COCU Index Year A 2016-17

Year A
COCU52A, Pentecost 11A, 20th August 2017
COCU53A, Pentecost 12A, 27th August 2017
(Also Migrant and Refugee Sunday in the UCA)
September: Season of Creation
COCU54A, Pentecost 13A, 3rd September 2017
(also Child Protection Week)
COCU55A, Pentecost 14A, 10th September 2017
(see also September 11)
COCU56A, Pentecost 15A, 17th September 2017
COCU57A, Pentecost 16A, 24th September 2017
COCU58A, Pentecost 17A, 1st October 2017
(World Communion Sunday)

COCU Year A 2016-17

Citation index (Vanderbilt Library) in canonical order.

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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

A compilation of resources from various sources for worship: Pentecost 13A resources


Thoughts on the gospel – ‘seventy times seven’ (Thom Shuman)
David Garland, in ‘Reading Matthew,’ makes some good observations on the numbers that appear in Matthew 18:21-35.
“In 18:21, Peter asks for clearly defined limits for the obligation to forgive another.  He generously suggests forgiving his brother up to seven times for sins against him.  It is generous because no mention is made of the offender’s repentance.  It is biblical, because that is the limit of transgressions God allowed Israel (Amos 2:4,6).  Jesus’ response consciously counters the Lamech principle of measureless blood vengeance (Gen. 4:24).  One must forgive seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven).  One has learned nothing if one keeps a tally of the number of times one has forgiven another so that when the magic number is reached, one can stop forgiving and mete out punishment.  Under Lamech there was no limit to hatred and revenge; under Moses it was limited to an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life; under Jesus there is no limit to love, forgiveness, and mercy.”
Then, talking about the parable in this passage, Garland observes that the servant owes his master ten thousand talents, “a deliberate exaggeration.  Ten thousand talents was the highest figure in arithmetic (like our billion), and the talent was the highest currency.  If one talent equaled ten thousand denarii, as some suggest, the debt would be equivalent to a hundred million working days for the day laborers mentioned in 20:2.”
Once again, Jesus reverts to outrageous hyperbole to make a simple point.
Frederick Buechner: To forgive somebody is to say one way or another, “You have done something unspeakable, and by all rights I should call it quits between us. Both my pride and my principles demand no less. However, although I make no guarantees that I will be able to forget what you’ve done, and though we may both carry the scars for life, I refuse to let it stand between us. I still want you for my friend.”
To accept forgiveness means to admit that you’ve done something unspeakable that needs to be forgiven, and thus both parties must swallow the same thing: their pride.
This seems to explain what Jesus means when he says to God, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus is not saying that God’s forgiveness is conditional upon our forgiving others. In the first place, forgiveness that’s conditional isn’t really forgiveness at all, just fair warning; and in the second place, our unforgiveness is among those things about us that we need to have God forgive us most. What Jesus apparently is saying is that the pride that keeps us from forgiving is the same pride that keeps us from accepting forgiveness, and will God please help us do something about it.
When somebody you’ve wronged forgives you, you’re spared the dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience.
When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride.
For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other’s presence.
(Source: originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words)



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World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel:17-24 September 2017

wwppiWorld Week for Peace in Palestine Israel 17-24 September 2017
As participants in the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, churches around the world shall send a clear signal to policy-makers, community groups, and their own parishes about the urgent need for a peace settlement that ends the illegal occupation and secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples. Events and activities are planned 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 the wall.
3. Advocating with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice.

Letter from Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit on the occasion of the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, 2016
Geneva, 16 September 2016
“He . . . has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” Ephesians 2.14

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
I write to you on the occasion of the upcoming World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (WWPPI). This has been an annual event for several years. Beginning on 18 September, churches throughout the world will join in prayer for the sake of peace based on justice for the peoples of Israel and Palestine. We need to continue our work together and our prayers together for a just peace. Israel and Palestine should be two states living in peace with justice as neighbors. We know this is not the reality. The region is still marked by lack of peace, by occupation, violence in many forms, violations of human rights and lack of trust and confidence between the two peoples and the three religions.
The theme for this year’s WWPPI is “Dismantling Barriers.” In the Israeli-Palestinian context, references to barriers bring up images of the separation barrier dividing Israelis from Palestinians and many Palestinians from their families, farms, and communities. This barrier continues to be blight on the landscape. It is a tragic monument of failures to establish a just peace. It was built as a means to bring security for the population on one side, but not for the people on the other side, rather to the contrary. It is a monument of a policy of occupation that seems to be leading to annexation of land, by including illegal settlements on occupied land into Israel. It brings direct harm to many Palestinians. It is built on occupied territories, not on internationally recognized borders, and therefore defined as illegal where it is now.
But it is not the only barrier standing in the way of peace. In this week of prayer, we will focus on many barriers that stand in the way of flourishing for all in Israel and Palestine: barriers of mistrust and hostility, barriers of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, barriers of self-centeredness and entitlement.
Many member churches of the WCC have made peace with justice in Israel and Palestine a matter of our highest concern and of our prayers. The global church effort to promote awareness and advocacy informed by the perspectives of Christians in Palestine and Israel is growing. Many have visited our brothers and sisters there and saw and heard themselves what the reality is. The voice of the churches is being received in many national and international arenas.
As a global fellowship of churches, we know of the many problems plaguing our world. The Israeli-Palestinian context is not the only place where injustice and fear reign. Even in the Middle East, Israel and Palestine do not constitute the only acute sites of human suffering. It is, however, one of the few places in the world where injustice is directly supported or at least accepted by a broad coalition of worldly power. For their own interests and reasons, today’s most powerful countries choose to allow this situation to continue and intensify.
What then shall we do? Now is the time for Christians around the world to stand with all who are seeking peace with justice in Israel and Palestine. Our witness cannot be compromised or muted. The vulnerable communities of the Middle East—and Christians are unfortunately counted among these—must not be left alone.
It is time for our global fellowship of churches to challenge all of the barriers that perpetuate injustice in Israel and Palestine. The WWPPI provides us with an opportunity to focus our efforts in order to amplify our voices for justice and peace, in global solidarity with all who are suffering from these barriers and the unsolved conflict they bear witness to.
I therefore invite you to participate in the WWPPI. You have to find your own ways to participate in this significant week of witness and peacebuilding. The material and proposed activities are for your use or to be amended in a way that is suitable for you and your church. I hope that you will be strengthened in your solidarity and commitment to justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.
In order to prepare for your participation in this global collective prayer, I commend to you this segment of the proposed WWPPI liturgy:
O God of mercy,
Free humanity from our sinful ways.
Where walls have been built up
Teach us to build bridges of understanding.
When hearts are hardened
Open them to the sufferings of the neighbor.
When we are oppressed
Preserve our dignity and give us courage to resist.
When we are the oppressor
Change our hearts and reform our ways.
(Source: Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC General Secretary)

Blogsite of an EAPPI participant, 2017 (Ecumenical Accompanist Program to Palestine and Israel)

An EAPPI participant’s reflections, posted on Easter Sunday 2017:
I sit with despondency as my head tries to comprehend what it is that causes such deep distrust and enmity between two peoples who have shared this land for millennia. I see so many similarities in these deeply spiritual, tradition-rich peoples – love of family, music, culture, land. Read the full post here Continue reading

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resources in times of natural disaster/tragedy

Charlottesville August 2017
Lauren Grubaugh was part of the counter-protest in Charlottesville today. She shares this reflection and prayer. She writes: 

I am exhausted by the hate and the fear and the violence and the death. So the first thing I wrote when I returned home from Charlottesville was a prayer, because I needed to remember God after what I saw today. I have struggled to pray today. The image of God to which I so often default — an image that has been instilled and reinforced by white supremacy and patriarchy — is a white, male god. Over the years, incorporating inclusive language into my prayer has helped me reimagine God in color and warmth and light. But today’s events (and the events of the last year), were a somber reminder that the racist, patriarchal god is still deeply embedded in my psyche, and all the more so in that of our nation. This is a prayer to the God whom we have forgotten, and whom we had best remember.

