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Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 22 - 24 October 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Let Me See

Sunday 24th October 2021

Pentecost 22 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Theme Focus

Many families and communities are challenged by members being less abled, like Bartimaeus. Yet Jesus stops and engages with such people, bringing healing and hope

through the kingdom of heaven. God restores every person into the family of God because every person is valued and loved.

Did anyone learn to write at school with pen and ink?

If you made a mistake, what did you do?

If you learned with a pencil, it was easier to erase, and try again. A blackboard or whiteboard is even easier, to remove all signs of the mistake. Likewise, those who learned to type on a manual typewriter had difficulty, whereas a computer allows us to backspace and start again.

When we make mistakes in our lives, sometimes we cannot undo them. If we say or do something hurtful, it is hard to erase it. We all say and do things, intentionally or otherwise,

that separate us from God and from others. We may call this “sin”.

We are assured that when we confess our sin to God, and say sorry for our mistakes, God will forgive us and give us the opportunity to try again. This does not always shield us from the consequences of our sin but allows us to be freed from being bound forever by those consequences. 

Call to Worship

(Abingdon Worship Annual 2012 and 2018)

        God who restores, who heals, who makes us whole, open our eyes to your work around us. Be in our praying, in our singing, in our proclamation, and in our silence. Open our eyes to see your kingdom coming into the world. 

Jesus has come to town.

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us!

He invites us to join him on his journey.

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us!

Come and be healed and see with new eyes.

Hallelujah! Thanks be to God! 

Hymn TIS 112: Through all the changing scenes of life

                        (Tune - Wiltshire)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flmS7uJz1Ho 

     Opening Prayer

     Great Triune God, through Jesus Christ, our great and eternal High Priest, we give you praise and consecrate ourselves to follow you. As we worship you and celebrate your glorious resurrection, open our eyes so that we may see – open the eyes of our mind to learning and understanding; open the eyes of our heart, to your love and compassion; open the eyes of our soul, to see our spiritual selves during our time of worship. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

Mystical, transcendent God, there is so much of life we simply do not know.

In our arrogance we utter what we do not understand.

Rescue us, O Lord, from our afflictions.

Rescue us, O God from our self-inflicted wounds. Have mercy on us, Son of David, Son of God, and save us by your unending grace. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Cry out to Christ, our great High Priest, for he has saved us. Our faith has made us well, brought us forgiveness and granted us peace.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

That we may come through life’s ups and downs, live to a good and full age, and see God’s mercy to our children and children’s children, let us bless one another with words of peace.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

Offering

Redeeming Lord, we continually seek your comfortable refuge.  You deliver us from our unfounded fears and provide us with miraculous examples of your love.  In response, we offer these gifts.  We pray that these funds will provide an outreach that warms people with your resplendent love.  As a church community, we exalt and praise your holy name.  Amen. 

Hymn TIS 181: Come, O God of all the earth

                        (Tune – Sing Out)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhiO0vrfkRg  

The Service of the Word

 

The First Reading:                                            Job 42:1-6,10-17

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 10:46-52

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Job 42:1-6,10-17

1 Then Job answered the Lord: 2 ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?” Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 “Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.” 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.’ 10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. 12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. 16 After this Job lived for one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. 17 And Job died, old and full of days. 

Mark 10:46-52

46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 49 Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.51 Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ 52 Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. 

Preaching of the Word - Let Me See - Mark 10:46-52

The ancients used to call sight, “The Queen of the Senses.” I suspect this enthronement of the sense of sight is still understandable to us. After all, what is lovelier than seeing the orange fire of the sky at sunrise? What is more beautiful than the burning leaves of autumn? What touches our hearts more deeply than seeing a smile on our beloved’s face? You can imagine your own feast for the eyes: sights that delight or enchant, sights that you want to linger over and savour. There are so many sights around me that I want to remember, but, I suppose, the sights I want to remember most are the faces of those I love. I want always to remember the sight of my brother’s face as he held his newborn baby. I want always to remember the wonder in my niece’s eyes as she pointed to geese flying overhead. I want always to remember the smiling, laughing eyes of my grandfather at family gatherings. I can understand why the ancients called sight “The Queen of the Senses.”

I guess this is why the language of sight and seeing has come to mean so much more than simple sense perception. In our everyday talk, we use the language of seeing as a metaphor for understanding. When someone tries to explain something to us, they say, “I want you to see what I am trying to tell you.” And when we finally get it, we say, “Now I see it!” “It was right before my eyes all along.” “It was staring me right in the face.”

In our religious speech, we also use the language of sight as a metaphor for faith. We talk about those things that are visible only to “the eyes of faith.” In the Nunc Dimittis, known also as the Song of Simeon we sing, “Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.” Classical theology spoke of our ultimate destiny as the “Beatific Vision”: a time when we shall behold God face to face. Now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face.

But sometimes learning to see can be hard work. In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard describes studies done on people who recovered their sight after years of blindness. These people were enabled to see after doctors had discovered how to perform safe cataract operations. Dillard writes, “In general the newly sighted see the world as a dazzle of colour-patches… [they] learn quickly to name the colours, but the rest of seeing is tormentingly difficult.” These people have no idea of space or distance and so they walk around bumping into the sharp edges of the colour patches and only then realize that they are part of something substantial. Some people find their new sense of sight so difficult and frustrating that they refuse to use their new vision, and lapse into their old ways of perceiving things.

A doctor reported of one twenty-one-year-old woman who had regained her sight: “Her unfortunate father, who had hoped for so much from this operation, wrote that his daughter carefully shuts her eyes whenever she wishes to go about the house, especially when she comes to a staircase, and she is never happier or more at ease than when, by closing her eyelids, she relapses into her former state of total blindness.” Another patient, so upset by the difficulty he has in learning to translate what he sees into something he can understand, says that he can’t stand it anymore and that he wants to tear his eyes out.

Dillard also notes that for some, regaining a sense of sight is accompanied by a sense of shame. She writes, “A blind man who learns to see is ashamed of his old habits. He dresses up, grooms himself, and tries to make a good impression.”

Sometimes, learning to see can be tormentingly difficult. This seems to be true not only of physical sight, but also of learning to see the truth in the world around us, and, indeed, of learning to see the truth about ourselves. The pain and sorrow of this world so often make us want to avert our eyes from the truth.

Turn on the nightly news and see the latest reports of violence in our communities, and we may feel like closing our eyes and relapsing into total blindness. Look with the prophet Isaiah at the massive injustices in our world, the grinding poverty, the degradation of human dignity, the prejudice, and we may feel like tearing our eyes out. Look at ourselves in the mirror and see the hurts and the wounds we have inflicted on others and on ourselves, and we may feel ashamed. Learning to see can be tormentingly difficult.

In our Gospel lesson for this morning, we have the story of the healing of blind Bartimaeus. When we look at Bartimaeus, we see that he was not only blind, but also that he was a beggar sitting beside the road. The truth about Bartimaeus is that because of his blindness, he had lost his freedom. Because of his blindness, Bartimaeus had become dependent on strangers. In particular, Bartimaeus had become dependent on people who would travel the busy road between the major cities Jericho and Jerusalem. We see a blind beggar who had to rely on the handouts of passers-by, whose best bet was to position himself along the pathway of people who might toss him a coin or two.

When Jesus and his disciples walked by, Bartimaeus must have heard them, because he cries out for mercy. And what response do you think this blind beggar gets to his request for mercy? Mark tells us that “Many sternly ordered him to be quiet.” That’s a polite way of saying they told him to shut up. This poor man, this blind man, this man who is reduced to begging for his subsistence from passers-by, cries out for mercy, and many people in the crowd tell him to shut his mouth.

But thanks be to God, Bartimaeus does not keep quiet. He cries out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And despite the attempts of the crowd to shut him up, Jesus hears him, hears his cry for mercy, and calls him to come near. When Bartimaeus learns that his request has been heard, he springs to his feet and runs to Jesus. And what does Jesus do first? He asks him a question: “What do you want me to do for you?” There is such an outpouring of compassion and love in this simple question.

This blind beggar who was treated by so many people like a piece of trash along the side of the road, who was told to keep quiet, is now brought to Jesus who treats him like a human being. Notice, Jesus does not presume to know what Bartimaeus wants. Rather, Jesus raises this man up onto his own two feet, he takes him from a position of subservience and raises him up as human being, and asks him genuinely, lovingly, compassionately: What do you want?

And Bartimaeus says to Jesus, “My teacher, let me see again.” The depths of longing in that request are almost too much to bear. My teacher, let me see again, and let me no longer have to beg by the side of the road. My teacher, let me see again, and let me no longer be dependent on strangers. Let me see again and let me no longer be looked at with pity and scorn by passers-by. My teacher, let me see again, and let me go free.

And Jesus says, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately, Bartimaeus regains his sight. He leaves his begging cloak behind. And he follows Jesus on the way.

Learning to see can be tormentingly difficult. But if we are willing to undergo the painful process, learning to see can also transform our lives. Learning to see can lift us up onto our own two feet. Learning to see can free us to love and serve our neighbours. Learning to see can free us to love and follow the Lord.

Annie Dillard also writes about the amazing gifts of learning to see again. She writes of a little girl who visits a garden. “She is greatly astonished and can scarcely be persuaded to answer. She stands speechless in front of a tree, which she only names on taking hold of it, and then as ‘the tree with the lights in it.’” Another woman was so dazzled by the world’s brightness that she kept her eyes shut for two weeks. When at the end of that time she opened her eyes again, she did not recognize any objects, but the more she now directed her gaze upon everything about her, the more it could be seen how an expression of gratification and astonishment overspread her features; she repeatedly explained: “Oh God! How beautiful!”

Oh God! How beautiful! Learning to see can be a painfully difficult process. There is so much about our world and about ourselves that may make us want to look away. In so many ways, we are all imprisoned by our own types of blindness. But the good news is that we do not have to remain in bondage to our blindness. We can learn to see. We can learn to look at our neighbours with compassion. We can learn to unmask the self-serving rhetoric of peoples and companies and governments that tell people to keep quiet while they are subjected to grinding poverty and violence.

We can learn to look at our own frailties and failings and ask for help. We can ask people what they need and help them get onto their own feet again. And we can learn to look anew at this amazing, awesome, blooming, buzzing, glorious creation and all the creatures in it, including our own blind and beggarly human race and exclaim, “Oh God! How beautiful! Oh God! How beautiful!”

Let us pray. O Lord our God, hear our cries for mercy. Raise us up from our places alongside the way of life. Heal us from our blindness. Set us free to look with compassion upon those whom you place in our paths. Free us to follow you on the way of self-giving love. And at the last day, bring us with all your saints into that heavenly city where all tears will be wiped away and where we shall behold you face to face. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 223: How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

                       (Tune – St Botolph)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoPlwPUYWaw          

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with:     hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 22 Sunday – Year B

Have times of silence to pray and end the silence with the responsive words:

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Here and now in this place we your people, respond to your call upon us, O God, to pray for those in need.

We pray for the people whose names are known across the world, because their stories are ever present in the media, …. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for people in places of suffering whose names only you and their friends and family know; whose lives you cherish and whose cries you hear….. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for the people whose names and lives we know,

those who today are in pain or distress or trouble, those who are happy, those who are sad…. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

O God. You know each of us by name. We bring you ourselves and our prayers for the things we need

…. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Hear the cries of all these people and of your whole creation Lord Jesus Christ. And in your mercy, bring your healing and deliverance. Amen

(adapted from a prayer on the Pilgrim Uniting Church website) 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 160: Father all-loving and ruling in majesty

                       (Tune - Was Lebet Was Schwebet)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJsXtfCVvtw 

          Benediction

Go as the church, as Jesus' entourage, following where he leads. Everywhere he goes he leaves healing and hope in his wake. Go, and listen, and learn, and love.

        And may the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life be with you and remain with you always, Amen 

Hymn 779: May the feet of God walk with you.                  

                 (Tune – Aubrey)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw1sjc3JVrw




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Church Worship Pentecost 20 - 08 October 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - October 7, 2021 - 9:43pm

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Possessions

Sunday 10th October 2021

Pentecost 20 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am

 Gathering God’s People

 Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Theme Focus

Families make demands on us, and Jesus talks about giving up earthly families’ demands and focusing on being part of his family with all its blessings. Job in all his suffering, stays close to God and God’s word, which is sharper than a two-edge sword. God, as our creator understands, as we pour out our pain. A wealthy man walks away from the cost of discipleship and Jesus calls us to keep faith and follow him, as part of his new family, trusting in God’s love and provision. 

Call to Worship

        Come and be blessed in God’s love. Put your trust in Jesus and his promises. We are the Jesus’ family, beloved sons and daughters of God. Let us worship God. 

In times of trouble, in times of joy ...

we call upon the name of God.

With steadfast faith, with wavering doubt ...

we call upon the name of God.

Basking in God’s presence, aching in God’s absence ...

we call upon the name of God. 

Hymn TIS 613: Lord of all hopefulness

                       (tune – Slane)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKo0jZuNjds 

     Opening Prayer

     Loving God, Parent of all creation, you welcome our prayer and praise as your beloved children. We come as individuals and as a community of faith, to worship you. We come with all our dreams and needs, trusting in your kindness and forgiveness. Our great desire is to draw near to your presence, to know your love more deeply and to be nurtured in our Christian life and witness. 

Prayer of Confession

Mysterious One, we cry out in our times of need—

for hope in times of despair, for faith in times of doubt, for comfort in times of grief, for grace in times of sin, and for love in times of loneliness. Answer our cry.

Be our refuge and our help. Restore our lives.

Revive our hope. Return us to the path of discipleship, where we may walk with you anew in confidence and joy.

In the name of Christ, our rock and our redeemer, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Draw near to Christ, who is our mercy and our grace, for in Christ, we are restored and made whole. In the name of Christ, we are forgiven and reconciled to God.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

Creating us all as equals, and calling us to be generous in our faith, the Lord invites us to offer gestures of welcome as we share the peace of Christ.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering Prayer

How do we respond to your love and gracious to us O God?

With hearts filled with gratitude, we return these gifts from the abundance we have been given and pray that they may help build the church up, provide for the needs of all who seek justice and compassion. Amen 

Hymn TIS 589: Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult

                 (tune – St Catherine (Jones))

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5IxbPK8Ow4                  

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Hebrews 4:12-16

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 10:17-31

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Hebrews 4:12-16

12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account. 14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

Mark 10:17-31

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18 Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ 20 He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27 Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’ 28 Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ 29 Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’ 

Preaching of the Word - Possessions - Mark 10:17-31

In today’s Gospel, a man with many possessions encountered Jesus. His wealth of possessions is central to the message.

Possessions – are they good or bad? Blessings or hindrances? Deficits or potential assets?

Like many aspects of life, it all depends. But, perhaps, the more important questions are: What is this Gospel story all about? How does Jesus use the possessions to teach his disciples about God? How can possessions or anything else make all the difference in our seeking ultimate answers about the meaning of our lives?

The man with many possessions started off with a question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” He was looking for an inheritance – not a gift or a payment or an allowance or a reward – but an inheritance.

The Greek word quoted by Mark seems to convey exactly what it does to us. Did the man with many possessions see himself as a child of God who was due a birthright like one might expect from a parent?

Yet, the dialogue that followed his question seems more like an exercise in earning something rather than inheriting it.

Whatever the case, he wanted Jesus to tell him how to secure the benefits of God’s most fundamental values – and to find the key to a meaningful, contented, and fulfilling life.

Jesus’ initial response to “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” is also quite interesting. Referring to the Ten Commandments, he offered a list of what the man had to do to qualify.

But when the man with many possessions testified to his lifelong practice of following the commandments, Jesus sought to provoke in him, as he provokes in us, a whole new level of understanding about eternal life in God. With love for him, the Lord said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

Eternal life does not mean life until the end of time. It is not about quantity, but quality. Eternal life means a deep connection with the ageless and invincible values of the Kingdom of God. Eternal life describes the quality of relationship between human beings and Christ, bringing us into a present knowledge and experience with the loving and living spirit of God.

As we consider our Lord’s encounter with the man with many possessions, we can imagine Jesus’ insight into his heart and soul. He had followed the specific, outward regulations that were spelled out in the scriptures of those of the Abrahamic tradition – but Jesus perceived that something still blocked him from total obedience to God – his many possessions. Material belongings stood in the way of his following Christ, because, having heard Jesus’ opinion that he needed to give them up, he went away shocked and grieving, stunned and defeated – perhaps with a broken heart. He could not meet the ultimate measure of obedience to God. His love of possessions blocked him from totally loving God and following Christ.

Many scholars are quick to say that this is not necessarily a teaching by Jesus against a Christian’s having material possessions, in whatever quantity. They remind us that the crisis for the man with many possessions was not how much he owned, but that the property owned him, blocking his way to unity with God.

Thinking about such views is a necessary beginning for each of us to examine in our own lives the relevance of today’s Gospel story.

Would Jesus have said to another person, “One thing you lack,” and then listed something quite different from selling possessions and giving the income to the poor? What does Jesus say to you and to me – about the one thing more that we lack? What do we need to give up, to rid ourselves of, to put behind us, that would allow us completely to follow Christ? What can blind us and deafen us from connecting with God?

What is the radical reorientation of our lives that will lead us to follow Christ? What is it that stands in the way of our becoming what God intends us to be?

It is almost certainly selfishness of one sort or another because putting ourselves first puts God second

or third. Because we do this, we become separated from the Holy Spirit’s resources.

What is it that we need to give up in order to gain what is much more valuable? Is it greed or prejudice – ignorance or pride – anger or the need to control others, the inability to acknowledge our sins of hurting others or the “things we have left undone” or something else?

Or is it, after all, a love of possessions that stand in our way of connecting with the eternal life that we can find only in God? It the fate of the man with many possessions at least in part potentially our fate? Is what stood in his way also at least in part what stands in our way, preventing us from totally connecting with God and following Christ?

We live in a culture of materialism in which we measure too much in monetary terms. We are inundated day after day, hour after hour, by advertising that insists that if we buy one thing or another that we will be happier and better off. The push for more and more material possessions insinuates itself into our lives constantly.

For the majority of us who are not impoverished – for those who do not live with severely limited resources, this is a question we must examine.

An Anglican bishop from Africa once declared to an American audience that it was much easier for the Christians of his diocese to truly know God than for those living in the United States. This is so, he stated, because most in his diocese are very poor and that condition leads them to know the need for God in every way. This is so, because their prospects of becoming rich are so remote that they focus on deeper,

more spiritual values.

