Social Justice Sunday

Social Justice Sunday in the Uniting Church is held annually on the last Sunday in September.

“Justice is the Body of Love ~ Love is the Soul of Justice” (John Dominic Crossan)

Resources for Social Justice Sunday on NCCA website.

Here’s a link to the 2014 Social Justice Sunday resources.

“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” Richard RohrExcellent resources on this website: Worship Materials: Justice and Peace (William L. Wallace)

“When it comes to climate action, it’s abundantly clear that we will not build the power necessary to win unless we embed justice – particularly racial but also gender and economic justice – at the centre of our low-carbon policies…We cannot play ‘my crisis is more urgent than yours’ – war trumps climate; climate trumps class; class trumps gender; gender trumps race. That trumping game, my friends, is how you end up with a Trump.
Either we fight for a future in which everyone belongs, starting with those being most battered by injustice and exclusion today, or we will keep losing.” (Naomi Klein)

The Prophetic Voice
God of Justice!
We call on you to guide
all those on this Land
to seek Justice.
Bless and renew our hearts and minds,
so that we may see with your insight,
mindful of the calling
to walk in your way of peace and reconciliation.
Seed in us the desire to be agitators
for holy change.
May the blessings we receive
inspire and nourish us
to bless those around us
with words of comfort
and actions of healing.
Inspire in our mouths
the words of your good news
for the sake of the world you love.
May we grow in the courage of Christ,
becoming and being prepared to take up the cross,
rather than buy in to the pressure
of dehumanizing and demeaning
that places avarice before generosity.
Gift us with the desire to share in joyful community.
Make us into catalysts for relationships.
Form us as people who become nourishment for the world.
May we deepen in our reading of your Scriptures,
that we might see your promises of mercy written in our souls.
May we work, throughout Australia,
and through our international partnerships,
to bring about a foretaste of the state of mercy and blessing
that characterizes Heaven.
Just as we seek mercy,
teach us to recognize the power imbalances
that prevent the full experience of abundant life.
May we learn to repent of those habits
that destroy your beautiful plan.
Rather, let us learn the creativity of your nature,
to better use our gifts for the sake of grace.
God of Justice,
be our Teacher and our Defender!
Correct us, so we can learn how to speak Truth.
And, when we do – protect us from the evils we confront,
For this is your will to be done
And we are honoured by your call.
So, we commit this day,
to be your holy and vocal people.
We commit to stand up for your beloved creation,
especially those who are marginalised
by the cultures of judgement and shame around us.
May we stand with them.
So be it.
(Source: Amelia Koh-Butler, Hyphenated Faith, 2017)

Let Justice Flow Down
For half the world’s population who have to live on less than $1 a day
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those suffering from malnutrition and treatable diseases
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who experience discrimination on the grounds of gender, age, role, religion, beliefs, disability or sexuality.
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who sleep rough;
and those who have nowhere they can call home.
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who have experienced physical, mental or emotional abuse, or domestic violence.
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who are unemployed, or in employment that is dehumanising or degrading.
Let justice flow down like a river
For all those who are denied their basic human rights by military dictatorship or oppression.
Let justice flow down like a river
Justice is the currency of love in society.
Let us be instruments of justice in the world.
(Source: Roger Courtney, Progressive Christianity)

 Love Is Calling
“Love is calling for liberation.
Love is hoarse from calling,
her voice raw from the decades
she has spent chanting at protests
and speaking from pulpits
and singing the songs of freedom.
Love is weeping into a white candle
she cups in her hands at a vigil
for one more Black life lost,
ripped away, gunned down, forgotten.
She is holding the hands of a grieving mother
and praying aloud for peace.
This is where Love shows up,
where Love has always shown up.
She is tugging at our hands and sleeves,
begging us to lay down our egos
and take up our courage
and dedicate our lives to justice.”
(Source: Jess Reynolds, Love Like Thunder)

Rev Dr Nymabura Njoroge, from Kenya (who now works for the World Council of Churches) is a theologian, who knows from personal experience and from the experience of her people, the extent of suffering and injustice present in our global community.
She has seen her communities devastated by AIDS. She has experienced discrimination as a woman in the church. She has struggled with the poverty and violence decimating African communities.
In this context Nyambura speaks of “a spirituality of resistance and transformation.”
Resistance to all that would dehumanise us and divide us from God and from each other, transformation of our realities into a world where God’s desires for us are realised – peace with justice, love and compassion mark our lives together.
Nyambura writes:
“A spirituality of resistance and transformation demands that we share the good news of the possibility of new life in the presence of death here and now. It is a spirituality that invokes a passion that believes positive change is possible. In Africa as we watch the escalating anarchy in many countries and in our streets, it is difficult to comprehend how we can end violent death and proclaim new life in Christ.
“We even wonder where God is when such chaos and destruction take place. We therefore need a zeal that believes… that we can sit down together and engage in dialogue over our difference. Passionate commitment is needed whereby we are not afraid to try new ways of relating to our neighbours and our enemies. Such zeal would be willing to listen to the word of God in the scriptures that require that we trust in God and act justly. “
Nyambura Njoroge and other women like her are seeking to nurture faith that engages the people of God in ways that will transform the whole of our realities: spiritually, politically, economically, and socially.

The goal of compassion – Richard Rohr
To reach the goal of compassion we must not stop with “the first gaze.” It is “the second gaze” that we struggle and wait for most of our lives. In the first half of life, we have a critical mind and a demanding heart and a lot of impatience. These characteristics are both gifts and curses, as you might expect. We cannot risk losing touch with either our angels or our demons. They are both good teachers. The trials of life invariably lead us to a second gaze. This is the gaze of compassion and patience. Now we look out at life from a place of Divine Intimacy where we are finally safe and at home. Only the second gaze sees fully and truthfully. It is the gaze of God at you, which you have finally received like a long-awaited radio signal, and once you receive it, it just automatically bounces back to the Sender.
Adapted from Contemplation in Action, pp. 19-20
Prayer: Teach me to hold the paradox of being contemplative in my actions.

Here’s a word version of the worship resources for 2012 (Peace in the Marketplace: so all may live with dignity’) Worship_resources_Social_Justice_Sunday_2012

Resource booklet: Social Justice Sunday 2012_resources

Music suggestions: Social Services Sunday-various songs

Singing from the Lectionary – music suggestions here.

Link to Matthew West, ‘Do Something‘ (song available on itunes); listen to whole song here.

Other music suggestions (from TiS) from NCCA resource
Opening:188 Where wide sky rolls down; 672 (i) Lord of earth and all creation.
Eucharist: 544 God has a table; 640 Kneels at the feet of his friends
General: 473 Community of Christ; 468 We are your people; 634 All who love and serve your city; 629 When I needed a neighbour; 665 Jesus Christ is waiting; 690 Beauty for brokenness; 665 Jesus Christ is waiting; 822 “When our song says peace” From Human Rites (worship resources compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, London: Mowbray, 1995)

“Hands shaped like a cradle”
Put peace into each other’s hands
and like a treasure hold it,
protect it like a candle-flame,
with tenderness enfold it.

Put peace into each other’s hands
with loving expectation;
be gentle in your words and ways,
in touch with God’s creation.

Put peace into each other’s hands
like bread we break for sharing;
look people warmly in the eye:
our life is meant for caring.

As at communion, shape your hands,
into a waiting cradle;
the gift of Christ receive, revere,
united round the table.

Put Christ into each other’s hands,
he is love’s deepest measure;
in love make peace, give peace a chance,
and share it like a treasure.                                                (Fred Kaan)
Tunes: Ach Gott und Herr, or St Columba

Blurb for Social Justice Sunday 2012:
Our current world economic situation is the subject of many books, lengthy media commentary and diverse expert opinions posing many questions. “Are we prospering, are we doomed, is the demand for our mineral resources going to last, how much of Australia’s natural landscape and ecology can be sacrificed to support our economic growth?” Is the concept of economic growth out dated as it is severely altering the natural world? How do we grapple with the unintended consequences? These are the big questions of our times.

The NCCA Social Justice Network has produced the 2012 Social Justice resource  “Peace in the Marketplace – So all may live in dignity”, to assist in addressing issues of well being, the economy and the challenges such as work life balance, consumerism, and measuring real progress as a nation. Hopefully this will be a helpful tool for promoting discussion across the community.

Contact the NCCA office to order a printed copy email or  (02) 9299 2215.


Deep in the Human Heart
Words: ©William L (Bill) Wallace. Tune: Diademata WOV 163

Deep in the human heart
the fires of justice burn;
with visions of a world renewed through radical concern.
as Christians we are called
to set the captives free,
to overthrow the evil powers and end hypocrisy.

This is our task today,
to build a world of peace;
a world of justice, freedom, truth, where kindness will increase;
a world from hunger freed,
a world where people share,
where every person is of worth and no-one lives in fear.

Taking the step of faith,
we leave the past behind
and move into the future’s world with open heart and mind.
by grace we work with Christ,
as one community,
to bring new hope and fuller life to all humanity.

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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