To the God whom we have forgotten;
To the God who is not male and is not white;

To the God who takes no pleasure in violence;
To the God who is Love;
To the God who is tender-hearted and warm embrace;
To the God who is not deaf to Her children’s cries and is moved to tears by their suffering;
To the God whose law is love of neighbor, hospitality for the stranger,
care for the weak;
To the God whose touch is healing, whose gaze is compassion;
whose way is lovingkindness;
To the God who is Justice;
To the God who tramples fear and hatred under Her feet;
To the God who convicts our hearts, stirs our spirits, transforms our minds;
To the God who revels in the joyful dance of community and invites us to do the same;

To the God whose own child’s lynched body hung limp on a tree,
not by Her own hand,
but because of the fear and hatred of those human beings
who feared the kind of world they were promised would be ushered in
and hated the changes they would have to undergo to get there;

Our memory is so short:
Our failure to remember the sins of our parents,
Our aversion to repentance,
Our refusal to make reparations,
Is killing us.

Our souls are wasting away.
And black, brown, female, queer, trans, Muslim, differently abled bodies
Are dying.
Every day, so many.

O God whom we have forgotten,
We do not even know how to call on your name.
We have not seen you in the faces of our sisters and brothers.
We have not felt you in the pain of our neighbors, strangers, friends and enemies;

O God whom we have forgotten,
Do not let our imaginations be infiltrated by war-mongering forces of violence.
Do not let our spirits be colonized by the depressing fear of our oppressors.

Transform our minds that do not know how to think of you
Existing without these heavy chains we have placed on ourselves
and on each other. Amen.
Lauren Grubaugh

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Season of creation – various


“Each of the interconnected threads in a tapestry contributes to the beautiful pattern of the whole – so too in creation. This has huge implications for how we live on this planet, and for our theology and spirituality”.
(Source: Br. Kevin McDonnell)

“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.”
(Source: Rachel Carson)

Good and Gracious God,
Source of the evolving Universe,
Source of all Life,
All creation is charged with your Divine Energy.

Ignite your Spark within us,
That we may know ourselves
As truly human and holy,
Irrevocably part of the Web of Life.

All creation
– each star and every flower,
– each drop of water and every person,
– each and every atom, down to its very electrons,
explodes with the revelation
of your sacred mystery.

Our minds alone cannot fathom such splendor,
Our hearts can only respond in awe, praise and gratitude.

Forgive us, we pray, our ignorance
And insecurities which
– blind us to your Thumbprint writ large,
– deafen us to the sacred space
– between two heartbeats,
– prompt us in arrogance to demand and dominate,
– numb us to the destruction we’ve caused,
– hold us hostage to “either-or” thinking and living.

May we always walk gently upon this earth,
– in right relationship,
– nurtured by your Love,
– taking only what we need,
– giving back to the earth in gratitude,
– honoring all with reverence,
– reconciling and healing,
– mindful of those who will come after,
– recognizing our proper place as part of,
not apart from, your creation.

Grant us the strength and courage, we pray,
For such radical transformation into your Kin-dom.

The we, too, with the very stones will shout, “HOSANNA.”
(Source: Michelle Balek, OSF, Progressive Christianity)

‘“The Radiant Tapestry of Being” – a possible theme for Season of Creation.

Environment in Religion” by Vladamir Tomek

WCC’s Time for Creation is in the same time frame as Seasons of Creation in September each year.

Canticle of Daniel on Youtube by Don Stewart with visuals by Rob Hanks
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Child Protection Week (1st week every September)

National Child Protection week happens in the first week of September every year. The link will take you to posters, resources and facts sheets which can be downloaded. 

Not sure how congregations/churches/faith communities have been involved in the past but will aim to collect some resources for use in National Child Protection Week.

