Break the Silence Sunday resources have been prepared by Rev Moira Finley along with other ecumenical and artistic collaborators in the USA. Rev. Finley is a survivor, and a UCC Pastor in the USA. The BTSS resource has been adapted for use in Australia and can be downloaded here.
BTSS is a time for the church to come together: * to learn about the realities of rape and sexual violence; about ways to create a community where survivors * can share stories and receive support, hope, and love; * a way to prayerfully consider how to be advocates for change in the community, and around the world.
(Australian Federal elections yet to be announced but anticipated to be in May 2019)
If we claim to love our neighbour
while the hungry queue for food,
are we prey to self deception?
Is perception quite so crude?
If we sit beside our neighbours,
begging for the things they need,
we might share their own injustice
in a world that thrives on greed.
If we punish those with nothing,
blaming them for where they stand,
is this love of friend or neighbour,
do we still not understand?
Love of neighbour is not easy,
cuts us till we feel the pain,
sharing hurt that they are feeling
till they find new life again.
Love of neighbour sets us squarely
in the place where they now sit,
till the richness God has given
builds a pearl around the grit;
till each person shares the comfort
of the love of which we preach,
till we live as fact the Gospel:
none can be beyond love’s reach.
(Words: Andrew Pratt 28/3/2015. Please include on your CCL return) Metre 22.214.171.124.D Tune: BETHANY (Smart)
7 Practices for hearing and responding to the margins (especially in the elections!) by Graham Hill, Morling College (originally published 2017)
“God’s mission is from the margins. Jesus was a Galilean Jew. He didn’t just care for the margins: He was from the margins himself. If the church’s mission, ministry, and message are to reflect the way that God places the margins at the center of his love and concern, then the church must see the margins as not merely being incidental to the whole. We don’t merely get a helpful perspective from the margins – God often speaks to us from there. So, how do we listen to the margins? How do we listen even if we can’t immediately see how the concerns of the margins affect us personally? And how do we do this during an election period? (very thoughtful article) Continue reading →
Tonight is a night of darkness – for Maudy Thursday Tonight is a night of darkness. We gather it together like gauze and wrap our souls in it. Tonight is a night of final things. We gather together in the darkness and hold hands for one last meal. Tonight is a night of water. We gather together to cleanse and prepare. Tonight is a night of tears We gather together and pray that the tears can wash away the betrayal yet Tonight is a night of betrayal. We gather together to support one another, but one of us will destroy.
The cup comes to me at the table – the cup of the last meal I will drink of it deeply and Remember all the good times; the teachings, the laughter, the love. The cup comes to me at the table – the cup of new beginnings I will drink of it deeply and Hope that the new covenant will not hurt too much as it is carved on my heart The cup comes to me in the garden – the cup of my Father’s will I will drink of it deeply after I ask that it pass from me. The cup comes to me as He is on the cross – the cup of bitterness I will drink of it deeply even If it comes in a form that is alien to me. The cup comes to me tonight and I will drink I will drink deeply and enter into At one ment with Him.
“Komunyon” by Filipino artist Emmanuel Garibay
This is the dark night of the cup. Dark is the wine, dark are the shadows, dark is my soul. Together we enter into this night, we will leave separately in silence. Can I be at one with Him? Will I stand watch with Him tonight? Or will I too sleep at the gate? Will I embrace and kiss only to betray? (Source: Theresa Coleman)
See also Good Friday B Readings Isaiah 52:13-53:12: A song of the suffering servant, who is persecuted and dies for the sake of others (“us”). Psalm 22: A Psalm of lament, grieving the suffering and abandonment of the writer, but celebrating the inevitable rescue that will come, and praising the God who brings this salvation. Hebrews 10:16-25: We have confidence to approach God, because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, and can now live in hope, in intimacy with God, and in love-in-action. John 18:1 – 19:42: Jesus is arrested, tried, crucified and buried – and through it all, reveals the brokenness and lack of integrity of those who face him, while revealing his own truth, integrity and divine character. (Bible readings summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
Today is a day of contradictions. We are always dying and rising to new life, but especially on this day. We are all the actors in this story: the people shouting “Crucify him!” and the women who stand vigil at the foot of the cross, the soldiers who cast lots for his tunic and Joseph of Arimathea who gave his own tomb for Jesus’ burial. Today we lament the pain of this world and we face our complicity in that pain and seek to be witnesses to, and participants in, God’s power over the evil of this world.
