COCU Index Year B 2014-15

The COCU Index for Year B, 2014-15: COCU master index.YearB.2015

Upcoming Sundays
COCU53B, 23rd August, Pentecost 13B
COCU54B, 30th August, Pentecost 14B
COCU55B, 6th September, Pentecost 15B (also Fathers Day in Australia)
COCU56B, 13th September, Pentecost 16B
COCU57B, 20th September, Pentecost 17B
COCU 58B, 27th September, Pentecost 18B

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Spring

You walk in your garden,
enjoying what you have planted,
burgeoning, beautiful.

It has come from your hand
and yet from its own mystery,
each blossom a gift of grace.

You stand for a while, still,
taking in the beauty,
simply relishing being there.

You also know what you have sown
that is not yet up,
still hidden, gorgeous.

That, too, you savor,
the promise, the mystery,
the coming.

It is enough for you
to be here, to take it in.
This is its purpose, its perfection.

God, I too am still, sharing your delight
in the garden you have planted
in me.

(c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes

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COCU54B.Pentecost 14B.30August2015

(also Migrant and Refugee Sunday)

Readings: Song of Solomon 2:8-13; Psalm 45:-1-2,6-9 OR Psalm 72; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Giver of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
— James 1.17

Beloved, every little thing
is a signed card from you.
Every blade of grass and breath of air,
each moment has your blessing in it.
Each bit and trinket is a gift.
In every thought or feeling, sight or sound,
there is what that thing says,
and what you whisper besides,
and there is you.
Even in the hurts and disasters
there is your voice, your calm hand,
the unfolding of grace.
At the end of the day
my heart is strewn with wrapping paper.
(c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes, www.unfoldinglight.net

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Collect -various

Almighty God, who called your Church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted up on the cross, and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Almighty God, you search us and know us:
may we rely on you in strength
and rest on you in weakness,
now and in all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.Sunday 20 September 2015

wwppiWorld Week for Peace in Palestine Israel 2015 –  “God has broken down the dividing walls”
Worship, prayer, resources here.
The hashtag during the week is: “#WallWillFall”. The dates are 20-26th September 2015.
The focus is ‘pray, educate, advocate’.

The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches invites member churches, faith-based communities, and civil society organizations around the world to join together in 2015 for a week of advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel. Congregations and individuals around the globe who share the hope of justice shall unite during the week to take peaceful actions, together, to create a common international public witness.

As participants in World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, from 20 to 26 September 2015, churches around the world shall send a clear signal to policy-makers, community groups, and their own churches about the urgent need for a peace settlement that ends the illegal occupation and secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples.

Participants will organize and join in events and activities around the following three principles:

1. Praying with churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem and other worship resources prepared for the week.
2. Educating about actions that make for peace, and about facts on the ground that do not create peace, especially issues related to prisoners.
3. Advocating with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice.

Why?
This annual observance of a week of prayer, education, and advocacy calls participants to work for an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine, so that Palestinians and Israelis can finally live in peace. It has been 66 years since the creation of the State of Israel. This has not led to the creation of an independent Palestinian state but has only deepened the tragedy of the Palestinian people. It is now 47 years since the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza overwhelmed the peaceful vision of one land, two peoples.

Yet the dream of one nation cannot be fulfilled at the expense of another.
The action week’s message is that now:

  • It’s time for Palestinians and Israelis to share a just peace.
  • It’s time for freedom from occupation.
  • It’s time for equal rights.
  • It’s time for the healing of wounded souls.

wallIt’s time for Palestine
It’s time for Palestine.
It’s time for Palestinians and Israelis to share a just peace.

It’s time to respect human lives in the land called holy.
It’s time for healing to begin in wounded souls.
It’s time to end more than 60 years of conflict, oppression and fear.
It’s time for freedom from occupation.

It’s time for equal rights.
It’s time to stop discrimination, segregation and restrictions on movement.
It’s time for those who put up walls and fences to build them on their own property.
It’s time to stop bulldozing one community’s homes and building homes for the other community on land that is not theirs.
It’s time to do away with double standards.

