14th Sunday after Pentecost. “Cultivating Peace Practice: Blessing” Gathering of the Waters

Image: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2018. 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 further notice.

We Gather

“Everything unborn in us and in the world needs blessing.Blessings strengthen life and feed life just as water does.” – Rachel Naomi Remen (rnr)

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 Norman Chong, Pastor Rev. Kathryn Schreiber.

Call to Worship (Numbers 6:24-26, adapted; liturgist)

We gather today to practice blessings. Let us begin our worship service receiving the first blessing God gave to Moses to give to the people, a blessing shared among human beings for thousands of years:

May God bless you and keep you.

May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you.

May God uplift you with holy countenance and give you peace. Amen.

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: “Spirit Song” Chalice #352 (musician)

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

Time for Children “A Grandmother’s Blessing” When a blessing is rooted in true love it last forever. (pastor)

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) Dear Ones, God deeply desires our fullness and well-being. Through the stories about Jesus Christ and mystical encounters with the Living Christ we encounter life-changing exchanges. These moments are mutual as both the divine and mortal resonate lifting each other up to a more radiant, purposeful, and joyful state of being.

When we come to Jesus with our honest needs, our true desires, and our earnest faith in His healing presence not only are we enhanced, the Spirit of Christ grows. Is this not a wondrous grace? Amen.

Special Music (musician)

We Listen

Scripture: Luke 1:41-45, Matthew 9:20-22, and Mark 10:49-52 (liturgist)

Luke 1:39-45 “Pregnant Elizabeth Blesses Pregnant Mary”

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

Matthew 9:20-22 “Jesus and the Healed Woman”

Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.

Mark 10:49-52 “Jesus and the Sighted Bartimaeus”

Then Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately Bartimaeus regained his sight and followed Jesus on the way.

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

Reflection: “Blessings: Becoming Authentic and Whole” (pastor) Thoughts about blessings as a tool for bringing peace into the world through the intention of speaking good words over each other.

Sermon Hymn: “Wonderful Words of Life” Chalice #323 (musician)

We Pray

Prayer Requests (pastor; all)

Pastoral Prayer Source of All Blessings, what a joy to be reminded that You have vested us with great powers to bless each other – to offer words of encouragement and affirmation, messages of hope and peace. Holy Christ, may we be filled with You whenever we speak a word of blessing and may You be blessed whenever we act in Your name. Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician; all)

Gathering the Waters and Blessings

Gathering the Waters 

Today, we Gather the Waters – waters you’ve collected to remember blessed moments in the past year. If you did not gather any water but would like to share a memory of being blessed – especially by, with, or near water – please do! (offer bottles of 2021 Holy Water for use.) Please come forward with your water and blessing stories! (pour water into the big bowl)

Blessing the Waters

This is “our” water. It is filled with our experiences and stories. For the next 12 months we’ll use this water for various blessings and anointings. Let’s transform our water into Holy Water calling God’s blessing upon it. Let us pray:

Holy God, we call Your Holy Spirit into these gathered waters. Bless this water. Fill this water with exactly what is needed. And bless us, too, in the right use of this Holy Water and each blessing we give and receive. Amen.

Cultivating Peace Practice: Blessings! (pass out greenery, blessing wands)

I know you know how to fling water! Today, we’re also going to be very intentional by offering life-giving blessings upon each other and any living being. Let’s speak blessings of affirmation and dignity, healing and wisdom, led by Holy Spirit. Let the blessings begin!

We Transition

Announcements (pastor)

  • Next Sunday: Sycamore Bento Box Luncheon
  • Senior Center Reopening

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

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.

(rnr) Rachel Naomi Remen, MD. My Grandfather’s Blessing: Stories of Strength, Refuse, and Belonging. © 2000.

(jod) John O’Donohue. To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings. © 2008.

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: September 7, 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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