Refugee Week (World Refugee Day June 20)

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1 Samuel 15:34-16:13
God tells Samuel that God has rejected Saul as king, and God instructs Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king. Samuel sees the eldest of the sons and thinks that one of them must be the king, but God tells him that God does not see as human beings do. Then David, the youngest son, is called and anointed to be king over Israel.
Psalm 20
A prayer that God may provide and protect, bringing victory and success to the king, and ensuring that the one who trusts in God remains steadfast.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17
Followers of Christ live by faith and not by sight, and do everything with the view to please God. Although we may at times seem crazy, we are controlled by Christ’s love. So we no longer live our old life, but a new one in Christ for whom we live, and who was raised for us.
Mark 4:26-34:Jesus shares two parables of God’s Reign using the metaphor of seeds. In the first, he speaks about a farmer who plants seeds without knowing how they grow. In the second, he describes how the small mustard seed grows to become a large plant in which birds can nest.
(Summaries of Bible readings by John van de Laar on Sacredise)

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As ‘ordinary time’ returns after the Lent and Easter cycle, we return to semi-continuous reading of Mark’s Gospel. The lectionary also follows 2 Corinthians.
Psalm 138
Praise and thanksgiving for God’s unfailing love, God’s promises, God’s answers to prayer, and God’s protection.
1 Samuel 8: 4-11, (12-15), 16-20; (11: 14-15)
The people of Israel demand a king and God concedes, instructing Samuel to tell them how hard it will be to have a king ruling over them. Then Saul is appointed as king.
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Paul explains his hope and faith in God that compels him to preach, for as God raised Christ, so God will raise all who believe in Christ. This gives us hope and perseverance in the face of the troubles we must deal with in this life.
Mark 3:20-35
In response to the religious teachers who claim that Jesus is possessed by a demon, Jesus teaches that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, and that Satan cannot fight against Satan. Then, when his mother and brothers come asking for him, Jesus declares that all who do God’s will are his siblings and parents.
(Summary of Bible readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Printed version of readings, landscape folded format, COCU42B Readings
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1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20):The child, Samuel, who is serving God with the Eli the priest, hears God’s voice in the night. He mistakenly thinks it is Eli, but then Eli explains it is God, and instructs him to say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” Then God gives Samuel a message of judgement against Eli’s family because of his corrupt sons. In the morning Samuel tells Eli the prophecy.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18: The Psalmist celebrates the God who has searched him and knows him, who sees him in all the parts of his life, and who goes before and follows him. This God created all the intricate parts of his body – wonderfully – and formed him in his mother’s womb, recording all the days of his life in God’s book.
2 Corinthians 4:5-12: God’s apostles don’t preach themselves but Christ crucified. The light of Christ shines in their hearts, but they are like fragile clay jars to show that the power is from God. They endure many different kinds of suffering and persecution, but the life of Christ is at work within them even as their bodies are dying. Our present struggles are nothing compared to the glory that awaits and that lasts forever.
Mark 2:23-3:6: Jesus’ disciples pick grain to eat as they are walking along, and the Pharisees challenge Jesus on this, because it was the Sabbath. But Jesus points them to David eating the sacred bread from the temple. Then he tells them that the sabbath was created for people, not people for the Sabbath, and he is Lord of the Sabbath. Then Jesus heals a man with a damaged hand and challenges the critics who want to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. But they do not respond.
(Bible summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

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COCU40B.Trinity Sunday B.30thMay2021

Andrei Rublev

Trinity by Andrei Rublev

3 birds

3 birds

Readings – Year B
Isaiah 6:1-8
Isaiah receives a vision of God in God’s glory in the Temple, and he hears the seraphim singing “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Then, after he has confessed and been cleansed, he hears God asking for someone whom God can send, and he volunteers.
Psalm 29
A psalm in praise of God’s glory, the power and majesty of God’s voice, and acknowledging God as the eternal ruler over creation, the heavenly beings and all people.
Romans 8:12-17
By the power of God’s Spirit, we are heirs with Christ of God’s glory, we are adopted as children of God, and we are able to live according to the Spirit’s leading, not following our sinful nature.
John 3:1-17
Jesus teaches Nicodemus that, in order to see God’s Reign, he must be born of the Spirit. For whoever believes in Jesus, sent by God into the world to save the world, receives God’s eternal life.
(All summaries of Bible readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

RCL readings in landscape double sided format, COCU40B.TrinitySunday.readings

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Reconciliation Week 27May-3June

2021 theme: More than a Word – Reconciliation takes action
#NRW2021  #MoreThanAWord
Reconciliation Sunday, 30th May, 2021

Reconciliation Sunday service, Pilgrim Uniting Church, 30th May 2021

More than a word. Reconciliation takes action asks people to take this awareness and knowledge, and use it as springboard to more substantive, brave action.

For reconciliation to be effective, it must involve truth-telling, and actively address issues of inequality, systemic racism and instances where the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are ignored, denied or reduced.

While we see greater support for reconciliation from the Australian people than ever before, we must be more determined than ever if we are to achieve the goals of the movement — a just, equitable, reconciled Australia.

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COCU39B.Day of Pentecost.23rdMay2021

The Uniting Church in Australia is blessed with multiple languages in both our First Peoples and Second Peoples. In the UCA there are more than 45 language groups worshipping every Sunday in congregations across the country. This video has 21 UCA members proclaim this reading from Acts 2:1-21 in their heart languages. (See more information here).
The Coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-21)
1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. (Rosemary Jinmauliya, Burarra). 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. (Helen Milminydjarrk, Djambarrpuyŋu). 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. (Perry Yankaporta, Wik Mungkan). 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Carolyn Namiriya, Pitjantjatjara). 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. (Rev Dr Emanuel Audisho, Arabic). 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. ( Anita Soghomonian, Armenian). 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? (Rev Enshuo Zhu, Chinese). 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? (Rev Paul Dau, Dinka). 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (Nina Kautoga, Fijian). 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, (Cecile Surjanegara, Indonesian). 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” (Rev Seungjae Yeon, Korean). 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” (Falala Pipitolu-Talagi, Niuean). 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” (Elizabeth Leth,Nuer). 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. (Rev Esteban Lievano, Portugese). 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. (Rev Kili Mafaufau, Samoan). 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: (Rev Kemeri Lievano, Spanish). 17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. (Keyna Gem Guerrero,Tagalog). 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. (Jane Zeng, Taiwanese). 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. (Sakuntala Roberts Tamil). 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. (Lisita Palutele,Tongan) 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Anh Vo,Vietnamese)


Year B
Acts 2:1-21
The believers are filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and they start to praise God in various languages.
or Ezekiel 37:1-14
The prophet is given a vision of dry bones in a desolate valley, and God asks if they can live again. Then God commands him to speak and as he does, the bones come together, are clothed with flesh, and receive the breath of life.
Psalm 104:24-34,35b
The world and all its creatures depend on God for provision and breath – which leads the Psalmist to commit to praise God.
Romans 8:22-27
All of creation, and we, hope for the day when God’s children receive their “full rights.” In the meantime, when we are weak, the Holy Spirit helps us by praying for us in groans beyond words.
John 15: 26-27, 16:4b-15
Jesus tells his disciples that he is going away, and that this is a good thing, because then he can send the Holy Spirit to be their advocate, to convict of sin and to lead people into truth.
(All summaries  by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
RCL readings in landscape double sided format: COCU39B.Pentecost.Readings

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COCU38B.Easter7B.16th May 2021

Acts 1: 15-17, 21-26
Peter suggests that the disciples should find a replacement for Judas, so they select two candidates and draw lots, and Matthias is added as an apostle to join the other eleven.
Psalm 1
Those who love God’s instruction and refuse to join in the company and works of the wicked are truly happy and bear fruit, while the wicked are ultimately destroyed.
1 John 5: 9-13
God has testified about Jesus that life is in him, and whoever has God’s Son has life eternal, so if we believe God’s testimony, we have this life.
John 17: 6-19
Jesus prays for his followers, the ones to whom he has revealed God’s name and God’s word which is truth. He prays that God would keep them safe, would make them one as he and the Father are one, and would make them holy in the truth.
(Bible readings summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
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International Day for Biological Diversity, 22 May 2021

2021 theme: “We’re part of the solution #ForNature”

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues, and to increase understanding of the importance of conservation and sustainable use.

Brigidine Sisters reflections here.

Suitable prayers and resources may also be found on this website on Season of Creation and World Environment Day (June 5).

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National Infertility Awareness Week #NIAW2021

April 18-24 April 2021
(April 24-30, 2022; April 23-29, 2023; April 21-27, 2024; April 20-26, 2025)

Infertility affects 1 in 6 people of reproductive age, which can be a real struggle for many families longing to begin their journey of having a family. There are many in our churches and community on the long road they hope leads to parenthood via IVF, adoption etc.

You might consider hosting a service, or including this in prayers. Preparing this I must confess I felt disappointed at some of the prayers on offer – condescending, patronising, dismissive, and even the ‘magic’ fertility prayers that offer a miracle. Prayers offered to people living with infertility need to show compassion, solidarity, lament. I’ll keep looking for prayers…

Lord, hear my prayer this day:
Wind in the Wilderness, guide us through
the tangled brush and the darkened paths.
May we feel You when we are lonely;
may we know Your presence when we are afraid.
Guide us across the great barriers,
through the deep valleys, and
over the mountains of difficulty.
Wind in the Wilderness, may we feel You
when we need strength and courage.
Wind in the Wilderness, guide us safely through. Amen.
(Source: Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell)

Facebook: Of Womb and Tomb

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