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Marsden Road Uniting Worship - Penetcost 25 - 14 November 2021

 

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

Expectations

Sunday14th November 2021

Pentecost 25 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:

God powerfully responds to the cries of the powerless.

The book of 1 Samuel describes the leaders of Israel, Eli the high Priest and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas who are corrupt and violent (they are profiting from the people of Israel).

Throughout this story though, we find Hannah showing us how to pray for God’s kingdom to come, especially when we are feeling alone or powerless. We are never alone as God is always with us. Hannah prayed even when she felt shame, humiliation and harassment. She felt quite powerless to change her circumstances and her nations circumstances, but it was through prayer that she finds hope. Hannah’s story leads us to the mystery that God is at work, even when we can’t feel it. Hannah’s suffering gives birth to deliverance for her and also for the people of Israel. Through Hannah’s hardship hope is found. Likewise with Jesus – through his death, hope was found. 

Call to Worship       

Come into this sacred space to worship God

whose teaching is perfect; whose directions are sure.

Come into this holy place to worship God

whose standards are right; whose commandment is clear; whose judgements are true.

Come with holy fear — to be given life, and made wise, to have your heart stirred and your eyes opened wide. Come — let us worship God.

Let the words of our mouths and the whispering of our hearts be acceptable to you,

Source of life,

Word of life,

Breath of life.

Amen.                    

Hymn TIS 560: All my hope on God is founded

                       (Tune – Michael)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DohxO6ytsaU  

     Opening prayer

     God of new beginnings and endless possibilities, grant us the courage to reach out and claim the promises of your faithful love. As we pour out the deepest desires of our hearts, fill our souls with peace, for you alone are our hope and our salvation. Give us eyes to see the longing of our neighbours and grant us the wisdom to offer words of comfort and assurance, that we might be instruments of your mercy and your grace. For you are our rock and our hiding place, O God. You are our fortress in times of trouble. In joy we reach for you, and in joy you gather us to your breast. Be with us in this time of worship and heal the pain we carry in our hearts. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

Look upon your servants with mercy, O God, for our burdens lay heavy upon us and bring us to our knees.

Our hearts are touched by sorrows so deep they seem beyond limit. In our hour of need, we yearn to hear words of comfort and grace.

Speak to us now, Holy One, in the silence of our aching hearts, for your servants are listening and longing for your touch. Amen 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Hold fast to the promises of God, for our hope is strong and true. When we meet together as believers and share our burdens with one another before God, we find fullness of grace. In the name of Christ, we are renewed and made whole.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

Let us share the peace of Christ, as we encourage one another to live in love and hope.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

Offering

God of hope and promise, fill us with your joy, that we might live in deepest gratitude for your manifold blessings. Be our rock and our sure foundation, that we might have the courage to proclaim your good news in a world filled with fear and frustration. Multiply our gifts, that they might feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bring your blessings to the world. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 690: Beauty for Brokenness

                      (Tune – Beauty for Brokenness)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO1G-o7Yj-c              

The Service of the Word

                             First Reading:                   1 Samuel 1:4-20

                             The Gospel Reading:       Mark 13: 1-8

                             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 Samuel 1:4-20

4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; 5 but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. 6 Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year after year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore, Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah said to her, ‘Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?’ 9 After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 She made this vow: ‘O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.’ 12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore, Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, ‘How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.’ 15 But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.’ 17 Then Eli answered, ‘Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.’ 18 And she said, ‘Let your servant find favour in your sight.’ Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer. 19 They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked him of the Lord.’ 

Mark 13: 1-8

1 As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!’ 2 Then Jesus asked him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’ 3 When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4 ‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?’ 5 Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray. 7 When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs. 

Preaching of the Word - Expectations

When we woke up this morning, many of us stepped into a world of expectations. This was not a conscious decision; it's just where we live, in a land where life is good, we have the luxury of taking many things for granted. If the night had been warm and the day is forecast for heat the air conditioning probably stayed on so we could awake to a comfortable room temperature; and if it was dark when we awoke, we reached for a light switch so the invisible dangers could be revealed. Then we walked into a room with running water inside the house. Now you're even listening to my voice through Internet Technology – Zoom or you might have been in days before Covid listening through a sound system. And, you expected and hoped it would work so you could hear me when the switch was turned on.

