COCU Index Year B 2018

Year B
Winter season (southern hemisphere)
UCA Anniversary, 22nd June 2018
COCU44B, 24th June 2018
COCU45B, 1st July 2018
COCU 46B, 8th July 2018
NAIDOC week, 8-15 July 2018

COCU 47B, Pentcost 8B, 15th July 2018
COCU 48B, Pentecost 9B, 22nd July 2018
COCU 49B, Pentecost 10B, 29th July 2018
COCU 50B, Pentecost 11B, 5th August 2018
(Hiroshima Day, August 6th)

Year B COCU Index (link is to a NZ resource)

Citation index (Vanderbilt Library) in canonical order

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COCU44B.24June2018

See also UCA Anniversary and Refugee Week resources

Readings
1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23): The Israelites are taunted by the giant Goliath, but the shepherd boy David volunteers to fight him, and defeats by striking him on the forehead with a stone from his sling.
Psalm 9:9-20: A song of faith in God’s care for the poor and weak, and a plea for God to bring down the wicked, reveal to the nations that they are merely human, and rescue the psalmist from his enemies so that he can praise God again.
2 Corinthians 6:1-13: Paul pleads with the Corinthian Christians that they would accept that the time of salvation is now, and that they would open their hearts to the apostles, because they have proven themselves through committed ministry and faithful service in spite of the terrible suffering and difficulties they have endured.
Mark 4:35-41: Jesus asks the disciples to take him across the lake in their boat, but as they sail across, with Jesus sleeping in the boat, a storm breaks out. In their terror, they wake Jesus and he calms the storm, causing them to wonder who he is.
(Summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Handout of readings – landscape, double sided format COCU44B.Readings

Andrew Prior’s thought provoking sermon is here.

Contemporary image– Rev Mark Hewitt.

Peace, be still. Artist – Mark A Hewitt. 20 June 2012

Components of worship
Gathering
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are
Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Readings
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion)

 

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Refugee Week (World Refugee Day June 20)

In 2018, the dates are Sunday 17th to Saturday 23rd June.
#WithRefugees is the theme for Refugee Week 2018 in Australia.

Refugee Week is Australia’s peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. UnitingJustice Australia has released their Refugee Week (14–20 June) resources for 2015 with the theme ‘With courage let us all combine.’ Taken from the second verse of the Australian national anthem, the 2015-2017 theme celebrates the courage of refugees who have refused to deny their beliefs or identity in the face of persecution, fled their homeland and often endured terrifying and dangerous journeys only to face the cruelty of detention before working hard to make a new life for themselves and their families. It also serves as a call to action for all Australians. Download the resource here.

New documentary (2018) – Border Politics (with Julian Burnside): below is a trailer (check it out on IMDB or in cinemas in Australia in June/July).

Imagine if we truly understand and live by the truth that no one wins until everyone wins. Imagine if we understand and were able to see a world where there is no “me”, only “we”, there is no “them”, only “us”. Imagine if we lived by the understanding there is no “their” children or “my” child, there is only “our” children.
A photojournalist was taking pictures of the destruction of the war in Syria when he heard a sniper’s rifle. He turned and saw a child fall to the ground down the street. He rushed to her and she was being held by a man who said, “My child, my child, she’s been shot. Please help!”
The photojournalist ran to get his car and helped the man and wounded child into the backseat. The man said, “My child’s bleeding badly. Please hurry.”
They hurried to the hospital. They rushed the child into emergency leaving the photojournalist and man pacing in the waiting room. After some time a doctor walked through the door with that look that says we did all we could but it was too late.
The man said to the photojournalist, “We must go and find this girl’s father at once and tell him.”
The photojournalist said, “Father? I thought you were her father. You said ‘my child’?”
The man, with tears in his eyes, said, “THEY ARE ALL OUR CHILDREN.”
Those are the tear-filled eyes that can heal and restore our broken world. Those are the eyes of Jesus, the eyes that understand and see they are all OUR children. It seems like a good week to be reminded of the truth that there is no “their” children. They are all our children.
(Source: Steve Koski, Facebook post, 17th June)

In 2000, the 9th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia expressed our commitment to seek “fair, humanitarian, adequately resourced and culturally appropriate government policies and procedures for the processing of refugees and asylum seekers”.

 

refugee week 2016Also, The Uniting Church’s ‪Refugee Week 2016  resource Searching for Freedom celebrates the rich diversity refugees bring to Australian society! Searching for Freedom is a reminder of what people are doing when they flee situations of persecution and grave danger. 2016 SearchforFreedom_RefugeeWeekResource

Silence Land – a poem by Mohammed Ali Maleki, 2017 while on Manus:
I have doubts about my sanity:
not everyone can bear this much.
They stole all my feelings;
there’s no wisdom left in my mind.
I am just a walking dead man.
I am just a walking dead man.
I have yelled for help so many times –
No one on this earth took my hand.
Now I see many mad things and imagine
how the world would look if it collapsed.
Perhaps it would be good for everything to
return to the past;
for nothing to be seen on the earth or in the sky.
It would feel so good to be a child
again and go back to my mother’s womb,
for there to be no sign of me
for never to have gone crazy in this place
………………………………
I sound crazy speaking this way! It’s the outcome of being detained for four years after seeking asylum on the sea. Mohammed Ali Maleki, 2017
(This poem, abridged, by an Iranian asylum seeker in detention on Manus Island were read as part of a poetic performance called ‘Through the Moon’. Sourced from ‘Adelaide Voices’, Sep-Nov 2017)

Resources

Downloadable resource here.
Because it’s important to understand what’s happening in the world and in Australia for those searching for freedom, this resource includes information about Australia’s history of accepting refugees, what it means to seek asylum, and how many refugees there are in the world and where they are living.
It describes an alternative to ‘stopping the boats’, and includes a section on the situation of the roughly 30,000 people who are living in the community waiting to have their claims for protection processed.
The resource includes worship resources for Refugee Week as well as a number of ideas for what you can do to help bring about positive change.

See also Migrant and Refugee Sunday resources on this site.

Resources for worship

Call to Leaders regarding Refugees
The Uniting Church in Australia responds
to the grace proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
who himself was a refugee.
We are called to work with all our hearts and minds
to love God, who is revealed in Jesus Christ.
We are called to express love and generosity of spirit
to the world for whom Christ died,
including the most marginalized people.
We seek to love the neighbour who is different
and welcome the stranger in our midst.
We implore civic leaders
to reflect the deep values of Australians,
shaped by different nations and cultures,
who seek to live in a world
characterized by peace and goodwill.
We therefore ask those leaders to embrace
a spirit of compassion
and concern for human dignity
in their considerations with regards
to Refugee and Asylum-seeker policy development.
(Source: Amelia Koh-Butler, Adopted by the South Australian Presbytery and Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia, October 2016)

Prayer of Invocation
God of hospitality and refuge,
come to us here in this place of security and safety. Remind us that you are the God Almighty;
large enough for all people,
all nations, all tongues.
Help us, with the presence of your Holy Spirit,
to be able to create space
for those who seek asylum and refuge.
In the name of Jesus, your Son. Amen.
(Source: UCA 2016 resource)

Lament
O Lord, how long shall we cry for help, and you will not listen?
Or cry to you, ‘Violence!’
and you will not save?
Why do you make us see wrong-doing and look at trouble?
In faith and hope, we respond:
‘How long, O God, how long?
(The response can be sung. The musical setting is in Uniting in Worship 2, p. 200)
Where is your justice, God?
Where is your purpose?
Where is your reason?
Where is your compassion?
Do you not care for your people,
your creation, your reputation?
Your purpose is hidden from our eyes.

In faith and hope, we respond:
‘How long, O God, how long?

Your reason is absent to our ears.
Your compassion is not discerned by our hearts.
We have no hope (and remember asylum seekers who have no hope).
We are lost (and remember asylum seekers who are lost).
We are afraid (and remember asylum seekers who are afraid).
In faith and hope, we respond:
‘How long, O God, how long?
(Source: from Uniting in Worship 2, Second Order of Service for the Lord’s Day, pp 200-202, adapted, The Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia (2005), Sydney: Uniting Church Press)

A Blessing for Refugees
We bless the host nations in their spirit of compassion and sharing that their citizens may be awakened to the immense human, intellectual and cultural wealth these newcomers represent for them. We bless all concerned in their consciousness that my sister or brother is myself and that the challenge of integrating these immigrants is truly an amazing gift of the universe in helping all work toward the win-win world that alone will guarantee the survival of the human race.
(Source: Pierre Pradervand, 365 Blessings to Heal Ourselves and the World, from The Gentle Art of Blessing page)

Affirmation
We are not alone. We live in God’s world.
We believe in God,
who has freely given the Holy Spirit
to bind us together as a community of grace.
We believe that the spirit can lead us
in the discovery of truth,
in the pursuit of justice, and
in the practice of caring for one another.
In our homes, in the church and in the community
the Spirit offers us inspiration and courage.
We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
(from Prayers on Parade (2006), compiled by Allan Shephard, Stepney, South Australia: Axiom Publishing. Permission is given for the use of this text in worship)

Leftover people in leftover places Hope is our song #85
Leftover people in leftover places,
troubled, disabled, the needy and sad,
scavenging crumbs from society’s plenty,
sick to the soul when their life has gone bad,
these are the ones in God’s upsidedown kingdom
deemed to be worthy and called to the feast,
soup-kitchen people invited to banquet,
valued as greatly as royal and priest.

Leftover people, disposable people,
locked into prisons of drugs and despair,
poverty’s children in poverty’s spiral,
locked out of learning and earning their share,
these are the ones in God’s upsidedown kingdom
these are the Christ in their shabby disguise,
these are the least and the highly unlikely,
given a hope and new light in their eyes.

Here is God’s testing of true Easter people,
spirited people with service to give,
taking to heart the compassion of Jesus,
feeling how others must struggle to live,
we are a part of God’s upsidedown kingdom,
we know the heart of the gospel’s demand,
taking our part with the leftover people,
widening the space of the lines in the sand.
(Words: Shirley Murray; Music: Colin Gibson)

 

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COCU43B.17June2017

Readings
1 Samuel 15:34-16:13
God tells Samuel that God has rejected Saul as king, and God instructs Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king. Samuel sees the eldest of the sons and thinks that one of them must be the king, but God tells him that God does not see as human beings do. Then David, the youngest son, is called and anointed to be king over Israel.
Psalm 20
A prayer that God may provide and protect, bringing victory and success to the king, and ensuring that the one who trusts in God remains steadfast.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17
Followers of Christ live by faith and not by sight, and do everything with the view to please God. Although we may at times seem crazy, we are controlled by Christ’s love. So we no longer live our old life, but a new one in Christ for whom we live, and who was raised for us.
Mark 4:26-34:Jesus shares two parables of God’s Reign using the metaphor of seeds. In the first, he speaks about a farmer who plants seeds without knowing how they grow. In the second, he describes how the small mustard seed grows to become a large plant in which birds can nest.
(Summaries of Bible readings by John van de Laar on Sacredise)

COCU43B.Pent4B.Readings

These lections are full of opposites in tension: divine sight/mortal sight; trusting in the name of God/trusting in chariots and horses; walking by faith/walking by sight; inward appearance/outward appearance; new creation/old creation. The most significant contrast is the mustard seed in tension with the reign of the divine. Is the holy found in vastness or in the tiny mustard seed? (Source: UCC)

Gathering – resources for general gathering prayers

Prayer of Invocation
O God, maker of all that is beautiful,
Jesus gave us the seeds of your justice and peace.
In this time together, touch us, teach us, inspire us
to sow those seeds through our ministries
so that all may share in Creation’s abundance
to make true the promise
that no one will know scarcity
and no one will suffer deprivation in this community and beyond. Amen.
(Source: Rev. Quentin Chin)

Call to worship
All around us, God is looking for those
who will join in serving others.
It is as if God is planting seeds of compassion in us,
watching for them to bloom in our lives.
In our midst, Jesus is walking among us,
tending our hearts, watering us with grace.
It is as if Jesus is trusting that our souls
will grow big enough to welcome everyone.
From morning to evening, the Spirit is at work,
gently tending this garden called life.
It is as if the Spirit has found the perfect spots
to bring forth crops of justice and peace.
(Source: Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies)

Prayer of thanksgiving – general resources for prayers of thanksgiving

Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are/Words of Assurance – general resources on this website.

Prayer of confession
Let us take a moment of silence and reflect on our own lives,
on our limitations, on our sins.
Gracious God, you are indeed generous.
You give us the gifts of the spirit which enable us to have so much.
We forget, however, that we have been recipients
of other people’s generosity.
Believing that what we have is ours,
we forget that all we have is yours.
Forgive us.
Help us to remember that being made in your image,
we should be as generous as you.

Words of Assurance
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a humble spirit and a contrite heart.
By God’s steadfast love for us, we are forgiven of our sins. Thanks be to God.
(Source: Rev. Quentin Chin) Continue reading

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UCA Anniversary.22 June2018 (closest Sunday is 24thJune2018)

The Uniting Church in Australia celebrated the formal union of the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Church on June 22nd, 1977.

Here is the combined service used at Pilgrim Church on UCA Sunday 2013.
UCA Anniversary 2013

Order of service from UCA Worship Working Group for 30th Anniversary here.
Worship resources for 40th anniversary here.

Could consider reading out the Statement to the Nation 1977 and/or 1988 as part of the UCA’s ‘DNA’

Homily by Rev Dorothy McRae-McMahon in 2014.

Here is a list of other resources for UCA Sunday: UCA Anniversary

Come, Holy Spirit, Renew our hearts renew our faith;
renew our love for you;
renew our openness and compassion; renew our sense of justice .
Come, Holy Spirit, Renew your Church
renew our love for the Gospel;
renew the liveliness of our worship;
renew our commitment for the care for the poor;
renew the church in its understanding of its calling.
Come, Holy Spirit, Renew the Earth.
Teach us to protect our environment
teach us to care for other people as our own brothers and sisters;
teach us to imagine all living things as we are connected to each other;
So may the peoples and all living things live in harmony with the earth.
Amen.

My hope is that this church will continue
to first open its heart to the needs of others;
lift its head to attend to opportunities on its horizon;
offer its hands in generous hospitality and healing…
In the Spirit God who raised the Christ,
 extending God’s extravagant compassion, grace and love 
to whomever the neighbour might be 
at the time, in that place, of whatever culture.
And especially to be present
to the lost, the least and the last.
[Prayer on leaving the ministry of Mission Officer by John Emmett]

A prayer from Jon Humphries:
God Who Unites Us in the Work Towards the Common Good
– A Foundational Uniting Church Prayer
(Adapted from the Uniting Church in Australia, ‘Statement to the Nation’ 1977)
God who unites us in the cause of the common good,
The path to unity can be long and at times difficult.
You call us into unity as a sign of the reconciliation you seek for the whole human race.
In Christ you commission us with a responsibility to society which will always fundamentally involve us in social and national affairs.
You give us responsibilities within and beyond this country to work to uphold basic Christian values and principles, such as the importance of every human being and the need for integrity in public life.
You give us the task of proclaiming truth and justice and the rights of each citizen to participate in decision-making in their community.
You call us to advocate for religious liberty and personal dignity.
You commission in us a concern for the welfare of the whole human race.
God who unites us in the cause of the common good,
Move us to seek the correction of injustices wherever they occur.
Push us to spend our time and effort for the eradication of poverty and racism within our society and beyond.
Fill our lungs with your Spirit that we might call for and affirm the rights of all people to equal educational opportunities, adequate health care, and freedom of speech.
Spur us forward to work so that all may find employment or dignity in unemployment if work is not available.
Fire up our passion and burn away our complacency so that we might oppose all forms of discrimination which infringe basic rights and freedoms.
Give us the desire and the want to challenge values which emphasise acquisitiveness and greed in disregard of the needs of others.
Separate us from selfish thoughts and values that we might stand against that which encourages a higher standard of living for the privileged in the face of the daily widening gap between the rich and poor.
God who unites us in the cause of the common good,
Concern us with the basic human rights of future generations.
Urge us to find wisdom and take action to ensure the wise use of energy, the protection of the environment and the replenishment of the earth’s resources.
God who unites us in the cause of the common good,
We owe you our first allegiance.
Under you the policies and actions of all nations must pass judgment. Steel us for when our discipleship and allegiance bring us into conflict with the rulers of our day, that we may stand your ground.
Unite us as one people so that your universal values find expression in national policies and that humanity may survive under your guidance.
God who unites us in the cause of the common good,
We pledge ourselves to hope and work for a nation whose goals are not guided by self-interest alone, but by concern for the welfare of all persons everywhere.
We commit ourselves the family of the One God — the God made known in Jesus of Nazareth;
Who is the One;
Who gave His life for others.
In the spirit of His self-giving love may this be so.
Amen
(Source: Jon Humphries)

