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Monday, February 28, 2011

A Eucharistic Prayer for Justice

Today is the Feast Day, proposed by "Holy Women, Holy Men", of Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Evelyn Wright. I am preaching today at St. John's Chapel at the 12:15 Eucharist. It's an enormous privilege and a decided pleasure.

I'll post my sermon later this afternoon, but I wanted to post the Eucharistic prayer I put together for today's service. The Rev'd Dr. Susanna Snyder, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Society and Christian Ethics, will be presiding.

I packed like a monk to come to EDS as Proctor Scholar, so I did not have any of my liturgical files with me.  I needn't have worried. Dr. Snyder was a rich and generous resource of liturgical material for this service, for which I am deeply grateful.

I am also deeply grateful to Patrick Michaels, pianist and organist at St. John's Chapel, who was so very generous with his time and musical talent in suggesting the music for this service.

I cobbled this service together from a variety of sources: The New Women Included, St. Hilda Community;  Bread of Tomorrow: Praying with the World’s Poor, Janet Morley, ed;  Holy Ground: Liturgies and worship resources for an engaged spirituality, Neil Paynter & Helen Boothroyd - and, I confess, from the rapidly dwindling shreds of memory I have left in my cerebellum.

I would be happy for you to borrow any or all of it, with proper attribution, of course.

A Eucharistic Service
Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright
Monday, February 28, 2011



Presider:      Come to the living God
                         Come to stand alongside the poor in spirit.
                         Come to struggle with those who seek freedom.
                         Come to resist all that offends God’s justice
                    Come to the living, disturbing God.

+Blessed be God, One, Holy and Living.
All: And Blessed be God’s Beloved Community, now and forever. Amen.

HYMN OF PRAISE:   “I know the Lord’s laid his hands on me.”   LEVAS 131

Presider: Our God is with you.
All: And also with you.
Presider: Let us pray.


Eternal God, you inspired Anna Julia Haywood Cooper and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright with the love of learning and the joy of teaching: Help us also to gather and use the resources of our communities for the education of all your children; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.


First Reading Proverbs 9:1-6

Psalm 78:1-7 (spoken)

Give ear to my teaching, O my people;
     incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
     I will declare the mysteries of ancient times,
That which we have heard and known,
and what our forebears have told us.
     we will not hide them from their children.
We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds and the powers of God,
     and the wonderful works s/he has done.
S/he established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
     which s/he commanded our forebears 
     to teach to their children;
That the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
     and arise and tell them to their children,
So that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
     but keep God’s commandments;

GRADUAL HYMN:    “Make me a blessing”    LEVAS 158

Gospel Luke 4:6-16

Homily:  Fulfilling scripture” (the Rev’d Dr.) Elizabeth Kaeton
Note: after the homily, please take a full minute of silence for reflection.

Prayers of the People

Gracious God, we pray for your holy catholic Church;
     That we all may be one.

Grant that every member of the Church may truly and humbly serve you;
     That your Name may be glorified by al people.

We pray for all bishops, priests, deacons and laity;
     That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments.

We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world;
     That there may be justice and peace on the earth.

Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake;
     That our works may find favor in your sight.

Have compassion on those who suffer from any grief or trouble;
     That they may be delivered from their distress.

Give to the departed eternal rest.
     Let light perpetual shine upon them.

We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy;
     May we also come to share in your heavenly kin-dom.

Let us pray for our own needs and those of others.


The prophet Zechariah has taught us that these are the things we must do: Speak the truth to one another. In the courts give real justice – the kind that gives peace. Do not plan ways to hurt each other. Do not tell lies about each other. Have courage. Do not be afraid. Love truth and love peace. Amen.

All:      God, you know us as we are:
               you know our selfishness,
               our anger and bitterness,
               our fear and apathy,
               our hardness of heart,
               our deliberate blindness,
               our need to begin again.
          In your mercy and love
          Forgive us, change and renew us. Amen.

Presider: God forgives you. God blesses you. God loves you, now and always.

The Passing of the Peace

OFFERTORY HYMN:   “Come, Eat and Drink for my table is set”
                                              (Words and Music: Patrick Michaels)

Eucharistic Prayers

God is with us
God’s Spirit is here
Lift up your hearts
We lift them up to God
Let us give thanks to God our Creator
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Holy God, who breathes fire into our very existence, filling us with heavenly joy and holy indignation at the plight of our world: we worship you, we praise you, and we trust in your promise to be with us, now and always.

We claim the sign of renewal given to a broken and discouraged community, now as then in Jerusalem. For you came to your people, filling them with confidence. Your Holy Spirit inspired their lives, bringing clarity and vision, perseverance and persistence, hope and peace.

