2nd Sunday of Easter: “All Creatures Sing” Psalm 96 * Earth Week 2022

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“All of creation is a praise song to God.” – Hildegard of Bingen, 11th century Christian mystic

Prelude (Ian)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor) Welcome to our 2nd Sunday of Easter/Earth Week worship service! Everyone is welcome here! Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. Welcome guests. We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar Flowers

Call to Worship (liturgist – teach “Alleluia!” response)

Dear Ones, we dwell among all manner of creatures and natural forms of life. We are Beloved Siblings among Beloved Siblings. Let us welcome the Risen Christ together:

O shining sun and recent showers, let us praise the Risen Christ: Alleluia!

O leafing trees and flowering plants, let us praise the Risen Christ: Alleluia!

O singing birds and busy bees, let us praise the Risen Christ: Alleluia!

O companion animals and wild creatures, let us praise the Risen Christ: Alleluia!

O unseen and essential elements, let us praise the Risen Christ: Alleluia!

O Beloved Siblings of every species, let us praise the Risen Christ: Alleluia!

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor will speak, then light votives)

Votive Lighting Music (Ian)

Children’s Message “The Goldfinch and Jesus Christ” (pastor; children stay with family) (resources: cc, iliam)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

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, The Creator most wonderfully designed all living beings to be interconnected. St Basil, in the 4th century, wrote a prayer that includes these lines: “O God, enlarge in us the sense of communion with all living things; our brothers and sisters the plants and animals. You have given them the earth as their home in common with us.” (gotc)

On this 2nd Sunday of Easter, as we observe Earth Week, let us savor the grace of dwelling in constant community with all living beings. God designed us to live well together. May it be so. Amen.

Special Music (Ian)

We Listen

Scripture: Psalm 96 (liturgist; version: The New Testament and Psalms)

O sing to God a new song; sing to God, all the earth.

Sing to God, bless that holy name; tell of God’s salvation from day to day.

Declare God’s glory among the nations, God’s marvelous works among all the peoples.

For great is the Most High, and greatly to be praised; indeed, to be revered above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Most High made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are before God; strength and beauty are in God’s sanctuary.

Ascribe to God, O families of the peoples, ascribe to God glory and strength.

Ascribe to God the glory due that holy name; bring an offering, and come into God’s courts.

Worship God in holy splendor; tremble before God, all the earth.

Say among the nations, “God is sovereign! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. God will judge the peoples with equity.”

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it.

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before God; who is coming to judge the earth, and who will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with truth.

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

Sermon: “Creation’s Christ” (pastor) As we continue celebrating Christ’s Resurrection – let us consider our fellow creatures and God’s redemptive activity for the well-being of all beings.

Special Music (Ian)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor) Resurrected Christ, we continue to sing “Alleluia” for all You have done and are doing to tend Creation. As we celebrate the liberation Your sacrifice offers humanity, may we also sacrifice for the well-being of all beings. This second week of Easter, we ask Holy One, to be more like You. Give humanity the compassion, courage, and commitment to do what is ours to do to save life on earth. Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (Ian; all) Before worship, please leave donations in the basket in the entryway or mail to the church.

Announcements (pastor) Holy Week/Easter thank you’s! Singing inside – masks on, softly

Closing Hymn: “All Creatures of Our God and King” Chalice Hymnal #22, all four verses(organ, Ian, congregation sings softly)

Benediction (pastor) Dear Resurrection People on this 2nd Sunday of Easter let us recommit ourselves to the essential work of taking good care of planet earth and all our sibling species. Let us join all Creation in praising the Risen Christ – Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(cc) Canterbury Cathedral broadcast. Easter Monday morning prayers, Dean Robert told the story of the Goldfinch’s (European) care of Christ during His Passion. Begins at 7:25 min. https://youtu.be/l-d0cGLiwCA

(gotc) http://www.webofcreation.org/Worship/services/greenthecross.htm

(iliam) https://islandlife-inamonastery.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-goldfinch-savior-bird.html

(TNTP) The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version. Oxford University Press ©1995.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded 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: April 19, 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”

Easter: “God’s Presence: More to Come” John 20:1-18 with Holy Communion

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“We must know that God will appear suddenly and joyfully to all lovers of God.” – Julian of Norwich, 14th century Christian mystic (jn)

Happy Easter! Please bring cut and potted flowers up to decorate the chancel. Thank You!

Prelude “Morning Has Broken” Gaelic melody (piano, Everett)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor) Welcome! Everyone is welcome here! Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. Welcome guests. We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar and Memorial Flowers

Easter Proclamation

Hallelujah! Christ is Risen! And the people say, Hallelujah! Christ is Risen indeed!

All: Hallelujah! Christ is Risen indeed!

Invocation (liturgist) In the places we least expect to meet You, O Resurrected Christ, rise up and invite us to believe in You and the endless wonders of God’s Love for Humanity. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor will speak, then light votives)

Votive Lighting Music “We Gather Together” Dutch melody (piano, Everett)

Children’s Message “Ukrainian Easter Eggs” (pastor speaks to children; children stay with family)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

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) At the very heart of our Christian faith is a belief that Jesus Christ, God’s Beloved Son, opens the gate to eternal life. This Good News not only comforts our souls, it assures us of everlasting relationships. On this Easter morning as we proclaim Christ risen from the dead, may our souls take comfort in God’s perpetual love in this world and the next. Truly, this is the grace through which all graces arise. Amen.

Special Music “Morning Reverie” Rollin (piano, Everett)

We Listen

Scripture: John 20:1-18  (translation: Common English Bible; for two readers)

(liturgist) Early in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.

(pastor) She said,“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him.”

(liturgist) Peter and the other disciple left to go to the tomb. They were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and was the first to arrive at the tomb. Bending down to take a look, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in.

Following him, Simon Peter entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. He also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head. It wasn’t with the other clothes but was folded up in its own place. 

Then the other disciple, the one who arrived at the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They didn’t yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying.

Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying. As she cried, she bent down to look into the tomb. She saw two angels dressed in white, seated where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and one at the foot. The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

(pastor) She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus.

(liturgist) Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

(pastor) Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.”

(liturgist) Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

(pastor) She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabbouni” (which means my Teacher).

(liturgist) Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold on to me, for I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

(pastor) Mary Magdalene left and announced to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord.” Then she told them what he said to her.

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

Story Sermon: “Dawning Hope” (pastor) Mary Magdalene’s Easter morning encounter with the Rising Christ invites awareness of Christ’s evolving presence in our lives.

Special Music “Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini” Rachmaninoff (piano, Everett)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

O Holy One, to find ourselves in an empty tomb with woes and sorrows anew is to find ourselves surprised, again, by Your powerful love. To hear, again, the voice of The Beloved calling our name as a truly new day breaks awakens us to courage, hope, and faith.

