3 Easter: “For God So Loved the Cosmos” • John 3:16 • Earth Day Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

painting by Clivie Loveless-Newton, ©2020

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

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 with Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Flower Friends” We prepare for Earth Day spending time with Pastor Kathryn’s flower friends. We also think about how we can live respecting all beings on Earth.

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Since the beginning of beginnings –

God so loves the cosmos.

As Creation continues to evolve –

God so loves the cosmos.

Kindred creatures as community –

God so loves the cosmos.

Beloved Ones, let all of us – of all species –

gather in praise and thanksgiving,

drawn to the Light of Christ. Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

Special Music: “I Love You Earth” Written and performed by 6-year-old singer / songwriter Aiden Adams. Lyrics and Melody by Aiden Adams. Music and Lyrics (C) 2020 Aiden Books http://www.aidenbooks.com (C) 2021, Kooty Records. Premiered Mar 15, 2021.

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

As Earth Day (April 22) approaches, let us pray with our eyes open, all senses engaged. Gentle your spirit and body. Listen, smell, look, taste, and touch the natural world. Who or what kindly gathers with you today? This is your special prayer partner who also loves God.

With your fellow creature or expression of life, praise God for the beauty of the earth, share gratitude for holy comforts, and lift up concerns for all living beings. Talk with God about your species and what you perceive might be the experience of your earthly friend/s, too. Be honest as you speak with God the Creator. Be open, too. God may be calling you to listen closely to other beings. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

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)

Be. (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.”

God’s Grace 

Children often know, quite naturally, how to pray with wild things – a grasshopper on a blade of grass, summer clouds morphing overhead, the haunting hoot of an evening owl. Consider your childhood or time with a precious child. Was there/is there, a special natural place or being, not a human-made place or human being, that was/is safe and life-giving? Remember that place or being. This place, this being, is a vessel of God’s caring love and grace. God’s eternal care always rises throughout the cosmos. It can’t help but do that.

On this 3rd Sunday of Easter, as Earth Day nears, be especially open to how God’s grace is moving through the natural world around you. Notice who or what God has placed near you to lift your spirit, to deepen sacred cross-species bonds, and to balance the flow of life in and through us all. May this grace bless you and ripple out and bless many others. too.

We Listen

Scripture: John 3:16 (NRSV)

The biblical word we translate as “the world” is “κόσμον” (kosmon) – “cosmos” in English. It suggests much more than human community or the planet earth. The cosmos is the eternal reality of living systems. This is what God loves which Christ came to liberate.

(English) For God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

(Koine Greek) Οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν Υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ’ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

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

Sermon “Imagine” by The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church (USA). Sermon for Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2021 (see Reflection) Bishop Curry’s sermon expresses God’s love for all that exists – God’s love of the cosmos – and our role in this divinely beloved reality.

Reflection: “IMAGINE! God’s Earth and People Restored”

No written reflection this week. Please consider participating in Ecumenical Advocacy Days, a virtual event April 18-21, 2021: “IMAGINE! God’s Earth and People Restored”

To register: https://attendify.co/ecumenical-advocacy-days-pbfNWPy

To view recorded sermons and prayers anytime: https://advocacydays.org/worship/

Special Music: “Morning has Broken” Music: Gaelic melody. Arrangement written by Cat Stevens. Performed by Concertino, a flute and guitar duo with flautist Vic Norian and guitarist Charles Gregoire. Recorded at Parkdale United Church on June 14, 2010 in Ottawa Canada. (Chalice #53)

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

For all the ways this good earth tends our bodies and souls, let us generously support those organizations which tend God’s beloved creations. It may be that your community will be participating in this year’s Church World Service’s (CWS) Crop Hunger Walk, a virtual event in 2021. You are most welcome to join the “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” team – https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2021/search. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “For the Beauty of the Earth” Words and Music: Folliot S Pierpoint, 1864. Performed by Audrey Assad. Video by
Bob Marshall. Video published Apr 11, 2019. (Chalice #56)

Benediction

Breathing in, imagine the universe.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our solar system.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our earth and moon.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our continent surrounded seas.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our country, a nation of nations.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine our region, all your living neighbors.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine your loved ones and their homes.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

Breathing in, imagine yourself and your current location.

Breathing out, say: “Peace be with you.”

May the Peace of Christ be with all beings. Amen.

Worship Resources:

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: painting by Clivie Loveless-Newton, ©2020

Online Publishing Date: April 13, 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!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

Eastertide Message

Aiden the Wonder Cat napping. (c) 2021, Kathryn M Schreiber

Hello Dear Ones! Happy Eastertide! Next week’s worship will celebrate Earth Day and then I’m off for two weeks; no new content for April 25th or May 2nd – however see the prayer poem posted for PAAM Sunday (4/25) that I posted before Easter. I will post a service for Mother’s Day (5/9) with Holy Communion. Hope there is some post-Easter downtime for you, too!