So many things we expect in life we just take for granted until something doesn't work. The alarm doesn't go off. It's hot in the house. It’s cold in the house and the heating doesn’t come on. The light switch is non-responsive. We panic for a minute. We get frustrated. Then we think, "This is not how my day is supposed to be. My life is supposed to play out in such a way that I have all that I need to be comfortable. However, this morning, somebody or something flipped the script. And now I have no power when I'm supposed to have power."

Most of the rest of our world plays out a very different script; a minor power outage is disappointing. Outside of our country or outside of our neighbourhood there are problems and concerns many of us can't even begin to comprehend. There are illnesses that can't be treated, people dying in need of food, political and civil unrest, and overt exploitation and abuse of humanity and nature. A power outage in most of the world is a good day. Yet many of us see the discomfort and shock of power outages in this country, natural disasters like hurricanes and weather-pattern changes, wars in places where wars have been waged since the beginning of recorded history, and some of us interpret these events as "the sign of the times."

Where we live, 'be alert' has become more a catchcry in the 'war against terror' or a tool in the weaponry of road-safety campaigners, than an issue of spiritual 'safety'. What kinds of spheres do we need to be alert in where we live? What do we expect our world to be like in such an environment? One field in which we certainly need to remain spiritually alert and informed about our expectations is in the face of the multitudinous cranks out there peddling extremist, fundamentalist versions of what Jesus is on about.

Not just in what we consider 'extremist' churches, but within mainline ones these days. In this last year, I've come across nasty instances in our Denomination and other Denominations here in Australia and worldwide. It can happen!

It doesn’t just happen out there somewhere but could even happen right here in our own congregation.  How can we live in our time and God's time at the same time, in the world and in the church as Christ's Body, and do it free from fear? 'Perfect love casts out fear' says John. Persecution of Christians these days in some of our societies is just as likely to come from fundamentalist protestant or catholic factions within churches more than from outside.

Besides which, those out there in the wide margins probably think we're not worth persecuting any more. All the fun has gone out of the game! Nevertheless, it still lingers within in some quarters. The places where misguided people try to draw in church margins tightly round fellow Christians. Isn't it ironic that that's the way Jesus' warnings may be fulfilled today?

That Jesus speaks of wars, earthquakes, and famines, as 'the beginning of birth-pangs' could be a helpful way of exploring the pains that our world still - as always - labours under. We have become very comfortable with the expectation that all will remain the same or get better. I really wonder where our focus might be. Is it in the expectation of all the comforts being there and available all the time? On the other hand, is it on where God calls us to be and is it on the most important thing of God’s great love for us?

What do we really have to bear to bring something worthwhile to birth? Have we even thought about it? Have we thought about what it is we are meant to be doing to bring about the Kingdom of Godhere and now?  As distinct from theological philosophising, what practical and constructive steps must we take, as a congregation and as individual members to 'endure to the end'? I will leave you with some more questions to ponder over the next weeks before our focus is taken to shops and parties and gifts and all the other trappings of our western Christmas lifestyle.

Are you listening for God’s Holy Spirit for what you say and how you face those whom you meet day to day? And what is this end that Jesus talks about? Whom, is the end for and is it important? Is our call to be working to enable God’s kingdom to be here and now in his love the most important thing? Is this gospel passage too close to the bone? 

Hymn: TIS 172: My soul gives glory to my God

                        (Tune – Morning Song)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zM9Sm7liiw 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with:     hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 25 Sunday – Year B 

We can meet God’s presence in the silence of our inner hearts, but we need to find a quiet place and some time to tune out our chattering thoughts and just turn our hearts and wills to loving God and letting God’s love and grace and peace flow through us.

God of covenant, whose faithfulness and promise are everlasting: let your Spirit whisper your faithfulness to the oppressed and grieving; your promise to the ‘pushed aside’ and lonely; and let your Word speak hope to the distressed.

In your mercy, hear our prayer

Hear the cry of those who call on your name: those we have named on our lips, and in the silence of our hearts; and those whose troubles are known only to you.

In your mercy, hear our prayer

Loving God whose decrees are sure, whose precepts are right, and whose glory is wordlessly spoken from one end of the cosmos to the other; hear our prayer, in Jesus’ name.

In your mercy, hear our prayer

Loving God our joy, is to be there before you our Lord, that’s all, To shut the eyes of my body, To shut the eyes of my soul, And to be still and silent, To expose myself to you who are there, exposed to me, To be there before you, the Eternal Presence, I am willing to feel nothing, Lord, to see nothing to hear nothing.

