Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber © 2021.
“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)
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.”
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
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
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.
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:
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
“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.
(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.
Personal stories and experiences – though I did review some favorite writings from the Christian contemplative tradition, including The Cloud of Unknowing.
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Online Publishing Date: September 15, 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!
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”