Seasons of creation – various

Jason John has uploaded resources for Seasons of Creation on his website. has online resources for each Sunday in Season of Creation.

A great video clip (4.58 mins) – She’s Alive, beautiful, finite, dying, worth dying for - could be shown during a service. The blurb: “It was made to highlight the fact that world leaders, irresponsible corporates and mindless ‘consumers’ are combining to destroy life on earth. It is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today. The cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network ( The principal source for the footage was Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s incredible film HOME The music was by Armand Amar. Credit and thanks to Greenpeace and”
Creation and communion liturgy:
A Liturgy of Creation and Communion – John Van De Laar


Dear God, there are times
when I hear your voice most clearly
in greenness: in the singing of sap,
the conversation of the leaves, the whisperings
of shoot and stem, root, sap and cell,
calling me back to creation
to feel again the freshness of you
running through everything
like a bright emerald current.

God of greenness, you know well my tendency
to fill my life with my own methods of communication.
Thank you for constantly returning me to the simplicity of yours.
Again I experience you in the rejoicing
of bare feet on a damp forest path,
in the wonder of light thrown against
a kaleidoscope of tree ferns,
in the myriad textures of moss-clad trees,
in the shining of you beneath every surface.

Beloved Creator, coming to our greenness
is always a coming home,
a time of peace and grace
as the unimportant in me falls away
and I know again that bright green shoot
of my own beginning
which comes from you
and is one with you,
bright and beautiful God.                Source: WCC website

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Words of welcome & gathering


A welcome in winter (adapted from Shane Alexander, Warmth in a Cold Season) Winter weather may have forced us to dig deep into our supply of sweaters and coats, but we managed—primarily by seeking warmth inside. Inside, we turned up the heater, lit fires in fireplaces, and cozied up in blankets on sofas. And while you were inside, you felt good. Sure, you knew you would be right back in it the next time you had to leave home, but for that moment you were warm despite the weather outside. Life has seasons too. Some seasons are warmer than others. Exciting milestones are met as we grow up, marry, and have children. Our careers have sweet spots where we are needed, appreciated, and duly compensated. Marriages go through stretches where everything seems to be in synch. But those seasons never last forever. Eventually, the weather of life turns colder. Parenting begins to seem like more of an impossible chore than a joy-filled gift. Our jobs become nothing more than the way we pay the bills while we daydream about what life would have been if we had chosen a different career path. Marriages hit rough patches where everything ignites an argument and no disagreement ever seems to get resolved. It gets cold out there and when you’re out there trying to make your way through it, that wind can chill you to your core. So, you are at church. Whatever the weather is outside, seasonal or unseasonal, you are worshiping alongside other folks who are experiencing a much wider array of weather during the seasons of their lives (which admittedly sounds like a bad soap opera). If you are in a warm season, someone around you is in a cold season. And although you have both come to church to ostensibly share the same experience, you have come for different reasons. When life is good, we come to church to praise God. We come to say, “Thanks!” We come to share our joy with others and be warmed in the heart by the joy in the hearts of others. But when life is difficult (and if we are honest, it often is), we come to church for a break. We come in seeking the warmth of home. We know that we are going to have to walk out those doors in a few hours’ time and that when we do the cold will once again hit is in the face. But while we are there, we are at least hoping that the presence of fellow strugglers and the prayers of a few saints will provide us just enough warmth to relax—even if just for a moment. And we know we need that moment to relax. It is only then that we can take a step back and begin to see the cold for what it is: a passing season. It is only during our respite from the cold that we can honestly pour our hearts out before the God we stubbornly insist on believing still loves us. Our previous experience tells us that while some of these cold seasons are longer than others, the warmth of Christ’s church gives us a measure of the strength we need to endure. If it’s a warm time for you, don’t be discouraged to discover others who are suffering through a cold spell around you. Take heart, for part of why they have come today is to share in your warmth. If it’s a cold time for you, don’t be exasperated by the praise and expressions of gratitude of those nearby, for they are a reminder of what it will be like once the seasons change in your life again.

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UCA Sunday, 22nd June 1977

The Uniting Church in Australia celebrated the formal union of the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Church on June 22nd, 1977.

Here is the combined service used at Pilgrim Church on UCA Sunday 2013.
UCA Anniversary 2013

Order of service from UCA Worship Working Group for 30th Anniversary here.

Here is a list of other resources for UCA Sunday: UCA Anniversary

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Trinity Sunday

A collection of resources here: Trinity Sunday A

Words for Worship 2011: w4w Trinity A

Psalm 8 developed for Great Prayer of Thanksgiving (Rev Jeff Shrowder)
(it is ‘topped and tailed’ with words from a prayer in Uniting in Worship 2)
Holy and life-giving God, we offer you thanks and praise in wonder and awe, in delight and astonishment: for you are Creator of all things, and Lover of each one.
You have made us in your image,
and surrounded us with the glory and splendour of your creating word.
Yet you have given us these works of your hands:
you have put the world at our feet;
sheep and cattle, kangaroo and emu,
birds of the air – magpie and pelican,
fish of the sea – dolphin and barramundi
all the creatures that live and move in the depths and shallows,
the creatures of the deep and the ocean floor.
O LORD, our God, how splendid is your name in all the earth.
When we failed to honour your work and your being,
your Word of Wisdom came among us in Jesus,
sharing with us the joy and pain of our humanity
Therefore, with the whole creation …


Image sourced from ABC news.






