Exodus 12:1-14
God gives Moses and Aaron the instructions for the Passover meal – for the animal that must be chosen, sacrificed and eaten, how it is to be prepared, and the way the Israelites must eat it, with urgency and ready to travel. The blood of the animal is to be placed on the doorposts of their homes so that the plague of death which comes on the Egyptians will not harm the Israelites.
Psalm 149
An exhortation for God’s people to praise God both publicly (in the assembly) and privately (on their beds) and through their praises to proclaim and establish God’s reign and overcome wicked kings and nations (Note: The sword image is a metaphorical reference to the power of the praise expressed by God’s people, not a literal call to religious violence).
Romans 13: 8-14
Paul exhorts the believers to owe no debt to anyone except the ongoing debt of love, which fulfils the law. Because of the urgency of their hope, Paul encourages the believers to live pure lives, free from the dark deeds to which they may be tempted.
Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus teaches his followers a gracious process for making right with those who have hurt them – going first to the individual, then, if necessary, taking along a couple of witnesses, and finally, taking the matter to the church. Then he encourages his followers to agree, for in doing so, they find power in prayer and Christ’s presence in their gathering.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Readings handout (formatted: A4 landscape double sided folded) COCU55A.readings.WORDversion.revised

Call to worship
(based on Romans 13:8-14 and Matthew 18:15-20)
People of God, open your eyes!
Look around!
The presecne of our Lord Jesus Christ is here –
among us and within us.
God’s salvation is close at hand –
nearer than you know.
So open your hearts and minds to the Spirit,
and let’s worship God together
(Source: re-worship)

A Call to Worship (Psalm 149)
Praise the Source of life!
Sing to the Holy One a new song.
Praise the one we name God among the communion of saints.
Let the people of God rejoice in their creator.
Let them praise the Source of all that is with dance,
and celebrate with musical instruments,
because God delights in them,
and adorns the despairing with welfare.
Let all the saints jump for joy;
let them cry out with gladness where they rest.
Let high praises of Divine be in their throats:
word and song that overcome injustice,
binding rulers in chains and the powerful in iron shackles;
bringing justice to them, and honour to all God’s faithful.
Praise the Source of all that is!
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong)

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18.20
Where there is relationship,
where there is love, there is Christ.
Where there’s conductor and ground – electrical flow.
Loving community is Christ,
each of us the fourth member
of the Holy Trinity.
Not “beside,” Jesus says, but among:
in the in-between-ness,
in the exchange of energy
between us,
the power of forgiveness,
the light of gratitude, honor, affection,
the death and resurrection
of giving and receiving.
Gather in that name, that mercy,
and feel the Beloved
humming between you.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Seeing wrong/doing love
(Matthew 18:15-20/Romans 13:8-14)
The wrong done to me
I see large, but do I see
my wrong to others?Sometimes Jesus’ call,
“Love your neighbour as yourself”,
is not so easy.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong, 2017)

A creative moment – Romans 13:8-14

(a) Shallow trays or dishes of sand set out at or near the communion table;
(b) a supply of small votive candles, sufficient for the whole congregation;
(c) a large central candle from which the votice candles can be lit.
(d) as a precaution, it may be appropriate to have a fire-blanket on hand.

While Romans 13:8-14 is read, each member of the congregation is invited to listen for the word of grace or phrase which catches their attention. After several moments of silent reflection have the passage read again . . . slowly. The congregation is invited to come forward as “their” word or phrase is read, light a candle, and stand it in the tray of sand, and then return to their seat.
If the lighting in the church can be reduced for this reading, so much the better; the increasing “candle-power” will dramatically symbolise the approaching day, however that is understood from this reading.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong)

If a brother or sister sins against you,  go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. Matthew 18.15
Well, don’t go for “sin” or “fault:”
it’s too easy, and useless, to judge.
But pay attention to “hurt.”
Defy that voice of false politeness
and the repression of the truth.
If someone hurts you,
go toward them, not away,
and name the hurt.
Neither hide nor retaliate, even politely:
simply, gently tell the truth.
Claim your part of it,
even if just to receive it,
and to give them access to their part of it.
Not to nail them, not to relieve yourself,
but because you love them.
Be prepared to listen—
to their journey, and to your own.
Think of it as opening a door
to a place neither of you have gone before,
and can’t without the other.
Think of it as opening the door
to that Jesus place.
Imagine how refreshing the air would be
in a community of open, caring honesty,
without that hidden bucket of hurts
fermenting under the kitchen sink.
In the dark places where our hurts lie
is the tomb from which Christ rises, alive,
the very Christ who,
wherever two or three are gathered in his love,
is among us.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

