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)

Bible Readings handout – A4 landscape folded COCU50B.Readings.2018

A reflection: Bread for the journey (John 6:24-35)
Looking for Jesus
they mistook bread of heaven
for bread from heaven.

The bread of heaven
feeds one’s daily faithfulness
rather than stomach.

Jesus, bread of life,
arms open wide, you offer
bread for the journey.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, 2018, The Billabong)

Components of worship (hyperlink to other resources on this website related to components of worship)


Prayer of thanksgiving

Words of Affirmation of Unity
(relates to Ephesians 4 reading)
We share one faith,
have one calling,
are of one soul and one mind;
we have one God,
are filled with one Spirit,
are baptized with one baptism,
eat of one bread and drink of one cup,
confess one Name,
are obedient to one Lord,
work for one cause,
and share one hope.
Together we come to know
the height and the breadth and the depth of the love of Christ;
are built up to the stature of Christ, to the new humanity;
know and bear one another’s burdens,
thereby fulfilling the law of Christ
that we need one another and build one another up,
admonishing and comforting one another;
that we suffer with one another for the sake of righteousness.
Together we pray; together we serve God in this world.
(Source: Nolan Palsma, from “Prayerful Preparation: Living God, Renew Us”, published by the World Communion of Reformed Churches)

Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are

Prayer of Confession
(inspired by Psalm 51)
We pause, look within
and examine our consciousness.
Have mercy on us, O God,
according to your steadfast love.
Where we have neglected prayer,
been apathetic in worship,
found reasons to avoid generosity,
or lacked compassion:
Have mercy on us, O God,
according to your steadfast love.
Where we have colluded
in the oppression of those
who become invisible in their suffering,
and ignored on the streets:
Have mercy on us, O God,
according to your steadfast love.
Where anxiety has eroded the gift of your peace,
and where we have cared too much about what others think:
Have mercy on us, O God,
according to your steadfast love.

Words of Assurance
God understands how we struggle
to stay open and compassionate.
The invitation is not to focus on our inadequacies,
but on God’s gift of grace and love
which transforms our hearts and minds.
That gift is given to us again, here and now.
Be encouraged.
May the peace of God be with you
and also with you.
(Source: adapted, Ann Siddall, Stillpoint Spirituality Centre)

Confession (inspired by Psalm 51: 1-12)
I have turned from you,
Holy One, Holy Three;
rejected your promises, ignored
your Way of Love.
Teach me again, Wisdom
guide of my heart and mind;
help me find my way again
into grace, into Love.
Blow through me, cleansing
Breath: renew, revitalise
these bones and sinews, veins
and arteries; fill me with your Love.
Recreate me, Maker, Source of Life;
I have become twisted,
lost the shape you formed.
Create me anew, for Love. Amen.

Assurance of grace
Friends, Holy One delights in you,
welcomes your return:
so turn, and hear again –
you are made new,
by Spirit, Wisdom, Source of Love. Amen
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

Prayer Reflection (based on Psalm 51)
But you desire honesty from the heart,
so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.” Psalm 51:6
Not just in my heart
but in the secret space
it holds.
In the heart of my heart.
In the place where I am myself.
In the space that I protect the most
and share the least.
In the hidden chamber
that I sometimes close off
even from myself.
In the realm
where you wait
and watch,
where you see each thing
that lies in shadow,
where you know the names
of all that makes its home
in me.
in my secret heart;
teach me to move
with your wisdom,
to open the doors
that will draw me deeper still,
to live in the truth
that you desire;
let me open
the windows wide
so that those who pass by
will see you
looking out.
(Source: Jan L. Richardson, The Painted Prayerbook)

Enough (could be used as ‘prayers of who we are’)
Worry and stress are not hard for us, God,
we do them without thinking.
There is always the potential of threat
to our security,
our comfort,
our health,
our relationships,
our lives,
and we foolishly think that we could silence the fear
if we just had enough money,
enough insurance,
enough toys,
enough stored away for a rainy day.
It’s never enough, though;
the voice of our fear will not be dismissed so easily.
But, in the small, silent places within us is another voice;
one that beckons us into the foolishness of faith,
that points our gaze to the birds and the flowers,
that, in unguarded moments, lets our muscles relax,
and our hearts lean into loved ones;
In unexpected whispers we hear it,
calling us to remember your promises,
your grace,
your faithfulness;
And, suddenly, we discover
that it is enough. Amen.
(John van de Laar, Sacredise)

How did it happen, God?
How did we come to believe in scarcity?
In “not enough to go around;”
In “you gotta look after yourself”?
How did we miss the plenty bursting out around us?
How did we fall for the deception that what we can grasp in our hands
would ever be enough?
How did we grow so blind and so foolish,
that we would allow so much beauty and life,
joy and laughter,
sharing and love,
to pass us by unnoticed?
How poor we have become, and how poor we have made others,
simply because we forgot your infinite, overflowing abundance;
because we allowed ourselves to think
that sharing and giving
leaves us with less;
because we nurtured appetites that are never satisfied
unless they have far more than is needed,
thinking our gluttony would silence our fear.

