3 Easter: “For God So Loved the Cosmos” • John 3:16 • Earth Day Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

painting by Clivie Loveless-Newton, ©2020

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Time with Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Wonder” Natural prayer happens when our souls are enchanted with life. (YouTube link will post later this week)

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Since the beginning of beginnings –

God so loves the cosmos.

As Creation continues to evolve –

God so loves the cosmos.

Kindred creatures as community –

God so loves the cosmos.

Beloved Ones, let all of us – of all species –

gather in praise and thanksgiving,

drawn to the Light of Christ. Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

Special Music: “I Love You Earth” Written and performed by 6-year-old singer / songwriter Aiden Adams. Lyrics and Melody by Aiden Adams. Music and Lyrics (C) 2020 Aiden Books http://www.aidenbooks.com (C) 2021, Kooty Records. Premiered Mar 15, 2021.

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

As Earth Day (April 22) approaches, let us pray with our eyes open, all senses engaged. Gentle your spirit and body. Listen, smell, look, taste, and touch the natural world. Who or what kindly gathers with you today? This is your special prayer partner who also loves God.

With your fellow creature or expression of life, praise God for the beauty of the earth, share gratitude for holy comforts, and lift up concerns for all living beings. Talk with God about your species and what you perceive might be the experience of your earthly friend/s, too. Be honest as you speak with God the Creator. Be open, too. God may be calling you to listen closely to other beings. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God. (pause)

Be still and know that I am. (pause)

Be still and know. (pause)

Be still. (pause)

Be. (pause)

Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

Children often know, quite naturally, how to pray with wild things – a grasshopper on a blade of grass, summer clouds morphing overhead, the haunting hoot of an evening owl. Consider your childhood or time with a precious child. Was there/is there, a special natural place or being, not a human-made place or human being, that was/is safe and life-giving? Remember that place or being. This place, this being, is a vessel of God’s caring love and grace. God’s eternal care always rises throughout the cosmos. It can’t help but do that.

On this 3rd Sunday of Easter, as Earth Day nears, be especially open to how God’s grace is moving through the natural world around you. Notice who or what God has placed near you to lift your spirit, to deepen sacred cross-species bonds, and to balance the flow of life in and through us all. May this grace bless you and ripple out and bless many others. too.

We Listen

Scripture: John 3:16 (NRSV)

The biblical word we translate as “the world” is “κόσμον” (kosmon) – “cosmos” in English. It suggests much more than human community or the planet earth. The cosmos is the eternal reality of living systems. This is what God loves which Christ came to liberate.

(English) For God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

(Koine Greek) Οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν Υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ’ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Sermon “Imagine” by The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church (USA). Sermon for Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2021 (see Reflection) Bishop Curry’s sermon expresses God’s love for all that exists – God’s love of the cosmos – and our role in this divinely beloved reality.

Reflection: “IMAGINE! God’s Earth and People Restored”

No written reflection this week. Please consider participating in Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a virtual event April 18-21, 2021: “IMAGINE! God’s Earth and People Restored”

To register: https://attendify.co/ecumenical-advocacy-days-pbfNWPy

To view recorded sermons and prayers anytime: https://advocacydays.org/worship/

Special Music: “Morning has Broken” Music: Gaelic melody. Arrangement written by Cat Stevens. Performed by Concertino, a flute and guitar duo with flautist Vic Norian and guitarist Charles Gregoire. Recorded at Parkdale United Church on June 14, 2010 in Ottawa Canada. (Chalice #53)

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

For all the ways this good earth tends our bodies and souls, let us generously support those organizations which tend God’s beloved creations. It may be that your community will be participating in this year’s Church World Service’s (CWS) Crop Hunger Walk, a virtual event in 2021. You are most welcome to join the “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” team – https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2021/search. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “For the Beauty of the Earth” Words and Music: Folliot S Pierpoint, 1864. Performed by Audrey Assad. Video by
Bob Marshall. Video published Apr 11, 2019. (Chalice #56)

Benediction

Breathing in, imagine the universe.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our solar system.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our earth and moon.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our continent surrounded seas.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our country, a nation of nations.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our region, all your living neighbors.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine your loved ones and their homes.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine yourself and your current location.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

May the Peace of Christ be with all beings. Amen.

Worship Resources:

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: painting by Clivie Loveless-Newton, ©2020

Online Publishing Date: April 13, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

Eastertide Message

Aiden the Wonder Cat napping. (c) 2021, Kathryn M Schreiber

Hello Dear Ones! Happy Eastertide! Next week’s worship will celebrate Earth Day and then I’m off for two weeks; no new content for April 25th or May 2nd – however see the prayer poem posted for PAAM Sunday (4/25) that I posted before Easter. I will post a service for Mother’s Day (5/9) with Holy Communion. Hope there is some post-Easter downtime for you, too!

2nd Sunday of Easter: “Blessed by the Risen Christ” • John 20:19-29 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

artwork: He Qui “The Doubt of St Thomas”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Time with Children of All Ages

No new recording this week. Please visit “Kathryn Schreiber” YouTube channel for previously recorded messages.

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Behind the locked doors where safety kindly hid us,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Amid the joyful reunions of those once scattered,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Called up and sent out to serve God’s redemptive dream,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Infused with divine forgiveness, empowered to extend mercy,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Alleluia! Amen!

Light the Christ Candle

Song: “In the Garden” Words and Music written by C. Austin Miles, 1913. Performed by Apple Crisol. May 13, 2020 (Chalice #227)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

Welcome to Eastertide! We are on the Easter side of the Cross. Here in North America, we appear to be on the “other side” of the global pandemic as vaccines decrease the severity of infection and transmission. Weekly, new liberties are extended. And, new realities are encountered. This pandemic has changed us.

