May 2021 WATER and Women of Dignity Liturgy

Wise, Generous, and Nurturing: A Time to Appreciate Women

A recording of this liturgy is available to listen to here.

Preparation: Have bread and drink near you for Eucharist.

Call to Gather

May is the month of Mothers, Mary, and May Processions. Spring and Mothers’ Day invite gratitude as life is returning. Buds, blossoms, greenness, and chirping birds announce spring renewal. They invite us to focus on our theme, “Wise, Generous, and Nurturing: A Time to Appreciate Women.”

We gather together today to give thanks for the many ways women are
Wise: showing experience, knowledge, and good judgment.
Generous: giving more of something than is strictly necessary or expected.
Nurturing: caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something. Appreciative: recognizing the full worth of partners, friends, family, colleagues, ideas, children, projects, animals, plants, and self.

The flower of the month, the Lily of the Valley, often referred to as May bells, Mary’s tears, and May lily, symbolizes a return of happiness, sweetness, humility, and good luck. The Lily of the Valley flowers are thought to bring luck in love. Let’s make sure they are near as we bless same-sex couples! The window wells around my grandmother’s house were filled with Lily of the Valley flowers, and these sweet little bells bloom in our front yard, returning happiness each spring, bringing luck in love, and calling us to listen!

Song: “Listen to the Voices” by Holly Near with Emma’s Revolution from We Came to Sing!

Listen to the voices of the first nations (x2)
Calling out the messages of the Earth and sky
Telling us what we need to know in order to survive
Listen to the voices of the first nations

Listen to the voices of the old women (x2)
Calling out the messages of the moon and sea
Telling us what we need to know in order to be free
Listen to the voices of the old women

Listen to the voices of the young children (x2)
Calling out the messages of the heart and soul
Telling us what we used to know before the lies were told
Listen to the voices of the young children

Listen to the voices of young children
Listen to the voices of the old women
Listen to the voices of the first nations
Listen to the voices of the living

Praise Divine Wisdom

Let us praise Divine Wisdom for raising up wise, generous, nurturing, and appreciative women to be with us during this COVID-19 time and during the struggles for racial justice. Our response is: “Bless us with wisdom.”

Praise to you, Divine Wisdom, for raising up Miriam to dance your people to promised lands.

Response: Bless us with wisdom.

Praise to you, Holy Wisdom, for empowering Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles, the first to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection, and the foundation of women-church.

Response: Bless us with wisdom.

Praise to you, Divine Wisdom, for raising up prophetic women in the African American community and the Black Lives Matter Movement who challenge racism everywhere, especially Vice President Kamala Harris and lawyer activist Stacy Abrams.

Response: Bless us with wisdom.

Praise to you, Holy Wisdom, for calling forth doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, home healthcare aides, and first responders to care for those living and dying with COVID-19, and for those with physical and emotional wounds from protesting systemic racism in our cities.

Response: Bless us with wisdom.

Praise to you, Divine Wisdom, for giving us courage to face our anger, fears, anxieties, impatience, and uncertainties during this uncharted pandemic and ongoing racial violence.

Response: Bless us with wisdom.

Praise to you, Holy Wisdom, for calling us to remember those who are most vulnerable, those who have no safe place to shelter, those who are hungry, and those who are unable to earn an income because their jobs are suspended.

Response: Bless us with wisdom.

Praise to you, Divine Wisdom, for giving us this time to rebalance and transform our lives, our hearts, our cities, our countries, our planet, and our universe.

Response: Bless us with wisdom.

Reading

“Litany of the Saints” © 2011 Marsie Silvestro from Feast of Sisterly Trance Formation

Women
from every corner
of the Earth,
fighting oppression,
saying no to violence,
and war and rape,
feeding the hungry,
clothing the poor,
healing the sick
and themselves.

Women
from every corner
of the Earth,
birthing songs and paintings,
books and baked goods,
policies and petunias,
children and cats,
out of their hearts,
their homes
and bodies.

Women
from every corner
of the Earth,
working to free
their mothers, their aunts,
sisters and daughters,
all in the name of Justice,
all in the name of Love,
all in the life of You.

Song and Video: “I Am with You on the Journey” by Kathy Sherman, CSJ, video by Patricia Russell

I am with you on the journey and I will never leave you,
I am with you on the journey, always with you.

Reading

“The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems, Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1992

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Song: “Deep Peace” as sung by Libana

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet Earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you

Reflection

Let’s take 10 minutes in groups of 3 to share together.

When are you Wise? When is our community Wise?
When are you Generous? When is our community Generous?
When are you Nurturing, Appreciative? When is our community Nurturing, Appreciative?

Who Needs Our Prayers Today

Please unmute yourself or type in the chat.

Response: Loving Wisdom, hear our prayer.
 
Blessing Bread

Hold your bread for a blessing.

Blessed are you, Gracious and Loving Creator, Divine Love, Wisdom Sophia, for this Eucharistic feast. You call us to the banquet table. We take, bless, break, and eat this bread in thanksgiving for the wisdom of our ancestors, in gratitude for the generosity we have received and given, in thanksgiving for those who have nurtured us and taught us to be nurturing, and in appreciation for our partners, friends, family, colleagues, ideas, children, projects, animals, plants, and ourselves. May love increase.

Blessing Drink

Hold your drink for a blessing.

Blessed are you, Holy One of Joy, Divine Love, Wisdom Sophia, for creating this fruit of the vine. Young wine reminds us of new love; aged wine, growing richer and fuller, symbolizes long-lasting love. We give thanks for this fruit of the vine and recall the lasting love of beloved partners and dear friends. We take, bless, and drink in gratitude. May love increase.
 
Let us eat and drink with joy as we give thanks for this community of wise, generous, nurturing, and appreciative women.

Prayer

“Our Mother” by Miriam Therese Winter in Gil Stafford, Wisdom Walking: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life (New York: Church Publishing, 2017, p. 199)

Our Mother who is within us
we celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come.
Your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits
and we let go.
You support us in our power
and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us
the empowerment around us
and the celebration among us
now and forever.
Amen.

Sending Forth

Let us go forth, strengthened by our time together. May we be a little Wiser, more Generous and Nurturing, and take time to Appreciate one another and those in our lives. Until we meet again,

Amen.  Ashe.  May it be so.

Song: “Blessing Song” by Miriam Therese Winter, art by Luz Frye

May the blessing of God go before you.
May Her grace and peace abound.
May Her Spirit live within you.
May Her love wrap you ’round.
May Her blessing remain with you always.
May you walk on holy ground.

© 2021 WATER: The Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, dneu@hers.com