“Sister Moon” • Genesis 1:1-5, 14-19 and Psalm 148:1-5 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

photo: unknown source

Content prepared by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2020

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 as social justice reforms arise.

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.

Time for Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag “Sun and Moon” https://youtu.be/urPEvPhcnBo

on YouTube channel: Kathryn Schreiber

Worship Service

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

We Gather

Call to Worship and Invocation

Holy God, gather all beings into one orbit, one harmony of existence; all siblings of life; all children of You.

May we be like Sister Moon circling around luminous Brother Sun reflecting back the Great Light we have received shining toward our neighbors. Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

Song for Welcoming the Presence of God

“Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise” https://youtu.be/Fff2xQETe1c

Written by Walter Chalmers Smith, ST DENIO (Chalice #66, HOL #35), Performed by Jaron & Katherine Kamin (used with permission)

We Unburden and Gather Hope

Naming Our New Reality

Whether you are alone or with others, let this be a time of private reflection. Take a few moments to reflect on the past week. How are you – heart, mind, body, and soul? What weighs you down? What lifts you up? Tell God. And if you have no words – offer a smile or your tears, a heartache or the bird-like flicker of hope.

Acts of Unburdening and Affirming

It can be helpful to physically acknowledge the burdens and weights we carry. Place pebbles or small items at the base of the Christ Candle as you offering God released concerns. If you do not have words, do not be concerned. The soul knows what to give to God and God knows what to receive. Whatever you give, however you give it, Christ will receive your prayerful offerings.

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)

Try to sit quietly in a state of calm devotion knowing that thoughts and feelings will occur. This is natural. Return focus by chanting a name for God or Christ – such as “Abba, Abba, Abba.” Or by focusing on your breath resting into the ultimate reality of God’s Lovingkindness. Rest in God’s holy presence. When you’re ready to release this practice, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

The sun appears to rise and set. In reality, it is the earth that turns into and away from the sun’s light. The moon appears to rise and set becoming full and then fully diminished. In reality, it is the moon orbiting the earth, orbiting the sun, that impacts what we see on earth. The size and shape of the moon never changes, though the amount of sunlight we see reflected off the surface of the moon does. Our planet, earth, blocks the sun’s light casting portions of the moon into deep shadow.

Across the Milky Way there are 200-400 billion stars, only 35-76 billion like our sun. Imagine that – a cosmos filled with wonders we see but dimly, perceive in part. The same is true of God’s grace. Eternally offered, we only glimpse a portion of God’s endless mercy and unfathomable compassion. Praise be to God. Amen.

Song of Comfort

“Psalm 121 (He Watches Over You)” https://youtu.be/KsYeTCpVwx0

Written and Performed by The Psalms Project (used without permission)

We Listen

Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:1-5, 14-19 and Psalm 148:1-5 (NRSV)

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness God called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

(second and third days of creation skipped, verses 6-13)

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

AND

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise God in the heights!
Praise God, all God’s angels; praise God, all God’s host!

Praise God, sun and moon; praise God, all you shining stars!
Praise God, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for God commanded and they were created.

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

Reflection “St. Francis: Cosmic Siblings”

(This content is created for private reflection. If your pastor has prepared a written or recorded message you may use it instead of, or with, this material. A related video sermon with different content appears on YouTube channel: Kathryn Schreiber)

This service is the first in a series reflecting upon the life and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi. Inspired by the work of such popular theologians as G. K. Chesterton (English, 1874-1936) and Father Richard Rohr (American, 1943-) we will meet Francis through his most profound teachings, rather than the simplistic stories told about him. Warning: the St. Francis you’ve come to know may be challenged.

Francis was radiant with God’s Big Love at a time and in a place rife with much that was just the opposite. He lived his Christian faith so profoundly that he inspired a religious movement and so prophetically that his words still sound fresh, and rightly challenging, to us today.

Joseph F. Girzone, writing the introduction to Chesterton’s Saint Francis of Assisi, in 1957 comments: “When we look upon the lives of the saints we run headlong into the same phenomenon [i.e. discounting a child’s world view]. Their lives appear to be almost fiction, make-believe, and not reality. We call them dreamers. We call them psychotic. We call them a variety of names because we cannot grasp the significance or the relevance of their actions to our world of make-believe. We make statues of St. Francis and recite his prayer of peace. Our frightened world desperately grabs hold of his memory in a frantic attempt to protect our environment from pollution, but we don’t really take him seriously. We have merely adopted him as a pet or mascot, without ever really grasping the real meaning of his life.” (gkc)