Americans in contrast, he suggested, have a chance to gain nearly every material possession they want. So, we often become convinced, at least subconsciously, that we can buy happiness and meaning. This delusion can leave us void of the lasting, deep-down joy that possessions cannot bring.

Finally, it seems ironic that the man with many possessions asked about “inheriting” eternal life. The truth is, he had already inherited it – as a child of God. The God-within-him existed as a part of the created order – because he, like each of us, was created in the image and likeness of God. He had inherited God’s spirit already – he just didn’t know it. Jesus tried to open him to understanding that reality – to instruct him how to break through what blocked him from recognising and utilising the very spirit of God that he only

had to put before all else in his life.

What must we do, what must we give up, in order to recognise and put to use the eternal life that each of us has inherited?

 Hymn TIS 387: Christ is alive! Let Christians sing

                       (tune – Truro)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2JEwda8G0U 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with:     hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 20 Sunday – Year B

God of every family, we pray for your worldwide family

and the great creation in which you have placed them all.

We pray for places where climate change is raising sea levels,

threatening village life and food production.

May we be mindful of our contributions to climate change and be willing,

as Jesus’ disciples to be the stewards that this earth needs.

We pray for those affected by natural disasters, including the Coronavirus pandemic.

Enable the generosity needed in us and others

that will encourage the vaccines and health practices

to contain the spread and destruction caused by COVID-19.

In this moment hear too our silent prayers for the world.

A moment of silence

Jesus our brother, we pray for your Church here in our community, on this land of the Eora Nation, who first cared for this place.

Help us to be mindful of the needs of our First Peoples.

We pray for the Congress Church within the Uniting Church.

Help us find a destiny together as your people.

We pray for the Uniting Church in Australia.

We lift before you our President, our Moderator and for our Presbytery.

We pray for all the churches in our local community that our work together may reflect our commitment to serving the ways of Jesus. Bless our congregation and our mission work together.

Prayers for specific mission projects or groups

Holy Spirit, we pray for all who are sick, living with disease or infirmity; those who are lonely and in isolation, those who are in grief.

We bring to mind those we know in these situations

Give them courage to face their time of trial, comfort to deal with their pain, strength to face tomorrow and confidence to share their burdens with others.

Finally, we pray for ourselves and for those we love.

Help us with our need and share our burdens, that we will not lose hope. We pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 665: Jesus Christ is waiting

                        (tune - Noel Nouvelet)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CSzEviUc_o 

          Benediction 

        Go out as brothers and sisters in faith, ready to share generously the love you have received this day, with all you meet. Go now, in hope. Go now in love. And may the peace that passes all understanding guide you along the way. Amen 

Hymn 779: May the feet of God walk with you                              (tune – Aubrey)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw1sjc3JVrw



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter October 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - September 30, 2021 - 10:46pm

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church

 203 Marsden Road Carlingford

__________________________

October 2021


       Our mission: Reflecting Christ Alive in the Community

Welcome! We gather to worship togetherat 9.30am everySunday on the homelandsof the Wallumedgal people. We acknowledge their Elders,past and present.

We hope that you will experience the presence of God in this place and among the peopleof God here. 

BIBLE READINGSFOR OCTOBER

Psalms:26; 22: 1-15; 91: 9-16; 126;146.

Gen 2: 18-24; Amos 5: 6-7, 10-15; Isaiah 53: 4-12; Jer 31: 7-9; Deuteronomy 6: 1-9.

Mark 10: 2-16; 10: 17-31; 10: 35-45; 10: 46-52;12: 28-34.

PRAYER

Almighty God, yourSon has openedfor us a new and livingway into your presence. Give us pure hearts and constant wills to worshipyou in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever.Amen 

CHURCH SERVICES 

3rd October 9.30am: Rev John Candy will lead our service 

10th October 9.30am: Rev John Candy will lead our service 

17th October 9.30am: Lyn Graham will lead our service

24th October 9.30am: Rev John Candy will lead our service. Guest: Davyn from Parramatta Mission

31st October9.30am DermotArmstrong will lead our service

** Zoom links for Rev John

and other leaders are different. ** 

ZOOM LOCKDOWNLUNCH

Join us on Friday 8th October at 12.30pm. Munch your lunchwhile recalling some early childhood memories, say up to the end of Primary School.

COVID CARINGPROJECT

Thank you to everyonewho participated in our private giving project in August. Foodbank has gratefully acknowledged our donations totaling $900. The church added $1000 to total $1900.


This means that 3,800 meals have been distributed to needy familiesin the community. We now have a certificate to prove it. 

Welldone everyone. 

Christian CommunityAid Service is our September and October Covid Caring project. CCAS plays a vital part in our local community and has been supported by our church financially and through food donations for many years. If youstill need to contribute, you can by:

Direct Deposit into their Bank Account

BSB: 633 000, Account150 254 514,

then enter MRUC as the reference.

Phone on 9858 3222 and mention the donation is from

someone in Marsden Road Uniting Church Congregation. Online at https://ccas.org.au/donate-online/ with MRUC as the message.

This enablesthem to acknowledge the total donations from MRUC.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

Christmas boxes to fill are availablefrom Elaine duringNovember or donate on line through Samaritan’s Purse on: https://samaritanspurse.org.au/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ 

REV JOHN AND WENDY TO RETIRE. He writes,

“It is with sadness that Wendy and I announce a definite date for my Retirement as your Minister of the Word at Marsden Road Uniting and our move back to our home in Adelaide. Our last Sunday with the Congregation will be the 21st of November 2021, the Feast of Christ the King before I go on my last leave. It seemed appropriate to say farewell on the last Sunday of the Churches’ Calendar year and allow a new chapter in the Congregation’s life to begin on Advent Sunday.

We have valued our time with you, and it has been a privilege to serve the people of God in this place. Sadly, though, the events of the last couple of years in regard to Covid-19 and our own health has hastened our decision for me to retire and for Wendy to move to part-time casual work in Adelaide.” 

We all say, “Go with God, dear friends.” 

ADVENT CANDLES

Delta Era Zoom Style.Let’s collect five candles for lighting in our own homes during Advent Sunday Services from 28th November.

                                           ------ 

CHURCH SERVICEZOOM LINKS

  REV JOHN: Meeting ID: 939 5582 8254. Passcode: 972207 

OTHER LEADERS, Church & Social Meetings:  

4820112178

BEECROFT PENNANTHILLS UNITING CHURCH

BPHUC is introducing “Connexions”, which comprises 2 projects:

1)     The Senior’s Infoline - a one-stop phone service to assist over 65+s gain access to any professional help they need.

2)     The Workshop - connecting people who are seeking paid work, (newly retired, refugees, unemployed), to local individuals or businesses, who need work done.

We are currently looking for volunteers with a view to launching CONNEXIONS in early November this year. Contact Marion at BPHUC on 9875 3436 if you are interested.

2021 Dates for your Diary

Friday 8th October: Zoom LockdownLunch 12.30pm

October:  Frontier Services barbecue and So They Can meeting to be advised.

Watchfor other Popupevents. 

Sunday 9th February 2025: Triumphant 200

We celebrate the 200th Anniversary of our Congregation 

CONTACTS 

Minister of the Word

   Rev John Candy 0411 267 639        whitestarhaven@gmail.com

       ChurchCouncil Chairperson: Warwick Roden 9874 7584

       info@marsdenroadunitingchurch.org.au

       Property bookings/enquiries: 

        WarwickRoden 9874 7584

Bank details:A/C name:Marsden Road UnitingChurch

 BSB: 634 634; A/C Number:100049856

Website: www.marsdenroadunitingchurch.org.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MRUCC082016/

Please send all noticesto Margaret Johnstonby Tuesday      night. email: mavidjohnston@gmail.com




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 19 HC - 03 October 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

________________________________________


Is your heart hard?

Sunday 03rd October 2021

Pentecost 19 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am

 Gathering God’s People

 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Theme

God’s Family. Family is God’s idea - we are born into families to be nurtured, sustained and honoured. Families stick together through thick and thin - they teach us faithfulness.

Faithfulness counts through the tough times we can face as families. The call to faithfulness is from God and goes beyond personal challenges: it extends into all our attitudes towards our own families, the communities of which we are part, and to the whole creation and to the God who made it. 

Call to Worship- (David N Mosser and other Sources)

     Come to Christ, children of God, for all are welcome here. Receive life as a gift from God.

     From troubled times and difficult walks,

     we come to the arms of Christ.

     From separate journeys and diverse experiences,

     we gather to worship as one.

     As brothers and sisters in Christ, we come to God,

     who welcomes us here.           

     Hymn TIS 567: God of all power, and truth,

                             (Tune – Ombersley)

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku_FyO8nr-s 

     Opening Prayer

     Holy God, as we gather in your glorious presence, come and make us holy. Guide us this day, that we may receive your teachings and walk in your truth, even as we welcome others on the journey with us. Strengthen our holy communion, that we may create a community of belonging, where all are included, and where your grace binds us together in unity and love. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

Holy God have mercy on us.

In your love and grace, save us from troubled times. Rescue us when suffering comes, and comfort us when grief overwhelms us.

When we wander confused, guide us back to your truth. When we waiver out of fear or weakness, strengthen our resolve and help us put our hope and trust in you. When we are abandoned and alone, gather us in the arms of your love, and remind us that we are your children and that you are our Saviour.

In your holy name, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

In God’s love and grace, we are being made holy. In God’s compassion and mercy, we are named as sisters and brothers of Christ. Rejoice and be glad, for in the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we are made one with God and with one another in the body of Christ.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

From many paths, we gather as one in God. Let us offer signs of unity and love as we share Christ’s peace with one another.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering

Holy God, thank you for your many gifts and your loving deeds in our lives. As we bring our gifts to your altar, send your Spirit through these offerings, that others may know your loving deeds, experience your abundant grace, and see your miraculous strength. With thanksgiving and hope, we pray. Amen 

Hymn TIS 613: Lord of all hopefulness Lord of all joy  

                                     (Tune – Slane)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8mti7VL3gg                                    

The Service of Holy Communion 

The Great Thanksgiving 

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise. 

We praise you O God through whom all things exist.
You loved people into being and invited them to live in harmony with you. When they turned away from you and closed their ears to your words, you did not abandon them.  Through the prophets you spoke to them in many and various ways, simply because they were chosen and beloved by you. You revealed how unchanging your love is by speaking a new and living word to us in the person of Jesus Christ, who blesses our lives with healing and wholeness and a love, which like yours, is unending and unconditional. And so, with all the company of heaven and earth we rejoice before you and praise your holy name saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

At this table we bear witness to the love which has been poured into our hearts and lives. We remember when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and sat down at a table to share the meal with them. At that meal - he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. We remember, and we give thanks for such outpouring of love.

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, O God, and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that they may be for us the life of Christ - his life in us.  Renewed by his life and recreated in his image, we set our minds on fulfilling your purpose for us and for this world of which we are a part. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Blessing and honour and glory and power are yours for ever and ever. Amen.     

The Breaking of the Bread

Because our bread has come from one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ.

Thanks be to God. 

Lamb of God

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

grant us peace. 

Invitation to Communion

Come to the table, children of God, for all are welcome here. Let us open our hearts and hands, as we remember and partake together. 

Prayer after Communion

Holy God, we give you thanks that we have been fed and renewed by Christ’s life in us and we go now to share that life with others.  Send us forth equipped with the power of your Spirit to follow Jesus, and to spread the message of his love to all whom we meet.  In his name we pray.  Amen 

The Service of the Word 

                              First Reading:                   Job 1:1; 2:1-10

                             The Gospel Reading:        Mark 10:2-12,

                              After the final reading the reader will say For the Word of the Lord

                              Please respond by saying                  Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Job 1:1; 2:1-10

1 1 There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. 2 1 One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ 3 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.’ 4 Then Satan answered the Lord, ‘Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. 5 But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.’ 6 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.’ 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself and sat among the ashes. 9 Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God and die.’ 10 But he said to her, ‘You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips. 

Mark 10:2-12,

2 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ 3 He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ 4 They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’ 5 But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” 7 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh.9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ 10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her;12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’ 

Preaching of the Word Is your heart hard? – Mark 10: 2-12

This Sunday’s gospel has words that are likely to make us cringe. It is hard to hear them as good news! It sounds, on the face of it, that Jesus is ruling out divorce. And so many of us are divorced, or our friends and family members are. Where does that leave us?

As we reflect on this Gospel reading, we need to think about how God created man and woman to help and to care for each other. And that their relationship should be primary and permanent. This is the ideal for relationship created by God for us. And when we prepare for commitment to another person we long for the reality of this ideal. It is not likely that anyone who comes to church for marriage preparation does not hear this and intend it to be so.

But in the Gospel, we also hear the echoes of the same story in the context of a sparring match between Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees never seem to really hear Jesus and like to accuse him of blasphemy. In this particular scrap, they are trying to catch Jesus about his knowledge of the law of Moses. They ask if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus tells them that Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her. But he then goes on to say that allowing that was because of their hardness of heart. Now what does that mean?

Well, remember that in creation God gave us the ideal of man and woman in a mutually responsible and caring relationship. But in the time of Moses the status of women had dropped from that ideal to such an extent that a man was able to divorce his wife on any pretext whatsoever. She had absolutely no say in the matter. For Moses to say that a man had to write a certificate of dismissal meant that the wife’s status was raised so that she was at least not regarded as a prostitute. Which is the way she would have been regarded had she just been cast off.

Now we come to Jesus. He says that Moses gave his law because of the hardness of men’s hearts. They had been treating their wives as a possession which they had grown tired of and had not even cared if she was regarded as someone fit to be stoned. Moses’ law raised the status of women a notch. But Jesus says that God made man and woman in the beginning of creation. And in the relationship of husband and wife, they as one flesh are clearly a condition of equal value for both the woman and the man. They are to be mutually responsible in caring for each other.

Here the status of men and women is equally valuable and so Jesus is raising the status of women even more and telling the Pharisees that they must exceed the letter of the law. This, of course, upholds the ideal of life-long, mutually loving relationships. And the pain that is experienced by anyone who is going through a divorce only speaks to the validity of that ideal in all of our hearts. Because we know that it is painful to divorce. We hate it when a relationship is no longer mutually loving and caring. We agonise about the hurt that will ensue from a rupture between a couple. We work to lessen the difficulty for the children caught in such a situation. Almost never have I heard of people who think nothing of getting a divorce. It hurts.

God said in creation that it is not good for a person to live alone. When one lives alone there is the chance that there is no one to listen when we are upset. Or to celebrate the small joys of our lives with us. To fix us a hot drink on a cold and wet night. We know that it is better to have someone who cares deeply. Yet, when two people are caught in a broken relationship it is painful.

There is still the loneliness. There may be harsh recriminating words. There may be abusive behaviour to their partner of their children. There may be abusive action toward the self. No matter what one thinks there is pain. It is real and present. There is no easy way to make thing right.

People who make a decision to divorce have to live in the pain of realising that they have failed in living up to the ideal God desires for us or that they desired for themselves.

But they also might have to live in the pain of a frustrated and deadened life. One leached of meaning and satisfaction. There is no easy solution here. None that is not painful.

We live in a world full of ambiguity. We also live in a world we wish to make better. One that can fulfill our dreams. We are constantly faced with choices that are difficult to make. And choices that may have the possibility of avoiding pain, both for ourselves and for others.

Jesus does not offer us an easy world. Jesus was constantly faced with the need to respond to those who were hoping to make him seem wrong or foolish. He was steadfast in his faithfulness to God and set before us a way of forgiveness and hope. He held up to us the responsibility to be loving and just. And he held it up to us by living it out for himself. He also held up for us the necessity to choose.

Throughout his public ministry he was harassed. Not only by the Pharisees but by many others as well. In the letter to the Hebrews, you will hear that Jesus was just like we are. That it was necessary for him to be so in order for us to be saved from the power of death.

Jesus was just as we are. Facing all the vicissitudes that life has to offer us. Jesus was a real living human being just as we are. And he did not have an easy painless life. His life was not one without choices all along the way. His was even a life wherein he could not be any surer than we are that his decision was just the right one. He could only pray and try to remain faithful to what he knew and understood to God.

We are called by God to love him and be faithful. But not to live in an unambiguous world in which the choices are spelled out for us in the beginning and are easy to figure. For someone deciding whether to end a broken relationship the choice is never easy. But we know that God loves us and dreams a creative, meaningful life for us. And all along the way we must decide.

The letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus died that we might be saved from the power of death. Death haunted those around him as deaths sometimes haunt us. Death for us takes many forms. Physical death is just one of those forms. Death of a relationship is another. We must live trusting in God’s gift of freedom to us through the life of Jesus. A life of freedom is a life that is full of responsibility, and a life that is full of choices. Let us live in response to that good gift. 

Hymn 516: Here, gracious Lord, we see you face to face.

                 (Tune – St Agnes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRl0p36-mcY 

Intercessory Prayers   

Pentecost 19 Sunday – Year B

Loving God, hear the prayers we bring to you for the world and for the Church.

We pray for our brothers and sisters throughout the world: for all who exercise authority, and all who work for justice and peace; for your people enslaved and exploited, hungry and homeless. Give to us the generous heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of justice.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our sisters and brothers with whom we share this land: for those whose ancestors settled this land and those who are new arrivals; for those taken from their families and those who are neglected or abused. Give to us the contrite and forgiving heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of reconciliation.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our brothers and sisters who are members of your worldwide church: for those who are newly baptised or confirmed; for children in Sunday schools and youth groups,

and members of this congregation. Give to us the trusting heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of grace.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our sisters and brothers with whom we live in this community: for civic leaders and all who contribute to the welfare of this city; for our families and friends, for our neighbours and for ourselves. Give to us the warm and welcoming heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of love.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our brothers and sisters who are in trouble or need: for the unemployed, for those trapped in addictions, and for all without hope; for the lonely and sorrowing, for the sick and all who are in pain. Give to us the hopeful heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of healing.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We remember our sisters and brothers in the whole company of heaven: all who throughout the ages have followed you with child-like faith; all whom we have loved and those of this parish who have gone before us. Give to us the faithful heart of a little child, and at our death take us in your arms and bring us home, that with all your children we may enter your eternal kingdom.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn 596: Fill my whole life, O Lord my God.

