DEVOTIONAL SACRED SEASON
DAY 16 and 36 - 20th June, 10th July
PRAYER TIME FOR DAY 16 and 36 - JUNE 20th and 10th 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.
REV WALTER ABETZ
Rev Walter Abetz retired from full time parish ministry in 2013. He is a foundation member of the ACC, and Secretary of the Resources and Development Committee of the Presbytery of Tasmania. He is a Teacher of the ACC School of Faith.
KEY VERSE BIBLE READINGS:
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit
said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2
PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND ADORATION
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
1 Timothy 4:14; Acts 5:29: Acts 14:14; Romans 16:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28 (cf Eph 4:11-13) ; Jude 3-4; Romans 1:5; 1 Cor 4:9
1 Timothy 4:14 (NIV) Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Acts 5:29 (NIV) Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
Romans 16:7 (NIV) Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
1 Corinthians 12:28 (NIV) And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.
Jude 1:3-4 (NIV) Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Romans 1:5 (NIV) Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.
1 Corinthians 4:9 (NIV) For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.
PARAGRAPH 1: BASIS OF UNION
The Uniting Church, from inception, will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to recognise among her members men and women called of God to preach the Gospel, to lead the people in worship, to care for the flock, to share in government and to serve those in need in the world. To this end: (no bold type in the original)
(a) The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as ministers of the Word all who … adhere to the Basis of Union. This adherence and acceptance may take place at the time of union or at a later date. Since the Church lives by the power of the Word, she is assured that God, who has never left himself without witness to that Word, will, through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, call and set apart members of the Church to be ministers of the Word.
These will preach the Gospel, administer the sacraments and exercise pastoral care so that all may be equipped for their particular ministries, thus maintaining the apostolic witness to Christ in the Church.
Such members will be called Ministers and their setting apart will be known as Ordination. The Presbytery will ordain by prayer and the laying on of hands in the presence of a worshipping congregation. In this act of ordination the Church praises the ascended Christ for conferring gifts upon men.
She recognises his call of the individual to be his minister; she prays for the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to equip him for that service. By the participation in the act of ordination of those already ordained, the Church bears witness to God’s faithfulness and declares the hope by which she lives.
In company with other Christians the Uniting Church will seek for a renewed understanding of the way in which the congregation participates in ordination and of the significance of ordination in the life of the Church.
(b) (Office of Elders) (c) (Office of Deacon). (d) (Office of lay preacher)
As the early church grew, it needed an administrative structure. When an
administrative structure does not reflect the organic structure of an organisation, it leads to trouble, especially in times of stress within the organisation. The Church is no exception.
Our Uniting Church is currently suffering from this problem. From an organic or functional perspective there should be apostles, prophets and teachers, etc. But we have ministers who “will preach the Gospel, administer the sacraments and exercise pastoral care so that all may be equipped for their particular ministries, thus maintaining the apostolic witness to Christ in the Church.” Our Uniting Church ministers attending the National Assembly seems to me to be failing in their apostolic witness. The lay people have some excuse, perhaps. Perhaps we are asking too much
of Ministers in being preachers, administrators of the sacraments, teachers, pastors and administrators of parishes, doers of good works, etc.
I found it salutary that Barnabas, Andronicus and Junias, not of the Twelve, are named as Apostle in Acts and Romans. Therefore Apostleship has not terminated with the death of John. God has given, and continues to give, gifts to the church. Has the National Assembly somehow refused to receive these gifts? Have we allowed the words of our present day prophets and present day apostles, not formally recognised, to be ignored? The Letter of Jude has some haunting words for the Uniting Church, and for us. In our age of deconstruction of God’s commandments and reconstructed
self-definitions, we need to hear the words of the prophets and apostles. Otherwise the weight of the world’s opinion will lead us astray, as it has done to the Doctrine Working Group of the National Assembly, populated by Ministers of the Word and theological teachers who should know better. Let us pray for our Uniting Church that more of our Ministers of the Word will stand tall in godly humility, to exercise the gift of the Holy Spirit, as apostles and prophets, “to constantly correct what is erroneous”
in our life – whatever the cost may be. God is gracious and we live in hope of the promised end, as a pilgrim people.
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we grieve at the stance of the Assembly Standing
Committee of your Uniting Church. We confess that we, individually, have been
slow to speak up, partly out of respect for our leaders, partly out of an ungodly
fear of ridicule, partly out of disbelief that our leaders could actually want to
break away from the unity of the one holy catholic and apostolic church. We pray
for all office bearers in the church, lay preachers, deacons, elders and church
councillors, and ministers, that they will open themselves up to the guidance of
your Holy Spirit and fulfil the tasks assigned to them by your Holy Spirit, that the
apostolic witness may be maintained in the Uniting Church and elsewhere in your Kingdom. In the name of Christ, the Head of the Church. Amen
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’.
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’.
Nb. The words in quotation marks are direct quotes from the Basis of Union
Prepared by Rev Rod James.