COCU Index Year A 2016-17

Year A
Season of Creation
(also, Spring season)

(Prayers for victims of flooding and winds – Texas, Nigeria, South East Asia, Florida)

Prayers for the postal ballot

COCU57A, Pentecost 16A, 24th September 2017
(also Social Justice Sunday)
(also World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, 17-24 Sept)
COCU58A, Pentecost 17A, 1st October 2017
(also World Communion Sunday)
COCU59A, Penteocost 18A, 8th October 2017
October 11, International Day of the Girl 2017
COCU60A, Pentecost 19A, 15th October 2017
COCU61A, Pentecost 20A, 22nd October 2017
COCU62A, Pentecost 21A, 29th October 2017
(All Saints Day, 1 Nov 2017)
COCU64A,  Pentecost 22A, 5th November 2017
(Remembrance Day, Nov 11th)
COCU65A, Pentecost 23A, 12th November 2017
COCU66A, Pentecost 24A, 19th November 2017
COCU67A, Reign of Christ, 26th November 2017

COCU Year A 2016-17

Citation index (Vanderbilt Library) in canonical order.

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Texts:  Exodus 16:2-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45; Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16

Weekly Seeds resource: UCC weekly seeds; Kate Huey: Kate Huey

Thom Shuman: Thom Shuman

CBN The deadly consequences of unforgiveness (with video)

“In the morning there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that God has given you to eat”. Exodus 16.13-15
What gets you through the desert?
What gets you through?
What gets you through the chemo,
the healing from abuse, the bad marriage,
what gets you through
the job that tries to kill you,
the dark alley of the shadow of death,
the rotten places, the placeless places,
the evil you fear, the evil you’ve done,
your daily inadequacy,
what gets you through?
Some will call it courage or stamina,
luck or faith or reaching down deep.
But you know it’s not you, not yours.
It’s given. To you. For you.
From the Holy One.
The thread you follow,
the source you drink from,
the encouraging voice,
the Divine desire that you thrive,
the gift amid the desolation,
you fund it anywhere—
the usual, the impossible,
the unwelcome.
You learn to recognize it.
You learn to receive it.
For that grace that gets you through
you learn to say thank you.
You learn to count on it,
and be surprised,
every morning.
Every morning.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Ideas for Prayers of Confession/Prayers of who we are

Ideas for Prayers for others – various

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Postal Prayers

Postal Prayersan Australian vote regarding Same Sex Marriage.

16 million ballot papers will be posted out over the coming weeks 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 is 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. If a majority of people vote in favour in the postal survey, a vote will then be held in parliament which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he expects will make same-sex marriage legal. If Australians vote no, Mr Turnbull has said the parliamentary vote will not proceed.

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!
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Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Psalm 19
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46

“Sabbath, in the first instance, is not about worship. It is about work stoppage. It is about withdrawal from the anxiety system of Pharaoh, the refusal to let one’s life be defined by production and consumption and the endless pursuit of private well-being.”
― Walter Brueggemann

“Zion is in ruins, Jerusalem lies in the dust. All week there is only hope of redemption. But when the Sabbath is entering the world, man is touched by a moment of actual redemption; as if for a moment the spirit of the Messiah moved over the face of the earth.”
– Abraham Heschel, The Sabbath

An order of service for Tuesday morning. Proper 22A Ordinary 27A 8am Tuesday

Readings for this week (formatted on double sided A4, folded into A5) Readings

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Social Justice Sunday

Social Justice Sunday is held annually on the last Sunday in September.

Resources for Social Justice Sunday on NCCA website.

Here’s a link to the 2014 Social Justice Sunday resources.

“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” Richard Rohr

The Prophetic Voice
God of Justice!
We call on you to guide
all those on this Land
to seek Justice.
Bless and renew our hearts and minds,
so that we may see with your insight,
mindful of the calling
to walk in your way of peace and reconciliation.
Seed in us the desire to be agitators
for holy change.

May the blessings we receive
inspire and nourish us
to bless those around us
with words of comfort
and actions of healing.
Inspire in our mouths
the words of your good news
for the sake of the world you love.

May we grow in the courage of Christ,
becoming and being prepared to take up the cross,
rather than buy in to the pressure
of dehumanizing and demeaning
that places avarice before generosity.
Gift us with the desire to share in joyful community.
Make us into catalysts for relationships.
Form us as people who become nourishment for the world.

May we deepen in our reading of your Scriptures,
that we might see your promises of mercy written in our souls.
May we work, throughout Australia,
and through our international partnerships,
to bring about a foretaste of the state of mercy and blessing
that characterizes Heaven.

