LITURGY NOTES FOR THE TENTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
Tenth Sunday of the Year
June 10, 2018
Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.
(Any of these can also be recited by all in the congregation)
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we stand
We pay our respects to them for their care of the land
May we walk gently and respectfully upon the land.
I acknowledge the living culture of the ……..people,
the traditional custodians of the land we stand on,
and pay tribute to the unique role they play in the life of this region.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we are now gathered,
(the ……) and recognise that it continues to be sacred to them.
We hail them: as guardians of the earth and of all things that grow and breed in the soil; as trustees of the waters – [the seas, the streams and rivers, the ponds and the lakes] - and the rich variety of life in those waters.
We thank them for passing this heritage to every people since the Dreamtime.
We acknowledge the wrongs done to them by newcomers to this land and we seek to be partners with them in righting these wrongs and in living together in peace and harmony.
We acknowledge the …………………….people the first inhabitants of this land.
We honour them for their care of the land
on which we gather today, and with them,
pray for justice and their constitutional recognition.
Genesis 3:9-15 A story of the origin of broken relationships
Psalm 130 With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption
2 Cor inthians 4:13–5:1 Despite suffering, Paul proclaims his faith
Mark 3:20-35 Jesus encounters conflict and challenge to his authority
The arc to redemption is not without conflict, suffering, division or challenge. Its meaning is premised on mercy overcoming what is incomplete or fractured. This has been borne out throughout history, including in Jesus’ own life. When we encounter darkness or failure, we know this is not the last word. By God’s unending love and mercy, and we are called to extend it to others.
there are no boundaries to your love made flesh
in the person of Jesus your Son.
Raise us beyond the limits imposed by our world
so that we may be free to love all people and creation
as Christ Jesus teaches.
in Jesus your beloved Son and our redeemer,
you have overcome the power of evil.
Sustain your people in their struggle with all that is contrary
to life, well-being, justice and peace
as they hear your life-giving word.
Fashion us, who are gathered, into a household of people
committed to following your way
as we share in the victory of the cross.
Prayer over the Gifts
look we love on our offerings and our service.
May the gifts we bring help us to grow
in love and compassion as Christ’s disciples.
Prayer after Communion
through this sharing of bread and wine, the body and blood of Jesus,
you have offered us your healing love and strength.
May we go from here strengthened
that keeps us on the way that leads to you, to live and peace.
Prayer of the Faithful
Presider: Let us pray, brothers and sisters, for all people suffering because of broken relationships. The response is, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For the whole church, that it may collectively strive to make God’s love and mercy real to all people, we pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For the Church, that it may, like Jesus, show mercy and compassion to all people who are grieving, suffering and feel powerless or voice in the church and in society, we pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For the people of the Korean peninsula who have not known peace for many decades that those in power listen to their needs and pleas and seek the peace that ushers in the well-being of all, we pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For the people of Iran who continue live with severe sanctions imposed by the United States that result in the deaths of countless innocent children, women and men, especially those who are most vulnerable, we pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For the peoples in Africa who in various ways suffer from foreign interference in their lives and economies, we pray, pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For people known to us and unknown who are overcome by discouragement or guilt and cannot believe that they are loved and forgiven, we pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For people who too easily condemn and judge others; and for those who are unjustly vilified or condemned, we pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For people who are in prison, for those who are out of prison, those who work in prisons, those who volunteer in prison ministry, and all those who work for humane policies and conditions, we pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For people who are dedicated to attaining justice for people who are unjustly accused and those who stand in solidarity with people who suffer any kind of oppression, we pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
· For a growing spirit of hospitality within the church and the broader community where strangers are warmly received and their gifts welcomed, we pray, Show us your healing love, O God.
Presider God of mercy, help us to remember your loving presence in the darkest moments of our lives. Show us how to extend your loving mercy to all whom we encounter, especially those we consider unworthy.
Gentle, renewing Creator,
in your love, you teach us
to care for all of your creation.
When the mountain streams and mighty rivers
become too dirty to drink,
when garbage fills the deep trenches of the ocean floor,
when the air itself becomes a poisonous brew,
we cry out to you.
We cry out for all who sleep in doorways,
for all whose waking moments are filled with danger,
for all who have no money, jo job, no prospects.
We cry out for all whose bodies are filled with pain,
for all whose minds are clouded with grief or despair,
for all whose days are a blue of fatigue.
We cry out to you in our own pain, too,
begging for healing, for protection, for peace.
Aloud and in silence, we bring our prayers,
our trust, our desire for the healing of the world
‘They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.’
Eugene Debs, Socialist candidate for president, June 16, 1918 - The speech led to Debs's being stripped of his citizenship and sent to jail for 10 years.
‘One death is a tragedy, but a million deaths are a statistic.’