O Source and Force of Eternal Love, may we be Your resurrection people, proclaiming and manifesting the Big Love made known to us, eternally, through Jesus Christ! Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (piano, Everett; all) Before worship, please leave donations in the basket in the entryway or mail to the church.

Inside Announcements (pastor)

Communion Song: “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” Chalice Hymnal #216, all four verses (piano, Everett; congregation sings softly)

We Relocate Outside

Please transition outside. Individually wrapped Holy Communion elements distributed.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Welcome to Outside Holy Communion (pastor)

Gathering All Souls (pastor) Whenever we gather at The Lord’s Table we do so as a communion of souls – those physically present and those who gather in spirit and sentiment. Let us speak the names of those with whom we share this Easter Holy Communion… (say names out loud)

Prayer of Invitation (pastor) This responsive prayer is inspired by one of the first Christian Holy Communion prayers. Teach response; it appears 3xs: Christ, be with us.

As grains once scattered on the hillside are gathered together and made into a loaf, so too are we, Your people, gathered around Your table becoming one. Christ, be with us.

All: Christ, be with us.

As grapes grown in the field are gathered together and pressed into wine, so too are we drawn together and pressed by our times, sharing a common lot, transformed into Your life-blood for all. Christ, be with us.

All: Christ, be with us.

Let us prepare to eat and drink as Jesus taught us inviting the stranger to our table and welcoming the poor. May their absence serve to remind us of the divisions this Communion seeks to heal, and may their presence help transform us into the Body of Christ we share. Christ, be with us. (d)

All: Christ, be with us. Amen.

Prayer of Consecration (pastor)

Each person holds individual elements. Let us pray: Ever-Appearing Resurrected Christ, may we, through the grace of this joyful Easter Celebration of Holy Communion, meet You in the sharing of this sacred meal surrounded by loved ones on Earth and in Heaven. Hallelujah! Amen.

Sharing the Elements

We remember the night… as the meal began, Jesus took the bread (lift up bread), thanked God for it (praise God). Jesus broke it (break the bread) and gave it to the disciples saying: ” Take, eat. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after they had finished their supper, 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 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 share this loaf with (tear off pieces of bread for…) Christians around the world; Victims of war – Ukrainians, Russians, all of us; Refugees; COVID sick or in lockdown; All Creation; Those who WILL come to our church in the future.

Dear Ones, God’s eternal love surpasses human understanding. Just as Christ conquered death, Christ’s Easter Resurrection continues to open the gates of everlasting life. Hallelujah! Let us receive these gifts receiving the Risen Christ! (eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

For all the ways, O God, You have fed and sustained us all the days of our lives, we give thanks, Almighty Creator!

For all the ways, O God, You have called out the best in us in our most challenging times, we give thanks, Still-Rising Christ!

For all the ways, O God, You have held us together spiritually when our bodies could not safely gather, we give thanks Blessed Holy Spirit! Amen.

Outside Announcements

Benediction (pastor)

Hallelujah! Christ is Risen! And the people say, Hallelujah! Christ is Risen indeed!

All: Hallelujah! Christ is Risen indeed!

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(ceb) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible.

(d) Didache, ancient teachings from the second generation of Christians.

(jn) Julian of Norwich, Mediations with Julian of Norwich, Brendan Doyle.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded 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: April 12, 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”

Lent 6/Palm Sunday: “God’s Eternal Response: Steadfast Love” with Global Palm Processional * Psalm 118:1-4; 19-29 and Luke 19:35-38

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“When I see the old foundations crumbling / and the old certainties / and securities giving way / … You do speak to my fears, O Lord. / … You are my God, / whatever happens to the world about me, / and I will celebrate Your love forever.” – excerpt, “Psalm 117 and 118” Leslie F. Brandt, 20th century Christian writer (lfb)

Prelude (solo)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor) Welcome! Everyone is welcome here! Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. Welcome guests. We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar Flowers (for the Glory of God)

Global Palm Invocation (seated; liturgist) Liturgist: Make sure everyone has greenery to wave; Invite folks to open their hearts and minds to people around the world; We will remain seated; Teach/practice the Response, while waving greenery

Liturgist: In the places of safety and beauty where contentment peacefully rests –

All: “Blessed is the One Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!”

Liturgist: In the frightening places where refuge is precious and compassion is healing –

All: “Blessed is the One Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!”

Liturgist: In the hospitals and bedrooms where sick ones await life-saving care –

All: “Blessed is the One Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!

Liturgist: In the households where love continues to grow and serve as needed –

All: “Blessed is the One Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!”

Liturgist: In the gatherings of those who grieve knowing the bitter taste of loss –

All: “Blessed is the One Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!”

Liturgist: In the sanctuaries – online and in-person – where praise rises to heaven –

All: “Blessed is the One Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!”

Liturgist: No matter who we are, no matter where we are on life’s journey, this Palm Sunday we assemble with people around the world to welcome Jesus Christ –

All: “Blessed is the One Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!”

Light The Christ Candle (pastor or liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor lights votives on altar)

Votive Lighting Music (solo)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

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, during the most significant moments of our lives, individually and collectively, God is with us. And, God is for us, for all of us, always. The sweetness of God’s steadfast grace is an awareness easily lost to passing thoughts and emotions. And yet, beneath it all, God is here. God’s never-ending love is always here. God’s steadfast love endures forever. Amen.

Special Music (solo)

We Listen

Scripture: Psalm 118:1-4; 19-29 and Luke 19:35-38 (translation: NRSV; liturgist)

Psalm 118:1-4; 19-29

O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good;
   God’s steadfast love endures forever!


Let Israel say,
   ‘God’s steadfast love endures forever.’
Let the house of Aaron say,
   ‘God’s steadfast love endures forever.’
Let those who fear the Lord say,
   ‘God’s steadfast love endures forever.’


Open to me the gates of righteousness,
   that I may enter through them
   and give thanks to the Lord.


This is the gate of the Lord;
   the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank You that You have answered me
   and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
   it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech You, O Lord!
   O Lord, we beseech You, give us success!


Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
   We bless You from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God, and God has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
   up to the horns of the altar.


You are my God, and I will give thanks to You;
   You are my God, I will extol You.


O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good,
   for God’s steadfast love endures forever.

AND Luke 19:35-38

Then the disciples brought the colt to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on it, they set Jesus on it. As Jesus rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’

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

Message: “God’s Steadfast Love” (pastor) Jesus chose to enter Jerusalem knowing the dangers ahead. We prepare for Holy Week in gratitude for God’s eternal response to humanity’s needs through Jesus Christ.

