Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10: Ezra reads the book of the law to the people. They respond in remorse, but Nehemiah encourages them to be joyful and to celebrate.

Psalm 19: A celebration of God’s word, proclaimed and revealed in creation, which makes naive people wise, which gladdens the heart, which gives light to see by, and which is a valuable treasure.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31a: Paul teaches that the Christian community is like a body with many parts. Each has a gift, and each must use their unique gift for the benefit of the “Body of Christ”.

Luke 4:14-21: Jesus reads from Isaiah’s scroll about God’s anointing for ministry, and God’s liberating work through God’s anointed. Then, he claims this prophecy for himself.
(Bible readings summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Components of worship
(Scroll down for resources for this particular Sunday)
Acknowledgement of Land
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are
Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion Hymns)

Sandy Boyce’s sermon (on SermonShare) for 23 January 2022 combines the Gospel reading and the Day of Mourning focus. 

May the Spirit of the Lord Be Upon Us
(Praying Luke 4:14-21)
Driven from your home,
For daring to speak radical truth,
Dare to speak to us today,
Come as the Spirit of the Lord
Breathe upon us anew,
As the Spirit anointed you
To proclaim good news to the poor.
To proclaim freedom for the prisoners
And recovery of sight for the blind,
To set the oppressed free,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
Surely we who follow you should pray for such things.
We pray for the poor.
In a world with sufficient resources for all to have what they need,
The wealth divide continues to increase,
The extremes stretch the extremities
And we are caught in the socioeconomic web of wanting more.
Help us understand enough,
So that we might settle with less and be agents of good news for the poor,
As we share more equitably and work to change the system of inequity.
We pray for prisoners,
Those who are imprisoned as a result of their behaviour or crimes,
But also those imprisoned by situation, circumstance, habit or addiction
Those imprisoned by their thinking, mental health or mindsets.
May we take up your challenge to adjust our worldview
And find compassion enough to reach out in sympathy and empathy
Working for the good of all,
Advocating for change
And walking with those as they struggle for freedom.
We pray for the blind,
Not so much those who are visually inhibited,
But those who can’t see the world as you see it,
We who can’t see beyond our wants to the needs of others
We who can’t envisage the potential for good within ourselves or others
We who are yet to fully glimpse your vision for a communion of common good which might lead to a better world for all.
Open our eyes and heal our blindness,
So that we might not blindly head as humanity into a future of disaster.
We pray for the oppressed,
Those stifled or diminished in their humanity,
By systems, powers, cultures or people
Those who rights are downtrodden and abused
Those caught in structures of society, institutions or politics, Which limit their practical options for freedom and release,
And those like us who are entrapped in ways of thinking and living which knowingly and unknowingly result in the oppression of others.
May we who seek to follow you and your way,
Not reject your radical message,
May we not limit your work or impede your progress,
Nor be overwhelmed with the scope of the effort,
But welcome you amongst us,
And invite you again to lead us onwards,
Always towards better things.
May the Spirit be upon us,
That we might proclaim the favour of God,
Your preference for justice, equity and equality,
Established in your love and grace.
This we hope and pray. Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite Facebook post)

Intercession: in our midst (Luke 4:14-21)
she stands in our midst: woman
we hear our story on her voice,
hear her claim Holy One is with me,
receive her with gladness and joy
Holy One, we pray: may it be so

they stand in our midst: seekers of refuge
we hear our story on their voice,
hear them claim Holy One is with us,
receive them with gladness and joy
Holy One, we pray: may it be so

he stands in our midst: a person disabled
we hear our story on his voice,
hear him claim Holy One is with me,
receive him with gladness and joy
Holy One, we pray: may it be so

they stand in our midst: children and youth
we hear our story on their voice,
hear them claim Holy One is with us,
receive them with gladness and joy
Holy One, we pray: may it be so

you stand in our midst: Jesus the Christ
we hear our story on your voice,
hear you claim Holy One is with me,
receive you with gladness and joy
Holy One, we pray: may it be so
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Praying the Story)

A reflection on the 1 Corinthians reading (we are the body of Christ):
Out running in the cold winter air, most of my body was warm, but my fingers were cold. Riding my bike, it’s my forehead that suffers. But they’re all a part of me. And while I deal with the winter cold I think of you who are in Australia, who have been living through this awful summer heat. We’re at different extremes, but we’re all part of the same planet, all part of the same humanity.
Paul says we’re all parts of one body. Somehow, even without our knowing, when one suffers we all suffer. When one rejoices we all rejoice. Our sadness and gladness mingle together into one joy. In prayer we enter a deeper consciousness, even if it’s beyond our knowing: the reality that we belong, that we are all one living being. We enter into the suffering, and the joy, of the world. We become one with all our body. Our joy is there for others, and our pain is not ours alone. We receive the gift of their happiness, and help them bear the weight of their sorrows. Our souls are woven with theirs. In this way, even sitting in our room in silence, by the mystery of God’s grace in us, we become part of the mending of the world. (source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes,

I Cor 12:12-31 Doug Gay reflects, the more I work with this passage the more powerful it seems. Not least, the enormous pathos of these two phrases “I don’t belong” and “I don’t need you”
Jim Gordon reflects, Much of Paul’s pastoral psychology is forged in response to relational anguish. The man who went on to write 1 Cor 13 had experienced all those negations of love he lists, and longed for the affirmatives to be true and real in the Corinthian community. In 2 Cor 6.12 he blurts out exactly how he feels – “We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.” That withholding has its counterpart in a body where some parts either don’t want to belong, or are told they are neither welcome nor necessary. You’re right Doug – I don’t belong and I don’t need you are attitudes profoundly damaging to the whole body – and to individuals who feel such unbelonging or inflict it on others. As often, 1 Cor 13 is a revealing interpretive key.

Duo by Secret Garden with images from the universe (if using Psalm 19)


In a world full of sorrows wicc_hymn_in_aworld_full_of_sorrrow

One is the body (Wild Goose) – written for the Ephesians body passage but relevant for today’s Corinthians reading. 

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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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