Josef Stalin (1879-1953)
‘If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize to all the widows and orphans, the tortured and impoverished, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then I would announce, in all sincerity, to every corner of the world, that America's global interventions have come to an end, and inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the USA but now -- oddly enough -- a foreign country. would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. There would be more than enough money. One year's military budget of 330 billion dollars is equal to more than $18,000 an hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born. That's what I'd do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I'd be assassinated.’
William Blum, author of ‘Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II,’ and ‘Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower’
‘Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.’
Henry David Thoreau:
‘You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free’
‘The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with’
Eleanor Holmes Norton:
‘When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered’
‘None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free’
‘The Lord God called to the man and asked him, ‘Where are you?’’ (Genesis 3: 9)
Let us pose this question to ourselves in terms of our relationship with God. One can add other themes or issues or use those below:
On racism… ‘Where are you?’
On care for creation. . . ‘Where are you?’
On immigration… ‘Where are you?’
On tax cuts and welfare for the poor…‘Where are you?’
On asylum seekers and refugees… ‘Where are you?’
On nonviolence… ‘Where are you?’
On our relationship with the First Peoples of our country…‘Where are you?’
On the treatment of ethnic minorities…‘Where are you?’
On the suppression and oppression of indigenous peoples…‘Where are you?’
On nuclear weapons and military industry…‘Where are you?’
On life and dignity of the human person…’Where are you?’
On the common good…‘Where are you?’
On treatment of people who are gender diverse…‘Where are you?’
On the poor and vulnerable…‘Where are you?’
In the pursuit of justice and peace… ‘Where are you?’
On standing in solidarity with our global family…‘Where are you?’
Where are you?
Adapted from Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS, Director of Social Justice Ministries Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Raleigh, NC
Reflections on the readings
This week’s readings are about matters of the heart – the unseen way in which God is reshaping our lives and our world. There is something in them that challenges the propensity in many to want immediate, tangible, demonstrable results for their efforts. It is like if we cannot see something happening, then it is not happening. In a recent excellent article ‘Why Cynicism is the new naiveté’ (https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/richard-glover-on-the-rise-of-the-new-cynicism-20180522-h10dyj.html), Richard Glover wrote of the cynicism that sees only greed in people, only corruption in institutions, and systems being stacked. He used examples such as the recent royal wedding the change in attitude by an Australian politician to oppose the live export of animals to the Middle East. The Royal Commission into Institution Sexual Abuse of Children and the banking royal commission can cause us to despair as we see so many people in authority lose their moral compass. The point that Glover makes is that there is room for cynicism but the problem is that it has no boundaries. ‘People are so cynical they are unable to spot anything other than self-interest, manipulation and conspiracy.’ Cynicism, he says, is becoming the new naiveté where we lose the ability to see the good from the bad because we see the world in completely bleak terms. People are unable to spot anything other than self-interest, manipulation and conspiracy. Things are not entirely good but neither are they entirely bad. A further point, Glover makes is that the cynicism robs us of volition and the desire to improve things, to work to transform systems. If all politicians are bad then there is no point in troubling oneself to vote for good ones. If all institutions are corrupt, then what else is to be done by to retreat from them. It is a retreat into passivity. Cynicism can seem so terribly smart. But, when given its head, it sure can lead to some dumb places. Cynicism is not the same as the blasphemy that Jesus opposes in his opponents.
This is where the gospel is instructive. Jesus confronted what is termed ‘unholy’ and ‘unclean’ spirits that can capture and twist the human heart. Jesus came to heal people and relationships and make space for all that is good in life. Jesus came to liberate and free people from the ‘demons’ or ‘spirits’ that hold them back from creating a new community. But, alternative or countercultural communities threaten the old order, as did the early Christians in their home-churches challenge the inequalities of Roman society by their embrace of all who came to them as sisters and brothers. Whistle-blowers in the church and society are distrusted because of the ‘demons’ they expose such as patriarchy, inequality, sexism, fear, over-concern with image and greed. Jesus challenged the old ways and was accused of blasphemy. Imagine telling desperate people that their sins were forgiven. Imagine offering himself as an image of God. Imagine encouraging people to abandon tradition ways of thinking about God and embrace their own experiences. Imagine interpreting the scriptures in new and challenging ways that caused discomfort and outrage of the religious leaders. Imagine telling people that the Holy Spirit is a spirit of welcome, embrace and inclusion for foreigners and for strangers, for people in trouble; and for new ideas and new hope. Imagine saying that when his family came to take him away, saying, ‘Whoever does the will of God is my brother, my sister, my mother’. In this sweeping gesture Jesus took in all those around him. Should not those two major protectors of social order – the family and the synagogue -have been the insiders? We see in his simply and sweeping gesture how this is turned upside down. Jesus offers us a place in the inner circle but becoming part of this circle involves dropping all claim to importance based on race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, profession, economic status, etc. There is little room for the cynicism that prevents us from seeing the good and the evil around us, or from letting new revelation upending us. In 2016, Pope Francis said, we are called to give up ‘all motives of personal pride, of careerism or hunger for power … becoming humble instruments of salvation worked by Jesus’ own sacrifice.’ When we do that, we will stop resembling the children who try to blot out reality by closing their eyes and covering their ears. Only then will we be able to hear the Jesus call us brother, sister, mother, friend.