Special Music (solo)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor) Loyal One, we give thanks for the joyful times amid a cheerful crowd easily believing You are here. And we are grateful, too, for those trying times, especially when we were most alone as some evil wind extinguished our hope or strength, that you were there. May we hold close the image of Jesus Christ triumphantly entering Jerusalem. May we never forget how faithful You have been and will be, Triune God, known to us as The Creator, The Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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

We Transition

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician; all)

Announcements (pastor)

Closing Hymn: “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” Chalice Hymnal #192 (musician, all)

Benediction (pastor) Let us praise God’s steadfast love that endures forever! We travel this Holy Week with Jesus Christ from joyful crowd to last supper, from trials and punishments to death on the cross, from a borrowed grave to miraculous resurrection. Blessed is the One Who Comes in the Name of the Lord! Amen.

Postlude (solo)

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(lfb) Leslie F Brandt, Psalms/Now ©1973. Californian who collaborated with Sister Corita Kent in creating contemporary translations and artworks for Christian worship.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded 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: April 5, 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”

Maundy Thursday-Good Friday: “God’s Liberating Presence: Passover and Passion” Exodus 12:1-13, Psalm 22, Stations of the Cross

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022. A COVID-safe contemplative service for pastor, musician/s, and readers.

The service begins outside in the Courtyard. As people arrive offer individual, sealed communion elements and handout.

We Gather

“The salvation Christ brings is a salvation from every bondage that oppresses human beings.” -Archbishop Oscar Romero, Salvadorian Christian leader, 20th-century martyr

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome, Dear Ones. We are here in this sacred place on unceded Lisjan-Ohlone territory. Everyone is welcome for this contemplative service.

During Lent we’ve learned from Jesus’ ancestors about God’s guidance through important transitions. This afternoon we remember the Hebrews’ great exodus out of Egyptian slavery – God’s magnificent call to liberation. No wonder the story of Jesus Christ’s Passion begins at the Passover table.

Let us gather with kindred spirits as we extoll God’s commitment to releasing humanity from suffering offering freedom to everyone.

Song: “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” (handouts: Chalice Hymnal #627, verses 1-3) (aas)

Liberating Passover

Beloved Community, we join Jesus and his disciples as they observe Passover – a ritual retelling of their ancestors’ salvation, a graphic reminder of God’s power over oppressors. We do so with the non-violent Jesus Christ who models for us the soul force of Big Love extended to all, including those who harm us.

These sacred stories resonate more strongly this year as oppressive violence is maiming and killing innocent people in Eastern Europe and a global pandemic is still active. God continues to respond to human cries for deliverance.

Dear Ones, as we move through this service emotions will rise. We may feel sympathy for others, be reminded of our woes, or even experience a vague, mystical carrying of anonymous suffering. Let us offer our distress to God for transformation. Feelings of devotion, wonder, and gratitude will rise, too. Let us also offer God our praise.

On Good Friday we choose to go with Jesus Christ into, through, and beyond mortal agony that we, the Beloved Community, might be transformed on Easter morning. Let us enter this living story…

The Original Passover (Reader A)

Jesus and his Disciples gather in the upper room in Jerusalem. They assemble to recall The Passover when God boldly intervened for the liberation of the Hebrew slaves and anointed sibling leaders – Moses, Aaron, and Miriam – to take their people out of Egypt.

Exodus 12:1-13

God said to Moses and Aaron while still in Egypt, “This month is to be the first month of the year for you. Address the whole community of Israel; tell them that on the tenth of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one lamb to a house. If the family is too small for a lamb, then share it with a close neighbor, depending on the number of persons involved. Be mindful of how much each person will eat. Your lamb must be a healthy male, one year old; you can select it from either the sheep or the goats. Keep it penned until the fourteenth day of this month and then slaughter it—the entire community of Israel will do this—at dusk. Then take some of the blood and smear it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which you will eat it. You are to eat the meat, roasted in the fire, that night, along with bread, made without yeast, and bitter herbs. Don’t eat any of it raw or boiled in water; make sure it’s roasted—the whole animal, head, legs, and innards. Don’t leave any of it until morning; if there are leftovers, burn them in the fire.

“And here is how you are to eat it: Be fully dressed with your sandals on and your stick in your hand. Eat in a hurry; it’s the Passover of God.

“I will go through the land of Egypt on this night and strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, whether human or animal, and bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am God. The blood will serve as a sign on the houses where you live. When I see the blood, I will pass over you—no disaster will touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.” (tm)

And so it is, that Jesus and his disciples, as had their ancestors for generations, remember the last meal eaten in bondage holding fast to a belief that God would deliver them, again.

The Last Supper

Prayer of Preparation (pastor)

When we partake of the Last Supper, a Passover seder, we come to the Table of God hungry for liberation and thirsty for justice. Mindful of so many crying out to God for protection and freedom right now, let us listen to umanity’s cries with silent, prayerful attention.

(silence)

Great Redeemer God, You hear all prayers. You care for everyone and desire the well-being of all beings. May the observance of this ritual meal strengthen our faith in Your power to deliver us, O Mighty Liberator. Amen.

Sharing the Elements (pastor)

The Eternal Christ hears us calling from the past, the present, and the future. In our midst at the Passover Table Jesus Christ proclaims the eternal reality of divine salvation.

On the night when he was betrayed Jesus took a loaf of bread, (lift) gave thanks, (thank God) he broke it, saying, (break) “This is my body that is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 

We remember Jesus Christ and the gift of his life among us. (everyone eats)

In the same way Jesus took the cup, also, after supper, (lift, thank God) saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

We remember Jesus Christ and the offering of his life to save us. (everyone drinks)

For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup we proclaim the Lord’s death until Jesus Christ comes again. Praise be to God.

Prayer of Thanksgiving (pastor; spontaneous)

The congregation moves inside into the Sanctuary. Music may be played.

Liberating Passion

Announcements (pastor)

Please keep your masks on at all times. We will refrain from singing until the last hymn – singing it softly. At the conclusion of the service the Sanctuary will remain available for silent prayer. Please exit quietly and save your conversations for outside. Thank you.

Invocation (pastor)

Holy Spirit, guide us as we continue this Good Friday passage with Jesus Christ whose merciful liberation is offered to all peoples seeking well-being in this world and the next.

Light The Christ Candle (pastor)

Special Music: (instrumental solo) OR Song: “Abide with Me” (Chalice Hymnal #636, 3 verses; instrumental solo as congregation reads/hums)

Stations of the Cross

Introduction (pastor)

Since the earliest of days, spiritual pilgrims have gone to Jerusalem to walk the route Jesus traveled from his trial to his entombment stopping at important locations along the way. The Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow), through imagery, readings, and prayers, quickly became a portable spiritual practice known as “The Stations of the Cross.”

