Christmas Eve: Love in Action “Liberating, Empowering Love” Birth Narrative & Titus 2:11-14 with Holy Communion

Photo: Christ Candle. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021; Worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

We Gather

It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor. This is the basis of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when times are out of joint and men have lost their reason, the source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash. The birth of the child — life’s most dramatic answer to death — this is the growing edge incarnate.” – Howard Thurman

Live Singing Outside Before the Service

Carols “The First Noel” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” (Pastor Bladimer, guitar; Vicky, song leader)

Christmas Hope

Prelude “Believe” (Everett, piano solo)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (Pastor Kathryn)

Advent Wreath Invocation (Esther and Hai Ying; in Cantonese and English)

This Advent, we waited for the rebirth of Jesus Christ listening to St Paul’s teachings about the Christian community embodying “Love in Action.” We lit Advent Candles honoring Jesus’s Relatives, St. John the Baptist, Jesus’s Mother Mary, and His Father Joseph. On Christmas Eve, we light these four Advent Candles with great hope. Christ will soon be reborn!

Light all Four Advent Candles (Esther and Hai Ying)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Votive Lighting Music “Away in a Manger” (Vicky, piano solo)

Christmas Light

Scripture Narrative: Jesus’ birth (David, liturgist)

Jesus Christ was born about two thousand and twenty years ago during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Caesar Augustus decreed that all residents of the Roman Empire should be registered. So Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary of Nazareth, went to Bethlehem – the royal city founded by King David. While in Bethlehem Mary gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger. The child was born in a stable because there was no place for them in the inn. (from Luke 2:1-7)

Christ Candle Reading (Esther and Hai Ying; in Cantonese and English)

Surrounded by the shining faith, hope, and love of those who have gone before us, those with us, and those who will come – we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!

We light this new Christ Candle deeply moved by God’s greatest gift – our beloved Jesus Christ, the Messiah – God’s finest example of Love in Action!

Light the New Christ Candle (Esther and Hai Ying)

Special Music “Silent Night” (Everett, piano solo)

Christmas Joy

Scripture Narrative: Shepherds and Angels (David, liturgist)

Beyond the city of Bethlehem shepherds were grazing their flocks carefully watching over them throughout the night. A heavenly light appeared – an angel glowing with the glory of God. The shepherds where were terrified! The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people. Today in the city of David, the Messiah – humanity’s savior – is born. Go to Bethlehem and look for a child wrapped in bands of cloth, lying in a manger.” A host of heavenly beings joined the angel. They praised God, singing: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favors!” (from Luke 2:8-14)

Special Music “Christmas Time is Here” (Everett, piano solo)

Christmas Peace

Scripture Narrative: Shepherds and Holy Family (David, liturgist)

After the angels left, the shepherds quickly went to Bethlehem where they found Mary and Joseph. Their newborn baby was wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. The shepherds told the new parents everything the angels had said. Everyone who heard the shepherds speak was astonished, except for Mary. She treasured these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned to the fields, rejoicing. They glorified and praised God for all they had heard and seen – just as the angel had described. (from Luke 2:15-20)

Passing the Peace (pastor, all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace: “Peace be with You.”

Special Music “Let There Be Peace on Earth” (Everett, piano solo)

Christmas Grace

Scripture: Titus 2:11-14 (Common English Bible translation; pastor reads)

The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It educates us so that we can live sensible, ethical, and godly lives right now by rejecting ungodly lives and the desires of this world. At the same time we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us in order to rescue us from every kind of lawless behavior, and cleanse a special people for himself who are eager to do good actions.

Sermon “Liberating, Empowering Love in Action” (pastor)

Special Music “Canon in D” Pachelbel(Vicky, piano solo)

Christmas Prayers

Pastoral Prayer, Silent Prayer, Lord’s Prayer (pastor)

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (Vicky, piano; sing softly)

Special Music “A Thousand Points of Light” (if moving outside; Vicky, piano solo)

Christmas Love

Holy Communion (Pastor Kathryn and Pastor Bladimer)

Invitation, Gathering Souls, Words of Institution, Prayer of Consecration, Sharing the Elements, Prayer of Thanksgiving

Carols “Joy to the World” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain” (singing outside or humming indoors. Pastor Bladimer, guitar; Vicky, song leader)

Benediction (pastor)

Merry Christmas! May God bless everyone!

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: December 19, 2021.

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

4 Advent: Love in Action “True, Honorable Love” Philippians 4:8-9, Holy Communion & 4 Advent Candle Art to Color

Photo: Fourth Candle of Advent – Father Joseph. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021. Worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

4 Advent Candle Art to Color BELOW — enjoy!

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm the other Sundays of the month; In-person Christmas Eve worship service: 2pm Dec 24th, Holy Communion

We Gather

“Character is what you are in the dark.” -Dwight Lyman Moody

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey – you are welcome this 4th Sunday of Advent. Our Advent theme is “Love in Action.” Committed to right action, we honor the Lisjan-Ohlone peoples upon whose unceded land we live and practice ministry.

Advent Wreath Invocation (Advent Wreath household)

This week, St Paul reminds us to fix our minds on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, of excellence, and worthy of praise. Such focus leads us to uplifting Love in Action.

We light the Fourth Candle of Advent in tribute to Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, a man who daily modeled the noblest virtues. May St Joseph’s example inspire us to be our best selves for the well-being of all beings. Amen.

Light the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Advent Candles (Advent Wreath household)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Passing the Peace (all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

*Song: “O Little Town of Bethlehem” Words: Phillip Brooks, 1868; Music: Lewis H Redner, 1868. Chalice Hymnal #144.

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)

Beloved Ones, even when we have forgotten we are made in the image of God, God has not forgotten our original nature. We are designed to be noble creatures, caring and insightful. We are meant to dwell with each other giving comfort and aid, assurance and companionship. Rest in the grace of our Original Blessing. God is good. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Philippians 4:8-9 (NRSV)

(Concluding his letter to the young church in Philippi, St Paul invites them to root in what is truly good.)

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

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

Sermon “Love in Action: True, Honorable Love” (pastor) God’s love is forever good, forever worthy and fruitful. We recall Jesus’s earthly father and St Paul’s invitation to be our best.

Special Music: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” Words: 12th century Latin hymn with 19th and 20th century verses. Music: 15th century French melody. Chalice Hymnal #119.

