Readings Isaiah 64:1-9: A prayer for God to come and display God’s might as in the past. Also, a confession that, while God welcomes those who do good, God’s people have not done good, and have failed to confess. Finally a plea for God’s forgiveness. Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 A plea for God to reveal God’s glory and come to God’s people to turn them back to God, to make God’s face smile on God’s people, and to save them. 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 God has given us every spiritual gift, and will sustain us and strengthen us, as we await the return of Christ. Mark 13:24-37 Jesus speaks about the signs of his coming – darkened sun and moon and fallen stars – and encourages his followers to watch the signs and be alert. Then he tells a story about a man who goes on a long trip, leaving his servants with work to do, and telling the gatekeeper to keep watch for his return. In the same way we are to keep watch for we don’t know when the Master will return. (RCL readings summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
In 2020, 350 murders of trans people have been reported, with 59 lost to suicide. There are countless unreported cases, and the numbers do not include the continent of Africa, or China. Today we remember and mourn their loss. We pray for a more just and inclusive future.
God of all ages God of all peoples God of all hopes and dreams Today we remember those among us who are transgender: We grieve the murders of those killed for the sake of hate, We celebrate the lives of each and every transgender individual; Those who are able to live into their fullest selves And those who fear the repercussions of authenticity. Help us and our world to transition From grief to celebration, From ignorance to understanding, From shame to pride, From complacency to activism And from hopelessness to hope. We lift these prayers up to you, O God, You who are beyond binaries, You who calls us each by name and loves us beyond measure. Amen
New (2020) from John van de Laar, Sacredise Love life – an Advent and Christmas journey
For all of its pain and difficulty, we still have an unquenchable longing for life. We just don’t always know what we need that will lead us to meaningful, fulfilling, and vibrant life. We too easily get distracted by what promises a good life but fails to deliver. And that’s why we need faith. An authentic spirituality gives our lives meaning, empowers us to discover where life can truly be found, and teaches us to fall in love with life, even with all of its suffering.LOVE LIFE explores the life of God that comes to us in Christ, and how the Advent and Christmas stories teach us to enter into God’s life more fully. It also challenges us to become carriers of God’s love and life into our corner of the world as we seek to be true disciples of Christ. (Free sample here)
Loving Sustainer and Comforter,
We hear your call to be ‘as One’ in your family,
to grow in our appreciation of the fullness of the whole body of Christ.
We wish to move from dissonance to delighting in our diverse expression,
to seek to understand and work collegially, loving each other as neighbours and family.
Draw us into this new year with hope.
Let our celebration this Christmastide be the advent of a new warmth and togetherness,
as we walk on a shared pathway, in support and with unity.
Amen (Source: Rev Anne Hewitt, SA Council of Churches)
On the evening of November 9-10, 1938, the German Reich unleashed a pogrom against the Jews, burning down synagogues and smashing the glass fronts of Jewish shops in Berlin and all big cities in Germany and Austria. The pogrom was allegedly in retaliation for the assassination of a German diplomat at the German Embassy in Paris by the 17-year old Herschel Grynszpan.
To describe it, the Nazis coined the phrase Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass. On that night 91 Jews were killed, 30.000 Jews sent to Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camps. 5.000 Jewish shops were looted, 191 synagogues attacked, bonfires made of Torah scrolls, prayer books and volumes of Jewish history, philosophy and poetry. This action was a signal event whose importance in the history of the Shoah or Holocaust, as it is also called, is that it represents the shift from mass arrest and terror to mass murder. From the time of Kristallnacht onwards, the momentum of the Holocaust gathered force and led to the wholesale persecution and the killing of six million Jews including one and a half million children.
The Night of Broken Glass was crucial in the movement towards the Final Solution, a systematic programme of genocide, which was designed to annihilate every Jew in Europe. Soon would be added the deaths of millions of civilians, service men and women and partisans during WW II.
An Aboriginal man, William Cooper, was the only person to stage a private protest against the Nazi persecution of the Jews. An important piece of history.
(from a service in New South Wales)
We remember a night of darkness and fear that swept the heartland of Christian Europe like a scourge. We remember those who were persecuted. Jews for being Jews. We remember those who spoke out, brave souls who tried to save a world.
And we remember the silence! How many stood aside, mute and unconcerned forgetting the divine command: “You shall not stand idle while your neighbour bleeds.”
For the sin of silence,
For the sin of indifference,
For the secret complicity of the neutral,
For the closing of borders,
For the washing of hands from blame,
For the crime of forgetfulness,
For the sin of meaningless rhetoric,
Let there be no forgetfulness before God, and let memory startle us at any moment, when we lie down and when we rise up. Let us remember and never forget.
Golden crystal hope – a blessing to go Hope is the gold we melt and pour
between the crystal pieces, shattered,
smatterings and scatterings beneath our feet.
Tread carefully, hold gently the shards,
bear the wounds the healing cuts.
Offer the sacred price for peace, to mend
the broken crystal at our feet.
May the Holy bless us as we go, in peace. Amen
Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story. Written for the commemoration of 80 years since Kristallnacht, the state-sanctioned demolishing of Jewish synagogues, schools, homes, and businesses in Germany and Austria; written for the interfaith gathering hosted by The Canberra Jewish Centre and Wesley Uniting Church, 7 November 2018, at which was premiered the work by Elena Kats-Chernin, ‘To Mend Broken Crystal…’, which inspired this blessing.
International Pronouns Day began in 2018 and “seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities”.
“This person I know, Wants to be called they, It could bring people much closer, To see them that way. It’s a strange thing to think, And harder to say, But they are so happy when the effort is made. For all the theys and thems, It is this that I pray, We will be kind and accepting, And just let them be they” (Sam Smith, Instagram post)
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Readings Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25:
Joshua challenges the people to turn from their idols and serve only God, and they commit to doing so. Psalm 78:1-7:
A call for people to hear a message of God’s greatness and goodness, remembering how God gave the people laws and instructions so that they and their children could remember God’s deeds and hope in God. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
A word of encouragement to remind the believers that death is not the end, but that believers, both dead and alive, will enjoy life eternal in union with Christ, which is our Christian hope. Matthew 25:1-13:
Jesus tells a story about bridesmaids who are waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom at a wedding. Some have extra oil and are able to wait for as long as it takes, while others, who do not have extra, have to leave to find more and so miss the groom’s arrival. Then, when they return, they are shut out and not allowed in. Then Jesus encourages his hearers to be alert.
(RCL readings summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise) Continue reading →
2020 NAIDOC theme – Always was, always will be. DEFERRED FROM JULY – Now 8th-15th Nov 2020 NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. It is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people, and participate in a range of activities and to support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. To follow the celebrations or find out more information, visit the NAIDOC Week website. Continue reading →
Readings: Year A Rev 7: 9-17: They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Psalm 34: 1-10, 22 O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him 1 John 3: 1-3 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are Matthew 5: 1-12: Beatitudes