September 25th, 16th Sunday after Pentecost
A downloadable version of this page is available for anyone who would like to save or print it out.
The Faith Nurture Forum would like to thank members of EcoCongregation Scotland for their thoughts on the sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
Weekly Worship, based on the Revised Common Lectionary, is for everyone – in any capacity – who is involved in creating and leading worship.
It provides liturgical material that can be used for worship in all settings. Our writers are asked to share their approaches to creating and delivering this material to equip leaders with a greater confidence and ability to reflect on their own worship practice and experience and encourage them to consider how this material might be adapted for their own context.
We would encourage continual reflection on the changing patterns of worship and spiritual practice that are emerging from disruption and how this might help identify pathways towards development and worship renewal.
We may not all be gathered in the same building, but at this time, when we need each other so much, we are invited to worship together, from where we are – knowing that God can hear us all and can blend even distant voices into one song of worship.
- Revised Common Lectionary material
- Themes for this week
- Musical suggestions
- Reflecting on our worship practice
- Useful links
Revised Common Lectionary material
Weekly worship material throughout Creation Time is hosted on the EcoCongregation Scotland website, along with other resources for the season
EcoCongregation Scotland have for many years offered resources for churches to use, creatively, according to their circumstances, for ‘Creation Time' or Season of Creation. The material presented here is original, and from members of EcoCongregation Scotland, unless otherwise indicated.
We have taken care to invite contributions from those in, or just concluding training for Christian leadership: we always welcome conversations with colleges and those providing training.
This special approach to the international and ecumenical celebration and challenge that is the Season of Creation acknowledges the continued use of the Revised Common Lectionary by many local churches, but following Scotland's hosting of the United Nations COP26 Climate Conference last year, we are compelled to assert more firmly than ever, that to follow Christ in the years of crisis that lie ahead, we need to be more open than ever to the creative leading of the Spirit in building our spiritual resilience as people of hope beyond hope, in which the hugely ambitious project of Net Zero is a response of faith, offered in dependence on grace.
In such times, and with such urgency, the gift of the scriptures shines through, inviting playfulness, wonder, and other equally serious aspects of our faith to come into their own, unlocking the green treasures which, like the ancient wisdom of the indigenous peoples of the Earth, and the fellow creatures on whose lives we depend, have so easily been sidelined or despised.
We learn to join the shout of ‘Hosanna' – God help us! – echoing throughout Creation, remembering that this is also a joyful shout.
We pray that you will be encouraged to re-read, re-think, recycle and repurpose even the most familiar of scriptures to the glory of God and for Good News for every creature [cf Mark 16:15]
For this week's resources visit EcoCongregation Scotland's website.
Jeremiah [chapter 32] uses traditional and ancestral land rights to undermine the idea that we completely possess the Earth, rather than enjoying God's gift of the right to live from the land. Indigenous peoples of today would understand this. Do we?
Psalm 91 poses questions of our assurance in the solidarity of God when disasters really do happen. Is it naive and deceptive, or a help in building our spiritual resilience to live on with hope through the reality of today? Rev Ruth Harvey, Leader of the Iona Community, enlists the tenacious help of the small pink flower of thrift in her reflection in the Psalm (also available as a downloadable video).
Members of the EcoCongregation at Dunscore explore with Amos 6, in video and words, the ultimatum God pronounces on the toxic luxury of the ‘loungers' whose unjust excesses are at the cost of fellow creatures.
And globally respected speaker Rev Canon Dr Rachel Mash, Environmental Coordinator at the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, offers a reflection on the spiritual poverty of the rich man who somehow manages to be oblivious to the plight of Lazarus on his very doorstep. In a world of highly sophisticated communications, everywhere is ‘on our doorstep'.
In the prayers section, we offer (also on video, recorded at Isle of Colonsay Parish Church) a prayer placing the Net Zero ambitions of our churches firmly in the context of a response of faith, as well as opening prayers from Rev Dr Nicola Robinson, now Minister in the Leeds URC partnership, (ordained this summer), who served her candidacy with the Silver Award-winning EcoCongregation, Augustine United in Edinburgh.
Our online music resource is on the Church of Scotland website; you can listen to samples of every song in the Church Hymnary 4th edition (CH4) and download a selection of recordings for use in worship. You will also find playlists for this week and liturgical seasons and themes on the Weekly Worship and Inspire Me tabs.
You can find further musical suggestions for this week in a range of styles on the Songs for Sunday blog from Trinity College Glasgow.
A suggested playlist of songs from CH4 throughout Creation Time can be found online.
Reflecting on our worship practice
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the way we worship has changed and we need to reflect on the changing or newly established patterns that emerged and continue to emerge as a result of the disruption.
We can facilitate worship for all by exploring imaginative approaches to inclusion, participation and our use of technologies in ways that suit our contexts. This is not an exhaustive list, but some things we could consider are:
- Framing various parts of the worship service in accessible language to help worshippers understand the character and purpose of each part. This is essential for creating worship for all (intergenerational worship) that reflects your community of faith.
- Holding spaces for reflection and encouraging prayer to be articulated in verbal and non-verbal ways, individually and in online breakout rooms
- In online formats the effective use of the chat function and microphone settings encourages active participation in prayer, e.g. saying the Lord's Prayer together unmuted, in a moment of ‘holy chaos'
- While singing in our congregations is still restricted, we can worship corporately by using antiphonal psalm readings, creeds and participative prayers
- Using music and the arts as part of the worship encourages the use of imagination in place of sung or spoken words
- Use of silence, sensory and kinaesthetic practices allow for experience and expression beyond regular audio and visual mediums.
The following questions might help you develop a habit of reflecting on how we create and deliver content and its effectiveness and impact, and then applying what we learn to develop our practice.
- How inclusive was the worship?
Could the worship delivery and content be described as worship for all/ intergenerational? Was it sensitive to different "Spiritual Styles"?
- How was the balance between passive and active participation?
- How were people empowered to connect with or encounter God?
What helped this? What hindered this?
- How cohesive was the worship?
Did it function well as a whole?
How effective was each of the individual elements in fulfilling its purpose?
- How balanced was the worship?
What themes/topics/doctrines/areas of Christian life were included?
- How did the worship connect with your context/contemporary issues?
Was it relevant in the everyday lives of those attending and in the wider parish/ community?
How well did the worship connect with local and national issues?
How well did the worship connect with world events/issues?
- What have I learned that can help me next time I plan and deliver worship?
Up-to-date information for churches around COVID-19 can be found in our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) advice for churches section.
You can listen to samples of every song in the Church Hymnary 4th edition (CH4) and download a selection of recordings for use in worship in our online hymnary.
You can find an introduction to spiritual styles in our worship resources section
You are free to download, project, print and circulate multiple copies of any of this material for use in worship services, bible studies, parish magazines, etc., but reproduction for commercial purposes is not permitted.
Please note that the views expressed in these materials are those of the individual writer and not necessarily the official view of the Church of Scotland, which can be laid down only by the General Assembly.