Migrant and Refugee Sunday

Refugee and Migrant Sunday is a celebration of the dignity of people who are refugees and migrants and the contribution they have made to life in Australia.  It has been celebrated on or around the last Sunday of August each year.
The Catholic Church have moved Migrant and Refugee Sunday to the last week of September – which is also Social Justice Sunday and Week 4 of Season of Creation. This is to bring it into line with ecumenical churches around the world.
Whatever dates suits your congregation seems worthy. More important things to focus on with refugees than a date in a church calendar!
(see also resources in World Refugee Day)
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COCU54B.29th August 2021

Note: this is also Migrant and Refugee Sunday

Song of Solomon 2:8-13
The young woman celebrates her lover, admiring his strength and beauty, and remembering his invitation for her to join him as they enjoy the weather, the sounds, the fruits, and the beauty of Spring.
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
A Psalm in celebration of God’s appointed king as handsome in appearance, but also as just and righteous. The context is the wedding of the king, and thus the beauty and sacredness of this human union is also celebrated.
James 1:17-27
God has given us every good and perfect gift. Therefore, we need to live God’s law, remembering it and putting it into practice. We are called to be good listeners who are slow to anger, who have a humble attitude and who care for the marginalised and vulnerable in our world.
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Jesus is questioned by the religious leaders because his disciples don’t wash their hands before they eat. In response Jesus warns against worship that is only lip service, and explains that it is not what comes from outside that defiles us, but what comes from the heart.
(Bible summaries from John van de Laar, Sacredise)

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COCU 53B.22nd August, 2021

Psalm 84: A Psalm in praise of God’s Temple,
A psalm telling of the joys of dwelling in God’s House, and of God’s strengthening of God’s people. Also a request for God to hear the Psalmist’s prayer.
1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43
The Ark of the Covenant in placed in Solomon’s newly built temple. The cloud of God’s glory fills the temple. Solomon prays that God will keep God’s promise to have a descendent of David on the throne forever, and for God to hear and answer the prayers of God’s people and immigrants when they pray in the temple.
Ephesians 6:10-20
The apostle encourages believers to recognise that their struggle is not against human beings, but against spiritual forces of evil. In order to stay strong they need to put on God’s armour and remain faithful in prayer. He also asks them to pray for him.
John 6:56-69
Jesus proclaims that he is the bread that came down from heaven, and that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood will remain in Christ and Christ in them. Then many disciples grumble and even start leaving, but when Jesus asks the twelve if they want to go too, Peter answers that they have nowhere else to go, because Jesus has the words of eternal life.
(Bible summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Readings A4 double sided landscape format COCU53B.Readings

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1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
David dies and Solomon takes over as king. Then God allows him to ask for anything he wants, and he requests wisdom to rule over God’s people well. God is pleased with his request and grants him wisdom, but also promises him wealth and fame and, if he stays faithful to God, long life.

Psalm 111
A Psalm in praise of God’s works which are glorious, righteous, just, merciful, compassionate and trustworthy. God has redeemed God’s people and established an everlasting covenant with them, and wisdom is found in the fear of God and in keeping God’s laws.
Rev Joan Stott writes: Professor Walter Brueggemann writes that v 4 of the psalm reminds us that “…The name, reputation, or memory of YHWH crafted in those wondrous deeds is of one who is ‘gracious and merciful’…. ‘Merciful’ comes from the term suggesting the womb love of the mother who has given birth to the children of Israel…” That understanding of ‘merciful’ gives the word ‘mercy’ a whole new meaning and context; and another example of God’s love.
(Source: Professor Walter Brueggemann & William H Bellinger Junior from “Psalms” – Psalm 111, page 483, © 2014 Cambridge University Press)

Ephesians 5:15-20
Paul encourages the Ephesian Christians to live wisely and in the power of God’s Spirit that fills them, and to encourage one another through songs and through worship and thanksgiving to God.

John 6:51-58
Jesus continues proclaiming that he is the Bread of Life, inviting the people to eat his flesh and drink his blood as true food and drink. Those who do this will live, he promises, unlike those who died even after eating the bread in the wilderness.
(Bible reading summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise) Continue reading

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Nelson Mandela International Day – 18 July

On 18 July every year, we are invited to mark Nelson Mandela International Day by making a difference in your communities. Nelson Mandela, fondly remembered as Madiba, remains a symbol of freedom, forgiveness and hope for the nation and the world. He kept the spirit of freedom alive in his battle to end apartheid.
(Madiba: The name most commonly used by South Africans. Madiba is the name of the clan that Mandela belonged to and is derived from the name of a chief who ruled in the Transkei region in the 18th century. By using that name, South Africans expressed their respect for Mandela as the son of a traditional chief, but mostly it as an endearment).

A prayer of thanksgiving for Nelson Mandela
This day we give thanks for the life of Nelson Mandela.
He led a nation on a long walk to freedom.
He fought for reconciliation and not retribution.
He argued for peace in place of war.
Lord, we give you thanks for Madiba.
When other surrendered to darkness he kept faith with the promise of tomorrow.
He envisioned a path to “heal the wounds of the past… “
…with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all.”
His work inspired the world.
Lord, we give you thanks for Madiba.
In his time, the powers and the principalities reviled Jesus.
The leaders of great nations in our time called Mandela a terrorist and a communist.
Powerful interests stood up for white supremacy during the Apartheid era.
Mandela stood up for the least of these.
Lord, we give you thanks for Madiba.
Death is not the final victory.
Nothing can silence the voice of Nelson Mandela – not Robben Island, not death.
His words are eternal.
His voice will echo throughout time.
Lord, we give you thanks for Madiba.
Let us have an ounce of his courage.
Let us have an ounce of his faith.
Comfort those in South Africa and across the world who mourn.
Let the work of Nelson Mandela continue in us.
Lord, we give you thanks for Madiba. Amen. (Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie, HuffPost)


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COCU51B.8th August 2021

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)


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COCU50B.1st August 2021

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

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National Tree Day Sunday 1st August 2021

National Tree Day, was co-founded in 1996 by Planet Ark and Olivia Newton-John. It has now grown in to Australia’s largest community tree planting and nature protection event. Planet Ark is asking Australians to help us plant one million new native trees and shrubs across the country. After the decimation of trees in the 2019-20 bushfire season in Australia, this year more than ever we need to be planting trees. 

Schools Tree Day Friday 30th July 2021
National Tree Day Sunday 1st August 2021 

Creator God,
Out of chaos you brought order.
Out of nothingness you brought life.
In the middle of all life stands the tree.
Trees provide the air that nurtures all your creation.
Birds make them their homes.
Cats climb them for protection.
Trees recycle life that has come before.
Bless the trees of this word, loving God.
Remind us to serve as their caregivers and protectors.
Give them long limbs and long life.
The gift of their breath is as special to us as the breath of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

May you live a life rooted and grounded
in God’s presence.
May you stand tall and strong,
Bending with grace and trust in life’s storms.
May you give and receive freely,
Holding on to nothing for long,
So that all life might flourish.
May you hold space for those
Around you, bearing witness to
The joy and pain of life. Amen.
(Source: Wendy Janzen)

The dream of my life
Is to lie down by a slow river,
And stare at the light in the trees –
To learn something by being nothing
A little while but the rich
Lens of attention.
(Source: Mary Oliver, “Entering the Kingdom”)

O God, You Made the Trees
TERRA BEATA D (“This is My Father’s World”)
O God, you made the trees! The oak and Douglas fir,
the maple, beech, and sweetgum reach their branches heavenward.
The willow, growing wide — the redwood, tall and strong —
and cedar trees! Yes, all of these sing out creation’s song.

You made each living thing to give and to receive.
As roots grow down into the ground, they twist and interweave.
A canopy of green restores and cools the air.
Great branches shade the earth you made, and dance — as if in prayer.

How often we forget the forests and their worth!
We lay cement on places meant to be the lungs of earth.
For profit and for gain, we build and build some more;
We cut down woods in neighborhoods of people who are poor.

O God, you made the trees — the apple and the pine.
You made them all and still you call: “Take care of what is mine!”
May we receive your gift and give ourselves anew
to do our best, as we’ve been blessed, to care for trees for you.

Tune: Traditional English melody (“This is My Father’s World”) (MIDI)
Text: Copyright © 2021 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: carolynshymns@gmail.com New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com/

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United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, 30thJuly2021

The United Nations defines human trafficking as “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

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2 Samuel 11:1-15

After David sees Bathsheba bathing, he sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant. Then, he summons her husband, Uriah, who is away at war, and attempts to get him to sleep with his wife to cover David’s adultery, but when Uriah refuses, out of loyalty to his fellow soldiers, David commands that he be left stranded on the battlefield so that he will be killed.
Psalm 14 
Those who are foolish and wicked say that there is no God, and God sees how society has become corrupt. But, God is with the righteous who are “eaten up” by the wicked, and will save Israel, leading the people to rejoice.
Ephesians 3:14-21
Paul prays for the Ephesian Christians, asking God, who knows all people, to strengthen them, live in them and enable them to grasp the height, depth and breadth of God’s love. Then Paul, celebrates God who can do far more than we can think or imagine.
John 6:1-21
Jesus is followed by a large crowd and he asks Philip where they will find food to feed them, but Philip expresses that it would be far too costly to try and feed them all. Then Andrew points out one youth’s five loaves and two fish. Jesus blesses the food and has it distributed to the crowd, and everyone is fed. Then, because he knows they want to force him to be king, Jesus withdraws. But, later, as the disciples sail across the lake, a storm comes up. But, Jesus goes to the disciples on the water and they reach their destination safely.
(Bible summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Bible readings handout (landscape, folded A4 format) COCU49B.Readings

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