                 (Tune – Richmond)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8d0bMPl2hY   

          Benediction

         Even as we scatter to live our separate lives, we are still one body of Christ. Even as we go our separate ways, we travel this journey together. Go now to share this miraculous truth with God’s world. And the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life be with you and remain with you. Amen.

 

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you

                       (tune – Aubrey).

                 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw1sjc3JVrw  



    

               

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Penetcost 18 26 September 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

--------------------------------------------------------------------


Risks We Can Take

 Gathering God’s People 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Theme

Following Christ takes courage and commitment to a life of prayer as we seek God’s ways.

The Scripture readings today encourage us to have courage in our living, to face the things which impede our life of faith, and to bring all things to God in prayer. We each experience

good times and challenges in our lives, and our faith enables us to face all of these knowing the presence of a loving, gracious God with us. 

Call to Worship - (Abingdon Worship 2015 and Billabong)

I come today, just as I am, with tears and laughter. I come to you, Jesus, Healer and Life-giver.

We are gathered today as a community of peace and love. Is anyone here today suffering?

We will pray with you.

Is anyone here today rejoicing?

We will rejoice with you.

Is anyone here today longing for healing?

We will anoint you with oil.

One: You are welcome to this house of peace and love.

We come as we are, joyful and hurting. We come to you, Healer, Life-giver. 

Hymn TIS 111: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,

                        (Tune – Lobe Den Herren)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APVxKnENCjo 

Opening Prayer

Jesus, Brother and Saviour, we are grateful to find our way back to you. We have carried out another week’s worth of responsibilities. We have watched another week’s worth of news programs and have listened to another week’s worth of predictions. Sometimes we have slept well; sometimes not. But here we are, before you once again, open to your presence. Revive us with your love and power. Fulfill your kingdom promises in our lives, in our church, and in our world. In the name of God who created us and the Spirit who breathes new life in us, we pray. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession

Brother Jesus, Teacher of the Way, we come from a busy week of tasks and obligations. In this quiet time, we have a chance to reflect on how we have lived our lives this week. We have an opportunity to explore the hopes that you have — hopes for compassion for the weak; justice for the mistreated, and love for friends and strangers. We thank and praise you for your love and power.

We rejoice that you have helped us to be like you; and we regret when we have not been like you.

Pick us up where we have fallen. Touch us with your renewing grace, Healer on the Way. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Jesus forgives us when we wander. He raises us up with courage and hope and love. Praise be to our Brother and Saviour!

Thanks be to God.

The Peace

We are the gathered, much loved, and loving community of Christ. Let us bid one another peace in Christs name.

Peace be with you!

And, also with you!

Offering Prayer

Distribute these offerings in your wisdom and your understanding, that they may sow seeds of peace, mercy, and justice this day. Draw near to us, O God, that our very lives may be offerings of your love and grace. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 629: When I needed a neighbour.

                        (Tune – Neighbour)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym8yOdCFGPc                  

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                          Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22

The Gospel Reading:                      Mark 9:38-50 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22

1So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. 2On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, ‘What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.’ 3Then Queen Esther answered, ‘If I have won your favour, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request. 4For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.’ 5Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, ‘Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?’ 6Esther said, ‘A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!’ Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen. 9Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, ‘Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.’ And the king said, ‘Hang him on that.’ 10So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.

20 Mordecai recorded these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21enjoining them that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same month, year by year, 22as the days on which the Jews gained relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and presents to the poor. 

Mark 9:38-50

38 John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ 39 But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. 40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. 42 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck, and you were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. , 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. 49 ‘For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.’ 

Preaching of the Word - Risks We Can Take

The theme of God’s people struggling to survive in a sophisticated, alien culture appears throughout our scriptures, especially in the Hebrew Scriptures/the Old Testament. This theme is central to the Book of Esther, which supplies today’s first reading. Today is the only Sunday in our three-year cycle of readings when we hear from this book. Thus, I draw your attention now to a key verse in Esther, even though it is not part of the passage we just heard.

The verse I have in mind comes from the fourth chapter. Mordecai, a Jew living in the Persian capital of Susa, is addressing his kinswoman Esther, who has become queen. He sends this message to her: “Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”

“Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” I offer this verse for your consideration, not simply because it is a key to the story of Esther, but because it is a key to the story of each of us and to the story of every one of the people of God.

The Book of Esther is brief, only ten chapters, and is lively, engaging, even comic literature. Read it for yourself, and you will delight in its twists and turns. Very briefly the plot is this:

Mordecai, a Jew at the court of King Ahasuerus, exposes a plot to kill the king but is left unrewarded. The king must choose a new queen, and Mordecai arranges to have his young kinswoman Esther selected. She becomes the king’s favorite. Esther learns of a plot to destroy all the Jews in the empire. It is the work of Haman, the prime minister, who bears a genocidal grudge against Mordecai.

One night, the king, who consistently appears passive and dimwitted, remembers that he has done nothing to honor Mordecai for saving his life. He asks Haman what should be done for the man the king wishes to honor. Haman, who is supremely self-centered, assumes that the king wishes to honor him. So, he proposes lavish compensation but is deeply humiliated when Mordecai receives the honors.

Meanwhile, Esther reveals to the king that Haman has already issued a decree in the king’s name for the slaughter of the Jews. Haman pleads for his life with Queen Esther, falling down on her couch. The enraged king assumes that Haman is attacking his queen. So, he orders Haman hanged on the outrageously huge scaffold that Haman had prepared for Mordecai.

Esther then obtains a royal decree, allowing the Jews to defend themselves. They do so, and Mordecai and Esther proclaim that day as a great festival for their people. This story serves as the basis for the Jewish feast of Purim, where the defeat of Haman is often presented as a play amid a joyous carnival atmosphere.

So where, you may ask, does that key verse fit in, where Mordecai tells Esther, “Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such as time as this”? Let me tell you.

Esther has just found out about Haman’s decree for genocide against the Jews and consequently the need for her to implore the king on behalf of her people. The tension in the story rises sharply when we learn that Esther, even though she is the queen, is still subject to a law that prohibits anyone from approaching the king without being summoned. Anyone who comes into the royal presence without permission is to be put to death.

Mordecai’s response to Esther amounts to a challenge. “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”

What we have here is an old story. Moreover, it cannot be understood as historically accurate. But the Book of Esther is scripture. It is the story of how God dealt with his people and somehow, we seek to understand such a story is to be applied to our lives today. How do we do this and what is being said here?

The truth is, fantastic though it sounds, each one of us has come to royal dignity. Esther came to hers by marriage to King Ahasuerus of Persia. Each one of us came to our royal dignity through our Baptism, by which we became God’s child and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. So, each of us can arrive at a moment, perhaps many moments, when we face some threatening decision that requires holy courage on our part, a decision that will make a world of difference not only to us but to people around us.

I have another story for you, far more recent than that of Esther and completely historical, but one that involves a woman who, like Esther, was called upon to exercise holy courage at a critical moment and thus save a vast number of lives. G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber tell this story in their book, A Year with American Saints.

In 1909, Lillian Trasher broke off her engagement to a man she loved so that she could answer a call to serve as a missionary. She opened her Bible and came upon a verse mentioning Egypt. On that basis, she went there, settling in a village near the Nile.

Shortly after her arrival, she was summoned to the bedside of a dying mother who asked her to care for her malnourished baby. Lillian took the child home, but because of the baby’s incessant crying through twelve days and nights, her supervisor told her to take the child elsewhere. There was no other place. So, Lillian left with the baby. She managed to get just enough to live on by begging for food and clothes.

Over time, the scorn and ridicule of local people turned into admiration for her persistence and stamina. Gradually, support came from a variety of directions. Children kept arriving, too. By 1915, there were fifty children. By the time of her death in 1961, she counted herself blessed to look into the faces of twelve hundred children. The Lillian Trasher Orphanage continues. To date, it has cared for more than twenty thousand children.

It was to help that first baby and all the thousands of subsequent orphans to whom she devoted her life that Lillian Trasher had come to royal dignity as a child of God.

Now we probably could think of others, even Australians who have shown that courage and taken that risk in answering their call from God. Each of us has our opportunities. They appear at home, at work, at church, in community service and public citizenship, and through every field of endeavor. Each of us has our opportunities. None of us is overlooked. Each moment of opportunity is lodged somehow in the thick fabric of our distinct lives, our unique sets of circumstances.

There are risks we can take. By the grace of God, we take them. These risks threaten us with death in one form or another – but they promise the world an unexpected resurrection. 

Hymn TIS 110: Sing praise to God who reigns above.

                       (Tune – TIS 479 Mit Freuden Zart)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he4xEmsnQZc 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            Word of God,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 18 Sunday – Year B

0 God, you have taught your people to pray to you in times of sorrow and in times of joy: hear our prayers for your world and for your church.

We pray for creation, the heavens and the earth that you have made; for the unique and wonderful treasures of this ancient land; for all creatures endangered by human cruelty and greed; for all who work for the preservation of the earth.

0 God, our help, teach us to live in harmony with the created world, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all people, for our sisters and brothers of

every land; for those without food, water, shelter or livelihood; for those stolen from their homes, their families, their land; for leaders of tribes and nations and all who work for justice. 0 God, our help, teach us to live in peace with one another, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for your holy, catholic church, for all who bear the name of Christ; for those with whom we worship in this congregation; for evangelists, teachers and all who preach your good news; for leaders of churches and all who minister in your name. 0 God, our help, teach us to live in unity with all Christians, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for this community, for those with whom we share our lives; for all whom we love, our families and our friends; for those without work and those without rest; for all voluntary workers, service clubs and welfare agencies. 0 God, our help, teach us to value all members of our community, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those in need, for the sick and for the suffering; for those who are in pain, confusion, fear or despair; for the broken-hearted and all who mourn; for all who bring comfort and hope to others. 0 God, our help, teach us to care tenderly for one another, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We remember all who have died, your faithful servants of every age; those whom we have loved and all who, by their lives, have led others to believe in you. 0 God, our help, teach us to follow in your ways, forgive us when we fail, and at our death raise us up with all your saints. In your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 245: We have a gospel to proclaim.

                       (Tune – Fulda)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ozcqFS3qlo 

Benediction

Having drawn near to the God of love, we go forth to bear

fruit in due season. Having drawn near to the Spirit of

wisdom, we go forth with humility and understanding.

Having drawn near to the Presence of mercy and grace, we go

forth as children of compassion and peace. Go with God. 

Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you now.

                       (Tune – Somos del Senor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiH_HdkWs74


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Unting Worship Pentecost 16 - 12 September 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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The Teacher’s Achilles Heel

Sunday 12th September 2021

Pentecost 16 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Theme Focus

We each proclaim who Christ is by what we say about him,

and how we live out our faith in our everyday lives. Let us reflect around the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Do you think this is true? When have you felt hurt by other peoples’ words?

When might your words have hurt others? When have you felt encouraged and affirmed by other people’s words? When have you been able to encourage and affirm others? When have you proclaimed the love of Christ with your words?

When have you proclaimed the love of Christ with your actions? We are not always careful with our words or our actions. I invite you to reflect on this during a prayer of confession.  

Call to Worship - (Abingdon Worship 2015 and Billabong)

God calls out to us in yearning love: through quiet calls amidst the din of human enterprise; through sudden glimpses of the glory of creation; creation; through light shining forth from the word of God, from worship, and from Jesus the Messiah. In all places and in all things, God calls out to us in yearning love.

Wisdom cries in the street, calling aloud to each of us.

Hear her voice and walk in God’s ways.

Wisdom speaks of God’s truth, proclaiming God’s praise.

Heed her counsel and follow the Lord.

Hymn TIS 155 O Lord my God, when I in awesome Wonder                              (tune – O Store Gud)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rm4O_UdItY 

Opening Prayer

God of wisdom and truth, speak to us now. Inspire us with your word. Speak clearly to our hearts that we may walk in your ways and live in your love. In the name of Christ, our Messiah, we pray. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession

Wise, knowing God, you see our hearts so clearly. You speak to our lives so profoundly. And yet, we are often unable or unwilling to hear your truth and go where you lead.

Even as we praise you with our mouths, we disgrace ourselves in words spoken to others with tongues of vicious fire.

Forgive us for our hard hearts and stubborn ears. Forgive us for our hateful words and cruel gossip.

Forgive us for our wilful ignorance of the joy and gift you offer in your law of love.

Help us live in your love and walk in your truth, that we might be your people, and you might be our God. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Those who listen to God’s wisdom live secure and at peace, without dread of disaster. Christ is our wisdom and our way. In Christ, we are forgiven! We are redeemed in God’s eyes.

Thanks be to God. 

The Peace

As forgiven and reconciled people of God, let us greet one another with words of peace and love.

Peace be with you!

And, also with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering Prayer

Glorious God, your teachings are more to be desired than gold or silver. May these gifts be transformed into your gifts for all the world. May our lives drip with the sweetness of your truth. May our love flow with the honey of your grace. Bless these gifts and bless our lives, that all may glorify you. In trust, we pray. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 465: Father in heaven, grant to your children.

                       (tune – Halad)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j0eRYvlf2c                  

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                          James 3:1-12

The Gospel Reading:                      Mark 8:27-38

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

James 3:1-12 

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh. 

Mark 8:27-38 

27 Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ 28 And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ 29 He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ 30 And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. 31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ 34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’ 

Preaching of the Word - The Teacher’s Achilles Heel

The teaching profession has always received mixed reactions, yet Teachers are universally revered. At the same time young people are advised not to become teachers because the salaries are low and some even denigrate teachers. There is the “truism”: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

This same ambivalence is found in the religious world. Theological professors and teachers are often paid ridiculously low salaries and are sometimes ridiculed by their students as being “unable to minister and pastor in a parish.” 

Think of when we have a baptism and think of its meaning.

Also, when James talks about teaching he is not just talking to any particular group. He is reminding us that all the baptised have a responsibility for sharing the faith, teaching the faith and living the faith. Get the connection. When baptism occurs for someone here at Marsden Road they become the newest member of this part of the body of Christ.

As they grow, they will learn from observing our actions.

The person will learn from observing our daily living out of our faith. 

From those learning’s, the person will mature and take their place as each one of us has and be a light of Christ in this world. James says that most people in the church should avoid teaching because religious teachers will be held to a higher standard by God. 

We are to be careful about everything we say and do.

James warns those teachers who cannot control their tongues and he implies that it is the Achilles heel for teachers. Teachers who speak erroneously were a problem in the first century because of the democratic approach of local congregations. James is quick to admit that all Christians commit sins of the tongue, not only teachers. 

It’s an assertion that hardly ever receives any argument.

James could say with Isaiah the prophet, “I am a man of unclean lips.” Nevertheless, He gives several warnings against allowing one’s tongue to go unregulated. James likens an unbridled tongue to a ship without a rudder, or a fire that is out of control. James also suggests that there are some areas where one can control one’s tongue. 

Blessing and cursing should not come from the same mouth.

If speaking error is a sin into which we all fall, I wonder why James singles out teachers. He seems to believe that teachers are especially vulnerable to the problem of what comes from our mouths. Teachers use words more frequently than do most people and their vocation has them bear a great burden. 

Students hang on to their every word as any recently baptised person will hang on to the words and take in the actions you show forth in your lives. Remember how important our role is as the baptised in sharing the faith and encouraging and supporting others in their faith journey.

God will hold teachers and each one of us accountable for what we have taught about our faith and how we have demonstrated that faith in our lives. For ministers and for laypeople alike that teach and belong in the church, this can be discouraging. 

To add to this warning, James says that our words are spiritual indicators. The words that we use indicate what is in our hearts. If our words are not spiritual, then we aren’t spiritual either. This does not mean that James is advocating for a spiritualist vocabulary.

On the contrary, he wants our words to be judged by their sincerity. This idea is often ignored in conversations among Christians. In an attempt to “be spiritual” Christians are tempted to use religious language as a means to impress others. This is the very thing James warns against. 

This kind of warning resounds throughout the book of James. He is worried that Christians will say all the right things but fail to do the right things. He argues with those who talk about faith but fail to emphasize deeds. The proof of one’s spirituality is not only what you say, but what you do.

So, this warning about what you say is important. It is a reminder that words are deeds in the sense that they can help or hurt the person who speaks them and the person who hears them. 

One might be tempted to become mute in light of James’s warning concerning the dangers of sinful speech. However, that is not what he recommends. We are encouraged not to be silent, but we are to use our words wisely. Like any tool words can be hurtful and they can injure at a distance. 

Look at a screwdriver. It is a wonderful tool for fixing things, yet it can be used to kill. 

So, words also can be used for good or for evil.

The key is in learning how to control our tongues.

This means learning to think before we speak.

It also means choosing words that do not offend or label.

Is it difficult?

You betcha it is.

Is it important?

Again, to me it obviously is. 

Hymn TIS 596 - Fill my whole life, O Lord my God.

                     (tune – Richmond)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8d0bMPl2hY 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            Word of God,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 16 Sunday – Year B 

Wisdom of God, at the creation of the world you were by God's side: we pray for the world and its inhabitants.

Teach your people to cherish the beauty of the earth, share justly the riches it provides and live together in harmony.

Word of God, hear our prayer.

Wisdom of God, you cry out to us to set aside foolishness and listen to your counsel: we pray for all with responsibility in public life.

Give wisdom to all in authority, that they may be protected from self-interest and serve the common good.

Word of God, hear our prayer.

Wisdom of God, you call us to eat of your bread and drink of your wine: we pray for your church.

Equip your ministers to care for your people and make us a community of faith whose works proclaim your gospel to the world.

Word of God, hear our prayer.

Wisdom of God, with the children of humanity you delight to make your home: we pray for those with whom we share our lives.

Send your blessing on this community, our families and our friends, that we may live together in mutual care, respect and love.

Word of God, hear our prayer.

Wisdom of God, you are the bright image of God's goodness: we pray for all who are in need.

Befriend the lonely, comfort the sad, encourage the despairing and bring relief to all who are in pain.

Word of God, hear our prayer.

Wisdom of God, you can renew all things and order all things well: we pray for ourselves.

Help us to re-order our lives that we may turn away from the pursuit of what is worthless and follow in your ways.

Word of God, hear our prayer.

Wisdom of God, in every generation you enter holy souls and make them friends of God and prophets: we praise you for your holy people of every age.

Enter into our souls that we may follow you faithfully to our life's end and, in the company of all God's friends and prophets, enter into the joy of everlasting life.

Wisdom and Word of God, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 409: O breath of life come sweeping through us.