Jesus is going for deep change…..and we are to be part of that. His ‘exorcisms’ are to serve not only individuals but also social institutions that create the diseases he is healing. Jesus was only pointing out the obvious in the gospel the threats when we become ‘house divided against itself.’ These days various social institutions have been shaken by revelations of sexual abuse, gender inequity, financial corruption. These movements are seeking to exorcise not just sexual abuse but a whole system of gender privilege rife throughout the structure of our society. They seek deep, systemic change, just as Jesus did in his day. Social inequality versus preferential treatment for the big-end of town in the form of corporations, banks and other financial institutions has been exposed. The churches have not been immune from revelations of kinds of abuse from which it has remained largely silent or gone into hiding or denial or minimisation of the abuses. Membership could be affected! Funding could be cut! Yet in the midst of this call for change, much of the church has remained largely silent. Never comfortable talking about sexual matters, and fearful that truth telling might jeopardize membership and funding, churches are prone to deny sexual misconduct or to minimize it with platitudes about forgiveness.
Henri Nouwen, in his beautiful book, The Wounded Healer, says that a Christian community is ‘a healing community not because wounds and pains are alleviated but because wounds and pains become openings or occasions for a new vision. . . . The wound which causes us to suffer now, will be revealed to us later as the place where God intimated his new creation.’ Wounds like cracks, to quote Leonard Cohen, when acknowledged, can provide a source for healing and light. A broken body can lead to new life. The church is called to follow Jesus in saying, ‘This is my body broken for you.’ For by his wounds we are healed—and by our own wounds as well.
It seems that Jesus is pointing us to the need to retrieve an image of God that is based on connection if we are repair relationships in our broken world. We could say that it by developing a spirituality of the heart – a heart of flesh. Clearly, the Feast of the Sacred Heart celebrated on Friday points to this. It is this heart of flesh that can enable relationships to flourish. It is a way of relating, being and taking responsibility. It is a way of looking from the underside, the forgotten side, the unheard side. It is a way of living that stops us from climbing pyramids; from being competition to forming more and more circles of solidarity, cooperation, interdependency. It is a realisation that we, despite our differences, are all linked; that we have a fundamental connectedness as sisters and brothers. This is the view that engages compassionately with this world through respect for otherness, equality, mutuality, interdependence and care. These turn our world upside down.
Injustice in our world occurs when we are constantly called to give our allegiance to what does not bring justice, life and equality. Despite the abundance in our world to provide for all people, we still give our allegiance to consumerism, materialism, selfish corruption, and weaponry to destroy. Despite the fact that security and peace are found in collaboration, mutual understanding, creative resource sharing, and acceptance of differences, we give allegiance to divisive exclusivity, factionalism, stereotyping, blaming, self-protectiveness, and power games. We continue to fall for the same temptations to power, wealth, and lust that have always tempted humanity, in spite of the ongoing suffering that this causes. To hear the challenging call to work for justice, we must begin by shifting our allegiance to God’s Reign; to refuse to buy into the values that the world offers so that justice, peace and love can gain ground. We face many challenges each day in our relationships, in our homes and our neighbourhoods – to fidelity, mutual support, care, interest, learning understand and to listen to each other rather than separate ourselves from those who are different. In our faith communities, we shy away from Gospel inclusivity and love in favour of exclusivity, legalism, hypocrisy and judgment of others. This week the call of God to Adam, ‘where are you?’ is being asked of us in the light of all these issues.
This can seem like too much. But Paul tells says, ‘we do not lose heart’ (4:16) because God’s process of drawing life and bringing often seems hidden and not obvious. We cannot use the usual signs of progress and measures of success used by corporate standards. Against these standards then our service and ministry in justice, peacemaking, public advocacy can seem to be failures. We are reminded that the things that matter, the changes of the heart, come slowly and imperceptibly. It could seem that the world is going to hell or that we have run into a brick wall. Our work can be discouraging. I am often asked if I have had any successes and my response usually is uncertainty. But how could one live with oneself if one was not engaged even when things are discouraging, when there are obstacles, when there brick walls and even blatant opposition. We need to believe that we are participating in the hidden processes of God that extend to more and more people.
For people who are directly involves in social justice ministry or those who work in the community in any way, the outcomes we seek are not the ones that come about. But we are not being asked to be primarily effective, even if this desirable. We are being asked to be faithful. Thomas Merton said: ‘Do not depend on the hope of results . . .you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. . . .you gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people . . . .In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.’