574 We celebrate Today! Sunday Celebration: October 10, 2021
Please join us at 4:45 this afternoon
Liturgy at 5:00
(Here are the files in WORD and PDF formats of the liturgy for you to download)
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Emmaus Liturgical Order of Service
For Sunday, October 10, 2021
Dan: Welcome to our evening liturgy
David: Welcome any newcomers
“In the human spirit, as in the universe, nothing is higher or lower; everything has equal rights to a common center which manifests its hidden existence precisely through this harmonic relationship between every part and itself.” Goethe
All life forms are in potential genetic contact and genetic exchanges between them are going on. The evolutionary “tree of life” seems the wrong metaphor. Perhaps we should think of it as an elaborate bit of macramé.
The way something grows—seeking and adaptive—like a tree with its roots, or with its branches moving under and around things wherever they need to go to find water and sun, could be considered and referred to as what is known as: “arborescence.” It’s an unfamiliar word, but encapsulates our theme for tonight.
The posture of Moses in our first reading, standing on the top of the hill with his hands held up toward the Source of Life, reminds me of this arborescence way of being, a tree with open branches, its leaves exposed to the Sun’s light. Moses’ pose evokes a tree of prayer, the movement of life outstretched toward a source in whom to place our confidence and hope.
Moses’ arboreal embodiment reveals that perhaps prayer precedes us humans: that we are a conscious and worshiping variation of the many ways Earth has found to expose herself to light to unfurl and grow. Photosynthesis is the primal way Earth has invented to receive and to be nourished by the radiating solar source, and her adaptive response has created an intimate bond between herself and the Sun. Earth’s life totally depends now on the powerful energy of Sun’s light, and she lifts up her perennial worship in receiving and transforming the superabundant gift of light. The ramified gesture of Moses, hands held up from dawn to dusk, reminds me of the persistent, insistent, always praying prayer of the Earth coming into being, open to receive the promising gift of life.
We are invited by tonight’s liturgy to celebrate, to sense, to expand this prayer of the Universe, of Earth, unfurling from the big bang to the groaning labor pains of our global humanity, the universal Body of Christ. Jesus represents a breakthrough moment in this immense tree of prayer. With him the Sun’s radiance can be received as love and finds tangible expression in history. Through his body he is able to transform revenge into forgiveness, fear into trust, violence into peace, exclusion into inclusion, brokenness into healing, and death into new life.
We have been grafted into the new consciousness of Jesus that transforms the light’s radiance into an encompassing love in a way that nourishes us and those around us. In our planetary age we no more pray to win an enemy in war. Our hands are held up toward the Generative Womb asking for a deep change of our systematic and ongoing destruction of the sources of life on Earth.
OPENING SONG: Ryan Anthony performs Gabriel’s Oboe
at Cancer Blows 2015 [1:02-4:14]
Opening Prayer: Linda
Tonight our hands and hearts are held up, asking justice, health, and democracy for so many people that are beneath the weight of oppression and exclusion. This Sunday urges us to persevere in prayer because the essential elements we pray or struggle for—love, health, justice, democracy—are not there, but are coming; they are unfulfilled promises; they persistently press in upon our present, refusing to content itself, open to an uncontainability of life to come.
First reading: Exodus 17:8-13 (Jim Jepson)
8-9 Amalek came and fought Israel at Rephidim. Moses ordered Joshua: “Select some men for us and go out and fight Amalek. Tomorrow I will take my stand on top of the hill holding God’s staff.”
10-13 Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle.
Responsorial Song: Malaguena – Pink Martini
Live from Portland 2005[4:14]
Second reading: Awaked from the Persistent Dream
by Wendell Berry (Mary)
Awaked from the persistent dream Of human chaos come again, I walk in the lamed woods, the light Brought down by felling of great trees, And in the rising thicket where The shadow of old grace returns. Leaf shadows tremble on light leaves, A lighter foliage of song Among them, the wind’s thousand tongues, And songs of birds. Beams reaching down Into the shadow swirl and swarm With gleaming traffic of the air, Bright grains of generative dust And winged intelligences.
Among High maple leaves a spider’s wheel shines, work of finest making made Touchingly in the dark.
The dark Again has prayed the light to come Down into it, to animate And move it in its heaviness. So what was still and dark wakes up, Becomes intelligent, moves, names Itself by hunger and by kind, Walks, swims, flies, cries, calls, speaks, or sings. We all are praising, praying to The light we are, but cannot know.
Gospel Reading: Luke 18:1-8 (The Parable of the Persistent Widow) Sandy
18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Reader: This is the Gospel according to Luke.
All: Praise to you, Jesus the Christ.
“There is in all things visible an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness.