                                 (tune – Spiritus Vitae)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8d0bMPl2hY 

Benediction

Wisdom cries out in the street. In the square she raises her voice.

At the busiest corner she cries out. At the entrance to the city gates, she speaks.

Let us go forth into the world, carrying God’s wisdom and love to every person we meet.

Thanks be to God! 

Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you now.

                 (tune – Somos del Senor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiH_HdkWs74



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Pentecost 15 HC - 05 September 2021


 Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Tradition and Traditionalism.

Sunday 05th September 2021

Pentecost 15 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Theme Focus

We are called to love generously, without distinction, and with justice and compassion as our guide. We live out our faith by our words and our deeds.

Today’s Scripture readings call us to love generously, without distinction, and with justice and compassion as our guide. We are reminded that we are all welcome here, part of this

community of faith. We are also reminded to live out our faith by our words and our deeds, in all we do and all we say.

Today is also Father’s Day in Australia, and many of us are celebrating the role that our fathers and other special men have played in our lives. It is important to acknowledge that this day can be difficult for some, for a variety of reasons.

Not everyone has been blessed with the presence of a loving father, and for some the relationship is complicated. I pray that your experience of our generous God, source of all love, who offers welcome and care for each of us, is helpful for you. However, this is a day to give thanks for those fathers and men who have been significant and had a positive influence in our lives. 

Call to Worship - (Abingdon Worship 2015 and Billabong)

It is here in the sanctuary of our God that we learn to fulfil the royal law of God’s Word: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” May our praise and worship this day, remind us of God’s love, forgiveness, and healing grace.

(From Psalm 125)

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
they are like Mount Zion which is immovable, abiding for ever.
Jerusalem has mountains surrounding it,
and the LORD God surrounds God’s people even now, and for all time.
God of the unexpected moment,
you have gathered us by your Spirit
to serve us and renew us, and surround us.
Break in on our world like hearing to the deaf,
sight to the blind, speech to the dumb;
come in your unexpected hour.
Bring form to our chaos, light to our darkness,
and life to our hearts.
Fill us with your expectant Spirit:
and so transform our gathering to your glory,
and perfect our worship for your praise. Amen 

Hymn 567: God of all power and truth and grace.

                 (tune – Ombersley)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku_FyO8nr-s 

Opening Prayer

Creating, loving, and healing God, we gather together this day, coming from different places and situations in life. In faith, we fall before you in praise and worship, desiring to be fed with your love and healed with your grace. Fill us with wonder, O God, that we may proclaim your good news for all to hear. Open up our ears, our mouths, and our hearts this day. In Christ Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

God of mercy and justice, you call us to love our neighbours as ourselves, and to speak and act with mercy and grace.

Instead, we have been judgmental, played favourites, and turned away from the poor and needy. We have failed to be impartial and have abused our power.

Reframe and redirect our actions, Lord, that beauty, truth, and justice may prevail throughout your creation. Help each one of us, Lord, to be rich in faith, love, and generosity. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Mercy overrules judgment, love hatred, and God’s embrace reaches out to all people, spanning all of the mountains and chasms that confront us. Be at peace with yourselves and with others, knowing that God’s mercy endures forever.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

Creating us all as equals, and calling us to be generous in our faith, the Lord invites us to offer gestures of welcome as we share the peace of Christ.

Peace be with you!

And also with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering Prayer

Healing One, we are reminded so often in Biblical narration that you are capable of miraculous actions.  But, your miracles are not limited to these ancient times.  People still experience miracles in these ordinary, everyday times.  We recall those many miracles that have touched people within our own congregation.  We are astounded by those miracles that we witness each day.  We are so thankful!  Today, we offer you this money as a sacred gesture of our gratitude.  All praise and honour be given to you!  Amen.  

Hymn 587: Fold to your heart your sister and your     

                 brother.      (tune – Intercessor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX0q8eBGE7A 

The Service of Holy Communion 

The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

With boundless joy, we give thanks to you, O God of our Creation. From that first spark of life and Spirit: you set the cosmos in motion, you breathed life into humanity, you brought light into the world. Your love amazes us, for even when our love turns to doubt or fear, your love is constant and sure. You delivered our ancestors in faith from captivity, and you deliver us daily from the bonds that prevent us from living as people created in your image. You freed your people and made a covenant to be present always. You have spoken to us through prophets, and you speak truth to us through one another. And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn, saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

Nurturing God, your greatest gift to us is the grace we know through Jesus Christ. Your Spirit descended on him and was manifest in his ministry. Through his teachings and example, you showed us how to be with the poor, how to release those heavy laden from burdens, how to free the souls of the weary and anxious, and how to proclaim the good news of grace and peace and abundant love. In an act of unimaginable love, you delivered us from hopelessness, and made a new covenant with us through water and the Spirit.

When Jesus died and rose again into eternity, he promised to abide with us in your Word and Holy Spirit. On the night in which he surrendered himself, Jesus took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to the disciples, saying: “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” When the meal had ended, Jesus took the cup, offered thanks, and gave it to the disciples, saying: “Drink from this, all of you; this cup of renewed covenant, which is poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink, in remembrance of me.”

And so, in remembrance of your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body of Christ, that we may be the body of Christ for all the world. To You, O Creator of love and life, through Christ Jesus who makes all life new, in communion with your Holy Spirit who breathes new life into all, we honour and praise you for your everlasting love. Amen.

Blessing and honour and glory and power are yours for ever and ever. Amen.     

The Breaking of the Bread

Because our bread has come from one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ.

Thanks be to God. 

Lamb of God

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

grant us peace. 

Invitation to Communion

As tangible as grain plucked by Jesus and his disciples, as mysterious as the Presence known by our faithful ancestors, so is the meal we are about to share. Let us open our hearts and hands, as we remember and partake together. 

Prayer after Communion

Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.                  

The Service of the Word

 

The First Reading:                                            James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 7:24-37

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17

1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in,3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’, 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you? 8 You do well if you really fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.11 For the one who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’, also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgement will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement. 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 

Mark 7:24-37

24 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ 28 But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ 29 Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ 30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. 31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue.34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ 35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’ 

Preaching of the Word - Tradition and Traditionalism

Sometimes when we hear the Bible in our own language, it’s helpful to translate it yet again into our time and place. Let’s do that today.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The conversation we heard about in the Gospel that was just read with its references to religious hand washing and dish washing may seem, well, a little remote from our concerns here on this first Sunday in September 2021. But let’s hear the story in a different way: how it might happen in our time.

One day, in a small Australian city, a group of God-fearing, Bible-believing people came up to Jesus to ask him something. “We’ve noticed, they said, “that when your disciples go to NRL, AFL or RU football games, they don’t take part when a lot of us spontaneously say the Lord’s Prayer. They don’t even mumble it. What gives?”

Jesus replied, “It’s attitudes like that that make me think I should have copyrighted that prayer. You just don’t get it! First of all, if you plan to do something then it’s not well really, it’s not spontaneous. That’s an abuse of language. But that’s not the only abuse that’s going on. I know you can pray anywhere: in church, at home, in your car, even at a football game. Believe me, I know. You should hear some of those prayers from the coaches and players!”

“But I suspect that some of you like to boom forth the prayer I gave you, not so much because you want to talk to the our loving Parent, God, but because you want to look good in your own eyes. That’s what I was getting at when I gave some of the Pharisees a hard time for praying on street corners. It wasn’t the location. Street corner, football field, cathedral — it’s all the same. The problem is with your attitude.”

“Also, I didn’t give you the Lord’s Prayer for you to shout it at some public event and maybe just think you’re better than the people of other religions or those of no religion who feel shut out of a school sports game that is public because you want to show that there are Christians in attendance.”

“Careful! You’re skating on thin ice! It may just be that some of those people of other religions and of no religion will end up leading the parade into the kingdom of God, together with the prostitutes and tax collectors I talked about two thousand years ago, with people like you bringing up the rear, if you make it at all. Grace works in mighty strange ways.”

Maybe that’s what Jesus would say if today’s Gospel took place now rather than back then. Certainly, the question underlying the story is as alive as ever. Like the Jews in the time of Jesus, Christians today are a people with a rich traditions of spiritual practice. When it comes to this tradition, how can we keep from “majoring in the minors?” How can we keep the main thing the main thing? How can we live the good news of Jesus so that it remains good news for us and for people around us, whether or not they are Christians? How can devotion remain beautiful rather than turning into ugly ideology? How indeed?

Jesus criticised a portion of his own community for paying God lip service, exalting human precepts, abandoning divine commandments. Like a beam of laser light, he cut through to the real issue: their hearts are far from God.

Rather than practicing a spirituality that changed them through grace, this segment tried to impose an ideology that made other people conform to their hard-and-fast principles. Their concern was not heaven’s purposes, but their own power and control.

Such misuse of religion remains forever a possibility. We only have to look at our church history for examples of imposing an ideology of our faith than the rue faith that God calls us to. A faith of love. Think back on all the persecutions that have taken place in God’s name. And so we must consider the true purpose of Christian devotion. Here’s one possibility of a faithful answer to this question.

The entire apparatus of Christian devotion — the Lord’s Prayer and the Great Litany, rosaries and revivals, Prayer Book and Hymnal, icons and incense, Bible study and Sunday school, silent retreats and Cursillo reunions, Gospel music and Gregorian chant, public liturgy and private prayer, sacraments and sermons, holy water and holy rolling, giving thanks at a birth and praying at a death — the entire apparatus of Christian devotion, in its diversity and complexity, serves one great, overarching purpose that scripture and tradition explain in their frequent references to the heart, the core of the human person.

Christian devotion is meant to help gain and maintain a new heart, a heart of flesh rather than a heart of stone, a heart that is alive not dead, a heart that is compassionate not selfish, a heart that is large, not small, a heart that is hospitable not judgmental. Christian devotion in its myriad forms is all about softening the heart, preventing it from becoming hard, keeping it tender. It’s about, in a spiritual sense, having a healthy heart.

It is of such a heart that St. Isaac the Syrian speaks in a passage that has become popular in our time, thirteen centuries after he wrote it:
When someone with such a heart as this thinks of the creatures and looks at them, his eyes are filled with tears because of the overwhelming compassion that presses on his heart. The heart of such a one grows tender, and he cannot endure to hear of or to look upon any injury, even the smallest suffering, inflicted upon anything in creation. Therefore, this person never ceases to pray with tears even for the animals, even for the enemies of truth and for all who do harm to it, asking that they may be guarded and receive God’s mercy. And for the reptiles also he prays with a great compassion, which rises up endlessly in his heart after the example of God.

The heart of which St. Isaac speaks is compassionate, hospitable, vast, able to welcome even cold-blooded animals, even enemies of truth. The purpose of Christian devotion is to invite God to create and maintain such a heart in each one of us. Therefore, when we assess, as we must, the use of some element of Christian tradition in a particular circumstance, the question to ask is: Does this practice, in this circumstance, contribute to a living, healthy, compassionate heart, or does it not?

This central question takes precedence over other questions we may prefer to answer, such as: Is this practice ancient? Is it contemporary? Do I like it? Will it increase church attendance? Does it make me feel in control? No, the real question has to do with whether or not hearts are made and kept compassionate.

Here is an insight from the Lutheran scholar Jaroslav Pelikan that may prove helpful. Pelikan distinguishes between tradition and traditionalism in this way: Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition is the living faith of the dead.

Like some of the contemporaries of Jesus, we are mired in traditionalism when our spiritual inheritance is not used to open our hearts to becoming more compassionate. This is the dead faith of the living. But when we use that wonderful spiritual inheritance left to us by preceding generations for its true purpose, then tradition lives and flows and opens us to greater life. Our hearts become larger; more compassionate. This is the living faith of the dead, or, rather, the living faith of those who have died and now live forever because their hearts have come to resemble the heart of God.

Let us pray.

O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing: Send your Holy Spirit, and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. 

Hymn 608: Where cross the crowded ways of life

                  (tune Fulda)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nz5zRSJiBsI 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with      hear our prayer.

Pentecost 15 Sunday – Year B

God of earth and heaven, we bring to you our prayers for your world and for your church.

We pray for the peoples of the world: for those who share little of the earth's resources the hungry and homeless; for those who enjoy little freedom, the imprisoned and oppressed. God of the Jew and the Gentile, in your loving heart there are no outsiders;

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the peoples of this land: for those who are strangers in a new country; for those who are outcasts in their own ancient country. God of the friend and the stranger, in your loving heart there are no outsiders;

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for your church: for those who feel rejected or marginalised; for those who are not made welcome at your table or to leadership of your church. God of the saint and the sinner, in your loving heart there are no outsiders;

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our community: for those pushed to the fringes by poverty, unemployment, age or disability; for those discriminated against because of race, gender, sexuality or creed. God of the voiceless and the articulate, in your loving heart there are no outsiders;

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all in need: for social outcasts, for those suffering from various virus diseases, the mentally ill; for the friendless, the sick and all who mourn. God of the vulnerable and the strong, in your loving heart there are no outsiders;

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We remember all who have died in your love: those who have died violently, those who have died by their own hand; those whose death has been unnoticed or unlamented. God of the living and the dead, in your loving heart there are no outsiders;

in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn 627: Praise and thanksgiving Father we offer.

                 (tune – Bunessan)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjRf3_QZQWE 

Benediction

Now as you have received, so may you give away. Keep God's words close to your heart. Teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind God's truths as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and may they be written on the doorposts of your homes, your gates, and your lives. Amen. 

Hymn 779: May the feet of God walk with you.

                 (tune – Aubrey)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw1sjc3JVrw   





Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting - Marsden Missive - September October November 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - August 27, 2021 - 12:08am

                                       


             September, October and November 2021

Marsden Missive

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Retirement

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is with sadness that Wendy and I announce a definite date for my Retirement as your Minister of the Word at Marsden Road Uniting and our move back to our home in Adelaide, South Australia. I have written to your Church Council, the Presbytery and the Synod and informed them that our last Sunday with the Congregation will be the 21stof November 2021, the Feast of Christ the King. It seemed appropriate to say farewell on the last Sunday of the Churches Calendar year and allow a new chapter in the Congregations life to begin on Advent Sunday.

We have valued our time with you, and it has been a privilege to serve the people of God in this place. Sadly, though, the events of the last couple of years in regard to Covid-19 and our own health has hastened our decision for me to retire and for Wendy to move to part-time casual work in Adelaide.

Rev John and Wendy

Future Thinking for Congregations, from the Presbytery and the Synod of NSW and the ACT.

 Dear Friends and Family of Marsden Road,

At their meeting on 10 April 2021, the Synod of NSW and ACT approved a document called “Future Directions for the People of God on the Way.” The document captures the heart of the Future Directions proposal and summarises the key elements of the Synod strategy. While there remains further work to be done, this is the key document that will guide the review and redevelopment of Synod priorities and existing workplans.

The Synod Secretary has commended the document as a valuable guide in the discernment of missional priorities within all of our presbyteries, noting that the Future Directions: Synod Resourcing Framework will have been considered by the Synod of 2021 in the June and August sessions.

As some of you may be aware, the Sydney Central Coast Presbytery (SCCP) has had discussions on working through the next stage of this for those at the local level of the congregation. One of the initiatives by SCCP has been instituting a Church Planting Course that seeks to grow the Church. The first course was run last year and there are plans for running the course again this year from around the 11th of October through until the end of November. A common theme for all teams able to participate is the desire to build a church that would be enmeshed in the community and that would be missed if it wasn’t there.

I am also reminded that our SCCP Mission Statement is: “A Catalyst For Growing Generous, Inclusive and Courageous Churches.” 

So, this raises questions for our congregation especially as we consider our relationship to our local community, our mission field. This community, mission field is the place in which our centre of worship is situated. It is the place where we practice our faith. These questions are drawn from reflections about how we are working in our mission field. It is whether we as disciples of Jesus in the Marsden Road part of the wider Uniting Church are viable as a congregation. It is whether we can make and support disciples in this part of God’s kingdom. Firstly, though we need to ask whether we are a pilgrim people on the way to God’s promised end and how we might provide for the needs of our community as Jesus calls us to? 

From the Synod Report:

In our rapidly changing, diverse and unequal world, our communities need the Uniting Church to:

• Be those ‘fellowships of reconciliation’ imagined by the Basis of Union, so that Jesus Christ may work and

bear witness among us.

• Follow Jesus into the public square and be a prophetic voice for the sake of the Gospel, for our witness is

distinctive and requires faithful courage.

• Provide community services that are an active expression of our faith, and which address social need.

• Embrace the diversity of the communities in which we worship and serve.

• Welcome renewal, be contemporary communities, and – God willing – grow our witness to the Gospel. 

However, when we look at our situation at Marsden Road, we can see some problems in being part of this programme. The number of members able to carry out our call to make and support disciples is declining and has been declining for the last twenty years or so. Sadly, on current trends this decline is expected to continue. Although we do have a very faithful and committed membership, those we have are much older than they used to be which may hasten a further decline in numbers. The community within which we now find ourselves living has changed drastically in the last twenty years. This means that the demographics have changed. Alongside this, we at Marsden Road, are sited in the middle of four other Uniting Church Congregations which are between five- and ten-minutes’ drive away. All four of these congregations have a mission field that overlaps ours. They also draw on the same community that we do from which to make new disciples. 

Looking at these factors, the Congregation at Marsden Road needs to be doing some soul searching, especially about our role in the community we are called by God to serve. We need to deal in the realities present right here and now and not ignore the hard truths of our situation. 

I am reminded that a viable church is one that has sufficient resources (financial and human) to maintain its current level of programming, staffing, and building maintenance without depleting financial resources or the spiritual energy of the leadership. This is a good definition to have in front of us as we look carefully and prayerfully where we fit in the future mission of the Uniting Church in this place. Hopefully, our recent Life and Witness consultation might have given us not only time for our own discussions and explorations but also helped us look at our own future mission honestly and openly. 

The tenor and progress of our conversations after our Life and Witness consultation will guide the options that we choose to follow to further the mission work of the congregation. 

So, what things do we need to be looking at?

·       We need firstly to see if there are any models to enable us to meet our goal of mission.

·       Secondly, we need to be honest about whether we have the personnel with the time and energy to carry out any mission model decided upon.

·       Thirdly, will the mission be able to be carried out using our current facilities and financial resources.

·       Fourthly, if we find that we do not have the personnel, resources or facilities to continue the mission to our community, are we prepared to make the necessary changes that may be painful. It may mean letting go of some of our cherished ways and our cherished place. 

