1 Pentecost: “Unbelievable”• Genesis 18:1-15 • Trinity Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend Worship or Devotional

“The Holy Trinity” icon by Andrei Rublev

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.

Spiritual Practice: “3xs Savoring” Shifting from fear to savoring what is life-giving

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Holy One,

please come and surprise us.

Appear as You wish to appear.

Speak as You wish to speak.

Promise as You wish to promise.

Open our new chapter of hope.

Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: “Abide with Me” Words: HF Lyte, 1847; Music: WH Monk, 1861. Performed by Catholic and Christian Choral Music, Choral Version (SATB) with Lyrics. Video: 2020. (Chalice #636)

We Rest in God’s Grace

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 

We are wonderfully made, but we are limited. Especially our minds. Our brains love to quickly sort all kinds of input and information. Our ideas about God are limited or distorted. “Through a glass dimly,” as St Paul writes (1 Corinthians 13:12), is the nature of human beings’ ability to discern divine reality.

On this Memorial Day weekend as we tenderly recall our dearly departed Loved Ones, we proclaim a faith in the eternal life of the soul. Yet, we can’t really understand such infinite grace – endless being in God’s Big Love. May we lean into the mystery of life after death with faith and hope.  

We Listen

Scripture: Genesis 18:1-15 (The Message)

God appeared to Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre while Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent. It was the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing. Abraham ran from his tent to greet them and bowed before them.

Abraham said, “Master, if it please you, stop for a while with your servant. I’ll get some water so you can wash your feet. Rest under this tree. I’ll get some food to refresh you on your way, since your travels have brought you across my path.”

They said, “Certainly. Go ahead.”

Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. He said, “Hurry. Get three cups of our best flour; knead it and make bread.”

Then Abraham ran to the cattle pen and picked out a nice plump calf and gave it to the servant who lost no time getting it ready. Then he got curds and milk, brought them with the calf that had been roasted, set the meal before the men, and stood there under the tree while they ate.

The men said to Abraham, “Where is Sarah your wife?”

He said, “In the tent.”

One of them said, “I’m coming back about this time next year. When I arrive, your wife Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was listening at the tent opening, just behind the man.

Abraham and Sarah were old by this time, very old. Sarah was far past the age for having babies. Sarah laughed within herself, “An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?”

God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, ‘Me? Have a baby? An old woman like me?’ Is anything too hard for God? I’ll be back about this time next year and Sarah will have a baby.”

Sarah lied. She said, “I didn’t laugh,” because she was afraid.

But he said, “Yes you did; you laughed.”

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

Scripture Reflection Questions:

What parts of the story do you find most surprising?

God arriving as three men?

Abraham’s hospitality?

God proclaiming elder Sarah’s upcoming pregnancy?

Sarah laughing at God?

Sarah lying to God?

God calling her out?

Does this story change the way you think about God?

Sermon: “Unbelievable” God’s unbelievable, fabulous, faithful, ongoing commitment to humanity and a response to Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Jose.

Special Music: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” Written by George Harrison, inspired by the I Ching. Arrangement for ukulele and performance by Jake Shimabukuro.

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Triune God, we praise You in all Your expressions – as the Source of All Life; as the Incarnate Savior; as the Ever-Inspiring Spirit – we turn to You with our questions and convictions about life after death and the holy mystery called “heaven.” We long for a sweet, loving eternal presence with You and those whom we have most deeply loved. Speak to our souls of Your truth. Comfort us. And, help us to open, again, to Your wondrous, unbelievable promises. Amen.

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

On this Memorial Day weekend honor a deceased Love One with a special gift or action made in their memory. Was her favorite color yellow? Plant flowers with yellow blossoms. Were they dedicated to ending hunger? Donate to the local food bank. Was he a servant of peace? Engage in an act of non-violent solidarity. When we embody the best of our deceased loved ones we carry forward their light creating a brighter future for those who will follow us.

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!” Reginald Heber 1826; John B. Dykes 1861 Recording: Concordia Publishing House© 2004. Concordia Publishing House Used by Permission CCLI #521478. Video Created for the Presbyterian Church of Marion, Marion Center PA. (Chalice #4)

Benediction

Excerpt from The Lorica (Latin for “Breastplate”) – a prayer of protection attributed to St Patrick in the 4th century. Patrick noticed the Celtic Irish belief in three as the holiest number. Thus, he often spoke about God as the Trinity – Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit.