Rohr’s Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, 2014, includes these introductory words: “I want to illustrate here what Francis clearly changed and did differently, and what flowed from his unique wholeness. We will see that Francis was at once very traditional and entirely new in the ways of holiness, and he is still such a standing paradox. He stood barefoot on the earth and yet touched the heavens. He was grounded in the Church and yet instinctively moved toward the cosmos. He lived happily inside the visible and yet both suffered and rejoiced in what others thought was invisible. Again and again, he was totally at home in two worlds at the same time, and thus he made them into one world.” (rr)

It is not surprising that St. Francis’s modern appeal began to appear as new environmental crises loomed large in the 1960’s. Humans were hungry for a faith in God which held humanity accountable for right relationship with all living beings. Among the dormant voices being unearthed was that of a radical Italian Christian born into great wealth in the Umbrian city of Assisi in the year 1182. He was a soldier transformed by war into a prophet of peace; an inheritor of great wealth who embraced and required a life of poverty for himself and his disciples; a cradle-born Christian whose faith was turned inside out when he met the Living Christ whilst kissing a leper.

Meeting the real St. Francis is not for the faint of heart! Nor is encountering the Living, True Church of Jesus Christ. Christ’s Church thankfully continues to survive our human plans and policies. We grow mighty structures that often plod further and further away from the life and teachings of Jesus. Francis came to understand this well.

As we begin a journey to meet the True Francis the Harvest Moon is about to become full. For many cultures this is an auspicious time of year when people gather to celebrate, eat, and give thanks – a time of acknowledging a web of interdependence among all living beings.

In the stories about St. Francis, “The Little Flowers” gathered by his followers, Francis’ radical belief in the siblinghood of all created beings appears often. This is not true of most Christian teachings. Christianity, which meets God in the person of Jesus Christ, has long been androcentric – focused on the well-being of human persons. Francis, not unlike other Christian mystics throughout the ages, deeply understood the intrinsic value and co-dignity between all created beings. Francis called all beings sibling because we are all the beloved children of a singular Beloved Creator.

St. Francis’ “The Canticle of the Sun” or “Canticle of the Creatures” (Latin: “Laudes Creaturarum”) best capsulates these beliefs. Consider this reflection written by a member of the Society of Friars Minor (SFM) known more commonly as “Franciscans.”

“The Canticle of the Creatures is a hymn of praise that recapitulates Francis’s journey to God in and through the beautiful things of creation. For Francis all creation became a theophany, a manifestation of the goodness of God. But the Canticle also represents a lifetime of conversion, as Francis strove to be a brother to all things and to praise God in the cloister of the universe despite his sufferings, feelings of abandonment and darkness. In the Canticle, composed one year before he died and while he was laying ill in a small dark hut near San Damiano, Francis sang of the human family (brother-sister-mother) as the model for all relationships. The Canticle of the Creatures is the capstone of his theological vision.” (id)

The canticle includes these lines:

Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun,
who is the day and through whom You give us light.

And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.*

We will spend weeks with St. Francis who has come to be with us during a global pandemic amid various climate crises as human rights failures are revealed. The whole world is being called to experience ourselves as sibling beings, sibling species, sibling races. We are being asked to let go of ways of being which cruelly separate us from each other, ways that turn each other into things — commodities. Whenever we diminish the siblinghood of any creature, we also reject the precious reality that we are all God’s beloved ones.

Let us pray for the gift to perceive, as St. Frances did, all creation praising God, specially Brother Sun – the greater light to rule the day, and Sister Moon – and the lesser light to rule the night.

Soli Deo Gloria. (Glory to God Alone)

Special Music

“Brother Sun, Sister Moon” https://youtu.be/xo0_qQiqQyA

Written and performed by Buddy Comfort, © 2001 (used without permission)

We Pray

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 carry – 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. Now is also the time to include prayer request from your community.

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

Offering

With whom shall you sing God’s praises today? With Brother Sun or Sister Moon? With a companion animal or wild critters? What about the pollinating bees or sheltering trees? Stars far above or lava rivers deep within the earth’s core? Let this be a week of offering God thanksgiving led by the joyful praise songs of our non-human neighbors. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

Song of Hope

“Sister, Let Me Be Your Servant” (Servant Song) https://youtu.be/4iu_T_FRvbY

Written by Richard Gillard, THE SERVANT SONG (Chalice #490), Performed by Singer – Lowana Wallace, Guitar – Matt Froese Filmed at St Aidan Anglican Church, Moose Jaw SK (used without permission)

Benediction

Edith Wharton, like St. Francis, was born into wealth and reborn into compassion. She wrote: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” 

May we be mirrors reflecting God’s Love for all beings. May we be like Sister Moon reflecting the bright Light of the Cosmic Christ throughout the universe. Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

*The song “Canticle of the Creature” will be featured in its entirety in our “Blessing of the Animals, All Creatures Sing” service. (10/8/2020)

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.