We join our voices now with them and with all those who have gone before us, with Anna and Elizabeth and all your saints who have struggled to bring a glimpse of your kin-dom here on earth, singing this hymn of unending praise:

Sanctus: LEVAS 225

Blessed is Jesus, our brother, who calls us beyond the limits of our understanding of our humanity to seek the divine spark within us all, and fills us with a sense of oneness with God and with each other in community.

On the night he was betrayed, while at supper with his friends, +Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it saying, “Take and eat: this is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper, +he took the cup, blessed it and said: “Drink this, all of you: this is the new covenant made in my blood; do this for the remembrance of me.”

Holy God, we now offer you these gifts, longing for the bread of justice and the wine of the age to come. Therefore, we proclaim the mystery of our faith.

Jesus Christ has died
Jesus Christ is risen
Jesus Christ will come again
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
Jesus Christ will come again.

Tune: ‘We Shall Overcome’

+ Pour out your Spirit on these gifts, O God, that through them we may be vehicles of justice and compassion and may reconcile ourselves and each other and the world through your unconditional love and abundant grace.

+ Sanctified by the power of your Spirit, may we be better able to proclaim your message, look beyond the obstacles in our path and see new visions, dream new dreams and become your Beloved Community in the Name of Jesus.

+Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory be given to you, O Source of all life, now and forever.  Amen.

In the spirit of the teaching of Jesus, let us now pray -

Our Father/Mother, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy name.
thy kin-dom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kin-dom,
and the power and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.

The Fraction:

Take and eat, for the peace of all nations
Take and drink, for the love of all people.
     For you have shown us the path that leads to life.
     And this feast will fill us with joy.

COMMUNION HYMN:      “Mungu ni mwema”
                                          (Democratic Republic of Congo)
                                               "Know that God is good."

POST COMMUNION HYMN:   “Justice Round”  
                                            (Words and music by Thew Elliott)

All around me voices sing
Justice is the song they sing, And with-
in this song I'll sing my part; I will
rise and speak what's in my heart; I will
rise! I will rise!

Post Communion Prayer

Let us pray:

Those who work for change suffer resistance
     So make us strong
Those who do new things sometimes feel afraid
     So make us brave.
Those who challenge the world as it is arouse its anger
     So grant us inner peace.
Those who try to love encounter hate.
     So make us steadfast in you.

The Blessing

May the God who dances in creation
Who embraces us with human love
Who shakes our lives like thunder
+Bless us and drive us out with power
To fill the world with justice and peace AMEN.

CLOSING HYMN:   “Glory, glory Halleluiah”      LEVAS 130



Unknown said...

I'm a lover of liturgies especially those which use inclusive language. I look forward to reading your sermon later today.

Anonymous said...

Dear Elizabeth+

First a note to say how much I enjoy your postings concerning your time at the seminary...what a blessing it must be. I have warm and fuzzy remembrances of MA winters from 30+ years ago when I did my undergrad and seminary about 35miles north of your present location. Enjoy your time there!

Concerning the liturgy...what a gem!

I find many modern Eucharist rewrites to be lacking both in theology and grammatical beauty. I feel that liturgy should respresent our best efforts of intention and wordcraft for the sake of corporate worship. And this one is a fine example. I know that a lot of the orthodox would cring at it, but I am a Jesus follower, not an orthodite...and you had me right from the start...
+Blessed be God, One, Holy and Living.
All: And Blessed be God’s Beloved Community, now and forever. Amen.
"God's beloved community"...what an accurate and beautiful rendering of what the reign of God means. And the first line...well, I will just say as a monotheist, thank you so so much.

There was one area where I felt there was some room for improvement ...the opening phrase in the Lord's prayer. May I humbly suggest that "Parent" is a better solution than "Father/Mother" for all this gender stuff we seem to have so much trouble with.
If you will allow me to ramble....

Firstly, its seems to bring into clearer focus that Jesus' primary teaching concerning this, is that through his revelation we have a new, more intimate relationship with God than was possible with the concepts of God as lawgiver, creator etc. that being, parent to child -child to parent.

Secondly, as i mentioned, it bypasses all the gender stuff...

and thirdly, it recognizes that God is one, whereas (may I suggest) Father/Mother actually refers to two. As humans we have two human parents...and though our moms and dads are both parents; moms and dads are two distinct beings.

I would also suggest that cosmogonically speaking, we are not children of one parent, but children of two parents... biologically we are of the earth, and spiritually we are of God. If we are to speak in parental terms (with gender applied); we have a cosmic mother and a cosmic father. Each provides nourishment according to their natures.

Now this paradyme can be used to argue for referring to God as father...but that is not my intent here. If we speak of this without using gender grammar, we can just recognize that we are children of flesh and also children of spirit. It would be my position that using "father/mother" in the prayer does not bypass the gender problem, but rather mashes up and confuses the two into one. I am suggesting that the term "Parent" is not only more useful, but is also better theologycraft and liturgic wordcraft.