May we arise today

Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

May we rise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation. (l)

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

(The Message) Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

(l) The Lorica, attributed to St Patrick of Ireland. For entire prayer: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/devotions/lorica-of-saint-patrick-349

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed in early 2021. 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: “The Holy Trinity” icon by Andrei Rublev

Online Publishing Date: May 26, 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”; You

Pentecost: “Surrendering to Holy Fire” • Acts 2:1-8, 11b-18

“Untitled, 1968” Mark Rothko

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

Public Use

Our format is shifting again as we move into hybrid worship during this global pandemic. We continue to freely share our materials for use during the pandemic. If you’re sharing this content with a group, please see “Permission” and “Donation for Use of Content” comments at the end of this document. Thank you and God Bless!

For the BCCC Community

This Sunday’s worship service will be in-person! We’ll return to 2pm ZOOM Gathering for the next few weeks as we discern next steps. Please participate as you feel most comfortable (see 5/18 email for safety protocols).

Please watch the Spiritual Practice: “Letter of God” video below before Sunday. Song: “This is a Day of New Beginnings” may inspire your letter writing.

If you’re curious about what worship will be like, or won’t be attending, see the service below. We will try to post some of the service online. If you’ll be present and would like to be surprised, watch the “Before Worship Videos” and skip the rest.

Before Worship Videos

Spiritual Practice: Letter to God Pastor Kathryn teaches a practice to release to God what no longer serves. Please bring or mail your Letter to God to be burnt in the Pentecost fire on 5/23/2021.

Song: This is a Day of New Beginnings Words: Brian Wren, 1978. Music: Carlton R Young, 1984. Hope Publishing Co. Chalice # 518.

Pentecost Worship Service 5/23/2021

(inside in reconfigured sanctuary)

We Gather

Gathering Music (live instrumental; no singing)

Welcome

Words of Welcome. Land Acknowledgment: We are gathering on Lisjan (Ohlone) Territory, Village of Huchiun. We are very blessed to be near the West Berkeley Shell Mound Sacred Site beside Strawberry Creek, a sacred place for over 5,800 years. (stlt)

Calling Down the Spirit

Holy Spirit, Third Person of the Triune God,

Promised Help from the Risen Christ,

as the Beloved Community gathers in person

as we reassemble in this Holy Place

we ask You to descend upon us

and all who gather in the name of Hope.

Pour out Your Spirit upon all flesh!

Fill our youth and our elders, all people;

Fill us no matter what has happened to us,

no matter what we have done to others;

Fill persons of all gender identities;

Fill the diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and races;

Fill each and every one of us!

Ignite us with Your Dream, O God!

Lighting the Christ Candle

Welcoming Beloved Souls

Since we have been together many dear ones have passed into heaven. Because of the pandemic we have not been able to gather for traditional rituals and events. As we assemble in this Sacred Space may we be aware of the Beloved Souls we are missing. Let our hearts and minds fill with their Blessed Memory as we call them to gather with us:

“Join us, Beloved Souls.” (light a number of votive candles)

Passing the Peace (standing or sitting in place; we will not move about)

Reunited with friends and family in Heaven, let us now safely greet each other. Please remain in your safety circle, masks on, no touching, no walking about. Use gestures and soft-spoken words to greet each other and share the Peace of Christ:

“Peace be with You” (exchanged distanced greetings)

Prayer of Rededication (please be seated)

We who have been anointed by the Holy Spirit, gathered with Beloved Souls, and blessed by sharing the Peace of Christ, let us now pray:

Just as on the first Day of Pentecost,

we gather needing You, Most Holy God.

Like our ancient siblings

we long for the promise made by Jesus Christ –

Your presence with us as the Holy Spirit.

Today, as a congregation, we humble ourselves unto You.

We ask not only to be rededicated to this local ministry,

we ask to be transformed in the fire of Your Holy Spirit.

We offer ourselves unto You, Divine Potter,

to be shaped as You desire.

