COCU Index Year A 2016-17/Year B 2017-18

Year A

Nov 20 International Transgender Day of Remembrance (ITDR)

COCU67A, Reign of Christ, 26th November 2017
(Also Reign of Christ Year B and Year C)

World AIDS Day, December 1st

Advent general resources
Advent and Christmas Music

COCU1B, Advent 1B, 3rd December 2017
(Also UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities – IDPD, Dec 3rd)
COCU2B, Advent 2B, 10th December 2017
(also UN Human Rights Day, Dec 10)
COCU3B, Advent 3B, 17th December 2017

Blue Christmas

COCU4B, Advent 4B, 24th December 2017
(also Christmas Eve – Year A, Year B, Year C)
COCU5B, Christmas Day, 25th December 2017
(Christmas Day music)
COCU6B, Christmas 1B, 31st December 2017 (Christmas 1A)
(New Years Day, 1st January 2018)

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

Citation index (Vanderbilt Library) in canonical order.

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Christmas Trees tradition and blessing

The use of the Christmas tree is relatively modern. Its origins are found in the medieval mystery plays which depicted the tree of paradise and the Christmas light or candle which symbolized Christ, the Light of the world. We see the evergreen tree as a reminder also of God’s everlasting love for us.

According to custom, the Christmas tree is set up just before Christmas and remains in place until the solemnity of Epiphany. Whether the tree is in a home or in the church we like the tradition of a tree blessing after the tree is decorated and before the tree is illuminated. Here are two suggestions:

Lord God,
let your blessing come upon us
as we illumine this tree.
May the light and cheer it gives
be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts.
May all who delight in this tree
come to the knowledge and joy of salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

God of all creation,
we thank you for this tree,
which brings beauty
and memories
and the promise of life to our home.
May Your blessings be upon all that gather
around this tree,
and who keep the Christmas festival by its lights.
We wait for the coming of Christ,
the days of everlasting justice and peace.
You are our God, living and loving,
forever and ever. Amen

(Source: Jenny Gallo, Carrot Top Studio)

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Reign of Christ A

Christ in Judgment

(see also Reign of Christ B in ‘Year B’ on this site for other resources. Also, Textweek has an incredible range of resources)

Reign of Christ Sunday (or ‘Christ the King’) was first instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius IX, and over time, has become an ecumenical observance. The one enthroned is also the one who takes the role of the servant and washes feet, and wears a crown of thorns. His concern for the outcast and wounded is in keeping with the actions of the shepherd in Ezekiel. (from ‘Gathering’, United Church of Canada)

READINGS
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100
Ephesians 1:15-23

Matthew 25:31-46

First Thoughts on the Old Testament Readings: Howard Wallace
http://hwallace.unitingchurch.org.au/webotcomments/ContentspageYearA.html
http://www.oldtestamentlectionary.unitingchurch.org.au/Lectionary.htm

I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Ezekiel 34.20
God notices our injustice,
and despises it.
God sees our systems that favor some
and exclude others;
it is God whom we exclude.
The Realm over which Christ reigns
is no heaven in the clouds,
but this trodden earth,
this very place where we foul the water
of our companion sheep,
this world which Christ will dismantle
and rebuild, re-make like the potter and her clay.
To be loyal subject of this Sovereign
it will not be enough to doff our hats
and hurt each other. Piety will not suffice.
The divine passion for the others
will rule our hearts and actions,
lead us from prayer to justice,
enlist us in the royal work of the new Realm.
The fat sheep like it as it is.
The lean sheep are remaking the world.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

First Thoughts on the New Testament Readings: Bill Loader

Church of Scotland, Starters for Sunday for Reign of Christ

WELCOME and GREETING
Grace to you, and peace from the One who is and who was and who is to come. May this be a time and place of peace, that everyone who enters, enters in peace; and everyone who leaves, leaves in peace. 
Today is both the end and climax of the Christian year, which began in Advent last December. Today we celebrate the reign of Christ, Christ the King, and the paradox of the one named king who lays down the power to destroy, a leader who treads through the costly journey and into the shadow places of night, that we might find the rising of life before us. Christ the King, born to witness to God’s truth, whose might lies in mercy. 
When we speak of Christ as king, we speak of one who: is the first child of a village woman, born in a stable; is a story teller among the common people: welcomes children that gather around him, lays his hands on unclean lepers, makes disciples out of fishermen tax collectors, dines with traitors and other dregs of society, washes the feet of his followers, tramps around the country on foot, allows a prostitute to publicly wipe his feet with her hair. His only crown – a wreath of thorns. His only throne – two crossed planks of wood. (adapted, Bruce Prewer) In him, there is no shadow or darkness, but a light wherein the humble and poor may walk secure forever and ever! Praise his name!

Call to worship (based on Psalm 100)
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come into God’s presence with singing.
Know that the LORD is God. It is God who made us, and we belong to God;
We are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.
Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and God’s courts with praise.
Give thanks to God! Bless God’s name.
For the LORD is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever, and God’s faithfulness to all generations.

AN AUSTRALIAN PSALM OF PRAISE: “JESUS IS KING!”
Come, join to praise with morning light: our loving King!
Let grateful voices sound with might: our loving King!
Let children’s voices tell their praise,
While aged lips extol your ways,
Let every tongue in joy unite: our loving King
To you we bring our praise!
Let songs like this ring through our land: our loving King!
From coastal farms and inland sand: our loving King!
Let all our nation thankful raise
Its voice in glad tumultuous praise: our loving King
To you we bring our praise!
Let earth’s great millions thunderous shout: our loving King!
Let this song spin the clouds about: our loving King!
We’ll always shout and sing your praise
While years flit by like passing days,
Until time runs its last hour out: our loving King
To you we bring our praise!
(by Bruce D. Prewer, ‘Australian Psalms’) Continue reading

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Blue Christmas

first-christmas

BLESSING FOR THE LONGEST NIGHT
All throughout these months,
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.
It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory,
by touch,
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.
So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you,
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you,
even though you cannot
see it coming.
You will know
the moment of its
arriving
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.
This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away,
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.
So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.
This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.
(Source: Jan Richardson, The Cure for Sorrow)
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Postal Survey Prayers

And it’s YES!

Postal Prayersan Australian vote regarding Same Sex Marriage.

16 million ballot papers were posted out to determine how Australians feel about the question, “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Yes or No. The postal survey was basically a huge opinion poll to gauge the views of Australians on same-sex marriage which MIGHT lead to a vote in Parliament. Only that vote can actually make same-sex marriage legal. Now a majority of people have voted in favour in the postal survey, a bill will be presented to Parliament and voted on which will make same-sex marriage legal.

Christians for Marriage Equalityprayers

I offer this
not so I might be heard
but that others may have voice

I offer this
not because I may be right
but because all have rights

I offer this
not for what I believe
but so all may feel free to

I offer this
not because I understand
but because I seek to

I offer this
not because my story is normative
but because others’ stories make me

I offer this
not because anything goes
but because some things matter

I offer this
not because change is inevitable
but because Love makes all things new
(Source: Craig Mitchell, Facebook, September 2017)

A prayer on the casting of my ballot
Lord, if I am too strong,
if I make others feel they don’t belong,
if I’m simply wrong,
forgive me.

Lord, if I am too weak,
if I sometimes fail to speak,
if it’s some other god I seek,
forgive me.

Lord, as you are the light,
grant me not to fear or fight,
and never to lose sight,
that you forgive me. Amen.
(Source: Michael Earl, posted on Facebook by Peter Overton)

The following reflections have been penned by Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler, and she has offered them to be used widely.
(Originally posted on Amelia’s blogsite Hyphenated Faith).

1. Words for the Post
Word of Life,
You challenge us to use our words to create or destroy,
to bring life-hope or experiences of death to others.
May we treasure the sharing of one little word…
So small, yet carrying such great meaning.
Word of Life,
You gave your life that others may live.
We praise and thank you that you sacrificed relationship
so that we might discover holy, lifelong, committed relationships.
Word of Life,
You set up the Bridegroom image
and Your Spirit allows us all to be Bride.
We thank you that you invite us all,
(no matter our orientations nor our sense of identity),
to claim a seat at your table
and dwell in your holy household.
Thanks be to God!
Amen!
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resources in times of natural disaster/tragedy

Another shooting – Lord, have mercy! A gunman opened fire Sunday morning Nov 5th 2017 at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, near San Antonio, Texas. More than two dozen people are dead and many are injured.

