DEVOTIONAL SACRED SEASON
DAY 13 and 33 - 17th June, 7th July
PRAYER TIME FOR DAY 13 and 23 - JUNE 17th and 27th
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.
GRACE to confess our LORD in FRESH WORDS and DEEDS.
DR. KATHERINE ABETZ
Dr Katherine Abetz lives at Poatina a Christian village in Tasmania. Her role as lay preacher raised the question of women’s leadership in the church. This led her on a theological journey resulting in a doctorate of theology. She is an active member of the ACC and is an ACC School of Faith teacher
BIBLE READINGS: Matthew 10:16
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves;
so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND ADORATION
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
BIBLE READINGS: Matthew 10:16-20
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.
19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
PARAGRAPH 11: BASIS OF UNION
The Uniting Church acknowledges that God has never left his Church
without faithful and scholarly interpreters of Scripture, or without those
who have reflected deeply upon, and acted trustingly in obedience to, his
In particular she enters into the inheritance of literary, historical and scientific enquiry which has characterised recent centuries, and thanks God for the knowledge of his ways with men which are open to an informed faith.
She lives within a world-wide fellowship of Churches in which she will learn to sharpen her understanding of the will and purpose of God by contact with contemporary thought.
Within that fellowship she also stands in relation to contemporary societies in ways which will help her to understand her own nature and mission.
She thanks God for the continuing witness and service of evangelist, of
scholar, of prophet and of martyr. She prays that she may be ready when
occasion demands to confess her Lord in fresh words and deeds.
This paragraph takes me back to 2005, to a conference on the Basis of Union with the congregation at Kyabram, Victoria led by a group of ministers from what was then EMU and the Reforming Alliance. The conference was videoed and a shorter version produced on paragraphs 5 and 11. Some of the faces in the video would be familiar to ACC members although the speakers look somewhat younger than they do now.
The conference offered an opportunity to examine paragraph 11 in depth. To quote Max Champion:
… there are times we will need to listen [to other cultures], certainly
at a time when Western Protestantism, in particular, is collapsing … I
hadn’t read [the paragraph] as carefully ever before but it seems to
me it’s very careful not to say: go along with whatever happens to be
popular. It’s saying clearly: be in contact, know what you’re dealing
with, speak to people, don’t step aside from the scholarly discussions that are going on, don’t put yourself in a ghetto. But the contact is: help her for her mission, help her to confess the faith, and then it mentions prophets and of all things (we go over this bit) martyrs!
The world may supply questions, even perhaps insights. The faith of the worldwide church frames the discussion. ‘Help her to confess the faith’, says Max Champion. Strictly, the language of the paragraph is: ‘confess her Lord’. The language of ‘she’ for the Church (in the original wording of the Basis) is the language of intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus. As he says in Luke 10:19- 20: ‘When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you’.
What are we to do in this hour when Western Protestantism is running out of answers? With a wealth of zoological metaphor, our Lord supplies the answer. ‘I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves,’ he says, ‘so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.’ Our evangelists, our scholars, our prophets, our martyrs are sent out beyond the ‘safe’ places. We are to be wise. We are to be faithful. We are to recognize that we are not the only sheep in the fold. Above all, we are to pray that we ‘may be ready when occasion demands to confess [our] Lord in fresh words and deeds’.
Father, when Western Protestantism is running out of answers, help us to find the answer in the Lord Jesus. When Western Protestantism tries to be ‘inclusive’ but denies the gender inclusive dimension of the term ‘men’, help us to find our unity in the Lord Jesus. Help us all, individually and communally, to live and work
within a world-wide fellowship of Churches and, in that context, be ready to
confess our Lord in fresh words and deeds.
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’.
We acknowledge ‘the need for a constant appeal to Holy Scripture’,
and declare ourselves ready to ‘hear anew the commission of the Risen Lord to make disciples of all nations’.
With the gracious help of God our congregations are committed to serve the world for which Christ died, and…await with hope the day of the Lord Jesus Christ
on which it will be clear that the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of the Christ, who shall reign for ever and ever.’ Amen.
Nb. The words in quotation marks are direct quotes from the Basis of Union
Prepared by Rev Rod James.