 (Romans 13: 8-10)
Go into the world with no debt but love,
for love will not harm, will do no wrong
to your neighbour.
Go into the world with no law but love,
and you will keep God’s commandments
of love and honour.
Go into the world with no prayer but love,
and God will be with you, Christ
will be in you, Spirit will be around you. Amen
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

Singing from the Lectionary, Natalie Sims
Together to Celebrate, David MacGregor

Christ, you teach us of your Kingdom
(Tune: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly)
Christ, you teach us of your Kingdom
And the common life we share.
You remind us, “Be like children!”
So we offer you our prayer:
Make us gentle, make us humble,
May we cause no one to stumble,
Sheltered in your church’s care.

Shepherd, every lamb is cherished —
Even those who go astray.
You want none of us to perish
Nor to wander from your way.
When a sister or a brother
Sins against you or another,
Give us helpful words to say.

Let your love be our foundation
When we need to challenge sin;
May our quiet conversations
Be the places we begin.
For our judging and complaining
And our gossip and our blaming
Won’t bring sinners home again.

May we seek your will together,
Bound together by rebirth.
May we care for one another,
Knowing every sinner’s worth.
Two or three — united, praying,
Two or three — your love obeying,
Are your voice and hands on earth.

Biblical Reference: Matthew 18:1-20 Text: © 2014 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.
Email:     New Hymns:

Put On Love in Perfect Measure (Tune: Hyfrodol)
Put on love in perfect measure
Chosen people, holy, loved.
Clothe with kindness, God’s compassion
Tol’rance, each one God’s beloved.
All forgiven, all forgiving
In the grace of Christ our Lord
Bound as one in perfect measure
Above all
we put on love

Put on love and patience, gentleness
Modesty, wear all around
In our hearts let peace rule deeply
Peace our call; within, without
Ever thankful as your body
May Christ’s peace dwell deep in our heart
Bound as one in perfect measure
As your people
Each playing our part.

Let the word of Christ dwell richly
Teach each other on the way
May our doing, saying, living
Be in Jesus’ name, we pray
Giving thanks to God, Creator
Singing psalms and songs in praise
Bound as one in perfect measure
Clothed with love
Through all our days
(Source: David MacGregor, Together to Celebrate)

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Season of creation – various

(see also resources on Earth Day)

New: World Council of Churches ‘Roadmap for congregations, communities and churches for an economy of life and ecological justice‘: An invitation to congregations, communities and churches to discuss a 5-step programme to change the way we deal with the economy and our ecological surroundings.

Green Anglicans – Seasons of Creation C resources
Great resource here that would be suitable for Season of Creation

Call To Worship
And God spoke:
“Let us make human beings in our image,
make them reflecting our nature
so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
and, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
And God blessed us saying:
“Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea
and birds in the air,
for every living thing
that moves on the face of Earth.”
And we did take charge, and we did prosper,
and we did reproduce.
But we failed to be responsible.
Let us approach God in humility to worship and reconnect,
to grieve and hope,
to acknowledge and change.
(Source: Spill the Beans)

Prayer of Adoration
God of creation and joy,
in whose world we find ourselves overwhelmed by the diversity and wonder,
we approach you as your kin,
part of your creation,
intimately linked with all we see around us
and knowing that our future
is tied to the future of this planet.
The great storytellers of the past
reflected on your spirit of creativity,
day by day,
seeing that it was good, very good,
and we rest ourselves in that same knowledge: that we are also part of that story.
May we take up the responsibilities
with which you have blessed us,
and in the living out of those responsibilities glorify your creative urgency
for the sake of all.
(Source: Spill the Beans) Continue reading

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Exodus 3:1-15
Moses encounters God in a burning bush while feeding the flocks of his father-in-law, and is called to be God’s messenger to tell Pharoah to release God’s people. When Moses asks for God’s name, God tells him that he must say that “I Am” has sent him.
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b
A song of instruction for God’s people to praise God and to remember God’s wonders when God made the Israelites greater than the Egyptians and sent Moses and Aaron to them.
Romans 12: 9-21
Paul encourages the believers to be committed to a life of love for one another and even for enemies – seeking to bless and not curse, and to conquer evil with good.
Matthew 16:21-28
Jesus tells the disciples about his coming death to which Peter responds with a rebuke. Jesus in turn corrects Peter and calls the disciples to take up their crosses, to follow Jesus (in his suffering) and to give their lives in order to save their souls.
(Bible summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise) Continue reading

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World Week for Peace Palestine Israel:13-21 Sept 2020

The third week of September is the annual World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (WWPPI). It includes the International Day of Peace. This week is a time for people of faith to join together in worship and prayer in support of an end to the occupation of Palestine. WWPPI calls on its participants to work for an end to the occupation, so that Palestinians and Israelis can finally live in peace. Learn more about this issue at Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel.

The 2020 theme is Creative Solidarity in Common Fragility (link goes to page with a downloadable resource) Continue reading

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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)

Romans 12: 2 “Do not be conformed to this world.”
Sister Spirit,
in this age of contemporary empire and
systems of domination,
reorient us toward your values and vision.
Brother Jesus,
amid the ubiquitous and pervasive idolatry of our culture,
and the beguiling and cunning seduction of society’s norms,
realign our priorities toward Gospel and your Way.
Divine Parent,
in a world swirling with power-over entitlement,
and unquestioned privilege,
turn us around and
help us sing your song in this foreign land.
“Be transformed by the renewing of your minds…”
Sister Spirit,
change us where we need changing.
Brother Jesus,
energize our many and varied gifts
with your hope and love.
Divine Parent,
remake us into a church that is alive with faith,
and vital with ministry.
“…so that you may discern what is the will of God.”
Sister Spirit, open our hearts,
to receive sacred inspiration and
teach us to rely on your grace.
Brother Jesus, open our eyes,
to see your realm in the present and
to view each person for their full worth.
Divine Parent, open our hands,
and show us when and where to take initiative,
and help us to act as if your kingdom has come.
“…what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Sister Spirit, as individuals and communities,
lead us away from arrogant self-centeredness,
and debasing self-doubt.
Brother Jesus,
grant us sacred mindfulness and holy judgement,
radical commitment and transformative action.
Divine Parent,
guide us into becoming
generous and compassionate,
diligent and intentional,
justice-seeking people.
(Source: Diaconal Minister Ted Dodd, United Church of Canada, August 2020)

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)

SABBATH REFLECTION – MATTHEW 16:13-20 – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 23rd August 2020
When we read scripture we need to engage our Hearts, our imagination, our knowledge and experience and our common sense. We can give 10 people something to read and there will be 10 different interpretations. Our interpretation will depend upon our conditioning, our life experiences and our belief structure among other things. Sometimes we have heard something so often, we do not bother to explore it any further than what we have always been told. It is so important we learn to look deeper.
Today’s Gospel DEMANDS our ‘attention’. ‘Who do YOU say I (Jesus)am?’ ‘You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church.’ How do we interpret these two statements? Our response to the first question is profoundly personal just as it was for Peter. Peter was the only one that spoke up when Jesus asked this profound question. He was the only one at this time who came to experience who Jesus truly was. The others with Peter are silent. They do not yet know. Peter came to see Jesus as the Christ as we all must.
Peter’s experience must also be our EXPERIENCE. It is not about what we have been told to believe, it is deeply knowing from within the depths of our own Hearts and trusting and believing OUR EXPERIENCE. When we come to KNOW deep within ourselves that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus’ response to us will be the same as it was to Peter: ‘You are (your name) and on this rock I will build my church.’ We were all born to be builders of this ‘church’. What is this ‘church’ Jesus speaks of?
Those who have truly met Love (the Christ) will build the Church of Love – it is the fundamental Law of Love. When we journey with Jesus we know he longs for his Jewish brothers and sisters to recognise the Christ within their presence and within them. When we journey with Jesus we know he discovers Faith outside his own Jewish religion. What Jesus teaches us goes far beyond any one religious tradition. When we journey with Jesus we come to know ‘church’ for him was a Church of the Whole Cosmos – The Church of Love and no religious body could ever have a monopoly over it.
Jesus moves us into a greater evolutionary consciousness, which is the process and purpose of Life. This evolving consciousness takes us beyond any traditional religious stagnation which we can so easily cling to. We come to see Jesus as the Christ when we consciously and openly meet Jesus the God of Love. It is an evolutionary moment in time. It will embark us upon a journey that refuses to continue to DIVIDE what was Whole from the very beginning of time. Sadly, we have divided The Christ down through history – we have divided God – we have divided each other. In our new consciousness we will come to see our Original Unfolding Wholeness, our Original Goodness, our ‘Original Blessing’ continuously unfolding within everything. Any whiff of stagnation will be obliterated within this living consciousness.
We will still have our particular expressions of this Love with our different rituals and community gatherings and different faith expressions, but we will come to respect each other, learn from each other and bow down before each other. We will NOT DIVIDE AND SEPARATE as we have done down through the centuries. This evolutionary consciousness continually invites us into the motion of change.
Jesus asks each of us today: ‘But you, who do you say I am?’ When we can truly answer ‘The Christ’, Jesus will then say to each of us: You are my Beloved, and upon this Rock of Love, we will build this Church of Love together. We are indeed blinded when we believe in anything less than this revelation.
The ‘keys to the kingdom’ are Love, nothing more, nothing less – Love Alone. We will all find different ways of expressing that Love and this is Love’s pure diversity and is to be celebrated and rejoiced over.
When we open into this Truth, all will be equal, there will be no power and authority erroneously dictating Love’s purpose – there will be a clarity of seeing, knowing, acting, accepting and Loving.
To know Jesus as the Christ is to know Love in all its diversity and all its Freedoms. It can never be bound in any one religious tradition or religious experience.
Can we truly rejoice over such extraordinary revelations handed over to each of us this very day?
(Source: Annemarie Reiner, Coordinator/Facilitator at Listening Heart Contemplative Centre, Adelaide)