If We Just Talk of Thoughts and Prayers 
O WALY WALY LM (“Though I May Speak”)   (MIDI)

If we just talk of thoughts and prayers
And don’t live out a faith that dares,
And don’t take on the ways of death,
Our thoughts and prayers are fleeting breath.

If we just dream of what could be
And do not build community,
And do not seek to change our ways,
Our dreams of change are false displays.

If we just sing of doing good
And don’t walk through our neighborhood
To learn its hope, to ease its pain,
Our talk of good is simply vain.

God, may our prayers and dreams and songs
Lead to a faith that takes on wrongs—
That works for peace and justice, too.
Then will our prayers bring joy to you.

(Source © 2017 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net     New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com/)

Sutherland Springs Beatitudes:
Blessed are they who are devastated,
for theirs is the realm of heaven.

Blessed are they who grieve for this country,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed they who are nonviolent,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who long for a culture of peace
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are they who seek healing, not revenge,
for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are they who desire only blessing for all,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are they who work for the healing of the world,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who meet opposition
in their work for peace and justice,
for theirs is the realm of heaven.

Blessed are you when people dismiss and insult you.
Rejoice, and be glad:
great is your reward in the heart of all things,
for in just this way
they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Another response: A Prayer of Anguish – Seeking Answers in a Sea of Questions, by Shane Phipps

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Advent – general resources

Advent Prayer
God of hope,
who brought love
into this world,
be the love that dwells between us.

God of hope,
who brought peace
into this world,
be the peace that dwells between us.

God of hope,
who brought joy
into this world,
be the joy that dwells between us.

God of hope,
the rock we stand upon,
be the centre,
the focus of our lives always,
and particularly this Advent time.
(Source: John Birch, Faith and worship)

Let us wait as children wait (a series of reflections on Godspace)

Advent Calendar – 40 days of Advent from Nov 15th (general information here)
In the 6th century, the Celtic Christians celebrated Advent during the 40 days before Christmas, as a mirror to the period of Lent before Easter. In this age of  blurring of holy-days and consumerism, starting Advent earlier gives a longer, more intentional preparation for Christ’s coming.
Christmas seems to end abruptly on December 26th in our consumer-culture celebration. Another lost tradition marks the Twelve Days from Christmas to Epiphany.  Epiphany means appearance or manifestation and remembers the Magi visiting Jesus; Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan–the public revelation that he is God’s Son; and the first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana.  The period from December 25 to January 6th is an ideal time for reflecting on the Light that has come into the world with the birth of Christ.
(Source: Susan Forshey)

A joy spiral for Advent (Christine Sine).

Magnificat: Canticle of the Turning by Rory Cooney – Irish traditional tune with words based on the Magnificat

Advent water wreath (particularly for southern hemisphere, and Australia
Using water as the entry point for the advent themes, especially suitable for the southern hemisphere as summer approaches and for the season of drought in many places.
http://ctm.uca.edu.au/childrenfamilies/files/2012/07/watery_advent_wreath.pdf

Christmas Bowl Resources, including songs, prayers and Advent Candle litanies here.

