Season of Creation 2021 Prayer Creator of All, We are grateful that from your communion of love you created our planet to be a home for all. By your Holy Wisdom you made the Earth to bring forth a diversity of living beings that filled the soil, water and air. Each part of creation praises you in their being, and cares for one another from our place in the web of life. With the Psalmist, we sing your praise that in your house “even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young.” We remember that you call human beings to keep your garden in ways that honor the dignity of each creature and conserve their place in the abundance of life on Earth. But we know that our will to power pushes the planet beyond her limits. Our consumption is out of harmony and rhythm with Earth’s capacity to heal herself. Habitats are left barren or lost. Species are lost and systems fail. Where reefs and burrows, mountaintops and ocean deeps once teemed with life and relationships, wet and dry deserts lie empty, as if uncreated. Human families are displaced by insecurity and conflict, migrating in search of peace. Animals flee fires, deforestation and famine, wandering in search of a new place to find a home to lay their young and live. In this Season of Creation, we pray that the breath of your creative Word would move our hearts, as in the waters of our birth and baptism. Give us faith to follow Christ to our just place in the beloved community. Enlighten us with the grace to respond to your covenant and call to care for our common home. In our tilling and keeping, gladden our hearts to know that we participate with your Holy Spirit to renew the face of your Earth, and safeguard a home for all. In the name of the One who came to proclaim good news to all creation, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Readings 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
David commands his military leaders to ensure that his son Absalom is not harmed, but they fail, and Absalom is killed in battle. When David hears the news, he grieves, wishing that he had died instead of his son. Psalm 130: A Psalm of faith and trust in God who forgives sins and whose promises bring hope and redemption to God’s people. Ephesians 4:25-5:2 The apostle instructs the Ephesians believers on how to live as true followers of Christ. He encourages them to be honest with one another, to speak to one another in edifying ways, and to avoid anger, shouting and slander, choosing instead the way of forgiveness and compassion. John 6:35,41-51 Jesus proclaims himself as the bread of life, and responds to his critics by comparing the life that he gives to the manna that their ancestors ate in the wilderness – which could not keep them from death. Rather, Jesus, says, he gives life that does not end, and he reveals God to those who are drawn to him.
(Summaries of readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
Readings 2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:13a
After Bathsheba is finished mourning for Uriah, David takes her as his wife, but God sends Nathan to confront him with his sin. Using a parable of a lamb, Nathan gets David to condemn himself and then prophesies God’s judgment on David. But, in the end, Nathan declares that David’s sin is removed. Psalm 51:1-12
David’s repentance psalm in which he acknowledges his guilt over his affair with Bathsheba and pleads with God to forgive and restore him. Ephesians 4:1-16
The apostle encourages the believers to accept one another, to live with humility, patience and love, and to nurture their unity, since God is also one. Within this united community each one has gifts that have been given by God’s grace and each should use these gifts to build up the community, even as a body is united but has different parts. John 6:24-35
Jesus teaches the crowds that all they need to do is to believe in the one God sent. In response the people ask for a miracle, mentioning the manna that the Israelites received when they were in the wilderness with Moses. In response Jesus tells them that he is the true bread of life and that whoever comes to him will never be hungry or thirsty.
(Summary of Bible readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
National Tree Day, was co-founded in 1996 by Planet Ark and Olivia Newton-John. It has now grown in to Australia’s largest community tree planting and nature protection event. Planet Ark is asking Australians to help us plant one million new native trees and shrubs across the country. After the decimation of trees in the 2019-20 bushfire season in Australia, this year more than ever we need to be planting trees.
Schools Tree Day Friday 30th July 2021 National Tree Day Sunday 1st August 2021 Creator God, Out of chaos you brought order. Out of nothingness you brought life. In the middle of all life stands the tree. Trees provide the air that nurtures all your creation. Birds make them their homes. Cats climb them for protection. Trees recycle life that has come before. Bless the trees of this word, loving God. Remind us to serve as their caregivers and protectors. Give them long limbs and long life. The gift of their breath is as special to us as the breath of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The dream of my life Is to lie down by a slow river, And stare at the light in the trees – To learn something by being nothing A little while but the rich Lens of attention. (Source: Mary Oliver, “Entering the Kingdom”)
The United Nations defines human trafficking as “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
Readings 2 Samuel 11:1-15 After David sees Bathsheba bathing, he sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant. Then, he summons her husband, Uriah, who is away at war, and attempts to get him to sleep with his wife to cover David’s adultery, but when Uriah refuses, out of loyalty to his fellow soldiers, David commands that he be left stranded on the battlefield so that he will be killed. Psalm 14 Those who are foolish and wicked say that there is no God, and God sees how society has become corrupt. But, God is with the righteous who are “eaten up” by the wicked, and will save Israel, leading the people to rejoice. Ephesians 3:14-21 Paul prays for the Ephesian Christians, asking God, who knows all people, to strengthen them, live in them and enable them to grasp the height, depth and breadth of God’s love. Then Paul, celebrates God who can do far more than we can think or imagine. John 6:1-21 Jesus is followed by a large crowd and he asks Philip where they will find food to feed them, but Philip expresses that it would be far too costly to try and feed them all. Then Andrew points out one youth’s five loaves and two fish. Jesus blesses the food and has it distributed to the crowd, and everyone is fed. Then, because he knows they want to force him to be king, Jesus withdraws. But, later, as the disciples sail across the lake, a storm comes up. But, Jesus goes to the disciples on the water and they reach their destination safely. (Bible summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
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.
Readings 2 Samuel 7:1-14a David decides that he wants to build a temple (house) for God, but God, through the prophet Nathan, refuses him, and tells him that he is not the one to build a temple, and that God has never needed a temple. But, God promises David that his dynasty (house) will be established forever and that God will raise up a descendant of David to sit on his throne. Psalm 89:20-37 God has called and anointed David to be God’s chosen king, and God has promised him a dynasty that will last forever. If David’s descendants abandon God’s ways, God will discipline them, but never withdraw God’s love, ensuring that David’s dynasty is established forever. Ephesians 2:11-22 Jews and Gentiles together have been reconciled to God in Christ and brought into one community in which the lines of division have been removed by God through Christ’s cross. Now both are part of God’s household, and are built into a temple for God’s Spirit. Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 When the disciples return from their mission, they tell Jesus about all they have done, and he calls them to rest. But, as they try to withdraw to a quiet place, the crowds follow them and Jesus has compassion on them because they are like sheep without a shepherd. Then, wherever he goes, the people bring the sick to him for healing. (All Bible reading summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
Readings 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19: David brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem in two attempts, the second after hearing how Obed-Edom, in whose house the Ark had been left, was being blessed. Then, as the Ark enters Jerusalem, David dances with all his might, but his wife, Michal sees him and despises him for it. Psalm 24 A song affirming that the earth is the Lord’s, along with all its inhabitants, because God is the one who created it, but only people of purity and integrity are able to enter into God’s sanctuary. Then, God is welcomed with open gates. Ephesians 1:3-14 God has blessed God’s people in Christ, choosing us to be holy and to be adopted as God’s children, and bringing us forgiveness through Christ, in whom we have also received an inheritance. God has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment on this inheritance. Mark 6:14-29 When Herod hears about Jesus, he thinks John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded at the request of his daughter (under influence of her mother), has come back to life. After John’s disciples hear of John’s death, they take his body and lay it in a tomb. (Summaries of readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise) Continue reading →
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10: The people of Israel join the people of Judah in making David their king, and so David becomes king over the entire nation. Then David establishes his throne in Jerusalem. (OR Ezekiel 2:1-5: God commissions Ezekiel to be a prophet to the Israelites and to proclaim to them that though they are hard-hearted and rebellious, and whether they listen or not, they will know that a prophet has been among them) Psalm 48: A psalm in praise of Jerusalem’s glory which overwhelms even enemy kings who come against it, since the city is protected by God. God’s praise extends to the ends of the earth. (OR Psalm 123: A prayer for God’s mercy after the mockery and shame that the proud have brought on God’s people, and committing to be attentive to God even as servants are attentive to their masters and mistresses) 2 Corinthians 12:2-10: Paul refuses to boast in anything except his weaknesses, since God has given him a “thorn in his side” to keep him from being conceited, and so he celebrates his weaknesses for it is in them that God’s strength is made perfect. Mark 6:1-13: Jesus preaches in his home town but the people reject him because they know him, and cannot honour him. Then Jesus sends the twelve out in pairs, with no resources, to preach, and they go, proclaim Jesus’ message, heal, and cast out demons. (Bible summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)