A LOVE SONG TO THE CHURCH
could be adapted for use for the UCA Anniversary
Inspired by Psalm 84
‘How lovely is your dwelling place, oh Lord of hosts, to me.’
This is a love song to the church.
‘My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.’
This is a love song to the church.
‘The sparrow has found her a house and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; by the side of your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.’
This is a love song to the church.
‘Happy are they who dwell in your house! They will always be praising you.’
A love song to the church:
‘Happy are the people whose strength is in you! Whose hearts are set on the pilgrims’ way. Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs, for the early rains have covered it with pools of water. They will climb from height to height, and the God of gods will reveal himself in Zion.’
This is a love song.
To the church. To the ugly ones and the spectacular ones. To the ones the size of a closet and the ones bigger than a city block. To the gaudy ones, the ornate ones, the little country clapboard ones. The stone ones, the bone freezing cold ones, the stuffy filled-with-plastic-virgin-Mary ones, the plain ones, the messy ones, the dark ones, the holy ones.
This is a love song to the church.
To the places and spaces, in living rooms, in high school gyms, in mega sanctuaries from the 80s, in the suburbs, in the cities, the 1,000 year old ones and the buildings just completed—the spaces set aside for the worship of God. This is a love song to the people who build, the people who fund, the people who barn-raise and fundraise and take time off work to meet with the surveyor to build the church. The people who negotiate mortgages and rents, the people who pay the utility bills, the people who mow the grass and weed the front beds, the people who fix the toilet when it runs, the people who research dishwashers, the people who clean and organize and then clean and organize and keep cleaning and organizing. This is a love song to the church.
This is a love song to the spaces that feel holy, look holy, don’t look holy but are holy. The baptismal fonts the size of swimming pools, the fonts the size of a seashell, the tubs and pools, the fountains and dunk tanks. This is a love song to the places where God’s presence lingers on Monday and Tuesday, even if it spends the weekdays full of kids or bar patrons or basketball players. This is a love song to the sanctuary. Where the Word is read, the Word is heard, the Word is lived. To the table. To the place where we come for food, for holy drink. To the candles that light the morning, that burn with our prayers, that shine on Christmas Eve. This is a love song to the altars and sanctuaries, the pianos, the guitars, the drums, the organs, the voices, the songbooks, the blue folders, the singing leader, the kid who plays her saxophone, the praise songs projected on the walls, the chants, the Latin, the English, the Spanish, the Romanian, the Czech, the Arabic, the ASL. This is a love song to the church.
This is a love song to God who shows up as bread, as wine, as light, as flame, as water, as comfort, as pain, as loss, as shadow, as shivering beauty, as other people, as the person who asks if you can teach Sunday school, as coffee and cake, as the interruption to your prayers, as the computer guy, as the voices of 60 people singing.
This is a love song to the place where even a nest of tiny birds knows it is safe. The place where dogs and hamsters are blessed, the place where babies cry, where people move slowly, where you don’t have to know what’s going on. This is a love song of heartbreak over the church’s failures. The failure to protect children. The failure to welcome all God’s people. The failure to repent. The failure to forgive. The failure to take the side of the vulnerable. The failure to listen. This is a love song that sometimes breaks our hearts.
This is a love song to the house of God. To the rafters and the choir lofts and the pew racks and the banners. This is a love song to all the lovingly made sanctuary art that makes us cringe. This is a love song to the place where God dwells. To the sacristy and the narthex. To the parking lot. To the Sunday school room, the furnace room, the courtyard, the stained glass windows. This is a love song to the flag that gets stuck in the trees, to the windows too high to be washed, the elevator that never works, the terrible-colored carpet. This is a love song to the people who make the church their home. This is a love song to the pews that served as beds for rescue workers after 9-11. To the sanctuary that hid people from slaughter in Rwanda. To the roofs that keep houseless people dry at night. To all the crosses and crucifixes and Bibles and vestments and fog machines and icons and gospel choirs and incense. This is a love song to you.
This is a love song to the altar guild. To the worship leaders. To the light and sound guy. To the sexton, the janitor, the one who keeps it clean. This is a love song to the greeter, the baker, the teacher, the acolyte. This is a love song to the one who reaches over and shows where we are in the book. This is a love song to the one who says, “yes, I’ll read today.” This is a love song to the one who takes communion to another. This is a love song to the one who sings someone else’s favorite hymn, says someone else’s needed prayer, to the one who notices, to the one who says something.
This is a love song to the church. To the older church ladies who take Jesuit volunteers out for lunch. To the toddlers who act like they own the place. To the retired guys who show up at Boy Scoutmeetings. To the stitchers, the knitters, the cooks. This is a love song to a place where professors and students sit side by side. Where nurses and patients eat together. Where Republicans and Democrats pray for each other. This is a love song to the bond that holds people together in conflict. This is a love song to the people we wouldn’t be hanging out with otherwise. To the labyrinth walks, the foot washings, the stewardship campaigns, the annual reports, the vestry meetings, the phone directories, the prayer chains, the meal trains, the rides to the doctor, the cards, the guitar lessons, the organ preludes, the funeral receptions, the youth group complines. This is a love song to the crab feeds and Christmas bazaars and the art studios and the clothing closets and the food pantries. This is a love song to bad coffee and conversation you wish would go deeper. This is a love song to the conversation you think will never end. This is a love song to the person who’s been on your mind. This is a love song to little stubby golf pencils in the pews, and misprints in the bulletin.
This is a love song to the church. This is a love song to the people whose strength is in God, whose hearts are set on the pilgrim’s way. This is a love song to the pews polished by 60 years of hand oil, and to the people who would worship God even if the pews weren’t there. This is a love song to a God who is bigger than the church. This is a love song to God in people, God in mountains, God in thunder, God in injustice. A love song for the church. This is a love song for the church because God is holy. This is a love song for the church because God makes the church holy. This is a love song for the church because we can’t hold God.
This is a love song to the church. This is a love song to what we want the church to be, to what the church is now, to what the church will become. This is a love song to the agitators, the complainers, the pleasers. This is a love song to the overworkers and to the ones who keep thinking they ought to get more involved. This is a love song to the ones who keep the church the same and to the ones who push it to change. This is a love song to the reformers, the traditionalists, the peacemakers, the artists, the nurturers, the fighters, the introverts and the voices. This is a love song to the choir that covers for the ones who can’t hold a tune so well anymore. This is a love song to the family who brings the homebound to church. This is a love song to all the ones who pray. And to the ones who say they’ll pray. And to the ones who actually do. This is the love song to the minister who shows up when his heart is breaking. This is a love song to the congregation that praises God when they don’t know what else to do. This is a love song to the saints who have passed the church on to us.
This is a love song to God. This is a gratitude song for the church. This is a love song. Amen.
(Source: by Rev. Jennifer M. Creswell, St Luke the Physician Episcopal Church (Oregon))

MUSIC

There Are Many Ways of Sharing (tune: NETTLETON TiS 392)

There are many ways of sharing, But God’s Spirit gives each one.
There are different ways of caring; It’s one Lord whose work is done.
God, whose gifts are overflowing, May we hear you when you call;
Keep us serving, keep us growing For the common good of all.

We’ve been baptized in the waters! We’ve been given work to do.
When you call your sons and daughters, You give gifts for serving you.
God, we join in celebration Of the talents you impart.
Bless each baptized one’s vocation; Give each one a servant’s heart.

All are blest by gifts you give us; Some are set apart to lead.
Give us Jesus’ love within us As we care for those in need.
Give us faith to make decisions; Give us joy to share your Word.
Give us unity and vision As we serve your church and world.

Tune: John Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, 1813 (“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”)
Text: Copyright © 2004 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (Upper Room Books, 2009).

