Guest post from Rosalie Sugrue, Aotearoa New Zealand for Bible Sunday

Rosalie Sugrue led worship this year for Bible Month -– in Aotearoa New Zealand it falls in July. In the Northern Hemisphere it is a single Sunday, this year October 25, 2020. You may want to use some of her resources or and look as well online for shared resources. Other happy practices include asking people to share their favorite Bible story (there will be a lot of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem and a lot of surprises) or to bring in a physical Bible that has meant something to them (and bless them) and give away Bibles to everyone who wants one or wants a new translation.

A Prayer for Bible Month

Holy One whom we call God,
Help us to appreciate that all cultures experience
a spiritual dimension that is greater than themselves
and define this reality in different ways.

Help us respect the stories of all cultures
while ever-seeking to better appreciate
stories known and honoured by our forebears.
Give us a greater appreciation of the Bible.
Your Holy Stories show humans as they are.
Your Holy Word tells us how humans could be.

Help us accept that all humans make mistakes.
Help us recognise the mistakes we make –
things that the Book of Common Prayer describes
as ‘sins of omission, and sins of commission.”
When identified may we be quick
to use the word “sorry” with true intent.
Liberate us from tunnel vision, give us insight
into those whose actions we cannot understand.

Forgive us when we accept discrimination, make exclusive remarks,
or have exclusive thoughts about you and your favourites.
Open our hearts to fully accept that you love
those who we have chosen not to know.
Open our ears to hear the stories of those we marginalise.
Challenge us to recognise, and change actions that exclude or reject.
Challenge those who exclude themselves, to realise they are worthy.

May your stories not become dull to us.
Renew us with excitement for the anti-hero, Jesus,
who revealed a new Divinity and new way of being.
Show us how to be your loving and accepting heart,
May we understand your healing hands and your wounded feet,
in ways that enable us to share in creating your Kingdom
here in our present. Amen.

Some liturgical resources

A Call to Worship

Kia ora tatou! Kia ora!
God be with you! And also with you!
Gather to ponder the wisdom of the Scriptures;
Draw near to share God’s strength and power.
We come to meet with God, to sing God’s praise,
to hear God’s word, and to engage with God’s will.
Let us worship God.

An Opening Prayer

God of all the ages,
We ask to be aware of your presence with us here today
As you have been with our forebears throughout countless generations
Remind us of the stream of history in which we stand,
The faithful people of every age, who have struggled to bring meaning,
And purpose, and renewed faith from the stress and challenges of their lives,
Certain only of their relationship with you and of the faith that drove them on.
In the Scriptures we read stories of faithful commitment to you,
And we learn of failures and sorrows along with hopes and joys.
We live in a time of testing, but so did those who came before us,
And, as it was with our predecessors, the faith was passed to us.
Forgive us for our forgetting, our despair, our turning aside from faith;
Help us to keep faith alive when we become discouraged or worried,
Call us to join the eternal parade of those of those who have kept the faith,
Those who have lived triumphantly, filled with commitment and compassion
That we too may be faithful witnesses to those who follow us;
Cheered by your love in Christ’s name we continue with confidence. Amen

Prayer after reading scripture (read antiphonally)

We give thanks that your Holy Bible has always been accessible to us.
We have been able to engage with your Holy Word throughout our entire lives.
Your scriptures are part of the fabric of our lives and have shaped how we live,
We acknowledge this privilege with deep gratitude.
We offer thanks for those who made your word available to ordinary people:
Publishers, printers, translators, and missionaries.
We give thanks for those who made the holy stories live for us:
Parents, teachers, preachers and companions on the way.
We give thanks for those who have devoted their lives to the study of your word:
priests, presbyters, pastors, scholars, theologians and ordinary saints.
We give thanks for the billions of ordinary folk through the ages
Who have been inspired to small acts of greatness by your holy word.
We pray for all Bible mission agencies who seek to better lives,
Be with those who distribute and explain the Scriptures.
Bless their work and grant them insightful understanding,
May they be ever sensitive to the needs of those they seek to serve.
May Your Word continue to live for us and in us,
[All] Open us to the truth and light breaking forth from your word. Amen

 

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4 Responses to Guest post from Rosalie Sugrue, Aotearoa New Zealand for Bible Sunday

  1. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    This is a surprise! I had no idea when or if you celebrated Bible Sunday. I don’t know why NZ expanded to a month, until quite recently we kept to the 3rd Sunday in July. As I don’t lead a service every Sunday I like it being a month feeling it’s OK to divert from the lectionary and explore the little known stories, especially “herstory”.

    • Maren says:

      Hmmm, I thought I told you I would hold these till close to the time people would “use and not lose” them up here in the north. Also for a long time it was November and now it is October. A better and more embrasive choice than “Reformation” Sunday since the philosophy of Luther, Calvin and Zwingli don’t speak clearly to church goers these days. Thanks so much for these pieces — especially the first prayer that I truly love.

      • Rosalie Sugrue says:

        Have just noticed your comment – am always happy for you to use any of my bits any time. Glad you like the 1st prayer, I was pleased with it. I like relating the story of Argula von Grumbach (p 117 of ‘Sophia & Daughters’) if I’m asked to preach on reformation Sunday.

      • Maren says:

        Perfect!!! Not too many churches here celebrate Reformation Sunday.

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