18 Pentecost: “Our Endless Day” • Psalm 36:6-10 (LTP)

photo: Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2015

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

We Gather

“Our faith is a light, coming in nature from endless day.” — Julian of Norwich, 14th century English Christian mystic (ed/jw)

Prelude

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (pastor)

Beloveds, this is a time of natural balancing and rebalancing. The sun and the moon equally share the sky. The day and the night evenly inhabit 24-hours. During the autumnal equinox we prepare for what is coming – the shortening of the days and the lengthening of the nights. As physical darkness begins to grow, listen to these words from Julian of Norwich:

“Our faith is a light, coming in nature from Endless Day, which is our Father, God; in which light our Mother, Christ, and our good Lord, the Holy Spirit, lead us in this passing life.” (ed/jw) 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: “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” Words: H van Dyke; Music: L van Beethoven; Performer: Collin Raye (Chalice #2). Presented by Heath End Church, 2020. https://youtu.be/FAWbnz66t8w

Prayer and Silence Let us shift into silence in God’s presence using 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)

We dwell in a universe cherished by a good God. No where in the cosmos does God not reign. And though we see in a mirror dimly, a time will come when we will clearly perceive the full grandeur of God. As the seasons turn from summer to fall, let us gaze upon the goodness of God in nature, in daily life, in the blessings that we too often take for granted – shelter, warmth, food, water, and the gift of being alive. May we be grateful and saturated with God’s luminous presence. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Psalm 36:6-10 (LTP)

Your mercy, Lord, spans the sky;

Your faithfulness soars among the clouds;

Your integrity towers like a mountain;

Your justice runs deeper than the sea.

Lord, You embrace all life.

How we prize Your tender mercy!

God, Your people seek shelter,

Safe in the warmth of Your wings.

They feast at Your full table,

Slake their thirst in Your cool stream,

For You are the fount of life,

You give us light and we see.

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

Sermon “Our Endless Day” 13th century Christian mystic, Julia of Norwich, was granted a most rare gift – to experience God’s triumphant goodness pervading eternity despite very glum conditions in her community. She, and the author of Psalm 36, guide us in orienting to God’s goodness this week of the autumnal equinox. (Video includes scripture reading) https://youtu.be/KCV-M6pMmps

Special Music: “River Flows in You” Written and performed by Yiruma. Licensed to YouTube by SME (on behalf of Sony Classical); UMPI, CMRRA, ASCAP, UMPG Publishing, LatinAutorPerf, LatinAutor – UMPG, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, and 17 Music Rights Societies. (3:29m) https://youtu.be/7maJOI3QMu0

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit, bless us with perceptible, physical light, as well as the spiritual gift of insight and illumination. May our souls come to see You everywhere – drawn to Your light that permeates all that is. May Your sustaining, life-bringing light tend one and all across Creation. 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: “Great is Thy Faithfulness” Words: Thomas O Chisholm. Music: William M Runyan. 1923. Performed by the NCNC UCC Conference Choir 2020 directed by Mike Ellard. Sung in English, Japanese, Cantonese, and Tagalog. Recorded on Oct 24, 2020.

Benediction (pastor)

O God, Our Endless Day,

grant us the wisdom to see

luminous holy presence everywhere…

spanning the skies,

soaring among the clouds,

towering above as mountains,

running deep within the seas,

sheltering us with warm wings,

feeding us from full tables,

refreshing us from flowing streams,

blessing all life

with abundance and insight.

Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(LTP) Liturgical Training Press, The Psalter. Copyright © 1994, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

Julian of Norwich – referenced and quoted sources:

(af) Julian of Norwich, by Amy Frykholm, Paraclete Press, Brewster MA. Copywrite © 2010, Amy Frykholm.

(ec/jw) Julian of Norwich: Showings, translated by Edmund Colledge and James Walsh. (Translation of Julian’s book “Showings” written in old English. Classics of Western Spirituality series, Paulist Press, New York. Copyright © 1978, Missionary Society of St Paul the Apostle in the State of NY.

(gd) Praying with Julian of Norwich, by Gloria Durka, Companions for the Journey series, St Mary’s Press, Christian Brothers Publications, Winona, Minnesota. Copyright © 1989, St. Mary’s Press.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan-Chochenyo Ohlone People, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you.

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: September 22, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please attribute source and observe ethical use of all resources. 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”

17 Pentecost: “Waiting on God” Holy Communion * Isaiah 40:28-31 (NRSV)

photo: San Damiano, Danville, CA. Kathryn M Schreiber © 2018.

Worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber © 2021.

