20 Pentecost: “Sowing Seeds of Justice” • James 3:13-18 • Neighbors in Need, Orange Shirt Day

photo: newly harvested coriander seeds, Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

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

We Gather

“As a daydreamer and one who tills the soil, I am provided with many hours to make connections that will help me continue to care for the seeds of my Nation, to feed all children as Every Child Matters!” – Terrylynn Bryant, Mohawk Seedkeeper Gardens

Prelude (Vicky, piano solo)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

We are gathered here in Huichin Village, unceded ancestral lands of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, not far from the sacred site now known as the West Berkeley Shellmound.

We are grateful for the generosity of Terrylynn Bryant, a Mohawk of Six Nations, who has generously granted permission to use her Truth and Reconciliation Day* 2021 post that appeared on the Mohawk Seedkeepers Facebook page. The Mohawk Seedkeepers are committed to carrying on the tradition of Indigenous gardening and seed saving. 

Today, we observe the United Church of Christ’s Neighbors in Need Offering. This annual collection funds ministries of justice and compassion. One-third of donations go directly to our Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM).

Invocation (liturgist)

Creator God planted us in an abundant world attuned to the cycle of seasons. Our ancestors taught how to live well knowing that what we planted we would harvest. Today, the Eternal Christ asks us, “What seeds of justice shall you sow?”

Lighting the Christ Candle (liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor lights votives)

Passing the Peace (everyone) 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: (Vicky J)

Prayer and Silence (pastor)

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)

Beloved Ones, no matter who or what has blown us away from the endearing beauty of our blessed souls, God calls us back again. God planted the forever-seed of our souls in each of our bodies. God forever invites us to root, deeply, in the sweet soil of our soul’s inner wisdom, peace, mercy, and integrity. Today, whatever has taken us away from our truest natures, may we release these obstructions to God for re-direction and healing. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: James 3:13-18 (translation: NRSV)

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 

But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

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

Sermon “Sowing Seeds of Justice” (pastor)

We receive the wisdom of Mohawk Seedkeeper, TerryLynn Bryant, as we reflect upon planting healing seeds to tend wounds between human cultures and the heavenly realms of being. We honor, too, the stain of prejudice sometimes found in our translations of Holy Writings. May we listen for God’s voice to align with what is truly true and eternally good. (In-person live sermon)

Special Music (tbd)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

On this Neighbors in Need Offering Sunday, O God, we ask for Your vision – to see all beings honored and dwelling in good ways. We lift up our role in ignoring or creating suffering, humbling ourselves to You for guidance in the good work of healing and repair. We offer our prayers as a salve for all our children who suffered in the past and as an embodied hope for a better future for all our children. Amen.

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

We Give

Neighbors In Need Offering Invitation (pastor)

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (Vicky J) 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 (pastor)

We Continue in Hope

Benediction (pastor)

Jesus said the “Kingdom of God” was like a little seed. Great things may come from even the tiniest of seeds. Let us be mindful of what we plant. With God’s help, may we plant seeds that will bear divine fruit for one and all. Amen.

The service is concluded.

*Special Note:

”Truth and Reconciliation Day” September 30th, was established in 2021 by the Canadian government after 215 unmarked graves were found in Kamloops (hundred’s more unmarked graves at various locations have been identified since). The US and Canada recognize the intergenerational harm done to Indigenous families and communities and seek to honor those who have been affected by the injustice of these mandated practices. As September 30th was, historically, the date when indigenous children were annually separated from their families forced to attend residential boarding schools, it is reframed as a day of acknowledgment, reparations, and healing.

September 30th is also known as “Orange Shirt Day.” Phyllis Webstad, a residential school survivor, was stripped of her new orange shirt on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C. This special shirt, made by her grandmother, was never returned to Phyllis. All are invited to wear orange shirts each September 30th to acknowledge the experiences and losses of our indigenous siblings’ children while boarded at residential schools.

Worship Resources:

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

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 December 2020 when Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act). Please check with your legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content online. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Protect the rights of content creators. Thank you!

Online Publishing Date: October 5, 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. Thank you!

Donation: 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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