It’s time for Israeli citizens to have security and secure borders agreed with their neighbours.
It’s time for the international community to implement more than 60 years of United Nations resolutions.
It’s time for Israel’s government to complete the bargain offered in the Arab Peace Initiative.
It’s time for those who represent the Palestinian people to all be involved in making peace.
It’s time for people who have been refugees for more than 60 years to regain their rights and a permanent home.
It’s time to assist settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to make their home in Israel.
It’s time for self-determination.

It’s time for foreigners to visit Bethlehem and other towns imprisoned by the wall.
It’s time to see settlements in their comfort and refugee camps in their despair.
It’s time for people living more than 40 years under occupation to feel new solidarity from a watching world.

It’s time to name the shame of collective punishment and to end it in all its forms.
It’s time to be revolted by violence against civilians and for civilians on both sides to be safe.
It’s time for both sides to release their prisoners and give those justly accused a fair trial.
It’s time to reunite the people of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
It’s time for all parties to obey international humanitarian and human rights law.

It’s time to share Jerusalem as the capital of two nations and a city holy to three religions.
It’s time for Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities to be free to visit their holy sites.
It’s time in Palestine as in Israel for olive trees to flourish and grow old.

It’s time to honour all who have suffered, Palestinians and Israelis.
It’s time to learn from past wrongs.
It’s time to understand pent-up anger and begin to set things right.
It’s time for those with blood on their hands to acknowledge what they have done.
It’s time to seek forgiveness between communities and to repair a broken land together.
It’s time to move forward as human beings who are all made in the image of God.

All who are able to speak truth to power must speak it.
All who would break the silence surrounding injustice must break it.
All who have something to give for peace must give it.
For Palestine, for Israel and for a troubled world,
It’s time for peace.

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Mental Health

Mental illness is something which needs to be included in liturgy and prayers, not only on particular ‘weeks’ and ‘days’ but acknowledging that many people in congregations struggle with mental illness while at the same time they seek to worship God and find meaning in their life, and faith. Farmers struggle with depression and sadly the rate of farmer suicides in the USA and Australia is double the average for the rest of the population (especially in the younger age group of farmers).

(NB a caution against closely linking mental illness with racist acts and hate crimes such as the Lindt Cafe siege and shootings in Sydney and the Charleston shootings – actions such as this perpetrated against innocent people need to be considered separately, even if mental illness may be considered a factor).

friendsR U OK?Day 2015 is held on 10th September. See also Wikipedia link here.
Mental Health Week 2015 will be run from Sunday 4th to Saturday 10th October, and World Mental Health Day 2015 is marked every year on the same date: 10th October.
(these are dates for Australia – check out dates in your own country eg Mental Health Day in USA is in May)

From Wikipedia: R U OK?Day reminds people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, “R U OK?”, in a meaningful way, because connecting regularly and meaningfully is one thing everyone can do to make a difference to anyone who may be struggling. Around 45% of Australians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, while 20% are affected every year. [7]

The following has links to worship resources related to mental illness, depression etc. It is an area that clearly affects almost half the population at some stage in their life, and yet is almost never mentioned in church and worship.

For those Sunk in Depression
by Jon Humphries

God of Joy and Hope,
Christ of compassion,
For those sunk in depression we pray for their uplifting.
In the maze of dark emotions, may your light guide them to a way out and may it shine in those who care to help them on the journey.
In the midst of hurt and hopelessness, may your life awake in them the promise of healing and better times.
At times when the cycles of and habits negativity take root, weed them out and plant the seeds for happiness and positivity to grow.
When all certainty seems to point to no future which does not hold sadness and the aching of the soul, may they know the truth of your love and promise.
In the paralysis of unfeeling apathy and no desire to rise from sleep or no purpose in caring to care, may your will be lent to them so that the reason for love may awake within them.
In the battle against this insidious enemy, may those who struggle find allies to help them in the fight.
For those lost in the valley of the shadow of death, may they find that you are there looking out for them.
God of Joy and Hope,
Christ of compassion,
We pray for all whose life is being crushed under the burden of depression,
Bring around them people of sympathy, empathy and compassion.
May your people embody care and support for all who need it.
May grace and patience be gifted as they struggle to escape into wellness.
May love and healing be willingly and freely offered and received in the crucial times of desperate wont.
So Lord, for those sunk in depression we pray for their uplifting.
Please may this be so and may none be lost.
This we pray, Amen

