524 Emmaus invites you to our Celebration TODAY at 4:45
Day 524 Sunday August 23rd, 2021
Emmaus invites you to our Celebration
TODAY AT 4:45
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Meeting ID: 519 315 8573
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Liturgy in WORD and PDF Formats:
Victoria: Welcome and Introduction:
As many of you have read from the Emmaus announcement, today marks the first anniversary of my sister, Barbara’s, death, at the age of 62. And along with Barbara, we, as an Emmaus community, have been dealing with many losses, that have come through not only death, but isolation and departures. When I saw Beth Jordan last week, we counted up 15 people who have died since Emmaus first began! All this, coupled with all that confronts us, minute by minute, through the news and social media…can be overwhelming.
Mary Fitzgerald recently emailed me an article by Nadia Bolz-Weber, entitled: If You Can’t Take It In Anymore, There’s a Reason. In it, Nadia compares our psyches to an old fusebox built long before our present day electrical demands.
She says this: “I think of that fuse box often these days, because friends, I just do not think our psyches were developed to hold, feel and respond to everything coming at them right now; every tragedy, injustice, sorrow, and natural disaster happening to every human across the entire planet, in real time every minute of the day.
The human heart and spirit were developed to be able to hold, feel and respond to any tragedy, injustice, sorrow or natural disaster that was happening IN OUR VILLAGE (not the whole world).” And Nadia goes on, “And yet, doing nothing is hardly the answer…Every day of my life I ask myself three discernment questions:
What’s MINE to do, and NOT mine to do?
What’s MINE to say, and what’s NOT mine to say?
And the hardest: What’s MINE to care about and what’s NOT mine to care about?”
As we enter this liturgy, to be clear, our Emmaus community IS that village, and even at that, it can be overwhelming. So tonight, let’s look at how the Psalms of old, can be a lament as well as a comfort to us…how Meister Eckhart’s Via Negativa can offer us some navigational tools through the dark… and during our dialogue homily, as one of my favorite Swedish proverbs says…”Every grief needs a hundred tellings,” that we might listen and hold one another’s shared stories of grief and loss.
I invite each of us to “borrow God's eyes” (as Dorothee Soelle would say) and see into the suffering, grief and losses we share, so that a new relationship, with ourselves, our community and our world can emerge.
And now let us begin our liturgy. (Ring singing bowl three times)
Victoria: Opening Prayer:
Shine Your Loving Light upon us, Holy One.
Gather us together, from east and west, north and south,
that we may come into your Loving Presence this night.
Open our ears that we may listen,
Open our hearts that we may be readied
to meet you and see you here among us.
Shine your radiant light and your healing touch
into the crevices and corners of our darkness, grief and losses,
and be with us this night, O God, and always. Amen.
Opening Song: God of Day and God of Darkness (from: Dana and Doug Archives)
Kay: First Reading: The Via Negativa
(from Passion for Creation by Matthew Fox pg.47-51)
The Via Negativa is the way of experiencing the God of darkness, the God of silence and nothingness, and also the God of suffering. It is a path of letting go and letting be, of emptying and being emptied. It is here, especially that Eckhart’s teaching parallels much in Zen Buddhism about letting go.
Eckhart says: “When all the images of the soul are taken away and the soul can see only the single One, then the pure being of the soul finds passively resting in itself the pure, form-free being of divine unity, when the being of the soul can bear nothing else than the pure unity of God.”
This implies the Divinity is already present all around and in us…But we have some work to do…That work is essentially a letting-go kind of work, a work of subtraction. As Eckhart says, ”God is at home, it is we who have gone out for a walk.”
…for Eckhart the proper way to respond to suffering is also the way of the Via Negativa, that of letting be and letting go. We are to let suffering be suffering, and instead of denial, we ought to “deny denial” and sink eternally into God. We are to enter into the experience of suffering rather than cover it up with addictions or illusions.
Life is a series of letting go’s—an “infinite” series of letting go’s. All things in life are given to us “on loan.” Stand face-to-face with life, learn to let go, and whatever comes our way—-success or failure, joy or sorrow, support or betrayal, light or darkness—it all blesses us.
Dan Vrooman: Responsorial Psalm:
(You are invited to listen to this Psalm, and hear the typical features of Psalms of Lamentation: An invocation; A complaint; A request; Expressions of confidence; and of praise)
Psalm 102 (from A Book of Psalms by Stephen Mitchell pg. 46-48)
Lord, answer my prayer;
listen to my supplication.
