Beloved Community Sunday (2 Epiphany) “Prisoners of Hope” Zechariah 9:12 & John 12:27-32

Photo: book cover. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2022. Worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2022

BCCC Worship Schedule

Due to COVID spread, all worship services will 2pm Sundays on ZOOM

We Gather

“In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome to our 2022 celebration of The Beloved Community, the Sunday before Martin Luther King Day. This year, our service lifts up Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Anglican Bishop who passed into glory last month. Archbishop Tutu was central to the anti-apartheid struggle for justice and healing between indigenous peoples and European settlers. Today, we acknowledge our racial struggles here, paying tribute to the Lisjan-Ohlone people upon whose unceded land we live and practice ministry.

Call to Hope (pastor)

On this 2nd Sunday of The Epiphany, the day before Martin Luther King Day, let us proclaim our hope in God revealed in Jesus Christ:

One: The Hebrew prophet Zechariah, speaking God’s Word to a scattered and reassembling people whose sacred Temple had been destroyed, said: “Return to your stronghold, O Prisoners of Hope. Today I, God, declare to you that I will restore to you double.”

All: We are Prisoners of Hope!

One: About Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Danté Steward recently wrote: “To be a Prisoner of Hope is not the same thing as being optimistic. Life has been too realistic for that. Optimism is rooted in sentimentalism and believes in the inevitability of progress. Hope is rooted in a redemptive realism and the promise of the victory of God in Jesus. King was not naive about the realities he faced nor did he expect that good was just around the corner.” (ds)

All: We are Prisoners of Hope!

One: Theologian Jurgen Moltmann wrote that “hope finds in Christ not only a consolation in suffering, but also the protest of the divine promise against suffering.” Those who hope in Christ “can no longer put up with reality as it is, but begin to suffer under it, to contradict it.” (ds)

All: We are Prisoners of Hope!

One: South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, said, “I am always hopeful. A Christian is a Prisoner of Hope. What could have looked more hopeless than Good Friday?… There is no situation from which God cannot extract good. Evil, death, oppression, injustice—these can never again have the last word, despite all appearances to the contrary. (tg/tj)

All: We are Prisoners of Hope!

Dear Prisoners of Hope, we light The Christ Candle on this Beloved Community Sunday invoking God’s presence for the naming, addressing, and healing of racism. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle (pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Passing the Peace (all) Joyful gestures and words of peace to one another.

We Rest in God’s Grace

Song: “Siyahamba” (We Are Marching in the Light of God) Zulu Traditional Folksong (Chalice #442)

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)

Receive these words of assurance from Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “Dear Child of God, in our world it is often hard to remember that God loves you just as you are. God loves you not because you are good. No, God loves you, period. God loves us not because we are loveable. No, we are loveable precisely because God loves us. It is marvelous when you come to understand that you are accepted for who you are, apart from any achievement. It is so liberating.” Amen. (dt, 2004)

We Listen

Scripture: Zechariah 9:11-12 & John 12:27-32 (NRSV) (pastor)

Zechariah 9:11-12 – God is speaking to the nation of Israel through the Prophet Zechariah

As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope.

John 12:27-32 – Jesus is speaking to his disciples preparing them for his death

“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—’Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 

Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

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

Sermon “A Prisoner of Hope: Archbishop Desmond Tutu” (pastor) An overview of Tutu’s prophetic ministry and radiant faith in God.

Special Music: “Prisoner of Hope” written by Sterling Whipple and Gerald Metcalf.

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Most Amazing God, we lift up our gratitude for Your servant Desmond and the profound impact of his life among us. His prophetic, faithful response to any human effort to harm fellow humans deeply resonates in our souls. May You grant unto us, O God, the grace of his spiritual presence, from time to time, when we wander away from Your Dream for us. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer (pastor)

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements (pastor)

Monday: MLK Day – a day of service. Church office closed. Next Sunday: 2pm ZOOM.

Song: “We Shall Overcome” African-American spiritual, MARTIN (#630 Chalice)

Benediction (pastor)

Beloved Prisoners of Hope – we who know that racism is real and harmful, also know that God is real and mighty! Through Jesus Christ and his many disciples, including our Brother Martin and our Brother Desmond, we can go forward in faith, hope, peace, and love. Be well, Beloved Community! Amen!

The service is concluded.

Honoring Tutu

The archbishop’s legacy in action and proclamation is much too large for one service, one sermon! Living Liturgies anticipates future services highlight specific elements of his embodied Christian faith. Truly, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the saints of Christ’s Church.

Worship Resources:

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

(ds) Danté Stewart, “Martin Luther King Jr.: Exemplar of Hope” The Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy embodies the revolutionary ethic Jesus Christ. Christianity Today. January 21, 2019. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/january-web-only/martin-luther-king-day-exemplar-hope-tribute.html

(dt, 1998) Desmond Tutu, “Forward” The Green Bible NRSV.

(dt, 2004) Desmond Tutu, God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time.

(hp) Howard Pousner, “From 1986: Desmond Tutu honored in Atlanta on first national MLK Jr. holiday” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jan 21, 1986. https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-news/from-1986-desmond-tutu-honored-in-atlanta-on-first-national-mlk-jr-holiday/IAJCMSJDPNEQLGCPU5SR6G4U2U/

(tg/tj) Thomas Giles and Timothy Jones, “A Prisoner of Hope: An Interview with Desmond Tutu” Why the South African archbishop believes that evil, death, and injustice will never have the last word. Christianity Today. October 5. 1992. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1992/october-5/prisoner-of-hope.html

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!

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: January 12, 2022.

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”

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