From the depths we cry by Claire McKeever-Burgett
This is particular to events in the USA and can be easily adapted to local contexts. It is a lament and written in the context of Advent 2014 (can be used in place of prayers of confession). (Written in memory of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and all other black boys and men, black girls and women killed by those who purportedly exist to keep our communities safe.)
We hear the cry of Eric Garner’s widow: “Hell, no. The time for remorse for the death of my husband was when he was yelling to breathe.”
We hear the cry of Michael Brown’s mother: “We heard this and it was just like, like I had been shot. Like you shoot me now — just no respect, no sympathy, nothing. This could be your child. This could be anybody’s child.”
We hear the cry of Rachel in Ramah, one of deep anguish and bitter weeping, refusing to be comforted because her children are no more. (Jeremiah 31: 15)[1]
We hear the cry of Maya Angelou: “It is impossible to struggle for civil rights, equal rights for blacks, without including whites. Because equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it. That is the truth of it.
We hear the cry of Rev. Jeff Hood: “I keep thinking about Eric Garner saying, ‘I can’t breathe.- It made me think — that’s what Jesus is saying in this culture. Jesus is fundamentally connected to the marginalized and right now Jesus is saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’ I think the church should be saying the same thing — that we can’t breathe in this culture and we have to change this culture in order for us to have breath and exist in this society.”
We hear the cry of the prophets: “Repent, for the kin-dom of heaven is come near! Prepare the way of the Lord, and make the paths right!”
We hear the cries of each other[2]:
How do we live in a world that kills unarmed black boys?
How do we raise our children in world that sets murderers free?
What does our privilege afford us, and what does our privilege call us to do?
A silence is kept
Cries of silence, cries of pain rise up like incense before the Holy One as we sit, as we wait.
From the depths, we cry, and from mercy, God hears the voices of grieving mothers and marginalized prisoners and oppressed captives.
From the depths, we cry, and from mercy, God attends our needs for peace, for healing, for justice, for love.
From the depths, we cry, and from mercy, we sit together, and we wait.
From the depths, we cry, and from mercy, we trust and we live.
From the depths, we cry, and from mercy, we sing a new song in spite of our fear.
From the depths, we cry, and from mercy a child is born.
From the depths, we cry, and from mercy we creatively and powerfully act.
A silence is kept
Amen.
[1] If we are to be so bold, someone could actually yell a cry here. It is dramatic, but I think it’s appropriate and adds texture to the true lamentation – or, invite a grieving mother to read this line about Rachel.
[2] Here, I would invite people to voice their questions, their cries, their laments. I would place a few in the congregation as “plants” with something already prepared, but invite people to spontaneously speak aloud a one sentence question or cry or lament.

Let us practice being ready
It doesn’t matter whether or not you can have faith;
whether or not you are cynical or despairing, hope-filled or hope-less:
what matters to God is simply that you are here.
We are entering the time of Advent, in preparation for Christmas.
Advent reminds us that if God is to be born again
in the most ordinary parts of our world and our lives
that we need prepare for it.
We need to make the space in our lives where love might be born.
Welcome to this tiny corner of a harsh and dark world.
Together, let us practice being ready in the faith that Christ will come.    Cheryl Lawrie

Learning to walk in the dark (Barbara Brown Taylor)
‘Through darkness, we begin to see the world and sense God’s presence around us in new ways, guiding us through things seen and unseen, and teaching us to find our footing in times of uncertainty. Like seeds buried in the ground, we will find how darkness is essential for our own growth and flourishing’.
‘I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.
Recognising our tendency to associate all that is good with light, and all that is evil and dangerous with darkness, BBT asks whether God doesn’t work at night too?
In Advent, themes of light and dark are explored, often with light trumping the darkness. But maybe this duality is unhelpful. At Pilgrim, we are doing a study of BBT’s book as our  Advent study this year. The wonderful Helen Wiltshire has penned some Advent introductions for our services in 2014 which will deliberately juxtapose hope with its opposite, love with its opposite etc and thereby explore the dark shadows, and discover God is in the darkness too.
Advent thoughts.HelenWiltshire.2014

Smuggling God into the world inside your own body
In a sermon about Mary’s response to God, Barbara Brown Taylor once said:
“If you decide to say no, you simply drop your eyes and refuse to look up until you know the angel has left the room and you are alone again. Then you smooth your hair and go back to your spinning or your reading or whatever it is that is most familiar to you and pretend that nothing has happened…. Or you can set your book down and listen to a strange creature’s strange idea. You can decide to take part in a plan you did not choose, doing things you do not know how to do for reasons you do not entirely understand. You can take part in a thrilling and dangerous scheme with no script and no guarantees. You can agree to smuggle God into the world inside your own body.
From “Mothers of God ” in Gospel Medicine

Reflection on consumerism and the realm of God
on Sojourners, by Scott Bessenecker
“The gospel ought to consume us; instead we have turned it into a consumable. I believe the good news about the reign of Christ over the all creation, the invitation to love our enemies, the vision of communities beating their weapons into agricultural implements, has been turned into a product. For many the gospel has been reduced to a privatized salvific experience purchased through a ministry outlet mall – the church dressed up like a coffee shop selling cups of Pumpkin Spice Saviour. When the gospel is reduced to a highly individualized and highly privatized experience, we lose the larger picture of God’s plan to make all things new. We see our part in God’s mission exclusively through the lens of producing a convert, not restoring the cosmos. If the gospel were only about words, then I suppose it could be wrapped in packaging and sold at gospel outlet malls. But its nature is cosmic and its purveyors are organic. It defies the easy reduction to a sales pitch. If the mission of God is the renewal and reconciliation of all things – people, planet, and powers – then the people of God need to be about the activities of God”.