How is it with your soul this week? What are your excitements and concerns? Do not be afraid, tell it all to God. Speak honestly with Most Merciful, Ever Compassionate One. And listen to others, too. We are going through this transformation together. God is still speaking in many ways, though many beings, including the deep wisdom of your beautiful soul. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God. (pause)

Be still and know that I am. (pause)

Be still and know. (pause)

Be still. (pause)

Be. (pause)

Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

The Risen Christ appears behind a bolted door bringing peace to terrified followers. What a graphic example of God’s grace! However, let us note that the resurrected Jesus Christ also speaks of forgiveness, as he did at the Last Supper.

One of the most powerful vessels of divine grace is forgiveness. When we mortals forgive each other, we tumble into the grace of God’s forgiveness. We are transformed though those who hurt us may not be.

Years ago, discussing a deep regret with a dear friend, a woman of great faith, she asked me pointblank: “Do you believe God has forgiven you?” I quickly replied that I did. Then she told me, “So now, you must forgive yourself.”

This 2nd Sunday of Easter as we rise with the Rising Christ let us practice forgiveness. God is eager to open dams that have restricted the wondrous flow of God’s healing grace.

We Listen

Scripture: John 20:19-29 (NRSV)

(The Risen Christ appears to the hiding, frightened disciples)

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Sermon “Peace Be with You” by The Rev. Dr. Diane Weible, Conference Minister of the Northern California-Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ, USA. Post Easter lessons and the call to serve God in new, bold ways.


Special Music: “Here Comes the Sun” Performed by James Taylor and Yo You Ma. Written by George Harrison. Cello arrangement by Charles Floyd. Dave O’Donnell produced, recorded and mixed the audio. Backing vocals were provided by David Lasley, Kate Markowitz, Arnold McCuller, Kim Taylor, Andrea Zonn. Recorded March 7, 2008, for Yo-Yo’s 2008 album “Songs of Joy and Peace.”

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

For all the times Christ transcended our fears and doubts, let us generously support those organizations which embody God’s Big Love. It may be that your community will be participating in this year’s Church World Service’s (CWS) Crop Hunger Walk, a virtual event in 2021. You are most welcome to join the “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” team – https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2021/search. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

“Listen to the Words/Peace Be with You” Written by Joel Payne. Tracks, charts and scores http://www.resoundworship. All rights reserved.

Benediction

Risen Christ says: “Peace be with You.”

Our souls hear: “Peace be with You.”

Our voices proclaim: “Peace be with You.”

Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “The Doubt of St Thomas”

Online Publishing Date: April 7, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

Easter Sunday Christian Community: “Easter People” • Mark 16:1-8 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

artwork: He Qui, “The Risen Christ”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Lent-Easter 2021

A year ago the coronavirus converted our congregations from sanctuary-based to home-based ministries. This Lent we reflect upon our calling to be the Christian Community in new ways. May we be open to reinvention by the Holy Spirit.

Time with Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Comma Cross” Easter celebration — death is not the end

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Unable to move the heavy stone, it is moved.

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Prepared to anoint the dead, his body is gone.

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Bewildered by a luminous being, we ask:

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Challenged by a word of eternal hope, we wonder:

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” Written by Charles Wesley, 1739; Public Domain. Vocals and guitars by Eric C. Rose, banjo by George Pierson. Mar 27, 2021. (Chalice #216)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

This Lent and Easter we have intentionally focused upon being a Christian faith community. This Easter, the second with adapted pandemic configurations, we are like the women who visited Jesus’s tomb. We, too, have been thrown into a year’s worth of confusion, hope, and anxiety. Yet, amid what has been challenging, haven’t we also found more than we expected?

How is it with you and your faith community? Where and how are you feeling the uplift of Easter? What is still a great loss? Whatever your experience is, God is with you as the Living Christ. Speak honestly with God and be open to a new blessing. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God. (pause)

Be still and know that I am. (pause)

Be still and know. (pause)

Be still. (pause)

Be. (pause)

Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

Easter, spiritual Easter, is nothing but pure grace. It is completely unexpected, surprising, confusing, comforting, and liberating – all at the same time! Grace perfected.

This scheduled Easter, as was true last Easter, we have been pushed out of our familiar routines. Last year, for many, Easter wasn’t “Easter” because we could not keep certain traditions. But this year – haven’t we learned a great lesson? “Easter” isn’t contained in a place or a date on the calendar. “Easter” can happen anytime, anyplace.

God willing there will be a collective, in-person “Easter” sometime before too long when we can weave together old practices and new awarenesses. Until then, let us truly savor the “Easter” which dwells within us, all of us friends of Jesus, on this holy, blessed day.

We Listen

Scripture: Mark 16:1-8 (CEB)

This is the oldest gospel account of Easter morning revealing a turning point between confusion, hope, and fear.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body.Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb.  They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) 

Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.”

Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Meditation Quote about Easter

“We are an Easter people and alleluia is our cry.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Sermon: “Who’s Going to Roll That Stone Away?” God has many ways to move obstacles

There is no written Easter Reflection this week.

Special Music: “Easter Hallelujah” Music by Leonard Cohen. Lyrics by Kelley Mooney. Performed by Cassandra and Callahan Star, sisters. Piano arrangement: Jeff Buckley of Karaoke Studios. Recording by Maverick Judson of MJ Interactive.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Invitation

With His death, descent into hell, and resurrection, Jesus Christ opened the gates to Paradise for all souls. As St Paul wrote, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

As we gather for Holy Communion this Easter day, we gather with the souls of our loved ones – living and dead. This Easter, we especially call to blessed memory all who have died this past year – especially victims of the pandemic and racialized violence. We hold close the acknowledgement of these many deaths not to be weighted down, but to lift up their souls in the Easter Light of the Risen One.

Let us now speak the names of those persons, living or dead, who are not present with us in person, yet present in our thoughts and prayers. Let us be gathered together: (speak their names)

Consecration Invitation and Prayer

Laying your hands on your bread and cup, we will ask the Holy Spirit to move among us and fill our household items with sacred presence:

Eternal One, O Risen One, may these humble elements become for us living symbols of Your magnificent power to overcome evil. May the sharing of our loaves and cups be for us acts of receiving Your blessing to serve, as you would have us serve, for the uplift of many. Amen.

Sharing the Elements

(elements will be consumed after words of institution)

Jesus lifted up the loaf, gave thanks to God,

broke it, and said:

“Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you.  

Do this in remembrance of me.”

After super, Jesus lifted up the cup,

gave thanks to God, and offered it to them saying:

“Drink this, all of you.

This is my blood of the new covenant,

which is poured out for you and for many,

for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.”

Easter People – these are the Gifts of God for the People of God! Let us receive the Bread – symbol of Eternal Life – the Resurrected Body of Jesus Christ. Let us receive the Cup – symbol of Eternal Forgiveness – the Redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Alleluia! We, Your Easter People, give thanks for the many ever-giving gifts of Jesus Christ. May the meal we have just shared ripple out with many blessings, spreading Your Big Love to everyone. In the name of the Resurrected One, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen. Alleluia!

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

Every Easter we are humbled by the unfathomable gifts God has given us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us truly give thanks and offer ourselves, again, to the God of Goodness and Mercy for the well-being of all beings. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “Because He Lives/Amen” Written by Matt Maher. Performed by The West Coast Choir, West Coast Baptist College Mar 30, 2018. Song: © 2014 Hanna Street Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/ Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / I Am A Pilgrim Songs (BMI) / Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Alletrop Music (BMI) (adm. by Music Services) / worshiptogether.com Songs (ASCAP) Worship Together Music (BMI) sixsteps Music (ASCAP) sixsteps Songs (BMI) S.D.G. Publishing (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)

Benediction

Here’s the really, really, really Good News –

No matter how well we have planned for the worst,

No matter what obstacles appear unmovable,

No matter what surprises greet us

in the sanctified places of death,

No matter how shocking the latest surprise has been,

The Living Christ rises!

There is nothing, nothing, nothing

That can prevent God from lifting up

the Beloved Community!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(CEB) Common English Bible, Copyright © 2011.

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “The Risen Lord”

Online Publishing Date: April 2, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

Holy Week Christian Community: “Friends” • excerpts from John 13-17 & Matthew 26 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

artwork: He Qui “Washing Feet”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Lent-Easter 2021

Over a year ago the coronavirus converted our congregations from sanctuary-based to home-based ministries. This Lent we reflect upon our calling to be the Christian Community in new ways. May we be open to reinvention by the Holy Spirit.

About this Service/Devotional of Readings

In the Gospel of St John, between the summation of Jesus’ public teaching and his arrest in the garden, we find a powerful and profound string of teachings. These words belong to all disciples of Jesus Christ. Let us receive them this Holy Week with faith, hope, and love. Note: I imagined this material being used during the evening. Please adjust as needed.

Household Items Needed

  • candle and matches or additional lamp with nearby switch
  • food and drink for Holy Communion
  • cloth to cover Communion elements

Worship Service

We Gather

Prelude: “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” Written by Johann Sebastian Bach. Guitar/Cello Duet Rendition and Performance by Jack Marti & Elisabeth Montague. (performance ends at 3:33, additional content follows)

Welcome

Tonight, we remember. We choose to remember the tender last hours Jesus spent with his disciples rather than recounting the tale of his betrayal, arrest, unjust trials, as well as his physical abuse and death as a criminal.

While it is true that the Passion of Christ holds great value in Christendom as a symbol of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, the eternal atonement for all human sin, it is also a very disturbing, violent, tragic tale of mortal suffering.

This past year we have lived through too much – too much danger, too much racism, too much vulnerability, too much death, too much violence, too much loneliness – so many tragedies. This evening, we choose to focus upon the Big Love moments in the last hours of Jesus’ life that reveal The Beloved’s profound love and comfort for all who call upon the Living Christ.

Tonight, we who are Jesus Christ’s friends, will abide in his eternal presence listening to his still-peaking words and actions. Tonight, we will be comforted.

Invocation  (adapted excerpts from John 13:12-20 NRSV)

After washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus said:

“Do you know what I have done (meaning washing their feet)? 

You call me Teacher and Lord—

and you are right, for that is what I am. 

So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,

you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 

Very truly, I tell you,

servants are not greater than their master,

nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 

If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 

Very truly, I tell you,

whoever receives one who I send – receives me;

and whoever receives me – receives the one who sent me.”

Light the Christ Candle

Let us receive The Light of Jesus Christ and The One who sent him.

(light candle or turn on you special lamp)

New Commandment (adaptedfrom John 13:31-35 NRSV)

After Jesus predicted his betrayal and Judas left, Jesus said,

“Now the Son of Man has been glorified,

and God has been glorified in him. 

Little children, I am with you only a little longer.

Where I am going, you cannot come.

I give you a new commandment,

that you love one another.

Just as I have loved you,

you also should love one another. 

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,

if you have love for one another.”

Holy Communion (adapted from Matthew 26:20-29 NRSV)

When it was evening,

Jesus took his place with this beloved disciples.

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread,

and after blessing it,

Jesus broke it,

gave it to his disciples saying,  

“Take eat. This is my body.”

Then Jesus took a cup,

and after giving thanks

Jesus gave it to them, saying,

“Drink from it, all of you.

This is my blood of the covenant,

Which is poured out for many

For the forgiveness of sins.

Tonight, we will share this sacred meal with loved ones who not physically present.

Let us gather them in in heart and mind.

(If you wish, speak their names.)

Dear Ones, let us receive The Body of Christ

and the Blood of the New Covenant.

(eat and drink quietly)

After Jesus had shared the loaf and cup with them,

Jesus said,

I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine

until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

The Way, The Truth, The Life (adapted from John 14:1-7)

After the meal, the disciples were even more anxious.

Jesus comforted them, saying:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Believe in God, believe also in me. 

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places.

If it were not so, would I have told you

that I go to prepare a place for you? 

And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come again and will take you to myself,

 so that where I am, there you may be also.”

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me. 

