed: who offers First Reading: Jonah; 3:1-5, 10
The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.” So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the LORD’S bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed, “ when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.
Switch to Reader Alison : who offers words from 1 Corinthians
I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in its present form is passing away.
Switch to Responsorial Song: Here I Am, Lord
Switch to reader, Jim McFadden: A Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 14-20
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
Switch to: Victoria (who will begin with Homily Starter, and after restating the questions below, begin facilitating the Shared Homily):
• What are we to make of these recent events and these readings? Are they calling out to you in some way?
• Is it that God’s mercy and forgiveness is unbounded, certainly more than our own? Or, is it that we expect God’s mercy for us, but God’s justice for our perceived enemies?
• Or, is it that Jesus’ message of “metanoia,” “turn your life around,” is a message that change, real change, is possible? Is it the hope that all of us, not just some of us, can really change our lives?
Switch to: Peter Schneider who will speak first after Victoria;
Shared Homily: Camera switches to: those with hands raised to speak; Victoria will stay unmuted to welcome persons who will speak and thank them when they finish speaking.
Switch to Peter who will offer, “What intentions do we bring to our table tonight?”
Switch to Co-Presiders, Cathy and Peter: Offering at our Eucharistic table
(Cathy)You have filled us, and all creation, with your blessing
and fed us with your constant love;
you have redeemed us in Christ Jesus
and knit us into one body.
Through your Spirit you replenish us
and call us to the fullness of life.
(Peter) 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.”
(Cathy)As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine.
Again he gave thanks to you,
gave it to his friends and said,
ALL: “This cup is the new covenant of my lifeblood shed for you and for all.
And as often as you do this,
You do this in memory of me.”
(Peter) Now gathered at your table,
we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine,
and ourselves, as living offerings of your love.
Pour out your Spirit upon all these gifts and all of us that
we may be the Your Living Body, Your Lifeblood.
Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us all your new creation.
(Cathy) 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.
(Cathy and Peter hold up the bread and wine as we all say together:)
All: For it is... Through Him
And in Him
In the unity of the Holy Spirit
All glory and honor is yours, Almighty God,
Now and forever
Switch to: (Peter): “Let us offer our communal prayer, Heavenly Father..”
Heavenly Father, heavenly Mother,
Holy and blessed is your true name.
We pray for your reign of peace to come,
We pray that your good will be done,
Let heaven and earth become one.
Give us this day the bread we need,
Give it to those who have none.
Let forgiveness flow like a river between us,
From each one to each one.
Lead us to holy innocence
Beyond the evil of our days —
Come swiftly Mother, Father, come.
For yours is the power and the glory and the
Forever your name is All in One
Switch to: (Cathy): who Leads All to Offer Kiss of Peace:
“Let’s offer each other a sign of peace!”
Switch to (Peter): who offers Welcoming Communion Prayer:
This is the table, not of the church, but of Jesus.
It is a table made for those who love God. And for those who want to love God more.
So, come, you who have much faith,
and come you who have little.
Come, you who have been here often,
and you who have not been here long.
Come, you who have tried to follow,
and you who have had a hard time even TRYING to follow.
Come, you who are thirsty and you who are hungry,
and you who do not know whether you are hungry or not.
Come, you who feel burdened and exhausted,
and you who feel lost.
Come to the table.
Come, because it is Jesus who invites us.
Everyone Partakes of Communion at this time
Switch Communion Song: Song: Imagine by John Lennon
Switch to (Peter): who offers Final Blessing: Blessing in the Chaos by Jan Richardson
Blessing in the Chaos
To all that is chaotic
in you, let there come silence.
Let there be a calming of the clamoring, a stilling of the voices that have laid their claim on you, that have made their home in you,
that go with you even to the holy places but will not let you rest, will not let you hear your life with wholeness or feel the grace that fashioned you.
Let what distracts you cease. Let what divides you cease. Let there come an end to what diminishes and demeans, and let depart all that keeps you in its cage.
Let there be an opening into the quiet that lies beneath the chaos, where you find the peace you did not think possible and see what shimmers within the storm.
And the good people of our Emmaus Community say...Amen!
Switch to Closing Song: They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love
Announcements:Camera switches to: David