Who’s birthday is it anyway? Advent Studies by Walter Brueggeman

Click on the link for more resources……

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Remembrance Day

Resources for Remembrance Day
(see also resources for ANZAC Day)

Iona/Wild Goose Publications here (downloads)

Prayer
For those whom we have asked
to bear the horror of our violence
we offer our prayers
of thanks for their willingness
to stand between us and our fears,
for forgiveness for having asked them,
of healing for the damage to their souls
by what they have done and seen,
for mercy for them who don’t know
how to carry the horror back to us,
how to shed the darkness
we have asked them to drink,
how to live among us, who are so willing
to sacrifice our children.
May we give others peace to bear, not fear,
healing to carry, not weapons,
and send them into blessing, not danger.
May we, too, have the courage to serve,
to risk, to give our lives in love
for the sake of our homeland,
which is the Kingdom of God,
the whole human family,
in the spirit of peace. Amen.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes, www.unfoldinglight.net

UCA 2014 Remembrance Day resources
2014_UCA_Remembrance_Sunday_Resources
Remembrance_Day_resources

Remembrance Day youtube resource (3.21 mins) – prayer meditation

Prayer for Remembrance Day
Let us pray for all who suffer as a result of conflict,
and ask that God may give us peace:
for the service men and women
who have died in the violence of war,
each one remembered by and known to God;
may God give peace. God give peace. Continue reading

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All Saints Day

Readings
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 115:16)
One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4)
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They cried out in a loud voice, saying: Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! These beloved have gone on before us into eternal life. (Revelation 7:9-10).
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. Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:10)

Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs

Reflections on church shooting at Sutherland Springs, Nov 5th 2017 (the day for celebrating All Saints Day). Scroll to the end for the full text.

Gospel feelings resources here.

A Call to Worship for All Saints Day
(Hebrews 12: 1)
We remember, O God…
The countless saints of history
who have blazed a trail of courage through time,
We remember, O God…
The tender touch of loved ones,
the example of heroes,
the healing words of comforters,
the remarkable acts of fearless ones.
We remember, O God…
The gentle strength of grandmothers,
the loyalty of friends,
the kindness of strangers,
the joy of children,
the sacrifice of parents.
We remember, O God…
The supreme love of Jesus,
the blessing of his Spirit,
the reminder of his words,
the sharing of his suffering,
the glory of his resurrection:
shown forth in the lives of his disciples,
young and old,
dead and living,
articulate and silent,
strange and familiar,
brilliant and ordinary.
We remember in every time and place the saints of God
who have shown us the Lord.
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…
let us worship God with joy!
(Desperate Preacher’s website)

Call to Worship for All Saints Day
With thanksgiving on my tongue,
I sing praise for the feet of the saints
who walked this path long before me
who pointed out this path to me
who cleared the path with me.

With thanksgiving on my tongue,
I sing praise for the wisdom of the saints
who shared their vision of God’s ways
who lived faithfully by God’s ways
who loved God all the way.

With thanksgiving on my tongue,
I sing praise for the cloaks of the saints
that sheltered my weary soul from the dust
that marked my life for a new adventure
that gave me some flair for the dance.

With thanksgiving on your tongue,
now sing praise for the voices of the saints
who named God within you
who evoked God from you
who gave God to you.
(Rachel Hackenberg, and posted on RevGalBlogPals)

Call to worship
In all our weakness and strength,
with our youth-filled spirits and aging bodies,
we come to be your people, O God.

Strong in faith and eager with questions,
singing our praise and whispering our prayers,
we come to be your people, O God.

Filled with saintly determination
yet mindful of our human limitations,
we come to be your people, O God.

Made strong in your endless love for us,
we know ourselves to be yours and
we come to be your people, O God.