Prayers of thanksgiving, confession and assurance (based on Psalm 8)
Majestic and mysterious God,
you have set the heavens ablaze with your glory,
and whispers of your truth
sound from the mouths of babies before they can speak.
When I look at the multitude of stars
that you have spun into place,
I wonder why you would bother with us humans.
How insignificant we are compared to all of this.
How can you possibly care for us -
we are so small, so vulnerable and so temporary.
Yet you give us the biggest job of all
to care for your imaginative creation,
you have placed the precious works of your hands
beneath our feet so we might tread with sacred steps,
nurturing and nourishing the earth, sea and sky
holding all of life with our own life.
Majestic and mysterious God
your name echoes through everything
until it rests in our hearts.
Creator, Parent, Father, Mother God forgive us
when we forget to notice your wonders around us
when our vision is limited to our own concerns
Jesus the Christ, Son of God, one who calls us
forgive us when we fail to listen and to follow
and when we forget to call others into discipleship
Spirit of God, unseen as the wind, gentle as the dove
forgive us when we choose to be comfortable
instead of being disturbed into action for justice for all
Brothers and sisters in Christ
God sent the Son into the world, not to judge but to save,
and the Spirit is promised as our comforter and guide
be assured that there is nothing that can come between us
and the forgiving, healing and renewing power
of the love of God, three in one,
Source, Son & Spirit.
Know and live as children who are free
We are forgiven  – thanks be to God, Amen (Rev. Jennie Gordon)

God is love
God is Love.
Love is not an object but an action, a process.
God is love and the loving of love, and the receiving of love.
God is an unfolding relationship.
So God is one, and yet must also be more than one.
God is a loving parent and a begotten child
and the love that proceeds from them, all three.
God is community. God is a family.
The Holy Trinity live in loving attentiveness to each other
but it is not a closed circle. They open out to us.
You are invited to come to the table, to share in that love,
to be part of God’s nature, God’s being, God’s loving.
This is what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.
All people are our sisters and brothers, all living beings,
all Creation: though we are many there is only One of us.
Join the communion of the One Who Is Many.
Come into the tender love of the Mother who births us,
the Lover who desires us, and the love begotten in us.
Find your being in the Holy One in whom we are One.
You are the fourth person of the Holy Trinity.
Come. (Steve Garnaas-Holmes,


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Day of Pentecost


Day of Pentecost

Yes, there are the flames of Pentecost,
the drama, the consuming blaze,
the rushing, pushing wind, desperate
for something on its loud crusade.

But for some it is enough
to be the wick of God,
of love made known in unlearned tongues,
beyond our understanding,
to be the deep where God’s creating spirit broods,
where new things come to light and life
without our doing, or knowing how
a soul comes to know its own belovedness.

Our oneness is not within but out there,
one spirit breathing in and out through all of us,
a gathering of many nations.
We follow the breath to our other selves
and love them with love that’s not our own
but all of ours, breathed into us.

The secret is beyond us, a language we won’t learn,
but still go out into the streets and speak. Steve Garnaas-Holmes,

Re-worship blogsite - prayers for Pentecost

Youtube video – different voices reading the Pentecost story (Uniting Church, Queensland)


Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in  every nation. (Source: DeacGill)

RCL reading for Day of Pentecost (in A5 insert format) Day of Pentecost

Compilation of various resources: Easter 8A compilation

Mid-Week service with communion, leading up to Day of Pentecost Pentecost A.midweek

A reading for six voices – Stan Duncan: Pentecost Reading B_a reading for six voices_Stan Duncan

A link to Upper Room, and an audio of Acts 2:1-4 read in five languages.

From Jonny Baker: The best book of theology on the Holy Spirit in my view is Jurgen Moltmann’s spirit of life and the follow up source of life. On Saturday we had a grace spirit service and for it I wrote a responsive piece  of liturgy (see below). The responses are from the first verse of the hymn breath on me breath of God. The lines are all quotes from Moltmann’s source of life but reworked as directed to God.

spirit of life
Your breath of life fills the whole world and holds all things together.
if you withdraw your breath everything turns to dust
Breathe on me breath of God
You are the source of life that brings life to the world, whole life, full life, unhindered, indestructible everlasting life
Fill me with life anew
The life of your Spirit which Christ sends into the world is the power of the resurrection which brings us new life
Breathe on me breath of God
The sending of your Spirit is the revelation of God’s indestructible affirmation of life and marvelous joy in life
Fill me with life anew
Jesus where you are there is life. where you are sick people are healed, sad people are comforted, marginalised people are accepted and the demons of death are driven out
Breathe on me breath of God
Where your Holy Spirit is present there is life.
the powers and energies of eternal life are experienced.
Fill me with life anew
The mission of your Spirit is a movement for life and a movement for healing which spreads consolation and the courage to live and raises up what wants to die.
Breathe on me breath of God
We affirm and love life so much that we protest against death and all the powers that disseminate death.
Fill me with life anew
Help us to join with your comforting of the sad, healing of the sick, welcoming of strangers, and forgiving of sins.
Breathe on me breath of God
Send your Spirit so that this world should not perish but live
Fill me with life anew
Spirit of the new creation break into the here and now bringing foretastes of the age to come when all things are made new, and creation is set free from the powers of death
Breathe on me breath of God
Spirit of God renew the face of the earth
Fill me with life anew
Give us hearts of flesh for hearts of stone
that we may love as you would love and do what you would do