If you know me, you will know my Father also.”

Abide in Me (adaptedfrom John 14:18-15:8 NRSV)

Jesus continued to assure them, saying,

“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.

In a little while the world will no longer see me,

but you will see me.

Because I live, you also will live.

On that day you will know

that I am in my Father,

and you are in me,

and I in you.”

“Abide in me as I abide in you.

Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself

unless it abides in the vine,

neither can you, unless you abide in me. 

I am the vine – you are the branches.

Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit,

because apart from me you can do nothing.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you,

ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 

My Father is glorified by this,

that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

*Song: “Abide in Me” Written and performed by Andrew Marcus. License: Interstreet Recordings (Northern Lights Records). Aug 18, 2020.

Loving Friends (adaptedfrom John 15:10-17 NRSV)

Jesus encouraged his friends to strength, saying:

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love,

just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you,

and that your joy may be complete.”

“This is my commandment,

that you love one another as I have loved you. 

No one has greater love than this,

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

You are my friends if you do what I command you. 

I do not call you servants any longer,

because the servant does not know what the master is doing;

but I have called you friends,

because I have made known to you

everything that I have heard from my Father.”

“You did not choose me but I chose you.

And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last,

so that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 

I am giving you these commands

so that you may love one another.”

The Spirit of Truth (adapted from John 15:26-16:15 NRSV)

Jesus assured the disciples of on-going spiritual support:

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father,

          the Spirit of Truth will testify on my behalf. 

You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.”

“I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away,

for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you;

but if I go, I will send him to you.”

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 

When the Spirit of Truth comes, it will guide you into all the truth.

It will glorify me, because it will take what is mine and declares it to you. 

All that the Father has is mine.”

Pain into Joy (adapted from John 16:20-24 NRSV)

Knowing the disciples were grieving, Jesus said:

“Very truly, I tell you,

you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice;

you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. 

When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come.       

But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish

because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. 

So you have pain now; but I will see you again,

and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 

On that day you will ask nothing of me.                      

Very truly, I tell you,

if you ask anything of the Father in my name,

God will give it to you. 

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.

Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

Take Courage (adapted from John 16:28-33 NRSV)

Jesus assured the disciples he would be fine, as would they:

“I came from the Father and have come into the world;

again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”

“The hour is coming; indeed it has come,

when you will be scattered, each one to his home,

and you will leave me alone.

Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.

I have said this to you, so that in me – you may have peace.

In the world you face persecution.

But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

We Pray for All Disciples (inspired by John 17:1-25 NRSV)

Let us pray, inspired by the prayer attributed to Jesus in St John’s gospel:

Beloved Parent of All Life,

You glorified Jesus Christ so that Jesus Christ could glorify You.

You continue to give the Living Christ authority over all people

to grant eternal life so that everyone may know You, O God.

Through Jesus Christ we do know You, O Heavenly One.

Through Jesus Christ, we receive all You gave him.

Through the petitions of Jesus Christ, we are lifted up.

O God, Your glory, shines bright!

We are protected by Your name invoked by Jesus Christ.

Continue to protect and guard us.

Keep us safe and alive, O Mighty God.

Holy One, we are transformed by the prayers of Jesus Christ.

May his joy be made complete in us.

May our joy bring You glory!

Understanding our trials, Christ calls upon You

to protect us from the Evil One.

Understanding Your power, Christ calls upon You

to sanctify us with Your holy truth.

Faithful One, grant us these blessings

that we might share Your Big Love on earth

as did Your Beloved One, Jesus Christ

On this Holy Night,

we ask to absorb, more fully,

the truth that You and Jesus Christ are truly one.

May the wonders You infused into the man of Nazareth,

be diffused among us as we attempt

to do Your will for the good of all.

May all become one.

May everyone know Your complete love,

a love which has existed

since the foundation of the world. Amen.

We Honor Christ’s Passion

Jesus’ last hours of suffering and cruelty are called “The Passion.” The Latin root word for the English word “suffering” is “passio.” Like the modern English word “passion” connoting a strong emotion experience.

After Jesus prayed for his disciples,

he left the place where they had gathered

and went to the garden to pray alone.

There, soldiers and religious leaders,

having been informed of his location,

arrested Jesus and his mortal suffering began.

Tonight, we do not recount the story of Christ’s Passion in words.

Rather, let us listen to this haunting performance that covers a range of emotions.

May our souls speak in the language without words.

Special Music: “Adagio for Strings” Written by Samuel Barber; Performed by COVID CELLO PROJECT 10. August 29, 2020. (cue up to start at 0:41; performance ends at 8:42)

After the Lord’s Prayer and Benediction we will enter a great silence – you may remain and pray or conclude this service/devotion in silence. After the Benediction, please extinguish your household Christ candle or lamp.

The Lord’s Prayer

Benediction

May we hold close these words from Jesus Christ –

may they resonate in our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.

Jesus is still saying to his beloved disciples:

“Receive me and the One who sent me.

Love one another.

This is my Body; this is the Blood of the Covenant.

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Abide in me as I abide in you.

Friends, love one another.

Trust the Spirit of Truth.

Your pain will turn into joy.

Ask and you will receive.

Take Courage.”

Dear Ones, dear friends of Christ,

let us hold each other in our hearts

as we continue this Holy Week journey to Easter Morn. Amen.

Extinguish the Christ Candle

(blow out candle or turn off special lamp)

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source. Communion liturgy adapted from “With Christ and Spirituals” Holy Week Service of Readings and Hymns by Rev. Kathryn Schreiber ©2015.

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “Washing Feet”

Online Publishing Date: March 30, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber

PAAM Sunday Prayer Poem• 1 John 3:16-24

Hawai’ian box with carved hono — PAAM’s symbol is a turtle

PAAM is the United Church of Christ’s Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministries. Sunday April 25, 2021 is PAAM Sunday. You are welcome to use this prayer poem anytime. It was created by the NCNC UCC PAAM BLM Sacred Conversations Group, especially Charlene Kiyuna, Teipo Brown, Darlene Hamady, and Kathryn Schreiber.

“Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” – 1 John 3:16-24

Dear God, open my heart to hear and know the truth. 

Give me the humility to learn and reflect. 

With truth and humility,

may I serve as Your instrument to help heal.

Holy One, we thank You for the wisdom bearers:

“What you do makes a difference,

and you have to decide what kind of difference

you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

May we commit to making the kinds of difference

that are most pleasing to You, O God.

Beloved God, thank You for opportunities to learn.

May we look back on old experiences with new eyes

correctly seeing systemic racism.

May we revisit old, uncomfortable feelings

and witness the empowerment they engendered

inspiring us to repair social norms.

Source of all Life and Love,

we place into Your hands, for transformation,

the xenophobia of today, the past, and the future.

Remind us that most of us came from other lands.

We arrived taking from indigenous peoples what was not ours.

May we honor the first peoples, our mother cultures,

and our beloved, increasingly blended, identities, too.

Most Holy God, on this PAAM Sunday,

we pray for a world which cherishes social diversity

uplifting our fundamental, essential equality

anointed by Your original design. AMEN.

Support PAAM — Thank you! https://paamucc.org/

Lent 6/Palm Sunday Christian Community: “The Crowd” • Matthew 21:1-11 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

artwork: He Qui “Triumphant Entry”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Lent-Easter 2021

A year ago the coronavirus converted our congregations from sanctuary-based to home-based ministries. This Lent we reflect upon our calling to be the Christian Community in new ways. May we be open to reinvention by the Holy Spirit.

Time with Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Jesus’s Ride” Jesus picked a special animal to ride into Jerusalem

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Dear Jesus – ride before us –

making a way for all people

to equally adore and serve You,

O Humble Messiah, sent by God!

Hosanna in the Highest!

Dear Jesus – ride before us –

steering us through the maze

of questions about You,

O Child of Royalty, O Prophet of Nazareth!

Hosanna in the Highest!

Dear Jesus – ride before us –

paving the way with grace

for all our days and nights,

O Everlasting Christ, our eternal hope!

Hosanna in the Highest! (LL6W)

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: “All Glory, Laud and Honor” Words: Theodulph of Orleans; Tune: ST THEODOULPH. Setting: c Bärenreiter-Verlag; reprinted by permission. Descant: c 1993 Kermit G. Moldenhauer. 2019. (Chalice #91)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

This Lent we intentionally focus upon being a Christian faith community. This Palm Sunday we celebrate the excitement of being part of a group rallying together in the name of Christ. We also acknowledge that our exuberant unity may dissolve to the disappointment of sobering differences. Being a part of a group includes learning to move through the seasons of that group. How are you and your faith community? Do you feel connected and hopeful? Are you moving along with the crowd but not quite sure where you’re going? Maybe, you’re on the sidelines watching the parade go by? Whatever your experience is, God is with you as the Living Christ. Speak honestly with God and be open to a new blessing. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God. (pause)

Be still and know that I am. (pause)

Be still and know. (pause)

Be still. (pause)

Be. (pause)

Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

There are golden times in our lives together when we are giddy – joyfully connected to each other through Christ. These are magical moments that don’t last forever but can be revisited. Take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, or do a simple chore. Give your body something to do allowing a blessed memory to rise.

Recall a time when you were part of something bigger than yourself, possibly a church-related event. Who were you with? Where were you? What were you doing? Cherish the deep sense of soul-connection. If the memory is also difficult, honor that, too. Such important memories may be a “grace snap shot” from which you can harvest wisdom and blessings.

We Listen

Scripture: Matthew 21:1-11 (MSG)

As Jesus’ earthly ministry is concluding, he and his disciples join the masses entering Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with Jews from around the world. Everyone is filled with hope that this year God’s Messiah will arrive and liberate them from suffering.

When Jesus and his disciples neared Jerusalem, having arrived at Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples with these instructions: “Go over to the village across from you. You’ll find a donkey tethered there, her colt with her. Untie her and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you’re doing, say, ‘The Master needs them!’ He will send them with you.”

This is the full story of what was sketched earlier by the prophet: Tell Zion’s daughter, “Look, your king’s on his way, poised and ready, mounted on a donkey, on a colt, foal of a pack animal.”

The disciples went and did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They led the donkey and colt out, laid some of their clothes on them, and Jesus mounted. Nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, “Hosanna to David’s son!” “Blessed is the one who comes in God’s name!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

As Jesus made his entrance into Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken. Unnerved, people were asking, “What’s going on here? Who is this?”

The parade crowd answered, “This is the prophet Jesus, the one from Nazareth in Galilee.”

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Meditation Quote about The Crowd

“I assert that the most fundamental quality of community is some degree of expanded identity – a sense of “we-ness” – a state of feeling connected or joined with another.” — Bryan Husted, 21c. sociology professor

Reflection: “The Crowd… Expands”

The Original Crowd

On Palm Sunday our spiritual imaginations place us smack dab in the middle of “The Crowd” – the throngs of people on their way into Jerusalem, many of whom were heralding Jesus’s triumphant entry into the Holy City.

Among The Crowd were Jesus’s seasoned disciples, people who’d left behind their previous work to join his travelling movement. Some of these people, male and female, became leaders of the Early Church. Also in The Crowd were Jesus’ family members, including his mother Mary, as well as other relatives. Among the travelers would have been Jesus’s aunts, uncles, and cousins.

There would have been many Jews in The Crowd cheering on the one they believed was the Messiah foretold by the Hebrew Prophets, but there would have been people from other ethnicities and religions, too. Also present were people whose lives had been radically changed because Jesus healed them or a family member — those whom Jesus touched in compassion and those who touched Jesus in faith.

There would have been people who’d been funding and hosting Jesus and his followers, including friends and co-workers in faith.  These “Behind the scenes” folks would have been in The Crowd, too.