(gkc) G.K Chesterton, Saint Francis of Assisi. ©1957; pp vi.

(id) Ilia Delio, OSF, “A Franciscan View of Creation: Learning to Live in a Sacramental World.” Volume 2 of The Franciscan Heritage Series. Published by The Franciscan Institute, St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY, 2003.

(rr) Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi. ©2014; pp xvi-xvii.

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

Online Publishing Date: September 24, 2020.

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 supporting disaster relief giving to One Great Hour of Sharing through your church, our church, or directly: http://www.ucc.org/oghs. 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”

“Come to Me” • Matthew 11:28 • Worship Service or Retreat for In-Home or Remote Group Use

“Preparing for Flight” by Michelle Kingdom, (c) 2016

Content prepared by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, (c) 2020

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 as social justice reforms arise.

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.

Time for Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Napping” https://youtu.be/vVl1h2tFRXo on YouTube channel: Kathryn Schreiber

Worship Service

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

We Gather

Call to Worship and Invocation

We wander about looking for something we can’t name. We ache for a form of comfort beyond the blessings we have. We seek a caregiver big enough to attend each of our worldly concerns.

Into this void the voice of the Eternal Christ calls out: “Come to Me. All who are weary and carry heavy burdens; come to Me. I will give you rest.”

Light the Christ Candle

Song for Welcoming the Presence of God

“Seek Ye First” https://youtu.be/9LMQfOp9w8k Written by Karen Lafferty, SEEK YE FIRST (Chalice #354) Performed by Maranatha! Acoustic (used without permission)

We Unburden and Gather Hope

Naming Our New Reality

Whether you are alone or with others, let this be a time of private reflection. Take a few moments to reflect on the past week. How are you – heart, mind, body, and soul? What weighs you down? What lifts you up? Tell God. And if you have no words – offer a smile or your tears, a heartache or the bird-like flicker of hope.

Acts of Unburdening and Affirming

It can be helpful to physically acknowledge the burdens and weights we carry. Place pebbles or small items at the base of the Christ Candle as you offer God released concerns. If you do not have words, do not be concerned. The soul knows what to give to God and God knows what to receive. Whatever you give, however you give it, Christ will receive your prayerful offerings.

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)

Try to sit quietly in a state of calm devotion knowing that thoughts and feelings will occur. This is natural. Return focus by chanting a name for God or Christ – such as “Abba, Abba, Abba.” Or by focusing on your breath resting into the ultimate reality of God’s Lovingkindness. Rest in God’s holy presence. When you’re ready to release this practice, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”

God’s Grace 

Recall your best efforts to love. Note how your ability to care for others continues to grow and expand as conditions and needs change. Human love, so imperfect and yet wonderful, pales in comparison to God’s perfect love.

Rest in the grace of God’s Big Love, a love so complete that we mortals will never fully comprehend it. As best as you can, surrender to this healing, eternal affection. God’s restorative love so deeply desires to hold and renew us. Let us receive this grace. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:28 (NRSV)

(After lamenting the spiritual brokenness of many communities Jesus then prays to God. After that prayer, Jesus offers this gracious invitation.)

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

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

Reflection “Called to Rest”

(This content is created for private reflection. If your pastor has prepared a written or recorded message you may use it instead of, or with, this material.)

This is a serious question: have you every heard a prayer request for rest? Who might lift up such a prayer request — a grandparent concerned for the sleep-deprived parents of a newborn? A friend praying for a loved one suffering from an exhaustion-induced illness? Yourself, knowing you need deep rest but don’t feel comfortable asking others to pray for this need of yours?

Social pressures may put a very high value on working hard and never appearing to be tired – as if natural fatigue is a moral failing or character flaw. Sometimes there are different “rules” about who can pause for rest daily. How does your household react when a male adult “kicks back” after work compared to an adult woman doing the same thing? Whom do we encourage to rest? We require our children take naps and we protect snoozing elders, but we may be uncomfortable with a daytime sleeping adult. Take a moment to explore your internalized ideas about rest and relaxation.

If our culture/s have told us we should not be tired, that our need for rest is a sign of weakness, we will teach ourselves not to observe our genuine need for restorative care. When our hearts, minds, bodies, or souls are overcome we may ignore the signals that rest is needed. Unattended, these real needs will manifest as dis-ease in our feelings, thoughts, health, and spiritual attitude.