Just as we seek mercy,
teach us to recognize the power imbalances
that prevent the full experience of abundant life.
May we learn to repent of those habits
that destroy your beautiful plan.
Rather, let us learn the creativity of your nature,
to better use our gifts for the sake of grace.

God of Justice,
be our Teacher and our Defender!
Correct us, so we can learn how to speak Truth.
And, when we do – protect us from the evils we confront,
For this is your will to be done
And we are honoured by your call.

So, we commit this day,
to be your holy and vocal people.
We commit to stand up for your beloved creation,
especially those who are marginalised
by the cultures of judgement and shame around us.
May we stand with them.
So be it.
(Source: Amelia Koh-Butler, Hyphenated Faith, 2017)

The goal of compassion – Richard Rohr
To reach the goal of compassion we must not stop with “the first gaze.” It is “the second gaze” that we struggle and wait for most of our lives. In the first half of life, we have a critical mind and a demanding heart and a lot of impatience. These characteristics are both gifts and curses, as you might expect. We cannot risk losing touch with either our angels or our demons. They are both good teachers. The trials of life invariably lead us to a second gaze. This is the gaze of compassion and patience. Now we look out at life from a place of Divine Intimacy where we are finally safe and at home. Only the second gaze sees fully and truthfully. It is the gaze of God at you, which you have finally received like a long-awaited radio signal, and once you receive it, it just automatically bounces back to the Sender.
Adapted from Contemplation in Action, pp. 19-20
Prayer: Teach me to hold the paradox of being contemplative in my actions.

Here’s a word version of the worship resources for 2012 (Peace in the Marketplace: so all may live with dignity’) Worship_resources_Social_Justice_Sunday_2012

Resource booklet: Social Justice Sunday 2012_resources

Music suggestions: Social Services Sunday-various songs

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World Communion Sunday – 1 Oct 2017

World Communion Sunday is a celebration observed by several Christian denominations, taking place on the first Sunday of every October, that promotes Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation.

Call to worship
Gathering God, joined as one family
we come to worship you today,
mindful of the breathing
of the life that you have called into being
across countries and climates;
all creatures and all creeds.

Jesus, teacher friend,
today you call us to your table
and invite us to feed on you,
so that we might then feed others.
Let our hunger for justice
and our desire for peace
never be exhausted
until all your children are safe and fed.

Life-giving Spirit,
let the words that reach our open ears
and your movement in our souls
in this time together
bless, comfort and disturb us.
So that the work of your servants here
may be directed along the right paths
for the sake of the world,
And all the people say: Amen.
(Source: Rev. Jennie Gordon)

Table Blessing
To your table
you bid us come.
You have set the places,
you have poured the wine,
and there is always room,
you say,
for one more.

And so we come.
From the streets
and from the alleys
we come.
From the deserts
and from the hills
we come.
From the ravages of poverty
and from the palaces of privilege
we come.

we come.

We are bloodied with our wars,
we are wearied with our wounds,
we carry our dead within us,
and we reckon with their ghosts.

We hold the seeds of healing,
we dream of a new creation,
we know the things
that make for peace,
and we struggle to give them wings.

And yet, to your table
we come.
Hungering for your bread,
we come;
thirsting for your wine,
we come;
singing your song
in every language,
speaking your name
in every tongue,
in conflict and in communion,
in discord and in desire,
we come,
O God of Wisdom,
we come
(Source: Jan L. Richardson from In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season)

2011 World Communion Sunday – we asked people in many parts of the world to send greetings, and made them into postcards to give out to people as part of our prayers for others.

God bless to us our bread (Traditional Argentinian)
“God bless to us our bread, and give bread to all those who are hungry, and hunger for justice to those who are fed. God bless to us our bread”.
Music sample here – track 1.

One in Love, We Meet Together (Tune: ‘Hyfrydol’ 87 87D)
One in love, we meet together,
one in time, and never apart.
We in flesh as brother, sister,
makes us one in mind and heart.
All incarnate, we would offer,
all we most sincerely prize,
Learning though traditions differ
how they join to make us wise.

One in outlook, always searching,
not to bind in common creed,
As a people, be more ready
to respond to other’s need.
Here we are so finely fashioned,
understanding, here to serve,
Never narrow in compassion,
empathy without reserve.

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Land Sunday in Season of Creation – Rex AE Hunt liturgy

Exodus 14:19-31
Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21
Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

First Thoughts on the Old Testament – Exodus
First Thoughts on the New Testament – Romans
First Thoughts on the New Testament – Matthew

Nathan Nettleton (Laughing Bird) has paraphrases of the readings – definitely worth checking out.


Call to worship
(based on Exodus 15:1-11, 20-21; Romans 14:1-12)
No one is an island.
We are all joined in Christ Jesus.
Who else is like you, loving God?
Who is like you: beautiful in holiness,
awesome in all the things you do for us.
No one lives by themselves,
no one dies by themselves.
Whether we live or die
we are the Lord’s.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.
(Source: Bruce Prewer)

Call to worship (based on Exodus 14)
The sea of apathy surrounds
enticing us with self promotion
luring us with greed.
The sea of apathy surrounds
bloated with decay
the remains of injustice and idolatry.
The sea of apathy surrounds.
Our task this day
is to cross the sea.
Our task today
is to say “no” to the stench.
Our task if we chose it
is to say “yes” to life and faith.
“Yes”. Yes.
Let us cross the sea together.
(Source: Katherine Hawker, Evangelical United Church of Christ, September 1999) 

Call to worship
In sacred times of word, wonder, and awe,
in ordinary days of work and play:
in every moment, God is with us.
Whether we are stuck in doubt’s mud,
or standing on faith’s shoreline:
in every place, God is with us.
In those who teach us 
and those who trouble us;
in those who surprise us, 
and those who forgive us:
in every person, God is with us.
(Source: Thom Shuman)

O God of justice and love, You pardon us if we pardon our brothers and sisters:  Create in us a new heart in the image of Your Son, a heart ever greater than any offence it suffers.  May the world remember how much you love us?  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.
(Source: ‘Uniting in Worship’, Leader’s Book, p. 212)

Generous God, our creator and guide, may we serve you with all our heart and know your forgiveness in our lives. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
(adapted, ‘CanticaNova’,

Creating God, you made us in your image and gifted us with the joy of creation. Teach us to discern your hand in all your works and to serve you with reverence and thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (adapted ‘Common Order’, Church of Scotland, p. 683)

Prayer of Thanksgiving
(based on Exodus 14:19-31; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35)
We give you all thanks and praise, O God, for in you is extravagant mercy and salvation from all that would destroy us.

In the first of your mighty wonders, you created the earth,
dividing the watery chaos and bringing forth dry land.
In the days of Moses you divided the sea again
and delivered your people from their oppressors,
leading them by fire and cloud to the land of freedom.

In Jesus the Christ, your reign of love and mercy has embraced all who live and even in our weaknesses you uphold us. He was killed but his risen life is amongst us even now. Now whether we live or die we belong to you and in gratitude we share your love and mercy with all.

Therefore, with our hearts lifted high, we offer you thanks and praise at all times through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Source: (adapted) Nathan Nettleton, Laughing Bird)

Prayer of Confession
Reconciling God, we would rather gossip about those who sin against us, than speak to them privately;
 we would rather parade our wounds for all to see, than quietly work toward forgiveness and reconciliation.
 Help us choose the harder road, the road that opens possibilities for real healing, real forgiveness, and real growth in your Spirit. Help us place the best interests of our community of faith above our own need for public vindication. Amen.
(Source: B.J. Beu, Ministry Matters)
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Season of creation – various


Prayer of confession: Weapons of Massive Consumption
God who conceived creation,
And breathed it into being with the Word,
You have observed the eons pass,
You have seen the cosmos evolve,
And give rise to our humanity.
We have come to know of you and even to know you
But we fall so short in who we could be in relationship to you.
We fall out of relationship with you and creation,
We fall out of relationship with each other and ourselves.
In our small-minded self-interest,
In our self-centred drive for ever-increasing comfort,
In our pursuit of our wants and the illusion of power over the earth,
We have become the outsiders,
setting ourselves beyond the natural order of creation.
We are the only living things whose waste cannot be broken down
and reintegrated in the living cycle.
We have unrelentingly taken from the resources of the planet with a domineering mindset and a disregard for impact on the world or the future.
We have been the cause of desecration, degradation and destruction,
In our obsession with more and better.
We have become ecological weapons of massive consumption,
Destroying ecosystems,
Polluting the planet,
Decimating nature and its goodness an beauty,
Being responsible for death and extinction with little regard,
As we forge forward towards our own sinful death of this planet
and its ability for it to sustain us.
We, in the so-called developed world, have spread the cancer of our greed,
Failing to learn from indigenous cultures who live or have lived
in harmony with the planet.
We are responsible.
We have sinned against you, against creation,
against each other and against ourselves,
And for the most part we are unrepentant.
Forgive as you do,
But pierce us with your truth and grace,
Confront us with our sin, that we might repent and be transformed.
Creator God,
It almost seems that thigs are too late.
The cancer of our consumption is too advanced,
The damage has been done to a point of irreversibility.
Is there hope for redemption of what we have done,
Or all that can be done now is to wait for history to take its course
towards the final end of all things,
Where you will come and renew all of creation?
May this not be so.
May we be converted and transformed.
May we spread the gospel, not just for our salvation,
but for your call for the salvation of creation in this planet.
May we become agents of your healing.
May we work to change our ways through the inspiration of your Spirit,
Until we find our humble and responsible place once again in the natural order.
God of creation,
We pray for this world which we do not respect.
Heal our ignorance and apathy,
So that your will may be done.
This should be our prayer,
Not just now, but always.
(Source: Jon Humphries) Continue reading

