COCU Index Year C

Year C
COCU2C, Advent 2C, 9th December 2018
Human Rights Day, 10th December 2018
(70th anniversary of UN Declaration of Human Rights)
COCU3C, Advent 3C, 16th December 2018
COCU4C, Advent 4C, 23rd December 2018
Blue Christmas
COCU 5C, Christmas Eve/Christmas Day
COCU6C, Christmas 1C
New Years Eve

Citation index (Vanderbilt Library) in canonical order

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Malachi 3:1-4: God is sending God’s messenger to prepare for God’s coming, and God’s people and God’s priests will be refined and made pure.

Luke 1:68-79: Zechariah’s song of thanksgiving for God’s rescue of Israel, and his proclamation of his son, John, as the messenger who will prepare the way for God’s coming.

Philippians 1:3-11: Paul’s prayer of thanksgiving for the Philippians, his desire for them to grow in love and purity, and his assurance that Christ will complete the work begun in them.

Luke 3:1-6: John travels in the region of the Jordan River calling people to repentance and baptising them as a sign of their willingness to change, and of God’s forgiveness. In doing this he fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the Lord.

Singing from the Lectionary

This week the focus is on prophecies of God’s coming, God’s restoration, and God’s justice and peace. Yet, in each reading there is a call to prepare to receive the promise in some way. In Baruch, the people are called to end their mourning and be ready to receive God’s restoration and glory. In Malachi, there is the purifying work that will happen when God’s messenger comes, and the people are to seek for, and take delight in, the coming one. In Zechariah’s song, John is to be the one who prepares God’s people for the coming salvation, and to lead them into forgiveness, which implies that they will respond to John’s message and follow him into the restoration he promises. In Paul’s prayer for the Philippians he expresses his desire for them to grow in love and wisdom, and to trust that God will complete the work that God has begun in them. Finally, the Gospel narrative of John’s coming speaks of John’s call to the people to repent and be baptised in preparation for the coming one. The message this week, then, is this: God is always coming, always available to God’s people, and always working for restoration. But, receiving God’s coming takes preparation, and so God sends a messenger to do this work, to prepare God’s people for God’s coming. The challenge is for us to embrace the work of preparation for ourselves – opening ourselves to God’s restoring, cleansing and disturbing work, and making our hearts ready for us to become, in turn, messengers of God’s restorative justice and mercy to the world.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1.78-79)
Beloved, I am your early morning dark,
your deep blue sky, shadowed neighborhoods,
velvety darkness, thirsty for light.
I am your prison cell where someone lonely waits,
looking at the little window.
I am not alone. We are all a vast plain
waiting for the lifting of the blanket,
humanity is a beautiful bride waiting for the lifting of the veil.
And you are our dawn.
We are the vessels of your light,
pitchers ready for your dawn to pour in
from the well of you
and carry out into the world.
In the shadow of death, mine
and those I abet,
my soul sits, waits,
watches the dimming stars.
Now, tender mercy, now.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Thanks for the Prophets
God who calls to us,
We give thanks for prophets;
Those who call us to your truth, Word, will and way;
Those who speak from the margins;
Who stand in the freedom of the wilderness, able to question culture, society and tradition;
Who make us uncomfortable because they call us on our failure to live rightly;
Who break with the norms and conventions of the status quo;
Whose radical message call us back to the essentials of justice and righteousness;
Who serve up judgement on our selfish and shallow ways;
Who seek to open us up to God that we might be changed and transformed.
May we not baulk at their message, but consider it and reflect upon it.
Forbid it, that we not write them off as crazy or extreme.
May we listen for you and your call to us.
May we turn and return to following your way.
May we act and move and work harder for the common good.
May we join with you to better ourselves that we might better the world.
God who calls to us,
Christ, Word of God,
We give thanks for prophets.
May we join with them that we may better be your disciples.
May the prophetic ever be so.
(Source: Jon Humphries)

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World AIDS Day, 1 December

World AIDS Day 2016 Prayer Service (WCC)