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)

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Genesis 45:1-15:Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers and forgives them, explaining that it was God who had sent him to Egypt to save them and others from the famine. Then he instructs them to bring his father to Egypt to be with him.
Psalm 133:A celebration of unity among God’s people which brings the blessing of life.
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32:God has not abandoned Israel, but offers God’s mercy to all – both Jew and Gentile.
Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28: Jesus explains that it is not what we eat that defiles us but the evil that is in our hearts. Then he is approached by a Canaanite woman who convinces him, in spite of his initial reluctance, to heal her daughter who is being tormented by a demon.
(Short summary from John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Thought for the week
A word that is often associated in the Bible with God’s salvation is “mercy.” Writer and poet Calvin Miller once defined mercy as “giving a thumbs up to an old antagonist at the end of your sword.” It is the choice to treat others with grace, forgiveness, compassion and love, no matter who they are and what they have done. Mercy is often spoken of by the biblical writers as one God’s primary attributes, and if it were not for God’s mercy we would have no hope of overcoming the broken and destructive forces within us and around us.
In the readings this week, God’s mercy is expressed through Joseph, who forgives his brothers, through Paul’s declaration that both Jews and Gentiles are recipients of God’s mercy, and through Jesus’ surprising interaction with a Gentile woman. There can be no question that giving mercy to us is high on God’s agenda. But, so is God’s desire that we should become people of mercy who release our need for vengeance and retribution, and who embrace forgiveness and restorative justice (…more here).
(Source: John van de Laar, Daily Worship) Continue reading

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One Great Sunday of Sharing 19 July 2020

The declaration that the Uniting Church in Australia is a multicultural Church for all God’s people sets us on a journey of continual discovery and renewal. One Great Sunday of Sharing helps us to keep this focus at the heart of our common life in the UCA. It is held each year on the 3rd Sunday in July, or another date best suited to the local setting.
Uniting Church congregations, faith communities and fellowship groups are invited to come together to share stories of being both guest and host, in personal life, in relationship with other cultures, and of our experience of being Christian in a multicultural Church and a nation that is both multicultural and multifaith.  
It is an opportunity to spend time together with people whose culture and background is different from your own. 

A video of a service for One Great Sunday of Sharing has been prepared by Pilgrim Uniting Church which will be available on the Pilgrim Uniting Church Adelaide Youtube channel from Tuesday 14th July 2020.

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International Prisoners Justice Day, August 10

August 10 is the day prisoners have declared Prisoner’s Justice Day; to fast and refuse to work to demonstrate solidarity in remembrance of those who have died unnecessarily – victims of murder, suicide and neglect.

Wherever incarceration guarantees violence and trauma, we pray for hope that comes with justice. We are taught to “remember the prisoner,” and we lament the ways that mass incarceration allows us to simply forget those created in your image who suffer in prison today. Help us to be advocates for human dignity and restoration instead of cruelty.
(Source: Do Justice)

A prayer for prisoners and correctional facilities
Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal: Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment. Remember all prisoners, and bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will, and give them hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice. Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All this we ask for your mercy’s sake. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer)

On August 10th 1974, prisoner Eddie Nalon bled to death in the segregation unit of Millhaven Maximum Security Prison, Ontario. Eddie was serving a life sentence and had been in and out of segregation from the start of his sentence. Even though Eddie took his own life in the early morning hours of August 10th, evidence clearly shows that the hand that held the razor blade belongs solely to the prison system and its apathetic administrators. (Read more about the tragic circumstances around his death here).
On the first anniversary of Eddie’s death, August 10th 1975, prisoners at Millhaven refused to work, went on a one day hunger strike and held a memorial service, even though it would mean a stint in solitary confinement. Many of the alleged leaders in this one day peaceful protest would still be in segregation a year later. Note: although refusing to eat or refusing to work are among the only options for peaceful protest available to prisoners, both are viewed as disciplinary offences by prison administrations.
In 1983, prisoners in France refused to eat in recognition of August 10th, the following statement would be read on the Paris radio station: August 10 is an international day of solidarity with our imprisoned brothers and sisters,
For here or elsewhere, prison kills. Whether it be Nalon in Ontario, Bader or Meinhoff in West Germany, Claude or Ivan in Switzerland, Bobby Sands in Ireland, Mirval, Haadjadj, Onno, Youssef or so many others in France,
Whether they are serving 53 years like Alexandre Cotte or 16 years like Youssef, whether they are considered political or common prisoners, PRISON KILLS!
By the mid 1990´s prisoners in parts of Germany, England and the United States joined this day of peaceful protest.
…August 10, the day prisoners have set aside as a day to fast and refuse to work in a show of solidarity to remember those who have died unnecessarily — victims of murder, suicide and neglect.
…the day when organizations and individuals in the community hold demonstrations, vigils, worship services and other events in common resistance with prisoners.
…the day to raise issue with the fact that a very high rate of women are in prison for protecting themselves against their abusers. This makes it obvious that the legal system does not protect women who suffer violence at the hands of their partners.
…is the day to remember that there are a disproportionate number of minorities and marginalized people in prisons. Prisons are the ultimate form of oppression against struggles of recognition and self-determination.
…the day to raise public awareness of the demands made by prisoners to change the criminal justice system and the brutal and inhumane conditions that lead to so many prison deaths.
…the day to oppose prison violence, police violence, and violence against women and children.
…the day to publicize that, in their fight for freedom and equality, the actions of many political prisoners have been criminalized by government.
…the day to raise public awareness of the economic and social costs of a system of criminal justice which punishes for revenge. If there is ever to be social justice, it will only come about using a model of healing justice, connecting people to the crimes and helping offenders take responsibility for their actions.
…the day to renew the struggle for HIV/AIDS education, prevention and treatment in prison.
…the day to remind people that the criminal justice system and the psychiatric system are mutually reinforcing methods that the state uses to control human beings. There is a lot of brutality by staff committed in the name of treatment. Moreover, many deaths in the psych-prisons remain uninvestigated.

Facebook page here.

What does the Bible say about prisons and justice (links goes to a downloadable pamphlet). Also interesting resources here.

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Prayers for peace (Korean Peninsula)

WCC Young People 2020 Prayers

August 15 is Liberation Day in both South and North Korea. It marks the date in 1945 when Korea gained independence from Japanese colonial oppression. Sadly and ironically, the 15th of August also marks the day Korea divided into two countries. The Korean Peninsula remains divided and without a formal peace agreement more than 70 years after the end of World War II. 

Each year, the World Council of Churches and the World Communion of Reformed Churches call member churches to pray for peace and unity in Korea, and peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. Romans 14:19: “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

The prayer is traditionally used on the Sunday before 15th August each year. 

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Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28: Jacob loves his son Joseph more than his other sons, and gives a Joseph a beautiful robe. But, his brothers become jealous and sell him into slavery.
Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b: A psalm of thanksgiving and celebration of what God has done as the psalmist remembers Joseph.
Romans 10:5-15: Becoming right with God is not about the law’s requirements, but about recognising the nearness of God’s word and responding to it in faith – which is why it is so important that there are those who will take the message to the world.
Matthew 14:22-33: Jesus walks on water to join the disciples in the boat as they struggle with the storm. Peter asks Jesus to call him to join him, but as he walks toward Jesus he fears and begins to sink. Jesus rescues him, and when they climb back into the boat, the storm dies down.
(Short summaries of Bible readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise. Also, reflections on the readings and local/global applications at the same link)

Today is also International Day of the World’s Indigenous People recognition (August 9)

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