Empty of all ideas of all images, In the darkness. Here I am, simply To meet you without obstacles, In the silence of faith, Before you, Lord.

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 607: Make me a Channel of your Peace.

                       (Tune – Channel of Peace)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8eorCEMIK4               

        Benediction

         Go in peace, remembering a mother’s faith in God— a faith that brought comfort and strength in the midst of her longing and pain. Go in love, remembering a saviour’s trust in God — a trust that revealed the promise of eternal life. Go with God. 

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

                          (Tune – Aubrey).

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



 

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniying Worship - All Saints HC - 07 November 2021

 

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

The Surprise of the Resurrection, Sunday 07th November 2018

All Saints 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

God’s care, protection and justice is sure and eternal, and through the self-offering of Christ, all people can find security within the grace of God. The challenge is to ensure we place our trust in the right place, while also endeavouring to be faithful and righteous in whatever power or leadership we may exercise.

The usual readings for today – not those for All Saints which we are celebrating - focuses on the question of truth, the truth about who we are rather than presenting an image of ourselves that makes us look good. Read about the widow who puts the two worthless copper coins in the offering who is not ashamed of showing who she is.

Jesus proclaims that the widow gave more than the rich people. This is a summary of the Gospel, as God looks at the heart and its readiness to give generously. It is worth reflecting on whether you measure your worth by external success or by looking at your heart and seeing if it is ready to give generously, even in poverty. Ask God to help you look at yourself and at others as God looks at us. 

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

        Look to the saints of God for direction. Trust in the saints of God for guidance. Be the saints of God for the world.

     Look, here is our God, the One we have waited for.

     Let us be glad and rejoice in our salvation.

     Come feast on rich food and dine on fine wine.

     Enjoy the blessings of the Lord, the vindication from our God.

     Come! Let us worship the Lord.      

Hymn TIS 455 verses 1, 2, 4, 6, 7 & 8: For All the Saints

                    (Tune – Sine Nomine)

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

     Opening prayer

     God of new beginnings remove the shroud that separates us from one another and from your mighty presence, that we may see you as you are. Wipe away our tears and take away our disgrace, that we may come before your throne with hearts full of song and souls ablaze with joy. Help us to live as those who are prepared to die and enable us to die as those who go forth to live, so that whether living or dying, our hearts will always belong to you. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

Wellspring of tears, you know well our grief and our longing to see you face to face.

O how we wish you would come down and save us. In our pain, we have grown impatient. In our sorrow, we have doubted the depth of your love. Forgive us, Patient One, when we forget that Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus.

Renew our faithfulness, Holy One, when like Mary and Martha before us, we despair of tasting the joy of eternal life.

Open our mouths to exclaim with delight: Here is our God for whom we have waited! We need your grace to complete us. We need your love to make us whole. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

The one who shows us a vision of a new heaven and a new earth is faithful. The one who prepares for us a banquet of rich food and fine wines, will wipe away every tear. The King of Glory has come to bring us salvation.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

God is here to wipe away every tear and bring us blessing upon blessing. Let us rejoice in the fellowship of the saints of God, as we share signs of peace in Christ’s name.

The peace of Christ be with you.

The peace of Christ be with you always.

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

Offering Prayer

God of abundance, you offer us rich food and fine wines; you bless us with all the bounty of your heavenly banquet. May the gifts we offer this day, provide food and drink to those who go without, that all may come to know the blessings of your table, in this world and in the world to come. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 278: O What a gift

                        (Tune – Canticle of the Gift)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kBa0u6cedY                                    

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.

All glory and honour be yours always and everywhere, mighty Creator, ever living God. We give you thanks and praise for your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, who by the power of your Spirit was born of Mary and lived as one of us. By his death on the cross and rising to new life, he offered the one true sacrifice for sin and obtained an eternal deliverance for his people. And now we give you thanks because you have called us into the fellowship of all your saints and set before us the example of their witness and the fruit of your Spirit in their lives. Therefore, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and singing:

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!

Merciful God, we thank you for these gifts of your creation, this bread and wine, and we pray that by your Word and Holy Spirit, we who eat and drink them may be partakers of Christ’s body and blood. 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 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.’

