Note: This service is about breathing; it includes breathing deeply. Given the pandemic and poor air conditions in some places, please be safe. Breathe is precious. Protect it.
“Keep breathing.” Advice by Hendrikje Van Andel-Schipper who lived to age 115
In The Beginning, the soil’s potential waited for God. God breathed into the earth and created humanity.
In our beginnings, our loved ones await a most blessed moment: God breathes out life into our just-born bodies.
In our lifetimes, when circumstances take our breath away God offers sacred breath until we can breathe again.
In our endings, our loved ones gather, again, at the threshold. God breathes in our mortal breath as we fully enter eternity.
In The Ending, everything will be filled with God’s breath: God breathing in and out of absolutely every, single thing. Amen.
Lighting the Christ Candle (pastor)
Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (light votives)
Passing the Peace
Wave or bow, offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”
We Rest in God’s Grace
Special Music: “Breathe” Written by Marie Barnett © 1995 Mercy/Vineyard Songs (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Used By Permission. Arranged By Michael W. Smith / Orchestral arrangement by Tyler Smith / Orchestrated by David Hamilton. 9/10/2020 new release.
Prayer and Silence
Let us shift into silence in God’s presence. This simple prayer, based on Psalm 46:10.
Be still and know that I am God. (Breathe slowly)
Be still and know that I am. (Breathe slowly)
Be still and know. (Breathe slowly)
Be still. (Breathe slowly)
Be. (Breathe slowly)
(Breathe in silence) Amen.
Words of Assurance (pastor)
Breathe normally. Honor what your lungs can and can’t do. There is no right or wrong way to breath. Just breathe. Breath is our universal birthright. When we breathe with consciousness, we enter the grace of simply being – and being with all that breathes. Take a deep, safe breath and thank God for the blessing of breathing. Amen.
Scripture: Genesis 2:4b-7 (CEB)
On the day the Lord God made earth and sky— before any wild plants appeared on the earth, and before any field crops grew, because the Lord God hadn’t yet sent rain on the earth and there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, though a stream rose from the earth and watered all of the fertile land— the Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into its nostrils. The human came to life.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Scripture Reading and Sermon “Breathe”
Special Music: “Breathe” Music: David Gilmour and Richard Wright, Lyrics: Roger Waters (Pink Floyd). Arranged and Performed by Josh Cohen. Published Aug 13, 2017.
Source of All Life and Love, we give thanks for the gift of breath and the calling to ensure safe air for all beings.
Breathing in, may we absorb all that sustains our life. Breathing out, may we release all we don’t need but others do.
Breathing in, may we thank You for our respiratory systems. Breathing out, may we offer gratitude for those who help us breathe.
Breathing in, may we celebrate the gift of life and the grace to be here now. Breathing out, may we celebrate the promise of heaven and graces to come. Amen.
Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer
We Celebrate of Holy Communion
All who breath are welcome here! Those who assembly via memory or spirit are welcome here, too! Everyone is welcome!
Let us speak the names of those persons, living or dead, who are not physically present. (speak their names)
Consecration Invitation and Prayer
(BCCC folks may use Pentecost-blessed crackers and juice; Lay hands on your bread and cup)
“Breathe on us and our cups and loves, O Breath of God. Fill us with life anew that we may love what You love, and do what You do.” AMEN. (eh, adapted)
Sharing the Elements (elements will be consumed after words of institution)
Jesus was gathered with his Beloved Disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem. They were assembled to practice ancient rituals remembering God’s faithfulness and the promise of abundant life to come.
As Jesus lifted up the loaf, they breathed deeply. They rested into the comfort and affirmation of tradition expecting to hear about the Great Exodus and the call to leave Egypt taking with them unleavened bread.
Instead, Jesus thanked God for the bread and he broke it, and gave it to his beloved friends, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
After super, Jesus lifted up the cup, they breathed deeply. They rested into the comfort and affirmation of tradition expecting to hear about the Beloved Prophet Elijah while setting out a cup for his promised return.
Instead, Jesus thanked God for the wine, and gave it to his friends, 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.”
Whenever we come to God’s Table, we, too, come with our expectations. May we, today, come to breathe, gathered with all the Beloved Disciples, dwelling in the nurturing, healing presence of the Living Christ.
“Breathe on us, Breath of God, until our hearts are pure, until with You, we are one will, to do and to endure.” (eh, adapted)
(all eat and drink)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Most Amazing and Merciful One, we are filled with gratitude for the gift and grace of this Holy Communion. “Fill us with Your breathe, till we are wholly Yours glowing with fire divine, and united with You in the perfect life of holy eternity.” Amen. (eh, adapted)
Offering of Praise “Doxology”
Let us collectively offer praise to God by silently or softly singing. Please use the donation basket or mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.
We Continue in Hope
*Song: “Breathe on Me Breath of God” Written by Edwin Hatch, 1878. Public Domain. Arrangement: Reawakened Hymns, 2020.
Almighty God is the author of all creation. (breathe)
Jesus Christ is the bridge of our redemption. (breathe)
The Holy Spirit sustains each blessed community. (breathe)
May we go forth in peace, Dear Ones. Amen.
The service is concluded.
(CEB) Common English Bible, online. Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.
(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.
(eh) Edwin Hatch, 1878 “Breathe on Me Breath of God”
(tk) Father Thomas Keating is often credited as an essential founder of modern Christian contemplative prayer practices, including breathe focus known as “Centering Prayer.” (sermon reference)
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Online Publishing Date: August 31, 2021.
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