Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour.” ― William Blake, Auguries of Innocence
Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)
Welcome! We gather in this holy place as we begin the sacred season of Lent. Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. (Greet visitors) We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.
This Lent we travel with Jesus’ ancestors through times of critical transition. May their authentic, astonishing faith in God’s fabulous promises inspire radical hope in us. We ask this in the name and light of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)
Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (Vicky plays as pastor lights votives on 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)
Assurance of Grace (pastor)
The Bible is filled with stories of spiritual leaders talking with God – including their inability to believe in God’s boldest dreams. In these dialogues, God invites humanity to move through our internal challenges to enter a conscious openness to God’s magnificent promises. This Lent, may we have the courage to speak candidly with God that God may open us with wonder, hope, faith, and trust. What a grace it is to be honest with God.
Special Music (Vicky)
Scripture: Genesis 15: 1-9 (transliteration: The Book of God, Walter Wangerin) (liturgist)
Then, in the middle of that night, God spoke.
Fear not, Abram, God said, calling the old man by name. I am your shield. Your reward shall be very great.
Abram did not move. He did not so much as shift his eye from the orange lamp-flame. But his jaw tightened.
God said, Abram, northward of his place, southward and eastward and westward – all over the land as far as you can see, I will give to you and to your descendants forever.
Still motionless and so softly that the wind outside concealed the sound of it even from his own ears, Abram breathed out these words: “So you have said. So you have said. But what, O Lord God, can you give us as long as we continue childless? “
A wind took hold of the tent-flap and lifted it like a linen. The tent-flame glass guttered and went out.
God said, Come. Abram, come outside.
On his hands and knees the old man obeyed.
God said, Raise your eyes to heaven. Look to the stars, Abram. Count them. Can you count them?
The old man said, “No. I cannot count them. They are too many. “
Even so many, said the Lord God, shall be your descendants upon the earth.
With the same gaze as he had earlier turned upon the lamp-flame Abram gaze toward heaven. Now there was no wind at all. The air was absolutely still. Nothing moved in the land, except that the man could hear the sighing of his old wife inside her compartment.
Abram said, “Is it required than that a slave born within my household must be my heir?“
God said, Your own son shall be your heir.
Abram said, “How shall I know that? How can I know, when you have given us no offspring?“
Then the word of the Lord came to the old man.
Abram? Said God. Have you seeing how a king will by a covenant establish his promise with his servant? Tomorrow, Abram. Tomorrow prepare the beasts. I am the Lord who brought you here to give you this land. Tomorrow I will make my covenant with you – and thereby shall you surely know my promises to you!
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
Message: “Aligning to Wonder” (pastor) God tells Abram to leave his tent and look up at the nighttime stars – to fall up into wonder and faith in divine reality.
Special Music (Vicky)
Pastoral Prayer (pastor)
Most Trustworthy One, sometimes we lose our way. We nurse our hurts and confusions, turning our gaze away from the wonders You have promised. Holy One, lure us away from unhelpful thoughts and feelings that we might join You, faces turned upward, to the brilliant star-filled night sky – open, open, open – to Your dreams for all Creation. Amen.
Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer (pastor)
Offering of Praise “Doxology” (Vicky; all)
Please leave your donations in the basket in the entryway. Donations may also be mailed to the church, attn: Treasurer Diane Huie.
- Begin OGHS Promotion this week – handouts, envelopes
- Ukraine Emergency Appeal
We Relocate Outside
Moving Music (Vicky) Please transition outside.
Song: “Over My Head” African-American spiritual. TNCH # 514 (acapella)
When any kind of shadow falls – whenever we find ourselves huddled in tents of disbelief, may God blow open tent doors inviting us outside to look up! May our ancestors of faith join us, reminding us we are evidence of God’s Promises fulfilled – we are the stars Abram and Sarai once saw in dawning wonder. Go forth in peace, and in wonder, Dear Ones. Amen.
The service is concluded.
(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, unceded 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: March 10, 2022.
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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”