Anyway, thanks for allowing me to ramble...if this is too much for the blog, please feel free not to post it...If you feel so inclined pass this along for discussion at the Sem. I would be interested in what others make of it.

the Lord be with you danielj

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thomas - Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. Hope you enjoy the sermon. I think they worked well together. At least, that's the feedback I've gotten thus far.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Danielj - Thanks for stopping by and for leaving such a thoughtful comment - and, for signing your name.

We regard to "parent" - I've "played" with lots of language before, including God as parent. I have settled - for the moment - on "Our father/mother" not to "appease" anyone but as a recognition that, for some, "parent" is not enough. I write it that way so as to allow people to choose which one suits them - at that time, in that moment. Some days, it's important for me to say "mother". Other days, it's important for me to say "father". Personally? I never feel satisfied with "Parent". So, that's where I am at this stage of my faith development. Please hear that I appreciate your thoughts - not dismissing them at all - but just offering you an explanation as to why I did what I did. Hope that's helpful to you.

We regard to "beloved community" - that was an intentional choice on my part. It is, of course, MLK, Jr's words which expresses his vision. I use it as often as I can get away with it, but I thought it was particularly appropriate for this liturgy.

Thanks again, danielj. Come back again. I'm sure we've got lots of things to talk about.

danielj said...

from danielj

Elizabeth+ thanks for allowing my post; and no, i dont feel dismissed at all. just throwing out some things to see what you'd make of it. I assure you, I was so impressed with your liturgy...I think its' BCP worthy.

And Yes 'parent' can lack a bit emotionally...esp. in the singular. i.e. it's not cold to say 'these are my parents; x and x'. but to say, 'this is my parent; x'...funny about language.

As for your approach to give people a choice in the moment.....I guess, in liturgy, i always looked for ways to circumvent the "hiccup moments".

That's the moment when the community stops all saying the same words in liturgy, and for a moment says different things, then returns to being one voice again, all saying the liturgy together.

A common example one hears often in rite II.... In the opening call and response

"+Blessed be God; father, son and HS
/// and blessed be his kingdom now and forever". There was often a hiccup around the word 'his' in the response. Some say 'his', some say 'God's'

I am legally blind, so i depend alot on my ears, in addition to the eye sight i have left. So these hiccups are very pronounced for me. I guess, for me, the power of liturgy is in the sound of all being of one voice.

I once told a priest that there were several statements in the Nic. creed which I had changed, but said them silently, under my breath, so as to not interject a big honkin' hiccup moment into the liturgy. Anyway, that's just me.

blessings to you oh, I am not usually anon but sometimes i just cant remember my google password. thanks for letting me through.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ah, thanks, Danielj for a brilliant insight. What sounds to you like a "hiccup" sounds to me like a Pentecost moment - where everyone speaks their own language but everyone understands.

Then again, I am not vision impaired as you are, but I am double aided in my hearing. So, of course, things sound differently to you than they do to me.

I am so grateful you came back and offered these comments. I've learned so much from you today. Thank you.

danielj said...

ah, thanks Liz+, you're such a gracious person!

I had to chuckle at your comment about my hicups being your pentecostal moments. i am,or was, pentecostal; raised in the A of G; received a pretty strong HS baptism at age 19; went to their bible college for a few years. The pentecostal experience, and the subsequent gifts of the Spirit, were the foundation for my ministry.

However, it became apparent rather early on, that the pentecostal theology, social norms, and corporate worship style...was not a good fit for me. they agreed, and asked me to leave.

I spent a little over a decade being a church orphan; spending some time in various reformed tradition churches - but I found the worship lacking for me. it wasn't until a couple years after seminary, that I acquired a BCP and joined the episcopal church.

I found, in the liturgy, that spiritual worship which i had been missing. and it was a very joyful discovery.

I remember at the time, my parents not being exactly thrilled with me becoming a TECy. How could a good pentecostal end up being so catholic and doing prayers from a book! My response to them was, 'liturgy is charismata without the chaos"!

Its' a strange, strange world, ain't it!

blessings danielj

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Danielj - I love your definition of the TEC. Brilliant.

And, it's Elizabeth, not Liz. Say that again too loudly and you'll have to deal with my now sainted mother who will rise from her grave and . . . well . . .let's just say it won't be pretty. ;~)

danielj said...

yes ma'am...I think that i have heard it said somewhere that the fear of sainted mothers, is the beginning of all wisdom! blessings danielj

REVeries said...

I'd love to use the Benediction for the worship service in which I'll be installed as the new pastor at University Lutheran Church in Seattle this weekend. How should I attribute it?


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You mean, this?

The Blessing

May the God who dances in creation
Who embraces us with human love
Who shakes our lives like thunder
+Bless us and drive us out with power
To fill the world with justice and peace AMEN.

It was written by Janet Morely in "Bread for Tomorrow" as well as "All Desires Known"

Good luck and God bless your new ministry.