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Eternal Source of Hope and Integrity, this last Sunday of Advent we set our minds on You and Your beautiful vision of life on earth. We have been disappointed, soiled, wounded and harmed; we have fallen away from Your vision. Call us back into hope. Lure us to the Eternally Good that we might nurture what is worthy and truly redemptive. We ask this, Parent of All, not for ourselves, but for our children and their descendants. Amen.

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

Invitation to Holy Communion

Come youthful laborers and wizened elders!

Come refugees and persons born of this land!

Come friend and foe, stranger and kin!

Come one and all to this Holy Table!

This blessed meal is offered to everyone who wishes to partake – residents of earth or heaven. Let us speak the names of those who are not physically present with whom we wish to be spiritually gathered. (Say names out loud.)

Prayer of Preparation (followed by silence for confession)

In the way of St Joseph, father of Jesus, we approach this ritual with humility and eagerness to be changed by God. We come seeking to be the best we can be, relying upon God’s help.

Let us pray:

Holy God, receive us now as we present our silent offerings of confession and regret. Please transform our misdeeds and transgressions and bless us with Your sweet, holy forgiveness. Amen.

Silence

God’s Grace 

Before we named it, God knew it. Before we asked for forgiveness, God forgave us. Beloved Ones, we are tenderly and fiercely loved by the Source of All That Is. Receive the grace of forgiveness and the wonder of renewal, again. Amen.

Consecration of Elements

Place hands on the cup and the bread in your household.

Let us pray:

May our earnest hands behold these simple and wondrous items – a cup of juice, a piece of bread. In touching these, O God, may we also know we touch eternity. May they be for us symbols of the Living Christ who always was, is, and will always be. Amen.

Sharing the Elements

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.” With gratitude, let us receive.  (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.” With gratitude, let us receive. (drink from cup)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Let us pray:

As we near the rebirth of the Living Christ, most Holy God, we pray that this meal will strengthen our character and expand our compassion. May we love a bit more as You love. For all we know that You have done for us, as well as all You have done that is still a mystery to us, we give thanks. Amen.

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements (pastor)

*Christmas Eve: In-person worship at BCCC, Friday 12/24 2pm. Holy Communion and outside caroling!

*Next Sunday: 1st Sunday of Christmas 2pm ZOOM. Wear something colorful for a service of singing and sharing!

*Song: “O Little Town of Bethlehem” Words: Phillip Brooks, 1868; Music: Lewis H Redner, 1868. Chalice Hymnal #144.

Benediction (pastor)

God has designed our souls to crave what is fundamentally good. Our deepest selves seek the solace of what is triumphantly worthy, for this is the way of peace. May the Peace of God be everyone. Amen.

The service is concluded.

4th Advent Candle: Father Joseph ~ Love in Action: True, Honorable Love

Candle Artwork: Jesus’ earthly father was an experienced carpenter. Jewish spiritual law (Torah) was his moral plumbline. Jesus learned from Joseph, the builder and righteous person, essential lessons reverberating with earthly (wooden design behind plumb) and heavenly (the larger, repeated design) qualities. The seven Stars of David represent the original Hebrew tribes, Jesus’ ancestors.

Color image below. Cut paper. Wrap art onto glass devotional candle (8” tall, 2.25” diameter). Tape.

Reading: This week, St Paul reminds us to fix our minds on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, of excellence, and worthy of praise. Such focus leads us to uplifting Love in Action. We light the Fourth Candle of Advent in tribute to Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, a man who daily modeled the noblest virtues. May St Joseph’s example inspire us to be our best selves for the well-being of all beings. Amen.  

Light the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Advent Candles.

Reflect: Whose “True, Honorable Love in Action” inspires you?

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: December 14, 2021.

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

3 Advent: Love in Action: “Gentle, Thankful Love” Philippians 4:4-7 & 3 Advent Candle Art to Color

Photo: Third Candle of Advent – Mother Mary. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021. Worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm the other Sundays of the month; In-person Christmas Eve worship service: 2pm Dec 24th, Holy Communion

We Gather

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of this servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.”  – Mary, pregnant with Jesus (Luke 1:46b-49)

Prelude (live)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey – you are welcome here this 3rd Sunday of Advent. Our Advent theme is “Love in Action.” St Paul is teaching us about embodying Christ-Love through action. Today, we are gathered on Lisjan-Ohlone land not far from sacred shellmounds, holy places for over 5,000 years.

Advent Wreath Invocation (Advent 3 family)

St Paul advises turning to God with thanksgiving assuring us that gladness and peace will follow. Mary, Jesus’ mother, opens her heart, mind, body, and soul to God for the uplift of all beings. Her soul sings with happiness and hope!

We light the Third Candle of Advent recalling nurturing ones, like Mother Mary, who embody deep faith and gentle love. Such Love in Action inspires us to trust God and care for others. May our spirits sing as we await the rebirth of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Light the First, Second, and Third Advent Candles (Advent 3 family)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor; musician plays while candles are lit)

Passing the Peace (all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Special Music: (live)

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)

Wintertime can be a lonely time, a time of noticing what isn’t any more or what hasn’t come to pass. We long for connection and inner warm. St Mary, a single young pregnant mother, and St Paul, the great evangelizer jailed for doing ministry, remind us we can always trust in God no matter what is going on. Furthermore, turning to God will produce gladness despite the challenges we face.

What is on your mind or in your heart today? Lift up these matters and persons to God believing that God will do what is God’s to do and guide us in doing what is ours to do. We are blessed.

We Listen

Scripture: Philippians 4:4-7 (liturgist; version: CEB)

(St Paul, concluding his letter to the young church in Philippi, offers these words of assurance and encouragement.)

Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.

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

Sermon “Love in Action: Gentle, Thankful Love” (pastor)

Special Music (live)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Holy God, we hold close our concerns and desires. Help us loosen our clutch on our issues that we might embrace what You embrace. We praise YOU for all you have done for us, for all people, for all creation. We shift our focus from the immediate to the eternal and thank YOU for your never-ending love and care. We are blessed, so blessed by YOU.

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

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; Vicky) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Everyone is situated outside and has individually wrapped bread and juice.

