COCU Index Year B 2017-18

Year B
Summer season (southern hemisphere)/
winter season (northern hemisphere)
Martin Luther King Jr Day (USA)
COCU11B, Epiphany 3B, 21st January 2018
26th January: Australia Day/Survival Day
COCU12B, Epiphany 4B, 28th January 2018
COCU13B, Epiphany 5B, 4th February 2018
COCU14B, Transfiguration, 11th February 2018
(Transfiguration Sunday Year A and Year C)
COCU18B, Ash Wednesday, 14th February 2018
COCU19B, Lent 1B, 18th February 2018
COCU20B, Lent 2B, 25th February 2018

Year B COCU Index (link is to a NZ resource)

Citation index (Vanderbilt Library) in canonical order

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Transfiguration Sunday is the last Sunday before Lent. Once again Epiphany closes with the Transfiguration of Jesus – the turning point, the final affirmation, before Jesus set his sights on Jerusalem and the coming confrontation and sacrifice. The challenge of this week is for us to learn to recognise God’s glory – in Christ, but also in all people and all things. It is this capacity for glory that can make a massive change to how we live in the world, and then through us, make a change to the world itself.
2 Kings 2:1-12
Elisha prepares for his time to leave the earth (since he never dies in the Scriptural account) and Elisha refuses to be separated from him. Then, when Elijah asks Elisha what he wants before he leaves, Elisha asks for twice Elijah’s spirit. Elijah tells him that he will receive it if he sees Elijah being taken away. Then, Elijah is caught up in a wind and carried away, but Elisha sees and grieves the departure of his master.
Psalm 50:1-6
God radiates and God’s voice speaks across all the earth calling God’s people to God’s self.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Jesus is the glorious image of God, and God has shone into our hearts the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in Christ. It is this glorious Jesus that the Apostle preaches.
Mark 9:2-9
Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a mountain where they see Jesus transfigured into a radiant white, and Moses and Elijah appearing and talking to Jesus. Then they hear God’s voice of affirmation and then all is back to normal. Then Jesus instructs them not to tell anyone until after he is raised.
(Summaries of lectionary readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

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COCU13B.Epiphany 5B.4th February 2018

Isaiah 40:21-31
To whom can God be compared? God created the earth and human rulers are short lived. Why should God’s people complain that God has forgotten them? Those who wait on God will be renewed.
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
An exhortation to praise God for the way God restores those who have been exiled and broken, for the way God provides for God’s people and for the creatures of earth, and for the way God treasures those who honour God.
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
In his preaching of the Gospel, Paul explains how he becomes all things to all people in order to win them for Christ.
Mark 1:29-39
Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law and then many sick and demonised people come to be healed. After that Jesus goes off alone to pray, but Simon and others track him down. Then Jesus leads them off to other towns to preach and heal.
(Summaries of lectionary texts by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

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Australia Day resources – various

Listen to the Whisper: Music written by Geoff Boyce, sung by Tim and Alison Solly, with images from Colebrook memorial (Adelaide, SA) – can be used for Acknowledgement of Land.

Great Spirit, God of every people and every tribe,
we come to you as your many children,
to ask for your forgiveness and guidance.
Forgive us for the colonialism that stains our past,
the ignorance that allowed us to think
that we could claim another’s home for our own.
Heal us of this history.
Remind us that none of us were discovered
since none of us were lost,
but that we are all gathered within the sacred circle of your community.
Guide us through your wisdom to restore the truth of our heritage.
Help us to confront the racism that divides us
as we confess the pain it has caused to the human family.
Call us to kinship.
Mend the hoop of our hearts
and let us live in justice and peace,
through Jesus Christ, the One who came
that all people might live in dignity. 
(Source: A Gathering Prayer from Native Ministries of the Episcopal Church: Resources on the Doctrine of Discovery)

A creed for Australia
We believe that this ancient land
with its unique creatures
is a precious gift from a loving God
whose mercy is over all creation.

We believe in God’s care for the people who treasured it
through un-numbered generations;
the One who grieves in their suffering
and rejoices in every noble aspiration.

We believe in God’s compassion
for the patchwork of refugees
who for two hundred years have come to this continent
looking for a place to call their home.

We believe in God’s steadfast love
for this nation and all its children;
that he is creating a new people from many races,
colours and gifts, to fulfil a high destiny.

We believe that the best way forward
is the way revealed by Christ of faith, hope and love,
where no needy person is neglected
and no bidding of the Spirit ignored.
(Source: Bruce D. Prewer) Continue reading

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COCU20B.Lent 2B.25Feb2018

Weekly Seeds Lent B – Kate Huey – UCC

Radical Gratitude resource – Lent 2B radical_gratitude Lent 2B

Thom Shuman weekly posting using RCL readings: Thom Shuman – Lent 2B


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Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr Day is observed in the USA on the third Monday of January, which is around his birthday on 15th January. On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor Dr. King. It was federally observed for the first time on January 20, 1986, and over 30 years later, the day is traditionally celebrated as a day of service, with people volunteering time and talent to help others, thus paying homage to Dr. King’s legacy.

Martin Luther King had a profound impact in his own country, and around the world.

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COCU11B.Epiphany 3B.21Jan2018

Jonah 3:1-5, 10;
Psalm 62:5-12;
1 Corinthians 7:29-31;
Mark 1:14-20

A reflection based on Psalm 62.5-12
Beloved, for you my soul waits in silence.
My hope is hidden in your silence.
Life of my living, you are my earth.
You are what cannot be taken.
In the gravity of your grace I rest.
In your silence is my deep belonging.

I trust in you, Holy One.
I pour myself into your hands,
into this light, my resting place.

Rich or poor mean nothing;
they are an illusion.
I abandon my little “happy” and “sad.”
They are both lint.
Do I catch myself trying to gain?
Ah, ignore all that fool’s gold.
Ignore it. Let it go.

I keep hearing this in the silence;
the silence says it over and over:
the only power is Love,
and love, all love, is God.

Beloved, you live, you speak, you resound
in all we do.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Sea of my travels, sacred margin,
womb of hidden surpassingness,
receiver of my drowning
wash me, bear me, feed me.

Freewheeling One, Heaven’s Rogue,
Fish of divine slipperiness,
source of anointed diversions,
you who swallow me whole,
hold me in your darkness, keep me in your guts.

Risen One, Loving Confounder
you who set me always to another side,
to unexplained revisions,
to miracles born of uselessness
disorient me, re-imagine me, birth me.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

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Readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20); Ps 139:1-6, 13-18; 1 Cor 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

There is a God who steps free of the binding chains around our souls,
and calls us in a voice which also knows our name,
and always knows our pain,
who lifts our feet as though our life stands cupped in a saving hand
and cherished forever in a life-filled place.

Affirmation 1 (based on Psalm 139:1-6)
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it. Amen.

Song: Weave our lives together (Helen Wiltshire) (Tune: Glenfinlas 65.65)

Weave our lives together,
sinew, blood and bone;
shape us in completeness,
secret and yet known.

Knit our souls together, spirit, mind and heart;
weave us in the darkness;
craft our ev’ry part.

Hold us in enchantment;
nurture us in grace;
search us in our being;
carve for us a place.

Draw us to your presence,
gather us in care;
call us to your beauty;
nourish each one there.

Woven, shaped and living;
held within love’s womb;
may we spring and flourish,
grow and come to bloom.

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COCU9B.Baptism of Jesus.Epiphany 1B.7January 2018

Texts: Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11

Old Testament – early thoughts: Howard Wallace
New Testament – early thoughts: Bill Loader

Traditionally observed January 6th, the Epiphany is the celebration of three events that are said to demonstrate the significance of Jesus – that is the divinity of Christ. “Epiphany” means “to show, make known, or reveal.”
It started in the Eastern Church in AD 361 as a commemoration of the birth of Christ. Later, additional meanings were added – the visit of the three Magi (which is our focus), Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River (next week’s Gospel reading), and Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana. These three events are central to the definition of Epiphany, and its meaning is drawn from these occurrences.
The Revised Common Lectionary readings focus on firstly on the visit of the Magi and the theme of light or being enlightened and on the second Sunday of Epiphany we focus Jesus’ baptism. The Wise Men were the first Gentiles to publicly recognise the significance of the baby in the manger and offer their gift of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
All the readings for this Sunday have light bulb moments where the people of God take responsibility for either being a light to those beyond themselves or that light comes to them from those outside their community or faith. The theme of God’s expansive love is prevalent and that this love can and does stretch way beyond our human limits to include those who we might want to exclude.
(by Rev. Chris Vermeulen, Church of Scotland, ‘Starters For Sunday’, 2013)

Call to Worship (Thom Shuman)
On that first day, when time began:
you gave birth to creation;
light danced through the darkness;
the waters of hope flowed free and clear.
On that first day at the Jordan, when redemption began:
you spoke of life for all your children,
as your Child stepped into the waters of forgiveness,
dancing in hope with his cousin, John.
On this first day of the week, when we begin anew:
you call us to faithfulness,
as we open our hearts to you,
your voice claiming us as your own.

A call to worship (based on Psalm 29) (Joan Stott)
We come, in response to God’s voice calling us to share in revering the Holy One.
We greet you, God of holiness and mystery;
Creator of all life and wondrous beauty.
We come, in response to God’s voice calling us to honour the name of Lord God.
We greet you, God of wisdom and truth;
God, the Quiet Centre of all life and hope.
We come, in response to God’s voice calling us to celebrate with joy the glories of
our Great and Glorious God; whose majestic voice thunders through all of creation.
We greet you, God of radiant light and splendour, the Lord God Almighty, glorious in power; yet God’s holy voice also overflows with tenderness, peace and blessings. Amen.

The Celtic Caim (The prayer of encircling – a prayer of presence and protection)
Imagine a circle round yourself.
God is with you in the circle.
God our Father, keep faith in and doubt out.
Imagine a circle round us as a group.
God is with us in the circle.
Jesus, Son of God, keep love in and fear out.
Imagine a circle round a person for whom you are concerned today.
God is with them in the circle.
Holy Spirit of God, keep hope in and despair out.
Imagine a circle round the planet earth – in all its beauty and tragedy.
God is with us in the circle.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our God, keep goodness in and evil out.
In the name of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. AMEN.
(by Rev Peter Neilson, Church of Scotland, ‘Starters For Sunday’, 2015.)

Prayer of the Day (Thom Schuman)
Beloved’s Parent:
grace is the gift which flows to us from your heart;
joy is the seed planted deep within our souls,
that it might blossom into lives of service to all.
And we cry: “Glory!”
Servant of sinners:
you emerge from baptism’s water, to embrace us in your hopes;
you take our fears from us and toss them aside
as you lead us into your kingdom;
you shine the Light which brings us out of despair’s shadows.
And we cry: “Glory!”
Wind upon the water:
you move among us
sweeping aside our petty pride,
and offering us the gifts of humility and servanthood.
You whisper of your yearning for peace and reconciliation,
until it silences our angry voices and unclenches our fisted hearts.
And we cry: “Glory!”

Prayer of Praise (Genesis reading)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… And God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light.
God our Creator,
We praise you for this wonderful world!
Not by chance, but by choice
You created this world
before we took a breath.
A theatre of your glory.
‘Let there be light’, you said.
A spotlight shines on the empty stage,
waiting for the scenery
the characters
the unfolding plot of creation.
Lord, as your light shines
on our creation today,
open our eyes to see
and marvel at all you have made.
We blink and marvel in the miracle of light.
God, our Creator,
We praise you for this wonderful world. AMEN.
(by Rev Peter Neilson, Church of Scotland, ‘Starters For Sunday’, 2015.)

Song: John Preaches  (Tune Kingsfold #518 TiS 262, 585)
The herald of the one to come,
Came preaching inner peace;
“Turn from your sins and be baptized,
And God will give release.”
This Baptist wore a leather belt
And clothes of camel’s hair;
Wild honey, locusts were his food;
He breathed the desert air.

“The one expected”, John declares,
“Is one who is unique;
“Much greater than I am, is he:
“Compared with him I’m weak.
“Not worthy to untie his shoes”;
John takes the lowest place,
And with him we can see in Christ
The wonder of God’s grace.

When John baptized him, Jesus saw
The heavens from above
Were op’ning and then coming down
God’s spirit like a dove.
Now Jesus stands before us all,
We see a man who’s free;
We ponder on his deeds of love
Lived out so wondrously.
(c) George Stuart – can be used freely with acknowledgement

Call to Reconciliation (Thom Schuman)
You and I are now the ones who step forth out of the safe waters of baptism, to bring hope, to share a word of grace, to carry healing into the brokenness of the lives around us. Let us confess how we still struggle to follow in faith wherever Jesus leads us.
Timeless God, you cast Light into sin’s dark places and call us your Beloved.
Forgive us:
when we still linger in the shadows;
when we treat others in hurtful ways;
when we speak ill of your friends.
As he knelt in the waters of Jordan,
you proclaimed Jesus as your Child,
pointing to him as the way to you.
Forgive us:
when we put ourselves ahead of him;
when we think he is no longer needed;
when we fail to see him in the broken of our world.
Baptized and blessed in your living waters,
you would have us be your servants in our time.
Forgive us:
when we fail to welcome the stranger;
when we refuse to forgive as we should;
when we believe we are too good to kneel down
and tie the shoes of the lost, the least, the last, the little. A silence is kept

