content and photo (c) 2020, Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber
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 as social justice reforms arise.
- You may wish to arrange to worship distantly with others at the same time.
- Read through this service beforehand to assemble items needed, including items for Holy Communion – a cup with a beverage and some bread or other finger food – consider using elements with a Pacific Islander theme for this service.
- 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 with Aloha Spirit!
Time for Children of All Ages
“Out of the Bag: Aloha” on YouTube channel: Kathryn Schreiber
Please adapt to make this worship service your own. Your intention is what is important.
Call to Worship
Aloha! E komo mai! (Greetings! Welcome!) Let us gather in the welcoming, warm spirit of God’s Big Love. Let us gather recalling the blessing of reunions with Loved Ones. Let us gather remembering being in tropical places, especially Hawai’i. Let us be drawn together by God’s Aloha Spirit! Aloha! E komo mai!
Holy One, we carry in our hearts a dream of unity. We long for a world with all people living peacefully together. You, Eternal God, are the author of this most beautiful dream. You, Enabling Spirit, are the thread which connects the beloved community. We await Your presence among us with wonder, gratitude, and humility. Amen.
Light the Christ Candle
Song for Entering the Presence of Christ
Suggestion: “He Will Carry You” performed by Mana’o Company ℗ 2011 Dan Pa Productions, released: 2011-12-30 (used without permission) YouTube: https://youtu.be/8HUrxPaiPEM
Unburden and Gather Hope
Naming Our New Reality
We have been riding “Rona” for five months learning how to keep our distance from each other. Yet, we long for each other and the tenderness of proximity. This is a time of revealed social conflicts. Yet, we long for greater harmony and respect among us. Let this be a moment to gently check in with ourselves, with our household members. How are we doing – as individuals and as a group? God is here with us, listening. Offer to God anything that asks to be shared – anything. God has heard it all many times before, and yet, God eager awaits hearing directly from each of us.
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)
Try to sit quietly in a state of calm devotion. It can be very hard to still the mind. Our thoughts wander, feelings arise, our bodies wiggle. It can be shocking how quickly our good intentions go astray! Do not fret, dear one. The mind is like an antsy toddler. With compassion, acknowledge what rises but try not to engage any thought or feeling. (Important matters will return later.) Practice choosing to refocus on God. Take a breath and try again. Each time we choose to return to God, gently turning away from our over-active mind, is a gift we give God. Let’s be kind to ourselves. When you’re ready to move on take a moment to thank God saying, “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.
Let us rest into the assurance of God’s faithful love. God’s life-giving affection dwells in every cell of every living being. God’s goodwill pluses through living things – the original breath of life. God forever calls us to be realigned to holy well-being, to gracious self-awareness, and to transforming compassion toward others. God’s Big Aloha Love always flows. Always. May we receive the healing presence of God’s grace today. Amen.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 133 (Version: Liturgical Training Publications)
How good it is, how wonderful, whenever people live as one!
It is like sacred oil on the head flowing down Aaron’s beard, down to the collar of his robe. It is like the dew of Hermon running down the mountains of Zion.
There God gives blessing: life for ever.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Scripture Notes “Psalm 133”
This psalm is a short song that may have originally been used to welcome people into a family household. It is a call for communal unity.
Some of the imagery might be a little confusing. “Aaron” symbolizes the dynasty of Hebrew priests. Aaron was the brother of Moses and Miriam, one of the three blessed siblings who led the Hebrew people out of slavery in Egypt. While Moses was the prophetic leader and Miriam was the worship leader, Aaron was the priestly leader who officiated at rituals.
In the ancient world it was not uncommon to use precious oils to anoint special persons, especially rulers in high office. For the Hebrew community, oil anointing was symbolic of God’s blessing. To use so much oil that it runs off the head, flows down the beard, and over the collar of a priestly robe describes a hearty, holy blessing.
The second parallel metaphor focuses on dew – the morning moisture so essential to life in the desert. Mount Hermon is a sacred place, just as a priest is a sacred person. The dew, like the oil, freely flows. The blessed water (dew) behaves like a river during the verdant season, running down the holy mountain in the Promised Land. Again, a symbol of great, divine blessing.
Gods blessings flow when humans dwell in unified human community. This little psalm is a call for people to live in harmony with each other, richly blessed by God.
(If your pastor has prepared a written or recorded message you may use it instead of the item below.)