Invitation (pastor)

Welcome to God’s Advent Party! We come to God’s Table all ages with great joy, gladness, and gratitude for this blessed ritual is a gift freely given to everyone! Today we are celebrating in yet another new way. Because of the weather, we are inside and we continue to wear masks while inside — no eating and drinking. (We’ll send you home with Communion crackers and juice to receive outside, in your cars, or at home.)

Thankfully, there is a Christian tradition of receiving Holy Communion as a spiritual feast without actually eating or drinking. Today, we honor the essential gift of Holy Communion: spiritual communion – union with God through Christ, and reunion with loved ones on earth and in heaven. This is how we will celebrate Holy Communion inside today without taking undue health risks.

Gathering Souls (pastor)

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

Scriptural Invitation (liturgist)

We worship a giving God who forever invites us to receive what is needed to nourish and heal, uplift and inspire. Today, let us listen to Jesus’ mother, Mary’s, prophetic and joyful song of praise: 

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of this servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name. God’s mercy is for those who fear God from generation to generation.

God has shown strength with God’s arm; scattering the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. God has helped servant Israel, in remembrance of God’s mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and Sarah and their descendants forever.”

Words of Institution, Prayer of Consecration, Sharing the Elements (pastor)

We join St Mary and St Paul, and all who gather in the name of Christ, to join Jesus at the Passover table with his friends.

Jesus took the bread (lift); gave it to God for blessing (pray); broke it (break); and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Likewise, after supper, Jesus took the cup of wine (lift); gave it to God for blessing (pray); and gave it to them (present); saying: “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is poured out for you and for the many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, remember me.”

Let us invite the Holy Spirit to bless the bread and cups we will consume later today: Wondrous Holy Spirit, third person of the Blessed Trinity, please enter us and these elements we will consume.

May the bread and cup be for us both comfort and blessing as we celebrate God’s good work of repairing what has been broken or cast out of balance. Amen.

Today we experience a spiritual Holy Communion together and later, a physicial one. Let us give thanks for what has been and what will be:

Prayer of Thanksgiving (pastor)

We praise You, O God, our Savior for Your care of us and all persons. Giver of dignity and blessing, healer of worries and injustices, source of food and true wealth, we remember Your faithfulness and praise You. Amen.

Carol (selection to be made; humming indoors)

Announcements, including Santa’s Helpers (invitation to receive)

Benediction (pastor)

Divine Joy defies conditions – it rises where it will rise, when it will rise. Let us be glad and grateful, compassionate and caring – and if it is God’s will, we will be joyful! Go forth in peace, Dear Ones.

The service is concluded.

3nd Advent Candle: Mother Mary ~ Love in Action: Gentle, Thankful Love

Candle Artwork: The rose is a classic symbol for Mary, Jesus’ mother. The symmetrical open hand – hamsa – an ancient Middle Eastern image of protection, is found in Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic sacred art, also signifies openness to God. The heart and leaves reflect Mother Mary’s vibrant faith.

Color image below. Cut paper. Wrap art onto glass devotional candle (8” tall, 2.25” diameter). Tape.

Reading: St Paul advises turning to God with thanksgiving assuring us that gladness and peace will follow. Mary, Jesus’ mother, opens her heart, mind, body, and soul to God for the uplift of all beings. Her soul sings with happiness and hope! We light the Third Candle of Advent recalling nurturing ones, like Mother Mary, who embody deep faith and gentle love. Such Love in Action inspires us to trust God and care for others. May our spirits sing as we await the rebirth of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Light the First, Second, and Third Advent Candles.

Reflect: Who models “Gentle, Thankful Love in Action” nurturing you?

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: December 8, 2021.

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

2 Advent: Love in Action: “Courageous, Insightful Love” Philippians 1:3-11 & 2 Advent Candle Art to Color

Photo: Second Candle of Advent – John the Baptist. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021.

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

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm the other Sundays of the month; In-person Christmas Eve worship service: 2pm Dec 24th, Holy Communion

We Gather

“Twant me, ’twas the Lord. I always told Him, ‘I trust to You. I don’t know where to go or what to do, but I expect You to lead me,’ and He always did.” ~ Harriet Tubman

Postlude (live)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey – you are welcome this 2nd Sunday of Advent. Our Advent theme is “Love in Action.” We are listening to St Paul’s teachings about embodying Christ-Love through action. Today, we are gathered on Lisjan-Ohlone land not far from sacred shellmounds where ancestors have rested and prayers have been offered for 5,000 years.

Advent Wreath Invocation (liturgist/s)

This week, St Paul promotes growing in spiritual insight amid external challenges. John the Baptist, the only child of a Temple priest and descendant of the first Hebrew priest, Aaron, follows God’s call to practice ministry in new places in new ways.

We light the Second Candle of Advent with gratitude for spiritual role models who inspire us to take risks when doing God’s will. May they be our “Partners in Grace” as we serve God with bold actions taken in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Light the First and Second Advent Candles (liturgist/s)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Passing the Peace (all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Special Music: (live)

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)

God loves to speak! God spoke to John the Baptist calling him to the Jordan River to spiritually prepare individuals for the coming of the Messiah. God spoke to the young Christians in Philippi who supported Paul and Timothy during their imprisonment. Paul knew that God would keep speaking to them as they grew as a congregation.

God is still speaking – to persons and groups. God is always eager to help us be who we are meant to be. There is more to come – with God’s help.

We Listen

Scripture: Philippians 1:3-11 (CEB)

(St Paul and Timothy are imprisoned, incarcerated for religious activities. Paul is writing to their friends, the young church in Philippi.)

I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel. God is my witness that I feel affection for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight.I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.

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

Sermon “Love in Action: Courageous, Insightful Love” (pastor) John the Baptist, a prophet led by an internal wisdom, St Paul, a church-builder who taught spiritual growth, and Harriet Tubman, a self-emancipated, Christian abolitionist reveal the role of spiritual insight when acting boldly with God.

Presentation of the Retired Christ Candle

Blessing upon the Cantonese Fellowship

Special Music (live)

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Most Holy God, in these times of great change grant unto us inner wisdom and faith in Your guidance. Speak to us, individually and communally, that we might bravely follow You into new forms of ministry. Bless us with insight and courage, and with the joy that comes from sharing in service to You. Amen.

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

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements (pastor)

*Next Sunday: 3rd Sunday of Advent: In-person, Holy Communion, Santa Sacks *Christmas Eve: In-person worship, Holy Communion. Friday 12/24 2pm. BCCC.

