Christian Life (Essay 1)

Incarnation: Some evolutionary thoughts

According to Christian theology, Incarnation refers to God’s entry into human life in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, about 2000 years ago. Accordingly, this has not happened in any other religion. For Christians, Jesus alone is the incarnation of God on this earth.

I find this view disturbingly reductionistic and anthropocentric, and from a multi-faith perspective, it strikes me as being unpleasantly imperialistic. It seems to me that there are underlying assumptions urgently in need to re-evaluation.

God’s Involvement in Creation

To the best of my knowledge, Christians have always claimed that God has been fully involved in creation at every stage of its unfolding and development. Presumably, that means that God was fully involved – affirming and blessing - humanity’s unfolding over the past seven million years (the length of our time on this earth). If at our origins, God was fully endorsing what was happening through the emergence of this new (human) species, then surely this means that Incarnation (in the literal sense) begins 7,000,000 years ago, and not merely 2000 years ago.

I cannot envisage this highly creative God fully endorsing a new evolutionary breakthrough, while simultaneously saying: “Yes, I endorse what is happening now, but in fact I will only declare this group saved in about 7,000,000 years time when Jesus of Nazareth comes along.” The very notion is so capricious and convoluted, it simply does not stand up to credibility.  

Enter Jesus . . .

Adopting the notion that God was fully involved in our unfolding from the very start, it seems to me that we should be understanding Jesus  - not as the beginning of something (e.g., our salvation) as rather the fulfilment -  of the long creative story of 7,000,000 years. I suggest that Jesus is about an affirmation and celebration of everything we achieved throughout that long journey.

Not that we always got it right. We certainly did not, but there is ample evolutionary evidence to show that we got it right most of the time. From an evolutionary viewpoint, we are a highly creative and innovative species. Unfortunately, humans today see themselves as the progeny of a patriarchal era of some 10,000 years (post-Agricultre revolution), and that badly distorts our view of the big picture. In the world of scholarship, it is universally accepted that we always messed things up and that the further back we go the worse things get. Obviously, the academics have not gone back very far!

And the negative picture becomes grossly misleading when we introduce the notion of Original Sin. Then we really are playing God, and the creative God of the long story becomes totally eclipsed. And not only God but also Jesus, the one who is sent by the ruling patriarch in the sky – a perfect projection of the patriarchs on earth – to rescue something that was flawed from the start.

From God’s point of view, it seems, to me that there is no fundamental flaw. There is the paradox of creation and destruction forever interweaving the dynamic of birth-death-rebirth. And in this cycle death is not the Pauline “consequence of sin” or “the last enemy to be conquered.” Death is an integral dimension of the divine will-to-life, which Jesus radically affirms in his commitment to life (variously described in the Gospels as the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven).

The Evolutionary Context


The fulfilment that Jesus affirms and celebrates may be explored in terms of Teilhard de Chardin’s evocative insight that in biological terms, our evolution has reached a high point of development. That being the case we are now poised on the cusp of a new evolutionary breakthrough which Teilhard called psychic evolution, focussing primarily on the development of mind and spirit. Might this be what Jesus is hinting at in the words recorded in John’s Gospel: “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you . . .” (Jn.,16:7). Furthermore, might we also envisage the Risen Jesus as the evolving human endowed with this new evolutionary giftedness, a model and pattern for us all to follow henceforth!

In this vein, Walter Wink writes: “The world that Jesus entered was seething with human longings, that showed in messianic dreams, millennial fantasies, apocalyptic desperation, mystical revelations, suicidal nationalism, religious critique and reform, reactionary rigidity, and a sense that time was collapsing, that the future was foreshortened, that the mystery of reality was about to be revealed. In such a milieu the authenticity of Jesus was like a beacon that drew all mythological motifs to itself. Incubating in the womb of that period was God’s rash gamble that humanity might become more humane (Wink, p.250).

Contrary to Wink, I suspect that on God’s part it was not a rash gamble! It was a very timely one, which in Wink’s own words could liberate afresh something of the archetypal depth of authentic humanity: “The Human Being(Jesus) is a catalytic agent for transformation, providing the form, lure and hunger to become who we are meant to be.” (Wink, p.193).

And What of Other Religions?  

If the rise of the Christian Faith marks an axial moment (as suggested by Karl Jaspers), might that not also be true of the other great religions? And if so, wouldn’t we expect to encounter a process of Incarnation also in their creeds? I suggest we don’t have to look beyond the Avatars of Hunduism, the Bodhisatvas of Buddhism, the Prophets of Islam – in all cases, human beings so highly developed humanly that they are capable of revealing the life and power of the divine source.  

And why stop at the major religions? Perhaps right through human history, incarnational figures have befriended us as models and catalysts, including several of the great Goddesses, reclaimed by feminists in recent decades. The potential for dialogue is enormous as we begin to realise that what unites us under God is far more powerful than what divides us. Our patriarchal, tribal inheritance has left us fragmented and confused. Incarnational wholeness was never so urgently needed.

Nor should the concept of Incarnation be reserved just for humans (See the provocative challenge of Stephen D. Moore in his 2014 book, Divinanimality). The word includes all forms of corporeality that adorn God’s creation, from the tiny bacteria to the elegant universe. Bodies are special to God. The divine creativity seems to flourish generically through embodied expression. Incarnation in the fullest sense is the declaration that God loves bodies.

So Much to be Reclaimed!

These reflections can be summarised in the following key points:

1. We need to outgrow the stultifying reductionism of the 2000 year bench mark.
2. Jesus did not come to rescue or redeem us – there is nothing from which we need to be rescued, other than our own patriarchal dysfunctionality which is our problem and not God’s
3. Jesus, along with the incarnational figures of the other great religions, affirms and celebrates all we have achieved throughout our evolutionary journey of 7,000,000 years.
4. Jesus embodies for us and points us in the direction of our next evolutionary leap as a human species (See Evolution: Essay 2).
5. From an evolutionary perspective, it is the humanity of Jesus that is all important, not his divinity. Fidelity to the transformative humanness of Jesus is what will guide us to become more God-like.
6. And the wholeness that Jesus models for us is not in the power of his Death, but in the power of the radical way he lived Life – so radical, original and inspiring that it cost him an untimely death.
7. And central to this new way of being human is the call to work for right relationships and the building of faith communities based on love and justice. Relational wholeness rather than individual prowess is the goal to which we are all called.
8. Finally, Jesus serves as a power not to be imitated, but rather as an empowerer who can liberate us to empower others so that together we can build up that new world order, which the Gospels call the Kingdom of God.

Conclusion

The physicist, Elizabet Sahtouris, reinforces this notion that we are undergoing a major evolutionary  transition, one that requires us to outgrow our adolescent belligerence and mature into responsible young adults, who will learn to treat creation and each other in more adult and liberating ways. And this, too, I suggest, is the major challenge facing Christians at this time. We are called to outgrow religious co-dependency and embrace an inter-dependent incarnational spirituality.

Over the past 2,000 years the Jesus story has been bedevilled with patriarchal co-dependency. The Gospel narratives have been simplified and domesticated for children and for adults of childlike disposition. Subservience has been the desired outcome and in many cases has been effectively achieved. But it leaves us with an adult population, many of whom have abandoned the Christian faith or find its patronising propaganda intolerable and oppressive. The old plot is becoming increasingly dysfunctional.