Don’t hide your radiance from me
on the day of my desperate need.
Hear me when I cry out for mercy;
hurry, send me your help.
For my days fly away like smoke,
and my bones burn down to ashes.
Sorrow gives me no respite;
anguish crushes my heart.
I am like an owl in the wilderness,
like a hawk in the desert places.
All night I lie awake,
like a sparrow upon a rooftop.
My food has all turned to ashes;
tears are my only drink.
My life is a lengthening shadow,
and my days wither like grass.
But you, Lord, shine forth forever;
you live beyond life and death.
Long ago you created the earth
and made the heavens with your hands.
They will perish, but you will endure;
like garments they will all wear out.
You will change them like clothes; they will vanish
as though they had never been.
But you are forever the same, Lord
without beginning or end,
infinite in your compassion,
fathomless in your love.
You rebuild the desolate city;
and bring the exiles back home.
You grant the poor your abundance;
you guide the nations toward peace.
You hear the cry of the destitute
and the sobbing of the oppressed.
You soothe the pain of the captive;
you set the prisoner free.
Come to me too in your mercy
and set my soul at peace.
Jeanine: Gospel Reading:
(taken from WEAVINGS Vol XVII Number 5 Elaine M. Prevallet, SL pg. 21)
I believe the crux of the mystery of suffering, is the tension in every life between control and vulnerability. Suffering more than any other human experience has the capacity to subvert our ingrained illusion that we control the course of events in our lives. Suffering challenges our idol of self-sufficiency, inviting us to recognize that we are not now—and never were—calling the shots…
…with suffering we brush up against a life-process that we did not create, would not choose, and cannot comprehend…that somehow life should be reasonable—more that we should be able to grasp its rationality, is a demand deeply entrenched within our humanity.
Jesus never taught suffering as a value in itself; he never suggested that we go about trying to suffer. In his life, suffering followed upon the course of action he chose: to speak the truth, to side with the marginal, never losing his grounding in the overflowing compassion of the heart of God. Jesus’ attitude was not to try to “destroy the bad guys.” Rather, his response was to never stop loving, never stop trying to heal, always speaking the truth of what he knew. And then to accept the consequences.
Though we do not seek suffering, we become, as our faith deepens, increasingly sensitive to its presence in the world.
Shared Homily: (Victoria will offer this brief starter:)
Our readings, from Meister Eckhart, Psalm 102 and Elaine Prevalette’s words on suffering, I hope, have given us a foundation for our dialogue homily tonight. Again, as my favorite Swedish Proverb says: “Every grief (or loss) needs a hundred tellings.”
• I invite us all to share the lamentations of our hearts over these many months: to share the losses of not only our loved ones, but of losses from COVID, racism, climate change and other wounds as well.
• Share what you personally have experienced over this time, and how your life may have been altered or changed in the process.
Victoria: What is it that we bring to the table tonight:
JoAnn: Holy One, we gather together and come to you tonight worn down by so many months of physical isolation from our community and our loved ones, by the deeper awareness of the systemic racial inequities in our governing structures, by political strife and polarization, and by the loss of so many dear members of our Emmaus community. Hold us close to your heart, O God, that we might find strength and courage to persevere in love and hope.
Jim: 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.”
JoAnn: 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.”
Jim: 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 Your Living Body, Your Lifeblood. Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us all your new creation.
JoAnn and Jim : (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!
JoAnn: 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
Jim: 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.
JoAnn and Jim: For it is through him, with him and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, O Gracious God, now and forever. Amen
Pat O’Connor: 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 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 mercy:
Forever your name is All in One.
Offering Our Gift of Peace:
Jim: Let us offer to one another a sign of our peace and love.
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.
We invite everyone now to partake of their communion.
Song: (In My Life by The Beatles)
Closing Blessing: (Victoria)
Blessing in the Turning (from The Cure for Sorrow by Jan Richardson)
You have turned my mourning into dancing. Psalm 30:11
May you know
the slow mystery
in which mourning
becomes a dance,
turning you toward
that wants to meet you
in your grief.
come to enfold you,
not to take away
but to infuse it
with every grace
May you give yourself
to the rhythms
even when your steps
even when you are
May you know
the dancing that comes
in the dying,
moving you in time with
the heart that
has held you
even when you
could not hear
even when you
could not bear
And the good people of this beloved Emmaus Community say: