DEVOTIONAL SACRED SEASON
DAY 2 and 22 - 6th and 26th June
PRAYER TIME FOR DAY 2 and 22 - JUNE 6th and 26th
Especially designed for zoom prayer times during the Sacred Season of Prayer and Fasting but can be used in face to face prayer times as well. Spontaneous prayer is offered in times of prayers of praise and confession from group members using if possible some of themes in the psalm or scripture reading. The prayers for others can also be prayed spontaneously and can weave in thoughts from scripture reading, passage from Basis of Union and devotional reading.
OUR HOPE: MAY WE BE ONE IN CHRIST
REV DR ROBERT BRENNAN
Rev Dr Robert Brennan is the Training Manager of Wontulp-Bi-Buya (Wontulp-Bi-Buya College is to support the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander church and community leaders through study programs leading to awards in theology, suicide prevention, addictions management & community development.) He is a Teacher of
the ACC School of Faith.
BIBLE READINGS: John 17:24-26
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.
26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND ADORATION
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
BIBLE READINGS: John 17:6-23
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.
9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
PARAGRAPH 2: BASIS OF UNION
The Uniting Church lives and works within the faith and unity of the One
Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. She recognises that she is related to
other Churches in ways which give expression, however partially, to that
unity in faith and mission. Recalling the Ecumenical Councils of the early
centuries, she looks forward to a time when the faith will be further
elucidated, and the Church’s unity expressed, in similar Councils.
She thankfully acknowledges that the uniting Churches were members of the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical bodies, and she will seek to maintain such membership. She remembers the special relationship which obtained between the several uniting Churches and other Churches of similar traditions, and will continue to learn from their witness and be strengthened by their fellowship.
She is encouraged by the existence of United Churches in which these
and other traditions have been incorporated, and wishes to learn from their experience. She believes that Christians in Australia are called to bear witness to a unity of faith and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and racial boundaries, and to this end she commits herself to seek special relationships with Churches in Asia and the Pacific.
She declares her desire to enter more deeply into the faith and mission of the Church in Australia, by working together and seeking union with other Churches.
Recently while our leadership team was visiting a remote community we were asked a serious question, “What is this Ecumenism we are hearing about?” I was stunned. I’ve been in the UCA since union and Wontulp-Bi-Buya has been around for over 34 years. Both have been ecumenical success stories. Therefore the three of us from different traditions were not expecting this as a serious question.
But we shouldn’t have been surprised as many remote communities were once one-denomination missions. Often the locals’ experience of the church has only been of that one denomination or their local variation of it. So we were able to share the joy and good news of being able to work together as the church in the whole earth (Greek: oikumene from which the word Ecumenical comes from means the whole world).
It is easy to loose sight of the big picture in church. Our view can be too often reduced to my church or my faith whereas Jesus never lost sight of the big picture even under extreme duress in Gethsemane.
The temptation too often is to make our own decisions on our own. Our contemporary society encourages us to do just this in spite of how destructive it is to wider community life. Paragraph 2 reminds us that the Church Christ prayed for is the whole church, not one part of it or one individual.
When we make a stand on an issue, and we must at times, we need to be disciplined to remember that we cannot simply go it alone no matter how good we think our reasons. We must be part of the whole. This is both the discipline and the hope, which underpinned the formation of the UCA. It requires that we sense that we move with the whole church. If we ever say that “our denomination has got it right and others are wrong” or “they haven’t got there yet,” we miss both the spirit and practical outworking of Christ’s planned unity in the church.
Can it take time? ABSOLUTELY! The Reformation division of the western church was apparently on the nature of how in Christ we are justified by faith. This is a substance of the faith issue second to none. In the late 1990s the Lutheran and Catholic churches in the USA issued a joint statement on what it means. After the turn of the millennium both traditions ratified the agreement worldwide. Later the Methodist council also added their support and last year the council of Reformed churches signed. 500 years of division is on the way to healing.
Father make our prayer like that of Jesus. May we truly be one as You are one. We pray especially for those ideas, traditions and practices, which divide your church. We pray that we would not yield to the easy path of going our own way but be committed to the struggle of remaining together in you.
PRAYERS FOR OTHERS
CONFESSION FROM BASIS OF UNION
Within this fellowship of the Uniting Church in Australia, and as part of the Christian church around the world, let us confess Christ in the following words from the Basis of Union.
Today we ‘confess Jesus as Lord over (our) own life’ and ‘Head over all things, the beginning of a new creation, of a new humanity’.
Let us reaffirm our desire ‘to live and work within the faith and unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’.
We joyously ‘acknowledge that Christ alone is supreme in his Church’ and declare our ‘readiness to go forward together in sole loyalty to Christ the living Head of the Church’. Amen
Nb. The words in quotation marks are direct quotes from the Basis of Union
Prepared by Rev Rod James.