Special Music (live)

Benediction (pastor)

Let us be thankful for each other – and the calling to be church with each other for the Glory of God, the uplift of our neighbors, and the care of our own precious souls. And let us thank the Still Speaking God who is calling us forward in new, needed ways. Amen.

Prelude (live)

The service is concluded.

2nd Advent Candle: John the Baptist ~ Love in Action: Courageous, Insightful Love

Candle Artwork: The River Jordan and cosmos swirl together celebrating baptism and divine reality. John, a mystic who experienced direct communication with God, was open to God doing a new thing through Jesus Christ the Messiah. The eight Stars of David pay tribute to John’s revered lineage.

Color image below. Cut paper. Wrap art onto glass devotional candle (8” tall, 2.25” diameter). Tape.

Reading: St Paul promotes growing in spiritual insight amid external and internal challenges. John the Baptist, the only child of a Temple priest and descendant of the first Hebrew priest, Aaron, follows God’s call to practice ministry in new places in new ways. We light the Second Candle of Advent with gratitude for spiritual role models who inspire us to take risks when doing God’s will. May they be our “Partners in Grace” as we serve God with bold actions taken in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Light the First and Second Advent Candles.

Reflect: Who models “Courageous, Insightful Love in Action” inspiring your actions?

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: December 2, 2021.

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

1 Advent: Love in Action: “Loving Each Other” 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 & 1 Advent Candle Art to Color

Photo: First Candle of Advent – Jesus’ Relatives – lit. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021. Worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021.

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm the other Sundays of the month; In-person Christmas Eve worship service: 2pm Dec 24th, Holy Communion

We Gather

People who love each other fully and truly are the happiest people in the world. They may have little, they may have nothing, but they are happy people. Everything depends on how we love one another.” ~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey – you are welcome this 1st Sunday of Advent. Our Advent theme is “Love in Action.” We will listen to St Paul’s teachings about people embodying Christ-Love through their actions. In that spirit, we commit ourselves to right relations with the Lisjan-Ohlone peoples upon whose land we live and practice ministry.

Advent Wreath Invocation (Advent Wreath liturgists)

This week, St Paul asks us to love each other as we have been loved. Daily, Jesus experienced love in action through his family, community, and divine promises.

We light the First Candle of Advent with gratitude for those who model love in action. May our ancestors inspire us to acts of enduring compassion. May God strengthen our love for one another. Amen.

Light the First Advent Candle

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Passing the Peace (all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Song: “Comfort, Comfort Now My People” Words J G Olearius & C Winkworth. Chalice Hymnal #122

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)

God has given us each other. God has given us inherited families of blood and chosen families of covenant. God has blessed us with ancestors of kinship, faith, and place. God has also placed special ones among us – saints and prophets – who express in word and deed God’s wondrous ways. Over two thousand years ago God came among us in the person of Jesus Christ to love us and allow us to love God as one of us. Aren’t we blessed? Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (CEB)

(St Paul writing on behalf of himself, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the young church in Thessalonica)

How can we thank God enough for you, given all the joy we have because of you before our God? Night and day, we pray more than ever to see all of you in person and to complete whatever you still need for your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus guide us on our way back to you. May the Lord cause you to increase and enrich your love for each other and for everyone in the same way as we also love you. May the love cause your hearts to be strengthened, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his people. Amen.

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

Sermon “Love in Action: Loving Each Other” (pastor) We prepare for the rebirth of Christ considering St Paul’s exhortation to love as we have been loved.

Special Music: “One Candle, One Flame” Words and music by Linda Sobo.

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Beloved, Loving God, it is good to turn to You in prayer as the Christmas season begins. We are so very grateful for expanded social opportunities this year, while our hearts and minds are also weighted by the things that separate us from each other. As we begin this Advent journey, call us to act in love and to be open to acts of love. This holiday season, please strengthen our hearts, make us eager to understand and offer mercy, to love more fully as You love. In gratitude and hope we pray, O God. Amen.

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

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements (pastor)

Song: “People Look East” Words: E Farjeon, 1928; Music: Traditional French Carol. Chalice Hymnal #142

Benediction (pastor)

God hears our prayers. God hears our call for comfort for all peoples; for an end to all that divides us. God is, again, preparing us to receive the Messiah Jesus Christ. May we make our hearts ready. Amen.

The service is concluded.

1st Advent Candle: Jesus’ Relatives ~ Love in Action: Love Among & Between Us

Ritual for At-Home Advent Candles

Candle Artwork: Jesus’ family tree is made of two spiraling vines (DNA helix). Shoots come forth from the root of Jesse – the revered King David’s father (Isaiah 11:10). The great Egyptian pyramids, built by Jesus’ ancestors while enslaved, remind us of our spiritual ancestors’ resilient faith.

Color image below. Cut paper. Wrap art onto glass devotional candle (8” tall, 2.25” diameter). Tape.

Reading: This week, St Paul asks us to love each other as we have been loved. Daily, Jesus experienced love in action through his family, community, and divine promises. We light the First Candle of Advent with gratitude for those who model love in action. May our ancestors inspire us to acts of enduring compassion. May God strengthen our love for one another. Amen.

Light the First Advent Candle.

Reflect: Who models “Love in Action” in your family, community? Who inspires you to love others?

Artwork: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021.

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: November 23, 2021.

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

Thanksgiving Sunday: “In Our Midst” – Holy Communion – Joel 2:21-27

Photo: native oak acorns on Karkin-Ohlone unceded territory. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2019

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

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm 3rd, 4th, 5th (if there is one) Sundays; 3pm check-in

We Gather

“Give thanks for what you have been given. Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken. Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever.” ~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey you are welcome. Today we acknowledge the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving held by our religious ancestors, The Pilgrims, upon Wampanoag territory. We also acknowledge our presence upon the unceded lands of the Lisjan-Ohlone people committed to right relations.

Invocation

Let us gather in gratitude and praise:

This morning, did you hear birds singing or joyful sounds in your household?

Let us join all creation in praising The Creator who is in our midst.

Today, have you consumed good food or drink, taken healing medicine?

Let us affirm what our bodies already know — The Provider is in our midst.

This past week, were you blessed by a kind word or caring gesture?

Let us savor the flow of compassion – The Big Love is in our midst.