I wish to suggest that incarnational Christianity is a faith first and foremost for adults, for people mature and visionary enough to embrace the daring praxis of a subversive adult Jesus, seeking to honour an adult God. Rightly, therefore, Jesus needs to be contextualised afresh within the big story of creation, reinforcing the big vision of God’s creative Spirit. Nothing short of this will satisfy the spiritual hunger of our age, nor indeed will anything less be of much use to humanity on the threshold of a new evolutionary leap. 

References:

O’Murchu, Diarmuid (2008), ANCESTRAL GRACE: Meeting God in our Human Story.
                                   (2017), INCARNATION: A New Evolutionary Threshold.
                                   (2018), BEYOND ORIGINAL SIN: recovering Humanity's Creative Urge.

Sahtouris, Elizabet (1998), EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution.

Wink, Walter (2002), The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of Man.

Gospel Poems

Introduction

Much of the New Testament is written in prose. Many texts and stories begin to look different when accessed through poetry. Perhaps poetry better honours the Aramaic language of Jesus' homeland, but also something of the oral tradition from which much of the New Testament has arisen. 

Zebedee’s Plight (Matt.4:21-22)  

(Background notes in Rick F. Talbot (2008), “Nazareth’s Rebellious Son: Deviance and Downward mobility in the Galilean Jesus Movement,” Biblical Theology Bull Vol.38 (2008), 99-113).

 

Imagine the look as Zebidee gazed,

The shock of betrayal and his feelings of rage.

The sons have abandoned the family trace,

The fallout could linger in shame and disgrace.

And the servants essential to business afloat

Afford he to pay them, mid ill fame so wrought.

And the heirs to the business upon which he hoped

Have turned their backs and for mission eloped.

 

The cost of discipleship we oft glamorise,

Suggesting ‘twas worth it to gain such a prize.

We tend to ignore the disruption ensued,

Undermining the power of a family ruined.

Two sons to abandon a home enterprise

Dismantles the hope for a future to rise.

And a family unit with sonship deprived

Faces social exclusion and much hope denied.

 

The sons also face a future unknown,

They’ve severed the links with the loved ones they’ve known.

And there’s no turning back when you opt out like that,

You’re seen as a traitor, a callous upstart.

The call for disciples no glory nor power,

Yet some took the option new hope to empower.

The radical turn God’s new reign on earth,

With the hand to the plough, they must never regret.

 

But a thought we must spare for Zebedee’s plight,

His future uncertain,

His family fortune.

Let’s hope he survived the big price he paid!

 

 

The Jericho Road full of Questions (Based on Luke 10:30ff)  


Every bone in my body was aching,

And a gash just below my left eye

Left me dazed with confusion and anger,

One more victim as crime rates soar high!

I had heard many stories and warnings,

That road should not travel alone.

But I thought I was fit and impervious

A lesson too late to bemoan!

 

Many passed me and stared in amazement,

I never felt so much betrayed,

As I glimpsed the far priest and the levite

My stomach it groaned in despair.

Till a guy with a donkey approached me,

A stranger so thoughtful and rare.

And he mounted me on to his donkey

And rushed me for medical care.

 

Next, I knew I was sleeping in comfort

And sustained with some food of the best.

But in nervous concern I queried

What ‘twould cost me to be such a guest.

No worry but trust in the carer,

Had accounted for every expense,

With such care I could quickly recover

And no one would ask recompense.

 

But then came the shock and the quandary.

O Dear! How it made my heart sink!

Compromising my whole reputation,

Betraying my unique Jewish rank.

Samaritans we always have hated,

For me they’re the lowest of low.

How disgusting – he handled my body,

I better let nobody know!

 

But why did he do this good turn?

Now surely he too must have known

That Jews and Samaritans differ

And should keep far apart on their own.

I’m confused and unsure of my grounding,

I don’t understand what’s going on.

While the Jews all passed by and ignored me,

A Samaritan lifted my hand!

 

Who said we should hate all who differ?

On our own we should only rely?

And why is religion so righteous

Leaving people like me in the mire?

The Samaritans I still do not like them.

After all, I’ve been told that from youth.

But I can’t trust the Jews any longer

‘Cos I doubt if they’re telling the truth.

 

And I wonder about all this religion,

Is it leading God’s people astray?

When the outcast can glow in compassion

While the righteous pile rules to obey!

 

Who fed the 5,000 and  with What?

They were weary and lonely, the disciples themselves,

Having buried the Baptist now martyred.

And they hungered for food to maintain their strength,

Re-establish the course they had chartered.

And the people who pestered began to annoy

Towards the end of a day feeling burdened.

And they pleaded with Jesus to send them away

And provide for themselves mid their kindred.

 

And then comes the retort they did not expect,

‘twas their duty the hungry to nourish.

“But where can we find food for this massive gang

In a place where there’s no food to flourish?”

But Jesus discerned the twinkling eye

Of a boy with a sandwich worth sharing.

And how many more had provisions as well

Mid the fear and the risk of declaring!

 

The disciples so hungry were aching inside,

But first they must tender their service.

Arrange them in groups, then seated at ease

And bring forth the food from their purses.

And Jesus declares the blessing so rare

When the generous Spirit sustains us.

And the little boy’s sandwich remains to this day

A symbol so powerful and gracious.

 

This miracle story all Gospels proclaim,

How a crowd could be fed with such caring.

We thought ‘t was a magic of multiplying lots

But in truth, ’t was miraculous sharing.

Creation abundant – there’s plenty for all,

Every time that we celebrate eucharist.

Transcending the fear which traps us in greed,

A nourishing Sabbath our future.

 

Alas, the disciples remained rather dumb,

And argued ‘bout bread to sustain them.

While the people so grateful, their baskets were filled

With the crumbs from the meal that maintained them.

Let’s never forget the mandate so clear:

To feed everyone at our table.

No more deprivation, starvation or pain,

Seek justice as much as we’re able!

 

 

Gospel Spirit of Fear

(Seeking to unravel the power of evil spirits in Mark’s Gospel)

The Gospels abound with strange stories,
of people possessed by deep fear,
of spirits so desperately seeking
to wreck, yet control human jeer.

Possession by spirit’s obsession,
the power of imperial restraint.
A shadow so shattered and broken,
a victim so powerless and faint.
A body locked subdued in its torture,
the crippled, the deaf and the dumb,
A spirit-force stuck and frustrated,
leaving onlookers baffled and numb.


The breakthrough for Jesus’ healing
confronting the spirit in rage.
releasing the bondage so frightening
As Spirit with spirit engage.
“Your needs I will meet if you leave him,
That hunger for power you let go.
Control of the empire is over,
It’s time all this violence outgrow.”


In fact there is only one Spirit
fragmented by imperial distortion.
By welcoming home the displaced one
we integrate the shadow’s misfortune.
Beyond the dualistic divisions
We search for an underlying whole
The depths of new integration
Another way caring for Soul.


Jesus did not destroy the false spirit.
Instead he reframed the whole plot.
The spirit set free from entrapment.
For the person new healing is wrought.

 

 

I am and We are (Reflection on John's Gospel)

I am the light of the world made new
And together with you my friends
  We bring the light of enduring liberation,
From all those trapped
in slavish concentration.
And radiate the promise
that will every heart renew.
Behold I make all things new,
Together we can do it, me and you!