God of our life, through all the circling years
(Tune: Sandon, TiS #582)
God of our life, through all the circling years,
We trust in thee;
In all the past, through all our hopes and fears,
thy hand we see.
With each new day, when morning lifts the veil,
we own thy mercies, Lord, which never fail.

God of the past, our times are in thy hand;
with us abide.
Lead us by faith to hope’s true promised land;
be thou our Guide.
With thee to bless, the darkness shines as light,
and faith’s fair vision changes into sight.

God of the coming years, through paths unknown
we follow thee;
when we are strong, Lord, leave us not alone;
our Refuge be.
Be thou for us in life our daily Bread,
our heart’s true Home when all our years have sped.

Words: Hugh Thomson Kerr (1872-1950), 1916.
(NOTE: Kerr wrote this hymn for the 50th anniversary of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.)

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Suicide: it’s no secret

Given the need in general, but particularly in the light of reports of the deaths of prominent people in the media who have taken their own lives, this may be a prayer to offer

From a Recovering Sucidalic

Christ of grace and compassion
The thoughts cannot be un-thought,
The plans cannot be unmade,
The past remains the past,
But hope can be restored and life can be lived.
Help me to discern my gifts and talents.
Show me how others need me to help them,
Even when the only thing I can offer at times is the opportunity for them to use their gifts and talents to help me.
As someone who has stood at that brink,
I know that there is no judgement or pity, only compassion.
Having looked into the peace that I thought promised by the void,
Be with all who struggle with the pain that they feel in living.
Be with all whose stress and anxiety has become unbearable
Be with all whose reserves of hope are running on empty.
Be with all whose sense of self has withered to a longing for others to be set free from the burden of their presence.
Be with all who have lost all sense of meaning and purpose.
May they know you
May they know love.
May they share your vision of their worth
May they know their purpose and meaning as hope.
Be with those who are suffering.
Enfold them in your love.
Hold them in your grace.
Continue to whisper to them hope and comfort,
And the offer of strength for living.
This I humbly pray. Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite)

A related hymn may be O Love that wilt not let me go, written by George Matheson who contemplated suicide after he’d shared with his fiancée the shattering news he’d just received from his doctor that he was losing his sight and would become blind. His fiancée couldn’t take this future life and broke off the engagement. Shattered, he stood on a bridge, peering down into waters as grey as his mood but as he stood on a rail to join those waters, it seemed as some strong unseen hand was pulling him back. And that’s how we got his hymn, “O love that wilt not let me go.” Read the hymn through again with this in mind, and feel the power of his inspired words.

And this plea by John Pavlovitz to young people contemplating suicide is excellent. It’s written in a US school context but could easily be adapted for a different context for teens.
If you stick around (a letter to suicidal teens)
Dear Hurting Teenager,
I know you want to leave.
I know the horrible, endless walks through the hallways that you endure every morning, near vomiting.
I know the afternoon bus rides to Hell where you sit frozen with fear, praying to just become invisible.
I know the locker room beat-downs and the lunch room stares and the wounding words behind your back and the hateful taunts in your face.
I know the incessant online trolls who hound you day and night; who hurl verbal violence from behind the anonymity and security of phone screens and fake handles.
I know how it takes every bit of strength you have just to paint on a smile and pretend you’re OK and to hide how much it hurts and to act “normal”.
I know that all of this has left you exhausted; that you’ve numbed yourself and hurt yourself and starved yourself, in the hope that their voices will become silent and their fists will be lifted and you can finally breathe again.
I know that right now you’d rather leave than live.
And even though I’m not standing in your shoes and even though I don’t know you and even though I have no right at all—I’m asking you to stick around.
I’m asking you to stay; to endure your incredibly painful, totally senseless now because I can see your glorious, blindingly beautiful then, if you do.
You see my friend, if you stick around your giants will shrink. All those monumental terrorists whose daily words fall heavy upon you like boulders, will begin to get smaller and smaller and smaller as you walk deeper into your life. Their names will fade from your memory, their power will be drained to nothing, and those whose opinions and accusations now loom so very large and important to you will be but specks that you brush from your shirtsleeve on the way to greatness.
If you stick around, you will see just how big the world is, and just how small the minds of those who once tried to ruin you were. You will understand how much hatred they had for themselves, and see the weakness that tried so hard to look like strength; the insecurity that masked itself as arrogance and as unbelievable as it is now, you will actually pity them, realizing how very wounded they were.
If you stick around, you will travel to amazing places that will take your breath away and see sunsets that have yet to be painted in the evening sky.
If you stick around, you’ll eat that cheeseburger; the one that will cause you to make an actual audible noise in public (and you won’t regret it).
If you stick around, you will hear that song that will change your life and you’ll dance to it like no one’s watching (and then not care that they are).
If you stick around, you will hold babies and see movies and laugh loudly and you’ll fall in love and have your heart broken—and you’ll fall in love again.
If you stick around, you will study and learn and grow, and find your calling and find your place and you’ll lay in the grass, feeling gratitude for the sun upon your face and the breeze in your hair.
If you stick around, you will reach a spot that the sadness won’t let you see right now—you’ll reach tomorrow. And that place is filled with possibility. It is a day you’ve never been to. It is not this terrible day. There, you will not feel exactly what you are feeling right now. You may be stronger or see things differently or find a clearing and life may look a way it hasn’t in a long time: it may look worth staying for.
And yeah, there will be other stuff too; disappointments and heartache and regrets and mistakes. You will screw things up and be let down, you’ll face terrible pain, and you’ll wonder how you’ll ever make it through.
But then you’ll remember how you got through the hallways and the bus rides and the locker room and the lunch room, and you might remember this letter and you’ll remember how freakin’ strong you were—and you’ll realize you’re gonna be OK.
So I guess this is just a reminder, from someone who sees what you may not see from here; the future, one that will be a lot better with you in it.
This is a plea, a promise, a dare, and an invitation.
Stay.
Hang on.
You are loved.
Things will get better.
Trust me.
Cry and get angry and ask for help and punch a wall and scream into your pillow and take a deep breath and call someone who loves you.
But whatever you do…
Please, stick around.
(Note: If you’re struggling with depression, desire to self-harm, or suicidal thoughts, talk to someone)