Holy Spirit, Refining Fire, make of us what is needed

to manifest Your Dream in this place at this time. Amen.

Praise Song

The BCCC Chinese Fellowship will play a pre-recorded Cantonese praise song. We will not sing along.

We Listen

Scripture Acts 2:1-8, 11b-18 (NRSV) (read in English and Cantonese)

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? … We hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: “Judeans  and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
   and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
   and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
   in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
     and they shall prophesy.’”

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

Sermon (live)

Special Music (live instrumental; no singing)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Uniting God, reassembled here

on consecrated and rededicated ground –

we are thankful.

We give thanks to You for all You have done

to call us into life and into life more abundantly.

You lead us through

this Valley of the Shadow of Death.

We are grateful for surviving

as we grieve those who didn’t.

You accompany us with righteous dignity

when words and fists strike out

with racist harm and hatred.

You keep on inviting us to hold onto hope and strength

whenever we are downhearted and tired.

You fill our hearts and minds

with ways to serve each other

for You have made us rightly interdependent.

It is Your Spirit that prays

“with sighs too deep for words”

when we do not know how to pray.

It is Your Spirit that ignites hope

when our patience wears thin.

It is Your Spirit that enflames a world vision

of merciful recalibrations

and transforming, healing justice.

It is Your Spirit which held us together

all the days we were apart,

and it will be Your Spirit

which will guide us forward.

From the depths of our souls we praise You,

O Wondrous God.

From the width of our souls we praise You,

O Generous God.

From the unfathomable mystery of divine reality

we praise You, O Mighty God.

Amen.

Prayers of the People

(please email your prayer requests to Pastor Kathryn by 8pm Saturday night as we will not be passing the mike or talking loudly in the sanctuary)

The Lord’s Prayer

We Go Forward in Hope

Blessing Household Elements

Because we will be celebrating Holy Communion online until it is safe to do so in-person, today we bless crackers and juice for use in your households. After the service, please take home a package for your household’s use and to deliver to members not present.

Prayer of Consecration (spontaneous – in the Spirit)

Announcements

Next Sunday, Thank You’s, Instructions for the rest of the service

Recessional Exit to Pentecost Fire

Blessed Communion Elements exit first. Ushers invite us to exit keeping a safe distance.

Pentecost Worship Service 5/23/2021

(outside near Pentecost Fire)

Blessed Communion Elements are placed on table for pick up after the service. Spaced seating available for those who prefer to sit; others stand.

Ritual of Release

Invitation to offer our Letters to God to the Pentecost Fire; Individuals, spaced apart, may come forward with letters (their own and others) to place on the fire. Blank paper available for symbolic offerings, too.

Prayer of Surrender and Hope

We believe in You, Holy God,

and Your Dream for us.

We have released to You

what we no longer wish to carry forward.

May this blessed Pentecost Day

be a day of new beginnings

for us and all who surrender to Your Holy Spirit.

May the faith, hope, and joy

of those who gathered in Jerusalem

after Jesus Christ’s Ascension into Heaven

ignite such blessed passions in us, too.

We surrender ourselves to Your Holy Spirit –

that we might better embody God’s Big Love

for the well-being of all beings. Amen.

Doxology (all sing, softly, acapella)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Praise God all creatures here below.

Praise God above ye heavenly hosts.

Creator, Christ, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.

Benediction (spontaneous – in the Spirit)

(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.

(stlt) https://sogoreate-landtrust.org/lisjan-history-and-territory/

2/11/2021 UPDATED COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed earlier this year. 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: “Untitled, 1968” Mark Rothko. Published in Mark Rothko: Pictures as Drama ©2013 TASCHEN GmbH, original edition 2003.

Online Publishing Date: May 19, 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”

7 Easter: “Christ-Opened Minds” • Luke 24:44-53 • Ascension Day (observed) Worship/Devotional

Ascension” detail from an illuminated manuscript; source unknown

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: “Taught to Hate?” Jesus offers a way forward when we have enemies

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

Beloved Community, let us look to the Resurrected Christ for comfort and assurance of things holy and eternal.

May we find our minds opened to understand scripture and the Holy Spirit’s on-going wisdom.