Jesus’s earthly ministry was very brief, about three years long. He was a young man, probably in his early thirties. He was on a super-charged, spirit-filled whirlwind tour of duty with teams of supporters. Many Christians are taught to view Jesus as an example of how we should live for the length of our lives. That isn’t realistic, is it?

We may have been encouraged to ignore the times when Jesus stopped to rest or how he deeply regarded the Jewish practice of Sabbath (a weekly day of rest). Jesus even reframed the notion of keeping Sabbath as a legalistic religious obligation to an understanding that Sabbath is a beautiful gift given to all beings for their well-being. In the Torah, Jewish moral law, all working beings – people, cattle, crops – are to take a day off every week, as well as longer times off throughout the year and over the years.

This ancient, sustainable practice of revitalization, sadly, has often been ignored at our peril. During normal times most of us don’t get enough of the revitalizing Sabbath rest we need to be our best. Now that we are living through a pandemic and a Great Uprising of civil reforms, a time when many of us may be doing less physically, we are actually doing much, much more internally. It may seem odd, or even shameful, to be tired so often.

Could the weariness we feel, could the burdens we carry, be reframed as the cost of rising with compassion at this challenging time? How can we not witness systemic racism’s deadly violence and not grieve? How can we dwell among nearly 8,000 wildfires and increasingly volatile tropical storms and not feel something? How can we ignore the weight of increasing numbers of hungry or unhoused people? Of course we are weighted down or over saturated. How can we journey in isolated pockets sequestered from the very social practices and rituals that have rooted our well-being for generations and not feel drained? Our tiredness and exhaustion are an accurate portrait of our experience of these trying times.

NOW is the time to listen for the voice of the Living Christ. Jesus is speaking to us, saying: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Give yourself permission to rest. No questions asked. No social or religious permission needed. If you need rest, take it, take it in Christ’s loving presence. If possible, stop right now. Take a break this very moment. If you can’t rest immediately, make plans to take a pause soon. And when you’ve had a little rest, make plans for a bigger rest.

God so wants to take care of us. God wants to give us the healing, renewal, and reinvigoration which comes from Sabbath. Let us rest so we can receive these blessed gifts.

Soli Deo Gloria. (Glory to God Alone)

Special Music

“Come unto Me” with lyrics https://youtu.be/qeaoPhbuGtg Written and performed by Drew 79 (YouTube channel; used without permission)

We Pray

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 carry – 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. Now is also the time to include prayer request from your community.

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

Offering

Inspired by Jesus Christ, Christians throughout the ages have gone on retreat stepping away from regular patterns of activity and responsibilities to rest, pray, study, and ground in God’s Big Love. How might you give God some of your time for a retreat? Consider how you might offer God your whole being for a time of renewal in the mysterious and amazing presence of the Living God. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

Song of Hope

“How Can I Keep from Singing” https://youtu.be/VLPP3XmYxXg Written by Robert Lowry,  HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING (Chalice #619) Performed by the NYC Virtual Choir and Orchestra (used without permission)

Benediction

Dear ones, are you tired?

Dear ones, are you weary?

Dear ones, are you burdened?

Let us rest into the restorative care of the Living Christ.

Peace be with you. Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

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

Online Publishing Date: September 17, 2020.

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 supporting a retreat center or another place where you have found solace and rest for your soul. 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”

“Yielding Water” • Numbers 20:2-13 • Worship Service or for In-Home or Remote Group Use, Includes Gathering of the Waters Ritual

photo (c) 2014, Outdoorsy Mama

content (c) 2020, 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 as social justice reforms arise.

Preparations

  • You may wish to arrange to worship distantly with others at the same time.
  • Read through this service beforehand to assemble items needed including gathered water/s, a nice bowl, and towel.
  • 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.

Time for Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Holy Water” https://youtu.be/q8vGex_AJK4

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

Original Source of all Life-Giving Water, though we dwell in many places may Your Holy Spirit gather us together. May we become a well of hope filled by You with all that truly sustains life on Earth. Rain down upon us. Flow through us. Bubble up from us. Saturate us with Your Presence. Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

Song for Welcoming the Presence of God

“There’s Water for You” https://youtu.be/DXwnotPLw5E

Written by Mietek Szcześniak, Wendy Waldman, HB Barnum (ZAIX Pl / Weavers Path Music BMI / Hidle Music BMI) performed by Mietek Szczesniak, HB Barnum, Life Choir, Wendy Waldman (used without permission); 2020.

