Pray for Australia on Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lectionary Text and Prayers for Australia: John 2:13-22

God, in our zeal for your "house", the Body of Christ around the world, we join with our brothers and sisters in Australia, who have suffered through devastating fires and are now in the process of healing and recovery. May you make your presence know to them as they seek you in prayer. And may we walk with them in solidarity this Sunday using this liturgy:

LIFE AFTER THE FIRES

 

WE ARE GATHERED

We are the people

who face life after the fires.

We are those whose lives

will never be quite the same again.

We are gathered here to grieve,

to claim the ground of our lives in a new way,

to support each other

and to be part of the creation of the future.

The Christ who has walked the way of human pain

will be with us here,

weeping within our tears

and holding us in love.

 

WE REMEMBER

Let us remember this country as it was

and our lives as they were

before the fires.

Let us place our symbols here

in loving memory of our world as it was then,

when the greenness surrounded us

and the bush creatures and birds were our companions,

and life felt safe for us all:

The green cloth is spread down the aisle and the people place

The memories which they have placed on the cloth (see above).

 

THE GRIEVING

This is the truth.

Our lives will never be quite the same again,

even though we will journey on together.

The stories have been shared

and yet no words or images

can ever really capture or express what we have lost.

While we play this quiet music,

let us grieve all those things which are no more,

which have been damaged,

or which will be a loss for us for some time to come.

Music is played

We will hold in love all that is gone from us

with respect, with honour, with tenderness and with grief.

We will gather its beauty into our good memories

to carry with us into the future.

Now, in the silence, let us reach out

to touch the heart of a God

who waits to comfort us.

A silence is kept

O God, as our Loving Parent,

we believe that you are with us now.

Amen.

 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

O God, life is often so painfully ambiguous.

When tragedy strikes, we sometimes cannot help

but anxiously ask what we have done to deserve this.

We pray today that we will know with confidence

that you would never wish fires of destruction upon us.

Embrace us in ways which restore our faith

and which help us to live, in confidence,

with the awesome freedom of your creation

rather than imagining a punishing God.

Send us your Holy Spirit this day

with gifts of wisdom, healing and comfort, we pray.

We especially remember before you these people and situations:

The people pray

Show us ways of caring for all those who grieve and suffer, O God,

and open our lives to share what we have with those in need.

Renew us for the days to come,

that we may lift up our heads and begin again in hope.

This we pray in faith.

Amen.

 

THE AFFIRMATION

In the power of a loving God,

we will survive the future,

as we have the past,

and in the same spirit with which we faced the fires.

A song could be sung, a poem read

In a silent moment,

let us bring to mind what we see among us

which will carry us forward in faith:

A silence is kept

Now let us take these green leaves (or flowers),

name what we see among us for our future survival and strength

and place them over the symbols of our past.

Let us place them gently

as a covering of peace over that which we have lost.

Let us place them in confidence as signs of the renewing of our life.

The people do so

 

LET US GO OUT

As the bush springs green again,

restoring its beauty to us as a gift,

as the seeds are broken open by the fire

for the beginning of new life,

and as we bring together all that is among us

for the future in this place:

let us go from here,

stronger than when we came,

holding on to those who have lost the most,

ready for all that is to come

and walking firmly into a new day.

Let us go in courage, hope and peace,

surrounded by the love of God.

 

BLESSING

And may the God who never leaves us nor forsakes us be with us,

the Christ, who wept for the loss of a friend, walk before us

and the Holy Spirit heal us and bring us a new dream.

Amen.

 

With love and prayers from Dorothy McRae-McMahon

For other information and resources on the fires in Australia, click here: http://globalministries.org/news/eap/australia-black-sat-ash-weds.html

Global Ministries International Partners:

  • Churches of Christ in Australia: committed to making the love of God known to the world as revealed through Jesus Christ http://cofcaustralia.org/cofc-cms/
  • Uniting Church in Australia: providing a witness for social justice and multi-cultural expression in Australia's diverse population http://www.uca.org.au/
  • Churches of Christ Theological College: celebrating 100 years of ministerial education http://www.cctc.edu.au

Global Ministries Missionaries:

None at the present time


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