COCU Index Year C 2015-16

Year C
(Also, see Spring – in Australia)
COCU63C, All Saints Day, 30th October 2016
COCU65C, Pentecost 25C, 6th November 2016
COCU66C, Pentecost 26C, 13th November 2016
COCU67C, Reign of Christ, 20th November 2016
(see links to Year A and Year B)

Year A
COCU1A, Advent 1A, 27th November 2016
COCU2A, Advent2A, 4th December 2016
COCU3A, Advent 3A, 11th December 2016
COCU4A, Advent 4A, 18th December 2016
COCU 5A, Christmas Eve/Christmas Day
COCU6A, Christmas 1A (and New Years Day)


Easter C 2016 readings (Vanderbilt)

Citation index (Vanderbilt Library) in canonical order.

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See also All Saints Day.

ReadingsHabakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4Psalm 119:137-1442 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12Luke 19:1-10

At the feet of wisdom (Psalm 119:137–144 )
You are holy, you are just.
God, You judge with Wisdom.

You are faithful, Holy One,
decree only what is right and good.

Your promises can be trusted,
your word is sweet to hear.

You lay a path of Love to follow,
a path of justice and truth.

Your justice reigns throughout the earth,
Your holiness is everlasting.

Zeal sometimes consumes us, God,
when those against us act with fear.

Your words of justice, Your way of Love,
will help us trust in You.

Though we feel small, despise and are despised,
we will remember what we have learned;

sitting at the feet of Wisdom,
delighting in Your Word.

Though troubles come, though we know anguish,
we will find life in understanding;

we will live because of You,
will thrive through Your good teaching. Amen.

(Source: Sarah Agnew, Praying the Story – includes SoundCloud recording)



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All Saints Day

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 115:16)
One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4)
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They cried out in a loud voice, saying: Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! These beloved have gone on before us into eternal life. (Revelation 7:9-10).
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely. Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:10)

A Call to Worship for All Saints Day
(Hebrews 12: 1)
We remember, O God…
The countless saints of history
who have blazed a trail of courage through time,
We remember, O God…
The tender touch of loved ones,
the example of heroes,
the healing words of comforters,
the remarkable acts of fearless ones.
We remember, O God…
The gentle strength of grandmothers,
the loyalty of friends,
the kindness of strangers,
the joy of children,
the sacrifice of parents.
We remember, O God…
The supreme love of Jesus,
the blessing of his Spirit,
the reminder of his words,
the sharing of his suffering,
the glory of his resurrection:
shown forth in the lives of his disciples,
young and old,
dead and living,
articulate and silent,
strange and familiar,
brilliant and ordinary.
We remember in every time and place the saints of God
who have shown us the Lord.
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…
let us worship God with joy!
(Desperate Preacher’s website)

Call to Worship for All Saints Day
With thanksgiving on my tongue,
I sing praise for the feet of the saints
who walked this path long before me
who pointed out this path to me
who cleared the path with me.

With thanksgiving on my tongue,
I sing praise for the wisdom of the saints
who shared their vision of God’s ways
who lived faithfully by God’s ways
who loved God all the way.

With thanksgiving on my tongue,
I sing praise for the cloaks of the saints
that sheltered my weary soul from the dust
that marked my life for a new adventure
that gave me some flair for the dance.

With thanksgiving on your tongue,
now sing praise for the voices of the saints
who named God within you
who evoked God from you
who gave God to you.
(Rachel Hackenberg, and posted on RevGalBlogPals)

Call to worship
In all our weakness and strength,
with our youth-filled spirits and aging bodies,
we come to be your people, O God.

Strong in faith and eager with questions,
singing our praise and whispering our prayers,
we come to be your people, O God.

Filled with saintly determination
yet mindful of our human limitations,
we come to be your people, O God.

Made strong in your endless love for us,
we know ourselves to be yours and
we come to be your people, O God.

May we truly become your people today. Amen.
(Seasons of the Spirit: WoodLake Publishing)

Prayer of the Day
Eternal God, neither death nor life can separate us from your love: grant that we may serve you faithfully here on earth, and in heaven rejoice with all your saints. Amen.

Prayer of Confession: All Saints
Jesus, lover and friend, you showed us holiness in action through the way you lived your life. You gave away your power in the service of others and turned our understanding of blessedness on its head.
We confess the difficulties we experience in living as you lived and loving as you loved
We confess how easy it is to concentrate on our own pleasures – taking note of the plight of many in the world only as the news momentarily grabs our attention.
We confess our capacity to be so consumed by our own agendas that our concern for the needs of others shrinks all too rapidly.
We confess our failure to act when we see around us weakness, pain, suffering and powerlessness. A time of silent confession
We confess our reluctance to love our enemies and to do good to those who dislike or even hate us.
We confess the ease with which we become conformed to the world’s standards rather than facing the challenge of conforming to those of Christ.
Stir up your Spirit in us, Lord, that we may experience the happiness and blessing of being your disciples in more than name only.
Strengthen us to be people who sing and live your song of love; who willingly serve our neighbours—even those we don’t especially like; who seek justice and mercy for all and who truly repent of what is past and look with anticipation for what is yet to come. This we pray in your name and for your sake. Amen.
Assurance of Forgiveness
“In Christ… when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, you also were marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people.” (Ephesians 1: 13, 14)
Hear again the word of truth: in Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!
(Moira Laidlaw)

The those who have lived before us
Dear Lord,
thank you for drawing us into community
here in this place that has been called home for so many.

Inspire us with the lives of those before us,
those ancient ones who have lived here in faith
and opened up and given away
your love to all those who needed it.

May you change us with a vision to continue here
as a constant presence for those who travel through life,
a community of welcome that cares for all our parish
believing into what is still yet to be.

Teach us to discern your voice
as those before us have discerned your voice,
guided by its call and feeding on its promise
of life and hope and belonging.

May we hear your word:
a comforting word in its familiar sound,
yet a disturbing word in what it speaks anew
and longs for us to become.

Hold us within the faith of our forebears,
those who chose to meet you here in this parish,
who recognised this thin place as a trysting place
where your miracle of grace abides.

May we be moved by that grace
into all the places that make up our community,
sharing what you have given abundantly
like an ever flowing stream.

Call us from our past,
through the voices of our ancestors,
in the songs they have sung
and the prayers they have spoken
that have shaped peace within this parish,

And may we join our voice with their voice,
in the one great song of love
that will be lived and celebrated yet,
throughout this parish.
(Rev. Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Listening to the Stones)

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Two people came into the temple to pray.

A white man came up front and prayed,
“God, I thank you that I’m not black.
Thank you that I’m not a woman, or gay,
or was abused as a child.
I mind my own business,
and I believe in you.”

An undocumented immigrant woman
forced to work the street
stood at the back and prayed,
“God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

I tell you, she went home closer to God
than the other.

For all who are full of themselves
will be empty of anything else.
But those who make room for God
will shine with glory.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light

(Luke 18:1-8)
Two men
express in prayer
their life and world and hope;
one quite smug, the other made right
with God.

We hear these two pray,
yet looking deeply inward,
see in each ourselves.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder 2016)

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Freedom Sunday (Stop the Traffik)

At the close of 2014 a number of world faith leaders including Argentine Rabbi Dr Abraham Skorka, Pope Francis, Archbishop Welby, Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi and Zen Master Bhikkhuni Thich Nu Chan Khong signed an historic declaration aimed at tackling human tra cking and modern slavery. It stated that everyone is born with dignity and freedom, and anything that injured that was an “abhorrent crime against humanity”.

For many years Christian faith groups have been marking Freedom Sunday or Saturday (depending on their worship day) on the Sunday or Saturday closest to 18 October, which is Anti-Trafficking Day. It aims to raise awareness of the crime of human trafficking and show the world our compassion for men, women and children who are trafficked and exploited around the world.

Faith communities are invited to make commitments to take action to prevent the crime of human trafficking in our local and global communities.

Downloadable resources on the Stop the Traffik website. On the website you will find a three minute and five minute video clip which can be used in worship on Freedom Sunday.


See also this clip on Fortune website.

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Mental Health

New resource, Caring for Community: a mental health resource for congregations, prepared by Uniting Church in Australia, SA Synod. While this is not a resource for worship, it does offer many ways of understanding mental health that may offer entry points for reflection or a sermon.

Dark Dealer: There’s a dark inside for everyone (Sarah Agnew) – including Soundcloud reading.

Mental illness is something which needs to be included in liturgy and prayers, not only on particular ‘weeks’ and ‘days’ but acknowledging that many people in congregations struggle with mental illness while at the same time they seek to worship God and find meaning in their life, and faith. Farmers struggle with depression and sadly the rate of farmer suicides in the USA and Australia is double the average for the rest of the population (especially in the younger age group of farmers).

(NB a caution against closely linking mental illness with racist acts and hate crimes such as the Lindt Cafe siege and shootings in Sydney and the Charleston shootings – actions such as this perpetrated against innocent people need to be considered separately, even if mental illness may be considered a factor).

friendsR U OK?Day 2015 is held on 10th September. See also Wikipedia link here.

Mental Health Week 2016 will be run from Sunday 9th to Saturday 15th October, and World Mental Health Day  is marked every year on the same date: 10th October.
(these are dates for Australia – check out dates in your own country eg Mental Health Day in USA is in May)

From Wikipedia: R U OK?Day reminds people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, “R U OK?”, in a meaningful way, because connecting regularly and meaningfully is one thing everyone can do to make a difference to anyone who may be struggling. Around 45% of Australians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, while 20% are affected every year. [7]

The following has links to worship resources related to mental illness, depression etc. It is an area that clearly affects almost half the population at some stage in their life, and yet is almost never mentioned in church and worship.

For those Sunk in Depression
by Jon Humphries

God of Joy and Hope,
Christ of compassion,
For those sunk in depression we pray for their uplifting.
In the maze of dark emotions, may your light guide them to a way out and may it shine in those who care to help them on the journey.
In the midst of hurt and hopelessness, may your life awake in them the promise of healing and better times.
At times when the cycles of and habits negativity take root, weed them out and plant the seeds for happiness and positivity to grow.
When all certainty seems to point to no future which does not hold sadness and the aching of the soul, may they know the truth of your love and promise.
In the paralysis of unfeeling apathy and no desire to rise from sleep or no purpose in caring to care, may your will be lent to them so that the reason for love may awake within them.
In the battle against this insidious enemy, may those who struggle find allies to help them in the fight.
For those lost in the valley of the shadow of death, may they find that you are there looking out for them.
God of Joy and Hope,
Christ of compassion,
We pray for all whose life is being crushed under the burden of depression,
Bring around them people of sympathy, empathy and compassion.
May your people embody care and support for all who need it.
May grace and patience be gifted as they struggle to escape into wellness.
May love and healing be willingly and freely offered and received in the crucial times of desperate wont.
So Lord, for those sunk in depression we pray for their uplifting.
Please may this be so and may none be lost.
This we pray, Amen

My God, my God – Depression and the lament in Psalms by Stacey Gleddiesmith
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Readings: Jeremiah 31:27-34; Psalm 119:97-104; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8

Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart: There was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” … Jesus said, “When the Human One comes, will they find faith on earth?”
—Luke 18.1-5, 8

Patient God (based on Gospel reading)
Patient God,
you persevere in your care for us,
in spite of our lack of persistence,
lack of praying at all times.
Merge our inner spirits
with your will.
Teach us again and again
to pray always
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen
(Source:Bob Eldan)

God is not the judge, but the widow.
Jesus says, “Do not judge,” but still we judge.
We fail to fear God and respect other people.

God comes to us among the powerless,
the orphan, the widow, the Crucified One,
pleading for justice.

So busy with what we want,
we don’t hear what God wants.
But God keeps coming, keeps pleading for justice.
She does not shout, does not lift up her voice,
but calmly, confidently, again and again she comes.
She will wear us out with her continual coming,
until we do justice.

Persistent God,
help us listen to your cries in the poor,
to your whisperings in our hearts,
to the light in your silence.

We still our minds, cease our judging, and listen.
In our hearts, a river flowing, we listen.
In the unsaid billion prayers, we listen.

We keep praying and do not lose heart.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

A meditation on Psalm 119
When I look at the clouds,
the fluffy, thick, bright white
clouds, I imagine falling backwards
into that cotton wool castle
in the sky and knowing safety
never known before. Those clouds
to me appear to be the arms
of our Creator, Parent, Maker,
gentle mystery that is, Sacred Love.

Falling thus back in trust, into
faith, into grace, is some splendid
surrender to the paradox of Wisdom,
to giving in order to receive; to letting
go in order to retain; to living
when persecutors, tempters, oppressors
would take my life away.

Mocked though I may be by those
without understanding, I will fall,
I will seem the fool in dreaming
of a castle in the clouds that catches
me in my meditation, holds me
in my resignation, emboldens
me to love, though the certainties
of fear may try to shake me.

(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

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Readings: Jeremiah 29;1,4-7; Psalm 66:1-12; 2 Timothy 2:8-15; Luke 17:11-19

Praise the Holy Name (reflecting on Psalm 66:1-12)
create a sound from deep within,
sing full, cry out, speak loud for all
to hear your praises of the Holy One.

all life on earth, whatever breathes,
return that breath with gratitude
to the Source, the Breath, the Wind.

with joyful voice, delighted heart,
with wonder, awe, and love, sing
true the splendour of God our Maker.

sing the greatness, ring out the radiance
with bells peeling through city streets,
music floating above the fields.

give as you have been given – with joy
immeasurable, generosity unstoppable,
let it bubble and pop and spout and flow.

sing low, sing high, sing gladness that rides
the night time horses as boldly as it
frolics in the sunshine – only sing!

sing your songs of praise to God, all
who dwell on earth; sing day and night,
sing forever to the name of holiness itself.

(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray The Story)


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International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

preginfantlossHow might churches support parents and family honour their babies? What prayers and resources are available (just beginning to assemble some resources). 

15 October is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. On this day, parents and families across Australia honour their babies who passed away from miscarriage, stillbirth or postnatal causes.

To lose a baby is an agonizing heartache we wish no one would have to go through. If you have lost a baby, you are not alone: 1 out every 4 Australian women has lost a baby, too. Many bereaved parents find that being able to honour their babies on 15th Oct helps them on their journey to overcome the grief.

The International Wave of Light takes place on 15th October every year. To join in, “simply light a candle at 7 pm on 15 October, in remembrance of your baby, and leave it burning for one hour. Together with parents all over the world, you will create a continuous wave of light around the globe — in honour of all of our babies whose precious lives were cut too short. Participate this year, and find our how very special and comforting it is”.

Poems for stillbirth here.

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World Communion Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

we come.

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

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

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

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

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

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Our faithfulness this week calls us into other places and picking up on the Lamentations readings we will spend some time in prayer for Aleppo, listening to parts of the news reports interspersed with the lament from the text and praying for peace.
Call to Worship:
Gathering God, joined as one family
we come to worship you today,
mindful of the breathing
of the life that you have called into being
across countries and climates;
all creatures and all creeds.

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

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

(Source: Rev. Jennie Gordon)

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