We Unburden and Gather Hope

Naming Our New Reality

Whether you are alone or with others, let this be a time of private reflection. Take a few moments to reflect on the past week. Gently listen to your heart, mind, body, and soul. How are you, really? What moments stopped you in your tracks or lifted your spirit with joy? What concerns weighted down your heart and body? Can you give this to God? What hope is hiding inside, asking to be celebrated? God is always with us through the ups and the downs. Offer to God anything that asks to be shared, including the sweet silence of just being together. God is so grateful you have paused to be in Holy 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)

Try to sit quietly in a state of calm devotion. It can be very hard to still the mind. Thoughts and feelings rise. A great temptation to bolt may occur. Who wants to meet the frantic activity of our minds? Please be kind to your mental clouds. They are fleeting reality. There is a more permanent reality they mask – God’s eternal loving being. Christian spiritual guide, James Finlay, teaches us to treat these every-changing thoughts and feelings with great compassion. Kindly acknowledge what rises but try not to further engage any thought or feeling. (Important matters will return later.) Instead, try to breathe in the ultimate reality of God’s Lovingkindness. From time to time, we do sense it. Even one moment of this experience is enough to cast a huge platform of deep peace. When you’re ready to release this practice, take a deep breath, let it out, 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.

God’s Grace 

God has designed all living beings to be connected to one another; one family of life on one planet.  Because we share one common lot each failure to protect life harms all of us.

God’s infinite love for us is merciful. Even when we fail to touch the earth lightly, God never fails to call us into right relationship with all creation. God never restricts the flow of sweet water even when we do. This is evidence of God’s amazing grace.

All species are dependent on water to survive. Water tunnels below the ground and dances in the sky above. Water flows wild in seas, rivers, lakes, geysers, and falling tears. Water cycles through all of us for the well-being of all of us. This, too, is evidence of God’s amazing grace. Amen.

We Gather and Bless the Waters

Introduction

While we cannot physically assemble our community’s gathered waters in a common bowl this year, we can virtually affirm our uniting faith in a Living God, a singular source of all life and love. We can also affirm the perpetual presence of water on earth.

Rod MacIver wrote in Heron Dance magazine: “I’ve read that all water molecules now in existence were here when the earth first formed. No more have been made, none have disappeared. A drop in the glass of water that you drink tonight might well have once been the tear of a dinosaur… Water flows through our lives, then through other lives.”

As we recall the water and water memories we’ve gathered, let us remember that all water is continually recycled. Some of your water may have been in the Red Sea when Moses and the Hebrews crossed into freedom. Or in the Jordan River when John baptized Jesus or as dew on the ground where His feet passed on Easter morning. This water may one day become the blood pulsing through saints or the baptismal waters marked on the heads of your descendants.

Gathering the Waters

Assemble container/s of water you’ve collected. If no water has been specially collected, provide a small pitcher or cup of tap water. Assemble a nice bowl and towel for spills.

You’ll be pouring water into the bowl for each watery memory shared. As you do so, please name the body of water your sample came from or represents.

If you are with others at home or virtually, one by one, each person tells about the water or water memories gathered and pours water into the bowl. If you are doing this as a private devotion, tell God about the water or water memories you have gathered and pour water into the bowl.

Blessing the Waters

Place your hand on the bowl or in the water and pray this prayer:

Creator God, You call the waters into being and command their coming and going. We bless these gathered waters naming our on-going need of You.

Compassionate Christ, You call us into community with fellow human beings and all living beings. We desire well-being for all creatures of air, land, and water.

Sustaining Spirit, we call Your holy presence into these gathered waters. May Your cleansing, healing, and empowering force touch all blessed by this Holy Water. Amen.

(see note below “Caring for Holy Water”)

Special Music

“Pachelbel, Canon in D” https://youtu.be/V5VXPtydAMY

Performed by students and teachers at Holy Names University Preparatory Music’s Summer Project, 2020. Features BCCC members Jae and Jurgis Vass. (used with permission)

We Listen

Scripture Reading: Numbers 20:2-13 (New Revised Standard Version)

(After forty* years of journeying the liberated Hebrew people were thirsty not only for fresh water, but for evidence of God’s providence.)  

Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and against Aaron. 

The people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had died when our kindred died before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here? Why have you brought us up out of Egypt, to bring us to this wretched place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink.”

Then Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting; they fell on their faces, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and command the rock before their eyes to yield its water. Thus you shall bring water out of the rock for them; thus you shall provide drink for the congregation and their livestock.”

So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as God had commanded him.

Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”

Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff; water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their livestock drank. 

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me, to show my holiness before the eyes of the Israelites, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”

These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and by which God showed divine holiness.

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

Reflection “Water from God”

(This content is created for private reflection. If your pastor has prepared a written or recorded message you may use it instead of, or with, this material.)