2nd Sunday of Easter: “Blessed by the Risen Christ” • John 20:19-29 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

artwork: He Qui “The Doubt of St Thomas”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

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 with Children of All Ages

No new recording this week. Please visit “Kathryn Schreiber” YouTube channel for previously recorded messages.

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Behind the locked doors where safety kindly hid us,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Amid the joyful reunions of those once scattered,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Called up and sent out to serve God’s redemptive dream,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Infused with divine forgiveness, empowered to extend mercy,

The Living Christ proclaims: “Peace be with you!”

Alleluia! Amen!

Light the Christ Candle

Song: “In the Garden” Words and Music written by C. Austin Miles, 1913. Performed by Apple Crisol. May 13, 2020 (Chalice #227)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

Welcome to Eastertide! We are on the Easter side of the Cross. Here in North America, we appear to be on the “other side” of the global pandemic as vaccines decrease the severity of infection and transmission. Weekly, new liberties are extended. And, new realities are encountered. This pandemic has changed us.

How is it with your soul this week? What are your excitements and concerns? Do not be afraid, tell it all to God. Speak honestly with Most Merciful, Ever Compassionate One. And listen to others, too. We are going through this transformation together. God is still speaking in many ways, though many beings, including the deep wisdom of your beautiful soul. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

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)

Be. (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.”

God’s Grace 

The Risen Christ appears behind a bolted door bringing peace to terrified followers. What a graphic example of God’s grace! However, let us note that the resurrected Jesus Christ also speaks of forgiveness, as he did at the Last Supper.

One of the most powerful vessels of divine grace is forgiveness. When we mortals forgive each other, we tumble into the grace of God’s forgiveness. We are transformed though those who hurt us may not be.

Years ago, discussing a deep regret with a dear friend, a woman of great faith, she asked me pointblank: “Do you believe God has forgiven you?” I quickly replied that I did. Then she told me, “So now, you must forgive yourself.”

This 2nd Sunday of Easter as we rise with the Rising Christ let us practice forgiveness. God is eager to open dams that have restricted the wondrous flow of God’s healing grace.

We Listen

Scripture: John 20:19-29 (NRSV)

(The Risen Christ appears to the hiding, frightened disciples)

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

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

Sermon “Peace Be with You” by The Rev. Dr. Diane Weible, Conference Minister of the Northern California-Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ, USA. Post Easter lessons and the call to serve God in new, bold ways.


Special Music: “Here Comes the Sun” Performed by James Taylor and Yo You Ma. Written by George Harrison. Cello arrangement by Charles Floyd. Dave O’Donnell produced, recorded and mixed the audio. Backing vocals were provided by David Lasley, Kate Markowitz, Arnold McCuller, Kim Taylor, Andrea Zonn. Recorded March 7, 2008, for Yo-Yo’s 2008 album “Songs of Joy and Peace.”

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

For all the times Christ transcended our fears and doubts, let us generously support those organizations which embody God’s Big Love. It may be that your community will be participating in this year’s Church World Service’s (CWS) Crop Hunger Walk, a virtual event in 2021. You are most welcome to join the “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” team – https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2021/search. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

“Listen to the Words/Peace Be with You” Written by Joel Payne. Tracks, charts and scores http://www.resoundworship. All rights reserved.

Benediction

Risen Christ says: “Peace be with You.”

Our souls hear: “Peace be with You.”

Our voices proclaim: “Peace be with You.”

Amen.

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “The Doubt of St Thomas”

Online Publishing Date: April 7, 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!Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

Easter Sunday Christian Community: “Easter People” • Mark 16:1-8 • Worship Service for In-Home or Remote Group Use

artwork: He Qui, “The Risen Christ”

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Worship Note

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.

Lent-Easter 2021

A year ago the coronavirus converted our congregations from sanctuary-based to home-based ministries. This Lent we reflect upon our calling to be the Christian Community in new ways. May we be open to reinvention by the Holy Spirit.

Time with Children of All Ages

Out of the Bag: “Comma Cross” Easter celebration — death is not the end

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Unable to move the heavy stone, it is moved.

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Prepared to anoint the dead, his body is gone.

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Bewildered by a luminous being, we ask:

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Challenged by a word of eternal hope, we wonder:

Where is Jesus?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” Written by Charles Wesley, 1739; Public Domain. Vocals and guitars by Eric C. Rose, banjo by George Pierson. Mar 27, 2021. (Chalice #216)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Releasing and Receiving

This Lent and Easter we have intentionally focused upon being a Christian faith community. This Easter, the second with adapted pandemic configurations, we are like the women who visited Jesus’s tomb. We, too, have been thrown into a year’s worth of confusion, hope, and anxiety. Yet, amid what has been challenging, haven’t we also found more than we expected?