This past year with its huge challenges, huge advances were also made.

Let us honor needful transitions. The Holy Spirit is in our midst. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle & Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Passing the Peace (all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Song: “For the Beauty of the Earth” written by Folliot S Pierpoint, 1864.

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 good times and bad times, when our desires are fulfilled and when our agendas are challenged, God is always with us and for us. On this auspicious Thanksgiving Sunday may we yield to God’s wisdom and step out of hurtful ways. The endless grace of God always approaches forever refreshing and healing all beings. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Joel 2:21-27 (CEB) (pastor)

Don’t fear, fertile land; rejoice and be glad, for the Lord is about to do great things! Don’t be afraid, animals of the field, for the meadows of the wilderness will turn green; the tree will bear its fruit; the fig tree and grapevine will give their full yield. Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because God will give you the early rain as a sign of righteousness; God will pour down abundant rain for you, the early and the late rain, as before.

The threshing floors will be full of grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and fresh oil. I will repay you for the years that the cutting locust, the swarming locust, the hopping locust, and the devouring locust have eaten— my great army, which I sent against you. You will eat abundantly and be satisfied, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has done wonders for you; and my people will never again be put to shame. You will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God—no other exists; never again will my people be put to shame.

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

Sermon “God in Our Midst” (pastor) Reflecting upon God’s activity this past year; gratitude for divine calls to be repaired and uplifted.

Special Music “In the Wake” by Rev. Will Burhans. CD: Weight of Grace ℗ 2006 Rev. Will Burhans. Used by permission. https://youtu.be/MfLavnlFFpk

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

No matter what names we have given You, Holy One, You are One and You are God. Your eternal presence pulses in all that is and will be. It is to You, Almighty God, with whom we attune our souls. On this Thanksgiving Sunday, we praise You for the still-giving gift of Jesus Christ who calls us forward in peace, hope, and gratitude redeeming the sins of the past. Amen.

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

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Invitation

Who is seated at God’s Table? American Christians love to tell a story about the First Thanksgiving where determined new settlers and generous native peoples joyfully shared a feast together praising God for the bounty of the earth. This story is an aspirational myth.

The First Thanksgiving, 400-years-ago this year, took place as indigenous persons and European immigrants were exploring the possibility of mutual trust. In the centuries since, throughout this land we call “our nation,” cycles of racialized violence toward the first nations have been white-washed. This year, we come to God’s Table naming our national sins of greed and pride, parents to an ugly offspring: racism.

One-hundred and sixty decades before Plymouth Colony’s thanksgiving on Wampanoag Territory, another group of spiritual pilgrims assembled for a sacred festival. They were in Jerusalem during an era of political, religious, social, and environmental conflict. Through Jesus Christ, God was in their midst. Friends were called together, fed, forgiven, and charged to embody God’s noblest hopes and dreams on this earth. Today, we invite all our ancestors who wish to join us to do so. (pause)

Gathering Souls (pastor)

And, we speak the names of those persons, living or dead, we wish to join us spiritually to do so. (speak their names)

Prayer of Consecration

Holy Spirit, we pray for You to attune us to Divine Presence – in the beverages and food before us, in this spiritual gathering and beyond, throughout the cosmic web of life. Thank You. Amen.

Sharing the Elements (elements will be consumed, together, at the end)

We join Jesus and all who gather in the Name of Love at God’s Table.

God is in our midst as Jesus Christ.

Jesus lifts up the bread for blessing… breaks it… and gives it to us, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

God is in our midst as Jesus Christ.

Jesus lifts up the cup for blessing… and gives it to us, 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.”

Dear Ones, may this cup and bread be for us, and for all peoples, a great healing balm. Amen.

(all eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving (pastor)

Eternal Healer, Re-builder of Broken Relationships, on this Thanksgiving Sunday, we thank You for all You do to mend our wounds and repair our mistakes. With profound gratitude, may the Holy Gifts we have received today have a good, everlasting effect. May we be transformed. Amen.

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements (pastor)

*Next Sunday: First Sunday of Advent – household Advent Wreaths (ZOOM)

*BCCC Holiday Giving Email next weekend (Paper copies in-person on 12/5)

*Christmas Eve in-person worship with Holy Communion. Friday 12/24 2pm. BCCC.

Special Music: “Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether” Lyrics: Percy Dearmer, Music: Harold Friedell.

Benediction (pastor)

Thank God for being God! We are so blessed to be eternally cherished by a good and wise God. May we heartily praise God this Thanksgiving holiday. And, may God’s peace flow, from person to person, from table to table, around the world. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(wb) Rev. Will Burhans. Sent Out” is written and performed by Rev. Will Burhans, from his album “Weight of Grace” ℗ 2006.  His music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms or CD’s purchased from www.cdbaby.com. Music used with permission. (Thank you, Will!)

Revisiting Thanksgiving – some resources:

*The Washington Post: “This tribe helped the Pilgrims survive for their first Thanksgiving. They still regret it 400 years later.” 11/04/2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/11/04/thanksgiving-anniversary-wampanoag-indians-pilgrims/

*Shuumi Land Tax. https://sogoreate-landtrust.org/

*“The First Thanksgiving”: https://inthebiglove.com/2020/11/12/first-thanksgiving-revisited-deuteronomy-261-11-worship-service-for-in-home-or-remote-groups/

*NCNC UCC folks, look for my article in NCNC News which will post Weds 11/24/2021 this week.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan-Chochenyo Ohlone People, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!

Copyright Note: Copyright laws changed in December 2020 when Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act). Please check with your legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content online. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Protect the rights of content creators. Thank you!

Online Publishing Date: November 16, 2021.

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

25 Pentecost: “Children’s Prayers” • Children’s Sabbath Observed • Psalm 31:1-8

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cdf-logo.jpg

Children’s Sabbath worship resources: CDF (c) 2021

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

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm 3rd, 4th, 5th (if there is one) Sundays; 3pm check-in

We Gather

“Show me where love and hope and faith are needed, and use me to bring them to those places. And so open my eyes and my ears that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee.” – Alan Paton, 20thc South African anti-apartheid activist

Prelude “Morning Dove” (Everett, piano)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey – everyone is welcome here! Greetings from Huichin Village/Berkeley, ancestral land of the Lisjan-Ohlone, our neighbors.