Words of Assurance
Touched by the waters of life, fed at the feast of grace and hope, embraced in the warmth of God’s love and hopes – this is good news! Blessed by baptism’s tears, called to servanthood by the Beloved, filled with the peace of the Spirit, we are indeed God’s people – redeemed, restored, refreshed to serve. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offertory (Thom Schuman)
Bathed in the waters of baptism, we are graced people. Graced people, we recognize the gifts which have been poured out upon us. Recognizing these gifts, we take them and give them back to you, God of the waters, so that others might be bathed in hope, graced with joy, gifted with your peace and love. Amen.

Sending (Thom Schuman)
Go into the world as God’s beloved children.
We will go to share the gift of grace which flows from God’s heart.
Go into the world as baptized sisters and brothers of Jesus.
We will go to bring the light of hope to all in despair.
Go into the world as those filled with the Holy Spirit.
We will go to hear the whispered yearnings for peace and reconciliation.

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New Year prayers and blessings

‘You don’t think your way into a new kind of living,
you live your way into a new kind of thinking.’
(Source: Henri Nouwen, intro to Parker Palmer’s The Promise of Paradise)

The old year is worn and tired.
Time now to kiss it goodbye.
Take with you its wisdom – the authority and power of all that you have learned.
Remember the past year with love,
but let go of its despair.
Live the year that lies ahead
with fresh energy and hope.
Be strong, have courage.
It is time now for something new.
(Source: Contemplative Monk, Facebook post)

Well, we have a whole new year ahead of us.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful
if we could all be a little more gentle with each other,
and a little more loving,
have a little more empathy,
and maybe next year at this time
we’d like each other a little more.
(Source: Judy Garland quote)

New Year’s Resolution
Beginning, God created,
so beginning again
this New Year’s Day I
create, I play, I dream,
and dance with Wisdom,
hover with Spirit-Breath,
embrace with delight
this life I’ve been given,
this story to write, canvas
to paint, drama to play,
and I will play and I will see
all things as good that God
has made and I will make
a resolution to be good, to be
peace and love and hope
in a world created for hope
and love and peace and I will
begin again this New Year’s
Day, this new year, this
new day and the next day,
creating a life to delight in,
living a story to gladden
my reminiscing, singing a song
to catch you up in, in joy,
in peace, in hope, in love.
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Praying the Story)

Beannacht (a blessing for New Year)
On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.
(Source: John O’Donohue)

Yearning for a new way will not produce it.
Only ending the old way can do that.
You cannot hold onto the old,
all the while declaring that you want something new.
The old will defy the new;
The old will deny the new;
The old will decry the new.
There is only one way to bring in the new. You must make room for it.
(Source: Neale Donald Walsch)

Merciful and loving God, for the year that has passed with its sorrows and joys, we give you thanks; for in every moment of it, you remained faithful to us, rejoicing and struggling with us, though often we were slow to recognize you there. And with thanks for this past year, we now release it. May its treasures inspire us, but never bind us in nostalgia; and may its troubles teach us, but never hold us captive. For you who have created are still creating…making all things new, including this day. Amen.
(Source: Life in Liturgy)

Abdullah Kurdi gives a heartfelt message for the new year in this video.

“I wish you a very happy new year. Hopefully next year the war in Syria will end and peace will reign all over the world” (Abdullah Kurdi, 2016 New Year message)
(This video message could be good to download, as a catalyst for ‘prayers for others’)

My resolve is to be present in the moment and treasure the little things. Each moment together is a gift to celebrate and a memory made, each sadness is infused with joy and each joy tinged with sadness and God is present in all. Life can thrive and grow in the toughest of places, there is always hope. So laugh, cry, love, grieve and really live. Embrace the life before you with both hands.
(Source: Facebook post, Bronwyn Fraser, adapted)

