14 Pentecost: “Becoming Love” • 1 John 4:16b-19 (NTP:IV)

image: “St Clare of Assisi” by Sue Ellen Parkinson, 2019
worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

We Gather

“There is no envy, jealousy, or hatred between the different colors of the rainbow. And no fear either. Because each one exists to make the others’ love more beautiful.” – Aberjhani

Prelude

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (pastor)

Let us receive these blessed words from St. Clare of Assisi who was born in Italy in 1194. As a young woman Clare heard the call to love Christ inspired by the life and teachings of St Francis of Assisi. Clare and Francis supported each other’s faith and growing ministries becoming more Christlike and teaching others to do so, too.

“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing.

“Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of The Beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God’s compassionate love for others.” (ca)

May it be so. 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

*Song: “I Will Sing of Your Love Love Love” Written by Christopher Grundy for the Missouri/Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ. (c) 2018 Hand and Soil Music. CCLI#7109567. https://www.uccfiles.com/mp4/3GL-Music-Video.mp4

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)

Today, we root ourselves in the soil that is God’s eternally perfect love. Today, we aim our focus to gaze upon the embodied Christ’s redemptive, amazing love. Today, we open our minds to the astonishing possibility that we might practice such magnificent love – a love that transforms everything. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: 1 John 4:16b-19 (The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version)

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as God is, so are we in this world. 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 

We love because God first loved us.

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

Sermon “Becoming Love” St Clare of Assisi reminds us to examine what we love. We are shaped by what we choose to love. Let us choose wisely. Let us choose Christ.

Special Music: “Cover the World with Love” Written by Jerry Estes. Signs from Joy of Signing, 2nd ed., by Lottie L. Riekehof. Rutgers Children’s Choir and Scarlet Singers. Recorded May 11, 2014.

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Love Personified, dear Eternal Christ, may St Clare inspire us to continue seeking to love as You love. Grant us the freedom to surrender to the soul’s desire to embody compassion for everyone, even those we’ve been taught to fear or reject, including the parts of our selves we find unlovable. May our souls perk up with delight when we witness liberating, empowering acts of compassion. May we be continually transformed by divine Big Love, especially in those moments when the weight of fear tries to drag us down or when the ugly judge in our mind separates us from each other. May we abide in Your love. May we abide in You. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give

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

Announcements

Special Music: “Love God Love People” Written and performed by Danny Gokey. © 2020 Danny Gokey. License: Capitol CMG, Inc. Licensed to YouTube by UMG (on behalf of Sparrow (SPR)); LatinAutor – SonyATV, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., Adorando Publishing, Polaris Hub AB, BMG Rights Management (US), LLC, ASCAP, CMRRA, Essential Music Publishing, ARESA, LatinAutorPerf, Capitol CMG Publishing, Warner Chappell, and 8 Music Rights Societies.

Benediction (pastor)

St Clare said, “We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.” Dear Ones, let us love well! Let us love God, each other (of all species), and our own precious souls. Let us go forth in hope with peace. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(NTP:IV) The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version, copyright ©1995 by Oxford University Press. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

(a) Aberjhani, Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry. Poet Aberjhani is a native of Savannah, Georgia, and former U.S. Air Force journalist. 

(ca) Clare of Assisi, as appeared in The Saint’s Little Book of Wisdom, Andrea Kirk Assaf, 2016.

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 Publishing Date: August 24, 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!

For Online Content: Please see Facebook pages: “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” and “Living Liturgies”; as well as my website: www.inthebiglove.com and YouTube channel: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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