COCU Index Year C

Year C – COCU Index 2018-19

Migrant and Refugee Sunday in the UCA
Season of Creation
National Suicide Prevention Month – September
Also Fathers Day
Also, first day of spring (Australia)
September is Dementia Month
9/11 Remembrance
Child Protection Week
World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, 17-24 Sept
Freedom Sunday (end human slavery), 22 September 2019
Social Justice Sunday – last Sunday in September

Citation index (Vanderbilt Library) in canonical order

UCA Calendar of commemorations

Ecumenical prayer cycle (World Council of Churches) 2019 

Components of worship – generic
Acknowledgement of Land
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are/Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Readings (see specific weeks)
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion Hymns)

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Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71: 1-6; Hebrews 12: 18-29: Luke 13:10-17

Call to Worship
All who are bent over with worry: this is a place of sanctuary.
All who are burdened with life: this is a house of care.
All who are lost to community: this is a company of welcome.
All who travel with questions: this is a community of seekers.
All who reach out for God: this is a sacred space of worship.
Come, let us worship.

Prayers of who we are
God-with-us, we come as people who know the burdens that life brings, as those who know the need for healing – in body, mind and spirit. We have gathered with a sense of the sacredness of this space, aware of your presence flowing from one person to another. We come with our wounds wide open, with our defences down, calling to you as did so many who approached Jesus, saying “Heal me, help me, touch me!” We work hard at being happy, at coping, at surviving, at holding on, but we have come here hoping to let go and to open ourselves to Christ’s healing flow.
A silence is kept for personal reflection
Touch our lives, our God, as we worship here today, and cast your sunlight through our tears till rainbows rise, and plant dreams where wounds leave scars like furrows in broken ground, rekindling our hope, reviving our strength, refreshing our faith. May it be so. Amen.
(Source: Ruth Duck, Touch Holiness, The Pilgrim Press, adapted)

A reflection (could be used in Prayers of Confession/Prayers of who we are, for contemplation)
I am only, I do not know
how or what or where;
I am only, I cannot go,
I am too afraid.
I am only, I have not
height or voice or strength;
I am only, I am little,
broken, old, young.
I am only, I will not
be welcomed, heard or heeded;
I am only, they are more,
so much more than me.
I am only, but I am listening,
I will trust you when you call;
for I am only who I am,
and with you I am not alone.
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story) Continue reading

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Isaiah 5:1-7: A metaphorical prophecy of judgement against Israel and Judah, pictured as God’s vineyard, for their lack of justice.
OR Jeremiah 23:23-29: A prophecy against false prophets who make up lies in God’s name, compared to God’s true word which burns like fire and smashes rock like a hammer.
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19: A Psalm of repentance for abandoning God, and praying for God to once again tend and protect God’s people as a vineyard that is well cared for.
OR Psalm 82: This Psalm, picturing a ‘council of the gods’, has God speaking judgement over the gods of nations who oppress the poor and allow injustice to continue unchecked.
Hebrews 11:29-12:2: A reminder of the “great cloud of witnesses” – people of faith who suffered for their message and stayed committed to God through great trial and heartache – who surround us. They encourage us to stay firm, and follow Christ – the one who endured the cross – faithfully.
Luke 12:49-56: Jesus grieves his coming suffering, recognising the conflict that will arise over his message, and challenging people to discern the true nature of the time they live in, in the same way that they interpret the weather.
(Bible readings summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Church of Scotland
Singing from the Lectionary

Call to Worship
The One who commands the clouds
calls us to be poured out for others.
We can, by faith, be the waters of peace
which quench the fires of hatred
The One who creates mercy and hope,
longs for a world of fair play and grace.
We can, by faith, let righteousness and
justice be our constant companions
The One who is with us in every moment
composes a love-song for our hearts.
We can, by faith, teach this song
to everyone we meet
(Source: Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies)

A prayer of thanksgiving
Loving God, thank you for this place of worship, built in the name of your love. Thank you for holding the space for us to gather together as your church community, and for accepting us as we come and go from this sacred place. Thank you God for your abundant love and your faith and trust which you have in us, and for the cloud of witnesses who inspire our faith. Thank you for Christ’s caring example, which has woven us into a supportive and loving community of faith. Thank you God for providing us with the building blocks with which we have built our church community of unconditional love, peace and acceptance.
In gratitude for you we pray, Amen
(Source: National Youth Assembly Worship Team, Church of Scotland)

Prayer of Thanksgiving
O Lord our God,
We thank you for the many people throughout the ages
Who have followed your way of life joyfully:
For the many saints and martyrs, men and women,
Who have offered up their very lives, so that your life abundant may become manifest.
For your love and faithfulness we will at all times praise you.
O Lord, we thank you for those who chose the way of Jesus Christ.
In the midst of trial, they held out hope,
In the midst of hatred, they kindled love;
In the midst of persecutions, they witnessed to your power;
In the midst of despair, they clung to your promise.
For your love and faithfulness we will at all times praise you.
O Lord, we thank you for the truth they passed on to us:
That it is by giving that we receive;
It is by becoming weak that we shall be strong;
It is by loving others that we shall be loved;
It is by offering ourselves that your kingdom shall unfold;
It is by dying that we shall inherit life everlasting.
Lord, give us courage to follow your way of life.
For your love and faithfulness we will at all times praise you
(Source: Consider Your Call)

“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!” Luke 12.51
Not us-versus-them. Not good people on one side
and everybody else on the other. Not you against neighbors.
But you, distinct from what others want of you.
You, not what will please them.
The real you, true and unmodified,
standing for what you know and care for,
regardless of how others baulk and resist and criticize
and cajole and manipulate and persecute and crucify.
Beware: those whose hearts are unwhole
will try to draw you in to complete them;
but you cannot be them for them. This is the great division.
You must be yourself, and let their incompleteness go,
without ceasing to love them. Let them press against you
even as you stand for them.
Jesus prays for strength for you to stand as self,
to stand without pleasing, without apologizing.
Stand with hope and trust, though you be alone—
for, standing alone, you find your true companions,
bound not by opinion but by the Whole, What Is,
given, not made, the Body of Christ.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Prayer of commitment (relates to Hebrews reading)
God of Jesus and our God,
mindful of all those choice souls who have gone on ahead of us,
teach us, and each twenty-first century disciple of every race and place,
to follow their example to the best of our ability:
to feed the poor in body or spirit,
to support and comfort the mourners and the repentant,
to encourage the meek and stand with them in crises,
to affirm those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
to cherish and learn from the merciful,
to be humbled by, and stand with, the peacemakers.
Let us clearly recognise what it means
to be called the children of God,
and to know we are to be your saints
neither by our own inclination nor
in our own strength
but simply by the call
and the healing holiness of Christ Jesus our Saviour. Amen!
(Source: Bruce Prewer)

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resources in times of natural disaster/tragedy

August 2019: A wave of shootings in the United States has prompted lament, condolences and condemnations from US churches and the World Council of Churches (WCC). “We stand with our sisters and brothers in the US in these hours of grief and confusion,” said WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, “and, along with our condolences, we join the urgent cries of churches and church people for real remedies to the gun violence there.” (Read the statement here).

Which is to say
this blessing
is always.
Which is to say
there is no place
this blessing
does not long
to cry out
in lament,
to weep its words
in sorrow,
to scream its lines
in sacred rage.
Which is to say
there is no day
this blessing ceases
to whisper
into the ear
of the dying,
the despairing,
the terrified.
Which is to say
there is no moment
this blessing refuses
to sing itself
into the heart
of the hated
and the hateful,
the victim
and the victimizer,
with every last
ounce of hope
it has.
Which is to say
there is none
that can stop it,
none that can
halt its course,
none that will
still its cadence,
none that will
delay its rising,
none that can keep it
from springing forth
from the mouths of us
who hope,
from the hands of us
who act,
from the hearts of us
who love,
from the feet of us
who will not cease
our stubborn, aching
marching, marching
until this blessing
has spoken
its final word,
until this blessing
has breathed
its benediction
in every place,
in every tongue:
(Source: Jan Richardson, from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief)

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Isaiah 1: 1, 10-20: Having a vision, strengthens and guides people, especially in times of uncertainty and chaos.
Psalm 50: 1-8, 22-23: God is not silent, and God makes fierce demands.
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16: Faith inspires new journeys, and new lives; faith is enjoying having a hopeful imagination.
Luke 12: 32-40: Spiritual living is being alert, moving in the flow, and being constantly ready to light our lamps.

Hebrews 11.1 (to have faith, is to be sure, of the things we hope for, to be certain, of the things that we cannot see)
Faith is a way of looking at what there is to be seen in the world and in ourselves and hoping, trusting, believing against all evidence to the contrary that beneath the surface we see there is vastly more that we cannot see.
(Source: Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons)

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11 August 2019 – prayers for peace (Korean Peninsula)

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

On Sunday, 11 August, 2019, 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. 

Romans 14:19: “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

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Hiroshima Day, August 6th

A Prayer for Hiroshima Day
Like most traumatic scars, the ones that are found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are permanent: reminders of the terrible damage human beings can inflict.
Similar scars can be found in the hearts and souls of people around the world who understand this terror: scars of grief, sadness, fear and even shame.
None of these scars promise an end to war and devastation. Instead, they serve as a reminder of healing and renewal – of a return to life.
Gracious God, Spirit of Life and Love, help us to see our scars: those we have created, those we are called to witness, and those we can soothe and heal.
We are deeply grateful for the buds and blossoms that even the most scarred offer as a revelation to the world.
And, especially on the anniversary of Hiroshima Day, we renew our commitment to peace individually, collectively and globally:
To “peace within” which calms our anxieties and fears,
To “peace between” which overcomes differences, animosities and conflict,
And, to “the great peace,” beyond even our understanding, that is Your gift and which we attempt to be stewards of for the world. Amen.

Carol Hallman wrote: “I just got back from Japan a couple of weeks ago. I was greatly moved by the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima and so I wrote the attached piece in response to that. August 6th is Hiroshima Day of Remembrance.” There was a time when there would never be a worship service at the beginning of August that did not include a prayer for peace, a children’s message with cranes, a deep sadness … and many tears. Here are her words. You are freely given permission to share her them with attribution.

I did not expect
The tears

Standing on the
Holy Ground of

In the shadow
Of the dome
The ruins stand

Testament to
war bombs
hate fear

I did not expect
The tears
For people long dead

Perhaps they were
The lucky ones
No hanging onto life

So many others
Radiation sickness
Cancer lingering
But just as deadly
Killing just as surely

I did not expect
The tears
At the starkness of
The reminder
Of what war brings

Lives unlived unfulfilled
Dreams lost
Families torn apart

The bricks lie
Precisely as they
Did that day
There is a sense
Of voices long silenced

Cries long gone
Fire is out
Fear gone

I did not expect
The tears
Take off your shoes
Holy ground indeed
The Peace bell
Rings echoing
Offering hope

And a reminder
That we aren’t there

I did not expect
The tears
But they came
In remembrance
Of what once was

They came
In sorrow and in
Hope of a better

** The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (広島平和記念碑 Hiroshima Heiwa Kinenhi), is the site of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, now commonly called the Genbaku Dome, or Atomic Bomb Dome (原爆ドーム Genbaku Dōmu). The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruin of the exhibition hall memorializes those who were killed in the atomic bombing which obliterated Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Intended for the Aioi Bridge, the bomb instead exploded directly over the Shima Hospital, near to the Genbaku Dome. Because the explosion was directly overhead, it retained its shape. Over 70,000 people were killed instantly by the bomb, and another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries from the radiation.
(sourced from Gifts in Open Hands)

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Memorial Observance Worship and Prayer Resources – UMC (excellent prayers and resources)

This is the day, August 6th,
when history reminds us
the terrorism, the barbarism we’re capable of:
destroying an entire city full of innocent civilians
just to frighten a leader or two.

Lest there be any question,
three days later we’ll do it again.
Not military targets, just shocking.
Pure terrorism.
We’ll justify it,
wrap it in strategy and politics and patriotism,
as if we had no other choice—
but hundreds of thousands will die,
and more will suffer, for a generation,
a generation.

It’s how we do things.
We firebombed Tokyo in the night of March 9,
killed 100,00, destroyed 16 square miles of city,
and left a million homeless.

We did that to 67 Japanese cities.
Civilian deaths. Sixty-seven entire cities.

We are a great people.
And this, also, is who we are.
We will never escape our own violence
until we confess it.
We will never attain true greatness
without true honesty.

Let this be a day of confession, mourning and humility,
and a day of compassion.
Let us begin to be people of peace.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Prayers for Hiroshima Day
God our creator and sustainer, we gather to pray in the midst of a broken people who today remember the darkness and the shadow of death and destruction caused by nuclear weapons.
We know that we deal falsely with the world and with ourselves, healing wound too lightly by saying ” peace, peace” when there is no peace.
Let there be sown is us anew the unity, the light and the peace which passes all understanding. Be with us today and keep our minds and hearts in you and in your peace
We remember the 300,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who died as a result of the atomic bombs: May they rest in peace.
We remember all those who died in the war with Japan, especially those who perished in the prisoner of war camps.
We remember those who gave their lives to help those suffering after the bomb and who died of radiation sickness. May their faithful and loving witness inspire us to compassion.
We remember the people of the Middle East – in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Israel. Each day brings news of more violence. We pray that nonviolent solutions may be found to heal wounds, bring justice and lasting peace to them.
We remember those who were able to forgive the suffering inflicted on them by their enemies in war. We pray for the same greatness of heart.
We will remember the peacemaker visionaries who have come before us, and we will give thanks for their witness and their commitment to life.
We pray we may be transformed by God and witnesses to the peace message of Jesus.
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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day – August 4th

Children’s Day is celebrated across Australia each year on 4 August. It is a time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of their children. It is also an opportunity for all Australians to show their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that culture, family and community play in the life of First Nations children!