Please consider some of the following questions and feed back to your Church Council Members or the Congregational Council Chairperson your thoughts.  

·       Do you have other ideas that would be suitable for our situation, considering the need for good stewardship of our limited resources?

·       Do you have any suggestions for a different model or models that can be assessed for use in our situation?

·       Do you want to take part in change that would help us live out our faith in the gospel of love that we have been called to live out in this place?

·       Do we want to remain as a worshipping community that will eventually fade away without renewal? 

I also believe we need to accept that it is time for us to let go of preconceived assumptions about our destination and to invite God into our conversation. This is important as we require the collective effort of all of God’s people. There is no going back to the past we once knew. Yes, this congregation has a wonderful faithful history, and it has well passed the average life of a congregation of 70-80 years, but we must look forward and look forward with prayer seeking Gods guidance. 

As a congregation we have much to give thanks for. The almost 200 years of faithful service and church life of our forebears that has stood us in good stead and been the base from which we have been enabled to go out and live a faithful life that our God has called us to. We also need to recognise that our church was built for a particular time, place, and set of circumstances that no longer exist. The decline we are seeing now in the life of institutional churches in many parts of the western world is part of the greater story of how God keeps nudging us out of our comfort zones and on to that new and different country. It is our task to keep moving forward with trust, even when we are not sure where we are or where we are going. 

We need to frame the conversations we been, having as true discernment of the best way God wishes us to move forward in the ministry and mission that our God has called us to. If the questions being discussed and aired are canvassed by all in the whole congregation it will help us find our direction to carry out our individual calls. Any discussions will help those who are willing to stay together, to focus on pursuing a common mission, and not just the institution’s survival. 

Remember that the resurrection story describes a sacred community in crisis closing its church and then making Christ’s love present to the wider community by moving its spiritual home to a new site, new context or new format for a new use.


Memories of Previous Years.

(Written by Ron Burwood).


 Not so very long ago I was sitting in our Church and looking around the inside of our building and the people sitting in the pews. For some reason my mind went back to when I was a child and realised there was a huge difference between back then and now. I will explore some of these things in depth later in the article. I am sure that many of you will have similar memories of the past era. John just to let you know these following thoughts came to me well after the service and not during it!!! 

As I mentioned in my earlier article about my Methodist Roots in the Marsden Missive a couple of years ago, I grew up in Wentworthville and attended the Methodist Church there. This was a primitive weatherboard building which had been the Auburn Methodist Church. It was dismantled and re-erected at “Wenty” in 1920, and late last year its congregation celebrated its 100 years anniversary. 

That building held so many memories for many people who attended there from back then and you can see from the following photo of it taken in December 1921 just a year after its re-erection it was a very basic building but loved by all those attending there. This photo was taken from the block of land where the parsonage was erected in 1936.

754 My parents were married there on 21st March 1936, and I came along about 12 months later and was baptised in this Church on 18th April 1937 aged at 7 weeks. This commenced my long connection there until Pamela and I moved to Carlingford in 1963. 

The Church services were held in the front room of the Church and at the back there was another small room which had a very small kitchen. This room was also used for Sunday School Kindergarten, Christian Endeavour and Order of Knights meetings. It had two doorways into the Church one of which was usually used by the minister prior to the service as well as the choir, the members of which would sit on the stage in the front of the worshippers. 

Our family life on Sundays revolved around the Church as did the lives of many others. Most of Sunday was spent in the Church’s precincts at the various services and gathering as can be seen from the following activities held there on each Sunday. 

10.00 a.m. Christian Endeavour

11.00 a.m. Morning Church Service

  2.30 p.m. Sunday School

  6.45 p.m. Hymn sing song

  7.15 p.m. Evening Church Service 

Naturally families would return home for a quick lunch and then do the same for dinner except on the occasions when an evening tea would be held at the Church. This was a normal routine for many families as back then more folk attended Church. 

Back to my ideas that started me off on this story, most of which occurred to me well after the service in which I first thought about the differences. On that Sunday looking around our Church, those in attendance everyone was dressed in casual attire without the formality of the past. In the forties all of the ladies would wear their “Sunday best” dresses – no slacks or such. They would all have their lovely hats on and wore gloves and carried their best hand bag and often had a spray of flowers on their dresses. 

The men would always wear their three-piece suits and all with ties. Most would also have on their best hat which would be removed from their head as soon as they walked through the door of the Church and placed either on or under the pew where they sat. As soon as they left the Church their hats would go back onto their heads. 

The children also dressed in very much the same manner. I have a photo from 1953 of my siblings and myself and we were all dressed very much as above. My sister was 14 at the time and she had the hat and gloves and even my youngest brother at 6 years had on his suit, probably handed down. 

In addition to our Sunday activities many weeknights were taken up with other activities. One night, I think Thursdays, was for choir practice where the members would spend a couple of hours practising items for the coming Sunday. On a Tuesday night once a month the meetings for the Order of Knights and the Girls Comrades were held and they would often mingle together after the meetings finished. During the week days there were other ladies’ groups having their meetings. 

All in all, it was a very close-knit group. Many families had another Church family with whom they were very close and so this was really a combined family. 

Another difference came to mind in that whilst we take for granted our microphone and loudspeaker, our electronic computerised organ, hymns on the screen and our air conditioning system or back a few years the pew seat heat warmers none of these were evident back then and we survived with great services. Our hymn singing was enjoyed by all who all sang with gusto. This was much like our Marsden Road Congregation, but the old Wenty Methodist Church did not have the acoustics that we have here. However, many visitors who came to our services would comment on the great singing of our congregation much like the comments we sometimes get here. I can only say that this must be attributed to our Methodist background as that faith was much about the singing of hymns. 

Compared to Marsden Road Church the inside of the old Church was very stark as can be seen from the following photo. This is the only photo I have of the inside of the Church was when it was decorated for my parents’ wedding in 1936 but it never changed during the period to which I am covering.

 

Of course, the decorations and horseshoes on the pews as well as the wedding arch were only evident for weddings. However, on Sundays the ladies always had plenty of flowers around the front of the Church the same as Marsden Road. The minister’s pulpit was on the left-hand side next to the window and in front of this was the piano. On the right-hand side was the organ which was a pedal organ and was hard work for the organist. I know that when my mother played, she was rather tired after the service. Behind the railing in place for the wedding, was the stage and at the back of the stage one can see an arch which had the words "Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness" in gold lettering painted on it. 

I must direct your attention to the pews which if you look carefully, you will note that they are basically a piece of timber mounted on a frame, no cushions, and the backs of them are another piece of timber, a rail of about 15 x 4 cms on metal rods so that they could be moved back and forth, more on the pews later. So, a huge difference!! 

On Sunday afternoons our Kindergarten Sunday School had its classes in the back room with little tables and chairs. The Senior Sunday School would use the Church itself and use the pews for seating but no tables. When it came time for lessons the youngsters would sit on the pews after swinging across the backs of every second one of them so that the class could sit on these facing each other. Most of the children would bring their own Bible to Sunday School. 

For two Sundays each year the Sunday School Anniversary would be held in the Church. On the Friday night and Saturday before this the menfolk would come to the Church erect tiers of seating for the youngsters to sit on for the services. This seating consisted of a heavy wooden frame and seats unlike the easier to erect metal ones we had at Marsden Road, so it was hard work. Then of course afterwards it had to be pulled apart and stored away until next year. 

Another memory comes back about the Remembrance Day Service held each year by the combined Churches on the closest Sunday to the 11th of November. The Service Personnel would have a march along the streets of Wenty ending up at the local theatre “The Regent” where the service was held. Congregations of the various Churches would attend as did the ministers who all took part in the service. The theatre was always packed! All very impressive for us when we were young. 

Of course, we also had our Sunday School picnics each year in much the same way as our Marsden Road Church did many years ago. There were a number of places where these were held but the kids could not wait to get there to get a cream bun as soon as we arrived. Then we held the usual races and other activities. The menfolk usually wore their suits! 

Back then the senior people of the congregation usually addressed each other as Mr. or Mrs. and rarely were Christian names used. After we were married Pamela and I joined the Couples Club and there the rule was that all members were addressed by their Christian names. I found this very difficult, and it took some time to get used to using Christian names for those I had always called Mr. or Mrs. 

For Church Socials or maybe parties the Church would be used, and this involved moving all the very heavy pews to around the walls of the Church and then replaced after the function was over. Never any dancing as back then it was banned by the Methodists so often some of the young people would go across the road to the Presbyterian Church where dances were held. 

One other memory of those old days was from when I was 10 years old and in 5thclass at school. The minister of our Church at that time was the Rev R. S. Walker and he was very much liked and respected. Each week he would take the scripture class at Wentworthville Public School and the kids enjoyed having him. He had a good rapport with them and during 1947 he asked the kids from the school group to learn Psalm 121 which as you will know starts with “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help”. Then if a student felt that he or she was ready Rev. Walker would ask them to recite the psalm. If any of the students did this successfully, he would present them with a pocket size New Testament and on the front page he inscribed their name “with best wishes from your friend R. S. Walker” and the date. On the inside front cover, he wrote “Psalm 121” and inside the back cover “G. I. L.” – God is Love. If Rev. Walker met one of the youngsters anywhere, he would say “121” and to which the child would reply “G. I. L.”. I still have mine after 74 years and Psalm 121 is probably my favourite psalm. I do not think that anything like this would take place today. 

After the new Wentworthville Methodist Church was built in 1956 the old Church building was used as its hall until a new one was built some years later. Now it has been used by a variety of groups and currently is used by a group called “Playtime Friends” on three days a week catering for children under school age, this started as a group for 8 children of Church families in 1988 and has been running since under the guidance of many Church folk. These days there are children attending from outside of the church and some of their mothers are helpers as well. 

It is amazing what memories one little thought can bring back and this shows that there was so much difference in the eras. I am sure that many of you will have similar thoughts as mine.

Humour








SERVICES for September 2021, October 2021,

November 2021, 

Date

Sunday

Hebrew Scripture

Epistle

Gospel

Sep 06

Pent 14

Ex 12:1-14

Rom 13:8-14

Mt 18:15-20

Sep 13

Pent 15

Ex 14:19-31

Rom 14:1-12

Mt 18:21-35

Sep 20

Pent 16

Ex 16:2-15

Phil 1:21-30

Mt 20:1-16

Sep 27

Pent 17

Ex 17:1-7

Phil 2:1-13

Mt 21:23-32

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 04

Pent 18

Ex 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20

Phil 3:4b-14

Mt 21:33-46

Oct 11

Pent 19

Ex 32:1-14

Phil 4:1-9

Mt 22:1-14

Oct 18

Saint Luke

Si 38:1-4,6-10,12-14

2 Tim 4:5-13

Lk 4:14-22

Oct 25

Pent 21

Dt 34:1-12

1 Thess 2:1-8

Mt 22:34-46

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 01

All Saints

Rev 7:9-17

1 Jn 3:1-3

Mt 5:1-12

Nov 08

Pent 23

Jos 24:1-3a, 14-25

1 Thess 4:13-18

Mt 25:1-13

Nov 15

Pent 24

Judges 4:1-7

1 Thess 5:1-11

Mt 25:14-30

Nov 21

Xt the King

Eze 34:11-16, 20-24

Eph 1:15-23

Mt 25:31-46

Nov 29

Advent Year B

Is 64.1-9

1 Cor 1:1-9

Mk 13:24-37

 

 

 

 

 

 Worship will be by Zoom On-line, Website, Facebook, until the UCA Synod of NSW and ACT under Government and Health guidance decide that it is safe for us to use and worship in the Church again.

 Humour


UPCOMING EVENTS

 

September 2021


2     10.00am SCCP Presbytery Life and Witness  

       Executive Meeting

5     9.30am Pentecost 15 Service Holy

       Communion - Zoom

7     ACOMP Executive Meeting

       7.30pm MRUC Elders Meeting

9     12.30pm PRC Meeting

12   9.30am Pentecost 16 Sunday Service - Zoom

15   10am PYPP Team Meeting

16   10.00am SCCP Presbytery Life and Witness  

       Executive Meeting

17   9.30am Moderator's Day Of Refreshment: Pittwater

19   9.30am Pentecost 17 Sunday Service - Zoom

20   MRUC Equinox Outing tbc.

21   SCCP Clergy Retreat starts with venue 

       Kincumber/Zoom

       10am ACOMP Full Meeting

23   SCCP Clergy Retreat finishes

       SCCP Business Committee Meeting

23   7.30am Local Ministers Breakfast Meeting - Zoom

26   9.30am Pentecost 18 Sunday Service - Zoom 

October 2021

3     9.30am Pentecost 19 Service Holy Communion – Zoom

5     ACOMP Executive Meeting

       SCCP Standing Committee Meeting

7     10.00am SCCP Presbytery Life and Witness  

       Executive Meeting

10   9.30am Pentecost 20 Sunday Service – Zoom tbc

11   New Growth intensive - Church Planting Course SCCP:

       Planning

14   12.30pm PRC Meeting 

17   9.30am Pentecost 21 Sunday Service – Guest Preacher

18   Saint Luke’s Day

       New Growth intensive- Church Planting Course SCCP:

       Growing

19   10am ACOMP Full Meeting

20   10am PYPP Team Meeting

21   10.00am SCCP Presbytery Life and Witness  

       Executive Meeting

       SCCP Business Committee Meeting

22   7.30am Local Ministers Meeting (Zoom)

24   9.30am Pentecost 22 Sunday Service – Guest Preacher          

       from Parramatta Mission

       Frontier Services BBQ after Service

25   Church Planting Course SCCP: Going

28   7.30am Local Ministers Breakfast Meeting

31   9.30am Pentecost 23 Sunday Service      

November 2021

1     All Saints Day

       PRC Agenda Meeting

Church Planting Course SCCP: Resourcing

2     ACOMP Executive Meeting

       4.15pm SCCP Standing Committee Meeting

4     10.00am SCCP Presbytery Life and Witness  

       Executive Meeting

7     9.30am All Saints Sunday Service Holy  

       Communion

11   12.30pm PRC Meeting 

14   9.30am Pentecost 25 Sunday Service

15   Church Planting Course SCCP: Leading

16   10am ACOMP Full Meeting

17   10am PYPP Team Meeting

       SCC Presbytery meeting

18   10.00am SCCP Presbytery Life and Witness  

       Executive Meeting

       SCCP Business Committee Meeting

21   9.30am Christ the King Sunday Service

       Last Sunday of rev John with Marsden Road Congregation

22   Church Planting Course SCCP: Establishing

28   9.30am Advent Sunday Service

29   PRC Agenda Meeting 

   Church Planting Course SCCP: Presenting



NOTES FROM COUNCIL and COMMITTEES 

Church Council 

Face-to-Face Worship

With the current Lock Down situation throughout Greater Sydney it was agreed that face-to-face worship does not look a possibility until at least the end of October and maybe even Christmas. We will continue with Zoom meeting and Worship for the foreseeable future. 

Parramatta Mission

It is planned that we will have Davyn from Parramatta join us for worship on the Sunday of October 24th, 2021 and share further on the work of the mission. This will enable us to hear more of the work of the Mission and ways in which we can support them, especially with the added problem of Covid Lock Down and Christmas coming up. 

Life and Witness Consultation

The Life and Witness Consultation continues, and a report will be done soon by the Consultants and sent to us and the Presbytery people that deal with such things. Life and Witness is something that every congregation goes through every five years. 

Mission Statement

A revision of this by Elders has not yet occurred owing to time constraints.  It is anticipated this will occur at the next meeting. 

National Church Life Survey

This is to occur during October/November this year.  After discussion it was agreed, as copies of the survey need to be ordered, that forty (40) should be available online and twenty (20) on paper. 

Future Covid Support

The Treasurer reported that a Presbytery Zoom meeting was scheduled for 20th August, for treasurers to discuss qualifying for Federal Governments Covid grants. Also, an email has been received via Presbytery from Synod concerning these NSW Government financial assistance offerings. At present the Treasurer believes we do not qualify but we will know more after the Zoom meeting. 

Finance Position 

During Covid-19 last year Marsden Road Congregation survived financially with Government grants of $31,900 but these supports ceased in Jan 2021. We have had deficits for the last five months. This trend is of some concern as it will begin to affect what we are able to do missionally over the coming months.  Please consider prayerfully whether you are able to help Marsden Road bridge that gap in our giving versus ministry and mission costs which goes to deciding our viability.


Humour 

A kindergarten teacher was walking around observing her classroom of children while they were drawing pictures. As she got to one girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."Without looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

EASTWOOD CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY AID 

Christian Community Aid (CCA) provides a diverse range of support services to people living, working and studying in the Ryde, Parramatta and Hornsby Local Government Areas. 

Their vision is to engage with the community to enable better


lives. For 50 years they have been working to provide personalised, timely and innovative support that addresses the existing and emerging needs of people. CCA aims to develop resources and capacity that will contribute to strong, inclusive and resilient communities. 

Thank you to all who support this very worthy cause including bringing to Marsden Road Church non-perishable food items. Please remember that even the smallest contribution helps.

Humour 


CONGREGATION

 Our mission: to reflect Christ alive in the Community

You are Welcome to join us at Marsden Road Uniting!  We gather to worship together at 9.30am every Sunday morning. We hope that you will experience the presence of God in this place and among the people of God here. All are welcome.

CONGREGATION CONTACTS

Email Address:  info@marsdenroadunitingchurch.org.au

Website: www.marsdenroadunitingchurch.org.au 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MRUCC082016/ 


Answer To Children’s Puzzle.

Parramatta Mission Update amid COVID-19

As a church that provides hospitality, community and


clinical services, Parramatta Mission are at the forefront of supporting individuals, families and communities who are disadvantaged, vulnerable & doing it tough.

During this difficult time of COVID-19 Parramatta Mission continues to assist those in need. 

On the frontline, Meals Plus is operating as an essential service. In fact, our work here has never been more vital as more people in the community face increased hardship.

Our prayers for our services and the staff who are on the frontline facing the impact of Covid-19 would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to contribute to their work at this time, please visit www.parramattamission.org.au/donate   

Humour 

 A Sunday school teacher asked the children just before she dismissed them to go to church, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?" 

Annie replied, "Because people are sleeping" 

Advent Reflection

Advent Starts 28 November 2021 

"The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come." 

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

"God of hope, I look to you with an open heart and yearning spirit. During this Advent season, I will keep alert and awake, listening for your word and keeping to your precepts. My hope is in you." ~ Matthew Kelly 

What Is Advent? History & Meaning 

For many Christians unfamiliar with the liturgical year, there may be some confusion surrounding the meaning of the Advent season. Some people may know that the Advent season focuses on expectation and think that it serves as an anticipation of Christ’s birth in the season leading up to Christmas. This is part of the story, but there’s more to Advent. 

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus, his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, and his first miracle at Cana. 

During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas. 

By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas.

Advent Wreath and Candles


The Advent wreath first appeared in Germany in 1839. A Lutheran minister working at a mission for children created a wreath out of the wheel of a cart. He placed twenty small red candles and four large white candles inside the ring. The red candles were lit on weekdays and the four white candles were lit on Sundays. 

Eventually, the Advent wreath was created out of evergreens, symbolizing everlasting life in the midst of winter and death. The circle reminds us of God’s unending love and the eternal life He makes possible. Advent candles are often nestled in the evergreen wreath. Additional decorations, like holly and berries, are sometimes added. Their red colour points ahead to Jesus’ sacrifice and death. Pinecones can symbolize the new life that Jesus brings through His resurrection. 

Families begin lighting a candle on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and they light another candle each subsequent Sunday. 

The most common Advent candle tradition, however, involves four candles. A new candle is lit on each of the four Sundays before Christmas. Each candle represents something different, although traditions vary. The four candles traditionally represent hope, faith, joy, and peace. Often, the first, second, and fourth candles are purple; the third candle is rose coloured. Sometimes all the candles are red; in other traditions, all four candles are blue or white. Occasionally, a fifth white candle is placed in the middle and is lit on Christmas Day to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Advent and Christian Life

While Advent is certainly a time of celebration and anticipation of Christ’s birth, it is more than that. It is only in the shadow of Advent that the miracle of Christmas can be fully understood and appreciated, and it is only in the light of Christmas that the Christian life makes any sense. It is between the fulfilled promise of Christ’s first coming and the yet-to-be-fulfilled promise of his second coming that Karl Barth penned these words: “Unfulfilled and fulfilled promise are related to each other, as are dawn and sunrise. 

Both promise and in fact the same promise. If anywhere at all, then it is precisely in the light of the coming of Christ that faith has become Advent faith, the expectation of future revelation. But faith knows for whom and for what it is waiting. It is fulfilled faith because it lays hold on the fulfilled promise.” The promise for Israel and the promise for the church is Jesus Christ; he has come, and he will come again. This is the essence of Advent.



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship - Pentecost 13 - 22 August 2021


 Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

-------------------------------------------------------------

Wisdom and Grace,

Sunday 22ndAugust 2021

Pentecost 13 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People       

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Call to Worship- (Abingdon Services 2018)

        Centred in this house of worship, sing God’s praises. Centred in the seat of your soul, delight in God’s splendour. Centred in the silence of the ages, pray and meditate on the goodness of our God.

Come! Dwell in God’s courts forever.

Happy are those who live and pray in God’s house.

In God alone our hearts sing for joy.

In God alone do we find strength.

O Lord of hosts, how lovely is your dwelling place.

We have come in prayer to worship the Lord.

 

Hymn TIS 044: How lovely is your dwelling place.

                       (tune – Harrington)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P3TsUl1Io4 

     Opening Prayer

     God of signs and wonders, who is your equal in heaven or on earth? Walk with us in faithful love, that we may know your ways and walk in the paths of righteousness. Clothe us with the belt of truth and the breastplate of justice, that our words may be true, and our actions may be just. Protect us with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is your holy word, that we may spread your word of peace. Fill our lives with your presence, as you filled Solomon’s temple with your glory and power, that we may stand our ground during the time of trial. Amen 

Prayer of Confession

You equip us for every trial, O God, yet we forsake the protection you afford.

Even as we pledge our fidelity and trust, we act contrary to your ways.

Even as we celebrate the faithful witness of our foremothers and forefathers, we act ignorant of their example.

Even as we confess you with our lips, we deny you in our words and deeds. Forgive us this day, Merciful One, and make us ambassadors of Christ, who gives us the strength to lift up our needs in prayer. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

The One who is our protector and shield is our source of joy and happiness. The One who guards us from the forces of darkness is our hope and salvation.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

In Christ, we are called to share the good news of God’s peace. Let us live our calling as we share signs of peace with one another this day.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering Prayer

Loving God, we rejoice in your bounty. You clothe us in the garments of salvation and care for us each and every day of our lives. In gratitude for your many blessings, we offer you our tithes and offerings, that your presence may be known throughout the world. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 449:Stand up and bless the Lord.

                       (tune – Carlisle)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ34W-gJONs          

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            1 Kings 8:22-30, 41-43

The Gospel Reading:                                        John 6:56-69,

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

1 Kings 8:22-30, 41-43

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands to heaven. 23 He said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 24 the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. 25 Therefore, O Lord , God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, “There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.” 26 Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David. 27 ‘But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! 28 Have regard to your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today;29 that your eyes may be open night and day towards this house, the place of which you said, “My name shall be there”, that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays towards this place. 30 Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray towards this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling-place; heed and forgive. 41 ‘Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name 42 <<—for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm—when a foreigner comes and prays towards this house, 43 then hear in heaven your dwelling-place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built. 

John 6:56-69

56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ 59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. 60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’ 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.64 But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65 And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’ 66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67 So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ 68 Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’ 

Preaching of the Word - Wisdom and Grace

Two old friends recently met at a school reunion. They had not seen each other for 35 years. During that time, they had each married, raised children, worked to support their families and, they discovered, been active members of their churches. As they walked into dinner, one looked at the other and said, “We’ve aged well, but our hair has gotten to be gray, and we’re sagging in places. What have we got to say for ourselves?” His friend smiled and said, “Wisdom!”

A local Rotary club was having a hard time getting a major fundraiser off the ground. People were distracted and nobody was volunteering for the jobs that needed to be done. The organisers were both discouraged when they met with their club president, an older woman. As they talked over lunch, their president had many suggestions for how to move forward, and all of them involved giving precise tasks to people and asking them if they would do a certain job, rather than a general asking for volunteers. At the next meeting all the tasks were assigned, and the activity was a success.

These two stories illustrate something we all know: maturity and experience are valuable traits in our culture. They are in our churches as well.

From the earliest times of our ancestral faith, wisdom has always been upheld as a part of spiritual growth and development. As we grow in knowledge and love of God, we should expect to see changes in ourselves. Our tent should become bigger, not smaller. Our generosity of spirit should broaden and deepen. And we should see elders among us as gifts of wisdom and grace, especially in times of difficulty.

A church was having a conflict over worship times. There were those who wanted one service, and those who preferred an early service without music. As the discussion went on and became more divisive, one member said, “But we’ve never had an early service.” An elder stood up and replied, “Oh yes we have. I can remember …” and her explanation and tone changed the whole focus of the discussion. Elders are often sources of wisdom, and they carry the corporate history of a congregation.

But there is another side to all of this talk of wisdom: it comes in today’s gospel reading from John. Jesus says, “I am the living bread. … Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.” It seems that wisdom alone does not grant us participation in the kingdom. Wisdom is rather a doorway to spiritual living that includes the Eucharist as part of our regular practice. The Eucharist feeds us with the living bread that sustains us, helps us grow in Christ, and brings us peace and maturity of life, at whatever age we may be.

As we watch Jesus dealing with the people who come to him, some pleading, some confronting, others curious, we see him over and over again answering their questions with simplicity, kindness and great power. He cannot be trapped by the powers of this world, except by his own choice; he cannot be bought or tempted by evil; and he is not compromised.

A prayer that can be used after Holy Baptism says that when we are baptised, we enter into new life and are anointed with gifts: “an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and love [God], and the gift of joy and wonder in all [God’s] works.” These gifts are ones that result in spiritual wisdom and maturity. These are gifts that help us embrace the world as God’s creation rather than rejecting it as merely sinful and degraded. And that is spiritual maturity.

Right now, there is a lot of posturing and shouting going on as we approach various issues of how to move forward since Covid-19 and this posturing and shouting happens before any elections we have. Some want to join in the name calling and finger pointing; and there is plenty of reason to do so. Some Christians have always been drawn into this fray, choosing to publicly support a candidate or a cause, but we know Jesus did not do this. He saw all temporal power as limited in its scope, subject to the whims and wills of the people who put others in power, and unable to address the issues of peace and justice for many. We need to remember that, and while we hold our leaders accountable in a democracy, we also look to Jesus for leadership. I heard of one person giving a noon address during a Church Synod meeting remind people that question needing to be asked was not “What would Jesus do?” but “What did Jesus do?”

Our Christian wisdom should direct us to act in terms of our Baptismal Covenant, seeking and serving Christ in all persons. Our spiritual maturity needs to energise us to work to see the Christ in all persons. Our spiritual wisdom needs to help us know that it does not mean we have to give others what they want, but what they need. Our combined maturity and wisdom needs to lead us to remember our own need for Sabbath, the rest that restores and renews us.

Finally, the living bread that sustains us should always be our quest: Jesus, whose prayer, mind and deeds show us what to do, Jesus whose flesh and blood instil new life within us, Jesus who lives in us that we might live forever. As one of the collects from the Anglican Prayer Book gets people to pray, “Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work and to follow in the blessed steps of his most holy life.” 

Hymn TIS 376: I know that my Redeemer lives.

                       (tune – Church Triumphant)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4Hy0zqnqbU 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 13 Sunday – Year B

Living God, you spoke, and your word brought the world into being, hear our prayers for the peoples of the earth.

We pray for countries destroyed by hatred and conflict; for communities ravaged by poverty and disease. Strengthen us to stand firm against the forces of greed and destruction and make us ready to proclaim your good news of justice and peace. Living God, hear our prayer.

Your Word came among us to bring redemption to your people: hear our prayers for your worldwide church.

We pray for those who are newly baptised or confirmed; for those whose faith is weak or faltering. Strengthen us to stand firm against the powers of evil and make us ready to proclaim your good news of forgiveness and grace. 

Living God, hear our prayer.

Your Word came among us to bring life and hope to the world: hear our prayers for our community.

We pray for those who suffer from neglect or abuse; for those who have no work and those who have no rest. Strengthen us to stand firm against all that devalues human life and make us ready to proclaim your good news of acceptance and love.

Living God, hear our prayer.

Your Word came among us to bring comfort and consolation to the suffering: hear our prayers for all in need.

We pray for all who feel useless, rejected, unloved; for the sick, the sorrowing and those without hope. Strengthen us to stand firm against selfishness and indifference and make us ready to proclaim your good news of compassion and care.

Living God, hear our prayer.

Your Word came among us to bring resurrection and life to your people: we remember all who have died in your love.

We give thanks for the saints and all who have believed in you; for the faithful people of this parish and all whom we have loved. Strengthen us to follow in the path of your saints, that, with them, we may find in your Word the way of eternal life and come to dwell in your house for ever.

Living God, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 456: Your hand, O God, has guided.

                       (tune – Thornbury)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44RNKCp-hCY 

          Benediction 

        Draw strength from God’s power.

        We will put on the full armour of God.

        Stand boldly in God’s truth.

        We will wear the belt of truth and put on the breastplate of justice.

        Put on the shield of faith and pray with the saints.

        We will wear the helmet of salvation and proclaim the gospel of peace.

        Go as ambassadors of the living God, in the name of that same God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life. 

Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you now.

                       (tune – Somos del Senor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiH_HdkWs74



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Worship Sunday Pentecost 11 - 08 August 2021

 

 Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford----------------------------------------------------------------------

Through the Aisles…,

Sunday 08th August 2021

Pentecost 11 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People       

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Call to Worship

        Whoever comes to Christ will never hunger. Whoever believes in him will never thirst. Blessed be the bread of life and the living water.

     Come, children of God. Come and find refuge and strength. Our souls wait for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning.

     Come, heirs with Christ. Come and find forgiveness and joy. Our souls wait for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning.

     Come, people of faith.

     Come to the one who is attentive to our pleas.

     Our souls wait for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning. 

Hymn TIS 100: All creatures of our God and King

                       verses 1,2,4,5,7

                       (tune – Lasst Uns Erfreuen)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdfTekZcgGM 

     Opening prayer

     Source of faithful love, you redeem us from our wrongs. We come before you today, eager to be refreshed in body and to be made whole in spirit. Feed us from the living bread that comes down from heaven, for we are drawn to your Son as steel is drawn to a magnet. Build up our community of faith through the power of your Holy Spirit, that we may live as those who are worthy of our calling. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

      Out of the depths we cry to you, O God, with eyes streaked with tears.

     For we cannot always save the ones we love and are left alone to taste the bitter dregs of our sorrow.

     In the lonely watches of the night, we yearn to set aside our anger and resentment, and embrace the paths of healing and wholeness.

     In the dark night of the soul, we long to forsake our anguish, and embrace your mercy and compassion.Open our hearts anew to your kindness and love, your mercy and compassion, that we may know in our bones how much we are your beloved children. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Beloved, sorrow may last the night, but joy comes with the morning. Even in the midst of fear and loss, be imitators of God as beloved children, and live as cherished heirs with Christ.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

The words we say matter. Words can tear down as easily as they can build up. Let us offer words of love and joy, as we exchange signs of Christ’s peace with one another.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering Prayer

Bountiful God, in praise and thanksgiving for your many blessings, receive our tithes and offerings, that they may be for the world signs of the bread of heaven and the fullness of your grace. For we came here hungry for your Spirit, and you fed us with food that satisfies. We came here thirsting for your grace, and you revived us in our need. In humble thanks, we thank you. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 686: Lord Jesus we belong to you.

                       (tune – Cooke Plains)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGCoJy5fwFQ

No You Tube version available with Lyrics on screen to sing to.                              

 The Service of the Word 

First Reading:                                            Ephesians 4:25–5:2

The Gospel Reading:                                John 6:35,41-51

After the final reading the reader will say     For the Word of the Lord

                              Please respond by saying                  Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Ephesians 4:25–5:2

4 25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. 28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. 5 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and live, in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

John 6:35,41-51

35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ 42 They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ 43 Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ 

Preaching of the WordThrough the Aisles…,

Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

A husband and wife walk through the aisles of a modern Pharmacy, accompanied by their 4-year-old son. The man stops to examine a new model electric razor that claims to provide the closest shave ever. He holds it in his hand and says to his wife, “I need this.” To which she replies, “Not now, we can’t afford it.”

Their young son sights a display of plastic action figures made to represent popular cartoon characters. He reaches out to touch one and his mother says, “Not now. Wait until your birthday.” And the child protests loudly, “But I need it!”

There is often a big difference between what we want and what we really need. For example, it has often been said that there exists in each of us a “God-shaped hole” that can be filled only by a stirring and nurturing relationship with Christ. However, our problem is that we attempt to fill that deeper, spiritual longing with things that do not ultimately satisfy. Since they cannot ever make us permanently happy, these lesser things become our addictions as we seek more and more and more of them in an increasingly frantic attempt to find satisfaction. Money, materialistic acquisition, food, sex, power, fame, thrill-seeking, the consumption of alcohol and drugs-all call for more and more, as they gradually give back less and less for the amount consumed. And we still feel empty.

Jesus alludes to this in a passage similar to today’s Gospel. In John, chapter four, he tells the woman at the well that the water she draws from the well will eventually leave her thirsty again, but the water that he offers will continue to rise up and flow into eternal life. The point is that there is a hunger we have that cannot be satisfied except by our relationship with the Holy.

In our Western world, bread is the metaphor for food. If we lived in Asia, the symbol of rice would provide that metaphor. In fact, some modern Asian translations of the Christian scriptures often have Jesus saying, “I am the rice of life.” Certainly, we need our daily bread or our daily rice. But we need more than daily food to find any lasting satisfaction and to live fully. As followers of Jesus, we say that we shall never be content until we host Jesus in our lives. Jesus, the “Bread of Life.” Jesus, the one who, St. John says, “came from God and would return to God” (13:3). Jesus, who brings the Creator of the unimaginably vast universe down to dwell in the concrete flesh and blood world of sinful humanity.

What, specifically, is this “bread” that Jesus offers us? We call it love. It is the love of the invisible God made visible and accessible to our human experience. He offers us an opportunity for a relationship with God through him. When we appropriate that love into our lives and the spirit of Jesus fills our deepest hunger (the God-shaped hole), that love begins to overflow to others.

No one in our time has so caught the meaning of this two-dimensional love than Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She and her Sisters of Charity rummaged around the streets of Calcutta seeking the poor who were left to die on the sidewalks and in the alleyways of the city. These dying persons then were brought to a mission where they were bathed and cared for. In Mother Teresa’s words, “Every person at least one time before they die needs to know that he or she is loved.” Jesus is the bread of life because he came to show the world of human beings that we are loved-loved by God and loved by God’s people who, as the church, live to extend that love to others.

D. T. Niles, leader of the Church of South India a half century ago, defined evangelism in light of Jesus’ claim to be the bread of life. “Evangelism,” he explained, “is one hungry person telling another hungry person where to find bread.” Indeed, that is the mission of the church - it is to tell the world where love is to be found. It is found in Jesus-as well as in peace, joy, hope, and all of the fruits of the Spirit. Well it seems especially in these troubled times, that our Lord shows the world the path to brotherhood and sisterhood.

Finally, we cannot ignore the obvious allusion to the sacramental bread of the Eucharist. There is no doubt that in the time St. John was writing his Gospel the first century Christians had already begun to connect Jesus’ words claiming to be the Bread of Life to their growing sacramental understanding of the mystery of Holy Communion. Just as they had experienced Jesus as a man but more than a man, so they saw in the Eucharistic bread more than bread alone. It was a sign of the presence of Jesus. The bread became for them a representation of the mystery of Christ in their midst. To receive the sacrament was to realize the love of God in Christ, gracing, forgiving, accepting and filling their lives in a very profound way. 

To prepare us to receive this filling love, and to help our understanding let us turn to Thomas Cranmer, whose words find their place in various prayer books throughout the world. One of these is the Anglican Book of Common Prayer which has words which go something like the following:

And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee that we, and all who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him.

As we celebrated in our Holy Communion Service last week, the bread that our Lord offers to the world is himself. We who come to the altar with hands outstretched, come desiring to be so filled with Christ that our restless seeking shall come to an end. We come believing that here is the place where the “God-shaped hole” shall be filled. Yes, we are filled when Christ dwells in us and we in him. It is at this moment that he becomes for us the living bread that comes down from heaven. 

