DEVOTIONAL SACRED SEASON
DAY 17 and 37 - 21st June, 11th July
PRAYER TIME FOR DAY 17 and 37 - JUNE 21st and 11th 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.
CHRIST ALONE IS SUPREME
UNITED BY MUTUAL SUBMISSION IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOSPEL
REV TREVOR FAGGOTTER
Rev Trevor Faggotter is a Minister of Word in Placement at Clare Uniting Church, rural South Australia
BIBLE READINGS: 1 Corinthians 12:12-14
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free —and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND ADORATION
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
BIBLE READINGS: 1 Corinthians 12:15-27
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment.
But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
PARAGRAPH 15: BASIS OF UNION
The Uniting Church recognises that responsibility for government in the
Church belongs to the people of God by virtue of the gifts and tasks
which God has laid upon them. The Uniting Church therefore so
organises her life that locally, regionally and nationally government will
be entrusted to representatives, men and women, bearing the gifts and
graces with which God has endowed them for the building up of his
The Uniting Church is governed by a series of inter-related councils, each of which has its tasks and responsibilities in relation both to the Church and the world. The Uniting Church acknowledges that Christ alone is supreme in his Church, and that he may speak to her through any of her councils.
It is the task of every council to wait upon God’s Word, and to obey his will in the matters allocated to its oversight. Each council will recognise the limits of its own authority and give heed to other councils of the Church, so that the whole body of believers may be united by mutual submission in the service of the Gospel..
This paragraph in the Basis of Union flows out of an understanding of our being in union with Jesus Christ, by the power of the Spirit, and of our participation, by faith, in the very life and action of the Trinity. Just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit mutually indwell one another, so too, the members of Christ’s body are to mutually indwell one another. Paul illustrates this in 1Corinthians 12 where he says that the ‘The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”.
For the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. And the body is arranged in this life of mutual dependency, and mutually indwelling, so that members may care for one another, and that there be no division in the body. Jesus taught us to welcome children, to honour the elderly, and to listen to and encourage ‘the least’.
It is crucial within the life of the church that even the Assembly, which is responsible for doctrine, not act alone, as a council of the church, but rather it is to recognise the limits of its own authority, and it must ‘give heed to other councils of the Church’. There is an important reason for this: ‘so that the whole body of believers may be united’ – not divided – ‘by mutual submission in the service of the Gospel’ (says the Basis).
Not only that, Basis of Union say that it is in fact the Congregation—not the
Assembly—that is the embodiment in one place of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping, witnessing and serving as a fellowship of the Spirit in Christ.
Now, of the Assembly, that Basis says, that ‘it has determining responsibility for matters of doctrine, worship, government and discipline, including the
promotion of the Church’s mission, the establishment of standards of
theological training and reception of ministers from other communions, and the taking of further measures towards the wider union of the Church’.
Assembly needs to act in ways that assist, not damage, ‘the wider union of the Church’. And here is the rub, ‘It makes the guiding decisions on the tasks and authority to be exercised by other councils. It is obligatory for it to seek the concurrence of other councils, and on occasion of the congregations of the Church, on matters of vital importance to the life of the Church.
The seeking of concurrence ‘with other councils’—Synod and Presbyteries—
'and on occasion of the congregations’, is to be done on matters of vital
importance to the life of the church. This has never been done, since inception in 1977. However, it is undoubtedly true of the doctrine of marriage, that it is a matter vital to the life of the church. Not to seek concurrence in any change, would really be to trample upon the membership of congregations, and it would be a recipe not for mutual submission, but for division, due to a high handed power-grab, and a politicised action, that is against the ethos of the Uniting church.
We pray, O Lord Jesus Christ, that your supremacy may be honoured, and that the 15th National Assembly will recognise the limits of its own authority, and ‘give heed’ to the other councils of the church, in which the congregations are primary.
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.