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

You have gathered us together to feed on Christ and to remember all he has done for us. Fill us with your Spirit

that we may follow Jesus in all we do and say,      working for justice and bringing your peace to this world you have made. Accept our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord

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

The gifts of God for the people of God. Come let us take this holy sacrament of the body and blood of Christ in remembrance that he died for us, and feed on him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving. 

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:                                            Isaiah 25:6-9

                             The Gospel Reading:                                John 11:32-44

                               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 

Isaiah 25:6-9

6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear. 7 And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; 8 he will swallow up death for ever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9 It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. 

John 11:32-44

32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ 37 But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’ 38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.’ 40 Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’ 

Preaching of the Word - The Surprise of the Resurrection, All Saints’ Day

Winston Churchill, arguably one of the greatest political and military leaders of the 20th century, planned every detail of his funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. He worked clandestinely with the Cathedral staff, under the code name “Operation-Hope-Not.” (That code name reveals a lot about humanity’s attitude toward death, doesn’t it?) One aspect of his funeral seems absolutely inspired: a bugler played The Last Post, from the west end of the cathedral. When the sombre notes of that solo bugle echoed through the Cathedral, I can imagine the stiff upper lips of many Brits quivered, as they were no longer able to hold back tears.

Then a full minute of silence passed.

And then, surely a surprise to all those mourners who crowded into St. Paul’s that day, another bugler, this one positioned in the east, rose to play Reveille, the happy morning bugle call that gives soldiers and scouts the “get up and go” they need to kick-start their day. Perhaps after the tears, a few suppressed chuckles slipped out. Always a commanding presence – even from the dead – Churchill relayed two important messages.

First, he offered a testimony to the shock, joy, and surprise of the Resurrection. At the last day, we’ll all rise to the sound of the Lord playing a heavenly version of Reveille and waking us up to the new life, new earth, new Jerusalem. It wasn’t random that the Reveille came from the east, where the sun rises, the direction the altar faces in many churches, the direction from which we expect Christ to return again.

Secondly, Churchill bid them to press on, to attend to the day at hand, and the life ahead, here and now.

But let’s go back in our imagination to that minute of silence because that is where we can locate this great feast day we’ve gathered to celebrate: All Saints’ Day.

That minute of silence is where we find ourselves wondering:

  • Is this really it?
  • What comes next?
  • Do we have enough tears to cry?
  • Is there enough patience to persevere?

Somewhere in the uncomfortable silence, having heard The Last Post and waiting for Reveille.

Somewhere in the waiting, for God to descend among us and wipe every tear from our eyes.

Somewhere in the hoping, that Jesus’ words are trustworthy and true.

Somewhere in the trusting, that God is preparing, for all peoples – my favourite saints and yours, those dearly departed in this community and abroad, folk we miss dearly and folk we never knew – that God is preparing a feast of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.

Somewhere in the discomfiting silence, where we wait for God to swallow up death forever, even as it abides with us here and now.

And in this quiet and disquieting moment, when we wait, hope, trust on our best days and fight despair on our worst – that is the moment where we meet the Lord.

Today’s liturgy, feast, and Gospel reading all encourage us to feel the grief and sorrow, maybe even impatience at having to wait that long minute before we hear Reveille, or anger at how death takes away, at least in physical form, the people we love. We are given the courage we need to wait for Reveille – together, nourished around this table, hearing God’s story in our stories, and pleading, like Mary did, for Jesus to come and take death away.

Today’s Gospel story is remarkable. In John’s Gospel, the raising of Lazarus is the event that provokes the necessity of Jesus’ death in the eyes of his day’s elite. After Lazarus was raised, the religious and political leaders were focused on eliminating him. There was something so threatening in Jesus’ disruption of the world on the world’s terms. Jesus is distraught: weeping, disturbed, maybe even angry, and certainly grief-stricken. And yet Jesus is fully in-charge, not operating on our preferred timetable, but on his own with a larger purpose in mind, that of engendering trust or belief in the crowd that had gathered.

Mary articulates what many of us feel when someone close to us dies: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus doesn’t directly respond to this. Instead, he begins to take charge, first finding out where the body is and then issuing a series of short commands:

Take away the stone.
Lazarus, come out!
Unbind him, and let him go.

What would it be like to prayerfully wonder how the Holy Spirit might be telling us in the words of Jesus:

“Take away the stone.” What stones in our lives need to be removed so that Jesus can get to us? Ask for the grace to take away the stone.