Hymn TIS 584: Just as I am, without one plea.

                       (tune – Saffron Walden)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enJ8JzW_A48 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 11 – Year B 

Most merciful and loving God, in you is steadfast love and hope; hear us when we pray for all people and for your church throughout the world.

We pray for all the nations of the world, their leaders and people. In every age you have fed and sustained your people: hear today the cries of those who suffer starvation, oppression, imprisonment or war and teach us how to live together in harmony and peace.

Loving God, broken for us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for your holy, catholic/universal church, its clergy and people.

You feed us with your body and blood and sustain us with your living word: meet us today in the breaking of the bread, make us one in the meal we share and send us out to feed your hungry people.

Loving God, broken for us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all with whom we share our lives, for our families, our friends and the people of this community.

You lived on earth in a human family and gathered around you a group of friends be present in all our relationships, that we may live together in love and sustain one another with our kindness and care.

Loving God, broken for us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all in need, for the friendless and the bereaved, the sick and the dying, for those in anxiety and distress.

You have pity on all who call on you and you offer wholeness and hope to your people: bring comfort and relief to all who suffer anguish, pain or grief, and to those who care for them give tenderness and skill.

Loving God, broken for us, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

We pray for all who have died in the faith, for your holy people of every age, for those from this parish who have gone before us to eternal life.

Long ago you fed your chosen people in the wilderness and brought them safely to the Promised Land: feed us too with the bread of heaven and, with all your saints, bring us home to the place you prepare for all who love you.

Loving God, broken for us, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 585: I heard the voice of Jesus say.

                       (tune – Kingsfold)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUVCpF8-VuE               

        Benediction

         Go forth from this place and imitate the Holy One in all you do.

        We will live with love, speak with kindness, touch with gentleness, walk with humbleness, and build up the kingdom of God.

        Go forth into the world and live-in love, as Christ has lived in and through you. 

Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you now.

                       (tune – Somos del Senor)

         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiH_HdkWs74 



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Worship Sunday Pentecost 10 HC - 01 August 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford------------------------------------------------------------------

Food That Endures.

Sunday 01st August 2021

Pentecost 10 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People       

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Call to Worship

        Encourage one another to live as people worthy of God’s calling.

     As one body of Christ,

     we gather together this day.

     Blessed by one Spirit,

     we gather in unity and love

Hymn TIS 526: Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us.

                       (tune – Living Lord)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKsbd5UqKkc 

     Opening prayer

     Speak truth to us this day, O God. Speak truth to the most inward parts of our hearts and minds, that we might speak your truth in love and that you might speak your truth through us each and every day. In your holy name, we pray. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

      Gracious God, we want to live as people worthy of your calling. Help us recognize your gifts and blessings, that we may live up to our calling and bless others with our words and our lives. When we fall short, have mercy on us.    When we don’t know our mistakes, speak truth to us with your loving guidance. Create a new heart within us, a heart full of love and gratitude. Nourish us with the grace of your presence, that we may indeed live as people worthy of your calling. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

In Christ’s grace, our hearts are cleansed, and our lives are made whole. In Christ’s grace, we are forgiven and loved for life.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Accept one another with love, as we have been accepted with love. In the unity of God’s Spirit, let us exchange signs of Christ’s peace.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering Prayer

For calling us into ministry with you, we give you thanks and praise, O God. For gracing us with gifts and abundance, we are ever grateful. Bless these gifts we now dedicate to you, that they may nourish others with the grace of your presence. In gratitude, we pray. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 411: Filled with the Spirit’s power.

                       (tune – Woodlands)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyBNuAeqaM4                                    

The Service of Holy Communion 

The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, to bring our thanks and gratitude to you, God of love and grace. Since the beginning of time, you have created us in your image, nourished us with your wisdom and grace, called us into relationship with you, and invited us to live lives worthy of your calling. When we failed to live in a manner worthy of this calling, and when we wandered lost on the paths of death and destruction, you continued to walk with us, nourishing us with your wisdom and grace. In the words of prophets and poets, you have spoken your truth in love, reminding us of your call, and showing us the way to answer it. In the fullness of time, you came to us as the bread of life, as Jesus the Christ, speaking truth in new and renewing ways, calling us to unity and peace, showering us with mercy and grace, and inviting us to live as your people on earth. And so, with your people on earth, and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn, saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

Holy, are you, and blessed is Christ Jesus, the bread of life. With joy and gratitude, we remember that night when Jesus took a simple loaf of bread, broke it, and transformed it with his love, saying: “Take, eat, this is my body, the bread of life, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And so, in remembrance of these, your mighty acts of nourishing love and grace, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving. Called to be your people and yearning to live worthy of our calling in the unity and peace of your Spirit, and in union with Christ’s love for us, we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts of bread and wine, that they might become for us the bread of life and the living water. May they strengthen us to live as your people, and may they nourish us with grace for eternal life. By your Spirit, make us one with you, one in unity and peace with each other, and one in the ministry to the world until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at your heavenly banquet. Through Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honour and glory is yours, Almighty God, now and forevermore. Amen.

Blessing and honour and glory and power are yours for ever and ever. Amen.     

The Breaking of the Bread

Because our bred has come from one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ.

Thanks be to God. 

Lamb of God

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

grant us peace. 

Invitation to Communion

As tangible as grain plucked by Jesus and his disciples, as mysterious as the Presence known by our faithful ancestors, so is the meal we are about to share. Let us open our hearts and hands, as we remember and partake together. 

Prayer after Communion

Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

The Service of the Word 

First Reading:                                            Ephesians 4:1-16

The Gospel Reading:                                John 6:24-35

After the final reading the reader will say     For the Word of the Lord

                              Please respond by saying                  Thanks be to God.

 Readings: NRSV Translation 

Ephesians 4:1-16

1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling,
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
8 Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high, he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’ 9 (When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.
15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. 

John 6:24-35

24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ 26 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 28 Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ 29 Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 30 So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ 32 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ 34 They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ 35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 

Preaching of the Word - Food That Endures

A deep spiritual hunger is implanted in every human heart. Different people will seek to fill this need in different ways, but the hunger is not unique. People yearn for a deeper connection, an eternal spiritual connection, and when that is lacking will seek any means to be fulfilled.

Jesus said he came that we might have life and that abundantly. Yet, he who offered fullness of joy was often met by people with simpler, lesser needs. In the fifth chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus met a Samaritan woman who longed for living water so she wouldn’t have to keep returning to the well each day. Jesus started with that basic need and used it to forge a relationship with her that ended with the woman reconnected to God and to others in her community.

In our gospel reading for today, Jesus has met the immediate needs of a host of people. Those remaining after he fed 5,000 with a little fish and bread seek out Jesus. Jesus tells them, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

The previous day, Jesus fed their physical hunger with bread and fish, and the crowd sought him out once more. Jesus points them to their spiritual hunger, which is what he really wanted to fill. After all, the people were created to love God and love others as they loved themselves, and in chasing after other needs, they risked getting further from the real nourishment they needed.

Jesus compares this to the original bread from heaven, manna, with which God miraculously fed the children of Israel for 40 years in an uninhabitable wasteland. This was the daily bread that would come anew each morning, with enough to last the day and a double portion for the Sabbath. Now Jesus compares the daily bread of manna, which God gave in the desert, to the Bread of Life, which God offers in Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Jesus offers nourishment, which goes to the heart of our most basic human need to fill a spiritual hunger. Having been created to be in relationship with God, without that connection, we can feel empty.

It is an easy move to connect Jesus referring to himself as the Bread of Life to the Eucharist. For in the mystery of the Eucharistic feast we eat the bread and drink the wine, and in so doing we partake of the body and blood of Jesus. But we don’t want to jump to that correct response so quickly that we miss the bigger picture.

This discourse comes when Jesus has two more years of ministry ahead of him. In fact, this is, after all, John Chapter 6, out of 21 chapters. There is much more time left in Jesus’ ministry before he gets to that last meal with his disciples. John’s gospel makes clear what the other three gospels only hint at: the Eucharist is not about Jesus’ death alone. Jesus’ self-giving act in communion is not only concerned with the Last Supper, the cross and the empty tomb alone. Jesus’ whole life, rather than just one or two events, will institute the sacrament of communion. Put differently, faith is not in Jesus’ death and resurrection alone, but in Jesus’ whole life – from Bethlehem to Golgotha, and beyond to an empty tomb in a garden, Jesus’ appearances to his disciples, and his ascension to heaven.

Everything Jesus did – who Jesus was and how he acted – are part of God’s revelation to us. We cannot separate one part of his life from the rest. Nor should we have a Christian part of our lives separate from the rest of our lives. We are to take Jesus’ whole story and make it part of our whole story. This is much more than hearing the word, it is word and deed.

In baptism, we do not simply hear of Jesus’ baptism, but water is poured over us as a sign that we are united with Christ through baptism. We don’t just hear the story, we actually get wet. In the Eucharist, we don’t merely listen to the words, “Take eat,” but we actually get up, come to the altar rail to take and eat. It’s not just the bread that we take, bless, break and give. God took Jesus’ whole life, blessed, broke it and gave it to us. We are to let that story of God’s love for us take us, bless us, break us and give us back to the world.

Jesus wanted those who followed him after having their fill of fish and bread to discover real spiritual nourishment so that they would never hunger again. And yes, one is fed through the Eucharist, but this too is only part of the picture. Our Sunday worship is to be just a part of how we are fed spiritually.

Compare spiritual nourishment to food. Eating out once a week in a restaurant is not unusual. In fact, it is rare to find someone who eats out only once a week. But what if that was the only meal the person ate. Someone who goes back to their familiar seat in a restaurant week after week to enjoy their one meal of the week could never be nourished enough to make it through the remaining six days.

In the same way, common worship in church on Sunday is meant to be an important part of one’s spiritual food and drink, but it will never sate your hunger if this is your whole plan for feeding you spirit.

Fortunately, many denominations of the Christian Church have centuries-old norms of daily prayer that are well suited to filling this void. The Daily Office can be used Morning and Evening Prayer and are found in various Prayer Books including our Uniting in Worship 2 or for Anglicans the Book of Common Prayer. They are a wonderfully enriching daily devotion. When praying in this way, together with the daily scripture readings, one is better prepared to meet whatever comes. It is not that troubles never occur to people who pray and read their Bible; it’s just that those who marinate daily in prayer and scripture are more connected to God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Then whatever comes, they can call on that connection.

For those looking for an easy way to get started, there is the very helpful “Forward Day by Day,” which in booklet form or online offers a brief daily reflection to accompany the scripture readings. The booklet offers the same readings as those used in the Daily Office. Either way, you’ll spend 15-20 minutes out of each day re-centring your life in the ground of your being, the God who made you and redeemed you. There is no better way to nourish your spiritual side than through a daily meal of prayer and scripture reading.

So much of our lives is spent working for the food that perishes. We must work to earn food, water and shelter and all the extras that make life enjoyable. But we know there is more to life than the daily grind. For a fulfilled life, one should commit a portion of each day to prayer and reading the Bible, for that is the food that endures for eternal life and the gift of Jesus who came so that you might have an abundant life. 

Hymn TIS 535: I am the bread of life.

                       (tune – Bread of Life)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvD0XJzOWQ4 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 10 – Year B

Jesus, bread of the world, receive our prayers for all your people: for those who hunger for freedom, for justice, for release from poverty and disease; for all who struggle for the peace and welfare of the world.

When we are greedy and take what is not ours, when we stockpile food while others starve, put a right spirit within us, that we may share with justice the resources of the earth and feed your hungry people.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer.

Jesus, food of pilgrims, receive our prayers for your body, the church: for all who hunger to know your forgiveness and love; for all teachers and pastors and all who bring your good news to others.

When we preach a message that neither satisfies nor disturbs, when our divisions and discord make your gospel hard to hear, empower your church anew, that we may be strengthened for your ministry and feed your hungry people.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer.

Jesus, true and living bread, receive our prayers for this community: for those whose daily needs for food and shelter are unmet; for those whose longings for recognition and love go unsatisfied; for our neighbours, our families and all whom we hold dear.

When we turn away from the needs of those around us, when our relationships with others are unforgiving and unkind, help us grow into your likeness, that we may bring your love to others and feed your hungry people.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer.

Jesus, bread of life, receive our prayers for all who are in need: for all in anguish, sorrow, confusion, or fear, for all who are sick or in pain.

When we wander in the desolate places of life, when we abandon ourselves to your goodness, fill our emptiness and satisfy our longing s; make us courageous in adversity and give us compassion for all who suffer, that we may feed your hungry people.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer.

Jesus, bread of heaven, hear our prayers for all who have died: we give you thanks for prophets and apostles, for martyrs and evangelists, for the faithful people of this parish who have gone before us.

In life, feed us and sustain us, and at our death open the doors of heaven, that, in the company of all who believe in you, we may be welcomed to your eternal presence.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 569: Guide me, O my great Redeemer.

                       (tune – Cwm Rhondda)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAN4EojeF0Y       

          Benediction

         In the Spirit of peace, we go into the world. May we share the unity and love we have found here that others may touch the presence of Christ’s peace, and the grace of God’s love. Go with the love of God our creator, redeemer, and giver of life. Amen. 

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.

                       (tune – Blessing Song).

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw1sjc3JVrw


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Worship for Pentecost 9 - 25 July 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

___________________________________


 As we are back in Lock Down with no Face to Face Worship there are You Tube adresses for Hymns that can be used with this worship and have lyrics as part of the You TubeOf Cabbages and Kings.

Sunday 25th July 2021

Pentecost 9 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People       

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.

Call to Worship

(Abingdon Worship Annual 2021)

        Fools say in their hearts: “There is no God.” The faithful prove the foolishness of these words, not with their words, but with their actions.

Why have you come to this place?

We are tired in body and spirit.

Why have you come today?

We have come to follow Jesus.

Come and eat your fill.

But there are only five barley loaves and two fish.

There is plenty for all.

Jesus gathers the fragments of our lives, that nothing may be lost.

Come! Let us worship. 

Hymn 133: O worship the King all glorious above.

                 (Tune – Hanover) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI9cDJMsn14 

     Opening Prayer

     God of steadfast love, fools say in their hearts: “There is no God.” May our words and our very lives prove that we are not foolish. May our faith be as constant as the North Star, and may others know that we are Christians by our love. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

God of our hopes and dreams, we are empty, and long to be filled; we are hungry, and long to be fed; we are lost, and long to be found.

Invite us once more to eat our fill and find our true nourishment in Jesus, the bread of heaven.

Just as Jesus gathered up the fragments of the five loaves and two fish after feeding the five thousand, gather up the pieces of our lives and shelter us in your love. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

As God restored the fortunes of Zion, exiles were like people who dream— people filled with rejoicing and gladness. As God restores our fortunes, let us join their glad song and their rejoicing.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

In response to the love, we have found in Christ—a love that passes all understanding—let us share signs of Christ’s peace.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering

Caretaker of our souls, in your love, nothing is lost. As Jesus gathered the leftover food after feeding the five thousand, gather our offerings into your service. As Jesus gathered the longing of those who looked to him to be their king, gather our longing to do your will. As Jesus gathered the outcasts to your heavenly banquet, gather our fellowship into your host of saints. Bless the gifts we have gathered in your name, that nothing may be lost, and that everything may be gained. Amen. 

Hymn 650: Brother, sister, let me serve you.

                 (Tune – Servant Song)  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JahFRDrSCs              

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            2 Samuel 11:1-15

The Gospel Reading:                                        John 6:1-21

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

2 Samuel 11:1-15

1 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. 3 David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, ‘This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.’ 4 So David sent messengers to fetch her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant.’ 6 So David sent word to Joab, ‘Send me Uriah the Hittite.’ And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, ‘Go down to your house, and wash your feet.’ Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord and did not go down to his house. 10 When they told David, ‘Uriah did not go down to his house’, David said to Uriah, ‘You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?’ 11 Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing.’ 12 Then David said to Uriah, ‘Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back.’ So, Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, 13 David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house. 14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, ‘Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.’ 

John 6:1-21

1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’ 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ 10 Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also, the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’ 13 So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’ 15 When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. 16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. 20 But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ 21 Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going. 

Preaching of the Word - Of Cabbages and Kings.

The world is a hungry place. People are hungry for food, for jobs, for love, for care, for leadership that cares. The list of our hunger goes on and on. What the Bible knows is what we all know – all of our hunger centres around a spiritual void. We are hungry for God. That hunger is very real, and yet we deceive ourselves into believing we can feed that hunger with other things such as food, money, fancy clothes, fancy cars, more technology, more stuff.

We accumulate so much stuff, stuff that we believe says something about who we are – stuff that we somehow mistaken for who and what we are. We accumulate so much stuff that our homes overflow with stuff, until we have to go beyond the home and rent storage spaces. That is, we have to store the excess amount of our self somewhere else, so that our self becomes fragmented, separated into different places. We become a problem to ourselves – or what we believe is what we are, what defines us: the clothes we wear, the house we live in, the cars we drive and so forth.

This, in all likelihood, is mostly a Western civilisation problem. It is a problem driven by our desire to be like everybody else – especially those who have more than we have. And it is becoming a worldwide problem, as our principal export is a lifestyle based on the accumulation of more and more stuff. The whole world desires to be just like us.

This is all driven by a belief that there is not enough stuff in this world, so we had better stockpile as much as possible for ourselves. This perceived scarcity of stuff leads to trade imbalances, the stealing of resources from other parts of the world, and eventually manifests itself in trade wars that can soon turn into outright warfare. So, then we need to accumulate more resources, more stuff, dedicated to the protection of what we already have. We end up demanding leaders who can assure us that our stuff will remain ours forever and ever.

Into such a world steps Jesus. Rome had conquered Israel and turned it into a client state, exporting all its goods to other parts of the empire, and charging outrageous taxes on those goods at the same time. It was a dangerous time to be a client of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Rome demanded full loyalty.

So along comes Jesus. The Jesus in John is declared from the first verse of the fourth gospel as God – the Word, the logos – in the flesh. Indeed, this is the only way to make sense of someone who can take five barley loaves and a couple of fish and feed thousands of people with lots and lots of leftovers! Barley loaves, as opposed to wheat loaves, is the food of the poor. The lesson here is quite simple, and yet one that we refuse to accept: The need of the world is not too great for our resources if it is the Lord who directs the use of those resources. (NZ produces enough food for 40 million people but unable to feed own 4 million at reasonable cost for all)

A mighty big “if.”

