Welcome to Ordinary Time! Ordinary Time is that vast stretch of the church year between January 6 (Epiphany) and Lent (and also between Pentecost and Advent). The name of the season is, admittedly, not terribly inspiring, but it expresses an important truth--much of our lives can feel ordinary and routine, and yet these are the lives that God calls us to offer to him as living sacrifices. As Romans 12:1 reads:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (MSG)
Loving our neighbours is a big part of that offering. We seek justice because we love God and want our lives to reflect his unbounding love for all of his creation. How can our worship together on Sundays shape and enliven the way we worship God every other day of the week--by working together for a society that honours the dignity of ALL of his image-bearers?
If you’re a worship leader, congratulations on finishing the Christmas season! Thank you for your service to God’s people. To make things easier for you, we’ve grouped various worship resources from our ministries that help form our communities to offer our lives as living sacrifices to our justice-loving God.
This page includes both general justice-themed worship resources and issue-specific resources if you’d like to focus in on refugees or Indigenous justice. Looking for prayers, liturgies, kids’ resources, or devotions? You can find it all here.
Highlights: Find plans for six services based on the Lord’s Prayer from Reformed Worship and a link for the Scope and Sequence curriculum, a CRC-created curriculum that introduces justice topics and themes in the Sunday School room, on the general worship resources page.
Sign up for this weekly prayer guide that highlights 3 or 4 justice issues around the world per week and includes a prayer that you can use by yourself, with your family or community, or in congregational prayers. This week, we prayed about police violence against the Rohingya people of Myanmar, the Istanbul nightclub shooting, a ceasefire deal in Syria, and “smog refugees” in China. Sign up here.
In recent years, more media attention has been given to the stories of many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. How will the church respond to these stories of pain and trauma? This month of prayer guide focuses on the injustices surrounding the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. If you follow the guide, you will pray for restoration and justice for everyone involved in these situations--the women, their families, the perpetrators and their families, the justice system, and their communities. Click here to learn more and download a PDF of the prayer toolkit.
Do you have to lead a prayer at your church? Preach or plan worship? You’ll find some ideas at this set of pages on the OSJ’s website, set up with church leaders in mind.
Highlight: Find the Just Amos 4-week worship series, originally printed in Reformed Worship. This series draws on the book of Amos to remind us that our worship must be part of a life modelled on the life of Christ and helps us to ask ourselves whether our hearts are concerned with the things that concern Christ.
Whether you're from Canada or the U.S., this toolkit is full of resources to help you work with your refugee neighbours for justice--from worship resources to book recommendations to ideas for hosting and welcoming refugees.
Highlights: Find Sunday school materials and a children's message under the Worship Resources tab of the toolkit. Or explore skits and other ideas for engagement under the Creative Ways to Engage tab.
[Image: Flickr user Misty Granade, under Creative Commons license]