For all those who work in child safety and protection
Christ Jesus,
You welcomed children and brought healing and hope to their lives.
We pray that as your Church, we will create places of welcome, care and safety for all children, reflecting your love and compassion.
God of love and comfort,
We pray for children who have been neglected or abused.
We pray that people will come into their lives who love and nurture them in healing and life-giving ways.
We pray for child safety workers and all those working in child protection.  We thank you for their dedication and the gifts they bring to their vocation to protect and improve the lives of children.
We pray that you will sustain their vision, and uphold them in love and grace.
Christ Jesus, as your church, you call us to be a faithful embodiment of your care and love.
We lament when we have failed to be communities of safety and care.
Challenge and correct us in our failure, and reform our life.
We commit ourselves as your Church to being places of safety, free of abuse and exploitation.
We commit ourselves as your Church to be communities, where people can flourish in ways of trust and love.
We pray that your Spirit will empower us to be advocates for a society in which all children can flourish.
Through Christ, Our Light and Life, we pray, Amen.
(Source: Deidre Palmer, Uniting Church in Australia, 2017)

A prayer for children
Loving God, we thank you for the care and affection of Jesus, who placed children in the very centre of his community.
We pray for children, created in your own image and likeness, dwelling places of your Spirit, each one called to experience the freedom of your daughters and sons.
We pray for all children – those in our family homes, those in our community of faith, those in the wider community, those in our global village, those with plenty and those who struggle to survive.
We yearn for the day when all children may know safety and freedom and protection from violence and abuse, when they may bask in constant love, safe from any harm, where they may flourish and be all they can be.
God of all goodness, we hope in you. Inspire us to surround others with gentleness and love and empower us to build a world that no longer knows abuse and violence. Grant us courage to speak out and act when children need protection, care and shelter.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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(Romans 12:4-8)
In one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

Churchful Gratitude
I give thanks for the people who You call me to be a part of.
I am grateful that I have a place in this body of diverse and flawed followers.
l open myself to the offering of the small gifts which the Spirit has gifted me with to join with the gifts of others.
I am thankful that a cracked and broken vessel as myself can be of some use in your work, as you creatively make use all the cracked and broken vessels in this family of faith.
In this struggling mess of flailing and failing humanity called the Church,
Which holds me in faith, not always well,
You choose to be known.
We are blessed by your grace.
We blessed by you love.
In our connection with you and each other we find healing and wholeness.
In our serving you and others we find meaning and purpose.
In your way, truth and life we find redemption and salvation.
We are thankful for your kindness, care and patience,
So in our faltering fragile faith we pray. Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries)

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Candle lighting

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit
We light this flame as a symbol of the creativity of our faith:
the creativity to explore new avenues of religious insight;
the creativity to develop a caring community;
the creativity to envision a world of peace and freedom.
(Source: William J. Gardiner, adapted, on Rex AE Hunt’s website)

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Migrant and Refugee Sunday.27thAugust2017

birchRefugee 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.
(see also resources in World Refugee Day)


Iona has two downloadable PDF resources that might be of interest – Jesus was a refugee and Refugee Evensong.

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

2015 resources here.

Liturgy notes for 2011 prepared by SA Council of Churches Liturgy_Notes

Uniting Justice resources here.

Prayer guide: asylum seekers and refugees (Salvation Army)

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

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)

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August 13 – prayers for peace (Korean Peninsula)

Uniting Church members are encouraged to join in prayers for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

On Sunday, 13 August, 2017, Christians around the world will be praying for peace on the Korean Peninsula, which remains divided and without a formal peace agreement more than 70 years after the end of World War II.

The theme for this year’s prayer is based on Romans 14:19: “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan called on church members to uphold in prayer all Koreans in the hope of a peaceful resolution and easing of tensions.

“Our thoughts and prayers are particularly with Korean members of the Uniting Church at this time of deep reflection and prayer for them,” said Mr McMillan.

Each year, the World Council of Churches and the World Communion of Reformed Churches call member churches to pray for peace and unity in Korea.

