Liturgy for the Annunciation WOW 2018

Opening prayer:

Mary our mother, we bring you our struggles today

Struggles for inclusion, struggles to be who we are called to be in our church.

We name you Magnificat- you who bring down the mighty from their thrones and raise the lowly.

We ask that you would help us to bring Magnificat into our homes, our communities and our churches.

May your words give us that power to enable our generation to bring about your kindom of gender justice. Amen.


A reading from Growing into God by Edwina Gately:

We come, ultimately, to whisper our assent to the amazing reality of God – in us.

Our “yes” is an acknowledgement and acceptance of the miraculous call to each one of us to grow into God.

It is a moment of conversion – a terrifying fall into the God in us – when at last, after centuries of separation and distance from the Holy, we dare to believe in the incarnation of God in our very selves.

Such humbling, joyful, and liberating awareness is not for the spiritually fearful.

If we truly believe in our call to wholeness, we will emerge through our spiritual journey brilliant and shining as a new creation.   (pg. xiii-xiv, adapted KGS)

Wisdom inspired by our God.            Response: Thanks be to God

A reading from Richard Rohr’s Reflection from the Center for Action and Contemplation “In Imitation of God”  published Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Theologian and New Testament scholar Marcus Borg (1942-2015) significantly contributed to our new understanding of Jesus in his historical and cultural context. Today I’d like to share Borg’s insights on how Jesus pursued the imitatio dei (imitation of God) as his life’s purpose. This is the best any of us can do: to act as God acts (see Ephesians 5:1). But first we must be clear about how God acts, which is why we need good theology. Borg writes:

The central imperative in the teaching of Jesus is to live in accord with God’s character: “Be compassionate, as God is compassionate.”

Our response will be “Be compassionate, as God is compassionate.”

 . . . We are to feel for others as God feels for all of God’s children and act accordingly. . . .

The author of John’s gospel speaks of God’s love for the world: “For God so loved the world . . .” (3:16). Jesus, for John, is the revelation of God’s love, and so the imitatio dei then becomes an imitatio Christi, an imitation of Jesus. The Jesus of John’s gospel says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (13:34). The symmetry between the message of Jesus and the testimony of the post-Easter community is striking: love one another because the character of God as known in Jesus is love.

Be compassionate, as God is compassionate.

We move from how Jesus saw the character of God to how he saw the passion of God. God’s character and passion are not separate, but closely related, just as they are in people. Our passion—our dedicated devotion, our consuming interest, our concentrated commitment—is a major indicator of our character, indeed, flows out of our character. So it is in Jesus’s teaching about God. God’s character and passion, what God is like and God’s will for the world, go hand in hand.

Be compassionate, as God is compassionate.

God’s passion is justice. . . . As the social form of compassion, justice is about politics [the word “politics” comes from the Greek polis for “city”]. . . . Politics is about the shape and shaping, the structure and structuring, of the city and, by extension, of human communities more generally, ranging from the family to society as a whole. . . . Justice is the political form of compassion, the social form of love, a compassionate justice grounded in God as compassionate. . . .

The way of Jesus was both personal and political. It was about personal transformation. And it was political, a path of [nonviolent] resistance to the domination system and advocacy of an alternative vision of life together under God. His counter advocacy, his passion for God’s passion, led to his execution. . .

Be compassionate, as God is compassionate.

What would Jesus do in our context? He might once again disrupt the temple—the unholy alliance between religion and empire. I think he would teach the wrongness and futility of violence in human affairs. He would be passionate about compassion and justice as the primary virtues of a life centered in the God whom he knew. And of course, he would teach the importance of a deep centering in God.

Be compassionate, as God is compassionate.

Marcus Borg, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary (HarperSanFrancisco: 2006), 184-186, 226, 305.


Our response: Women of the world, “resist, insist, persist, and enlist.”

Be here with us.

Response: Our time is now.

Listen to Mothers Speak

“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” – Oprah Winfrey | Woman’s Day (1988)

“I figure when my husband comes home from work, if the kids are still alive, then I’ve done my job.” – Rosanne Barr in Susan Dworkin, “Rosanne Barr” | Ms. (1987)

“I cannot forget my mother. Though not as sturdy as others, she is my bridge. When I needed to get across, she steadied herself long enough for me to run across safely.” – Renita Weems | “Hush, Mama’s Gotta Go Bye-Bye,” in Patricia Bell-Scott et. al., eds. | Double Stich (1991)

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.” – Maya Angelou | I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970)

“In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.” – Alice Walker | In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens (1983)

Mothers who guide us,

Be here with us.

Response: Our time is now.

Reflect on Mothers

What did you hear in these quotes? What have you learned from the mothers in your life? How will you pass on this learning?

Song: “Womanriver”

Womanriver flowing on

Womanriver flowing on and on (2x)

Womanriver flowing on.

Reclaiming Mother’s Legacy

Some spirits of our mothers we want to reclaim. This stole which my grandmother made represents roots and wings, comfort and healing. I have covered myself with it many times. Come, wrap yourself in this stole and tell whatever family story you want to share, or just take the stole silently. (Sharing. When the sharing ceases, continue by saying:)

Let us each hold onto the scarf as we sing a lullaby.

Song: “Lullaby” by Cris Williamson, from Live Dream© 1976.

Like a ship in the harbour, Like a mother and child

Like a light in the darkness, I’ll hold you a while.

We’ll rock on the water, I’ll cradle you deep,

And hold you while angels sing you to sleep.

A Blessing for Mothers on the Annunciation – from WATER (Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual)

Let us go forth with a blessing of mothers.

Blessed be mothers and caregivers everywhere.

Blessed be women who give birth, women who adopt, women who care for children, women who love with an open heart.

Blessed be women who cannot give birth, women who choose not to be mothers.

Blessed be societies that offer health care services and economic support to all mothers and children.

Blessed be those who create all kinds of loving families.

Blessed be mothers and caregivers. Now and forever, wherever we are. May it be so.

Song: “Womanriver”

Womanriver flowing on

Womanriver flowing on and on (2x)

Womanriver flowing on.

Womanriver, how you comfort me,

Flowing on through every century,

Flowing on to what is yet to be,

Womanriver flowing on. (Chorus)

Greeting of Peace

Let us open our circle by blessing one another with peace. (Blessing)

Take Action for Mothers and our own mothering of others


·       Do something special for the mother(s) in your life: make a card, send an email, make breakfast, thank her.

·       Put flowers in a room she uses often: bedroom, office, living room, kitchen.

·       Take a walk with your mum and connect with the universe together. Look at stars, moon, sun, and give thanks.

·       Cook a beautiful, healthy meal together. Use one of your Mum’s favourite recipes. Set an elegant table with tablecloth and candlelight and enjoy the time together.

·       Give thanks for those you mother or those who mother you.

·       Light a candle in thankfulness of the women around you.