Moses’s Meribah

Today’s story from the book of Numbers is not the first time during the Great Exodus that Moses asked God for life-sustaining water for the people and their animals. About forty* years earlier the people were thirsty and anxious. They did not trust Moses or God. Moses feared they would kill him, so he turned to God to save his people and to save his own life. God provided sweet water from the rock in Meribah, just as God did forty* years later. These two stories, however, are not the same.

Rabbi John L. Rosove, wrote: “Two incidents at the same place, Meribah, 40 years apart – the first, Moses was told to hit the rock and was praised; the second time, Moses was told to speak to the rock, hit it instead, and was punished. Rabbi Marc Gellman explains that between these two events was the revelation at Sinai and the giving of the Torah. Sinai was intended to change the people through the covenant and transform raw emotions to reason, physical strength to law, violence to dialogue, and brutality to compassion and justice.” (jlr)

After the long, long journey of spiritual formation as a righteous nation Moses and the people should have matured. However, it appears they returned to old ways — even Moses! (Moses, as a young Prince of Egypt newly awakened to his Hebrew roots, saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew slave. Moses lashed out in anger, killed the man, hid his body, and fled to another country. The prince became a shepherd carrying a staff – a necessary tool for a shepherd.)

In the early “water from rock” miracle God tells Moses to strike the stone with his shepherd’s crook, the object God has used to channel divine power for the liberation of the enslaved Hebrews. God doesn’t magically provide fresh water – God tells Moses how to use his “agency”, his power, his staff, to do God’s will providing for the survival of the people and animals.

In the later “water from rock” miracle, God gives Moses and his brother Aaron instructions. Specifically, God tells Moses to command the stone to yield it’s water. God, again, doesn’t magically provide fresh water. Again, God asks Moses to use his agency, his power, his voice to do God’s will providing for the survival of the people and animals. Actions which include a changed non-violent relationship with the water-holding stone.

Moses fails to do as God directs. His old violent streak flares. Moses is mad at the people and maybe frustrated with God, too. Instead of asking the stone to yield the needed water, Moses strikes the rock two times. This is a violent act. The prophetic leader of the people, and his brother Aaron the priestly leader of the people, disobey God’s directions. And, they have also done something much worse, they have broken Torah law which teaches righteous relationship with God, neighbor, and all creation. I suspect this moment deeply hurt God.

And yet, God the Faithful Provider takes care of the vulnerable despite the failure of the anointed leaders. Fresh water abundantly flows from the violated rock. The wandering nation and it’s livestock live drink deeply. They survive. God’s plans are not interrupted, but Moses’s and Aaron’s are.

Our Meribahs

Fifteen years ago, levies broke in the lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and the poor were flooded and injustice revealed. Six years ago, when Flint, Michigan’s failed public water system hit national news, the old story of greed rose to the surface. This spring, the coronavirus hit the Navajo nation brutally due to the lack of running water – essential for life and life-saving hand-washing.

We are all living in “Meribah.” The Hebrew word means “quarrel” and we are living amid disagreements with each other. We all are frustrated and angry. We are all thirsty for sweet living water. This is a time of multiple traumas – health crisis, race crisis, economic crisis, weather crisis, leadership crisis. Like the thirsty Hebrews, we want our leaders to channel God’s miracles to magically solve our problems. Like Moses and Aaron, we sometimes choose not to follow God’s ways.

God grants us original agency – power to choose our actions. We are not puppets. Jesus Christ, while on earth, told people to end the suffering of others or themselves by doing something. Jesus required that we act, we change our behaviors or attitudes.

This could be a critical time when God is directing us to follow the righteous path of living with respect toward God, each other, and all living begins. God wants us to live reciprocally with each other leaving behind past patterns of violence.

Our God is a good God who calls us to our best selves, and who gives us tools and directions for living sustainably with love and care for all beings, just as God did thousands of years ago. Our God is a good God who hopes we will step up to repair what we have damaged, but will never withhold essential needs.

Soli Deo Gloria. (Latin: “Glory to God Alone”)

Special Music

“Touch the Earth Lightly” (instrumental) https://youtu.be/S1kiguZJm9I    

Written by Shirley Erena Murray and Colin Gibson, TENDERNESS (Chalice #693) Instrumental version performed by Mark Lloyd Music (used without permission)

We Pray

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

Offering

Fresh, safe drinking water. Indoor plumbing and water that is always available. Let is give thanks for the daily gifts we often take for granted. And let us ensure that all people have these essential needs met, too. (see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

Song of Hope

“I’ve Got Peace Like a River” https://youtu.be/J3cnKDpWXy8

African-American spiritual, PEACE LIKE A RIVER (Chalice #530) performed by Elizabeth Mitchell; video byVirginia Jardim with Spanish lyrics (used without permission)

Benediction

May the fresh water your soul thirsts for be found.