Prayer for those living with AIDS
Hear our prayer, O God of mercy and love,
for all who live with HIV or AIDS.
Grant them loving companions
who will support them in the midst of fear;
that every day may be lived with courage and faith.
Bless them with an abundance of your love,
that they may live with concern for others.
Pour on them the peace and wholeness,
which you alone can give.
Through Jesus who came to give us abundant life. Amen.
(Source: Vienna Cobb Anderson)

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International Grieving Day Dec 3rd annually

International Grieving Day,
(information from a blog by Matthew Fox)

We don’t deal well with grief in our culture. We are expected to move on quickly after our losses. But when we don’t take the time to acknowledge and deal with our grief, that grief builds up, anger builds up, joy and love are lost, creativity is stifled, and despair enters in. And who cannot be grieving today about what’s happening to the earth and to the beings of the earth?

So I think grief work – practices and rituals for grieving within a supportive community – is a critically necessary for these days. Mystics in all traditions bear witness: the depth of nothingness is directly related to the experience of everythingness. We learn we are cosmic beings not only in our joy and ecstasy, but also in our pain and sorrow.

And I believe that Grieving Day, which was initiated in Ireland and is now a global event taking place tomorrow, December 3, is a key step toward healing individually and in community: while grief is most often suffered alone, in isolation, this event offers the possibility of grieving together, in compassionate community. Continue reading

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UN International Human Rights Day.December10

Gathering Song suggestion:
A New Heart For A New World T Watts/M O’Brien (Gather Australia, No 438)

Leader: Introduction

Why do we gather to pray this day?

The promotion and protection of human rights has been a major preoccupation for the United Nations since 1945, when the Organization’s founding nations resolved that the horrors of The

Second World War should never be allowed to recur. Respect for human rights and human dignity “is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”, the General Assembly declared three years later in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, all States and interested organizations were invited by the General Assembly to observe 10 December as Human Rights Day (resolution 423(V)). This Day marks the anniversary of the Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Over the years, a whole network of human rights instruments and mechanisms has been developed to ensure the primacy of human rights and to confront human rights violations wherever they occur. (UN website)

Why do we gather to pray this day?

We gather this day because we know that the human rights of millions of people on our planet are denied every day. This denial of human rights results in acute poverty, abuse, violence and despair. We gather together to reflect on this reality and to be in solidarity with those who suffer. We gather so that we may move forward with hearts and minds focused on our work to bring justice for all.

Reading: Isaiah ‐ 11:6 ‐10

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of our God as the waters cover the sea.
In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

The word of the Lord/ Thanks be to God

Leader: Let us pause to reflect on God’s word to us. Let us pray together:

God of abundance, gift us with open and generous hearts. Stretch our hearts to constantly work for true harmony and right relationships in our families and communities. Guide us to work for right relationships among the people we work with, the people we socialise with and the people we meet with in the community so that together we can create circles or harmony that spread to bring about a world of justice for all. We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, bringer of peace. Amen

Reader 2: Let us listen to the words of Oscar Romero

God’s reign is already present on our earth in mystery. When the Lord comes, it will be brought to perfection. That is the hope of Christians. We know that every effort to better society, especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God demands of us.
March 24, 1980 Archbishop Oscar Romero spoke these last words on March 24, 1980, minutes before being suddenly assassinated


A number of human rights also concern human welfare and are of a specifically economic nature. First among these are the rights to life, food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and basic education. These are indispensable to the protection of human dignity. … All persons have a right to security in the event of sickness, unemployment, and old age … the right to healthful working conditions, to wages, and other benefits sufficient to provide individuals and their families with a standard of living in keeping with human dignity, and to the possibility of property ownership. Economic Justice for All, #80

Leader: Let us pray:

God of justice, stir our hearts to stand in solidarity with all whose rights are daily violated. Confirm in us a resolve to preserve in our commitment to make sure that the common good of all is upheld in every way. We make this prayer through Jesus, bringer of justice. Amen

Suggested Song Response: Open My Eyes by Jesse Manibusan

Leader: Before we pray our litany of Commitment let us pause and call to mind the faces

of those whose human rights are denied and violated this day….