Invocation (David, liturgist)

Come, O Creator, O Immensity of Love, O Eternity of Mercy. Come, and be with us and in us and beside us and over us. Be as hands upon us, and fashion us for shining. Be as warmth within us, and fire us for caring. Be as strength beside us, and shape our lives for healing. Abide in our prayers, the spoken and the unspoken; and make Your Word come true in our flesh; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen. (ak/cdf2021, slightly adapted)

Lighting the Christ Candle (David, liturgist)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Welcome Music “Like a Child” (during lighting of altar candles) (Vicky, piano)

Passing the Peace (all)

Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Special Music (Mark, guitar)

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)

On this Sunday, as we observe Children’s Sabbath, we take great comfort in knowing that every day is Children’s Sabbath for God. Every day, throughout time, God’s affectionate concern both embraces each living child and speaks to each living adult showing us how to better care for all our children. Let us rest in these blessed assurances. God is good. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Psalm 31:1-8 (translation: Common English Bible) (David, liturgist)

Liturgist, invite us to consider the children who may be praying these very words to God today as we listen to this scripture reading. Thank you!

I take refuge in You, Lord. Please never let me be put to shame. Rescue me by Your righteousness! Listen closely to me! Deliver me quickly; be a rock that protects me; be a strong fortress that saves me!

You are definitely my rock and my fortress. Guide me and lead me for the sake of Your good name! Get me out of this net that’s been set for me because You are my protective fortress. I entrust my spirit into Your hands; You, Lord, God of faithfulness— You have saved me.

I hate those who embrace what is completely worthless. I myself trust the Lord. I rejoice and celebrate in Your faithful love because You saw my suffering— You were intimately acquainted with my deep distress. You didn’t hand me over to the enemy, but set my feet in wide-open spaces.

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

Sermon “What Are the Children Praying?” (pastor; live sermon)

Special Music “A Moment in Time” (Everett, piano)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

O Renewer of Society, Holy and Righteous God, You create us in Your image. Grant us the grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression. Help us to use our freedom to bring justice among our people and nations, to the glory of Your name; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (lbw/cdf2021, slightly adapted)

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

Special Music “Moonlight Garden” (Everett, piano)

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (Vicky, piano)

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

Announcements (pastor)

Invitation to Change Location

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

We Celebrate Holy Communion

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

Invitation (pastor)

Today we are exceedingly blessed to be assembled together for the first in-person celebration of Holy Communion with our children since March 2020. Hallelujah! This table is open to everyone! Everyone! Hallelujah! If you freely desire to receive these gifts from God, you are welcome here!

Gathering Souls

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

Words of Institution, Prayer of Consecration, Sharing the Elements

We praise God for sending us The Beloved Child, Jesus Christ. Born a baby nurtured by his family, protected by strangers, instructed in the temple, surrounded by his community, and guided by his parents – Jesus became an adult who loved and blessed children, who cared for those who are sick, poor, and left out, who taught that God loves us like a parent, and who loved his disciples as friends. As an infant, Baby Jesus needed us. When Savior Jesus died, we needed him to triumphant over evil that all might live as God’s Beloved Children.

On the night before Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, Jesus was at the table with his friends. He took the bread (lift), gave thanks (pray), broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. As you do this, remember me.”

As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine (lift), gave thanks (pray), 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 all for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, remember me.”

Beloved Children of God – of all ages – We are gathered at God’s Table, standing in the presence of The Eternal Christ – The One who comes in love, lives in love, and dies in love; The One who was, and is, and is to come.

Let us pray:

Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon these holy gifts of bread and wine, and all who are present. May this meal strengthen us to welcome all children, to show Your love, to work for Your justice, to bring Your peace. Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to You be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen. (ep/CDF2021, Communion liturgy heavily edited and adapted)

(all eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving (pastor)

Filled with Divine Presence in community, reformed through blessed ritual, we lift up thanksgiving for God’s Living Spirit: a force that beheld us before we were born, a force that holds us every moment of our breathing hours, a force that befriends us throughout eternity. Amen.

Benediction (pastor)

May the God who dances in creation, who embraces us with human love, who shakes our lives like thunder, bless us and drive us out with power to fill the world with Her justice. Amen. (jb/dcf2021)

Sung Benediction “On Eagle’s Wings – Refrain” (acapella; sing 2xs) Written by Father Michael Joncas; Chalice Hymnal #77 )

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

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(CS2021) Children’s Sabbath Celebration 2021, materials published online by the Children’s Defense Fund: https://www.childrensdefense.org/childrens-sabbath-celebration/

(ak/cdf2021) Arnold Kenseth in the United Church of Christ’s The New Century Hymnal

(ep/CDF2021) Eucharistic Prayer for the Children’s Sabbath (Episcopal Rubric)

(jb/dcf2021) Janet Morley, in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Chalice Hymnal

(lbw/cdf2021, slightly adapted) Lutheran Book of Worship

Sermon Resource: CDF’s 2021 State of America’s Children Reports:  https://www.childrensdefense.org/state-of-americas-children/

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan-Chochenyo Ohlone People, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!

Copyright Note: Copyright laws changed in December 2020 when Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act). Please check with your legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content online. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Protect the rights of content creators. Thank you!

Online Publishing Date: November 12, 2021.

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

24 Pentecost: “Genuine Giving” • Mark 12:38-44

photo: coins; Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

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

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm 3rd, 4th, 5th (if there is one) Sundays; 3pm check-in

We Gather

“No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging. Since love is Lord of heav’n and earth, how can I keep from singing?” – refrain from “My Life Flows On” hymn written by Robert Lowry, 1869.

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey – everyone is welcome here! Greetings from Huichin Village/Berkeley, ancestral land of the Lisjan-Ohlone people.

Invocation (pastor)

We enter his hallowed, blessed place filled with gratitude for those who have gone before us. We settle into this beloved sanctuary filled with appreciation for those who are here with us. We soak in thanksgiving for divine faithfulness as we await God’s presence among us. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle & Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Passing the Peace (all)

Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Special Music

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.