May the life-giving water your neighbors require be shared.

May the eternal flow of Living Water forever bless all creation. Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Notes:

*In the Hebrew Bible “forty” isn’t a literal number – it indicates a long time. Just as when we say: “This will only take a minute,” “minute” is not a literal measure of time. It indicates a short amount of time.

(jlr) John L Rosove. Rabbi John Rosove’s Blog, “The Waters of Meribah Before and After Sinai – Parashat B’shalach” published online 1/16/2019.

“Caring for Holy Water” – If your gathered waters contain non-water content, you may wish to purify your water. 1) Strain water through coffee filter or very fine sieve. 2) Bring strained water to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 3) Add a drop or two of bleach to the strained, heated, and cooled water. 4) Store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Holy Water may be used to bless beings and objects you wish to honor with God’s loving presence.

Worship Resources:

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 supporting an organization which protects or provides healthy water. 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”

“Big Love Table” • Romans 13:8-10 and John 13:34-35 • Worship Service with Holy Communionfor In-Home or Remote Group Use

Art: “Picnic at Unity Island Park”, Ylli Haruni

Worship content prepared by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, (c) 2020

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 as social justice reforms arise.

Preparations

  • 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.
  • 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.

Time for Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Special Tables” on YouTube channel: Kathryn Schreiber

Worship Service

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

We Gather

Poem of Preparation “Love One Another”

Love the sunrise which wakes you up.

Love the warm body bedside you in bed or resting in your eternal heart.

Love the farmworker who picked your coffee beans or tea leaves.

Love the bold crow cawing “day” and the hidden owl cooing “night”.

Love the reporters (of all types) who tell us about each other.

Love the children you asked for and those you didn’t.

Love the roof over your head and those who built it.

Love the sibling who hurt you yesterday or decades ago.

Love the hymn that trails you like a faithful dog.

Love the neighbor who never, ever smiles.

Love the way you keep learning how to grow older.

Love the friends who return with food and hope.

Love the people others tell you to hate.

Love the building blocks of life – earth, wind, fire, water, and soil.

Love the gentle way God turns your heart toward compassion.

Love the human beings a sea away with whom you share DNA.

Love the ones who are present and those who are long gone.

Love the person you see in the mirror.

Love the Spirit who tugs us into relationship.

Love the Christ who invites us into transformation.

Love the Creator who leads us into life and life eternal. Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

Song for Welcoming the Presence of God

“I’m Gonna Eat at the Welcome Table” African-American spiritual, WELCOME TABLE (#424 Chalice), video: “Welcome Table” performed by A Southern Gospel Revival – Courtney Patton; version published with lyrics by “philsabine1”. YouTube: https://youtu.be/PDasYUepo1c (used without permission)

Unburden and Gather Hope

Naming Our New Reality

Whether you are alone or with others, may this be a time for private reflection. How is it with you today? Is this a good day or one that requires kindness and patience? Honor the swings of contentment and concern that are a part of every life, as well as the unique shifts that are new to this era. Invite God to help you reflect on the people you encountered the past week. Find one memory to talk to God about: a warm remembrance, something surprising, or even a challenging encounter. Tell God about it. God is listening even when we can’t sense God’s presence. God adores hearing the stories about our lives.

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)

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 likes to think. 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. When you’re ready to move on take a moment to thank God saying, “Amen.”

Acts of Unburdening and Affirming

Write down whatever you wish to release to God and leave at the base of the Christ Candle. If it is safe, burn these prayers. If you don’t have the words yet, offer God what you can. This is fine. The soul knows what to give to God and God knows what to receive.

God’s Grace 

God’s forgiveness is the gate through which we pass to arrive at the blessing from all holy communions – reunions and new connections with God, others, and our own souls. As we offer our regrets and mistakes to God we allow God to heal us. As we are healed, we are freed to offer mercy and forgiveness to others. Let us prepare for Holy Communion with a private, prayerful confession. Let us also rest for a while in God’s eternal forgiveness. (silence) Amen.

We Listen

Scripture Readings: Romans 13:8-10 and John 13:34-35

(from St Paul’s letter to the church in Rome written 58 CE)

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

(from St John’s Gospel written in the 80’s or 90’s CE)

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.

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

Reflection Upon “Big Love Table”

(This content is created for private reflection. If your pastor has prepared a written or recorded message you may use it instead.)