We are excited to be celebrating the church’s birthday today.
However, we are not sure what it would be like
if the Holy Spirit blew through our churches again as it did on the day of Pentecost.
In fact we not so sure we want that to happen again in our church.
It scares us this power of the Holy Spirit, and
yet we know that without the Holy Spirit
we are unable to accomplish the vision you have for your Kingdom of God.
We need your Holy Spirit.
It is after all your church.
So we pray;
come Holy Spirit come,
pour out your power into us your people and your church.
We do want to be your body of Christ in this world
that is often hurting, hungry and cynical.
We want to bring the good news to the poor, heal the broken-hearted, preach deliverance to captives, bring recovery of sight to the blind and set at liberty all that are bruised.
We want to be your body of Christ by praying for all who suffer, are poor, despairing, burdened, blind and battered.
So we pray for them right now and
claim the power of your Holy Spirit to do your will in this world.
We pray for your power of healing for those who are physically sick, for those who are emotionally ill, for those who are mentally ailing, for those who are money sick, for those who are spiritually unwell and for the world that is sick.
We pray for the healing of your creation,
and the renewal of the face of the land.
We pray for those who are thirsty,
that they would drink from your fountain of living waters and
never thirst again.
Thank you for hearing our prayers in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit!
Source: RevGalBlogPals


Holy Spirit, you are the Lord, the giver of life;

with the Father and the Son we worship and glorify you:

Come to us now, Spirit of God.

Holy Spirit, you were there at creation before time began;
your presence fills the whole universe:

Come to us now, Spirit of life.

Holy Spirit, you have spoken through the prophets of old;

by their witness the Word of God has never been silent:

Come to us now, Spirit of wisdom.

Holy Spirit, you surround the waiting church with the wind of Pentecost;

you gave life and breath to announce Christ’s gospel:

Come to us now, Spirit of power.
Holy Spirit, you came upon the first Christians as a holy fire;
you set their hearts ablaze with devotion to their risen Lord:

Come to us now, Spirit of love.

Holy Spirit, you pour out your rich and varied gifts;

you call us to bring forth your fruits in our lives:

Come to us now, Spirit of grace.

Holy Spirit, you are the Spirit of truth, the Counsellor;

you lead us to the truth that sets us free:

Come to us now, Spirit of God, and renew Christ’s holy church
Source: Uniting in Worship

      dare we?

hesitant enough
to whisper your name,
much less tell any one
of your presence in us:
dare we ask for
tongues of boldness?

our hearts
fatigued by
the cancer of poverty,
the fears crouching in
the shadows,
the children wandering
our streets:
dare we ask for
a transplant of

souls numbed
by broken lives
and shattered dreams,
grace iceberged
by the chill of our culture:
dare we ask for
just the smallest
to engulf us?

dare we hope
dare we dance
dare we yield
dare we dive
into your red-hot
so we can live?
(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman

Picture: Church Forum

Prayer of confession
Our God, we come in humility,
confessing who and what we are.
We are often unresponsive for we are afraid.
When your Spirit speaks,
we turn deaf ears, for we fear what you might call us to do.
When your Spirit touches our lips, we close our mouths,
embarrassed to speak your Word.
When the wind of your Spirit blows,
we close the windows of our hearts,
afraid the breeze will disrupt our ordered lives.
When the fire of your Spirit touches us, we quench the flame,
afraid of the new life it might bring.
Forgive us, O Lord.
Nolan Palsma and Phyllis Palsma

Pentecost Benediction
Spirit of God,
In the season of the genesis of the Church,
Inspire us anew.
Fire up our passion,
Breathe into us new vision.
Alight our compassion
Whisper again how the world can be better if we just take up the cause.
Call us out from ourselves and our self-focus.
Call us towards meaning and purpose.
Call us into community with each other and with you.
Call us together, and then send us out to be the difference.
Send us to make change in our own lives that me might inspire and bring change into the world.
Send us out to help the afflicted.
Send us out to friend the lonely.
Send us out to work for justice.
Send us out to give generously of ourselves, that poverty might be driven into history.
Spirit of God,
Bring us wise counsel.
Connect us to God’s will.
Fill us with God’s love.
That we might live like the Christ.
This we ask of you, Amen.
(Source: Uniting Change)



Pentecost and ‘ordinary time’
At Christmas we adore the baby.
During Holy week and Easter, we are humbled and awed by the sacrifice and risen life.
On Pentecost we are expected to go out and make a difference in the world.
Notice how long Advent and Christmas are.
Notice how long Lent and Holy week are.
Now notice that Pentecost is one measly day.
We have weeks of ‘me and Jesus and my spiritual life’, but one day of considering what the Spirit has equipped us to do.
That one day of celebration leads us into a whole season called Ordinary time. It’s the longest season in the Church calendar. That it’s called Ordinary time is interesting – we encounter the work of the Spirit in the most ordinary of times, places, people, problems. It should be an exciting time if we keep our eyes open.  This is a time to share those extra-ordinary moments in the most ordinary of times so that we may see where the wind of God’s Spirit is blowing.
(stitched together from a conversation on John Maynard’s Worship RCL egroup)

Vivid colors thick on canvas convey the need for fire for the homeless in the city. Around the fire is heat,  light, life, comfort, and community.This is a reminder to “guide us down the dusty roads of this world so that we may lift up the downcast, heal the broken, reconcile what is lost, and bring peace amidst unrest.”
(Garth House, Litanies for All Occasions)
Can Fire in the ParkSmithsonian American Art Museum.