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resources in times of natural disaster/tragedy

Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean
A monster hurricane in the Atlantic basin – Lord have mercy!!

Flooding in Texas August/September 2017

O God, We’ve Prayed in Wind and Rain
(tune: AMAZING GRACE, words: Carolyn Winfrey Gillette)

O God, we’ve prayed in wind and rain
And now we pray once more
For those who felt the hurricane
And heard the waters roar.

We pray for those who watched the storm
Destroy the life they knew,
Who wait in shelters, tired and worn,
And wonder what to do.

We thank you, God, for acts of love
Not bound by race or creed,
For hands that reach across the flood
To all who are in need.

We pray for others far away
Who’ve seen destruction, too;
We look beyond ourselves, for they
Are also loved by you.

We pray that leaders of our land
Will heed creation’s cry,
And bravely care and take a stand
For earth and sea and sky.

Where rains flood cities, homes and towns
May we go out to be
A witness that your love abounds
In each community.

Tune: Virginia Harmony, 1831 Arr. Edwin O. Excell, 1900.
Alternative Tune: ST. ANNE CM Attr. William Croft, 1708 (“Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”).
Text: Copyright © 2017 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: Website:

Kathy Howard has been brainstorming specific ways to pray for the current flooding in Houston, south Texas, and beyond. These specific needs/items can be lifted to God in the wake of a wide range of natural events and disasters. (this list is a work in progress).
Pray for People in the Flooded Areas
Protection of all life, including family pets
Safe transportation to safe areas
Dry, comfortable lodging, safe drinking water, and nutritious food
Quick reunion for any separated families
Long-term housing for those who have lost homes
Ability to communicate with extended family and friends
Pray for Rescue Efforts by First Responders/Emergency Personnel
Reliable cell and phone service so citizens can summon help
Good, reliable communication between agencies
Safety for police officers, firemen, and emergency medical personnel
Strength, stamina and wisdom as they respond to the overwhelming need
Additional manpower from outside the area to meet the need
Pray for Ongoing Relief Efforts
Plenty of volunteer teams and government groups to respond to the need
Physical strength and stamina for the disaster relief teams
Coordination of all volunteer efforts so there will be no gaps and all needs will be met
Enough resources – money, supplies, equipment, food, and water – to meet the needs
Protect the resources from theft, fraud, and accident
Pray for Physical Conditions
Protection from additional rain and tornadoes
Open passages for built up/backed up water to safely drain away
Plenty of sources for clean drinking water
Clear roadways for emergency personnel
(Source, Kathy Howard,

Grant safety to the men, women, and little children navigating the dangerous flood waters. Strengthen local clergy and congregants as they provide shelter and aid for their communities. Specifically, give wisdom and present resources to pastors and lay leaders working to provide for the physical needs of those who have lost homes, precious belongings, and are possibly separated from their loved ones. Give them courage to minister to the spiritual needs as well.
No doubt considerable fear and anxiety haunt those in affected areas. Grant unshakable peace and rid this storm’s victims of the spirit of fear. Show us all how to respond to the needs of those struggling with frustration and fear, that we may serve you well through your son Jesus Christ. Amen. (Source: Chelsen Vicari)

