DEVOTIONAL SACRED SEASON
DAY 15 and 35 - 19th June, 9th July
PRAYER TIME FOR DAY 15 and 35 - JUNE 19th and 9th July
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.
CONFESSING CHRIST AND BEING CHRIST’S FAITHFUL SERVANT:
A HOPE AND CALL FOR EVERY MEMBER OF THE CHURCH
REV ROD JAMES
Rev. Rod James is a retired UC minister of the Word in South Australia. He is a Teacher of the ACC School of Faith.
Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND ADORATION
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
BIBLE READINGS: Matthew 16:21-25
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
PARAGRAPH 13: BASIS OF UNION
The Uniting Church affirms that every member of the Church is
engaged to confess the faith of Christ crucified and to be his faithful
She acknowledges with thanksgiving that the one Spirit has
endowed the members of his Church with a diversity of gifts, and that
there is no gift without its corresponding service: all ministries have a
part in the ministry of Christ.
The Uniting Church, at the time of union, will recognize and accept the ministries of those who have been called to any task or responsibility in the uniting Churches. The Uniting Church will thereafter provide for the exercise by men and women of the gifts God bestows upon them, and will order her life in response to his call to enter more fully into her mission.
The key to this paragraph lies in the words, ‘engaged to confess the faith of
Christ crucified and to be his faithful servant’. Three times the BOU refers to
Christ as the crucified one, and in particularly, in Para 3, as ‘the risen crucified one’. In his Heidelburg disputation, some 500 years ago, Martin Luther spoke of a theology of the cross and a theology of glory. By a theology of glory, Luther meant having a belief that focusses on human ability, achievement and triumph as God’s image creatures.
In his Heidelburg Disputation Luther wrote, “Because people do not know the cross and hate it, they necessarily love the opposite, namely, wisdom, glory [and] power”.
Theologians of the cross, by contrast, base their faith on God’s revelation of
Himself in Christ crucified. A theology of the cross, like Jesus’ crucifixion,
always stands in stark contrast to the attitudes and aspirations of human
culture. Love and suffering are contrasted with self-interest and prosperity.
“The love of God which lives in a person loves sinners, evil persons, fools,
and weaklings in order to make them righteous, good, wise and
strong…This is the love of the cross, born of the cross, which . . . confers
good upon the bad and needy.”
While we do live in the power of the resurrection and the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the reality is that, even today, Jesus continues to be rejected and
crucified in his body of believers. Through them he is still taking the way of the cross by living among the poor, bearing the burdens of the sick, disabled and dispossessed, and speaking courageously against evil powers in the world.
Another theologian, Karl Trueman, says,
As Christ demonstrated his kingship and power by death on the cross, so
the believer does so by giving himself or herself unconditionally to the aid
of others. We are to be, as Luther puts it, little Christs to our neighbours,
for in so doing we find our true identity as children of God.
Paragraph 13 recognises that it is the Holy Spirit, by taking what belongs to
‘the risen crucified one’ and revealing it, who ‘endows ‘members of Christ’s
Church with a diversity of gifts’. And in a theology of the cross, ‘there is no gift without its corresponding service’, i.e. service that involves self-sacrifice and sometimes suffering.
Elders, for example, are not to be those renowned for throwing their
weight around, for badgering others, and for using their position or wealth
or credentials to enforce their own opinions. No, the truly Christian elder is
the one who devotes his whole life to the painful, inconvenient, and
humiliating service of others, for in so doing he demonstrates Christlike
authority, the kind of authority that Christ himself demonstrated
throughout his incarnate life and supremely on the cross at Calvary.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the privilege of being, by faith, your own body upon the earth. Risen crucified One, may your Holy Spirit so dwell in us that we may be as ‘little Christs to our neighbours’. We thank you that, even though it involves sacrifice and suffering, your service is perfect freedom.
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 rejoice that the Uniting Church ‘preaches Christ the risen crucified One
and confesses him as Lord to the glory of God the Father’.
Nb. The words in quotation marks are direct quotes from the Basis of Union
Prepared by Rev Rod James.