Mary Oliver says "attention is the beginning of devotion". When I was a chaperone at Camp Cazadero, up in the hills of Western Sonoma County, for a dozen sixth grade boys from my daughter, Katie’s class, I witnessed the migration of salamanders from winter burrows to the vernal pools where they would meet their mates. As many as fifty males and females danced and swirled together, a rapturous celebration after a long year of solitary, celibate existence eating bugs under a log. Bubbles rose from the bottom of the pond like champagne. Males break away from the dancing swarm, take a gulp of air, and swim for the bottom of the pond, where they release a glistening spermatophore---a gelatinous sac of sperm with a stock to attach it to a twig or a leaf. The females then leave the dance and seek out the quarter-inch sacs, which hover like shiny Mylar balloons bobbing in the water.
Presence is an altered state of consciousness. It involves what Eckhart Tolle describes as a “still and alert attention,” which involves a curious combination of absorption and openness that allows us to be in the here and now much more than is usually true for most of us.
Awakening instantly lifts us out of our preoccupations and well-worn ruts of inner dialogue and brings us into the now. Entering presence is walking through a doorway as we leave a small room and suddenly finding ourselves in the vastness of a vibrant, endlessly expansive universe.
What things help you meet others as a “Thou” rather than an “It”? To the extent to which you have been successful in making this shift, how does it affect your knowing of their presence? What do you know about engaging inanimate objects or nonhuman living things as a “Thou”? What potential might this hold for meeting other humans as a “Thou”?
Think of your own experiences of presence—being present yourself and being in the presence of someone who was luminously present to you—and consider the alteration of your normal state of consciousness that this experience seemed to involve. What words would you use to describe the alteration?
When has presence served for you as an awakening? What happened and what, if any, continuing effect on you did this awakening have?
If presence and encounter are to be understood as always existing in relationship to a Transcendent horizon, consider the possibility that presence may be a response to Ultimate Presence, and that encounter with another might always in some mysterious way involve an encounter, even if beyond awareness, with the Wholly Other. If this is true, what implications would it have for you?
What do we bring to the table this evening?
Liturgy of the Eucharistic•
Offertory Song: Hope Beyond All Hope – Alana Levandoski [stop at 2:38]
JoAnn: God is within us and God is among us.
Jim: Let us lift up our hearts,
All: We lift them into the Mystery.
JoAnn: Let us be thankful for all the ways in which we feel God’s presence.
All: It is good to be grateful.
Jim: In our persistent cry we voice the insistent Mystery from the inside of creation. Surprisingly enough, the name of God is not what appeases us but disturbs and upsets us like the bothering widow of the gospel. Is not the Holy one the insistent knocking, inside of us and through us? It is the knocking of the door of our mind, heart, and consciousness to continue God’s transforming action and self-giving. It is the passionate knocking at the door of our social, political, economic, or religious systems to enhance life. In fact, if there is nothing in our life to cry about, if there is nothing in our life to yell about, we must be out of touch and out of love.
JoAnn: We break and share this bread, as Jesus broke and shared it, and we give it to one another as our pledge of openness to the Spirit of Love in our midst and as our remembrance for the life of Jesus, who enlightened our minds and hearts and who was ready to die for what he believed.
Jim: This cup of wine and drink is symbolic of the cup of life. As you share this cup of wine and drink, you undertake to share all the future may bring. May you find life’s joys doubly gladdened, its bitterness sweetened, and all things hallowed by true companionship and love.
JoAnn: We take this wine and drink, as Jesus asked his friends to drink, mindful of a relationship of love and trust between ourselves and an arborescence way of being, believing, as Jesus believed, that to live in love is to live in God and to have God live and love in us.
Jim: (in lieu of the Lord’s Prayer)
I think, often, looking at the autumn, how this time of year captures so well the paradox of being human. It has fire and rigor and tastes out of heaven itself. Yet it is a dying away, a lostness, an ending. And there are many thoughts running against the dazzle in a world heaping up its injustices and its angers all around us, in a world wild with questions that have no answers. I find myself, simply as human, as ablaze with hope and delight as any burning bush; but even as I look, I carry in my middle-class body the shame of Oxford, Mississippi, and the shame of blows as old as Hiroshima. It comes over me that the truth is that we are either hopeful people without hope or hopeless people with such hope as we have never dreamed. We live in this tension. Simply as human beings, no one of us can resolve it. But as Christian men and women, we cannot only resolve the anguish and the meaningless terror, we can live in the midst of it, handle it, be stricken by it—because we know that it is the luminous tree, the living God that endures with an endurance glorious and Joyful. –Arnold Kenseth
JoAnn: Kiss of Peace
Jim: • Invitation to the Table:
So, let us eat bread and drink wine now, as a way to symbolize our readiness to grow—seeking and adaptive—like a tree with its roots, and to our willingness to stand up and be counted upon to work toward the realization of our common human dream.
Communion Song: Spirit Seeking light and beauty – Beth Sulleza, RSCJ [3:36] (based on a poem by Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ)
Closing Prayer: Tom
You are Mystery of knocking, cry, and openness
In our silent and fiery prayer,
Breath and light rippling through our innermost recesses.
You are sorrow in the most tender spots of our existence
Eager to ramify through, and beyond them
Into wings of resurrection, and joy.
- Ivan Nicoletto
And the people of this beloved Emmaus community say: Amen.