My God, my God – Depression and the lament in Psalms by Stacey Gleddiesmith
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COCU53B.Pentecost 13B

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 (Trinity 12 / Proper 16 / Ordinary Time 21)

Readings:

1 Kings 8: (1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43; Psalm 84; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6: 56-69

Thom Shuman writes: “I am using the alternate OT texts tomorrow, and tying them in (hopefully) with the Ephesians/John passages. Seems to me that they all speak about being able to say ‘yes’ to God. I will probably use the following quote from Dag Hammarskjold, the UN Secretary General whose diary, “Markings”, was published after his death. I discovered “Markings” during my first year of college, and 50 years later, it still impacts my faith journey.
“I don’t know Who – or what – put the question, I don’t know when it was put. I don’t even remember answering. But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone – or Something – and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender, had a goal”. (Dag Hammarskjold, UN Secretary General, 1953-1961)

Ephesians 6:10-20
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

God, give me grace
to allow you to be my only defense.
I ay aside my capacity, my wisdom, my faith.
I surrender my distractions and obsessions,
my being comfortable, my being right.
Strip me of any defensiveness, anger,
dishonesty or superiority I cling to.
Give me courage to let down whatever shields me
from being one soul with another.
Let me be unprotected against the truth,
against the pain of the world,
the griefs hidden in my soul,
the terror of the dark places,
the heart of the heart before me.
Let me be naked in the light
of being human and imperfect, of having a body.
Give me the power of powerlessness—
vulnerable, willing, sensitive and open.
Be my only shield, my only security.
Let love and truth keep me whole and alive,
your presence alone preserve me,
your delight alone be my weapon and my strength,
my fortress, my life.
God of Love, your light is my armour. (c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Prayer/Collect
Lord our God, all truth is from you, and you alone bring oneness of heart. Give your people the joy of hearing your word and of longing for your presence more than for life itself. May all the attractions of a changing world point us to the peace of your reign, a peace which this world does not give. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(from ‘Uniting in Worship’, Leader’s Book, p. 272.)

Lord our God, help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart. Grant this through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (‘CanticaNova’)

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Seasons of creation – various

The earth is at the same time mother,
she is mother of all that is natural,
mother of all that is human,
She is the mother of all,
for contained in her
aret he seeds of all.
The earth of humankind
contains all moistness,
all verdancy,
all germinating power.
It is in so many ways fruitful.
All creation comes from it.
Yet it forms not only the basic
raw material for humankind,
but also the substance
of the incarnation
of God’s son.
Hildegard of Bingen, c. 1125

Jason John has uploaded resources for Seasons of Creation on his website.

Textweek.com has online resources for each Sunday in Season of Creation.

A great video clip (4.58 mins) – She’s Alive, beautiful, finite, dying, worth dying for – could be shown during a service. The blurb: “It was made to highlight the fact that world leaders, irresponsible corporates and mindless ‘consumers’ are combining to destroy life on earth. It is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today. The cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network (http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/). The principal source for the footage was Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s incredible film HOME http://www.homethemovie.org/. The music was by Armand Amar. Credit and thanks to Greenpeace and http://timescapes.org/”

Lord of life,
Things are not as they should be.
Our world is not as you intended.
We have overreached our place in the world.
We have upset the balance of nature.
We do not live in harmony with the environment.
We have exploited our planet.
Our devouring of resources is unnatural.
Our excesses are overbearing
Our destruction of the wild places is abhorrent
Our ignorance of the damage resulting from our lifestyle is inexcusable
We should be sorry.
We know the facts.
We have seen the effects.
But little do we change.
Do not forgive our token gestures.
Hold us accountable until we repent.
Disabuse us of our perverted selfish ways.
Grant us the shocking vision of the truth.
But also call us to your purpose.
Awaken in us the seeds of change.
Help us take up our responsibility.
Show us how to make amends.
Join us to your mission,
That our world may be renewed.
That we may be redeemed.
That the Creating Christ may be served.
In his name.
Amen. (c) Jon Humphries

Creation and communion liturgy
A Liturgy of Creation and Communion – John Van De Laar

Opening prayer (includes acknowledgement of land)
We give thanks for creation:
its vibrant genesis and evolution
its wonder and mystery
its delicacy and strength
its wordless word
it’s yes!
We give thanks for the Kaurna people who nurtured this land:
for their stories of the dreaming
for their connection with the sacred
for their yes!
We give thanks for the gift of this community:
for calling us to be present to one another
for the mystery of grace in our lives
for your yes!
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Migrant and Refugee Sunday

Refugee and Migrant Sunday is a celebration of the dignity of people who are refugees and migrants and the contribution they have made to life in Australia.  It is celebrated by the Churches together on or around the last Sunday of August each year.