It wasn’t that long ago that in most churches the Communion Table was a High Altar – a solid structure on the highest platform in a church’s sanctuary usually made of special material built against the front wall of the chancel. During Holy Communion the minister or priest would turn their backs to the people to offer God items for blessing. Once the words and sacred rites were performed over the cup and loaf the officiant would turn around and offer the consecrated meal to us, the people. That was when The Table was The Altar which we watched.

In the 1960’s most Roman Catholics and Mainline Protestants began making major worship reforms. In many sanctuaries, High Altars remained in place while an additional, portable table, was brought in. This new table was used for Holy Communion. It was placed on the same level as the people and located so that the officiant could face the congregation. Some congregations removed their High Altars or pulled them out from the wall that they might be used like a table. As the sanctuary furniture changed so did the experience of Holy Communion. The Altar became The Table were everyone was an active participant.

Sixty years ago, inspired by global social changes – colonies casting off foreign imperial rulers, challenging social codes regarding race and gender – as the world changed so did God’s Table. It evolved into a “Welcome Table” more like the one envisioned by freed African American slaves – a place of welcome and inclusion for those who had been excluded or treated as second-class.

Sixty years later in 2020, The Table is still changing. Instead of going to a building to be with The Table, we are currently remaining in our own homes sitting at many tables. We each provide our own communion elements. Each person takes on the priestly tasks of blessing the elements. Now, there are many Tables, many pieces of Bread, many Cups, Many officiants. Yet, we are united one to another by a singular virtual Big Love Table. A mystical place where each one is equal and we all face each other.

Like the social revolutions of the 1960’s, we are living amid massive, public, and passionate demonstrations that sometimes become violent. Power and values clash daily. We exist amid serious political polarizations. So many “US verses THEM” tensions as there were in Jesus’s day.

Jesus Christ, in thought, word, and deed, brought people together – all kinds of people. Jesus knew that all human beings are eager to be fed immortal hope. All human beings are soul-hungry for divine forgiveness. We come equally to God’s Big Love Table needing an outpouring of divine kindness, compassion, mercy, and grace. We always have. We always will.

Spiritually, Holy Communion was always a virtual event transcending time and place. Now, as we know we are physically separated yet spiritually connected, it might be easier for us to assemble at God’s Big Love Table entering eternity, dwelling in the Big Love which gave us life, calls us through life, and will usher us into Life Eternal. Amen.

Special Music     

“We Shall Overcome”African-American spiritual, MARTIN (#630 Chalice), video: performed by Henry Lee, original jazz improvisation, 8/2020. YouTube: https://youtu.be/I1i84ITIavo (used with permission)

We Share

Invitation to Holy Communion

All are welcome here. Though we may be alone in our private homes, we can share this meal with a wider spiritual community. Speak the names of those who are not physically present, but with whom you wish to be gathered in the Holy Spirit: (say names out loud)

Consecration of Elements

Place your hands on the cup and the bread or food you have prepared. Let us pray:

Holy God, Your Big Love moves through the gifts of this earth, the skills of farmers and bakers, the kindnesses of soul friends. May Your Big Love move through us as we share these items at Your Big Love Table. Amen.

Communion Song

“Let Us Break Bread Together” African-American spiritual, LET US BREAK BREAD (#424 Chalice, #234 HOL), video: performed by Joan Baez 6/2020. YouTube: https://youtu.be/z7JUSSPQg7Y (used without permission)

Sharing the Elements

Jesus lifted up and loaf and said: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Because we are God’s Beloved, we can love each other. May we receive God’s sustaining Big Love with this Bread. (eat bread)

After super, Jesus lifted up the cup, 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.”

Because we are God’s Beloved, we can love each other. May we receive God’s merciful Big Love with this Cup. (drink from cup)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Dear God, again, through the wonder of Your never-ending Love we are redeemed and repaired. You reconnect what is broken and give what we did not even know to ask for. Thank You, most Holy and Generous God! Amen.

We Pray

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. You may wish to use your body as movement or sound, dance, tears, or silence. If your community shares prayer requests please include them at this time.

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

Offering

This week we are reminded of the fundamental call to love each other. Today, offer thanks for a fellowship of faith where you encounter God’s Big Love Table. Ask God to protect and tend this Beloved Community and all your relationships – divine and mortal. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

Song of Hope

“We Shall Overcome”African-American spiritual, arrangement: Paul S Morton, video: performed by 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders of Baldwin Hills Elementary, 3/2018. YouTube: https://youtu.be/5vevW8pv9CQ (used without permission)

Benediction

Beloved Child of God – You are loved. As you are loved, may you so love. May God build us into a universe of Loving Siblings. 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 ©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.

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

Online Publishing Date: September 3, 2020.

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 a person or group which helps us love each other. 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 online: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”