In Psalm 46, we read these words of encouragement and comfort: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Creator and preserver of our world, We ask you to hear our humble prayers for all those afflicted by devastating floodwaters and those still threatened by flood. Protect both life and property. In your mercy, bring relief to all affected areas.
We pray for the sick and injured, for the homeless, for the bereaved and for those still searching for loved ones in this great tragedy.   Have compassion, merciful Lord, in the midst of their profound suffering, comforting and relieving them according to their needs.
Heal those broken in body and spirit. Give courage and hope in the midst of despair. Through the generosity of governments, groups and individuals across the world, provide a future for those whose present circumstances are marked by loss and desperation. Protect all those who are most vulnerable in the areas of devastation. And by your gracious hand, rebuild communities where men, women and children are nurtured with care and love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:5b-6
Everlasting God, you know our necessities before we ask. We pray for all emergency services personnel. We thank you for the unstinting dedication and efforts of the emergency services and the nation’s defence forces. Give them courage in adversity, safety in service and protection from harm. We ask that you would also watch over their loved ones. In the service of others, may assistance be rendered to those in greatest need with speed and efficiency, justice and compassion.
We pray also for medical personnel caring for the injured. Provide ample resources and energy to doctors and nurses coping with prolonged work hours and deeply distressing circumstances.
In the midst of this tragedy, we thank you for the compassion and generosity of governments, businesses and individuals.   We ask for an ongoing spirit of care and generosity as local, state and national bodies help to reconstruct communities and bring hope to victims and to future generations.
Give wisdom to to all who exercise significant community and national leadership at this time. Enable them to chart a course through the complex challenges during all the phases of recovery in the weeks and months and years to come. In Jesus’ name we pray.   AMEN.
(Both prayers adapted from original source: Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Better Gatherings

At the same time, there is horrendous flooding in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, where more than 1,200 people have died in the worst annual monsoon floods to hit South Asia in more than a decade. More than 41 million people have had their lives disrupted.  Rescue and relief efforts are ongoing, with international aid agencies reporting thousands of villages cut off. People in remote and isolated areas have been without food and clean water for extended periods.
There are also floods in Nigeria, with more than 100,000 people having to flee their homes because of major flooding in the central state of Benue.
What prayers might be offered for vulnerable people devastated by floods, many who have little likelihood of recovering homes and possessions?
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Exodus 12:1-14
God gives Moses and Aaron the instructions for the Passover meal – for the animal that must be chosen, sacrificed and eaten, how it is to be prepared, and the way the Israelites must eat it, with urgency and ready to travel. The blood of the animal is to be placed on the doorposts of their homes so that the plague of death which comes on the Egyptians will not harm the Israelites.
Psalm 149
An exhortation for God’s people to praise God both publicly (in the assembly) and privately (on their beds) and through their praises to proclaim and establish God’s reign and overcome wicked kings and nations (Note: The sword image is a metaphorical reference to the power of the praise expressed by God’s people, not a literal call to religious violence).
Romans 13: 8-14
Paul exhorts the believers to owe no debt to anyone except the ongoing debt of love, which fulfils the law. Because of the urgency of their hope, Paul encourages the believers to live pure lives, free from the dark deeds to which they may be tempted.
Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus teaches his followers a gracious process for making right with those who have hurt them – going first to the individual, then, if necessary, taking along a couple of witnesses, and finally, taking the matter to the church. Then he encourages his followers to agree, for in doing so, they find power in prayer and Christ’s presence in their gathering.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Readings handout (formatted: A4 landscape double sided folded) COCU55A.readings.WORDversion.revised

Call to worship
(based on Romans 13:8-14 and Matthew 18:15-20)
People of God, open your eyes!
Look around!
The presecne of our Lord Jesus Christ is here –
among us and within us.
God’s salvation is close at hand –
nearer than you know.
So open your hearts and minds to the Spirit,
and let’s worship God together
(Source: re-worship)

A Call to Worship (Psalm 149)
Praise the Source of life!
Sing to the Holy One a new song.
Praise the one we name God among the communion of saints.
Let the people of God rejoice in their creator.
Let them praise the Source of all that is with dance,
and celebrate with musical instruments,
because God delights in them,
and adorns the despairing with welfare.
Let all the saints jump for joy;
let them cry out with gladness where they rest.
Let high praises of Divine be in their throats:
word and song that overcome injustice,
binding rulers in chains and the powerful in iron shackles;
bringing justice to them, and honour to all God’s faithful.
Praise the Source of all that is!
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong)