Reader 1: We are called to announce the Good News that speaks of justice for all

I pledge my love and compassion

Reader 2: We are called to share our resources so that no one goes hungry

I pledge my love and compassion

Reader 3: We are called to provide meaningful work for all

I pledge my love and compassion

Reader 1: We are called to honour the human dignity of each

I pledge my love and compassion

Reader 2: We are called to speak out against slave labour

I pledge my love and compassion

Reader 3: We are called to work for a world where people can walk freely in their own land

We are called to be sister and brother to each other

Reader 1: We are called to make sure more is spent on feeding people than on weapons

We are called to be sister and brother to each other

Reader 2: We are called to protect the earth’s resources so that there is enough for all

We are called to be sister and brother to each other 

Reader 3: We are called to protect the sick and the vulnerable

We are called to be sister and brother to each other

Reader 1: We are called to enable people to determine their own destiny

We are called to be sister and brother to each other

Reader : We are called to take action when women and children are violated

We are called to be sister and brother to each other 

Reader2: We are called to denounce all that takes life

We are called to be sister and brother to each other

Leader: As we take leave of our gathering today, let us offer each other a sign of peace and pray a blessing for each other so that we go forth committed to playing our part in bringing about a world of justice and peace.

Suggested Closing Song: Bring Forth the Kingdom

(Source: Sisters of St Joseph, North Sydney Australia.

Call to Prayer:
Leader: Pope Francis reminds us “human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities.” Today we seek to honor the dignity of all peoples. God, you have created us in our own image, inspire in us the courage to stand in solidarity with those who are being denied their basic human rights. May we always remember that to deny others their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.

Reader: Matthew 25: 34-40
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.
Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you
sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.
Leader: We hear your voice, O God. Thus, we pray
* For the 852 million people in our world who are malnourished, lacking an adequate amount of healthy food;
* For the mothers and fathers throughout the world who sacrifice health treatment and medicines for themselves so they can provide for their children;
* For workers who work in difficult and unsafe conditions for low pay, with no vacations, no paid holidays, no benefits, and no job security;
* For our sisters and brothers in more than 60 countries who have fled armed conflicts and are searching for safety, many are children, women, and the elderly who live in temporary shelters, camps or shanty towns, struggling to survive in new and often hostile environments;
* For those who have sought refuge in another country, that they will be entitled to certain rights under international law.

Leader: God of justice and mercy, help us remember this day that you have created each and every person with dignity and worth.
In all that we do, help us treat one another with the respect and honor due to each person.
Leader: This day we remember and give thanks for the 64th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We honour the courage of those who came before us, who sought to declare that, regardless of any differences among people, we all share basic human rights.
Leader: We also remember this day the adoption of the Convention Against Torture by the United Nations General Assembly.
We pray that every generation may learn that there is no excuse for torture, that torture is always wrong.
Leader: We pray for every life that has been touched by torture, both those tortured and the torturers. We pray for restoration and peace.
We pray for fortitude in the face of fear and that we might do what is right and just.
Leader: We pray for governments and persons who seek to prevent torture and who support survivors of torture.
We pray for strength and steadfastness in the work of repairing the world. In all things may we honor you, O God, and honor the dignity of each person. Amen.

Closing Prayer may be recited or song: Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
(Source: Education for Justice)

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Jeremiah 33:14-16: God promises to raise up a descendant of David to reign over God’s people and to bring goodness, rightness, justice, and security to Israel and Judah.
Psalm 25:1-10: A prayer for God’s compassion and forgiveness, for God to make God’s ways known to the Psalmist, and to lead him in God’s truth. For God is good and righteousness, guiding the weak to justice and leading those who keep God’s covenant in paths of love and faithfulness.
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13: The apostle gives thanks for the Thessalonian church, praying to see them and help them grow in faith. He also prays that they may grow in love, and have strong and holy hearts when Jesus comes.
Luke 21:25-36; Jesus teaches the disciples to be watchful for the signs of the coming destruction, using the apocalyptic language of signs in the heavens, dismay among the nations, and unusual behaviour in the natural world. After these signs, people will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud in splendour. So, his disciples must be watchful, ready to read the signs and keep their hearts faithful.
(Summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Readings in landscape A4 double sided folded ready to print version
Pilgrim COCU1C.Readings.2018

Opening prayer
It doesn’t matter whether or not you can have faith;
whether or not you are cynical or despairing,
hope-filled or hope-less:
what matters to God is simply that you are here.

