Online worship resources for Sunday 21 June

Welcome to Richmond Uniting’s Worship resources for Sunday 21 June.

We are currently not worshipping as a gathered community due to the COVID–19 pandemic – but we are still worshipping together in new ways. Below you will find an audio recording that you can be used for worship at home that includes prayer, the bible readings for 21 June and discussion. You can listen to this with others or on your own.

This week, our second Sunday after Pentecost, we are invited to dive into the difficult story of Sarah and Hagar in Genesis 21. We explore issues of slavery, abuse, racism and sexism and examine how we are called to approach the bible faithfully as Christians. The stereotype that Christians are called to take the bible literally is disrupted and we engage with earliest church understandings of Jesus (and not the bible) as the Word of God.

Listen to this week’s service using the embedded player below. You can also copy this link into your podcast player of choice if you would like to receive updates as they are released:

Music Suggestions for Worship:

Song: Jesus
Written by Lou Reed – The Velvet Underground. 
This version by the Welcome Wagon

Song: Sometimes a healing word is comfort (Together in Song 692)
Written by Patrick Michaels
Unable to find a clip for this hymn – below are the words and a link to a tune that it may be sung to:

Sometimes a healing words is comfort:
easing the grieved or anxious heart,
giving assurance of our caring,
treasuring each and every part.

Come break the silence!
Let us tell
the Word that makes us
free and well.

Sometimes a healing word remembers:
calling up days of joy or pain,
letting the past renew the present,
til hope can mend and move again.

Come break the silence…

Sometimes a healing word is angry:
giving a name to discontent,
shining a light on sin and grievance,
calling a people to repent.

Come break the silence…

Sometimes a healing word takes chances:
going where no one yet has been,
facing the dangers of the desert, 
hoping for shelter at the inn,

Come break the silence…

Sometimes a healing word will listen:
hearing the voiceless into speech,
letting the patterns of the story
move us to learn what it can teach.

Come break the silence…

Wondering Questions 

As you hear this story of Hagar and Sarah what feelings, questions and thoughts strike you? You might like to continue to wrestle with this text throughout the week in journaling, reading, discussion and prayer for all those who are enslaved or mistreated.

What might it mean for you to understand Jesus as the Word of God and not the bible as the word of God?

How might you respond to those who defend slavery, racism, sexism or hateful views towards people in the LGBTQI community by quoting a sliver of the bible at you?

Here is a link to the Uniting Church’s Basis of Union. See paragraph 4 about Jesus Christ- the Word of God – and paragraph 5 about the bible.

Here is a link to Rev Dr Wil Gaffney’s book Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne: