18 Pentecost: “Our Endless Day” • Psalm 36:6-10 (LTP)

photo: Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2015

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

We Gather

“Our faith is a light, coming in nature from endless day.” — Julian of Norwich, 14th century English Christian mystic (ed/jw)

Prelude

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (pastor)

Beloveds, this is a time of natural balancing and rebalancing. The sun and the moon equally share the sky. The day and the night evenly inhabit 24-hours. During the autumnal equinox we prepare for what is coming – the shortening of the days and the lengthening of the nights. As physical darkness begins to grow, listen to these words from Julian of Norwich:

“Our faith is a light, coming in nature from Endless Day, which is our Father, God; in which light our Mother, Christ, and our good Lord, the Holy Spirit, lead us in this passing life.” (ed/jw) Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle (pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (light votives)

Passing the Peace Wave or bow, offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

*Song: “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” Words: H van Dyke; Music: L van Beethoven; Performer: Collin Raye (Chalice #2). Presented by Heath End Church, 2020. https://youtu.be/FAWbnz66t8w

Prayer and Silence Let us shift into silence in God’s presence using 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.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

We dwell in a universe cherished by a good God. No where in the cosmos does God not reign. And though we see in a mirror dimly, a time will come when we will clearly perceive the full grandeur of God. As the seasons turn from summer to fall, let us gaze upon the goodness of God in nature, in daily life, in the blessings that we too often take for granted – shelter, warmth, food, water, and the gift of being alive. May we be grateful and saturated with God’s luminous presence. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Psalm 36:6-10 (LTP)

Your mercy, Lord, spans the sky;

Your faithfulness soars among the clouds;

Your integrity towers like a mountain;

Your justice runs deeper than the sea.

Lord, You embrace all life.

How we prize Your tender mercy!

God, Your people seek shelter,

Safe in the warmth of Your wings.

They feast at Your full table,

Slake their thirst in Your cool stream,

For You are the fount of life,

You give us light and we see.

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

Sermon “Our Endless Day” 13th century Christian mystic, Julia of Norwich, was granted a most rare gift – to experience God’s triumphant goodness pervading eternity despite very glum conditions in her community. She, and the author of Psalm 36, guide us in orienting to God’s goodness this week of the autumnal equinox. (Video includes scripture reading) https://youtu.be/KCV-M6pMmps

Special Music: “River Flows in You” Written and performed by Yiruma. Licensed to YouTube by SME (on behalf of Sony Classical); UMPI, CMRRA, ASCAP, UMPG Publishing, LatinAutorPerf, LatinAutor – UMPG, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, and 17 Music Rights Societies. (3:29m) https://youtu.be/7maJOI3QMu0

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit, bless us with perceptible, physical light, as well as the spiritual gift of insight and illumination. May our souls come to see You everywhere – drawn to Your light that permeates all that is. May Your sustaining, life-bringing light tend one and all across Creation. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology”

Let us collectively offer praise to God by silently or softly singing. Please use the donation basket or mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Continue in Hope

Announcements

Special Music: “Great is Thy Faithfulness” Words: Thomas O Chisholm. Music: William M Runyan. 1923. Performed by the NCNC UCC Conference Choir 2020 directed by Mike Ellard. Sung in English, Japanese, Cantonese, and Tagalog. Recorded on Oct 24, 2020.

Benediction (pastor)

O God, Our Endless Day,

grant us the wisdom to see

luminous holy presence everywhere…

spanning the skies,

soaring among the clouds,

towering above as mountains,

running deep within the seas,

sheltering us with warm wings,

feeding us from full tables,

refreshing us from flowing streams,

blessing all life

with abundance and insight.

Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(LTP) Liturgical Training Press, The Psalter. Copyright © 1994, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

Julian of Norwich – referenced and quoted sources:

(af) Julian of Norwich, by Amy Frykholm, Paraclete Press, Brewster MA. Copywrite © 2010, Amy Frykholm.

(ec/jw) Julian of Norwich: Showings, translated by Edmund Colledge and James Walsh. (Translation of Julian’s book “Showings” written in old English. Classics of Western Spirituality series, Paulist Press, New York. Copyright © 1978, Missionary Society of St Paul the Apostle in the State of NY.

(gd) Praying with Julian of Norwich, by Gloria Durka, Companions for the Journey series, St Mary’s Press, Christian Brothers Publications, Winona, Minnesota. Copyright © 1989, St. Mary’s Press.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan-Chochenyo 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 early 2021. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Publishing Date: September 22, 2021.

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.

Donation for Use of Content: 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”

17 Pentecost: “Waiting on God” Holy Communion * Isaiah 40:28-31 (NRSV)

photo: San Damiano, Danville, CA. Kathryn M Schreiber © 2018.

Worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber © 2021.

We Gather

“We begin with the easiest and yet the hardest of all prayers – the prayer of silence. Easiest because the brain is not taxed to think of words to speak to God. Hardest because most of us are so unused to silence, to waiting, to being still and feeling our souls become still.” – John Killinger, Beginning Prayer

Prelude (recorded music)

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (liturgist)

Let us be here, now, waiting on God.

Waiting for The Author of all that is and ever will be.

Waiting for The Generator of all worthy power that never dims.

Waiting for The Giver who strengthens one and all.

Feeling powerless, faint, weary, exhausted?

Let us be here, now, waiting on God.

We shall be renewed.

We shall rise up with eagles wings.

We shall run and not be weary.

We shall walk and not faint.

God is here, now, waiting on us. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle (liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor lights votives)

Passing the Peace

Wave or bow, offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Solo (recorded music)

Prayer and Silence

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.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

The famous Swiss psychotherapist, Carl Jung, had a plaque over the front door of his Zurich home. It read: “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.” There is nowhere that God is not. Isn’t that Good News?

Today, we are practicing “waiting on the Lord” a theme found throughout the Bible. Most seasoned practitioners of prayer will tell us that when we wait for God, we’re actually shifting our awareness. Eventually, we find God waiting for us. Sometime, the shift comes quickly. Sometimes it takes years.

No matter what our sense of God’s presence is right now, let us take heart in hoping and trusting that “bidden or not bidden, God is present.”

We Listen

Scripture: Isaiah 40:28-31 (NRSV)

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
God does not faint or grow weary;
God’s understanding is unsearchable.

God gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.

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

Sermon “Waiting on God”

Pastor Kathryn will give a few examples of “waiting into” awareness of God’s presence and guidance.

Special Music “Wait for the Lord” Chant written by Jacques Berthier Publisher: ©1984 Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications Inc. (agent). Recorded live at St. Francis de Sales Church, Ajax Ontario Canada. Lyrics: Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. Wait for the Lord: be strong, take heart! https://youtu.be/37k20ZZ9h-A

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Source of Time and Timelessness, we are impatient. Especially when we are nervous – we want to know WHAT we want to know, WHEN we want to know. We don’t like waiting.

O God, we have been waiting for safety from an invisible virus. We have been waiting for an end to racism. We have been waiting for whatever it is that leaves us feeling cheated or depleted. We have been waiting.

Today we join the faithful who turn with joy and hope toward You, to wait on YOU. We turn our gaze from what is not to what is, has always has been, and will always be. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (acapella)

Let us collectively offer praise to God by silently or softly singing. Please use the donation basket or mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements

Invitation to Change Location

Invite folks to gather outside; pick up individual communion elements. Please extinguish all candles before exiting the building.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

After everyone is situated outside and has individually wrapped bread and juice.

Consecration Invitation and Prayer (pastor)

Let us pray:

Just as the soil waited for the seeds;

just as the plants waited for the sun and rain;

just as the flowers waited for the fruiting;

just as the farmer waited for the harvest;

just as the baker waited for flour and the vintner for juice –

we wait for You, Holy One.

May we, a humbled community,

meet You in these long-awaited elements.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Words of Institution

(We will consume bread and cup together after the Words of Institution.)

Let us remember that Jesus was with his Beloved Disciples. They were waiting – waiting for the hour of Sabbath to observe The Passover. Waiting for the moment when there would be resolution to their hopes and fears. Into that space of expectation…

Jesus lifted up the loaf,

offering his body to them.

Jesus thanked God for the bread and he broke it,

and gave it to his beloved friends, saying:

“Take, eat.

This is my Body,

which is given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”

After super, Jesus lifted up the cup,

offering his forgiveness to them.

Jesus thanked God for the wine,

and gave it to his friends, saying:

“Drink this, all of you.

This is my blood of the new covenant,

which is poured out for you and for many,

for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.”

God is here – in this sacred ritual, in our holy stories, in this blessed community. God is here – the waiting is over! Let us receive these good gifts from God! (all eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Ever Present One, Ever Mysterious One, thank You for the wonder of being with You. And, for the on-going call to wait ON You – to wait WITH You – to wait FOR You. Amen.

We Continue in Hope

Benediction (pastor)

“God does not faint or grow weary” – Amen!

When we wait upon the Lord –

Our strength is renewed!

We mount up with wings like eagles!

We run and are not weary!

We walk and don’t faint!

Let us wait upon the Lord! Amen.

Sung Benediction “On Eagle’s Wings – Refrain” (acapella; sing 3xs) (written by Father Michael Joncas; Chalice Hymnal #77 )

And I will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of My hand.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(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. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

Sermon Resources

Personal stories and experiences – though I did review some favorite writings from the Christian contemplative tradition, including The Cloud of Unknowing.

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed in early 2021. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Publishing Date: September 15, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: 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”

16 Pentecost: “God’s Tears” (9/11)* Gathering the Waters * Psalm 56:1-4, 8-11 & Matthew 5:43-45 (CEB)

photo: Kathryn M Schreiber © 2016
worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber © 2021

We Gather

“After the Red Sea parted, the Hebrews turned to watch the walls of water covering the Pharoah’s horsemen and chariots. And Moses turned to God to thank God, but saw that God was crying. ‘Why are you crying, oh Lord?’ Moses asked, and God answered, ‘Those were my children, too.’” — Anne Lamont

Prelude (musician)

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (pastor)

Holy One, we are bold today: We ask to become vessels holding Your tears. May we step down from our righteous pedestals of heroic nationalism and social justice passion to simply sit still and grieve with You, The One who collects all mortal tears. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle (liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor lights votives)

Passing the Peace Wave or bow, offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Solo (musician)

Prayer and Silence

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence. This simple prayer is 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.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

Whatever is in our hearts, whatever is true for our bodies, whatever thoughts steal our attention, whatever states of peace or non-peace rule our souls – no matter what – we are eternally held by God’s unfathomable love. Let the assurance of this grace be like water quenching whatever is thirsty in you today. May God’s unimaginable compassion and endless affection be for each of us, a holy wave nurturing us, healing us. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Psalm 56: 1-4, 8-11;  Matthew 5: 43-45 (CEB)

God, have mercy on me because I’m being trampled.
    All day long the enemy oppresses me.
My attackers trample me all day long
    because I have so many enemies.
Exalted one, whenever I’m afraid,
    I put my trust in You—
        in God, whose word I praise.
        I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.
    What can mere flesh do to me?

You Yourself have kept track of my misery.
    Put my tears into Your bottle—
    aren’t they on Your scroll already?
Then my enemies will retreat when I cry out.
    I know this because God is mine.

God: whose word I praise.
        The Lord: whose word I praise.

I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.
    What can anyone do to me?

AND

Jesus spoke to them, saying: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. God makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.”

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

Sermon “God’s Tears” Twenty years ago on September 11th 2001 commercial planes were hijacked to become weapons of destructive terror. Pastor Kathryn ponders God’s response to the US “War on Terror” that followed and how we might go forward. (live sermon)

Solo (musician)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

On this significant anniversary, we name the ugly truth that hating our enemies increasingly makes us their enemies, too, perpetuating a cycle of violence.

Beloved Jesus Christ, guide us as we strive, again, to enter the way of non-violence, the way of loving those we want to hate. We pray for the grace to shed another layer of caustic dualism that keeps us at war with others around the world, those closer to home, and even in the embattled parts of our own psyches. Have mercy upon us, most gracious Christ.

Weep with us as we name the painful truth that our suffering has too often become suffering for others. Continue to blanket us under one sunrise, under one rainfall filling us with the grace of meeting each other as neighbors. May it be so. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician)

Let us collectively offer praise to God by silently or softly singing. Please use the donation basket or mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements

Solo (musician)

We Continue in Hope

We move outside taking our water/s with us. Assemble, spaced apart, around the table with the large, empty bowl.

Invitation to Gather the Waters (water collected or commemorating special times)

On the second day of Creation God separated the waters above and the waters below. As the Hebrews fled Egyptian slavery God parted the great Red Sea. The Prophets of old proclaimed divine justice rolling down like mighty waters. God’s Beloved Son was prepared and blessed in the sacred River Jordan. Jesus’ first miracle, at the wedding in Canna, turned water into very good wine. And when Jesus offered up his body his beloved ones wept.

We continue to trust The One who sends rain upon the good and the evil; the Eternal God who counts and wipes away each mortal tear; the Author of Life who created each human sixty percent water.

Today, we Gather the Waters – sharing our joys and hopes. Please come forward, tell us about your water or offer a word of hope. As you pour, we will say, “God, bless this water.”

Blessing the Gathered Waters

Creating this communal water is an act of community, commitment, and hope. “Our” water becomes “holy” water when we call God’s presence via the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray: Holy God, we call Your Holy Spirit into these gathered waters and into us as we stand together in shared affection and hope. Bless us and this water. May we be used to bless many. Amen.

Benediction (pastor flings blessed water)

May the God who collects each fallen tear,

May the God who sends rain upon one and all,

May the God who eternally sustains all living beings,

Grant us peace and hope, love and courage. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(CEB) Common English Bible, online. Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

(al) Anne Lamont in All New People, p 110

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

Sermon Resources

Valarie Kaur, UCC Synod Keynote 2021: https://www.ucc.org/keynoter-valarie-kaur-challenges-ucc-to-chart-a-revolutionary-love/ and her interview on The Takeaway 9/10/2021

Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer”

UCC Officers 9/11 message: https://www.ucc.org/ucc-officers-pray-for-healing-understanding-unity-in-love-on-9-11-anniversary/?inf_contact_key=138913e8267eb03a1ed2089f80a259ccf651f238aa2edbb9c8b7cff03e0b16a0

Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer”

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed in early 2021. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Publishing Date: September 8, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: 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”

15 Pentecost: “Breathe” • Genesis 2:4b-7 (CEB)

image: Creation banner, quilter: Liz Berg. All Saints Episcopal Church, San Leandro, CA. photo: kms
worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

Note: This service is about breathing; it includes breathing deeply. Given the pandemic and poor air conditions in some places, please be safe. Breathe is precious. Protect it.

We Gather

“Keep breathing.”  Advice by Hendrikje Van Andel-Schipper who lived to age 115

Prelude

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (pastor)

In The Beginning, the soil’s potential waited for God. God breathed into the earth and created humanity.

In our beginnings, our loved ones await a most blessed moment: God breathes out life into our just-born bodies.

In our lifetimes, when circumstances take our breath away God offers sacred breath until we can breathe again.

In our endings, our loved ones gather, again, at the threshold. God breathes in our mortal breath as we fully enter eternity.

In The Ending, everything will be filled with God’s breath: God breathing in and out of absolutely every, single thing. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle (pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (light votives)

Passing the Peace

Wave or bow, offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Special Music: “Breathe” Written by Marie Barnett © 1995 Mercy/Vineyard Songs (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Used By Permission. Arranged By Michael W. Smith / Orchestral arrangement by Tyler Smith / Orchestrated by David Hamilton. 9/10/2020 new release.

Prayer and Silence

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence. 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.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

Breathe normally. Honor what your lungs can and can’t do. There is no right or wrong way to breath. Just breathe. Breath is our universal birthright. When we breathe with consciousness, we enter the grace of simply being – and being with all that breathes. Take a deep, safe breath and thank God for the blessing of breathing. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Genesis 2:4b-7 (CEB)

On the day the Lord God made earth and sky— before any wild plants appeared on the earth, and before any field crops grew, because the Lord God hadn’t yet sent rain on the earth and there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, though a stream rose from the earth and watered all of the fertile land— the Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into its nostrils. The human came to life. 

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

Scripture Reading and Sermon “Breathe”

Special Music: “BreatheMusic: David Gilmour and Richard Wright, Lyrics: Roger Waters (Pink Floyd). Arranged and Performed by Josh Cohen. Published Aug 13, 2017.

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Source of All Life and Love, we give thanks for the gift of breath and the calling to ensure safe air for all beings.

Breathing in, may we absorb all that sustains our life. Breathing out, may we release all we don’t need but others do.

Breathing in, may we thank You for our respiratory systems. Breathing out, may we offer gratitude for those who help us breathe.

Breathing in, may we celebrate the gift of life and the grace to be here now. Breathing out, may we celebrate the promise of heaven and graces to come. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

We Celebrate of Holy Communion

Invitation

All who breath are welcome here! Those who assembly via memory or spirit are welcome here, too! Everyone is welcome!

Gathering Souls

Let us speak the names of those persons, living or dead, who are not physically present. (speak their names)

Consecration Invitation and Prayer

(BCCC folks may use Pentecost-blessed crackers and juice; Lay hands on your bread and cup)

“Breathe on us and our cups and loves, O Breath of God. Fill us with life anew that we may love what You love, and do what You do.” AMEN. (eh, adapted)

Sharing the Elements (elements will be consumed after words of institution)

Jesus was gathered with his Beloved Disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem. They were assembled to practice ancient rituals remembering God’s faithfulness and the promise of abundant life to come.

As Jesus lifted up the loaf, they breathed deeply. They rested into the comfort and affirmation of tradition expecting to hear about the Great Exodus and the call to leave Egypt taking with them unleavened bread.

Instead, Jesus thanked God for the bread and he broke it, and gave it to his beloved friends, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”

After super, Jesus lifted up the cup, they breathed deeply. They rested into the comfort and affirmation of tradition expecting to hear about the Beloved Prophet Elijah while setting out a cup for his promised return.

Instead, Jesus thanked God for the wine, and gave it to his friends, saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Whenever we come to God’s Table, we, too, come with our expectations. May we, today, come to breathe, gathered with all the Beloved Disciples, dwelling in the nurturing, healing presence of the Living Christ.

“Breathe on us, Breath of God, until our hearts are pure, until with You, we are one will, to do and to endure.” (eh, adapted)

(all eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Most Amazing and Merciful One, we are filled with gratitude for the gift and grace of this Holy Communion. “Fill us with Your breathe, till we are wholly Yours glowing with fire divine, and united with You in the perfect life of holy eternity.” Amen. (eh, adapted)

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology”

Let us collectively offer praise to God by silently or softly singing. Please use the donation basket or mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Continue in Hope

Announcements

*Song: “Breathe on Me Breath of God” Written by Edwin Hatch, 1878. Public Domain. Arrangement: Reawakened Hymns, 2020.

Benediction (pastor)

Almighty God is the author of all creation. (breathe)

Jesus Christ is the bridge of our redemption. (breathe)

The Holy Spirit sustains each blessed community. (breathe)

May we go forth in peace, Dear Ones. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(CEB) Common English Bible, online. Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

(eh) Edwin Hatch, 1878 “Breathe on Me Breath of God”

(tk) Father Thomas Keating is often credited as an essential founder of modern Christian contemplative prayer practices, including breathe focus known as “Centering Prayer.” (sermon reference)

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed in early 2021. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Publishing Date: August 31, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: 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”

Kabul Prayer August 26, 2021

Holy God,

We hold close the bravery and integrity of those who died in acts of courageous service and promised refuge in Kabul, and pray for their grieving Loved Ones. Be with them.

We also pray for those who used their bodies to carry deadly bombs convicted by the rightness of violence, and pray for their grieving Loved Ones, too. Be with them.

We pray for all who have been physically, spiritually, and psychologically wounded and for those who seek to tend their suffering. Be with them.

We pray for refugees worldwide and for those who craft the refuge they seek. Be with them.

And we pray for ourselves. We hurt because others suffer. Be with us.  Amen.

photo and prayer: K M Schreiber

14 Pentecost: “Becoming Love” • 1 John 4:16b-19 (NTP:IV)

image: “St Clare of Assisi” by Sue Ellen Parkinson, 2019
worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

We Gather

“There is no envy, jealousy, or hatred between the different colors of the rainbow. And no fear either. Because each one exists to make the others’ love more beautiful.” – Aberjhani

Prelude

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (pastor)

Let us receive these blessed words from St. Clare of Assisi who was born in Italy in 1194. As a young woman Clare heard the call to love Christ inspired by the life and teachings of St Francis of Assisi. Clare and Francis supported each other’s faith and growing ministries becoming more Christlike and teaching others to do so, too.

“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing.

“Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of The Beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God’s compassionate love for others.” (ca)

May it be so. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle (pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (light votives)

Passing the Peace

Wave or bow, offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

*Song: “I Will Sing of Your Love Love Love” Written by Christopher Grundy for the Missouri/Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ. (c) 2018 Hand and Soil Music. CCLI#7109567. https://www.uccfiles.com/mp4/3GL-Music-Video.mp4

Prayer and Silence

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence. 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.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

Today, we root ourselves in the soil that is God’s eternally perfect love. Today, we aim our focus to gaze upon the embodied Christ’s redemptive, amazing love. Today, we open our minds to the astonishing possibility that we might practice such magnificent love – a love that transforms everything. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: 1 John 4:16b-19 (The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version)

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as God is, so are we in this world. 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 

We love because God first loved us.

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

Sermon “Becoming Love” St Clare of Assisi reminds us to examine what we love. We are shaped by what we choose to love. Let us choose wisely. Let us choose Christ.

Special Music: “Cover the World with Love” Written by Jerry Estes. Signs from Joy of Signing, 2nd ed., by Lottie L. Riekehof. Rutgers Children’s Choir and Scarlet Singers. Recorded May 11, 2014.

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Love Personified, dear Eternal Christ, may St Clare inspire us to continue seeking to love as You love. Grant us the freedom to surrender to the soul’s desire to embody compassion for everyone, even those we’ve been taught to fear or reject, including the parts of our selves we find unlovable. May our souls perk up with delight when we witness liberating, empowering acts of compassion. May we be continually transformed by divine Big Love, especially in those moments when the weight of fear tries to drag us down or when the ugly judge in our mind separates us from each other. May we abide in Your love. May we abide in You. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology”

Let us collectively offer praise to God by silently or softly singing. Please use the donation basket or mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Continue in Hope

Announcements

Special Music: “Love God Love People” Written and performed by Danny Gokey. © 2020 Danny Gokey. License: Capitol CMG, Inc. Licensed to YouTube by UMG (on behalf of Sparrow (SPR)); LatinAutor – SonyATV, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., Adorando Publishing, Polaris Hub AB, BMG Rights Management (US), LLC, ASCAP, CMRRA, Essential Music Publishing, ARESA, LatinAutorPerf, Capitol CMG Publishing, Warner Chappell, and 8 Music Rights Societies.

Benediction (pastor)

St Clare said, “We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.” Dear Ones, let us love well! Let us love God, each other (of all species), and our own precious souls. Let us go forth in hope with peace. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(NTP:IV) The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version, copyright ©1995 by Oxford University Press. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

(a) Aberjhani, Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry. Poet Aberjhani is a native of Savannah, Georgia, and former U.S. Air Force journalist. 

(ca) Clare of Assisi, as appeared in The Saint’s Little Book of Wisdom, Andrea Kirk Assaf, 2016.

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed in early 2021. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Publishing Date: August 24, 2021

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: 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”

13 Pentecost: “Speaking Peace” • Mark 4:35-41 • With Holy Communion

image: “Meredakan Angin Ribet” (Calming the Storm) by Ketut Lasia of Bali
worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

We Gather

“Grant us, O Lord, the blessings of those whose minds are stayed on You, so that we may be kept in perfect peace: a peace that cannot be broken.” – George Fox

Prelude (Vicky J, piano)

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (liturgist)

Sleeping Jesus,

When the great winds blow,

When the big waves break,

When we are being swamped –

Wake up and rebuke dangerous winds,

Gentle tormented seas,

Calm our inflated fears,

Anchor our drifting faith.

O Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ,

speak peace upon us. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle (liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (light votives)

Passing the Peace Please remain in place, turning to one another offering joyful gestures and soft-spoken words of peace: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Solo

Prayer and Silence

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence. 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.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

Dear Ones, there will be stormy times. There will be bumpy rides. The path will not always be clear and smooth. It is during these times of difficulty, especially when we feel ill-equipped to do what is necessary, that God is waiting to help us. But we do have to ask.

In God’s magnanimous generosity, we’ve been given vast freedom. We can choose to go it alone or to call out to Jesus Christ to help us. It is our choice. In so humbling ourselves we are primed to receive divine assistance. Often it will transpire in ways and means we could not have imagined. It takes great trust to ask for God’s help.

Let us be assured of Holy Compassion flowing from God, through Christ, to the Beloved Community. May we ask for and receive God’s help. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Mark 4:35-41 (NRSV)

Jesus had spent the day teaching the crowd assembled beside the Sea of Galilea.

On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘‘Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took Jesus with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 

A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. The disciples woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 

Jesus said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

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

Sermon “Speaking Peace”

In the midst of frightening challenges we can call upon the Living Christ. We are not alone. Great spiritual forces will rally to assist us when asked. A video recording of the scripture reading and sermon will be posted on our Facebook page after the service.

Solo

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Dear Jesus, this morning we call out to You, as do people around the world, as humanity has throughout history. Thank you, Responsive One, for hearing our call for help.

When we are overwhelmed with real and perceived dangers, when we feel abandoned to challenges beyond our abilities, remind us we can call out to You. God has granted us the freedom to ask for help. May we choose to ask for holy help. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (Vicky J, piano)

Let us collectively offer praise to God by silently or softly singing. Please use the donation basket or mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements

Invitation to Change Location (go outside for COVID safe Holy Communion)

We Celebrate Holy Communion

After everyone is situated outside and has individually wrapped bread and juice – from home or provided.

Consecration Invitation and Prayer (pastor)

Let us pray:

Prince of Peace, we call Your peace into our hearts and homes, our communities and around the world, as well as throughout the cosmos. Fill these humble elements with Your Peace. In receiving them, we may become instruments of Your Peace. Amen.

Words of Institution

(We will consume bread and cup together after the Words of Institution.)

Let us remember that Jesus was with his Beloved Disciples. He knew it was a time of challenge and confusion. To strengthen them for what was to come…

Jesus lifted up the loaf,

offering his body to them.

Jesus thanked God for the bread and he broke it,

and gave it to his beloved friends, saying:

“Take, eat.

This is my Body,

which is given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”

After super, Jesus lifted up the cup,

offering his forgiveness to them.

Jesus thanked God for the wine,

and gave it to his friends, saying:

“Drink this, all of you.

This is my blood of the new covenant,

which is poured out for you and for many,

for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.”

We join all Christians, throughout time and space, in the name of Jesus Christ. Surrounded by the bright light of those who went before us, as well as the glowing promise of those who will inherit our faith, we receive the eternal presence of the Prince of Peace. (all eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Beloved Jesus, in the easy times and in the hard times, You are here for us. We thank You for the never-ending gift of Your love and the eternal bridge You offer us to God. Amen.

We Continue in Hope

Benediction (pastor)

Whenever we make sacred promises – baptismal vows, wedding vows, lay leader or pastoral vows – we promise to keep these covenants “with God’s help.”

When the winds begin to blow, when the waves grow menacing, when the boat is taking water – may we ask for God’s help. May we listen for the Living Christ speaking peace. Amen.

Sung Postlude “Let Us Break Bread Together” (African-American spiritual; sung acapella)

1. Let us break bread together on our knees. (repeat; refrain)
2. Let us drink wine together on our knees. (repeat; refrain)
3. Let us praise God together on our knees. (repeat; refrain)

Refrain: When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O Lord have mercy on me.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(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. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed in early 2021. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Publishing Date: August 17, 2021

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: 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”

12 Pentecost: “Mending” • Ecclesiastes 3:6-7 & Matthew 4:18-22

Image: Visible Mending, The Chattery, 2020.
Worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

We Gather

“Don’t waste your time chasing butterflies. Mend your garden, and the butterflies will come.” – Mario Quintana, Brazilian poet and translator

Prelude (Vicky J, piano)

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (liturgist)

We prepare ourselves to be in God’s presence with these words from the Shaker song, “Simple Gifts,” written by Joseph Brackett 173 years ago:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right. (jb)

Lighting the Christ Candle (liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (light votives)

Passing the Peace Please remain in place, turning to one another offering joyful gestures and soft-spoken words of peace: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Solo (Mark D, guitar)

Prayer and Silence

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence. 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.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

It is God’s deepest intention to bring Creation to wholeness and wellbeing. Through Jesus Christ, God embodies divine presence with humanity in our times of brokenness and existential need. If we who are mortal can imagine such a holy, healing love – a holy love that repairs what is worn out or broken – how much more must God emanate such love, inspire such love, empower such love? Let us be deeply assured of God’s endless desire to mend what needs mending motivated by a vast, eternal, restoring love. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:6-7 and Matthew 4:18-22 (NRSV)

Ecclesiastes 3:6-7. This is an excerpt from an ancient song of wisdom:

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

Matthew 4:18-22. Jesus calls his first disciples, fishermen doing different tasks:

As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 

As Jesus went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

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

Sermon “Mending”

Pastor Kathryn reflects on the spiritual mending needed for the wellbeing of our planet, nation, community, congregation, and families. A video recording of the scripture reading and sermon will be posted on our Facebook page after the service.

Solo (Jurgis V, piano)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Ever-Mending, Ever-Repairing God, when our attention is filled with what is threadbare or torn, or with what has been damaged or weakened by use, gentle our fears and anxieties. Remind us of the wisdom of cycles and seasons, of times of vigor and times of fragility. May we hear You forever calling us forward into a way of restoration and improvement.

Today, we lift up our concerns for what needs mending – in our natural world (pause), in our religious communities (pause), in our civic organizations and institutions (pause), in our social practices with each other (pause), in our households and families (pause), and in our own hearts, minds, bodies, and souls (pause). May we hear Christ’s call to join his redemptive movement of repair and uplift. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (Vicky J, piano)

Let us collectively offer praise to God by silently or softly singing. Please use the donation basket or mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Continue in Hope

Announcements

Benediction (pastor)

Our hands are designed to do important work. We are the inheritors of proven skills to make needful repairs. Christ calls us forward into a mending ministry. With God’s help, we can do the work that is ours to do. Let us go forth with hope and in peace. Amen.

Postlude (Vicky J, piano)

Worship Resources:

(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. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

(jb) Elder Joseph Brackett of the Alfred Shaker Village

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed in early 2021. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Publishing Date: August 10, 2021

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

Donation for Use of Content: 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!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

9 Pentecost: “For the Healing: Run4Salmon” • Revelations 22:1-5

Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, posted on Run4Salmon FB page January 21, 2020

worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

BCCC Community Announcements

  • Live in-person service this Sunday July 25th at 11am. Please email or text prayer requests to Pastor Kathryn by Saturday evening, 8pm.
  • You may bring a printed copy of this handout or use your device during worship.
  • Please arrive a little early for careful seating. Inside, in the sanctuary, EVERYONE wears masks, keeps social distance, and uses hand sanitizers. Offerings may be left in the donation basket.
  • You’re welcome to stay after service for outdoor socializing. Some folks bring a lunch to eat with friends on the patio.
  • If you cannot attend, please use this handout as a personal devotion. We will post a video of the scripture reading and sermon on our Facebook page after live Sundays.
  • We’ll be on ZOOM August 1st and 8th, 2pm. Next in-person service will be August 15th.

We Gather

“We will be laying down blessings… a ceremonial way of bringing Salmon home, who have historically been the keepers of the water, and whose jobs are essential to keeping our waterways healthy for human life and for all other life that depends on these rivers.” –Run4Salmon, 2021

Prelude (live or recorded music)

Welcome (pastor)

Invocation (liturgist) This invocation is inspired by St John of Patmos’ vision of the City of God.

In the City of God there is a crystal-clear waterway, the Water of Life River. It sustains the life of all beings. The Tree of Life spans this holy river. It bears different fruit each month and its leaves manifest what is needed to heal each nation.

In the City of God there are no polarizations – No US and THEM. No NIGHT and DAY. Rather, everyone is illuminated with God’s eternal light. Imagine that – a reality filled with luminous beings, healthy and healed, reigning together… eternally? Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle (liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Present (lighting votives on altar)

Passing the Peace Please remain in place, turning to one another offering joyful gestures and soft-spoken words of peace: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Music (live or recorded music)

Prayer and Silence Let us shift into silence in God’s presence. 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.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

No matter what engages our hearts or minds, bodies or souls; no matter the climate of our social or political, natural or created worlds; always, always, we are called to meditate upon the City of God. God’s Dream for all beings.

God continually invites us to harbor a vision of us being whole and holy together. The grace to encounter even a moment of this ultimate reality is offered to all. The Author of Life extends this vision to all peoples, all nations, all beings, all the time. May we dwell in the possibility of God’s Dream.

We Listen

Scripture: Book of Revelations: 22:1-5 (NRSV, slightly adapted) Today’s reading comes from the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelations. These writings recount the visions given to St. John of Patmos. This passage, the last vision in the last chapter, includes this powerful description of the River of Life.

Then the angel showed me the River of the Water of Life, bright as crystal, flowing from the Throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street in the City of God. On either side of the river is the Tree of Life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 

Nothing accursed will be found there anymore. But the Throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and God’s servants will worship God; they will see the divine face, and the Holy One’s name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.

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

Sermon “For the Healing: Run4Salmon” Pastor Kathryn will introduce us to a local indigenous-led effort to restore, heal, and encourage life abundantly in Northern California. Sermon video will post on our Facebook page. (see Worship Resources to learn more about the Run4Salmon)

Music (live or recorded music)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer

Sometimes we forget, Holy One, that we are originally and essentially linked to each other. All life, throughout the cosmos, is interconnected. This is Your handiwork forever weaving us together. We pray, O Creator of All, that these stories may deepen our relationships with all our relations, all our siblings, all living beings. Help us to awaken to Your Dream, O God. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (live music or acapella; seated) Let us collectively offer praise to God by silently or softly singing. Please use the donation basket or mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Continue in Hope

Announcements

Musical Benediction “Water So Deep, Water So Wide” Created and performed by Jesi Naomi, Desirae Harp, Cole Oak, and Mikilani Young. Laying prayers on Winnemem Wintu Lands for the Mountains, Waters, Salmon. August 2019. Shared with permission and blessing.

Postlude (live or recorded music)

(the service is concluded)

Music Suggestions based on scripture:

“Shall We Gather at the River” Words and Music: Robert Lowry, 1864. Performance by Bill & Gloria Gaither, featuring Buddy Greene. (C) 2012 Spring House Music Group. (4:18 min) https://youtu.be/El7QNtXqavo

“Bring Forth the Kingdom” Words and Music: Marty Haugen, 1986. Performance by Dama. (3:18 min) https://youtu.be/iKBFSW_et3w

Worship Resources:

(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. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.

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

Run4Salmon Resources:

Regular postings, updated throughout the journey:

FB: run4salmon

IG: run4salmon

Website: http://run4salmon.org/

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed in early 2021. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.

Online Image: Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, posted on Run4Salmon FB page January 21, 2020

Online Publishing Date: July 21, 2021

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow your platforms publishing requirements for all created content.

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Walking… Together

image:The Exodus From Egypt Moses Leads” by Mary Evans

(This is an adaptation of Rev. Kathryn Schreiber’s weekly email message to her congregation, Berkeley Chinese Community Church, UCC. Published July 16, 2021)  

Hello Dear Ones,

I hope you and yours are staying strong and enjoying fun summertime activities. One of the summertime activities many UCC folks do every other year is attend General Synod. UCC members from across the USA gather to worship and build relationships, to learn together and make decisions. We do so by listening to the Still Speaking God… together.