Prepared by the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) based in South Korea and the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) based in North Korea, the prayer is traditionally used on the Sunday before 15 August every year.

August 15 is celebrated as Liberation Day in both North and South Korea and is the date in 1945 when Korea won independence from Japanese occupation. It also marks the day when the Korean peninsula was divided into two countries.

Chair of the Korean National Conference in the Uniting Church Rev. Steve Lee joined the call to prayer.

“I believe many Christians in Korea have been earnestly praying together for peace in the region,” said Rev. Lee. “They will be greatly heartened to know fellow Christians in Australia will be joining and upholding them in prayer.”

He offered the following prayer points which he says reflect the hopes of Christians in Korea.

  1. Peaceful leadership and co-operation across the region.
  2. A renewed will for reconciliation and peaceful reunification.
  3. Strengthen Christians across the region as they deal with complex and often difficult situations.
  4. Encourage prayers from around the world to uphold the people in the Korean peninsula.

The Korean National Conference provides a network for Korean congregations and members in all Synods of the Uniting Church. There are currently more than 70 Uniting Church Ministers serving across the Church.

Resources for the Day of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula can be found on the World Council of Churches website and include an order of service prepared by the NCCK’s Reconciliation and Reunification Committee.

2017 North South/South North Joint Prayer for Peaceful Reunification
16 Mortal, take a stick and write on it, “For Judah, and the Israelites associated with it”; then take another stick and write on it, “For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with it”; 17 and join them together into one stick, so that they may become one in your hand. (Ezekiel 37: 16-17, NRSV)

God of grace!
Once again, we greet the month of August, the month of Independence where North and South still celebrate separately and remember it differently. It has been a long, harsh period, one with cruel struggles between the two countries. No longer are we oppressed by Japanese forces, but our people are still filled with contempt for each other and our country is still challenged by neighboring forces. Lord, pity us.

God who rules history:
For the last 72 years, we dreamed of being one, but we lived like foes, not living up to our dreams. We lived separated from our family and torn apart by different ideology and systems. Lord, bring the history of our people together with your holy hands. Let us hope for unification with passionate hearts and work together so fervently that we shed the sweat of hope. For every August we encounter, help us sincerely repent with our hearts, and fill us with a strong will for unification.

God who leads peace:
Lord, we speak of one people, one sisterhood/brotherhood while filled with hatred against each other. We have violated the spirit of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, the June 15 Joint Declaration, and the October 4 Joint Declaration and also firmly locked the doors of the Keumkang Mt. and Gaeseong Industrial Complex. Thus, we were left with a greater danger and greater threat. Lord, listen to our desperate cries that thirst for peace.

God who gives hope:
Lord, help us to dream once more of a beautiful land where no joint-military exercise is needed. Let us welcome a new world where we are not interfered with or challenged by neighboring strong powers. Let us once again begin with the same overwhelming determination we had as of August 15, 1945. Please quickly open the doors of intercommunication and let us walk hand in hand for joint prosperity. Lord, let the North and South greet each other without prejudice. Help us newly begin a history of reconciliation and embracement on this land.

God of grace!
Bestow your grace upon the whole of Korea. Shine down pure rays of peace from Baekdu to Halla, and wet the entire land with showers of joy. Give happiness to the 80 million fellow Koreans throughout this land and this world, and guide them to be leaders of their own lives. Bring our strengthened community to be servants of the world.

God of Peace, we pray in Jesus name.

