content prepared by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber
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.
- Prepare Holy Communion elements – may have a Thanksgiving theme.
- A “Christ Candle” can be any candle or object which represents Christ’s presence.
- Choose songs (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.
- Use an online tool such as https://native-land.ca/ to learn whose land you are upon.
Time for Children of All Ages
Advent begins Sunday November 29th. Now is the time to prepare a household Advent Wreath.
Out of the Bag: “Making an Advent Wreath” – Creative Home Ideas
Out of the Bag: “Praying with an Advent Wreath” Praying with Candles
Please adapt to make this worship service your own. Your intention is what is important.
Call to Worship
Praise God, for God is Good! Here on (name indigenous territory*) land we are surely blessed with life and love, finding in each day hope and sustenance, offering as we can uplift and service, entering God’s presence with profound gratitude. With great thanksgiving, we praise God for all God has done for us. Amen.
Light the Christ Candle
Song for Welcoming the Presence of God “Come Ye Thankful People Come” https://youtu.be/5FqdCskC0QE
Lyrics: H Alford, A Barbauld; Music: G J Elvey ST GEORGE’S WINDSOR (Chalice #718); Performed by The Scottish Festival Singers (Used with permission)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 100 (LTP)
A perfect dance of thanksgiving. God’s people gather from the whole earth to enter the temple gates in procession and praise the God who is lasting love.
Shout joy to the Lord, all earth, serve the Lord with gladness, enter God’s presence with joy! Know that the Lord is God, our maker to whom we belong, our shepherd, and we the flock. Enter the temple gates, the courtyard with thanks and praise; give thanks and bless God’s name. Indeed the Lord is good! God’s love is forever, faithful from age to age.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Reflection “Virtual Thanksgiving”
This year when so many cannot gather around a common Thanksgiving table to share a feast with family and friends, let us use this opportunity to socially gather from a distance through media or compassionate intention sharing words and songs of thanksgiving for all God has done of us. This Thanksgiving Sunday let us feast on gratitude.
For this “potluck” of appreciation and praise, let us consider the less obvious things for which we are grateful. While it is good to be thankful for family and friends, health and housing, this year dig deeper. What has this season of civil justice consciousness raising and global pandemic reveled about God’s goodness? What has God done for you and your household that is truly amazing – completely unexpected. Gather your well-considered gratitude to share at this year’s virtual feast of thanksgiving.
Let us also note that this COVID 19 Thanksgiving some will not be gathering with other people on Thursday. May our celebrations of Holy Communion, however they are shared, be a time of physical and spiritual nourishment for all, especially for those who may be alone on Thanksgiving Day.
This Thanksgiving week let focus more clearly upon God’s goodness. As special conditions force us to set aside familiar rituals and traditions may we find new entrances into God’s presence. May our thanks and praise be truer this year, more aligned to the great blessings God has bestowed upon us. Amen. Soli Deo Gloria. (Glory to God Alone)
Special Music “How Can I Keep from Singing” (My Life Flows On) https://youtu.be/VLPP3XmYxXg
Lyrics and Music: Robert Lowry HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING (Chalice #619); Performed by NYC Virtual Choir and Orchestra.
Invitation to Holy Communion
This blessed meal is offered to everyone who wishes to partake – be they residents of earth or heaven. It matters not where we are or how we connect – in person, by phone or internet, or through goodwill and prayer. It matters not what form our celebration takes only that it is God’s Big Love, revealed in Jesus Christ, which gathers us at one, common, mystical table.
Let us speak the names of those who are not physically present with whom we wish to be spiritually gathered. (Say names out loud.)
Prayer of Preparation
Holy God, we come to this moment humbled. Humbled by the power of a miniscule virus to shut the whole world down. Humbled by the unfinished business of racial violence and on-going injustice which keeps erupting. Humbled by the chasm of mistrust that quakes wider each year. Seeing the weakness and failings of our human condition, we bow before You, O God. Place in our hearts a rowdy hope for the new day coming when we can freely gather together and reside in new levels of being – coming together with vulnerable compassion and common cause – sisters and brothers, fully awake to our shared humanity. Amen.
Sit with God in the silence of eternal contact. You may wish to simply “be” in holy presence or offer specific prayers. Maybe there is a wound or burden to set down, a resentment or disappointment to take off? In God’s totally accepting presence, offer what is yours to offer. Your soul will guide you. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen” with gratitude in your heart.
The One who wipes away every tear, The One who whispers every word of encouragement, The One who endlessly calls us to a Bigger Love has forgiven you. Has offered you mercy and healing for your wellbeing and for all whom you will encounter. Amen.
Communion Song “Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether” https://youtu.be/n4SaiWtXEiM
Lyrics: Percy Dearmer; Music: Harold Friedell (Chalice #392); Performed by members of Saint Clement Parish Chicago (3:35 min)
Consecration of Elements
Place your hands on the cup and the bread and pray:
Creator of Heaven and Earth, Source of Breath and Life, we call Your blessings upon the drink in this cup and the food on this plate. We honor the land from which this fruit and grain sprang. We honor the rain that fell and the sun which shone down bringing plants to maturity. We honor the farmer that planted and the laborer who harvested. We honor the ones who crafted this juice and made this bread. We honor all beings whose lives made this meal possible.
We call upon the Holy Spirit to fill us with the remembrance of the Living Christ that in the sharing of this meal we are, again, with Jesus and all the disciples who call him Beloved Brother and Savior. Amen.
Sharing the Elements
Jesus lifted up the loaf, gave thanks to God, broke it, and said: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
With gratitude in our hearts, let us receive Christ’s selfless gift. (eat bread)
After super, Jesus lifted up the cup, gave thanks to God, and offered it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
With thanksgiving in our souls, let us receive Christ’s healing forgiveness. (drink from cup)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Dear God, this year when so much is not the same what a comfort is it to participate in this Holy Meal connected to members of the Church Universal. Bond us in the Holy Spirit, stronger than any ill wind that blows here on earth. For all You have given us, perceived and still mysterious, we give thanks, Beloved One. We are most grateful. 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 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 Special Music “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” (Doxology) https://youtu.be/r_shjZj81yE
Lyrics: Thomas Ken; Music: Louis Bourgeois OLD HUNDREDTH (Chalice #47); performed by the Gates family singing in a chapel in Assisi, Italy. (1:17 min)
We Continue in Hope
Song of Hope “Let All Things Now Living” https://youtu.be/kKz0ntLKnqs
Lyrics: Katherine David; Music: Welsch folk song ASH GROVE (Chalice #717); Posted by Middle East University Church of Seventh-Day Adventists
There is always something to thank God for! Let our love for God who has done so much for us be a buoy to keep us afloat when our spirits sag. May we remember that we mimic our Beloved Christ when we sacrifice our comfort for the survival of others. Let us exit this holy space with praise and thanksgiving on our lips, filled with the goodness of our faithful God! Amen.
(the service is concluded)
*Use a tool, such as https://native-land.ca/, to learn whose land you are upon.
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.
(LTP) The Psalter: A faithful and inclusive rendering from the Hebrew into contemporary English poetry, intended primarily for communal song and recitation. Liturgical Training Press ©1994
(Chalice) The Chalice Hymnal and (New Century) The New Century Hymnal, among other worship publications, have suspended copyright restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Online Publishing Date: November 19, 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 local indigenous community or to support our local native community by giving to https://sogoreate-landtrust.org/. 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!
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