worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021
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 for Children of All Ages
“The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Kid President” This MLK Day, celebrate the promise of change.
Call to Worship
Beloved Community, though our hearts be weary or heavy, God uplifts our souls with hope.
Beloved Community, as we listen to each other’s honest stories, God opens our hearts to solidarity.
Beloved Community, when we love each other as we would like to be loved, God blooms among us as Christ.
Light the Christ Candle
Gathering Song “His Eye Is on The Sparrow” Words: C D Martin; Music: C H Gabriel; Performed by Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount
Scripture Reading: Genesis 4:9 (NRSV)
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
Cain said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“We must come to see now that integration is not merely a romantic or aesthetic something, where you merely add color to a still predominantly white power structure. Integration must be seen also in political terms, where there is shared power, and where black people and white people share power together, to build a new and a great nation. In a real sense, we’re all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” – The Other America, 1967.
Historic Reflection “The Other America”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1967 speech at Stanford addressing societial inequalities in the US and the legacy of racism. Text: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/the-other-america-speech-transcript-martin-luther-king-jr Video: https://youtu.be/dOWDtDUKz-U (min 47:48)
Contemporary Reflection “A Single Garment of Destiny”
(will post on YouTube channel “Kathryn Schreiber” before 1/17/2021)
Special Music: “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” (Dr King’s favorite hymn) Words and Music: T A Dorsey. Performed by Dinjimeel Rye Mariquit & Larah Claire Sabroso.
Prayers of the People
The Lord’s Prayer
We Rest in God’s Grace
Releasing and Receiving
How is it with your soul? Check in with God. Turn toward God in your honesty, however is best for you today. Release what is too heavy to keep on carrying. Hand over to God what needs to be set down. Gather precious moments to cherish as ever-good, ever-blessed. Prepare your spirit to receive Holy Communion. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen” with gratitude in your heart.
Shift from “doing” to “being” 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)
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.”
St. Paul has assured us that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love. Nothing. Not any act of hatred or system of favoritism; not any wound or trauma. No matter what we have done or not done, no matter what has been done to us or not done with us, God’s healing radiance flows to us. May the Beloved Community receive the grace of God’s everlasting love and affirmation.
Communion Song “Who Is My Mother, Who Is My Brother?” Words: S D Murray; Music: J Schrader; Performed by: Heather Featherstone. (Chalice #486)
Invitation to Holy Communion
Though we are staying safe by staying apart, through the Holy Spirit we share this meal intentionally, emotionally, and spiritually. Speak the names of those who are not physically present, but with whom you wish to share this meal.
Consecration of Elements
Place your hands over or upon the cup and the bread and pray:
“Holy God, this is Your Table where everyone is welcome,
where every hunger for justice is welcome,
where every hunger for healing is welcome.
Fill this cup and loaf with Your Abiding Presence. Amen.”
Sharing the Elements
Jesus’ Table is open to everyone. Everyone is welcome! No matter where we are physically, in this blessed moment we are assembled with Jesus and the Beloved Community.
Jesus lifts up the loaf, thanks God, breaks the bread, and offers it, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We who believe in freedom* receive holy nourishment. (eat) The Beloved Community has been fed.
Jesus lifts up the cup, thanks God, and offers the cup, saying: “Drink this, everyone! 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.”
We who believe in freedom* receive holy forgiveness. (drink) The Beloved Community is forgiven.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
On this Beloved Community Sunday, Most Righteous God, we receive these gifts alongside the eternal souls of Brother Martin and Civil Rights martyrs. May we inherit their hunger for justice and their courage to repair the breeches in our nation. Amen.
Special Music: “Let Justice Roll Down” Written by Aileen Vance; Performed by Lea Morris. 2021.
We Give Thanks
We are God’s children. We are siblings. Though false doctrines have separated us, though cruel actions have wounded us, we are forever one human family. Let us praise God who makes us one! Amen. (also see donation footnote)
We Continue in Hope
Song of Hope “We Shall Overcome” African American Spiritual. Performed by Shades of Yale. 2020.
It is the Creator who weaves us into a single garment of destiny.
It is Christ who awakens us to our inescapable network of mutuality.
It is the Holy Spirit who guides us in the building of a great nation.
May the blessing of these eternal realities give us comfort and hope.
May we go forth with peace. Amen.
(the service is concluded)
*”We who believe in freedom” is a line from “Ella’s Song” written by Sweet Honey in the Rock.
Online Chalice Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/CH1995
Online New Century Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/NCH1995
YouTube Music Videos: search by title AND one of the authors for best results
All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber unless attributed to another source.
(Chalice) The Chalice Hymnal and (New Century) The New Century Hymnal, among other worship publications, suspended copyright restrictions early during the coronavirus pandemic. Permission may shift as conditions change. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements.
Online Publishing Date: January 14, 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. However, as racism and injustice are still very much with us, please offer your support through prayer, affirmation, and donation to a non-profit that teaches a nonviolence way of dismantling racism. 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”