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18.20
Where there is relationship,
where there is love, there is Christ.
Where there’s conductor and ground – electrical flow.
Loving community is Christ,
each of us the fourth member
of the Holy Trinity.
Not “beside,” Jesus says, but among:
in the in-between-ness,
in the exchange of energy
between us,
the power of forgiveness,
the light of gratitude, honor, affection,
the death and resurrection
of giving and receiving.
Gather in that name, that mercy,
and feel the Beloved
humming between you.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Seeing wrong/doing love
(Matthew 18:15-20/Romans 13:8-14)
The wrong done to me
I see large, but do I see
my wrong to others?Sometimes Jesus’ call,
“Love your neighbour as yourself”,
is not so easy.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong, 2017)

A creative moment – Romans 13:8-14

(a) Shallow trays or dishes of sand set out at or near the communion table;
(b) a supply of small votive candles, sufficient for the whole congregation;
(c) a large central candle from which the votice candles can be lit.
(d) as a precaution, it may be appropriate to have a fire-blanket on hand.

While Romans 13:8-14 is read, each member of the congregation is invited to listen for the word of grace or phrase which catches their attention. After several moments of silent reflection have the passage read again . . . slowly. The congregation is invited to come forward as “their” word or phrase is read, light a candle, and stand it in the tray of sand, and then return to their seat.
If the lighting in the church can be reduced for this reading, so much the better; the increasing “candle-power” will dramatically symbolise the approaching day, however that is understood from this reading.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong)

If a brother or sister sins against you,  go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. Matthew 18.15
Well, don’t go for “sin” or “fault:”
it’s too easy, and useless, to judge.
But pay attention to “hurt.”
Defy that voice of false politeness
and the repression of the truth.
If someone hurts you,
go toward them, not away,
and name the hurt.
Neither hide nor retaliate, even politely:
simply, gently tell the truth.
Claim your part of it,
even if just to receive it,
and to give them access to their part of it.
Not to nail them, not to relieve yourself,
but because you love them.
Be prepared to listen—
to their journey, and to your own.
Think of it as opening a door
to a place neither of you have gone before,
and can’t without the other.
Think of it as opening the door
to that Jesus place.
Imagine how refreshing the air would be
in a community of open, caring honesty,
without that hidden bucket of hurts
fermenting under the kitchen sink.
In the dark places where our hurts lie
is the tomb from which Christ rises, alive,
the very Christ who,
wherever two or three are gathered in his love,
is among us.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

 (Romans 13: 8-10)
Go into the world with no debt but love,
for love will not harm, will do no wrong
to your neighbour.
Go into the world with no law but love,
and you will keep God’s commandments
of love and honour.
Go into the world with no prayer but love,
and God will be with you, Christ
will be in you, Spirit will be around you. Amen
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

Singing from the Lectionary, Natalie Sims
Together to Celebrate, David MacGregor

Christ, you teach us of your Kingdom
(Tune: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly)
Christ, you teach us of your Kingdom
And the common life we share.
You remind us, “Be like children!”
So we offer you our prayer:
Make us gentle, make us humble,
May we cause no one to stumble,
Sheltered in your church’s care.

Shepherd, every lamb is cherished —
Even those who go astray.
You want none of us to perish
Nor to wander from your way.
When a sister or a brother
Sins against you or another,
Give us helpful words to say.

Let your love be our foundation
When we need to challenge sin;
May our quiet conversations
Be the places we begin.
For our judging and complaining
And our gossip and our blaming
Won’t bring sinners home again.

May we seek your will together,
Bound together by rebirth.
May we care for one another,
Knowing every sinner’s worth.
Two or three — united, praying,
Two or three — your love obeying,
Are your voice and hands on earth.

Biblical Reference: Matthew 18:1-20 Text: © 2014 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.
Email:     New Hymns:

Put On Love in Perfect Measure (Tune: Hyfrodol)
Put on love in perfect measure
Chosen people, holy, loved.
Clothe with kindness, God’s compassion
Tol’rance, each one God’s beloved.
All forgiven, all forgiving
In the grace of Christ our Lord
Bound as one in perfect measure
Above all
we put on love

Put on love and patience, gentleness
Modesty, wear all around
In our hearts let peace rule deeply
Peace our call; within, without
Ever thankful as your body
May Christ’s peace dwell deep in our heart
Bound as one in perfect measure
As your people
Each playing our part.

Let the word of Christ dwell richly
Teach each other on the way
May our doing, saying, living
Be in Jesus’ name, we pray
Giving thanks to God, Creator
Singing psalms and songs in praise
Bound as one in perfect measure
Clothed with love
Through all our days
(Source: David MacGregor, Together to Celebrate)

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Australian church music website linked to lectionary with music suggestions for each week.

David McGregor’s lectionary based music suggestions here.


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