I am the bread to alleviate their hunger,
And together with you my friends,
We’ll reverse the cruel curse
of aching empty bowels,
The petrified hopelessness
in which starvation howls.
And release the crushed abundance
the wealthy oft accrue,
Behold I make all things new,
Together we can do it, me and you!
 
I am the vine and you the branches lush,
And together with you my friends,
We’ll inebriate the vineyards
of parabolic lore,
And pour out for all to drink
what others hoard in store.
Clean drinking water
every country to imbue.
Behold I make all things new.
Together we can do it, me and you!

I am the Good Shepherd
attending to the flock.
And together with you my friends,
We’ll build communities
of love and care,
An open table for everyone to share,
With justice to the fore
in everything we do.
Behold I make all things new.
Together we can do it, me and you! 
I am the way to truth and life
And together with you my friends,
We’ll level out the shoddy
pathways of a broken world
To reconcile and heal
the many hearts so troubled.
Transcending what divides us,
together we’ll construe.
Behold I make all things new.
Together we can do it, me and you!

I am the Resurrection for new life,
And together with you my friends,
Our earth will rise again beyond
the shackles and the pain
Of human’s crude pursuit
of selfish greed and gain.
Cosmic justice in our planet
we’ll pursue.
Behold I make all things new.
Together we can do it, me and you!
 
 

Jesus in the Power of Thomas

 

On the morning of the last day of the week,

Jesus says to Thomas:

Show me the holes the nails have made in your hands;

Show me the houses and sheds that you have built;

Show me the toil and sweat that you have spilt!

The bare hands removing

The blocks that obstruct.

The nails that have rusted

And must now be replaced

The threats are made safer

While your hands are defaced.

 

                At noon, on the last day of the week,

                 Jesus says to Thomas:

                 Show me your body and the wounds you accrued;

                 Show me the risks you have taken so brave;

                Assisting the weak, the poor, and the slave!

                The wounds you incurred,

               And the risks you embraced,

               Protecting the weak,

               So defenceless in place.     

               That struggle for justice,

               Leaves a deep wounded trace.  

 

In the evening of the last day of the week,

Jesus says to Thomas:

I know you are doubting with remorse, guilt and shame,

Aware of your weakness and the times you have failed.

Like other disciples, mistakes you have made.

But, Thomas, that’s incarnation,

Compassion aglow.

You can’t heal the others

Unless deep pain you know.

Without doubt overcome,

There’s no faith to show.

                                         Sometime late that night,

                                        Jesus says to Thomas:

                                        Look at those nails, wounds and doubts!

                                       And when others see what I see

                                       They, too, will acclaim:

 -                                     My Lord and my God!

 

Disciples with Imagination

 There’s no looking back when you’re faced with a task

To imagine the lure of the future.

The structures of old, ruling God from on high,

Bless our time with another departure.

We need to imagine a future so new,

Transcending the laws of religion.

The Spirit now echoes another refrain:

Imagine … Imagine … Imagine!

 

Imagine a farmer with seeds that can sprout

A harvest of God’s liberation.

Imagine a wedding with much wine afloat

Athirst for a new celebration.

Imagine a woman a birthing the bread

In a world of rife malnutrition.

Betray not the call of the Gospel refrain:

Imagine … Imagine … Imagine!

 

Imagine the crippled, the blind and the lame,

Set free from the bondage of guilt.

Imagine dispelling demonic disease,

The anguish that millions have felt.

Imagine the vineyard where justice prevails

With dignified work once again.

Oppression derailed by a diff’rent refrain:

Imagine … Imagine …Imagine!

 

Imagine a Kingdom with no king at all,

Co-dependent relations undone.

Imagine empowerment embraced mutually,

The grace and the freedom we’ve won.

Imagine the hope that baffles despair,

Uplifting the millions condemned.

More joy on the earth to sing the refrain:

Imagine … Imagine … Imagine!

 

 

Imagine a world where war is no more,

Non-violence will break through at last.

Beyond the resentment and grudges we hold,

And the war-games so brutally cast.

Imagine a planet where all feel at home,

The blessing of God’s recreation.

I make all things new – forever proclaim:

Imagine … Imagine … Imagine!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

EUCHARIST  IN  TURMOIL



The great challenge today is to convert the sacred bread into real bread, the liturgical peace into political peace, the worship of the Creator into reverence for the Creation, the Christian praying community into an authentic human fellowship. It is risky to celebrate the Eucharist. We may have to leave it unfinished, having gone first to give back to the poor what belongs to them.                                                                 Raimundo Panikkar.

General Background


Over the Christian centuries we have inherited TWO foundational understandings of Eucharist: Eucharist as Sacrifice and Eucharist as Sacred Meal. The former emphasizes the fact that Jesus, on the night before he died, celebrated a special meal exclusively with the twelve, now known as the Last Supper. Early Christians interpreted that event as a reenactment of the Jewish Passover meal with Jesus himself symbolically representing the Paschal Lamb in the shedding of his own blood through his crucifixion. In this way Jesus became the sacrificial victim through which salvation is made possible for all. Each Eucharist is meant to be a reenactment of this fact, with the priest as the primary representative of the sacrificial Jesus. And in this case the priest has to be male. 
 

The alternative interpretation, of Eucharist as a Sacred Meal, takes all the meals which Jesus shared with his followers – and not merely one – as emblematic of the God who is poured out in generous nourishment for all people, a God we come to know mysteriously yet intimately every time we share food with loved ones. In many such meals the priamary facilitator was a woman, e.g., the mother at the Jewsih Shabat Meal. In this case, Eucharist is a ritual re-enactment of this experience, known to peoples of every age and culture.

 
In recent decades, the latter understanding is deemed to be the more foundational to the original meaning of Eucharist, and in all probability this understanding is closer to the practice initiated by Jesus in the Gospels. In this approach, it is the people of God, rather than the priest, who become the primary focus. Eucharist comes to be seen as a people’s sacred ritual around the celebration of the gift of food, with the priest acting as a facilitator in a three-dimensional ritual (sacramental) process of a) gathering the people, b) to tell their story, c) in the breaking of bread. Parallels to this approach are found in virtually every great religion and in the faith-practices of indigenous peoples all over the world.

 
Theologically, the second model is much more congruent with the Gospel vision of the Kingdom of God, what is now regarded as the foundational vision which inspired the historical Jesus in his life and ministry. Striving to honour the Jewish background of Jesus, and his use of Aramaic as his native language, the Kingdom of God is sometimes translated today as the Companionship of Empowerment. This illuminates further the significance of the meals Jesus shared with his followers, particularly, with the powerless and outcasts, who were empowered through their participation in the open, inclusive table of N.T commensality.

 

A Meal of Mutual Empowerment


The attached Eucharistic Prayers (hence EPs) seek to honour the second interpretation of Eucharist as a ritual of the open, egalitarian table, to which all are welcome regardless of class or status, and from which nobody should ever be excluded. The priest is a ritual facilitator, very much in keeping with the role of the mother in Jewish Shabat meal, the original model used by Christians in developing Eucharistic celebrations, but also honouring the oldest definition of Priesthood known to all Christian Churches, namely the vision of the priest as the servus servorum Dei (the servant of the servants of God). In this Eucharistic context, the Priest has no power other than that of being a facilitator for empowerment in the ritual context.
 