“Lazarus, come out.” Jesus knows us each by name and calls us o’er the tumult. Even death can’t deafen our ear to Jesus’ call. “Lazarus, come out.”

“Unbind him and let him go.” Sometimes each one of us needs help becoming free, loosing ourselves from the chains that bind us to death-dealing ways. To whom in your life can Jesus say, “Go, unbind your friend. The abundant life is available for him, for her, for you, here and now, even in your grief, even in your tears, even in your longing to be reunited with your beloved who is now part of that great cloud of witnesses.”

Each of these commands offers good material for our own prayer life. When we pray, just like when we receive the sacraments, we are closer to the saints because we are placing our hearts and minds in the nearer presence of God.

Jesus is very explicit about why he raised his friend Lazarus. He did this so that the crowd back then, and you and me today, might believe, might trust in the God who sent Jesus to raise Lazarus, in the Father who raised the Son on the third day, in the Lord who will swallow up death forever. This story inspires us in our waiting, in our hoping, in our trusting, in that long silence between the Last Post  and Reveille.

And, maybe, just maybe, in heaven, the equivalent of Reveille goes like this:

Holy, Holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts…

And maybe, just maybe, every Sunday, we come back here to hear that tune, to wake up to it, maybe even to join in – with the angels, archangels and all the company of heaven – including those saints we remember and grieve and are grateful for and celebrate this day.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts: Heaven and earth are full of thy Glory. Hosanna in the highest. 

Hymn TIS 448: Blest are the pure in heart

                       (Tune – Franconia)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8h3fvk9wGY       

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with:     hear our prayer. 

All Saints Sunday – Year B

0 God, whose face we long to see, but often fail to recognise in our midst, hear the prayers we bring for the world and for the church.

We give you thanks for the dazzling beauty of your creation, and for our sisters and brothers, with whom we share this planet. We pray for all places where there is conflict and for harmony between nations; for all who work to promote justice and peace. God our Maker, in the treasures of your creation, in your sons and daughters, let us see your face.

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for your church, for that great company with whom we are joined across distances of time and place and tradition. We pray for your church today, that we may continue a faithful witness to your gospel; for all who commit their lives to your service. God our Redeemer, in the church that you love, let us see your face.

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for those whose work sustains this community, for all whose love and friendship enrich our lives. We pray for all in hospitals and nursing homes; for schools and universities and for all who prepare for exams; for our families, our neighbours and our friends. God our Companion, in those we love, and in those who love us, let us see your face.

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for the courage of many who suffer, for the patience and dedication of those who care for them.

We pray for all in need of your sustaining love and comfort:

for the outcasts of society, for the forgotten, the hungry and homeless; for everyone whose body is broken or whose spirit is sad. God our Healer, in those who suffer and in those who minister to them, let us see your face.

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks and praise for all your saints, for Mary of Nazareth, and for your faithful people of every time and tongue and nation. We pray for those who have nurtured and encouraged us, inspired, and challenged us; for those dear and close to us and for those countless others known to you by name. Help us so to follow the example of your saints that we may come with them to the new Jerusalem, and, with Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and your friends of every age, stand before your throne in glory. God, our beginning, and our ending, in all your saints and in one another, let us see your face.

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 456: Your hand, O God, has guided

                         (Tune – Thornbury)

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

          Benediction

         With clean hands and pure hearts, hold fast to the faith of the saints who went before us.

        In our living and in our dying, we belong to God.

        With hopeful hearts and expectant spirits, receive the blessings of our gracious host.

        In our living and in our dying, we belong to God.

        With Christ as our door to eternal life, find the courage to open the door and go in.

        In our living and in our dying, we belong to God.

        Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:

        In the name of Christ. Amen 

        Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you now

                      (Tune – Somos Del Señor)

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



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - November 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - October 29, 2021 - 11:14pm

Marsden Road UnitingChurch

203 Marsden Road Carlingford

November 2021

Our mission: Reflecting Christ Alive in the Community

Welcome! We gatherto worship togetherat 9.30am everySunday on the

homelands of the Wallumedegal clan of the Darug 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 READINGS FOR OCTOBER

Psalms: 127; 16;93; 25: 1 - 10. 1 Kings 17:8–16; 1 Samuel 2:1–10; Daniel 7:9–10,13–14; Jeremiah 33:14–16. Mark 12: 38-44; Mark 13: 1-8; John 18:33–37; Luke 21:25–36

