Day 482: Whenever we allow ourselves to receive, to welcome, to listen, we begin to blossom
Day 482: Sunday, July 11th, 2021
Whenever we allow ourselves to receive, to welcome, to listen, our existences are transformed and life and relationships prosper and blossom.
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Emmaus Liturgical Order of Service For Sunday, July 11, 2021
Welcome to our evening liturgy: Dan
A sower went out to sow. This image of a generous and tireless sower reminds me of the beautiful story told by the paleontologist and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould in his book Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. The scientific storyteller lets us participate in the fascinating discovery of the Burgess fauna in the Western Canadian Rockies, an exceptional site of fossilized invertebrates, where our eyes are opened by how life’s creativity and imagination run wild and free.
In this fossilized episode of evolution we discover that nature generated a wonderful surplus of organisms with the most fanciful forms, as if Life wanted to explore many possibilities “until a gifted species, rich with promise, emerged.
And there is the energy of love at the heart of every seed,
- it’s there, it’s the God in us.
Let us first contemplate these countless seeds of the Universe, of galaxies, and of our planet Earth as expressions of divine, lavish, generosity. Life, the Universe or God are these excessive and waste-less sowers that continually sow seeds of life regardless of their chances of success or failure, receptivity or adversity, fruitfulness or extinction.
Despite the outcomes, life expands, deepens, and inaugurates unexpected and unpredictable ways to evolve. Another source of contemplation and of gratitude springs up when we turn our gaze to the beautiful seeds of women and men who have contributed to the blossoming of our consciousness, nurturing the seeds of human feelings, visions, and actions.
Let us take a minute of silence to honor these prophets, healers, inventors, thinkers, artists, spiritual and social guides who helped us to sprout. And among these multitudes we welcome Jesus as the sower of wisdom and compassion in our earthly adventure.
1. Opening Song: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come [3:10]]
Opening Prayer: Steve
All creation is groaning in labor pains.
We are God’s self-unfolding,
promised seeds planted in time.
And there is a potential energy of love
at the heart of every seed, for receptive ears.
Inviting us to trust in what we don’t see yet,
in this mysterious yeast of grace
soaring free in the skies of our bodies.
First reading: Isaiah 55:10-11 (Sandy)
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
2. Responsorial Song: Leigh Nash – Isaiah 55 (Nothing You Can’t Do) (w/ Lyrics) [3:56]
The Seed of Your Kingdom – Tom
The seed of Your kingdom is forever being sown
into our lives, our world, O God.
But it doesn’t always take root.
Sometimes it fails to find a place to grow.
And so we pray…
For ourselves and others when life makes us hard and resistant
like a well-trodden path
where old habits, old systems and old patterns of thinking
keep your message from growing;
For ourselves and others when we become so immersed
in the short-lived, shallow, rock-hiding soil of the moment
where Your life too easily gets blown away by the wind;
For ourselves and others when our fears, insecurities,
desires and self-absorption
tangle like thorns around Your grace
and choke it into silence.
And as we embrace those fears and insecurities, let's put them behind us for now and join fully in this celebration
Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9 (Pat) The Parable of the Sower
13 On that day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil.
It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Pat: This is the Gospel according to Matthew.
All: Praise to you, Jesus the Christ.
Shared Homily following Dan
The prophet Isaiah compares the rain and snow that fall and make the earth fertile and fruitful to the word of God’s will that acts and transforms creation and human hearts. Yet, we experience in nature and in our existence that there is not an immediate cause and effect. We learn by experience that, often and paradoxically, in the muddy mess the conditions for rebirth and resurrection are being created. Humiliating events, demise, insecurity, discomfort, and bewildering periods of our life may create the fertile soil in which something new and unexpected can surface and grow.
Today, the gospel invites us also to cope with resistances. Resistance is probably one of the greatest barriers to growth. There is a mystery of not listening, of hardening. There is in us, individually and as a group, a drive to sabotage, a destructive and divisive force; there is a refusal or a fear to change. How is it so hard to listen to the voice that calls us to the fullness of life, to a new level of consciousness, or to a widening of heart?
In the masterful study, The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World, Miroslav Volf delineates the complex, poignant process whereby he passed from the destructive, confining memory of his intense, dehumanizing interrogation and severe psychic battering in communist Yugoslavia.to a realization that the ability to let go of the memories of the evil inflicted by Captain G, his interrogator, would come about only as “a gift of God in the transformed self,” a proleptic experience of the new “world of love to come.”
He became convinced that he would “squander his own soul” if he failed to follow the path toward which the Christ called him, if he did not surrender to the redeeming process in all its pain and ambiguity. He had to work meticulously through issues of memory and identity, probing the obligation to remember truthfully as a prerequisite for achieving justice for the wronged.
While it is impossible to synthesize here Volf’s careful theological development, he concludes that through the memory of the Passion of Jesus, God will purify his memory of wrongs since his identity as a Christian stems from the evil done to him, not from his own false innocence whereby he might justify himself, but from his being beloved of God notwithstanding any sin.
The parable of the gospel suggests that a benevolent and generous sower continues to sow seeds of life and compassion, notwithstanding life’s adversities. Whenever we allow ourselves to receive, to welcome, to listen, our existences are transformed and life and relationships prosper and blossom.
We all are sowers in our age; what kind of seeds are we sowing? Do we perceive and love our personal seeds and gifts? Do we cultivate them with passion? Do we give them with generosity to others?
What do we bring to the table this evening?
Liturgy of the Eucharist
3. Offertory Song: For the beauty of the earth: by Pianist Sarah Kang
Patti: God is within us and God is among us.
Jacqueline: Let us lift up our hearts,
All: We lift them into the Mystery.
Patti: Let us be thankful for all the ways in which we feel God’s presence.
All: It is good to be grateful.
Jacqueline: Christ Jesus:
As the earth welcomes seed,
we would like to welcome your word.
In long moments of silence…
By day and by night…
It begins to grow within us,
without our knowing how.
And so, you make us
women and men of communion.
Patti: 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.
Jacqueline: 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.
Patti: We take this wine and drink, as Jesus asked his friends to drink, mindful of a relationship of love and trust between ourselves and the Sower, believing, as Jesus believed, that to live in love is to live in God and to have God live and love in us.
Patti: (in lieu of the Lord’s Prayer)
Mother, Father, God, Universal Power: Remind us daily of the sanctity of all life.
Touch our hearts with the glorious oneness of all creation, As we strive to respect all the living beings on this planet.
Penetrate our souls with the beauty of this earth, As we attune ourselves to the rhythm and flow of the seasons.
Awaken our minds with the knowledge to achieve a world in perfect harmony. And grant us the wisdom to realize that we can have heaven on earth.
Patti: Kiss of Peace
Jacqueline: Invitation to the Table:
So, let us eat bread and drink wine now, as a way to symbolize our readiness to sprout and to our willingness to stand up and be counted upon to work toward the realization of our common human dream.
4. Communion Song: Seed, Scattered and Sown by Dan Feiten [5:08]
Closing Prayer: Victoria
Blessing the Seed by Jan Richardson
I should tell you
at the outset:
this blessing will require you
to do some work.
First you must simply
let this blessing fall
from your hand,
as if it were a small thing
you could easily let slip
through your fingers,
as if it were not
most precious to you,
as if your life did not
depend on it.
Next you must trust
that this blessing knows
where it is going,
that it understands
the ways of the dark,
that it is wise
and to times.
and I know this blessing
has already asked much
it is to be hoped that
you will rest
that something is at work
when all seems still,
I promise you
this blessing has not
I promise you
is on its way back
I promise you—
when you are least
when you have given up
your last hope—
this blessing will rise
5. Closing Song: Nothing Else Matters Performed by Soren Bodker Madsen & Michala Hoj
With New Drone video. Original song by Metalica