This Good Friday we follow Jesus Christ along the Via Dolorosa pausing at each “station” for a reading or song, followed by a very short prayer and lighting of a candle, as well as silence.

worship leader: practice response to prayerPeople: O Lord, hear our prayer.

The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death (Reader B)

Jesus is judged and legally sentenced to death by Jewish and Roman authorities. We feel the inner tension of this outrageous injustice, even as faith proclaims Jesus’ death as a redemptive sacrifice.

Here in the US, legally, we place a larger percentage of our neighbors in prison, jail or under probation or parole than any other nation in the world. We arrest about 2,000 children daily. We are the only Western developed country that has not abolished capital punishment. As we reflect upon Jesus’ sentencing, let us hold the suffering among us because of our very large incarceration population and use of the death penalty. (fg, cdf, ai)

One: O God, take away our desire to hurt one another – criminally or punitively.

Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Second Station: Jesus Takes Up His Cross (Reader C)

How different is this second liberation story! Moses and his family boldly led the people out of enslavement as God performed acts of great power and violence. Jesus, however, leads alone non-violently. Jesus speaks the truth to power and is criminalized, abandoned, and publicly humiliated by both authorities and followers. The Prince of Peace offers a different path to salvation.

Rev. Greg Boyd, pastor and theologian, writes: “If the practice of refusing violence and loving enemies was consistently put into practice, we’d learn that, over the long haul (and with great sacrifice), the nonviolent way of Jesus is far more effective in combating evil than the way of violence. For while the way of violence may appear to curb evil in the short run, it always—always—produces more violence in the long run. It’s self-perpetuating. (gb)

One: O God, may Christ’s non-violent love heal that which violence has broken.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time (pastor)

Jesus falls. Our Beloved Jesus falls. Let us open our hearts to Jesus’ suffering.

Special Music (instrumental, reflective)

One: O God, may our devotional love of Jesus Christ transform us.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother (Reader A)

Jesus’ mother, Mary, a faithful, courageous maiden is the steady matriarch tending her son and his growing religious community. Mother Mary is the first Christian, the first to believe Jesus is the Christ. On the way to his death she offers him her presence – risking her life to touch her child, her Savior.

May we pause to be in solidarity with mothers whose children are suffering. May God fortify their faith, courage, and strength. When our hearts grow weary with news of war and tragedy, may we be uplifted by ordinary human beings empowered by God to do extraordinary things.

One: O God, bless the brave ones who comfort their frightened children.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross (Reader B)

Roman officers force Simon of Cyrene, a Jew from north Africa, to carry The Cross. To disobey would lead to bodily harm or arrest. Though pressured to assist a condemned prisoner did Simon treasure this opportunity to alleviate Jesus’ suffering? What passes between Simon of Cyrene and Jesus of Nazareth as The Cross is lifted off one man’s back and placed upon another’s?

One: O God, grant us a genuine desire to share each other’s burdens.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes Jesus’ Face (Reader C)

Veronica, a follower of Jesus, is in the crowd. Like most women she wears a face scarf. Witnessing Jesus’ distress she boldly separates herself from the crowd to offer him her veil. She reveals her face, her identity. By expressing adoration and offering physical comfort to an enemy of the State and Temple her life is at stake, too.

Her act of vulnerable, selfless compassion, writes James Finley, is transcendent: “There’s this kind of primal moment where Jesus takes her veil, and he closes his eyes and lowers his face into her veil. And in that moment, the softness of her veil is the only solace he can find in a world turned harsh. At a deeper level, the solace he finds is her compassion for him… that in the moment Jesus closes his eyes to lower his face into the veil, in closing his eyes and lowering his face, the world around him disappears. She disappears. Everyone disappears… that in that moment, Jesus, without going anywhere, descends down into the depth-like, infinite, tender mercy of God, the Father, sustaining him in that moment.” (jf)

One: O God, may we encounter You through radical acts of compassion.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time (pastor)

Our Beloved Jesus falls, again. Our hearts, opened to his suffering, now expand. In his mortal fragility we see all human suffering feeling the sorrows and pains of others. We have entered a holy compassion, the Big Love which connects us to God and each other.

Jesus taught: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40 NRSV)

One: O God, may we see Christ in all who suffer.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Eighth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem (Reader A)

Jesus notices a cluster of his female followers weeping. His pastoral care turns toward them, saying: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us;’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’” (Luke 23:28-30 NRSV)

Newly up from falling a second time, Jesus experiences the fragility of human life amid violent religious and civil authorities. Jesus, like the women of Jerusalem, knows the cruelty of systemic oppression.

One: O God, we commit into Your well-being all families experiencing injustice.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time (Reader B)

Our Beloved Jesus falls a third time. Our hearts continue to expand in solidarity with all who endure hardships trusting in God’s steadfastness.

Special Music: (instrumental solo) OR Song: “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” (Chalice Hymnal #628, verses 1-3; instrumental solo as congregation reads/hums)

One: O God, when humanity fails, may we place our faith in You.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments (Reader C)

As Roman guards remove his clothing Jesus’ wounded body is revealed. His human dignity is intentionally denigrated. This authorized humiliation, however, cannot damage what is eternally good. Evil isn’t that powerful.

There are many ways to disrobe a person – to remove social dignities, to disarm and disrupt, to assault character. Jesus, stripped, reveals that what remains is original integrity.

One: O God, may we see ourselves as You see us when we are abused.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross (pastor)

From The Cross Jesus quotes the opening lines of Psalm 22. The first half of this psalm is a dramatic lament appealing to God. It has been suggested Jesus references this passage not to speak of his own suffering, but rather to assure those who experience inhumane treatment that God hears their cries – God hears us.

Reading: Psalm 22:2-21

God, my God,

why have You abandoned me –

far from my cry, my words of pain?

I called by day, You do not answer;

I called by night, but find no rest.

You are the Holy One enthroned,

the Praise of Israel.

Our people trusted, they trusted You;

You rescued them. 

To You they cried, and they were saved;

they trusted and were not shamed.

But I am a worm, hardly human,

despised by all, mocked by the crowd.

All who see me jeer at me, shaking their heads:

“You relied on God; let God help you!

If God loves you, let God save you!”

But You, God, took me from the womb,

You kept me safe at my mother’s breast.

I belonged to You from the time of my birth,

You are my God from my mother’s womb.

Do you not stay far off,

danger is so close.

I have no other help.

Wild bulls surround me,

bulls of Bashan encircle me,

opening their jaws against me

like roaring, ravening lions. 