PRAYER

God of power and mercy, protect us from all harm. Give us freedom of spirit and health in mind and body to do your work on earth. We ask this through our Lord JesusChrist, your Son,who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen



CHURCH SERVICES

7th November 9.30am: Rev John Candy will lead our service 

14th November 9.30am:Rev John Candy will lead our service

21st November 9.30am: Lyn Graham will lead our service 

28th November 9.30am:Warwick Roden will lead our service

Note:

** Zoom links for Rev John and other leaders are different **


CHURCH COUNCIL MEETING


will be held on 9th November at 7.30pm. It will be a Zoom meeting, with Zoom address,as usual: 4820112178

ADVENT CANDLES

Delta Era Zoom Style. Let’s collect five candles for lighting in our own homes during AdventSunday Services from 28th Novemberup to Christmas Day.

ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS SERVICES

Advent commences on Sunday 28th November and will currently be a Zoom service.

We plan to return to face to face worship in the church on Sunday 5th December with 1.5 metre distancing, plus singing and morning tea allowed. Masks will be optional. We will be able to makea joyful noiseonce again !CURRENT DONATIONS

We have made monthly projectsof the following groups:

August: “Covid Caring”- to Foodbank

September &October: “Covid Caring”to Christian CommunityAid

November: Christmas Child and Parramatta Mission

December: Christmas Bowl

Christmas boxes to fill for Christmas Child are available from Elaine  during November or donate on line through Samaritan’s Purse on: https://samaritanspurse.org.au/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

 

CHURCH CHRISTMASPARTY

will be held on Friday 3rd December commencing at 11.30am in Terry’sCreek Park. Bring your food and drink,and some to share.

NURTURE GROUP CHRISTMAS PARTY

will be on Thursday 9th December at 11.30am in the home of Lyn and Malcolm Colless, 26 Pauline Avenue, Killcare. This will be a barbecue, so Lyn will buy the meat and we will cover the cost. Please let Elaine know if you wish to attend, and what you would like to bring.Also, please bring a wrappedpresent to the value of $15 for the Present Game.


REV JOHN WRITES:Dear All at Marsden Road,

Well the departure of Wendy and I has drawn very close, as we continue to prepare for our time of moving into Retirement. The arrangements are for us to have our last Sunday with you on the 21st of November 2021 and then go on leave. Our leave task will be to move back to our home in Adelaide. We fly out  to Adelaide on the 6th of December 2021 to start the process of moving into a retirement life. We have no plans to return to Sydney in the near future. Wendy hopes to get casual/part-time work in Adelaide for next year.

 Sadly due to Covid regulations we have had difficulty in planning a Closure of     Ministry Service.The difficulty is finding an appropriate venue, as MarsdenRoad is  only able to have  20 people attend at present.The service is proposedfor 2pm  Saturday 20th of November 2021. Please watch your Emailsfor    confirmation of day and date    and whether we will have it by Zoom or which    venue at a nearby Church we will use.

I am hoping to contact as many people as possible to say goodbye before then. However, the Covid situationmay ensure circumstances may make that difficult also. If I am unable to directly make contact I will apologise now if that happens and say farewell to you all and thank you all for the privilege of being your Minister over the last five and half years. Wendy and I have valued our time with you, and the friendships that have been formed. We have valued the way in which you have invited us into your homes and lives.For this we give you thanks. Farewelland blessings to all in your future faith journey.

Wendy and John

CHURCH SERVICEZOOM LINKS

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

                        OTHER LEADERS or Meetings: 4820112178 

Dates for your Diary

Friday 3rd December:Christmas Lunch 11.30 in the park

9th December: Nurture Group Christmas Lunch @ Killcare

24th December: Christmas Eve Carol Service 7pm in the church 

25th December: Christmas Day Family Service8.30am in church

Sunday 9th February 2025:Triumphant 200 

We will celebratethe 200th Anniversary of our Congregation


CONTACTS

Minister of the Word

Rev John Candy0411 267 639  or whitestarhaven@gmail.com

Church CouncilChairperson: Warwick Roden 9874 7584 Church Council 

Bank details:A/C name: MarsdenRoad Uniting ChurchBSB: 634 634; A/C Number:100049856

Website: www.marsdenroadunitingchurch.org.au

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



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

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

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


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

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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

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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



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