Photo: First Candle of Advent – Jesus’ Relatives – lit. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021.
BCCC Worship Schedule
In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm the other Sundays of the month; In-person Christmas Eve worship service: 2pm Dec 24th, Holy Communion
“People who love each other fully and truly are the happiest people in the world. They may have little, they may have nothing, but they are happy people. Everything depends on how we love one another.” ~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)
Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey – you are welcome this 1st Sunday of Advent. Our Advent theme is “Love in Action.” We will listen to St Paul’s teachings about people embodying Christ-Love through their actions. In that spirit, we commit ourselves to right relations with the Lisjan-Ohlone peoples upon whose land we live and practice ministry.
Advent Wreath Invocation (Advent Wreath liturgists)
This week, St Paul asks us to love each other as we have been loved. Daily, Jesus experienced love in action through his family, community, and divine promises.
We light the First Candle of Advent with gratitude for those who model love in action. May our ancestors inspire us to acts of enduring compassion. May God strengthen our love for one another. Amen.
Light the First Advent Candle
Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)
Passing the Peace (all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”
We Rest in God’s Grace
Song: “Comfort, Comfort Now My People” Words J G Olearius & C Winkworth. Chalice Hymnal #122
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.
Assurance of Grace (pastor)
God has given us each other. God has given us inherited families of blood and chosen families of covenant. God has blessed us with ancestors of kinship, faith, and place. God has also placed special ones among us – saints and prophets – who express in word and deed God’s wondrous ways. Over two thousand years ago God came among us in the person of Jesus Christ to love us and allow us to love God as one of us. Aren’t we blessed? Amen.
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (CEB)
(St Paul writing on behalf of himself, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the young church in Thessalonica)
How can we thank God enough for you, given all the joy we have because of you before our God? Night and day, we pray more than ever to see all of you in person and to complete whatever you still need for your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus guide us on our way back to you. May the Lord cause you to increase and enrich your love for each other and for everyone in the same way as we also love you. May the love cause your hearts to be strengthened, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his people. Amen.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Sermon “Love in Action: Loving Each Other” (pastor) We prepare for the rebirth of Christ considering St Paul’s exhortation to love as we have been loved.
Special Music: “One Candle, One Flame” Words and music by Linda Sobo.
Prayer Requests (all)
Pastoral Prayer (pastor)
Beloved, Loving God, it is good to turn to You in prayer as the Christmas season begins. We are so very grateful for expanded social opportunities this year, while our hearts and minds are also weighted by the things that separate us from each other. As we begin this Advent journey, call us to act in love and to be open to acts of love. This holiday season, please strengthen our hearts, make us eager to understand and offer mercy, to love more fully as You love. In gratitude and hope we pray, O God. Amen.
Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer (pastor)
Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.
Song: “People Look East” Words: E Farjeon, 1928; Music: Traditional French Carol. Chalice Hymnal #142
God hears our prayers. God hears our call for comfort for all peoples; for an end to all that divides us. God is, again, preparing us to receive the Messiah Jesus Christ. May we make our hearts ready. Amen.
The service is concluded.
1st Advent Candle: Jesus’ Relatives ~ Love in Action: Love Among & Between Us
Ritual for At-Home Advent Candles
Candle Artwork: Jesus’ family tree is made of two spiraling vines (DNA helix). Shoots come forth from the root of Jesse – the revered King David’s father (Isaiah 11:10). The great Egyptian pyramids, built by Jesus’ ancestors while enslaved, remind us of our spiritual ancestors’ resilient faith.
Color image below. Cut paper. Wrap art onto glass devotional candle (8” tall, 2.25” diameter). Tape.
Reading: This week, St Paul asks us to love each other as we have been loved. Daily, Jesus experienced love in action through his family, community, and divine promises. We light the First Candle of Advent with gratitude for those who model love in action. May our ancestors inspire us to acts of enduring compassion. May God strengthen our love for one another. Amen.
Light the First Advent Candle.
Reflect: Who models “Love in Action” in your family, community? Who inspires you to love others?
Artwork: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 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- 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!
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Online Publishing Date: November 23, 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 especially if publishing online or broadcasting. 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”