Imagine all the different people who walked alongside Jesus riding on the borrowed donkey. each waving palms and offering cheers as Jesus entered Jerusalem.

The Growing Crowd

Years ago I saw a beautiful Advent art installation. It was a large painting made up of twenty-five panels, five-by-five. On the first day of December all the panels were turned to the backside, except for one. It showed Mary, the mother of Jesus, as we usually see her depicted. I presumed the surrounding twenty-four panels would reveal a traditional Nativity scene. Boy, I was wrong! (nhhsp)

The images were revealed, day by day, but they didn’t illustrate a scene from the past. One panel featured a modern Asian business woman in high heels carrying a briefcase walking beside a medieval farmer with a hoe over his shoulder. In another, an urban youth listening to tunes on her iPod, danced past an elderly man from the ancient Middle East carrying an alabaster jar. For twenty-five days a new panel was turned over revealing a beautiful image of diverse humanity moving in the same direction.

On Christmas Eve the final panel was revealed – an ordinary baby boy with black hair and brown skin. This smiling infant was Jesus of Nazareth, our eternal Christ. Everyone in the crowd was moving toward infant Jesus Christ!

Imagine such a work of art for Palm Sunday. Imagine the Christian Community – diverse in genders, cultures, and ages over two thousand years and into the future. All of us moving in the same direction toward an unrevealed panel — the panel of Easter Sunday’s empty tomb.

We are a part of the joyful Crowd! Let us join in waving greenery and singing “Hosanna!” Let us honor the One who comes in the Name of the Lord. “Hosanna in the Highest!”  Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria. (Glory to God Alone)

Sermon: “What Jesus Sees” The Living Christ looks into The Crowd with hope

Special Music: “Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord” Music by Stephen Schwartz, from the musical Godspell. Performed by Hallelujah Broadway. Recorded in the Church of St Simon & St Jude in Prague in 2010. Featuring vocal talents of Anthony Kearns, Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke, and guest star Linda Eder.

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

What does Jesus Christ mean to you? What has God, through Christ, given you which causes your soul to rejoice? Let us rejoice TOGETHER! “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of God! Hosanna! Hosanna in the Highest!”Amen. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “Rejoice, You Pure in Heart” Words: Edward Plumptre; Tune: MARION. Performed by Grace Community Church – Sun Valley, California. 2017. (Chalice #15)

Benediction

We may not have the joy of being physically together,

but we do have the wondrous blessing

of being spiritually united through Jesus Christ.

Let us cherish being a part of The Crowd this Holy Week,

all moving together toward Easter morn.

“Blessed is the One who comes in God’s name!”

“Hosanna in highest heaven!” Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

(LL6W) Living Liturgies: 6th Sunday of Lent/Palm Sunday “Women Series I” Kathryn M Schreiber, ©2018. Revised for use in 2021.

(MSG) The Message (translation of the Bible). Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M Schreiber, 2021.

(nhhsp) This original work of art appeared at the Newman Hall – Holy Spirit Parish near the University of California-Berkeley campus in the early 1990’s.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “Triumphant Entry”

Online Publishing Date: March 23, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

Lent 5 Christian Community: “By Our Love” • Acts 2:43-47 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use


artwork: He Qui “Clever Bridesmaids”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Lent-Easter 2021

A year ago the coronavirus converted our congregations from sanctuary-based to home-based ministries. This Lent we reflect upon our calling to be the Christian Community in new ways. May we be open to reinvention by the Holy Spirit.

Time with Asian American, Pacific Islander Women and Girls

“Breath and Centering Prayer in the Wake of the Atlanta Hate Crimes” by Mira Sawlani-Joyner, Resurrection City DC. Posted on Mar 17, 2021 after the Atlanta deaths.

Worship Service

We Gather

Call to Worship

This is the secret that isn’t a secret –

we all desire to be treated with great love and respect.

God sent Jesus Christ into this world

to make incarnate, in human form, divine reality:

each human being is a beloved person,

beautiful and worthy in God’s eyes.

God sent Jesus Christ into this world

to make incarnate, in human form, divine reality:

we are to love each other as God loves us,

cherishing and protecting each other.  Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: ”We Are One in the Spirit / By Our Love” Words and Music: Peter Scholtes, 1966. Performed by Mark Swayze Band. (Chalice #494) Licensed to YouTube: The Orchard Music, Syntax Creative (on behalf of Central South); Music Services, Inc. (Publishing), Sony ATV Publishing, and 2 Music Rights Societies.

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

This Lent we intentionally focus upon being a Christian faith community. Today, we pause to reflect on our calling to care for each other and to share our resources within and beyond our local Christian community. How do you support your faith community? How do they support you? Talk to God and listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Be open, honest. God is listening. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God. (pause)

Be still and know that I am. (pause)

Be still and know. (pause)

Be still. (pause)

Be. (pause)

Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

We are a “we”. We belong to the Christian community. To belong to, and to be held by, a community of faith is a deep blessing. Like all meaningful relationships, being “in community” is a give and take dance of mutual compassion and aid.

During this past year we lost a lot of congregational bonding experiences such as in-person worship, social events, meetings, and property tending. We were stripped down to our relationships – with God and each other – and forced to find new ways to be in contact with each other. For many, this past year has been a time of deepening connections. Being released from some routine practices has offered time and space for new ways to connect.

To live in hope of God’s mysterious grace is to always believe in God’s goodness. Where is God’s grace manifesting in your faith community relationships these days?

We Listen

Scripture: Acts 2:43-47 (NRSV)

This passage continues the story of the formation of the Church after Jesus’ Resurrection. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit appeared, the Hebrew Prophets were remembered, and the gathered followers of Jesus repented and were baptized. And then, they began a new life together.

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Reflection: “Loving Action Evangelism”

Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, in addition to speaking to the public and offering private healings, Jesus spent a lot of time with his disciples teaching them how to be a community of faith. Jesus encouraged them to care for each other and to remain clear and strong as they engaged in ministry. Jesus was laying the foundation for the organization which we now call “The Church.”