Prayer for Assurance (pastor)

Here we are, O God, just as we are. Regardless of our station in life, regardless of poor health or good fortune, regardless of dreams fulfilled, forgotten, or crushed – we are here. Grant unto us a most valuable asset – an attitude of gratitude. May the golden blessing of Your transforming grace soften our hardened hearts. May our souls bloom with genuine thanksgiving, sending out ripples of goodwill everywhere. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Mark 12:38-44 (NRSV)

As Jesus taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

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

Sermon “Genuine Gratitude” (pastor; live sermon in person)

Special Music

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

Ever-Present One, You witness the entirety of our lives. You know when we are loud and proud; when we are quiet and selflessly humble. Tame the parts of us that try to perform to please an audience. Enflame the parts of us that ache to serve You at the expense of public opinion. Keep on calling us, Holy One, to sacred authenticity. Surprise us with humanity’s innate goodness and compassion, found within and among each one of us. Amen.

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

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella)

Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Continue in Hope

Announcements (pastor)

Special Music

Benediction (pastor)

May we be inspired by the woman Jesus acknowledged for her generosity to give boldly, giving all we have for the service of God. And, may such giving truly fill us with deep peace and a passion for the well-being of all beings. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(NRSV) Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978 1984 2011 by Biblica, Inc. TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Sermon Resource: The Jewish concept of “Tzedakah” — levels of charitable giving based on the attitude and actions of the giver.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan-Chochenyo Ohlone People, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!

Copyright Note: Copyright laws changed in December 2020 when Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act). Please check with your legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content online. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Protect the rights of content creators. Thank you!

Online Publishing Date: November 2, 2021. Happy All Souls Day!

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please attribute source and observe ethical use of all resources. Follow your platforms’ publishing requirements for all created content especially if publishing online or broadcasting. Thank you!

Donation: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is 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”

All Saints/All Souls (Observed): “Glass of Water & Golden Necklace”• Hebrews 12:1-2

photo: marigolds. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

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

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm 3rd, 4th, 5th (if there is one) Sundays; 3pm check-in

We Gather

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou 

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey – you are welcome here, today, for a celebration of All Saints and All Souls days with Holy Communion. Greetings from Huichin Village/Berkeley, ancestral land of the Lisjan-Ohlone people.

Invocation (pastor)

One: Let us invite the ancient souls of Jesus’ beloved disciples to gather with us:

All: Join us! (singing prayer bowl)

One: Let us call upon the departed faithful who served Christ’s Church throughout history:

All: Join us! (singing prayer bowl)

One: Let us invite our ancestors, regardless of religion or creed, to assemble:

All: Join us! (singing prayer bowl)

One: Surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us open ourselves to God’s transforming Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle & Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Passing the Peace (all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Special Music “Sent OutWritten and performed by Rev. Will Burhans, “Making Shadows” CD ℗ 2003 Rev. Will Burhans. see Worship Resources below. Used with permission.)

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.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

It is a grace to step out of our mistakes and errors; to take off our sins and poor judgments like worn-out garments. The saints who have gone before us call us to set aside what no longer serves that we might join them in the most wondrous adventure! Dear Ones, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses eternally testifying to God’s goodness and mercy revealed in Jesus Christ. May this assurance bless us today. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2 (NRSV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

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

Sermon “A Glass of Water and a Golden Necklace” (pastor) An abuela and a psychiatrist testify to the many benefits of calling upon blessed presence and memory of beloved saints and souls. (Live sermon on ZOOM)

*Special Music: “For All the Saints” Words: William W. How, 1864. Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906. Chalice Hymnal #637.

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

On those days when skill and imagination fail us, during those nights when worry and sorrow assail us, let us call upon Your faithful servants, O God, the Beloved Saints and Souls. May they comfort us with spiritual presence redirecting our gaze to the Perfector of our Faith, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Invitation

Sweet mystic communion! Here we are – those present in body and spirit, as well as those we call in love and memory — all are welcome at God’s open table! This feast is freely offered to everyone.

Gathering Souls

Let us speak the names of those persons, living or dead, who are not physically present but with us in spirit. (During Check-In, after worship, please share photos and stories.) Let us speak their names…

Consecration Invitation and Prayer

(Church-blessed crackers and juice or items from your home.)

Let us pray: Living Christ, may we encounter Your eternal mercy and forgiveness, Your compassionate care for our wholeness and holiness, as we receive this blessed meal today. Amen.

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

Jesus and his Beloved Disciples gathered for the memorial Passover Seder – a meal recalling and re-entering God’s faithfulness toward their ancestors, enslaved Hebrews. God called those in bondage out of Africa, back to their homelands, through the prophet Moses and his siblings.

We recall and re-enter God’s faithfulness to the ancestral community of Jesus’s family. God called the broken Jewish nation out of hopeless and shame, back into right relationship, through the messiah Jesus Christ and his disciples.

This is God’s Table – an eternal gathering place of spiritual nourishment and healing – where people of faith from all times and places gather for support and forgiveness. Amen!

Here we are — present as Jesus lifts up the bread for blessing… breaks it… and gives it to us, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”

Here we are — present as Jesus lifts up the cup for blessing… and gives it to us, 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.”

Here we are. Let us receive these gifts from God for the well-being of all beings. Amen.

(all eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Most Generous God, this blessed ritual continues to connect us to You and to all Christians. We praise You for this treasured inheritance given to us by Jesus Christ and passed on, from generation to generation, to all who call Jesus of Nazareth our Lord and Savior. Amen.

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Continue in Hope

Announcements (pastor)

*Song: “Eagles Wings” Music written by Father Michael Joncas.

Benediction (pastor)

We are never alone! A Cloud of Witnesses always runs beside us, encouraging us, keeping us going. May we go forth with gratitude and hope fueled by the Peace of Christ. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(NRSV) Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978 1984 2011 by Biblica, Inc. TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

(wb) Rev. Will Burhans. Sent Out” is written and performed by Rev. Will Burhans, from his album “Making Shadows” ℗ 2003.  His music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms or CD’s purchased from www.cdbaby.com. Music used with permission. (Thank you, Will!)

Sermon Resource: Dr Warren Dahlin’s story was broadcast on “The Moth: Radio Hour” online, begins at 35:40: https://themoth.org/radio-hour/squeaky-wheels Retold by Pastor Kathryn.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan-Chochenyo Ohlone People, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!

Copyright Note: Copyright laws changed in 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: October 26, 2021.

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

22 Pentecost: “Sister Cricket”• Blessing of the Animals • Psalm 104, excerpts

photo: first winter rainfall, Huichin Village/Berkeley, CA. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2019.