May our worship of the Resurrected Christ generate many blessings and much joy. Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: “Open the Eyes of My Heart” Written by Paul Baloche ©1997 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (IMI)) All Rights Reserved International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission. CCLI# 2298355 Video Footage Provided by: Zach Fields, Josh Ross & Chris Pitoyo

We Rest in God’s Grace

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 

Sometimes we take on more than is ours to do. We forget that God is waiting for us to stop and ask for holy help. What burdens weigh upon your shoulders? What feels like “too much” to do or be, accept or adapt? Maybe, this is not your’s to do? Maybe, Christ is eager to open your mind to new ways forward if you but ask? If these questions resonate, gentle yourself into a state of openness. God’s grace may be right around the corner.

We Listen

Scripture: Luke 24:44-53 (NRSV)

Luke’s gospel ends with this passage – the last encounter the Resurrected Jesus has with his disciples. Jesus’ departure by ascention into heaven is not unique within the Hebrew tradition. The prophet Elijah, while preparing his successor Elisha, is separated by a chariot of fire and then ascends into heaven by divine whirlwind. (This ancient story from 2 Kings 9-12 is the basis for the beloved spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”)

Then Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”

Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Then Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

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

Sermon: “Christ Opened Minds” Speaking to his young followers who had just witnessed the powerful violence of conflict, Jesus assures them God offers what they need to go forward.

Special Music: “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” African-American Spiritual. Sung by Robert Robinson. First Covenant Church, Minneapolis. Published July 5, 2013. (Chalice #643)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Eternal God, we apologize for thinking too highly of ourselves. We ask forgiveness for the times when we turned away from You to take on tasks much too large for any person or group of human beings. We ask, today, that we might be drawn to look to Christ. We offer our hearts and minds for holy illumination. Grant to Your humbled people the blessing of insight and guidance. May our turning to You bring You glory, bless our neighbors, and uplift our own souls. Amen.

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

Please support our Global Ministry partners responding to the Covid-19 crisis in India. Offer prayers of support for all responding with medical and spiritual care. Thank you. https://donate.globalministries.org/onlinegiving?donateTarget=Medical%20work%20of%20partners%20in%20India%20responding%20to%20COVID-19

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “Open My Eyes, That I May See” Written by Clara H. Scott, 1895. Public Domain. Performed by CFC Songs & Hymns, an Indian Christian community. Jan 18, 2021. (Chalice #586)

Benediction

May Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, the Prophets, the Psalms, continue to open our minds to righteous understanding.

May we prepare ourselves for Pentecost next Sunday, open to the Holy Spirit’s renewal, clothing us with sacred power from on high.

May we stay put in this span of hopeful mystery, blessed by the rising Jesus Christ, that we might be lead forward with wondrous joy. 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 changed earlier this year. 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: “Ascension” detail from an illuminated manuscript; source unknown.

Online Publishing Date: May 12, 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”

Pentecost 2021 — in person!

artwork: portion of “The Melt” by Tsherin Sherpa, 2017.

The church I serve will reopen for outside, in-person worship on May 23rd. We will be celebrating with FIRE, surrendering to God’s Holy Spirit guiding us forward. I’ll be posting a special LL service at the end of this week.

6 Easter: “Holy Mama Love”• Luke 13:31-35 • Mother’s Day Worship/Devotional with Holy Communion

“Woodcock and Chicks” by Archibald Thorburn (c) 1933

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: “Mama Hen Love” God loves us like a mama hen loves her chicks

Worship Service

We Gather

Invocation

A womanist* version of the prayer that Jesus taught. Written by Rev. Yolanda Norton.

Our Mother,

who is in heaven and within us,

we call upon Your names.

Your wisdom come.

Your will be done,

in all the spaces in which You dwell.

Give us each day

sustenance and perseverance.

Remind us of our limits as

we give grace to the limits of others.

Separate us from the temptation of empire,

and deliver us into community.

For You are the dwelling place within us,

the empowerment around us,

and the celebration among us,

now and forever. Amen.

Amen.

