worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021
As the Living God guides us through these pandemic-impacted times, as social justice reforms arise, we freely offer this worship content for you to adapt for your needs.
Time for Children of All Ages
Out of the Bag: “Types of Hope” We consider different kinds of hope
Call to Worship
It travels through the wind like a strong bird
uplifting all who watch it sail by,
It pops out from around the corner
when we least expect it
and is delighted to be found,
It reaches out to everyone, everywhere
inviting every being
into new circles of reality,
It is always tethered to the Great I AM,
always has been,
will eternally be so.
“It” is hope – Holy hope
the hope to which God calls us.
Let us be united in sacred hope
however it greets us this day.
Light the Christ Candle
Song: “This is a Day of New Beginnings” Words: B Wren; Music: C R Young; Published by drolas94 (Chalice #518)
We Rest in God’s Grace
Releasing and Receiving
How is it with your soul? Check in with God. Turn toward God in honesty, however is best for you today. Release what is too heavy to keep on carrying. Hand over to God what needs to be set down. Also gather up precious moments to cherish as ever-good, ever-blessed. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.
Shift into simply being with God, silently. A helpful way to enter sacred silence is to offer this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10:
Be still and know that I am God. (pause)
Be still and know that I am. (pause)
Be still and know. (pause)
Be still. (pause)
Rest in God’s loving presence for as long as you wish. When you’re ready to move on, take a deep breath, let it out, thank God, and say, “Amen.”
All relationships are circular; we impact each other. This is true of our relationship with God, too. The more we attempt to be aligned with God, the more God can do with, though, and to us.
St. Paul affirmed the faith of Jesus’ followers in Ephesus and called them to continual transformation – “sanctification” – by God. We, too, through God’s grace, are called to sanctification. St. Paul invites us to trust God to fill us with wisdom and enlightenment.
Pause for a moment and consider… a thought that popped into your mind that was surprisingly uplifting; a calming spirit of cooperation moving through your community or family; a moment of deep assurance despite challenging current circumstances… these are all evidence of God’s grace flowing. Praise be to God!
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:15-19 (NRSV)
(St Paul is writing to the disciples in Ephesus)
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Quotes from Rev. William Sloane Coffin, beloved UCC pastor:
“Hope is a condition of the soul, not a reflection of one’s surroundings.”
“Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.”
Community Sermon: “Hope Harvest”
Reflect upon the hope to which God has called you. Where do you feel hope? What makes you hopeful – not just for yourself and loved ones, but for everyone? What hope do you believe comes from God, a Big Hope? Share your “hope harvest” with others. Together, this collection of hope can assure us God is at work. May we see, together, how God is inspiring us to live more fully into God’s Dream for all being.
Special Music: “Amazing Grace” Written by J Newton; Performed by Lori Marie Key at COVID Memorial. 2021. (Chalice #546)
Prayers of the People and The Lord’s Prayer
We Give Thanks
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Hope is just one of the many blessings that flow from the perpetual fountain that is God. May holy hope touch all beings. Amen.
We Continue in Hope
Song: “My Life Flows On, How Can I Keep from Singing” Written by R Lowry; Performed by Audrey Assad. (Chalice #619)
(from “The Hill We Climb” by US Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, recited at the Presidential Inauguration1/20/2021)
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it (ag)
May we go forth in hope with peace. Amen.
(the service is concluded)
All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.
(ag) Amanda Gorman. “The Hill We Climb” ©2021. Text appeared online on CNN:https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/20/politics/amanda-gorman-inaugural-poem-transcript/index.html
Online Chalice Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/CH1995
Online New Century Hymnal: https://hymnary.org/hymnal/NCH1995
Note: (Chalice) The Chalice Hymnal and (New Century) The New Century Hymnal, among other worship publications, suspended copyright restrictions early during the coronavirus pandemic. Permission may shift as conditions change. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms’ publishing requirements.
Online Image: ABC7 news still photo, 1/2/2021.
Online Publishing Date: January 20, 2021.
Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.
Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. 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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