Forgive us, and teach us about your generosity again;
remind us that you are able and willing
to do far more than we can imagine;
and open our eyes to the plenty we enjoy,
the plenty we can share,
and all the plentiful goodness in our world
that cannot be owned, but can enjoyed by all. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Your Grace in us
When we choose to believe that your reign
is no bigger than our bigotry;
When we reduce your presence to the ambience
in our favourite meeting place;
When we see your people as no one other
than our people;
When we believe that we have the authority
to distribute your grace as we see fit;
When we use your word to justify the way
we withhold your blessing from others;
When we enlist you as an enforcer
of our particular ideology;
When in any way, O God, we make you in our image,
when we create our own kingdoms and call them yours,
We have failed you, and we have kept others away from you.
Forgive us, change us, and humble us, we pray;
Keep us always aware of how your grace has rescued us,
and keep us always aware of those who seek your grace
in us.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
(Source, John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Words of Assurance (based on Psalm 51:1-17)
O God, have mercy on us, we pray.
In your mercy, make us clean from our sins.
Wipe away every failing and make us new in your sight.
Restore us, deliver us, and re-create us, O Lord.
(Source: Worship Closet)

Prayer for Illumination


Poem: Exegete
I have always loved to exegete.
Even when I didn’t know what it meant
When I’d fall into a story and dig my way out
carrying in my heart and mind
the fragrance of the world created by the author.
I have always loved to exegete
to read Scripture
and learn of the bliss and blessing
the blunders and the heartbeat
of the characters.
Stories of Adam and Eve,
the grit of Joseph, the chutzpah of Esther
of David the great king…
except when he wasn’t…
The good, bad, and all so very human.
I have always loved to exegete
to wonder and explore
old worlds and new, old words and new
to be challenged by what I read,
encouraged when I needed,
emboldened when I was afraid,
energized by the pathos inside.
I have always loved to exegete,
because somewhere down among the stories,
in the middle of the words,
you might just find a nugget of the wisest wisdom
and feel the breath of the Holy Other.
In that moment transformed
you might just find yourself face to face
with the Sacred
(Source: Carol Hallman, Gifts in Open Hands)

Prayers for others

Prayer for Others: God’s Provision
God, we have known your love,
and experienced your care and provision.
You invite us to extend that love to the world around us –
to care for others as deeply as we care for ourselves.
And so we bring the needs of our world before you now.
In your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for the many who do not have enough:
enough food to eat, or shelter to keep warm;
enough employment, or money to pay their bills;
enough medicine or medical care.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We also pray for those who have more than enough,
but who still struggle to find meaning and purpose in life;
who indulge in dangerous or self-serving activities
to dull their pain or loneliness.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God, your grace reaches out to all of us.
You call us to live as citizens of heaven,
working together with one heart and mind.
Strengthen us to live in a manner worthy
of the Good News we have received,
offering our lives in service of your kingdom,
where the last are first, and the first are last,
and there is grace enough for all.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray
(followed by the Lord’s Prayer)
(Source: adapted, Christine Longhurst, re-worship)

Prayers for others (inspired by Psalm 51:12)
Restore to us the joy of your salvation, Lord.
May refugees be restored to safety.
May flooded land be restored to fertile ground.
May broken hearts be restored to wholeness.
May fearful lives be restored to peaceful rest.
May compassion fatigue be restored to hopeful perseverance.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation, Lord.
Grant in us a willing spirit to sustain us. Amen.
(Source: Monthly Prayers page of the Christian Aid website)

Great and Loving God
We know we are tenants of this good earth,
entrusted through Your grace and love with its abundance and harvests.
Strengthen our resolve to be worthy of Your covenant with us,
and make us more willing to hear, to obey,
and to act in protection of the fruit of Your kingdom of love.
Fill the leaders of our nation, and all nations,
with a healthy respect for the dignity of human life,
the worth of the individual
and the need to consider the everyday issues
as well as the wider issues in politics and society.
Sustain those with special talents –
of laughter, healing, teaching, leadership, parenting,
production of food and necessities of life –
and encourage them to see You as the source of all their gifts.
Accept we pray, Your children with their particular hopes and promise,
Inspire them to continue in their faithful way to work for the growth of love
and cooperation, mutual dependence and trust.
Startle the wavering and the tempted;
the unsure and the procrastinating
with a sharp sense of Your interest
and Your demands of care upon them.
Refresh the weary and the war-torn,
the oppressed and the suffering
with the sense of Your unlimited and unexpected mercies.
Motivate the hearts of compassionate men and women
to the cries of the hungry and the plight of the undernourished.
Shake the complacent out of their stupor of self-satisfaction,
and grab their attention and stimulate them to action
on behalf of those with no ‘clout’, or no political weight,
and no means of being heard for themselves.
Give patience to those who labour to alter the ideas of society
and challenge the patterns of the growing gap between rich and poor.
Direct and embolden those who grapple with the problems of insufficient shelter
and inadequate clothing,
the lack of ample resources in education,
and abuse of power, oppression and injustice.
Re-ignite the passion of those who have slumped into idle lethargy
and lukewarm apathy.
Give them a boldness to correct, eradicate and transform
the wrongs which reject and isolate those
who do not fit neatly within the norms of society.
Remind the Church to tread carefully in its eagerness to be popular,
or in hastily espousing doctrines that may be popular with the world.
Challenge us when we are silent on controversial issues,
when our silence condones the destruction and rejection of goodness, truth and life.
Stir up within the councils of the Church
a passion for the Gospel and the building of God’s kingdom.
Rid them of any ecclesiastical ghetto mentality
which would threaten to overwhelm the proclamation of Your love.
Guide them in the deep waters of social and political action
so that they hold tight to spiritual truth,
and reject any seemingly expedient solutions
which are alien to the teaching of Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.
(Source: Church of Scotland 2021)

A simple choice
It’s a simple choice, really,
one that should be easy.
Do we create need –
Building our lives around a void that we feed and feed,
but is never satisfied;
Storing more than we will ever use,
to silence our fear,
while ignoring the cries of those we have left empty?
Do we create plenty –
Finding satisfaction in enough,
finding joy in what can’t be owned
and life in what is not for sale;
Seeking to share life and joy and food and wealth,
so that these blessings are multiplied,
and celebrated.
Teach us, Jesus, in our homes and families,
our communities and neighbourhoods,
our countries and continents,
to always make the simple choice
to create plenty
wherever and however we may. Amen.
(John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Consider including a prayer in times of natural tragedy (2018 wildfires in California, Sweden, Greece; floods in Japan; burst dam in Laos and also affecting Cambodia; powerful earthquake in Indonesia/Lombok). You might find some inspirition in the resources on this website in the section resources in times of natural disasters and tragedy.

Lord’s Prayer

Prayer of Dedication

Benediction and sending out

Go now in peace,
for Christ has called you to live in peace
among your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Go now in courage,
for Christ has called you from the places of your life
to be agents of redemption and partners in healing.
Go now in joy and thanksgiving,
for Christ is our light!
Go now as one body,
to love and serve God as you love and serve the world!
(Source: Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, United Church of Christ’s Worship Ways website)


“Credo” for a “Bread” Service
Here’s an affirmation of faith suitable for use at the Table, or in a service in which the primary metaphor was bread (eg this week’s reading from John 6).
I believe that bread comes from grain
that grows in the wind
and the rain
with the farmers’ help
far from the eyes of city folk.
I believe that bread comes from love
the love of [God]
the love of the farmer
the love of the baker’s hands
the love of those who bring it to me.
I believe that bread can be
and should be broken
and shared
and given to all persons
until all have enough
and then some.
I believe that Jesus loved bread
and took it
and broke it
and blessed it
and fed his disciples
and asked them to feed us forever.
I believe enough in bread
to want it from Jesus
to want it to nurture me
to want his life through it
to want to give life through it.
I believe that his body as bread feeds me
and as part of his body
I want to be bread for others.
I believe the Spirit will help me
as well Jesus’ people. Amen.
(Source: Bread for the World Worship Aids II, Liturgy, Justice and the Reign of God)

(Communion Hymns)

Communion Service (by Thom Shuman)
Call to Worship
Lead a life worthy of your calling.
We cannot do this alone,
we dare not try this alone,
so we gather as God’s people.
Lead a life filled with the gifts of your calling,
gifts to be used with service and meekness.
We come to build up Christ’s Body,
in humility and gentleness,
with patience and love.
Lead a life which reflects your calling,
that life of peace grounded in the Spirit.
We rejoice in our oneness in Christ;
we would share the grace offered to us.
Live a life worthy of the calling
to which you have been called.
We gather as God’s family
at the Table prepared for us,
waiting to be fed by the Bread of life.

Prayer of the Day
Gentle God:
we have traveled through many waters
to reach this place,
but share one baptism;
we arrive from different backgrounds and traditions,
yet share one faith;
we are, each of us, unique and precious to God,
and are members of one Body;
we have different dreams and doubts,
yet our hearts beat with one hope;
we are graced with different gifts,
so we may offer them in service to one Lord.

God in Community, Holy in One,
equip us for the work of ministry,
as we pray together with one voice,
as Jesus has taught us, saying,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
When we try to sugarcoat what we have done, scripture stares us down, reminding us of our faults. When we seek to romanticize why we have failed to live as faithful people, God refuses to go along, waiting for us to confess our sins. Let us join together as God’s children, lifting our prayers to the One who is generous in love.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
Compassionate One: like David, it is not easy for us to confront those deeds which do not please you. We are so busy looking for the miracles we desire, we cannot see the gift of your presence in others. We are so intent on indulging our appetites and slaking our thirsts, we cannot taste that Bread which gives life. We spend so much of our lives bemoaning the acts of others, we have no time to look in the mirror and see our secret faces.
Forgive us, Steadfast Love. Grace us with your mercy, so we might be made whole. Touch our inner being and heal us, so we might know joy and gladness. Create new hearts within us, so they might beat as one with each other, and with your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
Despite knowing our sin, God chooses to forgive us;
seeing our emptiness, God chooses to feed us;
holding our shattered hearts, God chooses to heal us.
This is the good news: God loves us.
God has graced us with mercy and created new life from our brokenness. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
Use the gifts which we offer to you, Holy God, to restore joy to the despairing, to give food to the hungry, and willing spirits to us, that we might be servants to all your people. Amen.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts, people of God.
We lift them to our Lord so they might be filled with a new spirit.
Let us give thanks to God who loves us.
May our willing spirits offer praises to the One who feeds us..

Our greatest joy is to offer you our thanks and praise,
Creator, Grace-giver, Healer of our brokenness.
All that is beautiful was created for our eyes;
all that is wonderful was created for our awe;
all that is majestic was created for our praise;
all that is mystery was created for our silence.
But despite everything you have given us,
we are not satisfied.
Believing life is about our appetites,
we choose the moldy bread of the world;
knowing our only hope is from you,
we continue to rebel;
called to live in unity with one another,
we cling to all which divides us.

Yet you refuse to let go of us,
sending your only Son, Jesus,
to call us to life in you.
We have fallen,
and you lift us up;
we have forsaken you,
and you redeem us;
we are broken,
and you make us whole.

Therefore, we praise you,
joining our voices, here and now,
with the faithful of every time and place,
singing to the glory of your name:

Holy, holy, holy are you, God of every mercy.
All creation praises one God and Father, one Lord, one Spirit.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who gifts all of God’s people!
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of grace and tenderness,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Though we look for him for all the wrong reasons,
he holds out the bread of life to us;
though we offer the cross to him,
he graces us with life;
though we thirst for more and more,
he offers us the cup of salvation;
though we gossip and slander one another,
he speaks the truth in love to us;
though we would divide each other
by class, race, or condition,
he calls us to oneness in you.

Recalling your steadfast love in Christ,
and knowing we cannot understand your grace
until that eternal day
when we can know your heart,
we take this bread and this cup,
praising and blessing you
for these gifts of hope and joy.
Great is the mystery of faith.

Christ died, a seeming prisoner of death.
Christ was raised, so all might be freed in resurrection love.
Christ will return, finishing the work of God.

Holy God of Truth,
though we come to your Table as many,
may your Holy Spirit make us one body and one spirit.
As you feed us with the Bread of Life,
may we feed those who know true hunger;
as your justice illumines our hearts’ darkness,
may we be a beacon to the oppressed and lost;
as you speak to us the truth in love,
may we be a voice for the powerless and forgotten;
as you restore us to wholeness,
may we bind up our shattered world.

Through Christ who saved us,
all glory and honor are yours,
God, who created us in your own image,
through the Holy Spirit, in our midst making us your people,
now and forever. Amen.

Let us go into the world with God’s gifts.
We will perform God’s works of mercy and life.
Let us go into the world with the Bread of heaven in our hands.
We will share Christ’s grace which gives life to everyone.
Let us go as the one body of faith and fellowship.
We will to witness to the one Spirit of hope and faith.

(Source: Thom M. Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies)

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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