The primary power in every Eucharistic celebration resides with the living Spirit of God, not with the priest or people. From earliest times the Church has honoured this fact through the notion of the Epiclesis: the invocation of the Holy Spirit. When I studied theology, I was told by my Jesuit professor, that the Epiclesis is the heart and soul of the Eucharistic prayer. It was several years later before I fully internalized that truth.  
 

The Catholic Church uses a double invocation of the Holy Spirit, which I have retained in the attached EPs, firstly invoking the Spirit over the gifts of bread and wine, and secondly over the people of God to reinforce their unity as a Christian people. The first invocation comes before the words of Consecration, indicating that the real power for change in the Eucharistic elements (however we understand it) is activated through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and not through any special words uttered by the priest. The second tends to be located as the  second paragraph after the Eucharistic acclamation.
 

Other Christian traditions combine the two into one, with the primary emphasis of invoking the Spirit upon the people, thus making the people the focus of the Spirit’s transformative power. Some commentators (e.g Crockett 1999) suggest that this may have been the original emphasis when the concept of the Epiclesis was first developed. I rather like the notion of the double Epiclesis as it truly highlights where the emphasis should rest. The Holy Spirit, who is the agent of all creativity throughout the length and breadth of creation, logically becomes the primary agent for change and transformation even in the Eucharist itself.

 
Who is meant to invoke the Holy Spirit? My impression is that theologians are quite clear on this matter but may not always state it forthrightly: the baptized people of God gathered in worship. It is both their privilege and responsibility, and should not be taken from them to fulfill clerical power or control. Ritually, it would therefore be ideal for the gathered body to pray aloud and together the two paragraphs related to the Epiclesis. Gestures can also be added and in my experience they enrich the underlying meaning. For the first invocation all can be invited to extend their hands over the gifts of bread and wine. And for the second Epiclesis, with the emphasis on the unity of the gathered group, people can be invited to link hand to shoulder with the person to their right or left. 
 

In theological terms, what is needed primarily for a valid Eucharist Prayer is the invocation of the Holy Spirit (Epiclesis), whether done as one articulation or in a two-fold expression. What then of the words of Consecration? These words certainly belong to the inherited tradition, and carry a primordial memory of what Jesus said at the Last Supper, and probably at several other meals as well. In praying these two paragraphs, we are touching into the power of sacred memory. Perhaps, therefore, instead of retaining the words exclusively for the priest, they should be prayed by those in the worshipping group who carry responsibilities around the ongoing life of that particular community, e.g., a parish council in a parochial setting, the staff of a school or Retreat Centre, the leadership team of a religious community.  

Praying the Meal Dimension


Contemporary lay people, especially those versed in, or familiar with, creation spirituality query the wisdom of invoking the Holy Spirit to change the elements into something more holy or sacred. “Are the elements not already holy and sacred?” they rightly ask. They detect a kind of spiritual tautology that certainly requires an adult response. Firstly, when dealing with ritual, humans do occasionally use language in ways that may not make rational sense, perhaps to articulate something akin to Paul Riceour’s surplus of meaning. We acknowledge the Holy Spirit to be the co-creative energy activating every experience of transformation. How to articulate it in an adult and responsible way is the challenge at hand.
 

In the EPs below I have taken on board this concern and created formulations along the lines of invoking the Spirit to awaken in ourselves a deeper awareness of the sacredness inherent in these Spirit-filled gifts, so that in receiving them we too are transformed – i.e, nourished and empowered – for our Christian lives. We invoke the Spirit to make us more aware of the sacredness that is already there in the elements. In other words, it is we ourselves, rather than the gifts, that need to be transformed. By adopting this approach, interestingly, one may be reclaiming at least one line of thought from early Christian times in which the invoking of the Spirit upon the people was seen as the primary aspect of the Epiclesis.  
 

Regarding the issue of Eucharistic change, whether explained as trans-substantiation, trans-signification, or whatever, I do believe that change is activated in a way that is both real and mysterious. I have found the work of Masaru Emoto, a Japanese physicist, immensely helpful on this question. He has conducted several experiments on water, indicating beyond doubt that human intentionality can profoundly affect the essential nature of another life-substance such as water (see

). If human intentionality is this powerful, I would imagine the sacramental invocation of the Holy Spirit by worshipping people (particularly if they are aware of what they are doing) would be all the more powerful and transformative.
 

I now come to the two paragraphs popularly known as the “Consecration.” It is widely assumed that these two paragraphs represent respectively the elements of food and drink used in most meals. This is an erroneous assumption. The paragraph related to the bread represents the entire meal, and therefore the words: “Take and eat . . .” should really be “Take eat and drink . . .” as outlined in the attached EPs.
 

The paragraph related to the cup is rich in subversive meaning. This represents not the drink aspect of the meal, but the cup of libation, consumed after the meal in the banqueting tradition of ancient Greece and Rome (see the seminal research of Dennis Smith, in Tausig 2009). A modern equivalent is the aperitif, an after dinner drink usually consumed in the less formal context of a lounge or sitting room.  As used by the Greeks, the participants of the meal, now retired to a less formal space, lifted their cups as a tribute to the Gods, or to some outstanding local hero. The Romans typically paid tribute to the Emperor, widely regarded as a divine figurehead. 
 

It seems the early Christians adopted the custom, and re-assigned it a deliberate subversive (and prophetic) significance. They lifted their cups as a tribute to Jesus, the one in whom is sealed a new covenant, more noble and empowering than the covenant of Greek deity or the Roman Emperor. This brings to the Eucharistic celebration a strong political and justice dimension. There can be no authentic empowering without challenging the forces that disempower and undermine creativity. There can be no authentic nourishment of persons without seeking to rectify the systemic forces that starve people of true freedom and dignity. 
 

Both priests and people need to be educated on the true meaning of the “consecration” of the cup. It is the cup of libation, the significance of which is well explained by Hal Tausig (2009). The attached EPs reflect this correct understanding. I have also omitted the words “so that sins may be forgiven.” These words, cited only in Matthew’s Gospel, probably do not belong to the earlier tradition, and may be indicative of an atonement flavour already entering into the early Christian understanding of Eucharist. I also add an alternative Proclamation of Faith, striving to move away from the Passion and Death of Jesus (Eucharist as sacrifice) towards a proclamation of the God who nourishes prodigiously in all the nourishing potential of creation.   

The rest of the Eucharistic Prayer, including the Preface can be prayed aloud by the gathered community, but with partial voices rather than as a whole group. The voice of the whole group is best kept for the double Epiclesis along with the Eucharistic Acclamation and the Doxology (last paragraph). Other parts of the prayer can be prayed in choir (two halves alternating), or by using selected voices from the body proclaiming different parts.


Eucharist as Celebration

 

Every culture that ever existed has rituals that express and explore a perceived sacred meaning in food. And there is an inexplicable mystique when food is shared to mark special occasions of joy and celebration. Meals are widely regarded as precious moments in families and in other groups of close affiliation.
 

Regarding Eucharist primarily as a meal is congruent with the fact that Rites of Passage related to food exist in every sacred tradition known to humankind. And the Christian Eucharist itself first began as an imitation of the Jewish Shabat meal, celebrated in the family home every Friday night – a custom that continues till the present time. In the Shabat meal, there is a key person, playing something akin to a presiding role, and it is the Mother, not the Father, who is head of the household. And the Mother’s role is unique precisely in her capacity to facilitate the experience. This I suggest is fertile territory for a revamped understanding of Christian priesthood.
 