I am poured out like water,

my bones are pulled apart,

my heart is wax wilting within me;

my throat baked and dry,

my tongue stuck to my jaws.

You bring me down to the dust of death.

There are dogs all around me,

a pack of villains corners me.

They tear up my hands and feet,

I can count all my bones.

They stare at me and gloat.

They take what I wore,

they roll dice for my clothes.

Lord, do not stay far off,

You, my strength, be quick to help.

Save my neck from the sword,

save my life from the dog’s teeth,

save me from the lion’s jaws,

save me from the bull’s horns.

You hear me. (ltp)

One: O God, no matter how deep the wound, You are my Liberator.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross (Reader A)

During Jesus’ lifetime crucifixion was the favored form of capital punishment. The Romans used it to torture those sentenced to death and traumatize their loved ones. These brutal, common acts of legal execution were intended to thwart public uprisings.

As Jesus surrenders his final breath he leaves behind the abusive, temporal power of Empire and Temple. Jesus, in choosing to maintain the practice of redemptive love through to his death, opens a portal to eternal freedom for everyone. Humbled by this ultimate sacrifice, we also grieve. We are pierced with pain and loss.

(long silence)

Extinguish Christ Candle

One: O God, through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, may we dwell in Your Eternal Love.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross (Reader B)

Jesus’ executioners leave. A handful of very brave, devoted followers remain at The Cross. Hearts full of sorrow, minds traumatized, their souls guide them in blessed affection and tender care. Tearfully, they receive Jesus’ dead body. The women who most love him –

his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and a mother of one of the twelve disciples – hold out their arms to hold and wrap his body in soft, clean linen.

Speaking of this tender, tragic moment a clergywoman from Canterbury Cathedral offers these words: “Their tears, and enfolding in cloths, return to him his dignity through their love and through compassion. But they cannot return the breath into his mouth, the sparkle in his eye, the warmth of his touch, and the wisdom of his word.” (cc)

One: O God, when we are overwhelmed with grief, enfold us in gentle care.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

The Fourteenth (final) Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb (Reader C)

Through acts of unexpected kindness, generosity and a little political savvy a burial place is found for the One Without Sin who died a criminal’s death. Tears bless this little house of death – a borrowed cave tomb. In a few days it will fill with The Light Eternal.

Song: “Were You There” (Chalice Hymnal #198, verses 1-3; instrumental with congregation softly singing) (aas)

One: O God, in the dying places may we believe in resurrection.

   Will you repeat after me: O Lord, hear our prayer.

People: O Lord, hear our prayer.

Reader lights a candle; pause for silence.

*

Proclamations of Faith

Psalm 22: 23-32 (pastor)

Let us be consoled by the second half of Psalm 22, a bold statement of faith in God and hope for what will come:

I will proclaim Your name to my people,

I will praise You in the assembly.

Give praise, all who fear God:

revere and honor the Lord,

children of Israel, people of Jacob.

The Lord scorns the afflicted,

never looks away, but hears their cry.

I will sing of You and the great assembly,

make good my promise before Your faithful.

The poor shall eat all they want.

Seekers of God shall give praise.

“May your hearts live forever!“ 

All people shall remember and turn,

all races will bow to the Lord,

who holds dominion over nations.

The well-fed crowd kneel before God,

all destined to die bow low.

My soul lives for the Lord!

My children will serve,

will proclaim God to the future,

announcing to people yet unborn,

“God saves.“ (ltp)

The Lord’s Prayer (everyone, led by pastor)

Benediction (pastor)

Dear Ones, we have entered the Great Mystery of Jesus’ Passion. Our hearts, minds, bodies and souls have been saturated. Let us move carefully through this liminal time. Easter is coming, but it is not here yet.

May the Peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ as we continue this Holy Week in solidarity and compassion, in courage and tenderness, in faith and great hope. Amen.

NO Postlude (may remain for silent contemplation and prayer; leave silently)

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(aas) African-American Spirituals. The sacred music born of persons resisting white supremacy during and since legal slavery, has been used, without credit nor payment of royalties. Human compassion and moral compunction call for making reparations to organizations benefiting African-Americans and addressing racism. To learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qO8NW_SKzsg

(cc) Canterbury Cathedral, Stations of the Cross videos, 2021.

(fg, cdf, ai) Statistics from 3/34/2022 postings by the Federal Government, Children’s Defense Fund, and Amnesty International

(gb) Greg Boyd. https://reknew.org/2014/11/does-nonviolence-work/

(jf) James Finley. “Turning to the Mystics” podcast. https://cac.org/podcast/turning-to-the-mystics/page/6/

(ltp) Liturgical Training Press. © 1995, Archdiocese of Chicago.

(tm) The Message. © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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: April 1, 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”

Lent 5: “God’s Innovation: A New Thing” Isaiah 43:15-21 with Holy Communion

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“A spiritually of awareness, of choice, of risk, of transformation… is about the embrace of life, the pursuit of wholeness, the acceptance of others, the call to co-creation.” – Sister Joan Chittister, 21st-century Christian prophet

Prelude (piano solo)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! Everyone is welcome here! Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. Welcome guests.

We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar Flowers (for the Glory of God)

InvocationUnited Church of Christ Statement of Faith” (Robert V. Moss, adaptation; liturgist)

We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, who is made known to us in Jesus our brother, and to whose deeds we testify:

God calls the worlds into being, creates humankind in the divine image, and sets before us the ways of life and death.

God seeks in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.

God judges all humanity and all nations by that will of righteousness declared through prophets and apostles.

In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, God has come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the whole creation to its Creator.

God bestows upon us the Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.

God calls us into the church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be servants in the service of the whole human family, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ’s baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.

God promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in that kingdom which has no end.

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto God. Amen. (ucc)

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor lights votives on altar)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

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, let us collectively put down what we have carried that God is already carrying. It may be that we are cutting new trails while God waits for us at paved paths already provided.

Let us remember Jesus Christ’s invitation to still into compassion’s wisdom within and among – to shift focus from looping histories and favorite fantasies to be with God now as God does a New Thing among us, with us, for us. Let us fall, again, willingly open to God’s reforming grace. Amen.

Special Music (piano solo)

We Listen

Scripture: Isaiah 43:15-21 (translation: NRSV; liturgist)

Isaiah 43:15-21 

I am the Lord, your Holy One,
   the Creator of Israel, your King.
Thus says the Lord,
   who makes a way in the sea,
   a path in the mighty waters,
who brings out chariot and horse,
   army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
   they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
Do not remember the former things,
   or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert.
The wild animals will honor me,
   the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
   rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
   the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.

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

Message: “GOD’s New Thing” (pastor)

What no longer serves? WHERE is God and WHAT is God using to make a new way forward? What might we release to be open to God’s New Thing?

