COCU53C.25August2019

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

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

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

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

Prayer of Intercession
(inspired by Jeremiah 1: 4-10)
Let us pray to our God saying
Lord, in your righteousness, deliver us and set us free.
Holy God, you knew us before we took our first breath.
You uttered your living Word and brought forth light, love, and life.
You gathered us from the dust of the earth and called us your people.
You sent us into the world to proclaim your mighty and wondrous deeds.
You are with us even now as we continue our call.
Lord, in your righteousness, deliver us and set us free.
Mighty God, you have done great things; who is like you?
You alone are our rock of refuge.
You alone are our strong fortress.
You alone are our hope and in you alone is our trust.
Lord, in your righteousness, deliver us and set us free.
Merciful God, your love never ends.
We confess to you that we do not always share your love as we should.
Where you have called us to live as one body, we exist as divided members.
Where you have called us to give our Spirit-given gifts, we ignore your call.
Where you have called us to forgive, we have forgotten your mercy.
Lord, in your righteousness, deliver us and set us free.
Gracious God, do not be far from us!
Strengthen us that we might be givers of your grace and
may your steadfast love be known to all of your children.
Send your Holy Spirit to empower our hands to
clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and love all as you have first loved us.
Lord, in your righteousness, deliver us and set us free.
Loving God, hear today the prayers that we lift up to you.
Be with those of us who are…….(name the circumstances)
Give us hearts of courage and songs of your grace
to tell others of your righteous acts and deeds of salvation.
Lord, in your righteousness, deliver us and set us free.
Abundant God, be with those of us that yearn for your restoration and healing.
Today, we ask your blessing upon (name those in need of healing).
We lift up to you those who we bring before you
with our lips or within our hearts…(silent prayers)
Lord, in your righteousness, deliver us and set us free.
Faithful God, your power and your righteousness reach the heavens.
Hear us, your servants, as we follow you to the day when
faith, hope, and love will be upon the lips of all of us, your children.
These things we pray in the name of your Son who taught us to pray saying…(Lord’s Prayer)
(Source: Stephen M. Fearing, Wild and Precious Life)

A Reflection on Luke 13
Surely
You meant
when You lifted her up
Long ago
To your praise,
Compassionate One,
not one woman only
but all women,
bent,
by unbending ways.
(Source: Miriam Therese Winter)

A call to commitment: A Hard, Deep Call to Obedience
You are the God who makes extravagant promises.
We relish your great promises of fidelity and presence and solidarity,
and we exude in them.
Only to find out, always too late,
that your promise always comes in the midst of a hard, deep call to obedience.
You are the God who calls people like us,
and the long list of mothers and fathers before us,
who trusted the promise enough to keep the call.
So we give you thanks that you are a calling God,
who calls always to dangerous new places.
We pray enough of your grace and mercy among us
that we may be among those who believe your promises
enough to respond to your call.
We pray in the one who embodied your promise
and enacted your call, even Jesus. Amen.
(Source: Walter Brueggemann,Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann, (Augsburg Fortress, 2003, p. 90). 

Sending prayer
God of life, God of hope, God of all
Lift us on your love like eagle’s wings
Sustain us, Guide us, Heal us
Then send us forth into the world
That we may love as you love. Amen.
(Source: Terri, posted on RevGalBlogPals)

MUSIC

Singing from the Lectionary – Natalie Sims

HYMN: O God your constant care
O God, your constant care and love
are shed upon us from above
throughout our lives, in every stage,
from infancy to later age.

We thank you, Lord, for dreams of youth,
for wisdom leading on to truth,
for memories gathered through the years,
and faith that grows from joys and tears.

All time is yours, O Lord, to give;
may we, in all the years we live,
find every day of life is new,
a celebration, Lord, with you.

Let not the passing of the years
rob us of joy nor cause us fears;
and give us faith, O Lord, that we
may live with you eternally. (Words: H.Glen Lanier; Tune: Wareham)

The following hymn was published in Reformed Worship journal and celebrates God blessing people of all ages, including a reference to young Jeremiah whose call is the Old Testament reading for August 21.

God of Generations
Tune: NICAEA 11.12.12.10 “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!”

God of generations, we are all your children;
To your church we bring our gifts, our worship and our song.
Young and old we follow, hand in hand together:
In your great love, together we are strong.

Christ, you welcomed children, called us to be like them,
And received a boy’s small gift to feed a hungry crowd.
In our church’s children, may we see you working:
More than “our future”! They are faithful now.

Spirit, freely moving, giving youth a vision,
By your grace young Jeremiah heard your loving call;
Mary was a young one when she learned her mission:
Through faithful youth, you offer truth to all.

God of men and women, Helper on our journey,
You have called us in our faith to grow and to mature.
May we keep on learning, worshiping and praying,
That each new day, we’ll serve you all the more.

Abraham and Sarah trusted in your promise:
Age was no condition when you gave them work to do.
Old and young we follow, hand in hand together;
At every age, Lord, we belong to you.

Tune: John Bacchus Dykes, 1861
Text: © 1998 Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net New Hymns Web site: www.carolynshymns.com
Copied from Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (Geneva Press).

O God, We Rage at Hurtful Things
ST. ANNE CM (“Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”)

O God, we rage at hurtful things
Beyond our own control,
Like all the pain that illness brings
To body, mind and soul.

There’s much we cannot understand;
O Lord, we ask you, “Why?”
And yet in Christ you know firsthand
The tears your people cry.

O Christ, your loving, saving touch
Heals children, women, men.
We pray for ones we love so much;
Lord, make them whole again.

Now work through those your Spirit sends
To heal, restore and care.
May doctors, nurses, neighbors, friends
Be answers to our prayer.

And when the journey seems too rough
And you seem far away,
Remind us, Lord: You are enough
To bring us through each day.

Tune: Attr. William Croft, 1708
Text:  © 2005 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Copied from Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (Upper Room Books).
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net Web site: www.carolynshymns.com

That Woman in the Crowd
LEONI 6.6.8.4 D (“The God of Abraham Praise”)

That woman in the crowd— she could not stand up tall;
Her back was bent, her head was bowed— and Jesus saw!
That Sabbath day of rest, he saw her misery;
He told her, “Woman, from your ailment you are free!”

He saw another thing, when others thought her odd;
He saw a child of Abraham, a child of God!
And soon she saw it, too! She must have been amazed!
She stood up tall and offered God her thanks and praise.

A leader said, “You’re wrong!” for sin was what he saw.
He could not understand this One who broke the law.
The Sabbath rules were strict and work was not allowed—
Not even when it healed a woman bent and bowed.

Christ said, “What matters most? What rules will you obey?
You care for ox and donkey on the Sabbath day!”
For Jesus knew the truth— that people matter more,
And God loves things that heal, encourage and restore.

What barriers do we build to God’s abundant grace?
Do we want church to be a perfect, law-filled place?
Or will we dare to love— to see what Jesus saw—
That God’s great welcome matters more than rule and law.

Biblical reference: Luke 13:10-17
Tune: Hebrew melody adaptation by Thomas Olivers and Meyer Lyon, 1770.
Text: © 2016 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net Web site: www.carolynshymns.com
Please email Carolyn at bcgillette@comcast.net for permission to use her hymns and for copies of them formatted in MS Word for worship bulletin inserts (and sanctuary projection software) and sometimes with it formatted with the music in a PDF.

We cannot measure how you heal (John Bell)
We cannot measure how you heal.JohnBell

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About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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