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Lay Preachers Sunday 4Aug2019

The first Sunday in August is designated by the Uniting Church in Australia as Lay Preachers Sunday. Resources are available here.

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Texts: Hosea 11:1-11; Psalm 107:1-9, 43; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21

Readings (designed to be printed as back to back A5):

Resources: Textweek; Singing from the Lectionary; Sacredise;

NZ Hymn writer Shirley Murray:
‘Love and trust need no hoard, richest treasure can’t be stored.
Jesus said, have a care your heart will always be where your riches are’.

Call to worship/gathering – see also Call to Worship on this website, and Centering Reflections and Prayers on this website.

Call to worship
God of the past who whispered in the prophets’ ears;
who rescued us from sin’s slavery:
we are here to thank you.
God of the future, who is tearing down the old world,
and building your kingdom in our midst:
we are here because we trust you.
God of the present who, in the giftedness of our diversity,
creates us to be one people:
we are here to praise you.
God of life that surprises us when we find it within us:
we celebrate your grace.
(Thom Shuman)

Prayers for Others
(Reflecting on Colossians 3:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21)
Christ in this world
The lived compassion and Word of God,
We pray for the things of heaven
So that we in the world might set our minds on things that are above,
not on things that are on earth,
Which are not yet as they should be.
We pray for the things of heaven,
Compassion, grace, justice and the common good
So that they may become real for those who do not share them yet as they should.
We pray for the victims of fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry),
Both ours and others,
For slaves, people trafficked,
Victims of crime and the evils of society,
Those displaced or dispossessed by injustice, war, conflict and famine,
For the poor and forgotten.
We pray for those afflicted by
such things as anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language,
Those who are the targets of racism, hate-speak, bullying, prejudice, bigotry and discrimination.
Those mistreated and left to suffer,
At the hands of individuals groups, communities, cultures, organisations, bureaucracies and governments.
We pray for those like us,
Caught in consumerism,
Gripped in want and greed,
Addicted to the need for more,
Storing up richness of life at the cost of others,
Those caught in the fear of losing their quality of living or their plans for the future.
We pray for those isolated and alone,
Those cut off from connection in community,
Either by their own actions or the actions of others,
The sick, the fearful, the unwell
the lost, the abused, the outcast
So we pray,
Hoping you will act
But also knowing that we are called into communion with your action.
We pray that we might have the faith and courage
To join you in your way
Living your love in this world
That as it is in heaven
May be present here on earth
Thus may it be so
(Source: Jon Humphries) Continue reading

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COCU49C.28th July 2019

Readings: Hosea 1:2-10; Psalm 85; Colossians 2:6-15, (16-19); Luke 11:1-13

Resources: Textweek.
Commentary on Hosea by Dennis Bratcher.

he qi Lord's Prayer

Lord’s Prayer by He Qi

Various versions of the Lord’s Prayer, including the following written by Rev Sarah Agnew.

Divine Source of Love and Live,
Holy is your unspeakable name.

May your Way of Love resound through earth,
heaven in our midst.

All we need to live and thrive
we receive from you, Creator;

forgive us when we turn away,
as we forgive each other.

Keep us on the path of Wisdom,
away from wicked tyranny;

Spirit ever breathe through us,
empower us with hope.

From you, through you and in you,
are all things, now and always;
to you be all honour and praise. Amen.

(Rev Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

And this one by Mark Berry:
O Breathing Life
(inspired by Matthew 6: 9-13, Luke 11: 2-4)
O Breathing Life, your Name shines everywhere!
Release a space to plant your Presence here.
Imagine your possibilities now.
Embody your desire in every light and form.
Grow through us this moment’s bread and wisdom.
Untie the knots of failure binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ faults.
Help us not forget our Source,
yet free us from not being in the Present.
From you arises every Vision,
Power and Song from gathering to gathering.
Amen! May our future actions grow from here!

And this by Steve Garnaas-Holmes:
Our Mother, our Father, Source of our being,
whose presence is heaven,
all Creation sings of you, “Holy!”
May your Realm unfold among us,
your desire be fulfilled,
this world blossoming out of your delight.
Give us the breath of life, one breath at a time.
Accept our brokenness;
give us acceptance of others who are broken.
Lead us beyond our desires
and save us from the grip of evil.
For the world is within you;
all power is from you,
and all glory is about you,
in eternity, which is in the present moment.
Amen. Continue reading

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