Flame dancing Spirit, come
Sweep us off our feet and
Dance us through our days.
Surprise us with your rhythms;
Dare us to try new steps, explore
New patterns and new partnerships;
Release us from old routines
To swing in abandoned joy
and fearful adventure.
And in the intervals
Rest us
In your still centre.
Source: Women Included: The St Hilda Community

Pentecostal Passion                                    by Ken Sehested

Pentecostal power has little to do with 
exaggerated religious emotion. But such power, when granted, has everything to do
 with passion, with conviction.
It’s not your mind that
 you lose—it’s your heart,
 which falls head-over-heels
 in love with the vision of dry bones

When such power erupts, they 
probably will call you crazy. 
“Have you lost your mind?!”

Yes, we will say, because
 these days the mind has
 become acclimatized to a culture
 of war; has become inured to
 the ravages of poverty in a culture
 of obesity; has become numb 
to ecological wreckage.

When Pentecostal power erupts, all
 heaven’s gonna’ break loose. The boundaries will be compromised;
 barriers will be broken; and
 borders will be breached.
 Economies of privilege will be fractured 
and the politics of enmity will be impeached.

“I will pour out my Spirit,”
says the LORD: Poured out
 not for escape to another
 world beyond the sky but 
here, amid the dust. Poured out 
not on disembodied spirits but
 “upon all flesh.”

The groaning of creation is both
 an ache and an assurance. We
 dare not insulate ourselves from 
the one, lest we be deafened to 
the other. Birth is at work.
 Though the labor is prolonged,
 provision is tendered.
 Pentecostal power is the wherewithal
l by which we wager our lives on
 the surety of this promise.

A wonderful call to worship by Andrew Prior:

On this Pentecost morning we are gathered again
together in this one place.
Jesus is long gone
God seems
far distant
and we are alone
by ourselves
a small people of no consequence in the world
together in this one place
to worship an old fashioned God
and to be pitied.

that we remember
we hear a distant music
we recall an old tune
familiar words
and the gentle touch of spirit.

Spirit which still blows among us

Spirit which roars into our hearts
disconcerting us
waking us to new things
filling us with new hopes
healing again old hurts.

And we remember why we are here
in these last days
because God pours out Spirit on all flesh
on young and old
weak and strong
poor and rich

and the language of love flows
binding us together
calling us closer to each other
and to God
because we hear each in our own language
the Love of God
for all people and all creation.

And that is why we are here this morning, God
gathered together in this one place.
For Jesus is not long gone.
The Father is not far distant
and we are not alone
for you are with us
Spirit of God
for small people of no consequence in the world
to live together and love.
Thank you God. Amen.

Acknowledgement of land (Reconciliation Sunday/Pentecost in 2012)
As we gather on this sacred land, let us acknowledge that we are standing on country, for which the members and elders of the local Aboriginal community and their ancestors, have been custodians for thousands of years. Here, they have performed age old ceremonies, celebrations, initiations and renewals.
We acknowledge their living culture and unique role in the life of this country. Ancestors have danced and sung the Creation stories, which proclaim the sacredness of the gift given by the Creator Spirit.
We acknowledge the Elders, past and present, and their ancestors who have had a deep relationship with the Creator Spirit, thousands of years before Abraham. While there has been great change to this land over the generations, we know in our hearts that the story and spirit of the Aboriginal Nations will always be written in this landscape.

Pentecost – it’s a beginning (Jon Humphries, Uniting Change)
The work has begun. It is after Pentecost, and we are in for the long haul, working out what it means to be the Church. Pentecost is the genesis of the Church. It is our beginning.
Why do we need to celebrate this every year? Partly because, it is good to celebrate our identity, but also sadly it is because we need to remember again what it is that we are called to.
The disciples spoke in many different tongues after being filled with the Spirit. This can have many meanings, but one of the deepest for me is the symbolism of a calling of all nations into one communion. Here we the final completion of Jesus’ earthly ministry – he has lived, taught, set and example and even died to show us the depth of God’s love and what it means to live that love into the world. BUT, he can’t stay with us, lest he become just another idol or warring messiah figurehead. Thus he bows out of the physical arena to provide the space for us, his people, to grow into our inheritance.
But of course two thousand and a bit years later, instead on being a radical communion, uniting the world under the love and vision of God, our living is still just as broken, we are just as divided. The divide, gap and barriers between ‘us’ and ‘them’ are as real and as powerful as ever.
We need to remember our story. We need to hear the coming of the Holy Spirit and the radical transformation of the followers of Jesus.
We need to remember what it is to be the Church – the ekklesia: called out of our individualism and self-absorbed self-focus into a radical communion of justice,grace, love and forgiveness. We are called out for a purpose, to be united under God and under God’s common purpose.
BUT.. we are not just called out, we are sent out – the apostolic Church. We are the sent people learners/disciples with a message of redemption. It is not a formula for salvation. It is not a conversion to religion. It is not about pious religiosity. It is about proclaiming the Kingdom of God – that radical communion where loving service of others is the foundation of all our efforts and endeavours – loving service in the service of God for the service of others and all of creation.
So once again, this year, we acknowledge our brokenness, but only in the light of our call to bear the love and hope of God into the world. We break the bread, and celebrate God’s sacrifice, but we do so in the Spirit of hope. God is at work in the world with great purposes to perform and once again we recall and celebrate our call to join in and call others to do the same.

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Reconciliation Sunday

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. Go to this weblink to download resources.

2014 resources here.

Order of service for Reconciliation Sunday 2014 Reconciliation Sunday 2014

Resources may also be used later during NAIDOC week celebrations in July if this fits in better with your worship planning. Resources from previous years may also be downloaded.

A Prayer of Lament and for Reconciliation</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Lord of Grace<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
It was not me, but it was my people.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
It is not part of my experience, but is part of my story.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
It is not my fault, but I am partly to blame.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Can there ever be enough to bring healing to our aboriginal people?<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Can there ever be enough forgiveness to bring reconciliation?</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>We are broken and less because of the brokenness and lessening of our aboriginal brothers and sisters.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
For this I am sorry. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>I mourn their loss.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
The loss of<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
- Belief<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
- Spirituality<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
- Land<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
- Family<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
- culture<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
I am sorry for our people.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
I am sorry for the past<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
I am sorry for the present<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
I am sorry for the future, even though I hope that we may work to make it better<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
I am sorry for the systematic erosion of kanyini - the connectedness<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
l am sorry romma romma - the madness of selfish, hypocritical practices and that have disenfranchised our aboriginal people.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
For the Masacre of life<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
For the bringing of death<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
For the rejection and breaking of oneness<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
For the failure of compassion<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
For the chaos and sadness that our aboriginal people are left with as a legacy and inheritance -<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Stuck between two cultures<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Stuck between two worlds<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
stuck between two times<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Stuck between the past and the future</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>l lament the sad reality that the people who lived in the present are now stuck in a present that should never have been.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
God of Justice , bring justice<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
God of hope, bring hope.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
God of reconciliation, stir in us the change that might open the way for reconciliation.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Jesus, who is the way, show us the way.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Jesus, who is the life, lead us into better life.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Jesus, who is the truth, open us to the truth.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Gracious God,<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Help us make things right.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
This we pray.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Amen.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>- Jon Humphries

Reconciliation Prayer – Reconciliation Prayer

A song by David MacGregor (with links to MP3 and music score) – Come Together
Come together
Come together
We are one in God
through Jesus Christ
Come together
Come together
Christ our peace
and Jesus Christ our life

We’re humbly confessing
God help us addressing
Our pride dispossessing
For we’ve wrought pain
We come now repenting
We pray your forgiving
God’s grace reconciling
to live again
Come together

Come sister and brother
All creeds and all colours
Reach out to each other
all barriers down
Journeying together
Love for one another
No longer strangers
but friends in God
Come together

A Prayer of Lament and for Reconciliation

Lord of Grace
It was not me, but it was my people.
It is not part of my experience, but is part of my story.
It is not my fault, but I am partly to blame.

Can there ever be enough to bring healing to our aboriginal people?
Can there ever be enough forgiveness to bring reconciliation?

We are broken and less because of the brokenness and lessening of our aboriginal brothers and sisters.
For this I am sorry.

I mourn their loss.
The loss of
- Belief
- Spirituality
- Land
- Family
- culture
I am sorry for our people.
I am sorry for the past
I am sorry for the present
I am sorry for the future, even though I hope that we may work to make it better
I am sorry for the systematic erosion of kanyini – the connectedness
l am sorry romma romma – the madness of selfish, hypocritical practices and that have disenfranchised our aboriginal people.
For the Masacre of life
For the bringing of death
For the rejection and breaking of oneness
For the failure of compassion
For the chaos and sadness that our aboriginal people are left with as a legacy and inheritance -
Stuck between two cultures
Stuck between two worlds
stuck between two times
Stuck between the past and the future

l lament the sad reality that the people who lived in the present are now stuck in a present that should never have been.
God of Justice , bring justice
God of hope, bring hope.
God of reconciliation, stir in us the change that might open the way for reconciliation.

Jesus, who is the way, show us the way.
Jesus, who is the life, lead us into better life.
Jesus, who is the truth, open us to the truth.

Gracious God,
Help us make things right.
This we pray.
Amen. (Jon Humphries)

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Mothers Day resources

Some Mothers Day 2014 resources on Textweek.

Music for Mothers Day
check out suggestions from Singing from the Lectionary
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, God of the women (tune: Be thou my vision) – new hymn
God, we praise you for the women
by Dan Damon.

1. Mothering God, you gave us birth
in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of every breath,
you are our rain, our wind, our sun.

2. Mothering Christ, you took our form,
offering us your food of light,
grain of life, and grape of love,
your very body for our peace.

3. Mothering Spirit, nurturing One,
in arms of patience hold us close,
so that in faith we root and grow
until we flow’r, until we know.
Words and Music: Jean Janzen, based on the writings of Juliana of Norwich
Permissions: Copyright 1991. Abingdon Press, admin. by The Copyright Company.

Mothers’ Day Liturgy Mothers’ Day Liturgy
(two voices)

On this day, we honour those who have mothered us and cared for us.
For some, this will be a birth mother, and we may wish to express our grateful thanks. We pray that our lives may reflect the love they have shown us.
For others, it will be the women who raised us, who were our mothers in childhood – an adopted mother, older sister, aunt, grandmother, stepmother or someone else. We may wish to express our thanks for those women who held us and fed us, who cared for us and kissed away our pain. We pray that our lives may reflect the love they have shown us.

We pray for older mothers whose children are grown.
Grant them joy and satisfaction in how their children’s lives unfold.

We pray for those with adult children, but whose lives are still shaped by their children’s needs and cares.
Grant them strength, patience and wisdom.

We pray for new mothers experiencing changes they could not predict.
Grant them rest and peace and confidence as the days unfold.

We pray for pregnant women who will soon be mothers.
Grant them patience and good counsel in the coming months.

We pray for mothers who face the demands of single parenthood.
Grant them strength and wisdom.

We pray for mothers who enjoy financial abundance.
Grant them time to share with their families.

We pray for mothers who are raising their children in poverty.
Grant them relief and justice.

We pray for the challenge of blended families, and those who take on care of others children.
Grant them patience and understanding and love.

We pray for mothers who are separated from their children.
Grant them faith and hope.

We pray for mothers in marriages that are in crisis.
Grant them support and insight.

We pray for mothers who have lost children through illness, or death come too soon.
Grant them comfort that their children are held in divine embrace.
We pray for mothers in developing countries who die in childbirth due to inadequate maternal health care, or whose children die too young.
Grant that generosity may abound, that money will be released for resources, and to attract skilled personnel who can support the women and children.

We pray for mothers who have terminated pregnancies.
Grant them healing and peace.

We pray for mothers who gave up their children for adoption.
Grant them peace and confidence that the children will be held in good care.

We pray for adoptive mothers.
Grant them joy and gratitude for the gift of life entrusted to them.

We pray for girls and women who think about being mothers.
Grant them wisdom and discernment.

We pray for women who desperately want, or wanted, to be mothers.
Grant them grace in their particular and often private sense of loss and grief.

We pray for all women who have assumed the mother’s role in a child’s life.
Grant them joy and the appreciation of others.

We pray for those people present who are grieving the loss of their mother in the past year.
Grant them comfort, and confidence that loving continues in how we live our lives.

All are invited to come forward and light a candle for those who have mothered us and/or for those who have particular concerns about individuals.

(Adapted. Source:

Mothering God,
on this day set aside in our nation to praise mothers and motherhood,
help us to give thanks to you for our mothers
and for those who have been like mothers to us.
Rejoice with us for all those, male and female, older and younger,
who have shown us your tender grace, mercy, and love.
Support all who have entered into the joyous calling of motherhood,
especially those who raise children alone or in the face of great trial.

Do not let us forget about those who might feel left out on this day:
those who do not know their mothers,
those whose mothers are far away or have died,
those mothers whose children are far away or have died,
those who do not or cannot know the joy of children and motherhood.

Help all your people to know the gift of a mother’s love
in and through whatever manifestation you offer it,
and continue to show us your love through all who are mothers to us.

Mothers Day Proclamation
Julia Ward Howe – Boston 1870

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm! Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.

As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his time the sacred impress not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Anti war origins of Mothers Day
Stan Duncan (2005) writes: “I have a bulletin insert about the anti-war origins of Mothers Day. During the service I often say, everyone who has ever had a mother stand up. They all laugh and most shouffle to their feet. Then I say, “some of us are mothers, some are not; some are fathers, some are not. But, good or ill, good relationship or bad, all of us would not be here without them. On at least this day, if not others, we should all honor those who birthed us and brought us into the world….etc.” I also send out mothers day cards to the middle aged non-mothers in our congregation, saying something like, “Mothering is not an act of biology. Bless you and thank you for “mothering the children in our church school (or some similar task they perform); we wouldn’t be the same without you.”

Pastoral sensitivities re Mothers Day
Don Hoffman (Chreston Christian Church, Washington, 2005) writes: It’s important to acknowledge both the good and the bad experiences people have in relation to motherhood, or you end up not talking about the elephant in the living room…. At the very least in the pastoral prayer I try to list all the positive and negative experiences. Quick list off the top of my head: Those whose mothers were abusive, neglectful, addicted, or who enabled fathers like this. Those who grew up in single-parent families, or who never got the chance to know a mother/father. Those who have not been able, for whatever reason, to form adult relationships with their parents. Those who wish they could become parents but can’t. Those waiting/wishing to adopt. Those fortunate enough to have adoptive parents who loved them. Children of blended families with step-parents.  Those who never had an opportunity to become mothers. Those who have had to “mother” their own elderly, crippled, or demented parents.
There should be two messages: 1) the person sitting next to you may have had a different experience of what mothering is all about than you’ve had; 2) the church (and God) intends to validate whatever experience you may have had, but also to hold up an ideal which every one of us can only partially achieve, but should aspire to.

Remembering hidden pain
Remember in the prayer time those whose mother has died and those mothers who have lost one or more of their children to death.

Thanksgiving: for love (Bruce Prewer)
- focus on God’s love, and how it is expressed in community

Let us give thanks for the remarkable gifts of God’s creating and redeeming love, the loving that casts out all fear.
For the love that frees us to ask questions and explore, to frame doubts and investigate new possibilities, to build theories and then cross-examine them.
We thank you, God of adventurous love.

For the love that enables us to marvel at our own existence, to ponder and remember, recognise our own needs and affirm our own knowledge and purpose.
We thank you, God of determined love.

For the love that helps us to communicate with one another, to express trust and respect, share heartaches and visions, to convey love and mercy.
We thank you, God of reconciling love.

For the love that inspires us to warmly encourage those around us, to affirm and build up, comfort and enlighten.
We thank you, God of nurturing love.

For the love that liberates us to celebrate the world around us in poetry and song, to delight in shapes and colours, intricacies and patterns, awesome forces and deep mysteries.
We thank you God of visionary love.

For the love that encourages us to express something of our faith; for creeds and prayers, hymns and readings, discussion groups and sermons.
We thank you, God of creative love.

Above all else we thank you for the love that allows us to admit that we have no words in which to adequately describe the process of faith in Christ, the awesome worship of our God, and the holy wonder of the Spirit. We thank you for that point where our love becomes wordless adoration. Through Christ Jesus, who is the pure glory of your loving. Amen!

Call to Worship (1994):

The spirit of God calls us from many places;
some of us come from busy homes with many people
some of us live alone.
We are a part of the family.This week has been different for each of us;
some of us have had happy news we want to celebrate
some of us have faced grief and need to cry.
We are members of God’s family.

Yet we all come to this same place;
all of us seeking God’s presence in our lives
all of us seeking God’s presence with each other.
Together we become God’s family.

Call to Worship (2001):

We are the people of God.
Together we are family.I am married,
and single
and in a covenant relationship.
We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

I was married,
and in a holy union,
and never married,
and married twice,
and widowed.

We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

I am older
and younger,
and inbetween,
facing my first serious relationship,
knowing the joy of love,
enduring betrayal,
tasting the grief of a dying partner.

We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

I am an only child,
and have ten siblings
and have raised two children
and no children.

We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

I am part of a family,
the human family
the family of faith
my family of origin
the family of my choosing.

We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

Let us worship God together.



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Easter 3A

LUKE 24:13-25
Too often
like those on the way -
to Emmaeus,
Erehwon or Erehwyna
we recognise the presence of the risen one
in hindsight.
that mysterious transitory presence
dancing at the edge of awareness
never constant, steady, or predictable.

Perceived in fleeting moments
amid the seemingly mundane
we learn to treasure such experience
in retrospect.
Did not our hearts burn within us?
Look, he passes by me, and I do not see him.

But being on the way
we may meet the risen one in the past
as well as in present
in remembering
in suddenly being taken to another place
another time
that opens new paths of remembering:
Do this in remembering me.
© Jeff Shrowder, 2014.

ROAD, TABLE, ROAD (Luke 24: 13-35)
The weary miles coat our feet in the dust
of the Emmaus road. Afternoon sky
shimmers with heat, and the light, like a crust
of fire cast off by the sun, scrapes at eyes
already raw from weeping. We have left
Jerusalem, but not our grief – he died,
the one we called our Lord – and we, bereft
of purpose, joy and hope, now try to find
our way without his leading. Like a cleft
tree or uprooted vine, our hurting minds,
stung by the strength of death, cannot conceive
of anything greater still; thus we’re blind
to hope too wild for cracked hearts to receive –
angels saying Christ’s risen from the tomb –
the news the women would have us believe.
So we dully plod the dusty road, gloom
our only companion until someone
joins our journey: just a man, we assume,
like us; and while we talk of all just done
in Jerusalem, he listens, mildness
in his voice as he probes our words, tale spun
from our bewildered thoughts. Though the blindness
of our sad minds to who he is remains,
yet our hearts begin to feel a lightness
as this one stranger, his words kindling flame,
shows from Scripture what Christ had come to do.
Uplifted, rapt (though still he gives no name),
surprised to find that hope has surged anew,
we beg his presence at our evening meal.
But when he takes the bread, gives thanks, the view
we have of him is changed, for now his real
identity is revealed: Christ, who gave
himself for the life of the world, who sealed
the new covenant in which we are saved
by his body given, his blood shed – and
who, raised by God, triumphed over the grave.
Questions will wait; we don’t, can’t understand
it all, but hardly care. Weary no more,
we want to tell the others what we can;
hurrying we head through the open door
to the road again, to Jerusalem.
Sensing how much more there now is in store
for the hungry of the world, we’ll tell them
that Jesus who died and rose is our bread –
that he is life, greater than death. Praise him!  © 2014 by Andrew King

When the morning reached out its dawning hand to us
when we had thought there could be nothing but night,
when a fellow traveler walked with us in our sorrow,
a stranger even, who was willing to listen,
when someone helped us find wisdom in our losses,
when something in us, unnoticed until it spoke,
called out to another to come in, to share a life,
when we ate together, embraced one another’s
hunger and gratitude, bore one another’s craved blessing,
when we stood in the definite, unnameable presence like rain
that followed us as intimately as our breath,
when a Word spoke to us from inside things,
things as plain as bread, broken open for us as a gift,
when the world was not alone of us, but one, and gathered,
when we walked along, and the road received us,
and the real and ordinary was enough for us, blessed and given,
didn’t our hearts burn within us?
© 2014 Steve Garnaas-Holmes,

Easter 3A – the road to Emmaus. Some worship ideas gathered from various sources.

EASTER 3A Elements of worship

Reflection by Thom Shuman – Easter eyes Easter 3A – Thom Shuman

Preaching Peace - insight into the Luke reading

11am music (Common Praise) 156, 341, 157, 501

Psalm 116 commentary here by Geoff McElroy – great insights! And Howard Wallace here.

Prayer for the Offering
Like the disciples at Emmaus,we offer what we have.They offered their company,their table, their bread. We invite you to be with us, Risen One, as we offer you our love, our devotion, these gifts. May our eyes be opened to your holy presence, now and always. Amen.
Carol Penner, Leading in Worship.

Emmaus Prayer
Risen One
like those disciples on the road to Emmaus,
we struggle to recognize you in the everyday journey of our lives.
We seek your wisdom in the midst of the questions we have
about the circumstances we find ourselves in—
circumstances sometimes beyond our control,
but often of our own making.
Open our eyes, Light of the World,
to your work of transformation in and around us.
As we walk with you day by day,
may your new life be made manifest in what we say to others.
Help us to understand the power of our words to hurt or to heal;
give us the graciousness to make all our conversations holy.
Just as we desire that our speaking be holy,
may our seeing be holy as well.
We are bombarded with images everyday, O Christ,
that shape our attitudes and behaviors.
As you opened the scriptures to the disciples
and taught them everything,
open our eyes to behold you in your Word,
in the beauty of nature,
the beauty of another human being
and the beauty of sacred art.
And in our seeing,
help us to recognize and welcome the stranger in our midst.
May our welcome be a celebration of the gifts and graces
of persons who are different from us
and not merely some token tolerance of an outsider.
You were known to the disciples in the breaking of the bread.
May your resurrection presence guide us in the decisions we make
about what we take into our bodies—
especially what we eat and what we drink.
Help us to understand our eating and drinking as sacred events,
not to be abused or approached mindlessly.
So often we forget, Holy One
that you invite us to abide with you,
to have our lives hidden in you.
We thank you that you travel with us in our joys and our concerns. Amen.
The Church of Ireland website.



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Prayers for others – various

God for all who at this moment in time are threatened with death
for no reason other than the colour of their skin, their ethnicity,
or that they are seeking enough to eat, we pray.
For all who risk their lives on a journey
to find a place of freedom and hope, we pray.

For all who are willing to exploit others for their own enrichment,
for those who are willing to imprison and kill others for their own poetical ends,
and for those who can stand by while the innocent are made to suffer
and who profit from that suffering, we pray.

We pray that hope will not die in the hearts of the afflicted.
We pray that joy and the possibility of renewal will not be suffocated  in the hearts of the afflicters.
We pray that all whose lifestyles are propped up by the suffering of others
will not long be deaf, blind and numb to their complicity but will rise up and demand change.

We pray for the one-day-to-come-world  when death is done,
and all our wildest hopes become our everyday experiences.
We pray in the name of the suffering, innocent Jesus. Amen.

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Holy Saturday reflection – Learning to wait in the dark


A reflection by Barbara Brown Taylor:

Holy Saturday reminds me that one has to learn how to be Christian. When I first came to Christian faith, the day meant nothing to me. It was the blank day between the high dramas of Good Friday and Easter, the day when nothing happened. Jesus was dead and buried. Everyone had gone home to get some rest. In the morning he would rise triumphant from the grave but meanwhile there was nothing to do. The church service — if there was one — lasted no more than fifteen minutes. It seemed rude to go shopping after that, or to check the movie listings. So I puttered the day away, rattling around the house doing nothing much while the clock ticked toward Easter. Holy Saturday was a placeholder, an empty set of parentheses, a waiting room for a train that would not come until morning.

Later, when I became a priest, Holy Saturday was the day when members of the congregation came to the church for private confession. There were never more than four or five of them, who showed up at discreet intervals so they did not even see each other’s cars in the parking lot. The list of names changed every year. Whatever was going on with them, the general confession they said with everyone else on Sunday mornings was not helping. They needed to find their own words for what they had done, or what had been done to them. They needed to say those words out loud so they could hear them without anyone else’s words covering them up.

My only job was to listen, pronouncing some of the sweetest words in the prayer book at the end: “Now there is rejoicing in heaven; for you were lost, and are found; you were dead, and are now alive in Christ Jesus our Lord. Go in peace. The Lord has put away all your sins.” After that I waited in the church for the next person to come, which was often as long as an hour. Sometimes I lay down on a pew, which was how I began to imagine Jesus lying on a stone ledge in the dark. I had been to Jerusalem, so I knew how tombs looked in those days: low holes in rock walls, with narrow bunks inside to hold the dead bodies until the flesh on them was gone and the bones could be gathered up for safe-keeping.

That was where Jesus spent Holy Saturday: in a dark hole in the ground, doing absolutely nothing. It was the Sabbath, after all. His friends had worked hard to make sure he was laid to rest before the sun went down. Then they went home to rest too, because that was what they did on Saturdays. Once it was clear that there was nothing they could do to secure their own lives or the lives of those they loved, they rested in the presence of the Maker of All Life and waited to see what would happen next.

Though Christians speak of “witnesses to the resurrection,” there were no witnesses. Everyone who saw Jesus alive again saw him after. As many years as I have been listening to Easter sermons, I have never heard anyone talk about that part. Resurrection is always announced with Easter lilies, the sound of trumpets, bright streaming light. But it did not happen that way. Whatever happened to Jesus between Saturday and Sunday, it happened in the dark, with the smell of damp stone and dug earth in the air. It happened where no one but him could talk about it later, and he did not talk about it — at least not so anyone could explain it to anyone else.

That is what Holy Saturday has taught me about being Christian. Between the great dramas of life, there is almost always a time of empty waiting — with nothing to do and no church service to help — a time when it is necessary to come up with your own words and see how they sound with no other sounds to cover them up. If you are willing to rest in this Sabbath, where you cannot see your hand in front of your face and none of your self-protective labors can do you one bit of good, then you may come as close to the Christ as you will ever get — there in that quiet cave where you wait to see how the Maker of All Life will choose to come to you in the dark.

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