DEVOTIONAL SACRED SEASON
DAY 8 and 28 - 12th June, 2nd July
PRAYER TIME FOR DAY 8 and 28 - JUNE 12th and July 2nd
Especially designed for zoom prayer times during the Sacred Season of Prayer and Fasting but can be used in individual or 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 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 and HOPE in CHRIST through WORDS and VISIBLE ACTS
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: Titus 3:5b-6
He saved us through the washing of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit
whom he poured out on us generously
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND ADORATION
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
BIBLE READINGS: Titus 3:3-8
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone
PARAGRAPH 6: BASIS OF UNION - SACRAMENTS
The Uniting Church acknowledges that Christ has commanded his
Church to proclaim the Gospel both in words and in the two visible
acts of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Christ himself acts in and through everything that the Church does in obedience to his commandment: it is Christ who by the gift of the Spirit confers the forgiveness, the fellowship, the new life and the freedom which the proclamation and actions promise; and it is Christ who awakens, purifies and advances in people the faith and hope in which alone such benefits can be accepted.
During my training as a religious education teacher in Victoria I was instructed about the different styles of learning. Some people learn primarily through what they see, some through what they hear and others through what they do. In spite of these emphases, most of us learn through a combination of all three avenues.
This paragraph from the Basis of Union has the heading ‘Sacraments’. But at the beginning of the Basis we find the disclaimer that the headings were not part of the text approved by the three uniting churches. The paragraph itself states that ‘Christ has commanded his Church to proclaim the Gospel both in words and in the two visible acts of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper’ (my italics). Long before I was taught about different styles of learning, the Church was commanded to employ them.
It is not through hearing alone but also through seeing and doing that we
receive the good news.
But even the three avenues of learning are not enough on their own. Paragraph 6 is a link paragraph between paragraph 5 on the witness of the biblical writers in the worshipping and witnessing life of the Church and paragraphs 7 and 8 which deal more specifically with baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The link is Christ. Christ is in everything we hear and see and do. The Uniting Church’s logo is a teaching device in this respect.
We of the Uniting Church cannot miss the point. As Paul writes to Titus, the Holy Spirit is poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour. There are echoes of the sacraments in this Scriptural passage: the washing of rebirth (baptism) and the activity of pouring out (the outpoured blood). We listen; we see; we act out the story. And Christ is always there.
Father, thank you so much for your kindness and love and for your generous pouring out of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Thank you for the grace which justifies us and the liberating hope of eternal life. May these things be expounded and also demonstrated in the worshipping and witnessing life of our Uniting Church.
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 confess that ‘Christ…is the Word of the God who acquits the guilty,
who gives life to the dead and who brings into being what otherwise could not exist.’