Exodus 1:8-2.10: After a regime change in Egypt, the Israelites are made slaves and oppressed by the Egyptians. Midwives are also commanded to kill all male children but they refuse to do so, so Pharoah commands that male children be thrown into the Nile. It is into this context that the boy Moses is born, left on the river by his mother and adopted by Pharoah’s daughter.
Psalm 124: A pilgrimage Psalm remembering how God has protected and saved God’s people and kept them safe and free from their enemies’ traps.
Romans 12:1-8: Paul encourages the believers to offer themselves sacrificially to God, and to allow God to transform them by renewing their minds. He challenges them to remain humble and connected to each other, and to use their gifts in God’s service.
Matthew 13:16-20: Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is, and Peter declares that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus responds by affirming that God has shown him this and that he (or his proclamation – depending on which view you prefer) will be the rock upon which Christ’s church is built, against which hell will not prevail.
(Summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

First Thoughts on the Old Testament Readings of the RCL

First Thoughts on the New Testament Readings of the RCL

Reflecting on ‘the body’ and community in Romans 12: 13-Ways-of-Looking-at-Community-ParkerJPalmer

In one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. Romans 12:4-8
Churchful Gratitude
I give thanks for the people who You call me to be a part of.
I am grateful that I have a place in this body of diverse and flawed followers.
l open myself to the offering of the small gifts which the Spirit has gifted me with to join with the gifts of others.
I am thankful that a cracked and broken vessel as myself can be of some use in your work, as you creatively make use all the cracked and broken vessels in this family of faith.
In this struggling mess of flailing and failing humanity called the Church,
Which holds me in faith, not always well,
You choose to be known.
We are blessed by your grace.
We blessed by you love.
In our connection with you and each other we find healing and wholeness.
In our serving you and others we find meaning and purpose.
In your way, truth and life we find redemption and salvation.
We are thankful for your kindness, care and patience,
So in our faltering fragile faith we pray. Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12.2)
Society presses upon you to copy
dress and manner, thought and value,
what will anger or attract you.
Ignore it. It’s fear whining for company.
It’s a shield against celestial radiation.
Tune out the market’s frantic clatter.
Be changed by a new way of thinking:
not thinking: an opened awareness,
a mind of wonder and gratitude
and the strangeness of being loved.
Conform to nothing but the grace of God.
Each moment the Mysterious Blessing
dawns in you, allows a newness,
sings a song their ears can’t hear.
Let the Great Love in you make harmony.
The tune is already there,
the ear and the voice.
Let it meld in perfect harmony.
Passersby will hear songs from your door,
from the woods rises music
that’s lovely, good and beautiful,
the delight of God.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Who do I say You are, Jesus?
(could be used as a reflection for ‘prayers of who we are’/prayers of confession)
Sometimes I think I know, and I eagerly praise You,
I confess that I have learned to know God because of You,
I celebrate the fact that my life is fuller because of You,
I recognise that, at great cost, You have made it possible for me
to have a second chance when I mess up my life,
and hurt those around me.

But, then sometimes I confuse You with others
that have helped me or challenged me;
Great teachers and writers, prophets and priests,
parents and authorities.
This can be helpful – sometimes they do point me to You;
but sometimes I can’t see You through the image they present,
and my relationship with You gets blurred.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I know You at all;
I begin to get a sense of who You are,
but then, like Peter, I misunderstand Your mission, or Your message,
or what You really want from me.

Who do I say You are, Jesus?
You are the one I have come to love as God,
You are the one I am learning to recognise
and will give eternity to know,
You are the unfathomable mystery
that is always beyond my ability to understand;
You are the Christ, the Son of the Living. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Our small difference
(could be used at end of prayers for others)
We may not be able to confront queens,
or challenge presidents;
We may not have the capacity to divert resources,
or uplift communities;
We may not have the voice to silence the noise of war,
or the words to negotiate peace between armies;
But, as we follow you, O Christ, we are able to do something.
And so, we pray that you would inspire us
to commit to and act on the small difference we can make:
May we bring peace through small acts of gentleness and reconciliation;
May we bring wealth through small contributions and collaborations;
May we bring safety through small acts of consideration and acceptance;
May we bring wholeness through small acts of care and service.
And in the small ways, O God,
may our small difference make a big contribution
to your saving work in our world. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Australian Church Music website with suggestions for music related to each week (lectionary based)

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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