A New Year’s Blessing
And so the New Year comes
and how she brings herself toward you,
outstretched and willing, beckoning. Give yourself to her.
Cast aside the year that was
down into the depths
of all that we cannot change,
but wish sometimes that we could.
It was a slap in the face year
and a pleading for change year
and a banging of heads upon a brick wall year.
It was the way the ice-cold water of politics
doused the fire of our passion.
It was the way governments upheld cruelty.
It was the way citizens would vote absurdly.
It was the way that millions seeking safety were given the cold shoulder.
And how we all feel the freezing
but many much more so
than I.
And so the New Year comes
and how she brings herself toward you,
outstretched and willing, beckoning. Give yourself to her.
She is trustworthy, as all new things are,
she is unspoilt, unstained, unbroken,
she has never once let you down,
she is waiting.
And though you will undoubtedly muddy her waters,
still, may you pour yourself out within them.
May you give yourself to the unfolding.
May you hold yourself up to the audacity of believing that things
can begin again, in you and in this world
No matter what has been.
No matter who you fear you have become.
No matter the broken or the stained or the spoilt.
No matter the draw toward safety
and the seduction of the western dream.
No matter the temptation. No matter the drug.
No matter the pull to live for yourself.
No matter. No matter.
May you find yourself,
trust the person that you meet,
give that person to a world that needs you.
Not a perfect you. Not a you with all the answers. Not a superhero. Just you.
You are becoming who they said you would never be.
Give this person the credence they deserve.
Sit with them. Listen to them. Be present.
So may all that sits unsettled and undecided within you,
may all that weighs heavy upon you,
may all that grasps and all that grabs and all that demands,
may all the loud voices and the persistence of self-doubt,
may the fear and the frozen and the fractured and too-broken,
may it all, may it all, may it all
wash from your skin
and out into the night,
to never
be able
to hold you
down again.
And so the New Year comes
and how she brings herself toward you,
outstretched and willing, beckoning. Give yourself to her.
(Source: Joel McKerrow, TEAR)

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COCU 6B.Christmas 1B.31st Dec2017

Note: COCU relates to a way of coding for the lectionary year.

Isaiah 61: 10-62:3 (the good news of deliverance)
God will show all nations God’s justice, and Zion will be saved and will blaze with God’s glory.
Psalm 148 (A call for the universe to praise God)
A psalm calling all creation and all people to praise God, for God’s greatness, and for strengthening God’s people.
Galatians 4:4-7 (No longer a slave but an heir)
At the right time God sent God’s son to become human, born of a woman, and now God has given us God’s Spirit by which we can know intimacy with God as with a parent.
Luke 2: 22-40 (Jesus is presented in the temple)
Mary and Joseph go to the temple to dedicate Jesus, and Simeon prophecies that this boy is the awaited Christ, and that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul. Then the widow Anna comes along and begins to praise God and tell others about the boy.

WCC prayer cycle – prayers for Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine.

First Thoughts on the Old Testament Readings of the RCL

Bill Loader’s First Thoughts on the New Testament readings here.

WCC prayers (Week 52: 21-27 December)
Let us pray with the people of Ghana, Nigeria: “O Lord, we beseech thee to deliver us from fear of the unknown future: from fear of failure, poverty, bereavement, loneliness, sickness, pain, age and death. Help us by thy grace to love and fear thee only. Fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in thee; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. AMEN.” (From ‘With All God’s People’, WCC Geneva)

Here’s a great story related to prayers for Nigeria (2014): More than 200 Muslim youth volunteers are part of those protecting Christians from any attack during church services to celebrate this year’s Christmas, says Pastor Yohanna Buru. According to him, the feat is the first of its kind after the series of crises that rocked the state in recent past. Buru said the essence of that was to protect the Christian worshippers as part of effort to strengthen peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians in the state. He noted the initiative was an indication that peace has come to stay in the state, saying the measure will strengthen a lasting peace between the two religions. He also prayed God to continue to bring about peace in the country the country, praying that other citizens would emulate the gesture. He urged Nigerians to learn to live in peace with one another irrespective of ethnic or religious differences.

We invoke you, Spirit of Unity, transform our divisions and reshape our vision.
All of creation, all living beings, cry in the midst of injustice and brokenness.
Spirit of Unity, reconcile your people.
We invoke you, Spirit of Unity, heal the wounds of our history,
remove from us all that sustains our present divisions.
Unstop our ears to hear your call for unity.
(From: ‘In God’s Hands’, WCC Geneva). See other WCC prayer resources here.

For more, click on the link……
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