PRAYER OF INVOCATION God, on this dark day, when even Jesus felt abandoned, we hesitate. We want to ask you to be present with us but we hesitate. We have no right to ask. We have no certainty. We have only hope, the hope that regardless of how we feel and despite what we do, you have never abandoned your world. Open our hearts and minds this day to the goodness of Good Friday, and fill us with your love that makes all things new. Amen.
How have we forsaken you, O God? Where there is suffering – and we turn our eyes. Where there is exclusion – and we turn our backs. Where there is need – and we turn our hearts. And yet, we know that you are among the injured, and the lonely, and the hungry, and the poor. How have we forsaken you, O God?Silence
For those whose lives are torn apart by war, the civilians and the soldiers and the families who are waiting for loved ones to come home, Holy One, we pray: (we bring to mind people, places and situations) How have we forsaken you, O God?Silencee
For those whose stomachs ache with hunger, Holy One, we pray: refugee communities without food, those whose lands no longer provide food for their community. How have we forsaken you, O God?Silence
For those whose bodies have no shelter from the elements, Holy One, we pray: rough sleepers on our city streets, those escaping violence and making do as best they can. How have we forsaken you, O God?Silence
For those who are imprisoned, justly or unjustly, Holy One, we pray: prisoners of war, those detained on Manus and Nauru and in immigration detention, inmates in prisons, people awaiting sentencing, How have we forsaken you, O God?Silence
For those whose minds or spirits seek comfort and cannot find it, Holy One, we pray: those who are grieving, in transition, mentally ill, those who cannot find employment. How have we forsaken you, O God?Silencee
Now is the acceptable time! (2 Cor 6.2) Help us to be your hands, Holy One: reaching out to heal the hurting of this world. Help us to be your ears, Holy One, hearing and understanding to the cries for justice and mercy. Help us to be your arms, Holy One, embracing the sorrow and offering comfort. Help us to be your feet, Holy One, walking with those who suffer and guiding the journey toward peace. Let us not forsake you any longer, O God. Now is the acceptable time! Faithful and compassionate God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those in authority, that justice, peace, and freedom may increase, until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
#metoo and Good Friday? (excerpt) On Good Friday, before Jesus Christ was crucified, the Romans stripped him naked (or at least nearly naked) in order to disgrace him. Two scholars claim that this act constitutes sexual violence, and fits under the purview of the #MeToo movement. Katie Edwards, director at the University of Sheffield’s Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies in Britain, and David Tombs, Howard Paterson chair of theology and public issues at the University of Otago in New Zealand, argued that modern gender conventions make it hard to understand the stripping of Jesus in its historic humiliating nature. “Crucifixion was a ‘supreme punishment’ and the stripping and exposure of victims was not an accidental or incidental element,” the scholars argue. “It was a deliberate action that the Romans used to humiliate and degrade those they wished to punish. It meant that the crucifixion was more than just physical, it was also a devastating emotional and psychological punishment.” (Source: Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media)
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Joan Chittister , The Liturgical Year: “Everyone who has ever lived, who will ever live, will someday undergo a Holy Saturday of our own. Someday we will all know the power of overwhelming loss when life as we know it changes, when all hope dies in midflight. Then, and only then, can we begin to understand the purpose of Holy Saturday.
The importance of Holy Saturday lies in its power to bring us to the kind of faith the spiritual masters call ‘mature.’ Holy Saturday faith is not about counting our blessings; it is about dealing with darkness and growing hope. Without the Holy Saturdays of life, none of us may ever really grow up spiritually.”
Praying in the Spirit of Easter Saturday
Lord of Easter,
God of all times,
We pray in the Spirit of Easter Saturday.