I wish to propose that a revitalization of Eucharist needs to start where it originally began, namely in the home, or in small household groups gathering around a common vision or enterprise (house-Churches, or basic Christian communities). In these informal and friendly groups experimentation and exploration can, and should, be normative. And in that context, the use of EPs such as those I provide seems a very adult and responsible thing to do.
 

It was inevitable that Eucharist would become more structured and formalized as numbers grew and celebrations had to be accommodated in large buildings like Churches. In the process, we lost something precious and primordial. Rubrics and formal procedures undermined the deeper message. Today, there prevails a great deal of Eucharistic starvation in our world, and the feeding of hungry hearts will require some new ventures to give fresh hope and nurturance to God’s hungering people.

 

References:   Crockett, William R. (1999), Eucharist: Symbol of Transformation.
                 
 McGowan, Anne (2014), Eucharistic Epicleses, Ancient and Modern:  Speaking of the Spirit in Eucharistic Prayer. 
                   Mendes Montoya, A.F. (2009), Theology of Food: Eating and the Eucharist.
                  
 O'Loughlin, Thomas (2015), The Eucharist: Origins and Contemporary Understandings 
                   
O’Murchu, Diarmuid (2011), Christianity’s Dangerous Memory, Chapter 6.
                                               (2015), Inclusivity: A Gospel Mandate, Chapter 6.                                 
                   Tausig, Hal (2009), In the Beginning was the Meal.
                    

 

EUCHARISTIC PRAYERS

(ITALIC print indicates the Invocation of the Holy Spirit, the central feature of a Eucharistic Prayer).

1. EUCHARISTIC PRAYER: CALLING FORTH THE ADULT

Preface:
Gracious God, we gather to acclaim our thanks and praise.
You have called us into birth and gifted our youthfulness.
You have protected our growth and blessed our maturity.
You have graced our transitions, amid the changes of life.
And you have called us as a people of faith, to embrace
our world with faith and new vision.
With gratitude in our hearts we thank you for being our companion
on the journey. And in union with all who lift their voices in joy,
we, too, acclaim our song of praise:  Holy, Holy, etc.

Gracious God, all creation celebrates your empowering presence.
All your creatures hunger for the new life you promise.
In Jesus, our friend and liberator, you reveal our humanity come of age,
the evolutionary fulfillment of many aeons,
the invitation to wholeness and the promise of new life.

First Invocation:

In the power f the creative Spirit, Jesus lived life to the full.
We, too, are blessed in the power of that same Spirit,
which we now invoke upon all gathered here,
to celebrate the transformative energy,
symbolized in our gifts of bread and wine,
given to nourish and sustain us into the fullness of life.


Invoking the memory of the tradition:
While sharing a feast at table, Jesus took bread,
blessed you, God of all good gifts.
Jesus broke the bread, and along with the cup,
shared it among friends and said:
Take this all of you: eat and drink;
this is my body which will be given up for you.

After the meal, Jesus took another cup,
poured out in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment.
Jesus gave thanks and handed the cup to those at table saying:
Take this all of you and drink from it;
this is the cup of my life-blood,
the life of the new and everlasting covenant.
In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all.
Sustain one another in sacred memory.

Eucharistic Acclamation
Nurtured by your Word, nourished by your food;
Called anew to be your people, we acclaim your praise.

As a Christian people we inherit a story of liberation and new life.
We remember the blessings of ages past, and we look forward in hope,
knowing that you, our wise and faithful God,
will continue to empower us in our earthly mission.

Second Invocation:
As a people called to mature and adult faith, we invoke upon
all gathered here, the empowering Spirit of courage and wisdom,
so that we, too, are empowered to be agents of Gospel liberation.

We unite in thought and prayer with all who are weighed down by oppression,
trapped in poverty, victimised by violence and exploitation.
We grieve for all who will never reach their full potential,
because of the greed perpetuated by unjust systems.

Bless us, O God of liberation, to work for the freedom of all,
to bring about a world where justice can reign and love can flourish.
In the fellowship of our faith, with all the living and those gone before us,
confirm our hearts in this resolve. May we never betray that fullness of life
to which you invite all your people.

Doxology:
This prayer we make in the name of our Creator God and liberating Spirit,
whom Jesus embodied as our primary model: in with and through whom
we offer our praise, this day and forever. Amen.

 



2. EUCHARISTIC PRAYER: NOURISH MY PEOPLE

Preface:
God of life, you nurture and sustain your people.
You bless us with abundance; you gift us with your graciousness;
you know our every need.

In the birthing forth of creation you call us into being.
You gift us with healthy and wholeness; you sustain our every endeavour.
You feed your hungering people.

You call us to work for justice, to share our table with all creation,
to feed the needy at our door, to see nobody left in need.

For the blessing of your gifts, and the challenge of your call to us,
we lift our voices as we acclaim in song your gracious love: Holy, Holy, etc.

The table we share is adorned with the gifts of creation,
gifts given for all to share in equality and justice, a table where all are welcome,
and from which nobody is to be excluded, from the greatest even to the least.

As a Christian people we celebrate the open table,
proclaimed by Jesus our liberator and our friend,
a table of abundant life, inclusive love, and redemptive liberation.

First Invocation:
In the power of the creative Spirit, Jesus lived life to the full.
We, too, are blessed in the power of that same Spirit,
which we now invoke upon all gathered here,
to celebrate the transformative energy
symbolized in our gifts of bread and wine,
given to nourish and sustain us into the fullness of life.

Invoking the memory of tradition:
While sharing a feast at table, Jesus took bread,
blessed you, God of all good gifts.
Jesus broke the bread and along with the cup,
shared it among friends, and said:
Take this all of you and eat and drink:
this is my body which will be given up for you.

After the meal, Jesus took another cup,
poured out in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment.
Jesus gave thanks and shared the cup with his friends,
saying: Take this all of you and drink from it; this is the cup of my life-blood,
the life of the new and everlasting covenant.
In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all.
Sustain one another in the power of sacred memory.

Eucharistic Acclamation
Nurtured by your word, nourished by your food;
Called anew to be your people, we acclaim your praise.

As we celebrate this Eucharistic feast, we call to mind that we are a people
nourished throughout the ages; and we look forward in hope to that day
when the justice of our God will guarantee food
for all who hunger for the fullness of life.

Second Invocation:
With grateful hearts we receive the gifts of this table.
May the creative Spirit who energizes these gifts,
activate in our hearts, too, a hunger for that justice
that will guarantee sustenance for every human being.


In the spirit of this celebration, we rejoice and thank our God for all
we have received; but we do so in the painful awareness
of all who are excluded from the table of God’s abundant life.

Awaken in us, O God, a passion for equality and generosity of spirit,
that all may be brought to the table of abundance,
from which our God wants no one to be excluded.

Doxology:
This prayer we make in union with all God’s people, living and dead,
and particularly with those laboring for justice in our world.
May we all know the blessing of our loving God,
Creator, Liberator, and Holy Spirit, in whose power we gather here,
nourished and sustained, now and forever.  Amen.

