Lent 1: “God’s Faithfulness: Gratitude for What WILL Come” Deuteronomy 26:1-11 with Installation of Officers and Holy Communion

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, You who have brought us thus far on the way; You who have by Your might, Led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray.” – James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) lyrics from “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! It is GOOD to back together in this holy place as we begin the sacred season of Lent. Jesus Christ has called us together as Beloved Community united by the Holy Spirit. We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar Flowers: For the Glory of God

Invocation (liturgist)

Eternal Christ, we begin this Lenten journey with You and Your ancestors. Jesus Christ, we ask Your blessing upon this spiritual season offering ourselves to You. May this Beloved Community be refined for the wellbeing of all beings. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (musician plays as pastor lights votives on the altar)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

We Rest in God’s Grace

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)

Before we notice, before we ask, God already knows our deepest joys and concerns. God is always as close as our souls. Today, our first Sunday back together in-person since Christmas Eve, God already knows the joy we feel in this reunion and the sorrow we feel for those who are missing. God has always been tending us, tending everyone. Let us rest in the grace of God’s incomprehensible love and eternal faithfulness.

Song or Special Music:

We Listen

Scripture: Deuteronomy 26:1-11 (version: NRSV) (liturgist)

When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for His name. 

You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him,

“Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.”

When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God:

“A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that You, O Lord, have given me.”

You shall set the basket down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.

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

Message: Anticipating God’s Faithfulness” (pastor) God speaks to the liberated Hebrews on their way out of bondage: The refugees WILL settle in a safe place; there WILL be a bountiful harvest for all to share; residents old and new WILL praise God together.

Special Music:

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Faithful One, usually, we are grateful after You have fulfilled our wishes. Pardon our selfishness. Today, on this first Sunday of Lent, we offer praise for the Good Things coming. We are grateful, Eternal Font of Love, for doing far more than we mortals could ever imagine. Open our minds and hearts that we might perceive glimmers of the blessed, healing future You have in store for humanity. Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please leave your donations in the basket in the entryway. Donations may also be mailed to the church, attn: Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Relocate Outside

Moving Music:

Please transition outside. Pick up Holy Communion elements.

We Install 2022 Lay Leaders

Introduction (pastor)

We are here, together, in a circle. No one is greater than the other. We also knowledge the gifts of the Spirit among us, for God has given us gifts for the fulfillment of our mutual ministry. This is the way Jesus taught us to live and work together. Today, we covenant with those who were elected last Sunday. (Name officers, committees)

Covenants (UCC Book of Worship)

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Prayer of Invitation (pastor)

Everyone, everyone is welcome at God’s Table! God has brought us this far – through the challenges of the pandemic, through a time of change within our congregation, and through the normal ordeals of being human. God has brought us here, right now, to celebrate God’s faithfulness. Everyone, everyone is welcome at God’s Table!

Let us speak the names of those who are not physically present with whom we wish to be spiritually gathered – including people in Ukraine and Russia, especially our Christian siblings, who are in harm’s way. (Say names out loud.)

Consecration of Elements (pastor)

Let us pray:

As we call Your Holy Spirit into these elements, O God, we offer You our First Fruits. You made the plants of the earth and filled the land with various peoples. You lead us from one land to another, from danger to safety. With profound respect and gratitude, Holy One, we offer these communion elements to You remembering Your abiding faithfulness. Amen.

Sharing the Elements

The Hebrew people, preparing to depart Egyptian slavery, celebrated a sacred meal with unleavened bread and fermented juice praising God’s faithfulness with hope for what would come.

Generations later, Jesus and his disciples, preparing for liberation from mortal and moral challenges, celebrated the Exodus meal with bread and wine, joining their ancestors praising God’s faithfulness with hope for what would come.

Today, restored as community in this blessed place with our newly installed lay leaders, we join the ongoing celebration of God’s faithfulness with our safe breads and cups. We know God leads us, too, from bondage to freedom. We praise God’s faithfulness with hope for what will come.

Jesus lifted up the loaf, gave thanks to God, broke it, and said: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

We remember Your faithfulness, O Christ. (eat bread)

After supper, Jesus lifted up the cup, gave thanks to God, and offered it to them 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.”

We remember Your faithfulness, O Christ. (drink from cup)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Let us pray:

Beloved God, known to us as Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit, we are truly grateful for You. Bless us in our times of transition. May we work well together exchanging Your Big Love with each other for the uplift of many. Amen.

Announcements (pastor)

Song: “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (Chalice Hymnal #86)

Benediction (pastor, from today’s key scripture)

We are pilgrims on a Lenten journey recipients of God’s best gifts. So blessed, let us go forth in God’s Big Love and Transforming Peace. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(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!

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: March 2, 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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