13 Pentecost: “Invisible Work” * Matthew 11:28-30 * Labor Day Holy Communion

Image: “Coast of Brittany” by James Abbott McNeil Whistler, 1861; cropped. Original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

Public Health Safety Note: Effective 5/29/2022, Sunday morning worship services will be outside in the Courtyard until increased COVID spread declines.

We Gather

“We are in a liminal season: something has ended, but a new thing is not yet ready to begin. In liminal seasons, systems and processes break down because they are supposed to. We cannot discover a new beginning until something ends or dies. Much of our overwhelm comes from trying to preserve or adapt things that are meant to fail.” – Susan Beaumont (sb)

Prelude (musician)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor) Welcome! No matter who you are… No matter where you are on life’s journey… You are welcome here! Welcome guests. Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, standing in peace toward all beings.

Flowers For the Glory of God

Worship Team Musician Vicky Jennings, Liturgist David Louie, Pastor Rev. Kathryn Schreiber.

Call to Worship (liturgist) Friends, on this Labor Day Weekend, are you weary? Are you carrying heavy burdens? Do you need rest? We gather here in the presence of the Eternal Christ open to The One who restores us. May our time together offer deep tending and blessing. Welcome to this sacred space.

As Pastor Kathryn lights the Christ Candle and Altar Votives, let us remember those who are not physically present, but with us in spirit or thought. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle and Altar Votives (pastor)

Votive Lighting Music (musician)

Opening Hymn: “I Hunger and I Thirst” Chalice #409 (musician)

Passing the Peace (all share gestures and words of peace; pastor)

Time for Children “Different Kinds of Work” Work can be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Jesus Christ offers rest from all labors. (pastor)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Prayer, Confession and Silence (pastor) As this is a Communion Sunday, you may wish to use silent prayer for confession laying down burdens and/or asking for forgiveness. We’ll spend more time in silence today. 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) Dear Ones, there is nothing, nothing, nothing we humans experience that God does not witness, comprehend, and attend. God knows the heights of our human delights as well as the depths of our human challenges. Through Jesus Christ, no matter what has or is happening to our hearts, minds, bodies, or souls – we are held in Divine care. What grace!

Dear Ones, rest assured that whatever burdens we lay down in God’s presence are received. Whatever we present for forgiveness has been forgiven. May the Peace of Christ fill and refresh us. Amen.

Special Music (musician)

We Listen

Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30 (liturgist; version: NRSV) As Jesus was beginning his ministry, critical of communities that had strayed from God, he offered these healing words of care and restoration:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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

Sermon: “Invisible Work” On this Labor Day weekend we consider the intense work we do in our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls, especially now. The Eternal Christ offers us care, compassion, rest, and renewal.

Sermon Hymn: “For All the Saints” Chalice #637 (musician)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor) During the pauses you may wish to lift up specific persons or occupations.

On this Labor Day Weekend we lift up prayers of gratitude for all workers – especially those whose efforts and skills are essential though underacknowledged.

We pray for and with all family members and loved ones, unpaid workers, who tend our children, elderly, sick, and those with special needs. Bless them. (pause)

We pray for and with all volunteers who give their time and talents to generate much-needed services and opportunities. Bless them. (pause)

We pray for and with all friends, neighbors, and kind strangers who step up offering support when special needs arise. Bless them. (pause)

We pray for and with all who are entering the workforce, looking for work, shifting jobs, and retiring. Bless them. Bless all who labor. (pause) Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician; all)

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Invitation to Holy Communion (pastor; spontaneous)

Gathering All Souls (pastor) As we prepare to receive this Holy Meal we do so with the great, eternal communion of souls. Let us speak the names of those with whom we share this blessed meal… (say names out loud)

Communion Hymn: “Eat This Bread” Chalice #414 (sing 2xs; musician)

Distribute Elements (pass out juice cups and crackers)

Prayer of Consecration (pastor) Humble us, Beloved Christ, as we hold this juice and bread – gifts of the earth and the labor of others. Already filled with Your Presence, we now offer them for an additional anointing that they might be for us exactly what is needed to renew, heal, restore, and uplift us with Your saving love. Amen.

Sharing the Elements (pastor) Let us be woven into the past, present, and future as we receive these gifts from Jesus Christ.

Jesus took a common loaf into his hands. No doubt he thought of fields of wheat and the workers who plant, tend, and harvest essential grains, and the millers and bakers whose skills coax grain into becoming bread.

Jesus lifted up the loaf, (lift up bread) thanked God for it, (praise God) Jesus broke it, (break the bread) and gave it to the disciples saying: “Take, eat. This is my body which has been given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after dinner, Jesus held a cup of wine. No doubt Jesus thought of the vineyards and the workers who plant, tend, and harvest grapes, and the winemakers whose skills transform juice into wine.

Jesus took the cup, (fill and lift) thanked God for it, (praise God) and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant which has been poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.”

We share this loaf with…

  • workers and those who are looking for work;
  • all who are afraid or weary who seek safety and compassion;
  • our neighbors with whom we hope to one day share this meal;

We are the fortunate recipients of these holy gifts. Let us receive them with deep gratitude. (all consume elements.)

Prayer of Thanksgiving (pastor; spontaneous)

We Transition

Announcements (pastor)

  • Next Sunday: Gathering of the Waters! Cultivating Peace Practice: BLESSINGS
  • Senior Center
  • Sycamore Bento Lunches

Sung Benediction: “Circle Me”by Simon de Voil (Pastor Kathryn; acapella chant)

Spoken Benediction (pastor)

Postlude (musician)

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

(sb) Susan Beaumont, “Overwhelm: Not a Problem to be Solved.” 10/12/2021 article in PERSPECTIVES for Congregational Leaders, online publication.

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!

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: August 30, 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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