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)
Ruth Farrent, one of the worship planning team for 9.30, has written an Australian contemporary version of the Reading from Matthew 15: 21-28 (Canaanite woman, indigenous woman of the land). I’ve uploaded it here, with annotations for those who might not understand the Australian context and idioms. Canaanite Woman – Mt 15
(c) Ruth Farrent, Pilgrim Uniting Church, Adelaide, August 2011. May be used in services with acknowledgement to the author.
Prayer for August 16, 2020: Matthew 15: 21-28
Jesus, when you met with the persistent Canaanite woman,
you demonstrated that you were open to learning.
May we be so open to learning,
from our own experience,
from our encounters with others,
from our wrestling with ideas and feelings.
Jesus, when the Canaanite woman challenged
the assumptions you made based on race,
you demonstrated that you were open to being challenged.
May we be so open to challenge,
about our prejudices and bias,
our privilege and positions,
our behaviour and thinking.
Jesus when this woman demanded attention,
even though women were supposed to be invisible and quiet,
you demonstrated that you were open to changing.
May we be so open to change,
willing to examine our cultural assumptions,
to assess our compartmentalized values,
to transform our lives in ways that are compassionate and just.
We give thanks for all the places where learning takes place,
-in schools and libraries
-in courses and groups
-in worship and bible studies.
We gives thanks for all the ways learning takes place,
-in lectures and reading
-in prayer and singing
-in conversation and counselling
-in surprise and steady discipline.
We give thanks for the mutuality of learning between:
-teachers and students
-ministers and parishioners
-adults and children
-mentors and friends
Help us to draw the circle wide.
Where there is racism, sexism, classism, homophobia;
Where there is exclusion of the young, the disabled, the mentally ill;
Where there is oppression of minorities,
violation of rights,
silencing of voices,
fear of diversity,
help us to be agents of justice;
help us to speak the word of compassion,
help your people to listen and welcome.
(Source: Diaconal Minister Ted Dodd, United Church of Canada, August 2020)
Jesus entered a world where God seems to have been owned and institutionalised by Judaism. The concept of being ‘chosen’ can help reflect an absolutisation of a status and of one’s group history rather than a function to exercise. Religion can open the way for intolerance by its focus upon the exclusivity of membership and often stressing the element of the ‘chosen people.’ Jesus demonstrated that the ‘kingdom of God’ that he came to
establish was predominantly theocentric and not ethnocentric. In this theocentric kingdom it is possible for a Roman, a Greek, a Samaritan, and a Syrophoenician to be recipients of God’s blessings without having to lose their ethnic identity. (Revd Sathi Anthony, Diocese of Perth) How does Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman broaden Jesus own understanding?
Call to worship (resources here)
Prayers for others (resources here)
The new community
Let us imagine the new community of humankind,
all peoples living in compassion and respect for each other,
an end to violence and hate
the bringing in of equality and justice.
a great circle of friendship around the world beginning here.
The diverse people gather in a circle in the space
In awe, in silence, let us reflect on this new world. A silence is kept
Let us pray:
Let us place around this dream
the power of our prayers,
our ways of connecting with love beyond ourselves,
with the energy for good
at the centre of all creation, which is God.
As we do this, let us feel the joining of our friendship
around this space with the heart of God.
The prayers of the people are shared
Gather all these, our prayers, together O God.
Hold them close to you and show us the beauty which you have made,
and the gifts which are given in the variety of our differences.
Cross over the boundaries of our fears and our prejudices
and join us in one great community of loving care
for the peace and renewal of all human life.
May we only ever see each other as you have already seen us,
loving Jesus, for we pray in your name, Amen.
(copyright information unknown)
You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and shoves you or shakes your arm, making you spill coffee everywhere.
Why did you spill the coffee?
‘Well because someone bumped into me, ofcourse!’
You spilled the coffee because coffee was in the cup.
If tea had been it, you would have spilled tea.
Whatever is inside the cup is what will come out.
Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which will happen),
whatever is inside of you will come out. It’s easy to fake it until you get rattled
So we have to ask ourselves…..what’s in my cup?
When life gets tough, what spills over?
Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?
Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and actions?
Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation to yourself and others, kindness, gentleness, and love!
(Source: various internet locations)
Words of mission/benediction (resources here)
Go in faith to be part of
the new creation of human community.
Go in love to take the hand of those who long for inclusion.
And may God the Creator speak to us in all creation,
Christ Jesus bring all people to the table
and the Holy Spirit be our constant companion. Amen.
A Benediction for these times (A Benedictine Prayer)
May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.
May God bless you with a holy anger toward injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.
Pilgrim 9.30am service 2017 COCU52A.2017.FINAL
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