 



3. EUCHARISTIC PRAYER: Wisdom

Preface:
Wise and faithful God, you have birthed us in goodness,
gifted us with life and cherished us in love.
In the heart of our being, your Spirit dwells;
a Spirit of courage and vision, a Spirit of wisdom and truth.

In the power of that same Spirit, we lift our hearts in prayer,
invoking anew the gift of wisdom and enlightenment,
that we may continue to praise and thank you, in union with
all who sing the ancient hymn of praise: Holy, Holy, etc.

Creator God, we see around us the work of your hands,
the fruit of your wisdom and love. The unfolding story of
creation witnesses unceasingly to your creative power.
We, your creatures, often deviate from that wisdom,
thus hindering your creative presence in our midst.

Sending among us Jesus, our Saviour, you birth afresh
in our world the power of Sophia-Wisdom, and in the
gift of the Spirit, your creative goodness blooms anew,
amid the variety and wonder of life.

First Invocation:
That same Spirit we invoke upon the gifts of this
Eucharistic table, bread of the grain & vine of the grape,
that they may become the body and blood of Jesus –
to nurture afresh in us the discerning gifts of
wisdom, light and truth.


Invoking the memory of tradition:

Gathering the disciples around the table of shared wisdom,
Jesus took bread; blessed you God of all good gifts,
broke the bread and along with the cup
handed to those seeking nourishment,
with these words: Take this all of you, eat and drink:
This is my body which will be given up for you.

After the meal, Jesus took another cup,
poured out in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment.
Jesus gave thanks and shared the cup with his friends,
saying: Take this all of you and drink from it;
this is the cup of my life-blood,
the life of the new and everlasting covenant.
In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all.
Sustain one another in the power of sacred memory.

Eucharistic Acclamation

In faith and hope we are sustained,
In grace and dignity reclaimed,
In praise, we thank our God.

As we celebrate this sacred meal, we recall the wise and gracious
gifts bestowed on us down through the ages; and we look forward
in hope, knowing that you, our wise and faithful God,
will continue to endow us with abundant blessings.

Second Invocation:
In the power of this Eucharistic meal, bless us afresh
with the gift of the Spirit, that our hearts may be open
and receptive as you invite us into the fullness of life.


In union with all peoples living and dead, we unite our thoughts
and prayers, asking wisdom and courage:
- to discern more wisely your call to us in the circumstances
  of our daily lives;
- to act justly and courageously in confronting the pain and
  suffering that desecrates the Earth and its peoples;
- to take risks in being creative and proactive on behalf
  of the poor and marginalised;
- and to love all people with generosity of heart,
  beyond the labels of race, creed and colour.

And may we ever be aware and alert to the new things the
Spirit makes possible, as our world unfolds amid pain and beauty,
into the fullness of life to which all are called,
participating in the wise and wonderful work of co-creation.

Doxology:
In the wisdom of our triune God, Creator, Liberator, and Holy Spirit,
we are blessed with the gifts of this Eucharistic table, and with all
the good things bestowed upon our world, now and forever.  Amen.

 



4. EUCHARISTIC PRAYER: Healing

Preface:

Gracious God, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence
to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit, who
enlivens and inebriates all that exists, we beseech your
healing power upon us and upon all we pray for today.

Down through the ages, you rescue us from darkness.
you light up our ways with wise and holy people. You restore
our lost fortunes and you revive our dwindling hope.

For all you bring to our lives, and for all we seek amid
pain and suffering, we acclaim your love and greatness,
and we join with all creation to sing our hymn of praise: Holy, etc.

Source f our health and wholeness, healer of body, mind and spirit,
we bring before you the darkness of our world,
and the pain and suffering of your people.
We seek to be healed and made whole; we seek to be reconciled
and united; we seek peace in our hearts and in our world.

First Invocation:

We ask you to awaken anew in our hearts the empowering grace
of your abundant Spirit, who infuses these gifts of bread and wine
with the transforming energy of life,
to nourish and sustain us in our time of need.


Invoking the memory of tradition:

That same bread, Jesus took and broke, to restore the unity
of our broken world. Jesus blessed you, God of healing and hope,
then, along with the cup, Jesus shared the bread
with those at table saying: Take this all of you, eat and drink:
This is my body which will be given up for you.

Then offering the cup of libation,
poured out for the liberation of all, Jesus gave thanks
and shared the cup in a spirit of mutual solidarity saying:
Take this all of you and drink from it;
This is the cup of my life-blood,
the life of the new and everlasting covenant.
In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all.
Sustain one another in the power of sacred memory.

Eucharistic Acclamation
In faith and hope we are sustained,
In grace our dignity reclaimed,
In praise we thank our God.

As we gather around this Eucharistic table, we recall God’s
blessing and love from ages past, and we celebrate anew
the gift of life which we share among us at this Eucharistic feast.

Second Invocation:

May the Spirit of life and wholeness, who transforms the
gifts we present, transform us, too, that we may be
refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring
mercy, love and healing to those whose lives we touch.


The bread we break and the cup we share are symbols of our world
of abundance where all are invited to partake of the fullness of life.
But that life we often impede by our greed and selfishness,
and by our exploitation of other people.

So grant, that in union with all peoples, living and dead, we may
strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished,
where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can
live in health and wholeness, united in acclaiming the God of life,
whose abundance is offered to each and to all, ‘til the Kingdom
arrives in the fullness of time.

Doxology:
This prayer we make in the name of our healing and nurturing God,
through, with and in whom we offer these gifts,
sources of life, love and goodness, now and forever.  Amen.

 



5. EUCHARISTIC PRAYER: ON THE HOLY SPIRIT

Preface:
In the blessed abundance of creation,we gather to celebrate the nourishing gift of life.
We gather in the power of the Spirit whose breath inspires the primal waters,
calling into being the variety and abundance we see around us.

That same Spirit sustains and animates our every endeavour,
inviting us to act in wisdom and in truth.
In gratitude and joy we embrace our calling and we lift our
voices to proclaim as one the ancient song of praise:

Holy, Holy, Holy . . .

As a worshiping people, we gather in the power of the Spirit,
refreshing wind, purifying fire and living breath for the variety and diversity of life.
As a Christian people we seek to live as Jesus taught us, wise and holy
as  Spirit-filled people, courageous and prophetic, ever obedient to the Spirit’s call.
 
That same Spirit we now invoke,to liberate in these gifts of bread and wine,
the nourishing power of holy wisdom, that they may
become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus our Saviour.

Invoking the memory of tradition:
Gathering the beloved community around the table of
nourishing hope, Jesus took the bread, and in grateful
remembrance offered the bread and the cup to each and to all,
uttering these words: Take this all of you, eat and drink;
This is my body which will be given up for you.

After the meal, Jesus took another cup,
poured out in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment.
Jesus gave thanks and shared the cup with his friends, saying:
Take this , all of you and drink from it;
This is the cup of my life-blood,
the life of the new and everlasting covenant.
In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all.
Sustain one another in the power of sacred memory.

Eucharistic Acclamation
Nurtured by your Word, nourished by your food;
Called anew to be your people, we acclaim your praise.

We gather as a people of cherished memories
in a creation infused with divine energy from the dawn of time.
And we look forward in hope as the creative Spirit – amid the
chaos and confusion of life – continues to liberate
fresh possibility and enduring hope.

Second Invocation:
That same Spirit we invoke upon all who are gathered here
that our solidarity around the Eucharistic table
may awaken in us a yearning for justice and generosity,
so that all peoples can enjoy the gifts
of God’s abundant nourishment.