It can be a hard, harsh and hostile world.
This past week has been hard to be a human being.
Yes, these are hard times but we must protect our hearts from hardening. Now, more than ever, the world needs gentle and tender hearts.
David Whyte wrote, “Poetry is language against which there is no defense.”
This poem by Mary Oliver broke my heart open leaving me in tears but they are tears of hope. The poem is called “In Praise of Craziness of a Certain Kind.” She is writing about her grandmother who has Alzheimers. She watches her grandmother tenderly and gently care for some ants realizing everything is lost for her grandmother except what is most important.
“On cold evenings my grandmother,
with ownership of half her mind – the other half having flown back to Bohemia.
Spread newspapers over the porch floor so, she said, the garden ants could crawl beneath,
as under a blanket, and keep warm and what shall I wish for,
for myself, but, being so struck by the lightning of years,
to be like her with what is left, to be that loving.”
Today’s To-Be List: Breathe. Be present to your own tenderness.
Carry this thought with you: In a world that is like a clenched fist, I choose to live with an open hand and open heart.
(Source: Rev Steve Koski, Bend Presbyterian Church)

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COCU45B.1July2018

Gospel Reading: Mark 5:21-43

In this passage we find a woman who has been subject to bleeding for 12 years (the age of Jairus’ daughter). For her, this is not merely a physical impairment – she is also a social outcast. Apparently God’s commands to protect the disabled (Lev 19.14) have been completely abandoned by the time of Jesus. That this woman has accepted the definition of social pariah, placed on her by others, is demonstrated by her fear of facing Jesus when he calls her from the crowd in verse 8:47. She is ‘the other’. What must life have been like for this woman? Why did she touch Jesus’ hem (as opposed to a direct request?). What does it say about how she saw herself? Why is her self-image a problem? Who today might be like this woman?
What is striking is Jesus’ way of addressing the situation. Knowing that she was socially outcast because of her ailment, Jesus calls her out of the crowd. He allows her to tell her story publicly, and in that act her reinstates her into the social sphere. For Jesus, social inclusion is equally as important as physical healing. In the reign of God, inclusion is the right of all people regardless of who they are or what ailment they might have. This is what is might mean to destroy the ‘tyranny of normality’ as defined by Stanley Hauerwas in Suffering Presence, the idea that normality is dangerous for people with disabilities because the most stringent power we have over another is not physical coercion but the ability to have another accept our definition of them.
Source: Matt Anslow in TEAR Magazine, Issue 1, 2011

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COCU42B.10June2018

Readings
As ‘ordinary time’ returns after the Lent and Easter cycle, we return to semi-continuous reading of Mark’s Gospel. The lectionary also follows 2 Corinthians.
Psalm 138
Praise and thanksgiving for God’s unfailing love, God’s promises, God’s answers to prayer, and God’s protection.
1 Samuel 8: 4-11, (12-15), 16-20; (11: 14-15)
The people of Israel demand a king and God concedes, instructing Samuel to tell them how hard it will be to have a king ruling over them. Then Saul is appointed as king.
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Paul explains his hope and faith in God that compels him to preach, for as God raised Christ, so God will raise all who believe in Christ. This gives us hope and perseverance in the face of the troubles we must deal with in this life.
Mark 3:20-35
In response to the religious teachers who claim that Jesus is possessed by a demon, Jesus teaches that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and that Satan cannot fight against Satan. Then, when his mother and brothers come asking for him, Jesus declares that all who do God’s will are his siblings and parents.
(Summary of Bible readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Printed version of readings, landscape folded format, COCU42B Readings

Useful resources
Liturgy for this Sunday on Rex AE Hunt’s website
Textweek
re-worship;

Gathering words (inspired by 1 Samuel 8, 11; 2 Corinthians 4–5; Mark 3)
We look to the rulers of this earth
for leadership, wisdom, and strength.
We look to these bodies of ours
for stability, fulfillment, and joy.
We look to families and friends
for love, compassion, and hope.
When rulers betray, when bodies fail,
and when families disappoint,
God offers another look.
God will guide us.
God’s Spirit will sustain us.
Christ will welcome us home.
Come, my sisters and brothers,
we are all God’s family now.
(Source: The Abingdon Worship Annual 2012, © 2011 Abingdon Press by Mary Scifres, adapted. Posted on the Worship Elements page of the Ministry Matters website)

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 138)
With my whole heart, we give you thanks, O God!
In the face of all the things that clamor for our attention each day, we turn to focus our adoration on you alone, O Lord!
Even though your name is above every name, O God, you recognize us and cherish the meek.
You, Lord, do not give any special honor to the proud and arrogant.  Instead, you strengthen those who are ridiculed and downtrodden.
Let us lift our voices in praise of the God of Love!
Together, let us worship the God who never forgets us!
(Source: Amy Loving, The Worship Closet)

Call to worship
Come, let us worship our God with joy and thanksgiving:
Everything in us says
Thank you! 
    
At worship in this sacred place we say it again:
Thank you! 
  
For your love, for your faithfulness;
Thank you!
When earth’s rulers hear what you have to say, O God,
They’ll sing of what you’ve done:
How great the glory of God!
Finish what you started in us, God.
Your love is eternal—stay with us, now, that we may say
Thank you!
(Source: Rev. Susan A. Blain, Minister for Faith Formation: Curator of Worship and Liturgical Arts, based on Psalm 138, The Message by Eugene H. Peterson)

Prayer of Confession (inspired by 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1)
Faithful God, we confess that we sometimes act as though there is no hope.  We forget the promise of resurrection.  We fail to see your grace at work in our lives, and so we waste time dwelling on our afflictions instead of celebrating our blessings.  Open our eyes, dear Lord.  Give us your vision, so we may glimpse your eternal glory.  Encourage us, so that we persevere and never lose heart.  We pray these things in the name of the One who holds our future in the safety of his hands.
(Source: Amy Loving, The Worship Closet)