How is it with you and your faith community? Where and how are you feeling the uplift of Easter? What is still a great loss? Whatever your experience is, God is with you as the Living Christ. Speak honestly with God and be open to a new blessing. When you are ready to move on, say “Amen,” with gratitude in your heart.

Silent Prayer

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)

Be. (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.”

God’s Grace 

Easter, spiritual Easter, is nothing but pure grace. It is completely unexpected, surprising, confusing, comforting, and liberating – all at the same time! Grace perfected.

This scheduled Easter, as was true last Easter, we have been pushed out of our familiar routines. Last year, for many, Easter wasn’t “Easter” because we could not keep certain traditions. But this year – haven’t we learned a great lesson? “Easter” isn’t contained in a place or a date on the calendar. “Easter” can happen anytime, anyplace.

God willing there will be a collective, in-person “Easter” sometime before too long when we can weave together old practices and new awarenesses. Until then, let us truly savor the “Easter” which dwells within us, all of us friends of Jesus, on this holy, blessed day.

We Listen

Scripture: Mark 16:1-8 (CEB)

This is the oldest gospel account of Easter morning revealing a turning point between confusion, hope, and fear.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body.Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb.  They were saying to each other, “Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. (And it was a very large stone!) 

Going into the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right side; and they were startled. But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised. He isn’t here. Look, here’s the place where they laid him. Go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.”

Overcome with terror and dread, they fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

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

Meditation Quote about Easter

“We are an Easter people and alleluia is our cry.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Sermon: “Who’s Going to Roll That Stone Away?” God has many ways to move obstacles

There is no written Easter Reflection this week.

Special Music: “Easter Hallelujah” Music by Leonard Cohen. Lyrics by Kelley Mooney. Performed by Cassandra and Callahan Star, sisters. Piano arrangement: Jeff Buckley of Karaoke Studios. Recording by Maverick Judson of MJ Interactive.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Invitation

With His death, descent into hell, and resurrection, Jesus Christ opened the gates to Paradise for all souls. As St Paul wrote, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

As we gather for Holy Communion this Easter day, we gather with the souls of our loved ones – living and dead. This Easter, we especially call to blessed memory all who have died this past year – especially victims of the pandemic and racialized violence. We hold close the acknowledgement of these many deaths not to be weighted down, but to lift up their souls in the Easter Light of the Risen One.

Let us now speak the names of those persons, living or dead, who are not present with us in person, yet present in our thoughts and prayers. Let us be gathered together: (speak their names)

Consecration Invitation and Prayer

Laying your hands on your bread and cup, we will ask the Holy Spirit to move among us and fill our household items with sacred presence:

Eternal One, O Risen One, may these humble elements become for us living symbols of Your magnificent power to overcome evil. May the sharing of our loaves and cups be for us acts of receiving Your blessing to serve, as you would have us serve, for the uplift of many. Amen.

Sharing the Elements

(elements will be consumed after words of institution)

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.”

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.”

Easter People – these are the Gifts of God for the People of God! Let us receive the Bread – symbol of Eternal Life – the Resurrected Body of Jesus Christ. Let us receive the Cup – symbol of Eternal Forgiveness – the Redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Alleluia! We, Your Easter People, give thanks for the many ever-giving gifts of Jesus Christ. May the meal we have just shared ripple out with many blessings, spreading Your Big Love to everyone. In the name of the Resurrected One, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen. Alleluia!

We Pray

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

Every Easter we are humbled by the unfathomable gifts God has given us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us truly give thanks and offer ourselves, again, to the God of Goodness and Mercy for the well-being of all beings. (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “Because He Lives/Amen” Written by Matt Maher. Performed by The West Coast Choir, West Coast Baptist College Mar 30, 2018. Song: © 2014 Hanna Street Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/ Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / I Am A Pilgrim Songs (BMI) / Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Alletrop Music (BMI) (adm. by Music Services) / worshiptogether.com Songs (ASCAP) Worship Together Music (BMI) sixsteps Music (ASCAP) sixsteps Songs (BMI) S.D.G. Publishing (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)

Benediction

Here’s the really, really, really Good News –

No matter how well we have planned for the worst,

No matter what obstacles appear unmovable,

No matter what surprises greet us

in the sanctified places of death,

No matter how shocking the latest surprise has been,

The Living Christ rises!

There is nothing, nothing, nothing

That can prevent God from lifting up

the Beloved Community!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Christ is Risen indeed!

Alleluia! (wave flowers)

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(CEB) Common English Bible, Copyright © 2011.

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws have recently changed. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: artwork: He Qui “The Risen Lord”

Online Publishing Date: April 2, 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!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”