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

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays * ZOOM worship services: 2pm 3rd, 4th, 5th (if there is one) Sundays; 3pm check-in

Out of the Bag (for children of all ages) “Blessed by Animals” https://youtu.be/n5j3n66cucw

We Gather

“Sing, Sister Cricket. Praise Your Creator with a joyful song.” – St Francis of Assisi to a sibling creature in the woodlands around Porziuncola, one of the sanctuaries he restored

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome one and all! Today we welcome every one of every species to join us in worship and the Blessing of the Animals! I am here in Huichin Village/Berkeley, not far from the 5,000-year-old sacred Shellmound created beside Strawberry Creek. And, we gather as a joyful people for the winter rains have begun!

Invocation (pastor)

May all living beings join in our opening praise:

Praise God for the rain! Hallelujah!

Praise God for the nourishment of heavenly waters tending all life on earth.

Praise God for the protection precipitation brings our drought-weary community.

Praise God for the grace of cleansing rain as it washes away what isn’t needed.

Together, we all praise God! Hallelujah! Amen!

Lighting the Christ Candle & Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Passing the Peace (all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Special Music “See the RainWritten and performed by Rev. Will Burhans, “Weight of Grace” CD ℗ 2006 Rev. Will Burhans. (see Worship Resources below. Used with permission.)

Prayer and Silence (pastor) We shift into silence in God’s presence with this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10.

Be still and know that I am God. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know that I am. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know. (Breathe slowly) 

Be still. (Breathe slowly)

Be. (Breathe slowly)

(Breathe in silence) Amen.

Words of Assurance (pastor)

No matter who we are – a tiny little cricket or a great ocean whale – we are a Beloved Creature adored by a good and holy God. And, we are siblings in life – the wild raptor that flies overhead and the furry companion by our side, the pollinating bees and the animals we consume – together, we are one earthly family. God created us in relationship for relationship with all manner of beings. May we deeply treasure this grace today. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Psalm 104:1-5, 10-13, 24, 27-30, 33-34, 35b (pastor; NRSV adapted to feature a cricket’s version of praise for God’s goodness.)

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great!

You are adorned with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with luminous skin! You stretch out the heavens like a shade tree, You set the beams of Your shelter on the waters, You make the clouds Your nest, You soar on the wings of the wind, You make the winds Your messengers, fire and flame Your ministers. You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, giving drink to every living creature; each of us quenching our thirst. In the marshes and forests, where we crickets live; we sing among the reeds and fallen leaves. From Your lofty abode You water the mountains; we are satisfied with the fruit of Your work!

O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made us all; the earth is filled with Your beloved creatures! We all look to You to give us our food in due season; when You give to us, we gather it up; when You open Your hand, we are filled with good things. When You hide Your face, we are dismayed; when You take away our breath, we die and return to the soil. When You send forth Your spirit, we are created; and You renew life on earth.

May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; may the Lord rejoice in divine works— who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live! I will sing praise to my God while I have being! May my meditation be pleasing to God, for I rejoice in the Lord! Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord! Amen.

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

Sermon “Sister Cricket” (pastor) God gave St Francis of Assisi a Christ-heart for all creatures. Many stories about St Francis include inteverventions to tame violence between species. This is one of those stories. Crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts are historic enemies of farming humans.

Special Music “Prayer of St Francis” (recommended recording: St Francis of Assisi’s prayer performed by Buddy Comfort. ℗ 2001 Buddy Comfort/Laughing Tree Music.)

Blessing of the Animals

Holy Water If you do not have Holy Water – water that has already been blessed – place your hand near or in a little bowl of water, newly collected rainwater would be most appropriate.

Let us pray: Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, we call Your Holy Spirit into this water that it may be a living symbol for us of Your eternal love. Amen.

Blessing All Creatures (pastor and community)

We bless the animals we know by name… (speak companion animal’s name/s) _______, may God bless you, for you are one of the Creator’s Beloved creatures. (make the sign of the cross in water on animals’ forehead or safe place to touch)

We bless our unnamed animals neighbors… (speak type/s of outdoor animal/s) _______, may God bless you, for you are, each, one of the Creator’s Beloved creatures. (sprinkle Holy Water in areas where you often see animal neighbors)

We bless the humans in our households… (speak human’s name/s) ________, may God bless you, too, for you are one of the Creator’s Beloved creatures. (make the sign of the cross in water on humans’ forehead or safe place to touch)

May God bless our relationships with each other. May we grow in love and affection for one another across species. In the name of Jesus Christ and in the way of his devoted disciple, St Francis, we pray. Amen.

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

O Lord, may we humans listen to our Sister Cricket and Brother Wolf singing; may we hear their beautiful songs of praise. May we join Creation’s chorus united in praising You, growing in respect and love for each other.

Today some of us are grieving. Comfort us in our loss and attend our friends in heaven as we remember dear humans and animals who are deceased. Hear us, as we speak their names: (pause).

Great Healer, lay Your kind hand upon any creature, of any species, in need of healing and special care today. Hear us, as we speak their names: (pause).

We also pray for refugee animals, those awaiting adoption, and wild, commercial, and domesticated animals, each with unique challenges and graces. We lift up thanks for humans who preserve, tend, and love our sibling animals. Amen.

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

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

We Continue in Hope

Announcements (pastor)

*Song: “All Creatures of Our God and King” (recording) written by Francis of Assisi, LASST UNS ERFREUEN (Chalice #22)

Benediction (pastor)

St Francis, through his love for the Eternal Christ, saw all creatures as God sees us – precious siblings in the great family of life. May our hearts continue to expand, welcoming more beings into our love and care. May be truly go forth with peace and hope in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

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

(NRSV) Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978 1984 2011 by Biblica, Inc. TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

(wb) Rev. Will Burhans. The song “See the Rain” comes from Rev. Will Burhans’ Album entitled “Weight of Grace”.  His music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms or CD’s purchased from www.cdbaby.com. Music used with permission. (Thank you, Will!)

Sermon Resource: Fortini’s Francis of Assisi, pp 541-542 as recorded in Stoutenberger and Bohrer’s Praying with Francis of Assisi, pp 94-95, retold by kms.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan-Chochenyo Ohlone People, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!

Copyright Note: Copyright laws changed in 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: October 20, 2021.

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