August 15, 2017

National Council of Churches in Korea           Korean Christian Federation

Order of service (2017) 2017-8-15-prayer-order-NCCKRRC

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Genesis 45:1-15:Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers and forgives them, explaining that it was God who had sent him to Egypt to save them and others from the famine. Then he instructs them to bring his father to Egypt to be with him.
Psalm 133:A celebration of unity among God’s people which brings the blessing of life.
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32:God has not abandoned Israel, but offers God’s mercy to all – both Jew and Gentile.
Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28: Jesus explains that it is not what we eat that defiles us but the evil that is in our hearts. Then he is approached by a Canaanite woman who convinces him, in spite of his initial reluctance, to heal her daughter who is being tormented by a demon.
(Short summary from John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Thought for the week
A word that is often associated in the Bible with God’s salvation is “mercy.” Writer and poet Calvin Miller once defined mercy as “giving a thumbs up to an old antagonist at the end of your sword.” It is the choice to treat others with grace, forgiveness, compassion and love, no matter who they are and what they have done. Mercy is often spoken of by the biblical writers as one God’s primary attributes, and if it were not for God’s mercy we would have no hope of overcoming the broken and destructive forces within us and around us.
In the readings this week, God’s mercy is expressed through Joseph, who forgives his brothers, through Paul’s declaration that both Jews and Gentiles are recipients of God’s mercy, and through Jesus’ surprising interaction with a Gentile woman. There can be no question that giving mercy to us is high on God’s agenda. But, so is God’s desire that we should become people of mercy who release our need for vengeance and retribution, and who embrace forgiveness and restorative justice (…more here).
(Source: John van de Laar, Daily Worship)

Mucky Paws Roddy Hamilton, Roddy Hamilton 2

Ruth Farrent, one of the worship planning team for 9.30, has written an Australian contemporary version of the Reading from Matthew 15: 21-28 (Canaanite woman, indigenous woman of the land). I’ve uploaded it here, with annotations for those who might not understand the Australian context and idioms.  Canaanite Woman – Mt 15
(c) Ruth Farrent, Pilgrim Uniting Church, Adelaide, August 2011. May be used in services with acknowledgement to the author.

Jesus entered a world where God seems to have been owned and institutionalised by Judaism. The concept of being ‘chosen’ can help reflect an absolutisation of a status and of one’s group history rather than a function to exercise. Religion can open the way for intolerance by its focus upon the exclusivity of membership and often stressing the element of the ‘chosen people.’ Jesus demonstrated that the ‘kingdom of God’ that he came to
establish was predominantly theocentric and not ethnocentric. In this theocentric kingdom it is possible for a Roman, a Greek, a Samaritan, and a Syrophoenician to be recipients of God’s blessings without having to lose their ethnic identity. (Revd Sathi Anthony, Diocese of Perth) How does Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman broaden Jesus own understanding?

Call to worship (resources here)

Prayers for others (resources here)
The new community
Let us imagine the new community of humankind,
all peoples living in compassion and respect for each other,
an end to violence and hate
the bringing in of equality and justice.
a great circle of friendship around the world beginning here.
The diverse people gather in a circle in the space
In awe, in silence, let us reflect on this new world. A silence is kept
Let us pray:
Let us place around this dream
the power of our prayers,
our ways of connecting with love beyond ourselves,
with the energy for good
at the centre of all creation, which is God.
As we do this, let us feel the joining of our friendship
around this space with the heart of God.
The prayers of the people are shared
Gather all these, our prayers, together O God.
Hold them close to you and show us the beauty which you have made,
and the gifts which are given in the variety of our differences.
Cross over the boundaries of our fears and our prejudices
and join us in one great community of loving care
for the peace and renewal of all human life.
May we only ever see each other as you have already seen us,
loving Jesus, for we pray in your name, Amen.
(copyright information unknown)

Words of mission/benediction (resources here)
Go in faith to be part of
the new creation of human community.
Go in love to take the hand of those who long for inclusion.
And may God the Creator speak to us in all creation,
Christ Jesus bring all people to the table
and the Holy Spirit be our constant companion. Amen.

A Benediction for these times (A Benedictine Prayer)
May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with a holy anger toward injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Pilgrim 9.30am service 2017 COCU52A.2017.FINAL
Pilgrim 9.30am service 2011 COCU52A 20110814 Pentecost 9.9.30am
Pilgrim 8am service 2017 COCU52A.8amSunday.2017.PDFversion
Pilgrim 11am service 2017 COCU52A.11am.2017.PDFversion
Readings COCU52A.RCLReadings.PDFversion

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