We are entering the time of Advent,
in preparation for Christmas.
Advent reminds us that if God is to be born again
in the most ordinary parts of our world and our lives
that we need prepare for it.

We need to make the space in our lives
where love might be born.

Welcome to this tiny corner of a harsh and dark world.
Together, let us practice being ready
in the faith that Christ will come.
(Source: Cheryl Lawrie, Hold this space) Continue reading

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Reign of Christ B.25Nov2018

2 Samuel 23:1-7
David’s last words, celebrating the beauty of the one who rules righteously, and remembering God’s covenant with David and his family. This is all in contrast with godless people whose lives are wasted.
Psalm 132:1-12;
A Psalm in remembrance of David’s quest to build a Temple for God, God’s promise to David of an eternal dynasty, and God’s choice of Jerusalem as God’s “home”.
Revelation 1:4b-8
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the first to rise from death, and the ruler of all kings. He has freed us by shedding his blood and has made us a kingdom of priests. He is the beginning and the end, and will be seen by all people when he comes with the clouds of heaven.
John 18:33-37
Pilate asks Jesus if he is the king of the Jews. Jesus replies that his kingdom is not of this world. When Pilate seeks to confirm that he is a king, Jesus cryptically replies that it is Pilate who says so, but that he came into the world to testify to the truth.
(Bible reading summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Readings (print ready PDF – landscape, folded A4, double sided)
Pilgrim COCU67B.Readings.2018

Singing from the Lectionary
Church of Scotland – Starters for Sunday
Prayers and meditations based on Psalm of the day: The Timeless Psalms – Joan Stott

Components of worship – general (links to resources on this website)
Acknowledgement of Land
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are
Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Readings Pilgrim COCU67B.Readings.2018
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion Hymns)

Other resources specific to Reign of Christ B
Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday is celebrated on the last Sunday of Ordinary time (last Sunday after Pentecost), before the beginning of Advent that starts the new Church Year. As the last Sunday of the Christian Church Year, Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday is the climax and conclusion of the Church’s liturgical journey through the life of Christ and the Gospel message. Its purpose is to celebrate the coming reign of Christ as King of the Earth and his completion of the renewed creation that marks the fullness of the reign of God. That hope is born from the entire life of Christ and his teachings that have been celebrated in the seasons of the Church Year during the past twelve months. In celebrating the Reign of Christ the King, this Sunday also provides an appropriate bridge to the new Church Year that begins the following Sunday on the first Sunday of Advent with an emphasis on hope and expectation, the longing for the coming of the Kingdom of God amid the darkness of a sinful world. As a bridge between the completed year and the beginning of a new year, Christ the King services often use Scripture and song to provide both a retrospective and introductory overview of the journey through the life of Christ and the Gospel message that the Seasons of the Church Year provides. This offers not only an opportunity for a worshipful reflection on the significance of the life of Christ, it also presents opportunity to remind people of the meaning of the various seasons of the Church Year.
(Source: The Voice)

Opening Prayer
Almighty God:
from the beginning of time to the end of eternity,
you have chosen to use your power and majesty
to love us, to redeem us,
to shape us as your people.

King of Kings and Lord of Lords:
you became weak so you could confront
the strength of sin and death,
confounding their ridicule
with your resurrection.

Spirit of God, resting upon us:
may your power enflame us with your peace;
may your peace touch us with your grace;
may your grace fill us with your hope;
may your hope lead us into your Kingdom. Amen.
(Source: Thom M. Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies) Continue reading

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resources in times of natural disaster/tragedy

This prayer was written by Rev Cathie Lambert (Uniting Church in Australia) for the 2011 Margaret River fires. Cathie’s prayer has been slightly adapted in the context of the horrendous tragedy unfolding in southern California with thousands of homes burnt to the ground and deaths of many people.