Special Music (piano solo)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Holy One, what wonders You daily perform for all beings! We rejoice in Your innovative faithfulness and praise You! We also ask that You, O God, will continue to transform us – as individuals, families, communities, nations, and global neighbors. We ask this for our congregation, too, trusting You are indeed doing a “new thing” we cannot even imagine. Fill us with hope and excitement for what is coming! Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician; all) Before worship, please leave donations in the basket in the entryway or mail to the church.

Announcements (pastor)

Communion Song: “I Come with Joy” Chalice Hymnal #420 (musician; masks on, singing softly)

We Relocate Outside

Please transition outside, picking up individually wrapped Holy Communion elements.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Prayer of Invitation (pastor)

In a strange way, this going outside for Holy Communion has literally kept us in physical transition as we return to in-person practices. This “new thing” is part of our pandemic style – to observe the ancient rite of Holy Communion AND to do it in a new way for the safety of one another.

Whenever we gather at The Lord’s Table we do so as a communion of souls – those physically present and those who gather in intention from earth and heaven. Let us now name those who are with us today… (say names out loud)

Consecration of Elements (pastor)

Let us pray:

Holy God – known to us as Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit – we ask Your blessing upon this assembly and these elements. Fill us with Your presence that we might be receptive to the novel ways You are moving in our midst. Thank You. Amen.

Sharing the Elements

Jesus loved to reframe historic practices to focus upon the ever-inbreaking presence of God in this world among a specific household or community, in a specific place, in a specific moment. The Eternal Christ continues to engage us weaving together the past and the present, preparing us to be moved forward by God.

Jesus lifted up the loaf, gave thanks to God, broke it, and said: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

We receive this blessed bread with great appreciation and hope for what the Living Christ is calling forth. (eat bread)

After supper, Jesus lifted up the cup, gave thanks to God, and offered it to them 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 receive this sanctified cup with gratitude leaving behind what has been forgiven that we might be available for the new things the Living Christ is doing. (drink from cup)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Let us pray:

For the gift and grace of being on this surprising journey with You, Eternal Christ, and with these dear friends, we give thanks. We are grateful, too, for this mystical communion, a connection with dear ones throughout time and space. For what You continue to do and be, and for what You are calling forth, we give thanks, Beloved Jesus Christ. Amen.

Benediction (pastor)

Dear Ones, never underestimate the beauty and the power of God’s Big Love as it pluses among and through us. May God use us in new ways to do new things for God’s glory, for the uplift of our neighbors, and for the joy of our own precious souls. Truly, may we go forth with new hope and new peace. Amen.

Postlude (none because we are outside)

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(jc) Joan Chittister, The Time is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage. © 2019.

(ucc) United Church of Christ, https://www.ucc.org/what-we-believe/worship/statement-of-faith/

Two sermon resources from very current discussions about the call to change lead by God see:

(dz) Dr Dwight Zscheile, Luther Seminary webinar; 3/28/2022.

(jw) John Wimberly, https://www.congregationalconsulting.org/; 3/28/2022.

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: March 28, 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

Lent 4: “God’s Provision: Manna to Harvest” Exodus 16:1-4a, 9-12, 35 & Joshua 5:10-12

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“This living stream I so desire, I see it in this bread of life, even during the night.” –St John of the Cross, (trans Ken Krabbenhoft), 16th century Spanish Christian spiritual guide

Prelude (musician)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! Everyone is welcome here! Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community.  Welcome guests and visitors.

We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar Flowers (tba)

Invocation (liturgist)

In the terrible transition times, O Lord, Thank You for sending Bread from Heaven.

In the territorial transition times, O Lord, Thank You for maintaining the Bounty of the Earth.

In these troubling transitional times, O Lord, Thank You for encouraging us to use the skills and wisdom You have given us to do what is ours to do. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (musician plays as pastor lights votives on altar)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

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)

In the midst of significant personal and social shifts, it may seem God’s presence has changed. When God doesn’t seem as responsive as in the past, it is wise to remember God’s care for us has appropriately changed in form.

God grants us vast freedom. Just as a loving parent will not do for a child what is the child’s to learn to do for herself, God will never overpower our mortal agency. God will, however, always lure us forward, gracefully offering us encouragement to grow. Often, when we can’t perceive God’s grace in the moment, but we will later on.

Special Music (musician)

We Listen

Scripture: Exodus 16:1-4a, 9-12, 35 & Joshua 5:10-12 (translation: NRSV) (liturgist) These passages remind us of God’s gift of “manna” given to the liberated Hebrews while in the wilderness, and the ending that heavenly gift when they reached Canaan.

Exodus 16:1-4a, 9-12, 35

The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day.

Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.”’ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.”’

The Israelites ate manna for forty years, until they came to a habitable land; they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 

AND

Joshua 5:10-12

While the Israelites were encamped in Gilgal they kept the Passover in the evening on the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho. On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day they ate the produce of the land, and the Israelites no longer had manna; they ate the crops of the land of Canaan that year.

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

Message: “Holy Change” (pastor) God invites humanity to enter holy seasons of change — biblically, often for 40 days and nights or 40 years. God is inviting all of us into seasons of social change over long periods of time.

Special Music (musician)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Eternal Companion, thank You for Your faithfulness to humanity and all living beings. Thank You for Your patience when we complain and question Your faithfulness. And, Thank You for Your genuine care when You step aside that we might do what is ours to do. Grant us the confidence to trust in Your wisdom, especially as our responsibilities change. Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician; all) Before worship, please leave donations in the basket in the entryway.

Dedication of One Great Hour of Sharing Offerings (pastor)

Basket of offerings is brought forward.

Let us join our UCC sisters and brothers as we bless all One Great Hour of Sharing Offerings presented today:

“We offer these gifts, O God, in the spirit of love. May the gifts that we offer this day embody our loving response to Your great love for us. Through these gifts, may others feel the love of Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” (OGHS)

Offerings are placed on the altar.

Announcements (pastor)

  • Ukraine Emergency Appeal
  • Cal Project help

We Transition

Hymn “All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly” Chalice Hymnal #419 Words: Sylvia Dunstan, 1990; Music: William Moore, Columbian Harmony, 1825. (musician plays; if all present agree, we’ll sing softly – masks on)

Benediction (pastor)

God is always with and for us. God’s provisions change when it is time for us to mature. When what “used to be” hasn’t quite been replaced with “what is coming into being,” may God grant us the peace and patience needed to maneuver change. In the Peace of Christ, 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.

(OGHS) Worship resources sent to UCC churches, ©2022.