Light the Christ Candle

*Song: “Bring Many Names” Written by Brian Wren. Performed by the First Congregational Church of Belleview, UCC. Stephen O’Bent, piano;  audio and visual editing. Published Aug 11, 2020. (Chalice #10)

We Rest in God’s Grace

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 

Have you ever been safely held by a person or a place when you were in need of care? Are you currently physically safe and secure? Try dropping a degree or two in consciousness. Can you perceive a holy presence laying wings about you, protecting you right now? Does your soul sense divine sanctuary? If so, please thank God. If not, pray for this grace to one day be revealed unto you.

We Listen

Scripture: Luke 13:31-35 (NRSV)

Jesus is preparing to enter Jerusalem for the last time. He is teaching, preparing his disciples and the crowds for what is to come. Jesus’s pre-Easter lament for the failings of the Beloved Nation represented by the holy city of Jerusalem contains a powerful image of divine love – a protective mama hen.

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”

Jesus said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me:

‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed away from Jerusalem.’ 

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

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

Sermon “Holy Mama Love”

The feminine face of God considered on Mother’s Day

Special Music: “Like A Mother Who Has Borne Us” Lyrics by Daniel Bechtel, 1986. Music by William P Rowan, “AUSTIN”, 1992. Music copyright ©1993, Selah Publishing, Co., Inc. (#583 THCH). Performed and recorded by Casas Adobes, UCC on January 21, 2021.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Invitation

On this Mother’s Day we hold close the image of Jesus as a mother hen fiercely sheltering her beloved, vulnerable chicks. The One who removes danger, the One who heals, the One who protects us – this is The One who calls us to the Holy Table to nourish our bodies and tend our souls.

Gathering Souls

Let us speak the names of those persons, including your mothers or mothering ones, 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

Lay hands on your bread and cup. Our prayer asks the Holy Spirit to move among us and fill our household items with sacred presence:

Beloved God, we lay our hands on these items as did Jesus Christ. May Your Holy Spirit move through us filling these humble elements infuse them and us with Your guiding wisdom and redemptive compassion. Amen.

Sharing the Elements (elements will be consumed after words of institution)

We remember the Passover evening when Jesus was assembled with his beloved disciples. 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.”

Beloved Ones, we are eternally protected and nourished by the Eternal Christ. Jesus Christ is a fierce mama hen who gives of herself, her very body, to protect her brood. Let us receive this bread and wine receiving the divine presence and protection of Jesus Christ. (eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Holy One, for all Your efforts to bring us into life, to keep us alive, to show us the way of life, to call us into lives that matter supporting the lives of others, we give thanks. Amen.

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Holy God, for all our mothers who have walked us into life, we give thanks. For all the mothering ones, our relations and ancestors, as well as non-human beings and places that have taken good care of us, we give thanks. Bless each Mothering One, filled with Your divine compassion, who has sheltered us. We call to mind those who are in need of protective care – in our families, community, and around the world. Move us to embody Your motherly love for the vulnerable ones, including ourselves. Bless each Mother-Needing One with Your fierce love. Amen.

Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give Thanks

Offering

Please support mothers with families. Consider supporting our neighbors – Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center in Berkeley, California. https://www.womensdropin.org/?fbclid=IwAR0GPgFmxqxzlO5Je9nm4qcDESsaJTcSTumvFh6Q9QyOu0Hh7NL7bNuelUM Donate: https://secure.donationpay.org/womensdropin/ (also see donation footnote)

We Continue in Hope

*Song: “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” Original lyrics by John Fawcett, 1872, and original music by Johann G Nageli, 1845, revised by Hans Nagel and Darby Hughes 2020. Video published March 24, 2020. (Chalice #433)

Benediction

God is with us!

When we joyfully gather to share a meal.

God is with us!

When we hide from outside dangers.

God is with us!

When we simply need the comfort of love.

God is with us!

Happy Mother’s Day!

God is with us! Amen!

(the service is concluded)

Worship Resources:

*womanist – is a term claimed by Black female theologians and community leaders to identify female experience and empowerment within and from Black women. “Womanist” (Black women), “Mujerista” (Latinx women), and other such terms rightly correct a universal use of “Feminist” which more correctly represents White women’s experiences and aspirations.

(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: “Woodcock and Chicks” by Archibald Thorburn, 1933.

Online Publishing Date: May 4, 2021.

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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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