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)


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.


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)


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.


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.


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:; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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