23 Pentecost “Welcomed” * Genesis 18:1-8 * 2nd Stewardship Sunday

Image: Andrei Rublev, “Holy Trinity Icon” 15th century based on Genesis 18:1-8. Original written content: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022.

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

We Gather

Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.” – Henri J.M. Nouwen, 20th-century Christian pastor and theologian

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.

Honoring our Veterans

Flowers Pastor Kathryn Schreiber in Thanksgiving for BCCC

Worship Team Musician Vicky Jennings, Liturgist Darlene Hamady, Pastor Rev. Kathryn Schreiber

Call to Worship (liturgist)

Welcome! Welcome to this House of God open to everyone!

Welcome! Welcome to this Community of Faith, Hope, and Love!

Welcome! Welcome to this Space of Grace where our lives are changed!

We gather in the presence of God the Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit.

Welcome! Welcome! 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: “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” Chalice #560 (musician)

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

Time for Children “Greetings” What actions and words express a warm welcome?

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) Gestures matter. Offering a weary traveler food and drink is kind. Offering that same tired visitor a fine meal may become a holy encounter. Christian scripture tells us: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

God comes into our lives in many ways. The grace of divine encounter often happens when we least expect it – when we are selflessly loving others. Let us be gracious and very generous in our hospitality. Amen. (kms)

Special Music (musician)

We Listen

Scripture: Genesis 18:1-8 (New Revised Standard Version) This beloved story about Abraham and Sarah offering hospitality to fellow travelers continues to guide Jews and Christians in the sacred practice of welcoming strangers.

The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as Abraham sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing near him.

When Abraham saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 

Abraham said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.”

So they (the three men) said, “Do as you have said.”

And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.”

Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before the guests; and Abraham stood by them under the tree while they ate.

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

Reflection: “Welcomed” (pastor) On our second Sunday of the 2022 Stewardship Season we reflect upon welcoming gestures of hospitality.

Reflection Hymn: “The Gift of Love” Chalice #526 (musician)

We Pray

Prayer Requests (pastor; all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor) O Compassionate God, as much as we believe or sense Your love for us, we need to experience the warmth and welcome of real human beings. You, Source of all Life and Love, have designed us to be social beings. We need to give and receive human kindness to be whole.

O Eternal Christ, as we renew our efforts to grow Your Church, please increase in our genuine hospitality toward each other – friends we’ve known for years and friends we’ve just met.  May we see in each other Your blessed presence and be delighted. Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician; all)

We Transition

Announcements (pastor)

  • 2023 Pledge Cards
  • November Senior Center: this Tuesday
  • Next Sunday: Thanksgiving Sunday; Dedication of Pledges

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

Benediction (pastor) Dear Ones, we have no idea who we might be entertaining when we welcome an unknown person. May dear St Abraham and St Sarah remind us to open our hearts and share our gifts – for we might be hosting a divine presence.

Let us leave this place with curiosity, hope, gratitude, and great generosity. In the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. 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.

 (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.

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 10, 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 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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