Meanwhile, the people try to make him king. That would seem to be appealing. Look at how people in every conceivable human community clamour to become king. Right now, we are looking at two individuals who will marshal millions if not billions of dollars for the right to become or remain “king.” Look around the world where competing individuals and groups of individuals resort to violence to gain and maintain a position that reflects “kingship.”

Then look at Jesus. Nothing doing. As soon as there is a hint that the people might make him the next king, he sneaks off to be alone. Why, might we ask ourselves? It might have saved him having to go to Jerusalem only to be crucified, dead and buried. Why would he turn his back on what others count as the ultimate goal?

Here we may do well to recall that Jesus appears to have studied scripture pretty carefully. At every possible turn of events, he can marshal quotations from every corner of Hebrew scripture. So, no doubt at this juncture he very well may have the eighth chapter of the First Book of Samuel in mind. This is the episode when Israel demanded that the boy prophet Samuel appeal to God to give them a king – because, after all, they reasoned, all the surrounding countries have kings, so they should have one too.

This signalled a lack of trust in the God of the Exodus, who up to this pivotal moment, had raised up judges to pull the tribes together in times of great danger. When the danger passed, so did the judge, and people went back to life in their tribal clans with their diffuse political connections. But at the time of Samuel, with threats from surrounding kingdoms, the people demanded a king to unite them and make them strong. God tried to dissuade Samuel. Samuel tried to dissuade the people in chapter 8 of First Samuel, saying, in effect, “A king will take your sons and make them soldiers and send them to war; and take your daughters and make them his servants; he will take your fields and produce, and tax you on all of it; until you will wish you had never asked for a king, but by then it will be too late.”

But the people persisted, and God gave them Saul, which did not work out particularly well. And then David, and, well, look at what happened to David in this Sunday’s episode in 2 Samuel 11:1-15. After failing to pull off a cover- up of his indiscretion with Bathsheba, he used his authority of the military to have her husband Uriah killed in battle. Under the reign of Solomon, the kind of consolidation of power and goods becomes so acute that the people attempted a social revolution, so unhappy were they with their once-desired king.

Verna Dozier, a wise lay leader in the Episcopal Church, in her book “The Dream of God,” called this demand for a king the “Second Fall” after the episode in the Garden of Eden. The third fall happens early in the life of the church, at the time of Constantine, when the church goes from being an alternative to the Empire and allows itself to become the Empire – the Church becomes king. The impulse is the same in 2 Samuel as it is under Constantine – we want to be like everybody else. And yet, to this day we are still looking for a way out of being an Imperial Church and somehow find our way back to the very beginning.

For as anyone can see, Jesus will have none of it. And yet, we continue to hitch our wagons, our stars, our souls and our very being, to the belief that with just the right “king” all shall be well.

We find ourselves clinging to models of leadership and institutional power that the Bible repeatedly warns us against. And we wonder why it no longer works. Again, read about David and the so-called Wise One, Solomon, and see how quickly it all fell apart even then, approximately 900 years before Jesus.

It is no wonder that God decided the only way to get our attention was to come down himself and be one of us. God in Christ invites us once and for all to give up any notions that being like everybody else has any life-giving sustainability. The accumulation of power and stuff will never fill the spiritual void that keeps us from becoming the people God wants us to be.

Our portion of the gospel today ends with the disciples heading off in a boat across the sea. They run into rough waters and high winds. When all seems about lost, Jesus appears. The text is not entirely clear – it could mean he was walking on the water, but it can also mean he was “on the seashore.” So, we can read this to say there he was, on the shore, to welcome them ashore when after much hard work and treacherous time they approached him and the shore. He simply says, “Be not afraid.” Note, as soon as they see him, as soon as he says this, they are immediately safe ashore!

Can it be that for St. John the meaning is to be found in the peace that pertains once we willingly receive Jesus to be our companion? Companion – literally, one with whom we share bread. He who is the Bread of Life, the Bread from Heaven, the True Bread – our manna, our sustenance, our daily bread. As theologian and former Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple said, “Christ is the guide of life whom we follow in the strength that He supplies into the way of Peace.”

That’s pretty much it. We can continue to trust in our appointed and elected leaders, and trust in the accumulation of more and more stuff. Or we can trust in Jesus, who withdraws again to the mountain to be alone.

What if we were to withdraw day by day to be alone with Jesus? How might we allow him to be our daily bread? The need of the world is not too great for our resources if it is the Lord who directs the use of those resources. Once we trust in the Lord, we will find ourselves on the other shore, safe and secure from all alarm with nothing to fear. Our deepest and true hunger can and will be satisfied, if only we will continue to use oars and row our way to the other side – his side – to the country that needs no king. 

Hymn 256: The Servant King.

                  (Tune – Servant King) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCAdWs-ZyEk

Intercessory Prayers  

Pentecost 9 Sunday – Year B

God our Creator, we give you thanks that you disclose yourself to us in all the mysteries of your creation.

We pray for your beautiful, broken world: for all who live in places of war, disease, degradation or famine; for leaders of nations and for all who work to alleviate the misery of others.

As you fed your people of old, feed today your people, who hunger for food, for security, for wisdom, justice and peace. Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our Redeemer, we give you thanks that you, come to us in the person of Jesus, feeding us with your body and blood.

We pray for your church: for those who eat at your table and those excluded from your fellowship; for the people of this congregation and for all who minister here in your name.

As you fed your people of old, feed today your people, who hunger to know your good news of forgiveness and grace.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our Companion, we give you thanks that you come to us in the joy of human relationships.

We pray for all with whom we share our lives: for our families, our friends and those with whom we work and play; for the people of this community, for the homeless, and the unemployed.

As you fed your people of old, feed today your people, who hunger for dignity, acceptance and love.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our Healer, we give you thanks that you come to us in the dark and lonely places of our lives.

We pray for all in trouble or distress: for the friendless and unwanted and those who mourn the loss of loved ones; for those whose bodies ache, whose minds are confused, whose spirits are sad. We pray for the sick and the dying and for all who minister to them. As you fed your people of old, feed today your people, who hunger for hope and healing, comfort and consolation.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God our Lover, we give you thanks that in life and in death you hold us in your embrace.

We give you thanks for all who have loved and followed you.

As you fed your faithful people of old, feed us today, who hunger for your presence, and at our life's end bring us, with all your saints, to eat at your heavenly table.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn 690: Beauty for Brokenness (God of the poor)

                 (Tune – Beauty for Brokenness) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMffJsEjcxE 

          Benediction

        Go to follow Jesus, who gives us the bread of life.

        Go to walk in the ways of Christ, who strengthens us in our inner being through the power of the Holy Spirit.

        Go to serve our living Lord, who gathers the fragments of our lives, that nothing may be lost.

        Go with the love of God our creator, redeemer and giver of life. Amen. 

Hymn 778: Shalom to you now.

                 (Tune – Somos Del Senor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiH_HdkWs74



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship for end of NAIDOC Week - Pentecost 7 HC Sunday 11 July 2021


 Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Being Gathered Up,

End of NAIDOC Week

Pentecost 7 Sunday HC - year of Mark 

 Gathering God’s People       

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.

 Call to Worship        

Our land is alive with the glory of God;

desert sands hum and gum trees dance.

Brown grasses sing

and mountains breathe their stillness.

All created things add their rhythms of delight

and even stones rap out their praise.

 

Let our voices mingle with those of the earth;

may our hearts join the beat of her joy,

for our triune God is with us:

the source of all being surrounds and upholds us.

Christ Jesus walks beside and before us.

The Spirit moves within and between us.

Blessed be God, our wonder and delight.

                                            By Rev Dr Jenny Tymms.   

Hymn TIS 149: This world belongs to God.

                        (tune – Mercer Street) 

     Opening Prayer

God of Holy Dreaming, Great Creator Spirit, from the dawn of creation you have given your children the good things of Mother Earth. You spoke and the gum tree grew. In the vast desert and dense forest, and in cities at the water's edge, Creation sings your praise. Your presence endures as the rock at the heart of our Land. When Jesus hung on the tree you heard the cries of all your people and became one with your wounded ones: the convicts, the hunted, the dispossessed. The sunrise of your Son coloured the earth anew and bathed it in glorious hope. In Jesus we have been reconciled to you, to each other and to your whole creation.  Lead us on, Great Spirit, as we gather from the four corners of the earth; enable us to walk together in trust from the hurt and shame of the past into the full day which has dawned in Jesus Christ. Amen.

                   By Aunty Rev'd Lenore Parker - used with permission 

Prayer of Confession 

God of relationship, you have given us communities filled with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours, all created in your image.

Yet, too often, we find ourselves taking this gift of companionship for granted.

We criticise those closest to us, and even those we have not met.

We are envious of others’ success.

We find ourselves stuck in an attitude of judgment rather than a posture of praise.

We excel at finding fault and are reluctant to seek common ground.

Forgive us for thinking the worst of others, of ourselves, and some-times even of you.

Increase our faith, so that when we look upon the face of others, we see the face of Christ. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Our need to be superior has been met by the one who was willing to be misunderstood, dishonoured, criticised, and unfairly condemned. Christ emptied himself for our sake, opening to us the fullness of life with God – reconciled and redeemed.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Called to be an honour to God’s glory, let’s honour one another with signs of peace and with words of love.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering Prayer

Glorious God, we thank you for trusting us to reflect your glory. For claiming us as your own with all of creation, we give you thanks and praise. As you receive these gifts and offerings, receive us also. Blessing all together, that our gifts and our lives might be a blessing that honours and glorifies you. 

Hymn TIS 459: In Christ there is No East or West.                                  

                       (tune – McKee)

                                    The Service of Holy Communion 

The Great Thanksgiving 

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Worship and praise belong to you, God our maker. Out of nothing, you called all worlds to be, and still, you draw the universe to its fulfilment. Dawn and evening celebrate your glory till time shall be no more. In Christ, your Son the life of heaven and earth were joined, sealing the promise of a new creation, given, yet still to come. Taught by your Spirit, we who bear your threefold likeness look for the City of Peace in whose light we are transfigured, and the earth transformed. As children of your redeeming purpose who await the coming of your Son, we offer you our praise, with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

Holy God, we thank you for these gifts of your creation, this bread and wine, and we pray that we who eat and drink them in obedience to our Saviour Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, may be partakers of his body and blood, and be made one with him and with each other in peace and love. On the night he was betrayed Jesus took bread; and when he had given you thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take, eat. This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' After supper, he took the cup, and again giving you thanks he gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For the love you taught us, the sacrifice you made for us and the hope you give us, we acclaim you, O Christ:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

And now, faithful God, send us your Spirit to feed us with the body and the blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Make us one body in Christ. Send us as your messengers in the world and fill us with energy, courage, and love. Now to you, most holy God, through Christ your Son and in the Spirit’s power, we bring our worship and our songs of praise:

Blessing and honour and glory and power are yours for ever and ever. Amen.    

The Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread and take this cup so that we can all share in the life of Christ. God's gifts for God's people. 

Thanks, be to God. 

Lamb of God

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,

grant us peace. 

Invitation to Communion

As tangible as grain plucked by Jesus and his disciples, as mysterious as the Presence known by our faithful ancestors, so is the meal we are about to share. Let us open our hearts and hands, as we remember and partake together. 

Prayer after Communion

This has been no ordinary meal. It has been one in which we have been fed and nourished with the life of Jesus, our crucified and risen Lord. May we go from this table, refreshed and eager, to share that life with others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen. 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            2 Samuel 6:1-5,12b-19

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 6:14-29

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

2 Samuel 6:1-5,12b-19

1 David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. 3 They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart 4 with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. 5 David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. 12 It was told King David, ‘The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.’ So, David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; 13 and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. 17 They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt-offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. 18 When David had finished offering the burnt-offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, 19 and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes. 

Mark 6:14-29   

14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason, these powers are at work in him.’ 15 But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’ 17 For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18 For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22 When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ 23 And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ 24 She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ 25 Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ 26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Preaching of the Word - Being Gathered Up,

“John, whom I’ve beheaded, has been raised!”

Herod must have been terrified. A man like Herod, who relied on treachery, questionable political moves, the power gained through wealth, is confronted with his worst nightmare. He knew John was dead. He saw his head – yes, through a haze of drunkenness – but he saw the head.

But this Jesus, obviously a man of power himself, is becoming known throughout Herod’s kingdom. Who is he? Could it really be John, raised from the dead? John, the man Herod killed because of a grudge, a grudge he held against him for telling the truth.

How incredibly sad. How very tragic. And yet, because of what we’ve seen in our own lifetimes of the consequence of misused power, political greed and society’s belief that “it’s all about me,” we have to realize Herod has something to teach us.

Herod is an interesting character. What Benedict Arnold is to the word “traitor,” the name Herod has become to the word “evil,” but a sad kind of evil. In Herod we see a man desperate to be king. He killed his own relatives to gain the throne and then surrounded himself with sycophants, men who would use Herod’s favour to garner their own power.

The parties given by the king were as sick and sad as the participants were – days of feasting and uncontrolled drinking, entertainment that was sometimes less than respectable. Into this sad state of the political life of Israel, John the Baptiser dropped the embarrassing and dangerous truth. For this John lost his life because Herod’s character was terribly weak.

So, today’s gospel tells us that this same Herod, who thought he had gotten rid of his adversary John, is now faced with a new adversary, Jesus. Herod had to be frightened. Who is this man he was hearing so much about? Could John have come back from the dead to haunt him, or was this someone new who would challenge his authority?

We know the answer and Herod would soon find out. Jesus was soon known by most as a man who taught with authority, who spoke the truth without fear, and who preached a return to faith by all if they were to be truly children of God. And this Jesus broke the roles and rules made up by weak men who were afraid of losing power.

While today’s gospel passage is mostly a bit of history, we are reminded of the amazing gifts we are given because God loves us. Instead of being afraid that Jesus is John raised from the dead, we find that God’s grace is being lavished on us! None of these things is a worldly gift. These gifts give us a spiritual authority and power that we must use to do good and to spread the Good News among our brothers and sisters.

There’s no comparison between this kind of power and authority and that of people such as Herod and Pilate. Those people built their power on fear and treachery. Our power comes from the deep and abiding love of God. Paul tells us that with all wisdom and insight, God has made known to us the mystery of his will. That will, is simply that God wants to gather up all things in heaven and on earth into Himself. It is our inheritance. The question is, do we want this? Is being gathered up into God’s love enough for us?

We have to ask that question seriously and truthfully. What does it mean to be gathered up into God here on earth? It’s all fine and good to think about that being what happens in heaven, where all is supposed to be perfect love and union with God. But don’t we often find that people still think that in heaven it will be “me and Jesus”? We seem to be fixated, here on earth, with deciding who gets there and who doesn’t.

Let’s be honest about that. We want to be able to judge who gets there and who doesn’t. We too often forget that Jesus constantly talked about the kingdom of God being right here, right now, too. Wait a minute – that means we ought to be living in this abiding love right now, with everyone.

But we are surrounded still with people like Herod and Pilate. People are fighting for power, literally – killing innocent people just to keep control over land and the gifts of the land. We can’t get away from it. The TV and newspapers inundate us with images and blaring headlines that would kill any thought of living in love and peace we might have.

And then, if we’re honest, we, too, want some control. We want to have power; it’s what society tells us is important.

Maybe this gospel about Herod is getting a little too close to home. It’s no longer just a history lesson, it’s a moral lesson, and we may find ourselves coming up short. We must want to be delighted in the thought that God lavishes his grace on us – pours it out joyfully – if only we’d be aware that it’s happening and learn to bathe ourselves in that abundance.

We might ask what the consequence would be if we could do this. It would change our lives. We might see the beauty in all God’s people and be willing to take their hands when solidarity for good is needed. We might see our churches begin to fill again because others would see our witness and want to share what we have. We’d learn to speak about our faith in convincing and inviting ways.

Unlike Herod and others like him, we wouldn’t have to fight and connive and fawn over others so that power would be ours to abuse; we have the power of a loving God supporting us. We have the inheritance of the saints in light. We have the example and teachings of Jesus to show us the way. It’s a much better power.

It’s a much more loving and peace-giving authority. We too can lavish our care on God’s world and on God’s people if we set our minds and hearts to it. Remember, such as St Paul tells us we are marked with seal of the Holy Spirit. We are destined to be God’s people here on earth. We can make no other choice. 

Hymn TIS 668: Touch the Earth Lightly.

                        (tune – Tenderness) 

Intercessory Prayers  

After the words:             In your mercy,

please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 7 Sunday – Year B

Loving God, you know our needs and desires before we ask, and all our days are in your hands: hear the prayers we bring to you.

We pray for the world: for those who suffer because of war or civil strife; for those who are imprisoned, displaced, or dispossessed. When we are unmoved by the plight of others, when our greed keeps others poor, shake us from our complacency and restore us to life.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the church: for your priests and prophets and all who lead your people; for all who worship and minister in this place. When we are legalistic and lacking in love, when we are slow to recognise your voice or understand your word,

call us again by name and restore us to life.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our community: for those who have nowhere to live and too little to eat; for those without any work or means of support. When we are judgmental and mean-minded, when we are slow to compassion and swift to condemn,

unlock our hearts and restore us to life.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all who suffer for those who do not know the love of family or friends; for the sick and the dying and all who mourn. When hearts are broken and spirits crushed, when bodies are crippled or racked with pain, touch us again with your love, and restore us to life.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all who have died in your love, for all who have heard your voice and answered your call; for all whose yearly remembrance occurs at this time. Help us to follow the example of your faithful people and, when we come to the end of our earthly days, bring us with all your saints from death to everlasting life, that we may continue forever in your presence.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 672: Lord of Earth and All Creation.

                       (tune – Bennelong) 

          Benediction

        Brilliant children of light, go now to shine with God’s glory and love.

        We will shine brightly and love freely.

        Honor God with all that you say and do.

        We will make the world a better and a brighter place for all to live.

        Strap on your sandals and hit the road, my friends.

Shake off the dust of your complacency. Walk with a friend,

and travel light. Go, proclaiming Christ’s message of healing,

and hope. Go, declaring that hearts and lives can change!

Keep going, because Christ gives you authority. Go in the

name of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.                                                                                                                (tune – Aubrey)




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