Prayer of Approach and Confession
(inspired by Mark 3:20-35)
O God, you call us like a good parent to you to guide and protect us, to nourish and lead us. Brother Jesus, you call us like a caring elder brother to serve us and help us, to cheer us and invite us. Healing Spirit, you call us and move us ever closer into fellowship with you and each other.
Yet like unruly children we strain at your guidance, we try to break away and do it ourselves. We feel our strength and imagine to be all powerful. We rejoice in our life and imagine ourselves to be immortal. We know our talents and want to be independent rather than depend on you. Before we know it we are in the grip of other powers, leading us away from your loving ways into the slavery of selfish greed, adoring false gods of youth-fulness, materialism and power.
Lord, forgive us and free us. Open our eyes how your wisdom knows true leadership to be service. Open our hearts that we may learn that neither race or tribe, culture or religion are barriers to separate us but that we are all one family in your love.
So open our hearts and minds to learn again to live your love as we celebrate and worship you here together.
(Source: Rev. Andrea Price, Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday)

Call to Confession (from 1 Samuel 8: 4-11)
Leadership and governance is on everyone’s mind these days.
Competing visions of the common good strive for our attention.
Like the people of Israel in today’s text, we may be tempted to seek rulers
whose ways are not the ways of God. (a silence is kept)

Litany of Confession
When we forget that God’s ways lead all to the blessings of justice and mercy:
Lord have mercy.
When we forget that God’s ways lead all, especially the most vulnerable,
to blessings of safety, health, meaningful work:
Christ have mercy.
When we forget that God’s ways lead all to the blessings
of the shared abundance
of God’s beloved creation:
Lord have mercy.

Assurance of Pardon (from Mark 3: 34-35)
Jesus reminds us: “Who is my mother, and who are my sisters and brothers?
All those who do the will of God are my brother and sister and mother.”
In Christ we are forgiven all our failed efforts at community,
and invited afresh to rejoin the family of God, seeking blessing for all.
(Source: Rev. Susan A. Blain, Minister for Faith Formation: Curator of Worship and Liturgical Arts)

Sermon thoughts
(Gospel) Unquestioning allegiances to family and nation keep us bound to satanic systems, but Jesus binds the satan and breaks us free to be the new family of God.

Jan Richardson reflection here.

Sermon reflections (Andrew Prior) – Healing the family sandwich

This contribution from Walter Brueggeman could be worth pursuing in reflections for 2018 – whether our priorities are focussed on God or derived from a national identity and values. (The quote is relevant to many other countries, not only the U.S.) “The crisis in the U.S. church has almost nothing to do with being liberal or conservative; it has everything to do with giving up on the faith and discipline of our Christian baptism and settling for a common generic U.S. identity that is part patriotism, part consumerism, part violence, and part affluence.” ~ Walter Brueggemann
(this quote was included in this article about the fusion of nationalism and faith, and also in the 2017 Lenten Studies series by Walter Brueggeman) Continue reading

Posted in COCU Year B, Year B | 1 Comment

NAIDOC Week 8-15 July 2018

NAIDOC WEEK: 8-15 July 2018
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. It is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people, and participate in a range of activities and to support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. To follow the celebrations or find out more information, visit the NAIDOC Week website.

2018 National NAIDOC Theme: Because of her, we can!
NAIDOC Week 2018 will celebrate the invaluable contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made – and continue to make – to our communities, our families, our rich history and to our nation. As pillars of our society, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played – and continue to play – active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels. As leaders, trailblazers, politicians, activists and social change advocates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women fought and continue to fight, for justice, equal rights, our rights to country, for law and justice, access to education, employment and to maintain and celebrate our culture, language, music and art. They continue to influence as doctors, lawyers, teachers, electricians, chefs, nurses, architects, rangers, emergency and defence personnel, writers, volunteers, chief executive officers, actors, singer songwriters, journalists, entrepreneurs, media personalities, board members, accountants, academics, sporting icons and Olympians, the list goes on. They are our mothers, our elders, our grandmothers, our aunties, our sisters and our daughters. Sadly, Indigenous women’s role in our cultural, social and political survival has often been invisible, unsung or diminished.
For at least 65,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have carried our dreaming stories, songlines, languages and knowledge that have kept our culture strong and enriched us as the oldest continuing culture on the planet. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were there at first contact. They were there at the Torres Strait Pearlers strike in 1936, the Day of Mourning in 1938, the 1939 Cummeragunja Walk-Off, at the 1946 Pilbara pastoral workers’ strike, the 1965 Freedom Rides, the Wave Hill walk off in 1966, on the front line of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972 and at the drafting of the Uluru Statement. They have marched, protested and spoken at demonstrations and national gatherings for the proper recognition of our rights and calling for national reform and justice.
Our women were heavily involved in the campaign for the 1967 Referendum and also put up their hands to represent their people at the establishment of national advocacy and representative bodies from the National Aboriginal Congress (NAC) to ATSIC to Land Councils and onto the National Congress for Australia’s First Peoples. They often did so while caring for our families, maintaining our homes and breaking down cultural and institutionalised barriers and gender stereotypes.
Our women did so because they demanded a better life, greater opportunities and – in many cases equal rights – for our children, our families and our people. They were pioneering women like Barangaroo, Truganini, Gladys Elphick, Fannie Cochrane-Smith, Evelyn Scott, Pearl Gibbs, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Celuia Mapo Salee, Thancoupie, Justine Saunders, Gladys Nicholls, Flo Kennedy, Essie Coffey, Isabel Coe, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Eleanor Harding, Mum Shirl, Ellie Gaffney and Gladys Tybingoompa. Today, they are trailblazers like Joyce Clague, Yalmay Yunupingu, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Nova Peris, Carol Martin, Elizabeth Morgan, Barbara Shaw, Rose Richards, Vonda Malone, Margaret Valadian, Lowitja O’Donoghue, June Oscar, Pat O’Shane, Pat Anderson Jill Milroy, Banduk Marika, Linda Burney and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks – to name but a few.
Their achievements, their voice, their unwavering passion give us strength and have empowered past generations and paved the way for generations to come.
Because of her, we can! Continue reading

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Arbor Day/Tree Day – 20June2018 (in Australia)

Arbor (Tree) Day in Australia – June 20, 2018

Arbor Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, but mostly organized on different dates. The first known Arbor Day was celebrated in 1594 in Spain. In the USA it’s celebrated on April 27th. In Australia it’s on June 20. Jewish people observe Tu B’Shevat (Tu Bishvat), on the 15th day of the Jewish months of Shevat. This festival is also known as the “New Year for Trees”.