We unite our thoughts and prayers with all who yearn for
new life, those who are living and enrich our lives with
friendship and love; those who have died and continue to
sustain us in the cosmic communion of life.

In our daily lives may we be blessed with wisdom and courage,
with vision and resolve, forever committed to God’s reign of
justice, love and peace, faithful to God’s grace
all the days of our lives.

With grateful hearts we acclaim our faith and hope in the
Holy One: Creator, Liberator and Holy Spirit,
nourishing and sustaining us, this day and forever.  Amen.

 

Eucharistic Song 1:

(Melody: The Wind in the Willows)

1. Come people in worship at table recline.
Come sing out our praises in scripture and rhyme.
Our table is open, inclusive for all,
As we celebrate Eucharist, our faith we recall.

CHORUS: As the sun shines upon us enriching our earth,
                And the fruits of the seasons rejoicing the heart.
                We bring to this table – gifts of bread and wine
                To share on our journey with all humankind.

2. In setting our table we recall many ways
   We’ve been nourished and fed for the length of our days.
   Creation’s own table in abundant regard
   Reminds us that God’s love is vividly shared.

3. With great thanks we offer what we have received,
   The bread of the harvest from nature’s own fields.
   And the wine that is crushed from the grape of the vine,
   God’s gifts are poured out all abundant in kind.


4. The bread of our table is given for all.
Mid starving injustice we hear the poor call.
May our lives too be broken to serve all in need
And satisfy hunger beyond race and creed.

5. The thirst of our world is symbolised here
In the cups we pour out our dry hearts to cheer.
Like water abundant refreshing the soul.
May the wine of this Eucharist make all people whole. 

6. We proclaim the feast open to all who believe.
Come share in this banquet, come now and receive.
And know in the heart that is hungry for more
That God’s love is with you wherever you go.

 

EUCHARISTIC SONG 2

(Melody: Great is thy faithfulness) 

1. Come to the feast all you who are hungry,
Come as companions acclaiming the Word.
Come as you are, the table is open
And share in the banquet for breaking the Bread.

Chorus: Great is God’s faithfulness, food shared abundantly,
               From God’s creation, all gifts we receive.
               This is the table with food for the nations,
               And everyone’s welcome to join in the feast. 

2. Welcome the guest where no one’s excluded,
 The poor and unworthy have priority.
 The table is open with blessings abundant,
 Come join in the feast with assured liberty. 

3. Bread from the earth, prodigious its nature,
Wine from the grape, in justice we thirst.
Gratefully bringing what we have to offer,
Gifts that are poured out which God offers first. 

4. Bread that is broken, the hungry seek justice,
abundant the earth for all to be fed.
Beyond the consumption and cruel exploitation
Let’s satisfy hunger with God’s daily bread. 

5. All who are thirsting for life that flows freely,
Cups that are poured, the wine that is new.
Yearning for justice, with water abundant,
Let’s pour out our lives – empowering breakthrough. 

 

6. We declare the feast open to all who are gathered,
With Jesus at table, true food to sustain.
And forth we will go – to nourish the nations,
Transforming creation, empowering God’s Reign. 

 


 Prayer to the Holy Spirit

 Come Holy Spirit, breathe down upon our troubled world.
Shake the tired foundations of our crumbling institutions.
Break the rules that keep you out of all our sacred spaces,
and from the dust and rubble, gather up the seedlings of a new creation.

 Come Holy Spirit, enflame once more the dying embers of our weariness.
Shake us out of our complacency. Whisper our names once more,
and scatter your gifts of grace with wild abandon.
Break open the prisons of our inner being,
and let your raging justice be our sign of liberty.

 Come Holy Spirit and lead us to places we would rather not go.
Expand the horizons of our limited imaginations.
Awaken in our souls dangerous dreams for new tomorrow,
and rekindle in our hearts the fire of prophetic enthusiasm.

 Come Holy Spirit, whose justice outwits international conspiracy,
whose light outshines religious bigotry,
whose peace can halt our patriarchal hunger for dominance and control,
whose promise invigorates our every effort:
to create a new heaven and a new earth, now and forever.  Amen.



 Call to Silence

Our words have been spoken, our wisdom exchanged;
And questions arise that cannot be tamed.
We inhabit a mys’try that’s deep and profound.
The arc of creation rests on holy ground.

 So rest now the words while the echoes endure
And come home to the silence where wisdom is pure.
And wait in the shadows with light seeping through.
Yes, wait on the Spirit, the source of the new!

In silence, the chaos can be held afresh;
Even in those times when the Spirit is crushed.
And the flickering wick can be fanned into flame.
While the Spirit of silence re-echoes our name. Amen.



The Spirit Who Blows . . .

How can we face the pain and the plight of those who live in the dark?
How can we open the locks that are tied round many a mind and a heart?
How can we liberate people in hope for the new day that dawns on us all?
The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind!

 While parliamentarians fail to inspire and financiers convolute;
And the powers from on high are so blind and confused – even Church folk can’t
recognise truth!
While systems collapse and things fall apart, a new birth emerges elsewhere.
The future, my friend, is blowing in the wind, the future is blowing . . .

Let’s listen instead to the margins crying out, the voices for too long subdued.
Lets listen instead to our Planet, the Earth, whose story we oft misconstrued.
The wisdom of women ignored and repressed, is haunting our world anew.
So, new hope, my friend, is blowing in the wind, new hope is blowing . . .

 How can we reclaim a faith to sustain the prophets that open new ways?
And can we discern the disturbing voice of the Spirit who now recreates?
We need a new heart and a mind open wide – receptive to this hour of grace.
Just listen, my friend, to the vibrating wind, the answer is blowing . . .

 The Spirit that broods at creation’s first dawn, unravelling the chaos of life,
Continues to breathe in the birthing and dying, in the longing, the struggle and strife.
For God’s sake don’t tie down the Spirit that blows, reweaving the rhythms of time.
We’re called to befriend what’s blowing in the wind, the Spirit who blows in . . .


 

THE LORD's PRAYER

VERSION ONE:  (Based on John Dominic Crossan (2010), The Greatest Prayer)

“We are as human beings co-responsible with the Householder
for the household of the world.” (P.50)

O Cosmic Householder,
Source of our wisdom, protector and provider,
embracing all that dwells in the Heavens,
naming all for holiness and justice,
in the Companionship of Empowerment,
spread throughout the entire creation,
as willed by Holy Wisdom.
In justice, may all be sustained by daily food,
and relieved of the burden of crippling debts.
Lead us not into collusion with any type of violence,
and deliver us from all forms of violent oppression.
For yours is the empowering desire to radiate on earth
the non-violent justice of enduring hope.

“We owe it to God to run God’s world responsibly. We owe the divine Householder
the conservation of the world house; we owe the divine Homemaker the consecration
of the earth home. We owe God adequate care of all God’s creation.
We owe God collaboration in honouring God’s name, in establishing God’s kingdom,
and in doing God’s will “as in heaven so also on earth.”
We owe it to God to cease focussing on 
heaven,
       especially in order to avoid focussing on earth.”
   (p.155).
 