We pray in this liminal time,
This in in-between time,
The place of paralysis in the midst of confusion,
The bit or gap where the chasm of despair or hopelessness
seems sometimes all too close.
We pray for those who are in-between.
For those who have to wait,
Mourners, The grieving, Refugees,
For those who walk in the shadow of death,
For those waiting for results or treatment,
Those between employment,
Those between opposing powers.
For those for whom the promise of paradise seems
but a mirage or a place beyond the horizon of their hope.
Lord of Easter,
You have walked by this way before us.
For us the Easter story moves ahead towards resolution and resurrection, but for many the reality of the future is unclear and uncertain,
just as it was for your disciples and followers that Easter Saturday.
Be with us, Christ, and all those caught in the vortex of waiting.
Carry all beyond our fear and despair to hope.
Lift us all and strengthen us
when the weight of uncertainty presses down upon us.
Sustain us when we feel trapped by circumstance.
Lord of Easter,
God of all times,
We pray in the Spirit of Easter Saturday.
Comfort and uphold us all.
Enfold us in your love, that we may bear the angst is waiting.
Transform us into survivors.
Walk with us into tomorrow.
Walk us into how and healing.
Bring us into resurrection.
This we ask of you. Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite)
Patheos: Holy Saturday – the Space Between
Before we rush to resurrection we must dwell fully in the space of unknowing, of holding death and life in tension with each other, to experience that liminal place so that we become familiar with its landscape and one day might accompany others who find themselves there and similarly disoriented. The wisdom of the Triduum is that we must be fully present to both the starkness of Friday and to the Saturday space between, before we can really experience the resurrection. We must know the terrible experience of loss wrought again and again in our world so that when the promise of new life dawns we can let it enter into us fully in the space carved by loss. As the great poet of Hafiz reminds us, we must let our loneliness “cut more deep” and “season” us, so that we are reminded of our absolute dependence on the Source of all. Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly. Let it cut more deep. Let it ferment and season you as few human Or even divine ingredients can. Something missing in my heart tonight Has made my eyes so soft, My voice so tender, My need of God Absolutely clear. —Hafiz
(read more here)
Readings Acts 10:34-43: Peter preaches that God shows no favouritism, but that anyone who believes in Jesus, who did good and healed those oppressed by the devil, was crucified, and was raised, receives life and forgiveness.
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24: A song celebrating God’s mercy and strength, and celebrating the restoration of God after struggle – foreshadowing “the stone that the builders rejected” who “became the cornerstone”.
1 Corinthians 15:19-26: Christ is the one who died and came back to life in order to bring all people to life. Finally, death itself is destroyed.
John 20:1-18: Mary finds the empty tomb and reports it to the disciples. Peter and John investigate and witness the empty tomb, but Mary remains and becomes the first to meet, and witness to, the Risen Christ.
OR Luke 24:1-12: The women find the tomb empty and meet two angels who report that Jesus is risen. They return and report the event to the disciples, who are initially sceptical. (Bible readings summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
Easter Chant From death to life with Christ we move from death to life (repeated) Words: William Wallace. Click here for music score.
Rising Christ Rising Christ, You are rising indeed. Rising up hope where hope has died Rising up people to follow your way Rising up justice in the hearts of those who would take up compassion Rising up grace as a challenge to the world Rising up repentance and reconciliation in the face of arrogance, hate, bitterness and resentment Rising up peace as a possibility to be striven and worked for Rising up the way of the cross as the roadmap to meaning, purpose and eternal life. Christ, you are rising indeed, Rise up in us, That we may live you and your love to others Rise up in us, That we may be who you call us into being Rise up in us, That we may be your resurrection people, Your body of followers Your disciples Always striving to be better Always on the way to the promised end Now and always so Amen. (Source: Jon Humphries)
Earth Day is held on April 22nd each year, first held in 1970. Earth Day was the brainchild of U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who sought a way to place environmental protection on the national agenda at a time when pollution was compounding. The Democratic senator enlisted college students to organize and coordinate the day. More than 20 million Americans attended Earth Day festivities on April 22, 1970, aligning a broad spectrum of cohorts: Democrats and Republicans, urban and rural communities, labor and business leaders. The energy that surfaced that day has been credited with spurring the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (1970) and the passage of signature environmental legislation, such as the Clean Air Act (1970), the Clean Water Act (1972) and the Endangered Species Act (1973) – all initiatives enacted under President Richard Nixon. Earth Day has since expanded to 192 countries, according to the Earth Day Network. More information here.
The movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, we continue to lead with groundbreaking ideas and by the power of our example.
And so it begins. Today. Right here and right now. Earth Day is more than just a single day (April 22). It’s bigger than attending a rally and taking a stand. This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100% renewable. Let’s take the momentum from the Paris Climate Summit and build on it.
Earth Day 2017 marked the first anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement. Despite this remarkable achievement, we cannot afford to pull back our efforts. To build a world that values environmental protection and cultivates sustainable communities for all people, we must have educated citizens.
“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)
See the world through the eyes of the Creator, Pope Francis said at the end of his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, marking Earth Day.
“I exhort everyone to see the world through the eyes of God the Creator: the earth is an environment to be safeguarded, a garden to be cultivated,” he said. “The relationship of (hu)mankind with nature must not be conducted with greed, manipulation and exploitation, but it must conserve the divine harmony that exists between creatures and Creation within the logic of respect and care, so it can be put to the service of our brothers, also of future generations”. In his universal prayer intention for April, Francis prayed “That people may learn to respect creation and care for it as a gift of God.”
It was agreed in November 2006 that the SA Synod/Presbytery establish Reconciliation Sunday in Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) annually, to be celebrated across the Church, and request Church Councils to include this day in their worship calendars. Reconciliation Week begins the day after Sorry Day (May 26th) and includes the anniversary of the 1967 referendum (May 27th) and finishes on June 3rd, sometimes known as ‘Mabo Day’, the anniversary of the High Court’s 1992 Mabo judgement which was a major landmark in the recognition of Indigenous land rights in Australia. It also recognizes the covenant relationship with the UAICC (Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress) of the Uniting Church in Australia. In 2017, National Reconciliation Week celebrated two significant anniversaries in our nation’s history; 50 years since the 1967 Referendum and 25 years since the historic Mabo Decision.
Prayer for the Journey of Healing Dear God We who have come from every land give thanks for Australia; this earth that feeds us; the shores that bind us; the skies that envelop us in freedom. We stand together, united as one people: proud of our ability to work together; grateful for our gifts; nourished by our diversity and our harmony. Yet we turn to the original people of this land and see, too, what we have taken. We weep for their loss of freedom, of country, of children – even of their very lives We stand in awe at their survival, and in debt for their land. We have shadows in our history which, if not faced, diminish us. We have taken without asking; Our nation has taken without asking; Lives are wounded. We see the pain, feel the sorrow and seek forgiveness. Let us look back with courage; see the truth and speak it. Let us look around with compassion; see the cost and share it. Let us look forward with hope; see what can be and create it. Give us courage to face the truth; compassion to share the burden, strength to play our part in the healing, and hope to walk forward to a place of justice. With courage, compassion, strength and hope, we will walk together on the journey of healing. May it be so.
‘SORRY. Still Living On Borrowed Time!’ The Stolen Generations are the survivors of past government policies that allowed for the forcible removal of Indigenous children from their families. On 13 February 2008, thousands of Australians shared in the experience of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and Indigenous Australia delivered by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd together with the Australian Parliament. Transcript-of-PM-Kevin-Rudd-Forgotten-Australians-apology The majority of Stolen Generations survivors are over the age of 45 and, despite the Apology, are still waiting for justice – in particular the comprehensive implementation of the recommendations of the 1997 Bringing them home report. It is now 2011 and time is running out; hence the theme ‘SORRY. Still Living On Borrowed Time!’ National Sorry Day Committee www.nsdc.org.au
“You’re religion can be carried around in a box, a book, our religion is found in the land, the sacred sites and you took these from us” (First Nations People, Canada)