We Gather

“We begin with the easiest and yet the hardest of all prayers – the prayer of silence. Easiest because the brain is not taxed to think of words to speak to God. Hardest because most of us are so unused to silence, to waiting, to being still and feeling our souls become still.” – John Killinger, Beginning Prayer

Prelude (recorded music)

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (liturgist)

Let us be here, now, waiting on God.

Waiting for The Author of all that is and ever will be.

Waiting for The Generator of all worthy power that never dims.

Waiting for The Giver who strengthens one and all.

Feeling powerless, faint, weary, exhausted?

Let us be here, now, waiting on God.

We shall be renewed.

We shall rise up with eagles wings.

We shall run and not be weary.

We shall walk and not faint.

God is here, now, waiting on us. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle (liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor lights 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

Solo (recorded music)

Prayer and Silence

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence with 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)

The famous Swiss psychotherapist, Carl Jung, had a plaque over the front door of his Zurich home. It read: “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.” There is nowhere that God is not. Isn’t that Good News?

Today, we are practicing “waiting on the Lord” a theme found throughout the Bible. Most seasoned practitioners of prayer will tell us that when we wait for God, we’re actually shifting our awareness. Eventually, we find God waiting for us. Sometime, the shift comes quickly. Sometimes it takes years.

No matter what our sense of God’s presence is right now, let us take heart in hoping and trusting that “bidden or not bidden, God is present.”

We Listen

Scripture: Isaiah 40:28-31 (NRSV)

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
God does not faint or grow weary;
God’s understanding is unsearchable.

God gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

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

Sermon “Waiting on God”

Pastor Kathryn will give a few examples of “waiting into” awareness of God’s presence and guidance.

Special Music “Wait for the Lord” Chant written by Jacques Berthier Publisher: ©1984 Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications Inc. (agent). Recorded live at St. Francis de Sales Church, Ajax Ontario Canada. Lyrics: Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. Wait for the Lord: be strong, take heart! https://youtu.be/37k20ZZ9h-A

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Source of Time and Timelessness, we are impatient. Especially when we are nervous – we want to know WHAT we want to know, WHEN we want to know. We don’t like waiting.

O God, we have been waiting for safety from an invisible virus. We have been waiting for an end to racism. We have been waiting for whatever it is that leaves us feeling cheated or depleted. We have been waiting.

Today we join the faithful who turn with joy and hope toward You, to wait on YOU. We turn our gaze from what is not to what is, has always has been, and will always be. Amen.

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

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (acapella)

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.

Announcements

Invitation to Change Location

Invite folks to gather outside; pick up individual communion elements. Please extinguish all candles before exiting the building.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

After everyone is situated outside and has individually wrapped bread and juice.

Consecration Invitation and Prayer (pastor)

Let us pray:

Just as the soil waited for the seeds;

just as the plants waited for the sun and rain;

just as the flowers waited for the fruiting;

just as the farmer waited for the harvest;

just as the baker waited for flour and the vintner for juice –

we wait for You, Holy One.

May we, a humbled community,

meet You in these long-awaited elements.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Words of Institution

(We will consume bread and cup together after the Words of Institution.)

Let us remember that Jesus was with his Beloved Disciples. They were waiting – waiting for the hour of Sabbath to observe The Passover. Waiting for the moment when there would be resolution to their hopes and fears. Into that space of expectation…

Jesus lifted up the loaf,

offering his body to them.

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,

offering his forgiveness to them.

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.”

God is here – in this sacred ritual, in our holy stories, in this blessed community. God is here – the waiting is over! Let us receive these good gifts from God! (all eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Ever Present One, Ever Mysterious One, thank You for the wonder of being with You. And, for the on-going call to wait ON You – to wait WITH You – to wait FOR You. Amen.

We Continue in Hope

Benediction (pastor)

“God does not faint or grow weary” – Amen!

When we wait upon the Lord –

Our strength is renewed!

We mount up with wings like eagles!

We run and are not weary!

We walk and don’t faint!

Let us wait upon the Lord! Amen.

Sung Benediction “On Eagle’s Wings – Refrain” (acapella; sing 3xs) (written by Father Michael Joncas; Chalice Hymnal #77 )

And I will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of My hand.

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.

Sermon Resources

Personal stories and experiences – though I did review some favorite writings from the Christian contemplative tradition, including The Cloud of Unknowing.