We lament the devastation of the fires in California…..
of tragic loss of lives…
of homes reduced to ash…
for the town of Paradise reduced to rubble…
and Malibu enveloped by flames, and ash and smoke…
of treasured possessions and everyday necessities…
of mementos that held treasured memories…
of livelihood…
of vegetation and animals…
of the beauty of the landscape…
We bring these images of loss into your presence, sharing your grief and sharing the grief of your people and your land…
We pray for those affected – for courage, strength, patience, resilience and hope, to face the days and weeks and months ahead, even when the story no longer has media attention.
We give thanks for firefighters and emergency service personnel, police officers and ambulance officers, who work together to fight the wildfire and support residents.
We pray for those who must undertake the grim search for those who have died…
We pray for those who have lost homes when this fire took all in its path – homes of the rich and famous, and ordinary people who have invested their savings into their homes.
In amongst the grief, anger, loss and confusion, and unspeakable sorrow, we give thanks that so many people of goodwill are offering practical support in this time of great need. We give thanks that the God we know in Jesus Christ journeys with us and remains with us all the days of our life, even through the dark valleys and times of sorrow and lament. Amen.
(Rev Cathie Lambert, 2011, adapted)

This prayer is for the 189 people who lost their lives on a Lion Air plane that crashed in Indonesia on Monday 29 October.
O everlasting God, giver of life,
we come before you in sorrow and prayers.
Today we pray for 189 victims in the plane crash outside of Jakarta.
We hear the cries of orphaned children and bereaved parents
We feel the pain of partners and family members
We behold all of them in our prayers.
Let our prayers rise to you: hear our prayer.
O compassionate God, giver of love,
At the time like this,
You are the refuge and strength to those who suffer.
We come to seek you healing upon all your children.
We search for wholeness in the midst of brokenness.
We cry for healing among their families and communities.
Let our prayers rise to you: hear our prayer.
O the suffering God, giver of strength,
In the sorrow beyond words,
We remember the death of your son Jesus Christ.
Make the weak strong, the broken whole,
turn our sorrow into solidarity,
We behold all their friends impacted by the unimaginable loss.
Let our prayers rise to you: hear our prayer.
O God of mercy, giver of forgiveness
At this time of emptiness,
teach us – let it be empty.
Watch our ways, protect us from evils,
Fill our emptiness with your goodness,
We behold others with your care and forgiveness.
Let our prayers rise to you: hear our prayer.
O God the resurrection, giver of new life,
At this time and space,
We come before you as fellow citizens of hope.
Grant your mercy to people around us,
Grant relief to airplane staff and government officers,
We behold them before you for healing.
Let our prayers rise to you: hear our prayer.
O God of calling, receiver of all lives,
We offer our prayers for the returning souls,
Bring them into your light
Protect them with your heavenly hosts.
We behold them with your promise,
through Jesus Christ who was dead,
but lives and rules this world with you. Amen.
(Source: Rev Dr Ji Zhang, Uniting Church Assembly Theologian-in-Residence) Continue reading

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1 Samuel 1:4-20
Hannah grieves her inability to conceive, and the mockery of Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, so when the family goes to the temple she prays for a child. After Eli accuses her of being drunk, she explains that she is grieving and he blesses her. Following this, she falls pregnant and gives birth to Samuel.

Psalm 16
A Psalm in praise of God’s protection and blessing, God’s instruction and guidance, God’s presence and God’s ways of life.
(alternate reading is 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Hannah’s song, much like the Magnificat)

Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25
Jesus offered the perfect once-for-all sacrifice and then sat down at God’s right hand. He perfected God’s people, and now we can enter God’s presence with confidence because of our faith, the cleansing of God, and our high priest in God’s house. In response we are to hold on to our hope, and motivate each other to acts of love and goodness.

