Photo: Second Candle of Advent – John the Baptist. 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
“Twant me, ’twas the Lord. I always told Him, ‘I trust to You. I don’t know where to go or what to do, but I expect You to lead me,’ and He always did.” ~ Harriet Tubman
Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)
Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey – you are welcome this 2nd Sunday of Advent. Our Advent theme is “Love in Action.” We are listening to St Paul’s teachings about embodying Christ-Love through action. Today, we are gathered on Lisjan-Ohlone land not far from sacred shellmounds where ancestors have rested and prayers have been offered for 5,000 years.
Advent Wreath Invocation (liturgist/s)
This week, St Paul promotes growing in spiritual insight amid external challenges. John the Baptist, the only child of a Temple priest and descendant of the first Hebrew priest, Aaron, follows God’s call to practice ministry in new places in new ways.
We light the Second Candle of Advent with gratitude for spiritual role models who inspire us to take risks when doing God’s will. May they be our “Partners in Grace” as we serve God with bold actions taken in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Light the First and Second Advent Candles (liturgist/s)
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
Special Music: (live)
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 loves to speak! God spoke to John the Baptist calling him to the Jordan River to spiritually prepare individuals for the coming of the Messiah. God spoke to the young Christians in Philippi who supported Paul and Timothy during their imprisonment. Paul knew that God would keep speaking to them as they grew as a congregation.
God is still speaking – to persons and groups. God is always eager to help us be who we are meant to be. There is more to come – with God’s help.
Scripture: Philippians 1:3-11 (CEB)
(St Paul and Timothy are imprisoned, incarcerated for religious activities. Paul is writing to their friends, the young church in Philippi.)
I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel. God is my witness that I feel affection for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.
This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight.I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Sermon “Love in Action: Courageous, Insightful Love” (pastor) John the Baptist, a prophet led by an internal wisdom, St Paul, a church-builder who taught spiritual growth, and Harriet Tubman, a self-emancipated, Christian abolitionist reveal the role of spiritual insight when acting boldly with God.
Presentation of the Retired Christ Candle
Blessing upon the Cantonese Fellowship
Special Music (live)
Prayer Requests (all)
Pastoral Prayer (pastor)
Most Holy God, in these times of great change grant unto us inner wisdom and faith in Your guidance. Speak to us, individually and communally, that we might bravely follow You into new forms of ministry. Bless us with insight and courage, and with the joy that comes from sharing in service to You. 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.
*Next Sunday: 3rd Sunday of Advent: In-person, Holy Communion, Santa Sacks *Christmas Eve: In-person worship, Holy Communion. Friday 12/24 2pm. BCCC.
Special Music (live)
Let us be thankful for each other – and the calling to be church with each other for the Glory of God, the uplift of our neighbors, and the care of our own precious souls. And let us thank the Still Speaking God who is calling us forward in new, needed ways. Amen.
The service is concluded.
2nd Advent Candle: John the Baptist ~ Love in Action: Courageous, Insightful Love
Candle Artwork: The River Jordan and cosmos swirl together celebrating baptism and divine reality. John, a mystic who experienced direct communication with God, was open to God doing a new thing through Jesus Christ the Messiah. The eight Stars of David pay tribute to John’s revered lineage.
Color image below. Cut paper. Wrap art onto glass devotional candle (8” tall, 2.25” diameter). Tape.
Reading: St Paul promotes growing in spiritual insight amid external and internal challenges. John the Baptist, the only child of a Temple priest and descendant of the first Hebrew priest, Aaron, follows God’s call to practice ministry in new places in new ways. We light the Second Candle of Advent with gratitude for spiritual role models who inspire us to take risks when doing God’s will. May they be our “Partners in Grace” as we serve God with bold actions taken in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Light the First and Second Advent Candles.
Reflect: Who models “Courageous, Insightful Love in Action” inspiring your actions?
(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: December 2, 2021.
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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”