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)
COCU51B.Readings (handout, landscape folded)
Components of worship (links to resources on this website)
Prayer of Invocation
Open my lips, O God, and my mouth will bring you praise.
For nothing can mute my gratitude
for your love and the gift of life
which you are always birthing within and around me.
Though winter clouds and chill linger
and an unseen virus* leaves us masked and under threat
(*substitute with other words if more relevant)
you are my source of hope and joy.
Come to me, Spirit of God,
that I might know your love
and be renewed in faith as I worship. Amen.
(Source: Rev Christine Gilbert, St Andrews by the sea, Glenelg)
Prayer (inspired by Psalm 34: 1-8)
God who is our Beginning and End,
Christ of Death and Resurrection,
Spirit who dwells in the Church and the World,
your Psalmist would have us
praise with conviction,
glorify with gladness,
exalt with exuberance.
Yet, the human condition includes affliction and anxiety.
Our communities are filled with hardship and tribulation.
The world teems with evil and violence.
The very planet is in distress and disaster mode.
The Psalmist’s invitation to joy and celebration,
this testimony to triumph and deliverance,
this music of joy and deeply felt peace,
can feel like we are being asked to
put on a brave face,
when the state of our world calls for
psalms of lament,
a groaning of creation,
Nevertheless, take seriously
this challenge to be heartened and encouraged,
this invitation to wonder and rejoicing,
this appreciation and intimacy with the holy.
So, magnify our souls that we can taste and see the divine,
while still acknowledging the humiliation and heart break.
Encamp in your people that we might dwell in your love.
Answer our prayers that we might share in amazing grace.
Then, might we share these blessings with all who are the poor souls,
the fearful, and the broken. Amen.
(Source: Diaconal Minister Ted Dodd, United Church of Canada)
Bread of Life Confession
Christ, Bread of Life,
We are your communion
Broken, but shared for others
Forgive us for when we are dry and stale
When the love that we offer is hard to swallow
When our grace has dried up making it unpalatable
Forgive us when we are mouldy
When the witness and teaching is way past its use by date
and no-one in their right mind would want to bite into it
Forgive us when we sandwich other extra stuff between the basics
So much so that only a few choose to buy it
Forgive us for the price that we charge
Making it beyond the means of many who need it.
Make us anew
Draw together the ingredients
Those basic elements
Such as love and grace
With the yeast of the Spirit
Combined and mixed into community
Kneaded in your way
Shaped as you would have us
And baked in your will and purpose
That we might be made into sustenance for the needs of the world.
This we offer in prayer, Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries, posted on Jon’s Facebook page)
Bread of life – art work by Rev Mark Hewitt
Bread of Life by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Why nibble on the Bread of Life
when you can chow down?
Why only smell it, faintly,
when you can feast upon it,
every moment, every breath?
The Baker of the Universe
has made for you a special batch
of your favourite –
and it’s him!
All of his teaching, his healing, his love;
his passionate arms around you;
his insistent draw into the deep,
to the other side, into this crazy
trust and delight and brokenheartedness,
his terrifying stagger toward the cross,
his complete collapse into resurrection—
this is no time for moderation,
for politely picking at the crust.
Take the whole thing. Both hands.
Here, eat it slowly.
Close your eyes.
Let it fill you.
What use are right beliefs
This is the work of God,
that you savour the Bread
God has given you.
Words of Assurance
Readings (see above)
Lord’s Prayer (various options)
Blessing for Presence
May you awaken to the mystery of being here
And enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift
And find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and anxiety never linger about you. May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift,
Woven around the heart of wonder. (Source: John O’Donohue)
Out of the Depths, O God, We Call
Out of the depths, O God, we call to you.
Wounds of the past remain, affecting all we do.
Facing our lives, we need your love so much.
Here in this community, heal us by your touch.
Out of the depths of fear, O God, we speak.
Breaking the silences, the searing truth we seek.
Safe among friends, our grief and rage we share.
Here in this community, hold us in your care.
God of the loving heart, we praise your name.
Dance through our lives and loves; anoint with Spirit flame.
Your light illumines each familiar face.
Here in this community, meet us with your grace.
Tune: “Fennville”, Robert J. Batastini, 1994
Text: Ruth Duck, 1988
Psalm 130 In deep despair I cry to you