Mark 13:1-8
As they leave the temple, Jesus’ disciples are awed by the size and beauty of the building, but Jesus predicts that it will be destroyed. When the disciples ask for a sign, Jesus warns them about false messiahs who will come, reports of war, earthquakes, and famines. But, these, he explains, are just the beginnings of the end.
(Bible readings summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
The readings do not have a great deal of natural overlap, though the theme of waiting seems to be present – waiting for a baby, waiting in hope of life after death, waiting for the defeat of God’s enemies and waiting for the end of Jerusalem and the unfolding future.

Readings in A4 landscape folded format ready to print: Pilgrim COCU66B.Readings.2018

Church of Scotland liturgy resources
Singing from the Lectionary
You call that church music? (music suggestions from a wide variety of sources)

Components of worship (links to resources on this website)
Acknowledgement of Land
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are
Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Readings (see above)
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion Hymns)

Additional worship resources

Call to Worship (inspired by Hebrews 10:19-22)
We gather together to worship,
knowing that God is already here among us;
knowing that there is nothing that separates us
from the presence of God.
Wherever we are, wherever we go, God is near.
So let us enter into this service of worship
with confidence and hope,
knowing that God is already with us,
and that God stands eager to meet us
and bless us with love.
(Source: re-worship)

Call to worship (Psalm 16)
Come, bless the Lord,
in whom we find our refuge and safety.
You are our God;
all the good things come from you alone.
Come, bless the Lord,
who gives us a rich inheritance,
and surrounds us with abundance.
You are our God;
our lives are in your hands.
Come, bless the Lord,
who guides us on the path to eternal life,
whose presence strengthens and sustains us.
You are our God;
we will not be shaken.
Let’s worship God together!
(Source: re-worship) Continue reading

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Kristallnacht: “Night of Broken Glass” 9 Nov 1938

On the evening of November 9-10, 1938, the German Reich unleashed a pogrom against the Jews, burning down synagogues and smashing the glass fronts of Jewish shops in Berlin and all big cities in Germany and Austria. The pogrom was allegedly in retaliation for the assassination of a German diplomat at the German Embassy in Paris by the 17-year old Herschel Grynszpan.

To describe it, the Nazis coined the phrase Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass. On that night 91 Jews were killed, 30.000 Jews sent to Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camps. 5.000 Jewish shops were looted, 191 synagogues attacked, bonfires made of Torah scrolls, prayer books and volumes of Jewish history, philosophy and poetry. This action was a signal event whose importance in the history of the Shoah or Holocaust, as it is also called, is that it represents the shift from mass arrest and terror to mass murder. From the time of Kristallnacht onwards, the momentum of the Holocaust gathered force and led to the wholesale persecution and the killing of six million Jews including one and a half million children.

The Night of Broken Glass was crucial in the movement towards the Final Solution, a systematic programme of genocide, which was designed to annihilate every Jew in Europe. Soon would be added the deaths of millions of civilians, service men and women and partisans during WW II.

Australian story
An Aboriginal man, William Cooper, was the only person to stage a private protest against the Nazi persecution of the Jews. An important piece of history.

(from a service in New South Wales)
We remember a night of darkness and fear that swept the heartland of Christian Europe like a scourge. We remember those who were persecuted. Jews for being Jews. We remember those who spoke out, brave souls who tried to save a world.

And we remember the silence! How many stood aside, mute and unconcerned forgetting the divine command: “You shall not stand idle while your neighbour bleeds.”

For the sin of silence,
For the sin of indifference,
For the secret complicity of the neutral,
For the closing of borders,
For the washing of hands from blame,
For the crime of forgetfulness,
For the sin of meaningless rhetoric,
Let there be no forgetfulness before God, and let memory startle us at any moment, when we lie down and when we rise up. Let us remember and never forget.

