“Gods Letter to Fathers” • Matthew 7: 9-11 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

prepared by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber

Worship Note

As we continue the selfless practice of restricted physical contact, as we adapt and welcome new ways of being communities of faith, our souls need special care. This service is one of a series designed to align us with the Living God during these pandemic-impacted times.

Preparations

  • You may wish to arrange to worship distantly with others at the same time.
  • Read through this service beforehand to assemble items needed.
  • A “Christ Candle” can be any sort of candle or object which represents Christ’s presence.
  • Choose songs to sing (our suggestions or your favorites). Assemble what you’ll need to sing.
  • Ensure an uninterrupted place to worship.
  • Decorate your space to welcome God’s presence as we do at church. You may wish to add special items to celebrate your Dads and Grads.

Time for Children

“Out of the Bag: Good Gifts” on YouTube channel: Kathryn Schreiber

Worship Service

Please adapt to make this worship service your own. Your intention is what is important.

We Gather

Invocation

Holy Spirit, connect us one to another

as we gather across space and time.

Weave us together:

loved ones on earth and citizens of heaven;

parented ones and those who raise the next generation;

fathers by biology and papas by choice;

builders of families and communities of hope.

Holy Spirit, move through us

drawing us together as the Beloved Community

as we unite in praising God,

the Parent of All Beings. Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

Song for Praising God “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” – W C Smith, ST DENIO (#66 Chalice; #35 LOL)

We Unburden and Gather Hope

Naming Our Truth

Whether you are alone or with others, let this be a time of private reflection. Much has taken place in the past week – in our personal lives, in our shared lives. This Fathers’ Day Weekend we give thanks for our parents and reflect upon our care of the next generation, including those who are graduating. In the privacy of prayer we can lift up joys and concerns of any type. God is listening and supporting us even when we can’t sense God’s presence.

Silent Prayer

We shift from speaking to God to sitting 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)

Sit quietly in a state of calm devotion. Your mind and feelings will be active; this is natural. With compassion, acknowledge the thoughts and feelings but do not engage them. Practice choosing to refocus on God. Don’t worry; we all get distracted. Take a breath and try again. Each time we choose to return to God, gently turning away from our fleeting thoughts, we give God a beautiful gift. Please be kind to yourself. Each act of inner compassion helps us be kinder to others. When you’re ready to move on take a moment to thank God and say, “Amen.”

Acts of Unburdening and Affirming

Place pebbles or small items at the base of the Christ Candle thinking or speaking whatever you wish to offer to God for release or gratitude. These offerings need not be named. The soul knows what to give to God and God knows what to receive.

Blessing of Grace 

God’s only impulse is to support Creation.

Everything God does is for the uplift of the living.

God is the Most Excellent Father

who gives us children the very best –

including the blessing of grace.

Absolutely unearned,

God endlessly offers us forgiveness and healing,

restoration and reformation.

God pours out upon us

exactly what we need when we most need it.

May we have the wisdom

to gratefully receive God’s grace.

May it be so. Amen.

Song of Assurance “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” – G Matheson, ST MARGARET (#540 Chalice; #329 LOL)

We Listen

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7: 9-11 (New Revised Standard Version)

Is there anyone among you who,

if your child asks for bread,

will give a stone?

Or if the child asks for a fish,

will give a snake?

If you then, who are evil,

know how to give good gifts to your children,

how much more will your Father in heaven

give good things to those who ask him! 

In everything do to others

as you would have them do to you;

for this is the law and the prophets.

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

Sermon “God’s Letter to Fathers”

Pastor Kathryn’s written sermon is available in English and Chinese via church email. YouTube video will be posted on 6/19/2020 on “Kathryn Schreiber” channel.

Special Music “A Father’s Love” Performed by the Louie family. Father’s Day 2019 at BCCC. (used by permission) YouTube: https://youtu.be/rkdt8g_T5c0

We Share

Prayer of Consecration

Whenever we gather for Holy Communion,

be it in a sanctuary or virtually in many homes, we gather spiritually.

At this time, please gather your cups and bread for blessing.

Let us Pray:

Holy Spirit come to us.

Hold us together in this precious moment.

Unite us through the living memory of Jesus Christ

as we offer these cups and pieces of food

to be blessed by God

for God’s purposes. Amen.

Words of Institution

We remember that night

When Jesus had gathered his Beloveds in the Upper Room.

The Disciples were eager for God’s good gifts.

They trusted Jesus to tend them, body and soul,

and so do we.

Today, we share this Holy Communion

with those who are not present.

With whom shall we share this meal?

Let us speak their names… (say their names)

Jesus knows we need strength for our bodies,

so Jesus took the Bread,

lifted it up (lift up or put your hand over your bread)

and Jesus said:

“Take, eat. This is my Body,

which is given for you. 

Do this in remembrance of me.” (eat the bread)

Jesus knows we need strength for our souls,

so Jesus took the Cup,

lifted up the Cup (lift up or put your hand over your cup)

and Jesus said:

“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.”  (drink from the cup)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Good Father in Heaven, You give us such good things

fortifying our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.

Today we give thanks for the gift of this Holy Meal,

and for the gift of celebrating together

while practicing safe distancing.

May the grace of this Holy Communion

resonate with us for a very long time. Amen.

We Pray

Prayers of Petition

For whom are you called to pray today? What joy asks to dance with delight? What concern seeks the consolation of God’s attention? On this Dads and Grads Sunday who are you celebrating? Who are you asking God’s blessings upon? If your community shares prayer requests please include them as you continue your prayers of petition.

Song for Prayer “I Need Thee Every Hour” – A S Hawks, NEED (#578 Chalice, #399 LOL)

The Lord’s Prayer (unison)

Imagine the sanctuary where you usually worship. Let the memory of your Beloved Community fill your soul and let us pray together the prayer Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

We Give Thanks

From the moment of conception until our graduation into Heaven we are held in God’s endless care. Today, praise God, the Good Parent, who has given us so much. (see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

Recognizing our Graduates

Please share the names and news of those completing academic programs, regardless of age.

If you are not aware of specific graduates, please call to mind a nearby school or a school from which you matriculated.

Blessing Upon Graduates

If a graduate is in the room with you, and it is appropriate, lay hands on them. If not, you may

wish to hold their photo or place your hand upon your heart.

Dear beautiful Child of God,

May you pause to be grateful for each person

who made this achievement possible;

May you understand the great gift you’ve been given.

May you find many noble uses for your education;

May it be a key to open doors —

for others, as well as for yourself.

May you always know the difference

between knowledge and wisdom;

May you value and seek each.

We bless you in the name of God the Creator!

We bless you in the name of Jesus Christ!

We bless you in the name of the Holy Spirit! Amen!

Song of Hope “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry” – J Ylvisaker, WATERLIFE (#75 Chalice) YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kGze5Qpeuo Performer: Sari Breznau, Ukulele/Vocals; Channel: Plymouth Church UCC

Benediction

The God who hears our borning cries

is the God who calls us into life on earth

and beyond into life eternal.

May we go forth in Peace. Amen.

(this concludes the service)

Resources and Notes

Online Chalice Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/CH1995

Online New Century Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/NCH1995

HOL: Hymns of Life, bilingual hymnal. ©1986, China Alliance Press.

YouTube Music Videos: search by title AND one of the authors for best results

Worship Resources: All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber unless attributed to another source. (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Chalice) The Chalice Hymnal and (New Century) The New Century Hymnal, among other worship publications, have suspended copyright restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Worship Credit: © 2020, Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, Living Liturgies

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. However, you may express your gratitude financially by making a donation to the academic organization of your choice. 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”

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