Usually, we really are physically together. This year, we’re in our own homes connecting through digital devices. Lots of hours of screen time using different apps, sometimes they don’t work, but we plug along. Most of the speakers and presenters I’ve heard have been filled with big “push” energy – so many words, ideas, passions! It’s wonderful… and a little overwhelming, too. I miss slowly walking from event to event, running into friends and pausing to chat or have a cup of tea.

During opening worship, a lovely new tech thing happened. Sitting in front of our private screens we were asked to “Pass the Peace” however we could. A UCC friend texted me and I texted her right back! On different coasts, a nation between us, we were immediately connected in the Peace of Christ thanks to our smart phones! Wonderful!

During in-person Synods, I always carve out a few quiet breaks to reflect, to ponder the Big Picture. Recently, I had a chance to do a little of that.

These past 16-months have asked so much of all our faith communities. We who thrive on coming together once or twice a week to worship God, fellowship, and engage in service were stilled and separated; but we adapted, and adapted, and adapted, and we have done the best we could. We who believe in God’s beautiful dream for all people have been wounded and shocked by successive waves of violence and hatred. Sometimes, we or our loved ones have been targeted or wounded. We are resilient, but we have been rocked to our cores. We who know well the dance of life, death, and life eternal have been heavily leaning on our faith. God has not failed us, but the loss of ritual and community has left us lonely and weary from successive losses.

I’m convinced we should not be okay, not yet. The COVID-19 virus is still a globally disruptive and deadly pandemic, as are the related breaches in our social fabric. Praise God, our congregation and extended communities have fared much better than most, but we, too, have not made it this far without struggles or suffering.

As we slowly increase our in-person worship services and activities we face new challenges. We need to develop support for our evolving physical ministry. Our digital ministry needs attention, too.

Since March 2020, we’ve been critically dependent upon digital communications and online technologies. Unfortunately, our equipment and skills haven’t kept pace – true for most churches. Every pastor I’ve talked with is equally excited about new uses of media and daunted by the help and technology we need to do so.

This pandemic time put a halt to what we were doing. As we restart, we’re called to deeply reflect on our ministries. How are we going to evolve as Christ’s Church now? A lay leader said this week, “We’re building the plane while we’re flying it.” This isn’t easy, is it?

Recently, Jenny Smith wrote about a “second marathon.” She was writing to pastors, but I believe this will speak to you, too:

Our bodies are still recovering from the first marathon.

Maybe the answer is to stop running the second race.

What if we looked at each other and gently nodded.

Slowed our forced jog.

And started walking.

Together.


What if we walked our second marathon?


Side by side. No racing. No competing with anything or anyone.

Resting when it’s time to rest.

Saying yes to a new idea when it glistens with possibility.

Saying no when something feels too heavy.

Asking new questions in places we assumed the old answer.

Giving others permission to rest because we choose rest.

Questioning the speed at which we live and move.

Loving our people with beautiful boundaries in place.

Taking a nap.

Going to therapy and spiritual direction because we’re humans too.

Breathing deeply of God’s grace and love and restoration.


Maybe this is how we disrupt the deeply engrained oppressive realities of our world. We choose to walk.

Together. (js)


Days before shut down began in early 2020 none of us knew we’d quickly be shifting mission focus. Our new goal became staying alive and virus-free, and supporting frontline medical and essential workers. The global public health crisis also revealed social inequalities. Old wounds and new tensions and vulnerabilities exploded. A once-in-a-century outbreak of national political upheaval shocked and shook us. Economic, workplace, educational challenges, and family dynamics impacted us, too. And climate change. Let us not forget the Western wildfires and that horrible orange night-day. Yes, we’ve all been running a marathon for over a year.

Most of our Synod speakers have passionately spoken Gospel truth to power. They remind us of the Hebrew prophets, Jesus Christ, and the change-making saints of the Church. Many bold injunctions to keep on going, keep on pushing! But do we have to immediately begin another marathon? How do we go forward faithfully?

I am sensing something internally, it might be from God, it might not be. You judge. This is what I’m hearing:

“Dear Ones, please be careful. Remember Moses and the liberated Hebrews? Do you know why it took them 40-years to make a 5-day journey? It took that long because that’s how long it took for them to change. Be gentle with yourselves and each other.

Dear Ones, you are not alone. I am with you. The sacred way forward moves at the pace of relationship.* Tend us! Tend your relationship with me, each other, and your own precious souls. We’ll get there… together. Truly, I am with you.”

We are all listening for God’s Still Speaking voice as we advance into this newest era. It isn’t easy, is it? I believe God is offering us abundant guidance. The God I know, worship, and preach speaks with hope and care, inspiration and affirmation, wisdom and kindness, encouragement to stand up to systemic injustice as we hold ourselves, and others, personally accountable with grace and mercy.

May we listen to the Still Speaking God walking… together.   

In the Big Love,

Pastor Kathryn

(js) Jenny Smith, “The Second Marathon: A Thought For Pastors On Walking the New Normal” posted 7/2/2021. https://www.jennysmithwrites.com/post/the-second-marathon-a-word-for-pastors-on-walking-the-new-normal

*I heard Rev Sandhya Jha quote Adrienne Maree Brown’s “move at the speed of trust” which became “move at the pace of relationship.”