The second chapter of the book of Acts recounts the earliest days of The Church – of that heady time when the Jewish followers of Jesus, gathered in Jerusalem for a Jewish festival, found something new happening to them. A new spirit moved, connecting them, inspiring them, enabling them to speak and listen to each other and to God. And from that baptism in the Spirit – a new awareness dawned, one tied to the ancient prophets AND to a radically new unimaginable future. Hum… that resonates, doesn’t it?

Today’s scripture tells us that as the fledgling community showered each other with support and helped those in need their actions inspired others to join them.

There is an old European Jewish story that goes like this:

                  One day two older gentlemen were talking and one said to the other, “So, have you heard about the new rabbi? He has studied with the best scholars. He has taught in the finest synagogues. He is a man of great importance.”

                  The other fellow thought for a while, stroked his beard, and then asked his friend, “But, have you ever seen him tie his shoelaces? By that — I will know what sort of rabbi he is.”

The point of the story is that actions matter. What we DO reveals our character. That resonates with the reading from Acts, too – the behavior of the Jesus followers – their acts of love for each other and for those who were vulnerable – inspired others to join them. New converts were drawn because they witnessed true love in action.

How we love shows the world just what sort of Christians we are. This is a good thing to think about as we prepare to return, or have begun, returning to our physical ministries. Instead of going “back” – maybe the Holy Spirit is calling us to go “forward”? Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria. (Glory to God Alone)

Sermon: “Loving Community” Filled with the Holy Spirit we can love each other well

Special Music: “Jasmine Flower” Chinese folks song arranged for piano solo by Schindler (excerpt). Performed by Lang Lang from solo album “Piano Book” 2019. Offered as an express of support for Chinese-Americans.

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

One Great Hour of Sharing

This fifth Sunday of Lent we express our love through the 2021 One Great Hour of Sharing Offering. This fund responds to basic needs around the world and emergency crises in the US. BCCC folks: Please send your check donations to the church Treasurer, “OGHS” in the note area. Others may donate online to the national fund: https://www.ucc.org/giving/donate-now/general-donation/

Read about 2020 OGHS Gifts at Work https://www.ucc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2021-OGHS-Guide-for-Website.pdf

“California church cares for newcomers” page 14 (Meals for Refugees through Eden UCC in Hayward, CA)

“Dry conditions fuels fires, devastation” page 15 (Wildfire Response in California, Oregon, and Washington)

One Great Hour of Sharing Offering Dedication

Holy Giver of all good gifts, bless now this offering that great hours of labor have made possible. Bless the drops that become mighty rivers of grace and transformation. Bless the vision of a world transformed. Let a shining river of love flow through us to Your waiting world, in Christ’s name. Amen. (OGHS 2021)

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “Won’t You Let Me Be Your Servant” Words and Music, Richard Gillard, 1977. Performed by virtual choir of First Congregational Church of Rockport, Massachusetts, 2021. (Chalice #490)

Benediction

We who share a common faith,

share a common fate –

we are inextricably bonded one to another.

May God bless us with love for each other,

an ever-growing love which reaches many. Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(OGHS 2021) One Great Hour of Sharing, 2021 Planning and Resource Guide, United Church of Christ.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “Clever Bridesmaids”

Online Publishing Date: March 18, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

Prayer of Protection — St Patrick’s Lorcia

image: “Celtic Trinity” by Angel Eyes Uncut

Hello Dear Ones, on this St. Patrick’s Day, as news of more deadly attacks upon Asian-Americans spreads, please receive this ancient prayer attributed to the patron saint of Ireland – a prayer calling upon the protection and healing power of Jesus Christ in all persons. Take care. Be safe. Keep your hearts opened to God’s Big Love.

“St. Patrick’s Lorica”* (excerpt)

I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me; God’s might to uphold me; God’s wisdom to guide me; God’s eye to look before me; God’s ear to hear me; God’s word to speak for me; God’s hand to guard me; God’s way to lie before me; God’s shield to protect me.


Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every person who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through a belief in the Threeness, through a confession of the Oneness of the Creator of Creation.  Amen.

*”lorcia” is Latin for “breastplate;” this excerpt is from a much longer prayer; my adaptation. Portions of the prayer resonate with ancient prayers from many cultures, especially: “… with me, … before me, … behind me… (etc)”

Lent 4 Christian Community: “Body and Soul” • Matthew 6:9-13 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use


artwork: He Qui “Samaritan Woman”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.

Lent-Easter 2021

About a year ago the coronavirus converted our congregations from sanctuary-based to home-based ministries. This Lent we reflect upon our calling to be the Christian Community in new ways. May we be open to reinvention by the Holy Spirit.

Time for Children of All Ages

Spiritual Practice: Butterfly Hug Technique to sooth an anxious spirit

Worship Service

We Gather

Call to Worship

We are blessed by God the Creator

who provides all living beings

with what we need to thrive.

We are blessed by God the Christ

who takes human form

to liberate bodies and souls.

We are blessed by God the Spirit

who animates the mortal realm

with holy wisdom.

We are the Christian community

filled with hope and promise

in this world and the next. Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: ”Be Thou My Vision” Words: Mary E Byrne; Music: Traditional Irish melody. Performed by Audrey Assad. TuneCore (on behalf of Fortunate Fall Records); Music Services, Inc. (Publishing), LatinAutorPerf, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., Adorando Publishing, and 6 Music Rights Societies. (Chalice #595)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

This Lent we intentionally focus upon our faith community. Today, we pause to reflect on our calling as Christians to care for bodies and souls – our own and those of others. Pay attention to your whole self. How are you today? Tell God. Maybe you’re concerned about someone? Share those thoughts and feelings. Be open, honest, and know that God is listening. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God. (pause)

Be still and know that I am. (pause)

Be still and know. (pause)

Be still. (pause)

Be. (pause)

Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

Jesus had a deep love for the souls and bodies of each person he encountered. He did not divide the person into two spheres of reality, rather he met each person as a whole being – fully physical, fully spiritual. Jesus understood each one’s material and sacred needs. The Living Christ meets us every moment of our earthly days in this way, too.