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: September 15, 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”

16 Pentecost: “God’s Tears” (9/11)* Gathering the Waters * Psalm 56:1-4, 8-11 & Matthew 5:43-45 (CEB)

photo: Kathryn M Schreiber © 2016
worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber © 2021

We Gather

“After the Red Sea parted, the Hebrews turned to watch the walls of water covering the Pharoah’s horsemen and chariots. And Moses turned to God to thank God, but saw that God was crying. ‘Why are you crying, oh Lord?’ Moses asked, and God answered, ‘Those were my children, too.’” — Anne Lamont

Prelude (musician)

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (pastor)

Holy One, we are bold today: We ask to become vessels holding Your tears. May we step down from our righteous pedestals of heroic nationalism and social justice passion to simply sit still and grieve with You, The One who collects all mortal tears. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle (liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor lights 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

Solo (musician)

Prayer and Silence

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence. This simple prayer is 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)

Whatever is in our hearts, whatever is true for our bodies, whatever thoughts steal our attention, whatever states of peace or non-peace rule our souls – no matter what – we are eternally held by God’s unfathomable love. Let the assurance of this grace be like water quenching whatever is thirsty in you today. May God’s unimaginable compassion and endless affection be for each of us, a holy wave nurturing us, healing us. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Psalm 56: 1-4, 8-11;  Matthew 5: 43-45 (CEB)

God, have mercy on me because I’m being trampled.
    All day long the enemy oppresses me.
My attackers trample me all day long
    because I have so many enemies.
Exalted one, whenever I’m afraid,
    I put my trust in You—
        in God, whose word I praise.
        I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.
    What can mere flesh do to me?

You Yourself have kept track of my misery.
    Put my tears into Your bottle—
    aren’t they on Your scroll already?
Then my enemies will retreat when I cry out.
    I know this because God is mine.

God: whose word I praise.
        The Lord: whose word I praise.

I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.
    What can anyone do to me?

AND

Jesus spoke to them, saying: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. God makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.”

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

Sermon “God’s Tears” Twenty years ago on September 11th 2001 commercial planes were hijacked to become weapons of destructive terror. Pastor Kathryn ponders God’s response to the US “War on Terror” that followed and how we might go forward. (live sermon)

Solo (musician)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

On this significant anniversary, we name the ugly truth that hating our enemies increasingly makes us their enemies, too, perpetuating a cycle of violence.

Beloved Jesus Christ, guide us as we strive, again, to enter the way of non-violence, the way of loving those we want to hate. We pray for the grace to shed another layer of caustic dualism that keeps us at war with others around the world, those closer to home, and even in the embattled parts of our own psyches. Have mercy upon us, most gracious Christ.

Weep with us as we name the painful truth that our suffering has too often become suffering for others. Continue to blanket us under one sunrise, under one rainfall filling us with the grace of meeting each other as neighbors. May it be so. Amen.

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

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician)

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.

Announcements

Solo (musician)

We Continue in Hope

We move outside taking our water/s with us. Assemble, spaced apart, around the table with the large, empty bowl.

Invitation to Gather the Waters (water collected or commemorating special times)

On the second day of Creation God separated the waters above and the waters below. As the Hebrews fled Egyptian slavery God parted the great Red Sea. The Prophets of old proclaimed divine justice rolling down like mighty waters. God’s Beloved Son was prepared and blessed in the sacred River Jordan. Jesus’ first miracle, at the wedding in Canna, turned water into very good wine. And when Jesus offered up his body his beloved ones wept.

We continue to trust The One who sends rain upon the good and the evil; the Eternal God who counts and wipes away each mortal tear; the Author of Life who created each human sixty percent water.

Today, we Gather the Waters – sharing our joys and hopes. Please come forward, tell us about your water or offer a word of hope. As you pour, we will say, “God, bless this water.”

Blessing the Gathered Waters

Creating this communal water is an act of community, commitment, and hope. “Our” water becomes “holy” water when we call God’s presence via the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray: Holy God, we call Your Holy Spirit into these gathered waters and into us as we stand together in shared affection and hope. Bless us and this water. May we be used to bless many. Amen.

Benediction (pastor flings blessed water)

May the God who collects each fallen tear,

May the God who sends rain upon one and all,

May the God who eternally sustains all living beings,

Grant us peace and hope, love and courage. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(CEB) Common English Bible, online. Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(al) Anne Lamont in All New People, p 110

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

Sermon Resources

Valarie Kaur, UCC Synod Keynote 2021: https://www.ucc.org/keynoter-valarie-kaur-challenges-ucc-to-chart-a-revolutionary-love/ and her interview on The Takeaway 9/10/2021

Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer”

UCC Officers 9/11 message: https://www.ucc.org/ucc-officers-pray-for-healing-understanding-unity-in-love-on-9-11-anniversary/?inf_contact_key=138913e8267eb03a1ed2089f80a259ccf651f238aa2edbb9c8b7cff03e0b16a0

Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer”

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: September 8, 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”