2015 resources here.

Liturgy notes for 2011 prepared by SA Council of Churches Liturgy_Notes

Opening prayer
With respect and gratitude for the original custodians of this land, we gather together to affirm in hope and faith that we can create a sacred space of welcome for all who live in Australia (Let us pray )
God, you call us to be in relationship, building community with one another, working with one another, supporting and healing one another.
God, you call us into a community working for the common good of all people, making choices that bring hope, justice, truth and freedom to our world.
God, you call us into community with the whole of creation, always cherishing, nurturing and renewing the earth.
O God, You are the source of human dignity, and it is in your image that we are created. Pour out on us the Spirit of love and compassion.
Enable us to reverence each person:
to reach out to those in need:
to value and appreciate those who differ from us:
to share the resources of our nation:
to receive the gifts offered to us by people from other cultures.
Grant that we may always promote the justice and acceptance that ensures lasting peace and racial harmony. Help us to remember that we are one family. Amen.
(from resources for “Refugee & Migrant Sunday” 2006)

A multicultural church in multicultural Australia – a prayer
Leader:
God of indigenous peoples, and migrant groups old and new,
God of Ruth, loving and loyal in a new land,
God of Esther, courageous to save her people from ethnic cleansing,
Only your love can break through our boundaries of race and culture, of ignorance and fear.
(Voices)
I am a Samoan Australian
I am an Aboriginal Australian
I am an Anglo Australian
I am a Korean Australian
I am……(other examples)
All:
We are all Australians. Creator God, you are making a new Australia of us all. We want it to be an Australia that honours you:
that stands strongly for your way; that gives a fair go; that builds peace.
May God helps us to respond to this challenge.

Leader:
We all bring the unity and acceptance that are God’s gift to us.
All:
Spirit of God, empower us to prove that your way of compassion and community is the way we are going forward together, with Jesus. Amen.
(Adapted, from the ‘Conference on Multiracial ministry in a changing Australia’)

O God, you created all people in your image.
We thank you for the astonishing variety
of races and cultures in this world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of friendship,
and show us your presence
in those who differ most from us,
until our knowledge of your love is made perfect
in our love for all your children;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Source:
Lutheran Book of Worship: Minister’s Desk Edition,
(Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1978)
https://www.rca.org/resources/prayers-racial-harmony

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in times of grief, and death, and sorrow

Luka Bloom wrote this in March 2012, after 28 people from Belgium, including 22 children, died in a bus crash in Switzerland – ‘You should always come home’… Achingly beautiful, and so appropriate for so many suffering loss and grief, especially after tragedy. Thank you for your music, Luka Bloom.

Blessing when the world is ending
Look, the world
is always ending
somewhere.

Somewhere
the sun has come
crashing down.

Somewhere
it has gone
completely dark.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the gun
the knife
the fist.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the slammed door
the shattered hope.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the utter quiet
that follows the news
from the phone
the television
the hospital room.

Somewhere
it has ended
with a tenderness
that will break
your heart.

But, listen,
this blessing means
to be anything
but morose.
It has not come
to cause despair.

It is simply here
because there is nothing
a blessing
is better suited for
than an ending,
nothing that cries out more
for a blessing
than when a world
is falling apart.

This blessing
will not fix you
will not mend you
will not give you
false comfort;
it will not talk to you
about one door opening
when another one closes.

It will simply
sit itself beside you
among the shards
and gently turn your face
toward the direction
from which the light
will come,
gathering itself
about you
as the world begins
again.

– Jan Richardson

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COCU45B.Pentecost 5B

In 2015, Pentecost 5B is on June 28th.

RCL readings:
2 Samuel 1:1,17-27 or Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15, 2:23-24
Psalm 130
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Mark 5:21-43

See Textweek for worship resources for Pentecost 5B

Here is this week’s gospel reading: Mark 5:21-43
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?'” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
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