Be still and let a memory rise. Remember a time when you experienced an act of physical care that touched your spirit, too. Maybe it was a glass of water offered when you were very thirsty? Or the compassion of a skilled healer attending your medical needs? These are enfleshed moments of grace when God was tending you – body and soul. What grace!

We Listen

Scripture: Matthew 6:9-13 (NRSV) St Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer

Pray then in this way: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.”

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Quotes about Care of Souls and Society:

“My business is anything that comes between men and the Spirit of God.” – Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley

“When religion becomes so involved in a future good ‘over yonder’ that it forgets the present evils over here it is as dry as dust religion and needs to be condemned.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Any gospel which does not embrace both ‘evangelism’ and ‘social action’ is a counterfeit, offering either an escapist’s dream, which leaves power structures of the world untouched, or a mere social reform which leaves the soaring spiritual dimension of reality out of consideration, and thereby dooms itself to compromise and failure.” – N.T. Wright, Spiritual and Religious

“We are not here as a church to manipulate the State or to live in it with privilege and pomp. We are not called simply to bind up the wounds of those the system oppresses. We are surely called as the Church of Acts to be prophetic presence in its midst, the voice of the prophets in our time. Why? Because we pray daily, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,’ and so we must do something to bring it.” – Sister Joan Chittister, essay in Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century

“Members of these two camps of the Church [evangelists and social gospelers] need to heed the wisdom of Elton Trueblood, the Quaker philosopher, who taught that the most important word in the Bible is and. It is not either personal piety or social witness. It is both.” – Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr, essay in Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century

Reflection: “Piety and Justice”

A little over 100 years ago, Rev. Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918), who’d begun his ministry among the poor of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, wrote a seminal text: Christianity and the Social Crisis. It was published in 1907. Noting the growing chasm between rich and poor in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, Rauschenbusch was deeply concerned that Protestant Christianity was focused, nearly exclusively, on the salvation of souls. Did not God also care about the bodies of dedicated people who were sick and died too soon due to social injustices? Rauschenbusch, along with others in what is now called the “Social Gospel Movement,” rose up to challenge the American Church to reclaim the Hebrew Prophets and the teachings of Jesus Christ amid a rising moral demand to attend to the lives of those suffering on earth. He took to heart the words of Jesus’ teachings and actions, especially the prayer asking for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

His great-grandson, Rev. Paul Raushenbush, would begin his ministry in the poor slums of Brazil. In the “favelas.” Paul’s first religious impulse was to criticize social systems. However, his pastoral heart understood that the youth in his care had unmet spiritual needs, too. He found in his great-grandfather’s work a call to tend body and soul. To honor the 100th anniversary of his great-grandfather’s classic that changed the American Church, Paul asked contemporary Christian leaders from evangelical and social justice camps to pen essays to accompany the original text. The result is Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century. (wr/pr) (A serious text that I’m reading slowly, carefully.)

In 2021 we still experience a false dichotomy of the calling to live the Gospel. We have been pitted against each other and taught to mistrust each other. This is not the way of Jesus Christ’s true Church. The ministry of Jesus Christ is always an integrative effort to uplift the whole person, body and soul, here on earth and in heaven.

This week we mark one year of radically changed lives due to the pandemic. The past 12-months have showed us just how deeply we are interconnected one to another. We have witnessed the power of an invisible virus. What if a similar powerful force (the Holy Spirit) is stirring within us infecting us with an integrated Gospel, one that cares for the eternal wellbeing of each soul and the dignity of all persons? God may be asking all of us to blur hard edges to better embody the Christian Community. May God’s will be done! Amen. Soli Deo Gloria. (Glory to God Alone)

Sermon

Sermon: “Souls and Society” Following Jesus’ lead, sharing a broad Gospel

Special Music: “One Love / Ue O Muite Aruko” “One Love” written by Bob Marley and “Ue O Muite Aruko” (“Sukiyaki”) words by Rokusake Ei; music by Hachidai Nakamura. 1961. Blended performance by various artists for “SING OUT from JAPAN” after the March 11, 2010 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. Offered this week, the 10-year anniversary, in solidarity with survivors and anti-nuclear efforts.

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

This forth Sunday of Lent we reflect on “Body and Soul.” God’s call through Jesus Christ invites us to seek personal salvation and community uplift. (also see donation footnote)

One Great Hour of Sharing Offering

On Sunday March 21, 2021, Berkeley Chinese Community Church will bless donations made to the “One Great Hour of Sharing” ecumenical fund which provides assistance internationally. In 2020, giving to OGHS fell drastically as churches responded to immediate pandemic needs. This year, we are asked to give generously to continue support for our global partners who depend upon this fund. Thank you! BCCC folks: Please send your check donations to the church Treasurer, “OGHS” in the note area. Others may donate online to the national fund: https://www.ucc.org/giving/donate-now/general-donation/

OGHS video: “Let Love Flow’ OGHS funds will be used to bring water to villages

We Continue in Hope

Song: “Community of Christ” Words: Shirley Erena Murray, 1985. Music: Hebrew Melody; arr. Meyer Leoni, 1780. David Myers, Jr., Vocals Linda Lambrides, Organ. North Yarmouth Congregational Church.  Permission to podcast/stream the music in this video obtained from OneLicense.com with license # A-731487. Recorded 2020. (Chalice #655)

Benediction

Jesus taught us to ask God

for God’s ultimate reality to come;

for God’s will to be done –

here on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus told us to ask for our daily food,

and to seek and offer forgiveness.

Jesus still tends us body and soul.

This is our calling, too. Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(wr/pr) Christianity and the Social Crisis in the 21st Century, copyright © 2007, Walter Rauschenbusch, edited by Paul Raushenbush.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “Samaritan Woman”

Online Publishing Date: March 10, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTu