DEVOTIONAL SACRED SEASON
DAY 7 and 27 - 11th June, 1st July
PRAYER TIME FOR DAY 7 and 27 - JUNE 11th and 1st 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.
JESUS CHRIST: GOD’S MESSAGE OF GRACE AND HOPE
SEEN IN THE UNIQUE BIBLICAL WITNESSES
REV PROFESSOR EMERITUS
JAMES HAIRE AC
Rev Professor Emeritus James Haire AC is Emeritus Professor of Theology, Charles Sturt University, Canberra, and Minister-in- Association, St. Paul’s and Armitage Uniting Churches, Mackay, Queensland. He was the ninth President of the Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, from 2000 to 2003.
BIBLE READINGS: Luke 24:36-43
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND ADORATION
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
BIBLE READINGS: Luke 24:44-49
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.
PARAGRAPH 5: BASIS OF UNION
THE BIBLICAL WITNESSES
The Uniting Church acknowledges that the Church has received the
books of the Old and New Testaments as unique prophetic and
apostolic testimony, in which she hears the Word of God and by which
her faith and obedience are nourished and regulated.
When the Church preaches Jesus Christ, her message is controlled by the Biblical witnesses. The Word of God on whom man’s salvation depends is to be heard and known from Scripture appropriated in the worshipping
and witnessing life of the Church.
The Uniting Church lays upon her members the serious duty of reading the Scriptures, commits her ministers to preach from these and to administer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as effective signs of the Gospel set forth in the Scriptures. (1971)
The library of books which forms the Old and New Testaments is not a set of material which is intended primarily for humanity’s religious search for God. From the point of view of most of the biblical witnesses, that would be similar to presenting these books as the mouse’s search for the cat! The purpose of the biblical books is the other way round, as shown in this Paragraph 5 of the Basis of Union. In this paragraph the Old and New Testaments first and foremost witness to God’s relationship and interaction with humanity, culminating in the central fact that ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself’ (2 Corinthians 5: 19).
The paragraph stresses a number of factors.
First, the church universal receives this library of books as a gift and inheritance. The church cannot pick and choose from time to time which parts are more or less suitable to Christian existence.
Second, these books are ‘unique’. There is nothing else like them.
Third, they are written by human hands, but their messages come from God. Sometimes those human writers are clumsy, but their central points are from God.
Fourth, these messages are powerful and confronting, because they say to us what we as sinful and perverse human beings would frankly rather not hear. As perverse humans, we have an incredible ability to hear only what we want to hear, and to justify only what we want to acknowledge. However, these messages from God, through weak human hands, tell us what we need to hear, both for our everlasting safety and for our day-by-day living in God’s grace and loving care.
Fifth, these messages raise us up when we are distraught, fearful, lost and hopeless. Through Christ, God uses these messages to show us how to live in God’s continuing and everlasting care.
Thus, as Christians, we need to seek to study and to understand these books and their messages as far as we are able, and, more than that, to be
transformed as God in Christ renews us through the impact of their words.
That is accomplished through the power of God’s Holy Spirit as we, in
weakness and humility, seek to face up to what God is saying to us through
these books. In this way, our faith is ‘nourished’, as the paragraph says.
However, not only that, but much more than that! For, through these biblical words our very lives are ‘regulated’, as the paragraph insists. This is not only for our personal faith. It is also for our shared faith as congregations. It is not only for our individual lives. It is for our lives together as congregations and as the church. So our very church life, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, needs primarily at all times to be ‘regulated’ by what we hear though this biblical witness.
Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we give you our inexpressible gratitude
for the gift of abundant grace shown to us in Jesus Christ, witnessed to in the
Bible. Help us to hear in its pages what we, as perverse human beings, would
rather ignore, so that our faith may be strengthen and our lives regulated and
controlled by your loving will for us. 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’.
We joyously proclaim that ‘in Jesus Christ "God was reconciling the world to himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19 RSV)’,
and that ‘in love for the world, God gave the Son to take away the world's sin.’
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.