Sermon Suggestion: “Hoʻoponopono” by Rev. Kathryn Schreiber on YouTube
Suggestion: “Hula performance by Halau Hula O Kupukalau’ie” (used with permission) YouTube: https://youtu.be/J4FvpNK6-G4
Invitation to Ritual, Consecration of Elements
Aloha! As we prepare for this ritual let us gather a wider spiritual community. Let us invite those who are not present to join us. Let us speak their names: (say names out loud)
Please gather your Holy Communion elements – something to eat, something to drink. (place your hands on these items)
Holy God, we ask for Your healing spirit to move through each of us and to enter this cup and food. Fill us and these items with Your forgiving love, with Your anointing power, with Your eternal blessings. Amen.
Preparation for Ho’oponopono Holy Communion
It is human nature to gather together – to come together for rituals and for renewal. As we assemble, we may do so with mixed emotions. We delight in being together, but we also remember old hurts. We carry old failures. We feel sorrow for a broken bond. We turn aside from a disquieting moment. We pull ourselves apart in life and death. These separations create suffering.
Let us remember that Jesus brought his disciples together when they were fragile. When they were anxious and in danger. When they were sad and confused. When they were hopeful and curious.
We join them at the ancient Passover Table where the story of God’s salvation of the Hebrew People is told every year. We join them on the very special evening when Jesus widened the story of God’s saving love. Jesus spoke, and is still speaking, to all of us of Ho’oponopono – of the healing restoration of the community. Of a mending of what has been broken between us and each other, between us and God, between us and our own souls. Jesus offers divine forgiveness and assurance of God’s mercy for the entire community.
Dear Ones, as we prepare for this Ho’oponopono Holy Communion, let us rest into a moment of loving silence holding in our hearts the real wounds and concerns we bring to God for healing. Let us silently pray with God for the well-being of all beings, one blessed community of life.
Suggestion: “O Kou Aloha No” (The Queen’s Prayer) written by Queen Lili`uokalani, the last monarch of Hawai’i while imprisoned at Iolani Palace 1893. Recorded by WAZEEmusic. YouTube: https://youtu.be/R2QNvWvTEj8 used without permission (Also see #580 in The New Century Hymnal)
Prayer for Healing
Almighty Creator, Beloved Brother Jesus, Empowering Holy Spirit, we call upon the Holy Trinity to use this ritual and prayer to mend us. Only You know how deeply we have become separated from You, from each other, from the gentle kindness of our own souls. May the grace of this inherited meal bring healing to those living here on Earth and blessing to those accompanying us in Heaven. Amen.
Sharing the Elements
Jesus is with us. The Eternal Christ is here. The Ever-Present One offers us spiritual nourishment and hope.
“Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
(all eat bread)
Jesus is with us. The Eternal Christ is here. The Ever-Present One offers us spiritual forgiveness and healing.
“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.”
Affirmation of Grace
God’s immense Aloha Big Love has washed over us. We are renewed. We are refreshed. We are repaired. We are reborn in hope of Love Divine. Amen.
Prayers of Petition
Though distant, when we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, we are connected one to another in the Holy Spirit. We never pray alone. What prayers does your soul ask to be lifted up – joys and concerns? Speak them. If your prayers don’t fit words today, use your body to give your prayers to God through movement or sound, dance, tears, or silence. If your community shares prayer requests please include them as you continue your prayers of petition.
The Lord’s Prayer
Imagine a place where you feel close to God, maybe a sanctuary where you’ve worshipped. Welcome the memory of your Beloved Community filling your soul with companionship as we 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
Today we focus upon reconciliation and the good work of repairing what has been broken. Spend a few moments recalling when such holy healing took place in your life, your family, your church, your community. Can you see the Hand of God? Give thanks for God’s good work and remember the names of God’s helpers. (see donation footnote)
We Continue in Hope
Song of Healing
Suggestion: “Queen Lili`uokalani Prayer / Ke Aloha O Ka Haku” https://youtu.be/OO3SvuP2lL8, posted by takutaimoana4sure, used without permission (the wind like the breath of the Mountain can be heard in this recording)
(from Queen Lili`uokalani’s prayer song)
No laila e ka Haku Ma lalo o kou `êheu
Kô mâkou maluhia A mau loa aku nô
(translation: And so, O Lord, beneath You wings be our peace forever more. Amen.)
(the service is concluded)
Chalice: Online Chalice Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/CH1995
TNCH: 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 make an offering of prayer, time, or funds to an organization that works for the repair of social breeches. Who is knitting back together what we have torn apart? 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”