May we truly become your people today. Amen.
(Seasons of the Spirit: WoodLake Publishing)

All Saints Day
This day, Lord,
We remember
We remember those who have come before
Those known and unknown,
Those imperfect vessels who, like us, sought to embody your grace and love,
Those who received and carried tradition,
And in turn passed it on to us.
May we live like them as faithful disciples,
Inspired by their example,
Receiving their wisdom,
Learning from their mistakes,
And seeking to work with you
To build the communion of the commonwealth of your love.
So hallowed be your name,
Just as it was at times in them,
So may it be in us.
This we pray. Amen.
(source: Jon Humphries)

Prayer of the Day
Eternal God, neither death nor life can separate us from your love: grant that we may serve you faithfully here on earth, and in heaven rejoice with all your saints. Amen.

Prayer of Confession: All Saints
Jesus, lover and friend, you showed us holiness in action through the way you lived your life. You gave away your power in the service of others and turned our understanding of blessedness on its head.
We confess the difficulties we experience in living as you lived and loving as you loved
We confess how easy it is to concentrate on our own pleasures – taking note of the plight of many in the world only as the news momentarily grabs our attention.
We confess our capacity to be so consumed by our own agendas that our concern for the needs of others shrinks all too rapidly.
We confess our failure to act when we see around us weakness, pain, suffering and powerlessness. A time of silent confession
We confess our reluctance to love our enemies and to do good to those who dislike or even hate us.
We confess the ease with which we become conformed to the world’s standards rather than facing the challenge of conforming to those of Christ.
Stir up your Spirit in us, Lord, that we may experience the happiness and blessing of being your disciples in more than name only.
Strengthen us to be people who sing and live your song of love; who willingly serve our neighbours—even those we don’t especially like; who seek justice and mercy for all and who truly repent of what is past and look with anticipation for what is yet to come. This we pray in your name and for your sake. Amen.
Assurance of Forgiveness
“In Christ… when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, you also were marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people.” (Ephesians 1: 13, 14)
Hear again the word of truth: in Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!
(Moira Laidlaw)

The those who have lived before us
Dear Lord,
thank you for drawing us into community
here in this place that has been called home for so many.

Inspire us with the lives of those before us,
those ancient ones who have lived here in faith
and opened up and given away
your love to all those who needed it.

May you change us with a vision to continue here
as a constant presence for those who travel through life,
a community of welcome that cares for all our parish
believing into what is still yet to be.

Teach us to discern your voice
as those before us have discerned your voice,
guided by its call and feeding on its promise
of life and hope and belonging.

May we hear your word:
a comforting word in its familiar sound,
yet a disturbing word in what it speaks anew
and longs for us to become.

Hold us within the faith of our forebears,
those who chose to meet you here in this parish,
who recognised this thin place as a trysting place
where your miracle of grace abides.

May we be moved by that grace
into all the places that make up our community,
sharing what you have given abundantly
like an ever flowing stream.

Call us from our past,
through the voices of our ancestors,
in the songs they have sung
and the prayers they have spoken
that have shaped peace within this parish,

And may we join our voice with their voice,
in the one great song of love
that will be lived and celebrated yet,
throughout this parish.
(Rev. Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Listening to the Stones)

Sermon by Doug Gay, based on lectionary reading Year C (Zacchaeus).

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International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

An article by Elizabeth Kendal, an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. She serves as Director of Advocacy at Canberra-based Christian Faith and Freedom (CFF), and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.

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COCU4B.Advent 4B.24th December 2017

Note: COCU relates to a way of coding for the lectionary year.

Readings
2 Samuel 7: 1-11, 16
God, through the prophet Nathan, declares God’s promise to David that he will establish his kingdom forever, will give him peace from his enemies, and will establish a nation for God’s people.
Psalm 89: 1-4, 19-26
A celebration of God’s choosing of David, and strengthening him to serve God as king.
Romans 16: 25-27
Paul celebrates the God who has fulfilled prophecy and has made known the Good News about Jesus so that Gentiles might believe.
Luke 1: 26-38
The angel Gabriel visits Mary and declares that she will give birth to God’s son. He also tells her about Elizabeth’s pregnancy, and Mary accepts her calling.
(RCL Readings summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

General Advent resources here.

Music
David MacGregor, Together to Celebrate, Christmas Eve

 

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