Golden crystal hope – a blessing to go
Hope is the gold we melt and pour
between the crystal pieces, shattered,
smatterings and scatterings beneath our feet.
Tread carefully, hold gently the shards,
bear the wounds the healing cuts.
Offer the sacred price for peace, to mend
the broken crystal at our feet.
May the Holy bless us as we go, in peace. Amen

Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story. Written for the commemoration of 80 years since Kristallnacht, the state-sanctioned demolishing of Jewish synagogues, schools, homes, and businesses in Germany and Austria; written for the interfaith gathering hosted by The Canberra Jewish Centre and Wesley Uniting Church, 7 November 2018, at which was premiered the work by Elena Kats-Chernin, ‘To Mend Broken Crystal…’, which inspired this blessing.

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COCU 65B.11th November2018

This is also Remembrance Day and one hundred years centenary since the fighting stopped in World War I. So worship planners may choose to incorporate some specific Remembrance Day prayers into the service (some from the ANZAC Day resource may also be helpful, and this resource for the centenary of the armistice, prepared by Centre for Music, Liturgy and the Arts in Adelaide)

Bible readings
Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17: Naomi instructs Ruth to approach Boaz, which she does. Boaz takes Ruth to be his wife, and she bears a son called Obed – David’s grandfather.
Psalm 127: A psalm celebrating God’s protection and provision, and the gift of children.
Hebrews 9:24-28: Christ entered into heaven, offering himself once as the sacrifice for human sin. Then, he will appear a second time to save those who wait for him.
Mark 12:38-44: Jesus warns against the legal experts who seek honour, and who cheat poor widows and show off with long prayers. Then he comments on a poor widow who places a small offering in the collection box, saying that she has put in more than anyone else, because she has given out of her poverty.
(Summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Bible readings in A4 folded landscape format (commentary by John van de Laar, SacredisePilgrim COCU65B.Readings.2018

Singing from the Lectionary

Components of worship (links on this website)
Acknowledgement of Land
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are/words of assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Readings (see above)
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out

Other resources

Call to Worship
God’s Word called into being the pumpkins,
the geese who fly south, the leaves which litter our lawns.
In awe, we come into the presence of the God of vivid imagination.
God’s arms reach down and gather up
children, lovingly placing us in grace’s lap.
In joy, we reach up to the God who loves us completely.
God’s Spirit fills our lungs, so we can cry out for justice
for the broken, the young, the old, the abandoned of our time.
In service, we join with our God to build hope in our world.
(Source: Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies)

Prayers of Approach, Confession and Absolution
Most gracious God,
whose love reaches out to us
no matter where we are
no matter what we do
no matter how we think of God,
we offer our thanks
for the good of creation
and the renewing liberty of Your grace.
We rejoice in the freedom and peace in which we live.
Especially on this day we give thanks
for the remembrance of those whose lives were given in time of war, and for the bonds of friendship and appreciation
between the nations of the world.
Forgive us when we fail to be the hand of peace, the voice of magnanimity,
and the example of justice in our lives.
Forgive us when we keep silence when we should be speaking out.
Jesus calls us to receive His forgiveness and to practise it in our lives,
whether we want it or need it
whether we deserve it or seek it.
Jesus calls us always to seek reconciliation With all the people we meet.
Enable us in all things
to seek the good of the world,
to practise forgiveness and reconciliation,
to work for the increase of peace and justice,
to show tolerance and open-mindedness to all
and to practise generosity of spirit and openness of hospitality, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
(Source: Rev Dr Karen Campbell, Church of Scotland)

Prayer of confession/Assurance of pardon
Bountiful Love: our self-focus causes us to imagine how poor we are.
We are convinced we don’t have enough:
enough honour,
enough respect,
enough recognition,
enough to live on.
And so, in our poverty, we cannot trust you, we cannot see the emptiness of others, we cannot help but cling to more than we need.
Forgive us, Bestower of Blessings. Tell us we can be more loving; whisper to us of how we can be more compassionate; sing to us of how we can serve others – all in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Silence is kept
The good news is that we are made whole; not by our efforts, not by any work we have done, not by any word of ours.
Out of the riches of grace, God pours forgiveness into our lives, giving us all we need in Jesus Christ, so we might live in hope and joy. Thanks be to God. Amen.
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