VERSION TWO
(Based on the original Aramaic – Neil Douglas Klotz)

O Cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration! Soften the ground of our being
and carve out a space within us where your presence can abide.
Fill us with your creativity so that we may be empowered to bear
the fruit of your mission.
Let each of our actions bear fruit in accordance with your desire.
Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share what each being needs
to grow and flourish.  Untie the tangled threads of destiny that bind us,
as we release others from the entanglement of past mistakes.
Do not let us be seduced by that which would divert us from our true purpose,
but illuminate the opportunities of the present moment.
For you are the ground and fruitful vision, the birth, power and fulfilment,
as all is gathered and made whole once again.   



Unconditional Love.

 

Dear Human,

You have got it all wrong!
You didn’t come here to master unconditional love.
That is where you came from and where you’ll return.
You came here to learn personal love, Universal love.
Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love.
Whole love. Infused with Divinity.
Lived through the grace of stumbling.
Demonstrated through the beauty of . . . often messing up.
You didn’t come here to be perfect; you already are!
You came here to be gloriously human, flawed and fabulous.
And then to rise again into remembering.
But unconditional love? Stop telling that story.
Love, in truth doesn’t need ANY other adjectives.
It doesn’t require modifiers.
It doesn’t require the condition of perfection.
It only askes that you show up – and do your best.
That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine,
and fly, and laugh, and cry, and hurt, and heal, and fall,
and get back up again, and work and live and die as YOU!
It’s enough; it’s plenty!
                              - Courtney Walsh. 


The Beatitudes as inspired by the original Aramaic

(Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven)
Fulfilled are those who devote themselves to the link of Spirit;
the design of the universe is rendered through them

(Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted)
Healed are those who weep for their frustrated desire,
they shall see the face of fulfilment in a new form.

(Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth)
Healthy are they who have softened what is rigid within,
they shall be open to receive the splendour of earth’s fruits.


(Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied)
Happy are they who long deeply for a world of right relationships,
they shall be encircled by the birth of a new society.

(Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy)
Healthy are they who from the inner womb birth forth compassion,
they shall feel its warm arms embracing them.

(Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God)
Happy are they whose passion radiates with deep abiding purpose,
they shall envision the furthest extent of life’s wealth.

(Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons and daughters of God)
Healed are those who bear the fruit of sympathy and safety for all,
they shall hasten the coming of God’s new creation.

(Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven)
Healing to those who have been shattered within – from seeking wholesome rest,
theirs is the ruling principle of the Cosmos.


(Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you)

Blessed are you when you are reproached and driven away by the clamour of evil on all sides, for my sake. Know deep joy even in your loss for this is the secret for claiming your expanded home in the universe; it is a sign of the prophets and prophetesses to feel the disunity around them intensely.

(Based on Neil Douglas-Klotz, Prayers of the Cosmos, HarperSanFrancisco, 1990, pp.44-76)


MORNING-TIME Prayers

1. Arise, O living Spirit, embrace the day ahead,
    awake our eyes and ears for revelation.
    Invoke anew the wisdom which is our daily bread.
    Protect anew the pilgrim of the dawn.

We pray the gift of courage to make us brave in heart,
We pray the gift of truth in all we say.
We pray the light of vision upon which we embark,
Refresh anew the pilgrim of the dawn.

Illuminate our vision as planetary beings,
earth us deeply in the clay from which we're formed.
Yet stretch the inner longing in truth with cosmic strings.
Expansive is the pilgrim of the dawn.

We're stewards of God's creation, we're gifted into life,
Entrusted with the care of all that is.
We're called to work for justice beyond divisive strife.
Unite as one the pilgrims of the dawn.

Each day provides a milestone along the pilgrim's way,
surprising us with paradox and hope.
We're grateful for the blessing that is another day.
Embracing us as pilgrims of the dawn.


2. When the new day dawns and the sun lights up the sky,
    the land awakes!
    Our sleeping eyes and slumbering hearts
    alloy to greet the day.
    Horizon breaks to welcome yet another dawn of hope and joy
    to reproduce in our waiting world
    just one more touch of God's creative Spirit.

We face the dawn - its cool refreshing breeze,
of hope, of fear - God knows, perhaps, God alone!
And in our hearts God sows the seeds of quiet endurance
to live not just, but grow,
and like the dawn itself, envelop the horizon.

And time moves on, the traffic building up.
We move amid the web of life,
for motion is the essence of our being.
And life - that greatest gift we all receive -
unlocks the energy of God in office-place and factory alike.
Our world moves mid noise and restlessness,
in the pulsating dawn of the universe.

Enkindle in our hearts the inner dawn,
that we may see and understand the purpose of it all,
the beauty of our call,
and the hope of a waiting world
that it too may share in the new creation
where Christ is all in all. Amen.

3. For a WET morning

Its a morning for umbrellas as the rain is coming down
and the wetness of the Spirit floods our earth.
And the clouds are weeping hurriedly, immersing us in grace;
the wonder of creation flushes forth.

We lift our hearts this morning time amid the water's flow,
baptised afresh to face another day.
We're showered with many blessings in the waters of new life;
abundant like the ripples of the rain.

Forget we not, however, the parched and thirsty earth,
the water that's polluted and denied.
And the rains that are disrupted - for we don't understand
the damage and destruction we incite.

The rains they fall abundantly, on friend and foe alike,
reminding us of nature's rich resource.
The streams that flow throughout the earth, inebriating hope,
must not be damned for selfish gain or force.

So, water then the gradens of plant and herb alike,
and drink a tribute to each thirsting soul.
And on this rainy morning may the wells that overflow
bring justice, love and peace to all the earth.  Amen.


 

EVENING / NIGHT-Time

a) Spirit who wakens the sunrise at dawn; Spirit who thrives in the height of the noon.
    Spirit who brings home what each day achieves, Rest deeply within us this night.

    Spirit who calls forth the work of our hands, Spirit enlightening the thoughts of each day.
    Spirit inspiring our pains and our joys, Rest deeply within us this night.

    Spirit who stirs up whatever begins, Spirit who fosters the desire to see through.
    Spirit who calls what we failed to achieve, Rest deeply within us this night.

    Spirit whose wisdom will always endure - Mid the fortunes befalling each day.
    Bring all restless hearts the contentment of sleep, And waken us fresh to the dawn. Amen. 

 

b) This is holy ground; we're standing on holy ground; our feet awalk upon the earth that's sacred.
    Whether vale or mound, this is holy ground, And myst'ry rests in gracious gifts abounding.

    This is sacred space, inhabiting sacred space, And the Spirit dwells in all that we're embracing.
    And the air we breathe, graces all bequeath, For the Spirit blows in everything awaking.

    This is resting time, mid the darkness rhyme; in the starlike gaze, the Spirit 'ere abiding.
    Mild refreshing sleep, holy vigil keep, Till another dawn calls forth our undertaking.

 

  Fasting and Feasting By William Arthur Ward

 

Lent can be more than a time of fasting. It can also be a joyous season of feasting.
Lent is a time to fast from certain things and to feast on others.
Therefore, let us pray for the grace to:

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ living in them.
Fast from emphasising differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from the shadows of darkness; feast on the gift of new light.
Fast from restless anxiety; feast on gratitude and peace.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from excessive worry; feast on the grace to trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicions; feast on truth.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on words that empower.
Fast from thoughts of weakness; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from the pollution of noise; feast on silence and solitude.
Fast from everything that separates us from the God: feast on all that nourishes faith