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: March 22, 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”

Living Liturgies TRANSITIONING WITH GOD – Lent-Easter 2022 — updated

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022, close up of artwork (c)1978. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

Our Lenten journey this year features examples of God’s evolving companionship with the Hebrew people during significant transitions. These stories speak to our own Turning Time as we, too, look back, take a breath, and ponder a better future.

Ash Wednesday: “Tender Return” Joel 2. God’s MERCY (w/imposition of ashes) (published 2/22/22) A call for individual and communal humbling before God for the wellbeing of all beings.

Lent 1: “God’s Faithfulness: Gratitude for What WILL Come” Deuteronomy 26:1-11 with Installation of Officers and Holy Communion (published 3/1/22) Being grateful for what has not yet come – growing a spiritual imagination and trust in God.

Lent 2: “God’s Promises: Aligning to Wonder” Genesis 15:1-9 (published 3/10/22) God’s middle of the night conversation with Abram; honesty + wonder = new possibilities

Lent 3: “God’s Guidance: The Better Way Forward” Isaiah 55:1-9 (published 3/15/22) Taking a pause to be led by God; open to divine wisdom and guidance – despite our personal agendas.

Lent 4: “God’s Provision: Manna to Harvest” Joshua 5:9-12 (published 3/22/22) God provides as help is needed, but doesn’t encourage dependence. God’s gifts are not crutches to keep us reliant upon God in our weaknesses.

Lent 5: “God’s Innovation: A New Thing” Isaiah 43:15-21 (published 3/28/22) Opening to God’s New Thing after a season of loss.

Lent 6/Palm Sunday: “God’s Eternal Response: Steadfast Love” with Global Palm Processional Psalm 118:1-4; 19-29 and Luke 19:35-38 – waving palms (seated) and proclaiming God’s goodness in all places of suffering.

Maundy Thursday-Good Friday: “God’s Liberating Presence: Passover and Passion: Exodus 12:1-13, Psalm 22, and Stations of the Cross (published 4/1/2022) Liberation from physical and psychological slavery, God provides a way out of suffering and sin in all times, in many ways.

Easter: “God’s Presence: More to Come” John 20:1-18 (w/Holy Communion) What is still in progress? Where is God through the Eternal Christ rising among us?

Lent 3: “God’s Guidance: The Better Way Forward” Isaiah 55:1-9

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.” — John O’Donohue, 21st century Irish Christian spiritual guide

Prelude (musician)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! Everyone is welcome here! Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. (Greet guest musician and visitors) We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar Flowers

Invocation (liturgist)

This Lent we travel with Jesus’ ancestors through times of critical transition. This Sunday, we listen to the great Hebrew prophet, Isaiah’s, message from God – a call to divine wisdom. As we carry the woes of the world, may the Light of God’s Illumination guide us. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (musician plays as pastor lights votives on altar)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

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)

In times of distress we tend to react strongly. Some will jump into action as adrenaline flows. Others will be overcome with raw emotions and withdraw. And some will be swept up into a swirl of competing thoughts and impulses, unable to land our response. Thankfully, God calls us to focus upon the Divine Source of all Wisdom. From God, we may receive the help needed to deeply transform reoccurring problems.

When trouble arises, in our homes or across the sea, let us listen for the grace of God’s guidance. Let us meditate on the Way of Christ, a way forward bringing the most good to the most beings. Let us patiently trust the grace of divine guidance. God is with us and for all of us. Always.

Special Music (musician)

We Listen

Scripture: Isaiah 55: 1-9 (translation: NRSV) (liturgist)

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to me;
   listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
   my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made King David a witness to the peoples,
   a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
   and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
   for God has glorified you.
Seek the Lord while God may be found,
   call upon God while God is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
   and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that God may have mercy on them,
   and to our God, for God will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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

Message: “Taking a Pause” (pastor) Amid many challenges and responsibilities, taking a pause to seek God’s wisdom may make a world of difference.

Special Music (musician)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Holy One, we are hungry for more than food and thirsty for more than water. We desire to know Your Ways – to think and do as You would have us do. Thank You, Source of All Life, for sending Jesus Christ to embody noble humanity. May we imitate the Beloved Christ carefully choosing our thoughts, words, and actions, making tangible Your transforming ways. Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (musician; all – softly)

Please leave your donations in the basket in the entryway. Donations may also be mailed to the church, attn: Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements (pastor)

  • OGHS Promotion this week – handouts, envelopes
  • Ukraine Emergency Appeal

We Transition

Hymn “Be Thou My Vision” Chalice Hymnal #595 Words: Mary E Byrne; Music: Traditional Irish melody.  (musician)

Benediction (pastor)

God is always with us! God is always broadcasting a better way forward. God is always streaming higher thoughts to elevate our minds. God desires life abundant for all beings. May we be guided by God’s Big Love – going forth in peace and love, hope and right actions. 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.

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: March 15, 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”

Lent 2: “God’s Promises: Aligning to Wonder” Genesis 15: 1-9

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, / Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour.” ― William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Prelude (Vicky)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! We gather in this holy place as we begin the sacred season of Lent. Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. (Greet visitors) We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar Flowers

Invocation (liturgist)

This Lent we travel with Jesus’ ancestors through times of critical transition. May their authentic, astonishing faith in God’s fabulous promises inspire radical hope in us. We ask this in the name and light of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (Vicky plays as pastor lights votives on altar)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

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)

The Bible is filled with stories of spiritual leaders talking with God – including their inability to believe in God’s boldest dreams. In these dialogues, God invites humanity to move through our internal challenges to enter a conscious openness to God’s magnificent promises. This Lent, may we have the courage to speak candidly with God that God may open us with wonder, hope, faith, and trust. What a grace it is to be honest with God.

Special Music (Vicky)

We Listen

Scripture: Genesis 15: 1-9 (transliteration: The Book of God, Walter Wangerin) (liturgist)

Then, in the middle of that night, God spoke.

          Fear not, Abram, God said, calling the old man by name. I am your shield. Your reward shall be very great.

          Abram did not move. He did not so much as shift his eye from the orange lamp-flame. But his jaw tightened.

          God said, Abram, northward of his place, southward and eastward and westward – all over the land as far as you can see, I will give to you and to your descendants forever.

          Still motionless and so softly that the wind outside concealed the sound of it even from his own ears, Abram breathed out these words: “So you have said. So you have said. But what, O Lord God, can you give us as long as we continue childless? “

          A wind took hold of the tent-flap and lifted it like a linen. The tent-flame glass guttered and went out.

          God said, Come. Abram, come outside.

On his hands and knees the old man obeyed.

          God said, Raise your eyes to heaven. Look to the stars, Abram. Count them. Can you count them?

          The old man said, “No. I cannot count them. They are too many. “

          Even so many, said the Lord God, shall be your descendants upon the earth.

          With the same gaze as he had earlier turned upon the lamp-flame Abram gaze toward heaven. Now there was no wind at all. The air was absolutely still. Nothing moved in the land, except that the man could hear the sighing of his old wife inside her compartment. 

          Abram said, “Is it required than that a slave born within my household must be my heir?“

          God said, Your own son shall be your heir.

          Abram said, “How shall I know that? How can I know, when you have given us no offspring?“

          Then the word of the Lord came to the old man.

          Abram? Said God. Have you seeing how a king will by a covenant establish his promise with his servant? Tomorrow, Abram. Tomorrow prepare the beasts. I am the Lord who brought you here to give you this land. Tomorrow I will make my covenant with you – and thereby shall you surely know my promises to you!

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

Message: “Aligning to Wonder” (pastor) God tells Abram to leave his tent and look up at the nighttime stars – to fall up into wonder and faith in divine reality.

Special Music (Vicky)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Most Trustworthy One, sometimes we lose our way. We nurse our hurts and confusions, turning our gaze away from the wonders You have promised. Holy One, lure us away from unhelpful thoughts and feelings that we might join You, faces turned upward, to the brilliant star-filled night sky – open, open, open – to Your dreams for all Creation. Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (Vicky; all)

Please leave your donations in the basket in the entryway. Donations may also be mailed to the church, attn: Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements (pastor)

  • Begin OGHS Promotion this week – handouts, envelopes
  • Ukraine Emergency Appeal

We Relocate Outside

Moving Music (Vicky) Please transition outside.

Song: “Over My Head” African-American spiritual. TNCH # 514 (acapella)

Benediction (pastor)

When any kind of shadow falls – whenever we find ourselves huddled in tents of disbelief, may God blow open tent doors inviting us outside to look up! May our ancestors of faith join us, reminding us we are evidence of God’s Promises fulfilled – we are the stars Abram and Sarai once saw in dawning wonder. Go forth in peace, and in wonder, Dear Ones. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

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: March 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 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”

Lent 1: “God’s Faithfulness: Gratitude for What WILL Come” Deuteronomy 26:1-11 with Installation of Officers and Holy Communion

Photo: Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2022. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, You who have brought us thus far on the way; You who have by Your might, Led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray.” – James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) lyrics from “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! It is GOOD to back together in this holy place as we begin the sacred season of Lent. Jesus Christ has called us together as Beloved Community united by the Holy Spirit. We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar Flowers: For the Glory of God

Invocation (liturgist)

Eternal Christ, we begin this Lenten journey with You and Your ancestors. Jesus Christ, we ask Your blessing upon this spiritual season offering ourselves to You. May this Beloved Community be refined for the wellbeing of all beings. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (musician plays as pastor lights votives on the altar)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

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)

Before we notice, before we ask, God already knows our deepest joys and concerns. God is always as close as our souls. Today, our first Sunday back together in-person since Christmas Eve, God already knows the joy we feel in this reunion and the sorrow we feel for those who are missing. God has always been tending us, tending everyone. Let us rest in the grace of God’s incomprehensible love and eternal faithfulness.

Song or Special Music:

We Listen

Scripture: Deuteronomy 26:1-11 (version: NRSV) (liturgist)

When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for His name. 

You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him,

“Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.”

When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God:

“A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that You, O Lord, have given me.”

You shall set the basket down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.

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

Message: Anticipating God’s Faithfulness” (pastor) God speaks to the liberated Hebrews on their way out of bondage: The refugees WILL settle in a safe place; there WILL be a bountiful harvest for all to share; residents old and new WILL praise God together.

Special Music:

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Faithful One, usually, we are grateful after You have fulfilled our wishes. Pardon our selfishness. Today, on this first Sunday of Lent, we offer praise for the Good Things coming. We are grateful, Eternal Font of Love, for doing far more than we mortals could ever imagine. Open our minds and hearts that we might perceive glimmers of the blessed, healing future You have in store for humanity. Amen.

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

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please leave your donations in the basket in the entryway. Donations may also be mailed to the church, attn: Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Relocate Outside

Moving Music:

Please transition outside. Pick up Holy Communion elements.

We Install 2022 Lay Leaders

Introduction (pastor)

We are here, together, in a circle. No one is greater than the other. We also knowledge the gifts of the Spirit among us, for God has given us gifts for the fulfillment of our mutual ministry. This is the way Jesus taught us to live and work together. Today, we covenant with those who were elected last Sunday. (Name officers, committees)

Covenants (UCC Book of Worship)

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Prayer of Invitation (pastor)

Everyone, everyone is welcome at God’s Table! God has brought us this far – through the challenges of the pandemic, through a time of change within our congregation, and through the normal ordeals of being human. God has brought us here, right now, to celebrate God’s faithfulness. Everyone, everyone is welcome at God’s Table!

Let us speak the names of those who are not physically present with whom we wish to be spiritually gathered – including people in Ukraine and Russia, especially our Christian siblings, who are in harm’s way. (Say names out loud.)

Consecration of Elements (pastor)

Let us pray:

As we call Your Holy Spirit into these elements, O God, we offer You our First Fruits. You made the plants of the earth and filled the land with various peoples. You lead us from one land to another, from danger to safety. With profound respect and gratitude, Holy One, we offer these communion elements to You remembering Your abiding faithfulness. Amen.

Sharing the Elements

The Hebrew people, preparing to depart Egyptian slavery, celebrated a sacred meal with unleavened bread and fermented juice praising God’s faithfulness with hope for what would come.

Generations later, Jesus and his disciples, preparing for liberation from mortal and moral challenges, celebrated the Exodus meal with bread and wine, joining their ancestors praising God’s faithfulness with hope for what would come.

Today, restored as community in this blessed place with our newly installed lay leaders, we join the ongoing celebration of God’s faithfulness with our safe breads and cups. We know God leads us, too, from bondage to freedom. We praise God’s faithfulness with hope for what will come.

Jesus lifted up the loaf, gave thanks to God, broke it, and said: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

We remember Your faithfulness, O Christ. (eat bread)

After supper, Jesus lifted up the cup, gave thanks to God, and offered it to them 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 remember Your faithfulness, O Christ. (drink from cup)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Let us pray:

Beloved God, known to us as Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit, we are truly grateful for You. Bless us in our times of transition. May we work well together exchanging Your Big Love with each other for the uplift of many. Amen.

Announcements (pastor)

Song: “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (Chalice Hymnal #86)

Benediction (pastor, from today’s key scripture)

We are pilgrims on a Lenten journey recipients of God’s best gifts. So blessed, let us go forth in God’s Big Love and Transforming Peace. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded 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: March 2, 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”