The very first Arbor Day is Australia was observed in 1889. The proposal for observation of this day was made by several South Australians, who were concerned about the environmental situation of the continent. The activity of white settlement had led to the rapid loss of vegetation across South Australia, and that is why an appropriate environmental event was demanded. The proposal was backed by parliamentarians and soon Arbor Day was established.
The inaugural event included a parade and after it the officials planted trees. For instance, then-governor Lord Kintore and his wife planted a bunya pine and a weeping Scotch elm. These trees still grow today. Pupils also planted a number of trees in designated areas.
Protection of the environment is a great issue in Australia, that is why a number of Tree Days are observed by Australians. For instance, every state has its own Arbor Day and Arbor Week is observed in Victoria. Moreover, National Tree Day and School Tree Day are also observed by Australians.

Lynne Baab reflects on trees (from a North American context).
I have always loved trees. They speak to me of God’s creativity, complexity, beauty and provision. In high school, we had three young birch trees in our back yard. To me, they looked like young girls dancing, reflecting the joy of living in God’s beautiful world.
As a university student, I took hundreds of photos of the sun shining through trees. I particularly admired the translucence of maple leaves backlit by the sun, speaking to me of the beauty of the Light of the World.
I often remember the trees from places I’ve traveled. The first time I travelled to New Mexico and Colorado in the fall, the round, golden aspen leaves made me gasp with pleasure. The trees looked like they were covered with gold coins, a picture of God’s rich beauty and abundance.
The eucalyptus trees in Australia were a revelation. I had always loved the smell of eucalyptus trees when I visited Northern California, but I thought “eucalyptus” referred to one kind of tree. In Australia, dozens of species of eucalyptus fill the streets and parks, each species with a slightly different color or shape. Of the 700 species of eucalyptus in the world, most are native to Australia. Seeing all those different kinds of eucalyptus trees made me feel like a kid in a candy shop of trees, all of them intricately created by the Maker of all beauty.
Trees are used throughout the Bible as metaphors for various aspects of faith. The tree planted by streams of water in Psalm 1 bears fruit in its season and has green leaves even in a drought. Who is like that tree? A person who loves God, does what is right, and meditates on God’s law day and night.
The vision of God’s abundance described in Isaiah 55:12 talks about joy and peace, which will be so powerful that the mountains will sing and “all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” I read that verse for the first time as a very young Christian, during my photographing-trees-in-the-sun phase, and I posted the verse on my bulletin board because it was so vivid and joyous.
In John’s vision of heaven, recounted in Revelation 21 and 22, the river of life flows through the city, with the tree of life growing beside it, “and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Rev 22:2). The nations so desperately need God’s healing. I wonder if those healing leaves look like maple leaves with the sun shining through them. Perhaps those healing leaves are gold, like aspen leaves in the fall.
Trees take simple ingredients – carbon dioxide from the air, water and minerals from the soil – and turn them into beautiful branches and leaves, as well as delicious fruit and precious oxygen. Because humans and other mammals breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, trees give balance, providing the oxygen that is essential for human life. Without trees, the rising carbon dioxide level of the air would make life impossible for two reasons: lack of oxygen for mammals to breathe and ever increasing temperatures caused by carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect.
Arbor Day focuses on planting trees, these miracles of beauty and oxygen.  This year, to celebrate Arbor Day, plant a tree. Draw a tree. Photograph a tree. Look out your window or go outside and enjoy the trees that you can see. And don’t forget to thank God for trees.
(Originally posted on Godspace).

For further reflection:
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How they Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben will blow your mind. Did you know that trees communicate with each other? They do it through chemicals they release into the wind and through fungi and other plants in the earth.

In November 2017, Rev Brian Polkinghorne was presented the ‘Award of Merit’ by the Roseworthy Old Collegians Association. The now 80-year-old and his family moved to Tanzania 12 months after he completed agriculture studies at Roseworthy College in 1969. He went as an agricultural missionary and has been back and forth to Tanzania on many occasions working on different projects. The African Evangelistic Enterprise invited him to open up a large reforestation project in Tanzania, funded by the Australian government. Brian and his team convinced farmers to plant and nurture 6.72 million trees. More here.

Rev Brian Polkinghorne

Brian and Jill Polkinghorne

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COCU41B.3June2018

Readings
1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20):The child, Samuel, who is serving God with the Eli the priest, hears God’s voice in the night. He mistakenly thinks it is Eli, but then Eli explains it is God, and instructs him to say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” Then God gives Samuel a message of judgement against Eli’s family because of his corrupt sons. In the morning Samuel tells Eli the prophecy.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18: The Psalmist celebrates the God who has searched him and knows him, who sees him in all the parts of his life, and who goes before and follows him. This God created all the intricate parts of his body – wonderfully – and formed him in his mother’s womb, recording all the days of his life in God’s book.
2 Corinthians 4:5-12: God’s apostles don’t preach themselves but Christ crucified. The light of Christ shines in their hearts, but they are like fragile clay jars to show that the power is from God. They endure many different kinds of suffering and persecution, but the life of Christ is at work within them even as their bodies are dying. Our present struggles are nothing compared to the glory that awaits and that lasts forever.
Mark 2:23-3:6: Jesus’ disciples pick grain to eat as they are walking along, and the Pharisees challenge Jesus on this, because it was the Sabbath. But Jesus points them to David eating the sacred bread from the temple. Then he tells them that the sabbath was created for people, not people for the Sabbath, and he is Lord of the Sabbath. Then Jesus heals a man with a damaged hand and challenges the critics who want to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. But they do not respond.
(Bible summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Resources
Textweek
re-worship

Elements of worship – links within this website
Components of worship
Gathering
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are
Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Readings
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion)

Meditation (on the Psalm)
Search me, O God,
know my heart.
Know when I sit, and when I rise,
discern my thoughts, my truths and lies.
Watch for when I travel forward,
when I stumble, fumble, wayward.
Search me, O God,
know my heart.
Listen to my speaking tongue,
anticipate its healing, and its harm.
Stay close to me, before, behind,
let me feel on my shoulder, your gentle hand.
Search me, O God,
know my heart.
I do not understand your wisdom,
cannot attain or show or fathom.
I can wonder; stand in awe
at ocean’s edge, feet wet on your shore.
Search me, O God,
know my heart.
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story – link includes an audio of the meditation)

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