22 Pentecost “Welcome!” * Luke 14:15-24 * Holy Communion

Image: Vincent Van Gogh’s drawing “Interior with Ten Figures” 1980. Original written content: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022.

Public Health Safety Note: November 6, 2022 we return to Sunday morning worship services inside in the Sanctuary. Please follow COVID/flu-safe protocols. Thank you!

We Gather

“We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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 are blessed by this sacred worship space located on unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people. We honor the past and face the future in peace with hope.

Flowers TBD

Worship Team Musician Ian Pong, Liturgist TBD, Pastor Rev. Kathryn Schreiber

Call to Worship (liturgist) Everyone is welcome at God’s Table. There is plenty of room for each and every person! We practice the United Church of Christ’s radical welcome: No matter who we are, no matter where we are on life’s journey, everyone is welcome here at Berkeley Chinese Community Church! May our gathering today, back in our beloved sanctuary, be a service of deep and wide welcome. Amen. (kms)

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: “Gather Us In” Chalice #284 (musician)

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

Time for Children “Included” Have you ever been made to feel unwelcome? Jesus welcomes EVERYONE. How can we be like Jesus?

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) There is something a bit odd about us humans: we quickly create oppositional sides. Such fast sorting is helpful when in immediate danger, but is usually very harmful. Whenever we label other human beings as “enemy” we break God’s heart wounding the promise of blessed human community. Jesus modeled welcoming everyone honoring our universal, shared human dignity.

On this Sunday before Election Day, amid loud calls to mistrust each other, let us hold fast to Jesus’ practice of welcoming everyone while honoring real differences. May our practice of welcoming those we’ve been taught to reject lead to healing. As we offer respect for others, especially when it is hard, we create the future we desire for our children. Amen. (kms)

Special Music (musician)

We Listen

Scripture: Luke 14:15-24 (version: Common English Bible) Jesus tells this story while dining with Pharisees, Jewish scholars who hold fast to Torah law. Jesus speaks, saying:

A certain man hosted a large dinner and invited many people. When it was time for the dinner to begin, the master sent his servant to tell the invited guests, “Come! The dinner is now ready.”

One by one, they all began to make excuses. The first one told the servant, ”I bought a farm and must go and see it. Please excuse me.” Another said, “I bought five teams of oxen, and I’m going to check on them. Please excuse me.” Another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.”

When the servant returned, he reported these excuses to his master. The master of the house became angry and said to his servant, “Go quickly to the city’s streets, the busy ones and the side streets, and bring the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.”

The servant said, “Master, your instructions have been followed and there is still room.”

The master said to the servant, “Go to the highways and back alleys and urge people to come in so that my house will be filled. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will taste my dinner.”

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

Reflection: “Welcome!” (pastor) As we begin our Stewardship Season we reflect upon Jesus’s practice of radical welcome, sharing a meal with the most unlikely dinner guests.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Invitation (pastor; explain about process – all are welcome; publicly safety; elements consumed together)

Gathering All Souls (pastor) Let us gather the great, eternal communion of souls, speaking the names of those not physically present with whom we wish to share this meal… (say names internally or out loud)

Gathering The Unwelcome (pastor) Let us also ask: “With whom do I NOT want to share Christ’s Table?” (group or individual) Who scares me? Who’s hurt me? Whom have I harmed? If it feels genuine, please extend welcome to someone or a group with whom it feels uncomfortable sharing this meal… (say names internally or out loud)

Communion Hymn: “I’m Gonna Eat at the Welcome Table” Chalice #424 (verses 1-4) (musician)

Distribute Elements (Communion ushers pass out individually wrapped juice cups and crackers)

Prayer of Consecration (pastor) Inviting God, we humble ourselves grateful for what You will give us. May this meal nourish whatever needs nourishing that our church might grow according to Your joy and desire. Amen. (kms)

Sharing the Elements (pastor) Jesus often broke bread with people others told him he should not dine with. This wasn’t so much due social prejudices, but due to long-standing religious mandates to “stay away from bad people.” Jesus understood how these morally enforced segregations created spiritual suffering among everyone.

At his Last Supper with his dearest followers he placed on his right “The Beloved Disciple” and on his left “The Betraying Disciple.” Understanding that all human beings have weakness and strengths, Jesus Christ welcomed everyone, just as they were, to God’s Table. By overturning the dining restrictions given to Moses, Jesus Christ invokes the healing power of sharing food and drink. Our beloved ritual of Holy Communion is an offering of sustenance and healing for all who partake.

Jesus took the loaf, (lift up bread), thanked God for it, (praise God), 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 they had eaten, 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.”

On this Sunday, days before a contentious Election Day, we intentionally share this loaf with…

  • those who are in need of actual food;
  • those who are hungry for social welcome;
  • those who see in us a foe;
  • those we perceive to be our opponents;
  • and those who will one day call this place home having found a truly welcoming community of faith.

Dear Ones, may we receive the magnificent grace of being fully welcomed by God as we receive these blessed gifts. (all eat and drink)

We Pray

Prayer of Thanksgiving for Holy Communion (pastor; spontaneous)

Prayer Requests (pastor; all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor) O God, You who know the deepest hungers of our souls and the darkest wounds of our psyches, we are eternally grateful for Christ’s embodiment of Divine Welcome. Continue to heal us as we strive to offer hope and kindness to others. Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician; all)

We Transition

Announcements (pastor)

  • Council Meeting (zoom) Wednesday night
  • Next Sunday: Second Sunday of Stewardship, more on Welcoming

Sung Blessing: “Go in Peace” Chalice #445 (sing 2x’s) (musician)

Benediction (pastor) May the Way of Welcome embodied in Jesus Christ be our practice. May we offer to others what we would most like to receive – genuine respect and courtesy, mercy and goodwill. Let us go forth in peace with brave kindness. Amen.

Postlude (musician)

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(CEB) Common English Bible copyright © 2011, Common English Bible.

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: November 1, 2022 – All Saints Day.

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 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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