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Marsden Road Unting Worship - Easter 5 - 02 May 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Is There an App For Abiding?

Easter 5 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 2021)

        Christ is the vine. We are the branches. Abide in the vine, and you will abide in love.

     Come to Christ, the true vine, and bear much fruit.

     and to bear the fruit of salvation.

     Come to love one another, for love is of God.

     We have come to the household of love, for God is love.

     Come to set aside your fears, for perfect love drives out fear.

     We have come to love one another, as God has loved us. 

     Come! All are welcome here. 

Hymn 153: God is love, let heaven adore him.

                 (tune – Abbot’s Leigh) 

     Opening prayer

     Divine Vinegrower, the soil of your love nurtures the roots of our lives each and every day. As we consecrate ourselves into your loving care, plant us in the soil of your love, that we may abide in Christ, our true vine, and bear the fruit of your love and grace. Give us rain in seasons of doubt and nourish our growth, that our harvest of love may bless the world. In your bountiful name, we pray. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

Source of love and life, your glory knows no bounds.

We yearn to set aside our fears, but we are often afraid. We long to love our sisters and brothers, but we often feel alienated from them.

We desire to abide in you as you abide in us, but we can’t seem to figure out how.

Show us once more how to love, for only love can cast out our fear. Show us how to love one another well, for only then can we truly know you.

Show how to abide in your vine, for only then can we bear the fruit that glorifies your name. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

When we abide in Christ, we abide in the vine of love and grace. Abide in the vine and receive mercy beyond measure.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

As we abide in Christ, our vine, we bear the fruit of God’s love. Let us share the joy of our fortune by exchanging signs of Christ’s peace with one another.

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

Bountiful God, you fill the poor with good things and cause the hungry to be satisfied. May these gifts be instruments of your grace and may our very lives be the means of spreading your blessings. Make these gifts be for the world a sign of your boundless love and your overflowing abundance. Amen. 

Hymn 104: While morning still is breaking.

                 (tune – Webb)                    

The Service of Holy Communion

 The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth. You formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life. When we turned away from you, and our love failed, you turned to us, again and again, and your love remained steadfast. You led us from slavery to freedom, made a covenant with us, and set before us the way that leads to life. And so with your people on earth, and all the company of heaven, We praise your name and join their unending hymn.

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

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

Holy are you and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ. Your spirit anointed him to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to announce the time when you would save your people. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and ate with sinners. His very presence was and is a sign of your victory over death. He was and is the resurrection and the life. He led and leads us to freedom from sin and death. And the meal that we share is a sign of your new and everlasting covenant.

On the night in which he gave himself for us he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples and said, “Drink from this, all of you; this is the blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

And so, in remembrance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving, claiming the promise that if we have died with him, we shall also be raised with him, as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of the risen Christ, redeemed by his blood. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other,

and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy church, all honour and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. Amen. 

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

The Breaking of the Bread

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

Thanks, be to God. 

Lamb of God

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

have mercy on us.

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

have mercy on us.

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

grant us peace. 

Invitation to Communion

Come to the table of grace, for Christ is the vine, and we are the branches.

Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come to the table of love, for whoever does not love, does not know God.

Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Come to the table of blessing, for Christ is here to abide in us, as we abide in him.

Come, Holy Spirit, come. 

Prayer after Communion

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

The Service of the Word 

 First Reading:                                             1 John 4.7-21

 The Gospel Reading:                                John 15.1-8

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

 Please respond by saying                  Thanks be to God. 

1 John 4.7-21

7 Beloved let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. 

John 15.1-8

        1 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

Preaching of the Word - Is There an App For Abiding? - John 15:1-8

Unfortunately, some of us feel that if we don’t check our smartphones every few minutes, we will miss out on something crucial, maybe the event of the year or the e-mail that will change the course of our lives. And it is even more embarrassing when we don’t seem to be aware that we are doing it, and someone brings it to our attention – often the person we should have been listening to!

A common lament, whether working in an office or as a full-time parent, is that there simply are not enough hours in the day. Schedules are too full, responsibilities too numerous and commitments too demanding. Given this, a common reason as to why we don’t eat better or exercise more or even pray more regularly is simply, “Who has the time?”

We can easily mishear the invitation in today’s gospel passage as yet another demand on our time. We can make the mistake of assuming that what often works well in one aspect of our lives, works equally well in our spiritual lives: in this case, the motto of every controlling and rushed person – which is all of us at one time or another – “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.”

But listen to Jesus today, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.” And Jesus goes on to tell us very clearly who is doing the work, and it is not you or me, my friends. “He removes every branch in me that does not bear fruit.”

This image of the people of God as “God’s vineyard” is a very old one, going back to the Jewish psalms, as well as other places in the Old Testament.

Listen to part of Psalm 80: “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.” Again, notice that it is God who is doing all the planting here, not us. And think of all the other I AM statements found in the Gospel of John: “I AM the light of the world,” “I AM the gate,” “I AM the resurrection and the life.”

All these I AM statements in the Gospel of John point to the reality of God’s availability. It is ironic that Christianity has the reputation of being an other-worldly religion, focused almost exclusively on how to get into heaven. Maybe you have seen the bumpers stickers declaring, “Jesus is coming, look busy!” or “Friends don’t let friends miss out on heaven!” It may sound surprising, but this kind of theology of a “distant god” is what most of us are comfortable with, because it ultimately pushes God to the sidelines, and we can remain in control. We are very good at being busy and taking responsibility, and we rather prefer this to being on the receiving end of change. But as Jesus in today’s reading, “Abide in me as I abide in you.”

In today’s gospel, Jesus addresses us twice with the phrase “I AM the vine.” There is a promise here. “I AM the vine, and you are the branches.” Jesus is asking each of us to simply be with him. This sounds deceptively easy. Listen to the words of the Collect for Purity from the Anglican Prayer Book: “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.” It’s OK to relax a bit and stop worrying about hiding those parts of ourselves that we don’t want others, and surely not God, to see. We can abide with God, instead of busying ourselves to keep God at a distance.

The promise of Jesus, the Vine, the Gate, the Light, is abundant life here and now, not just in some future time. God is doing more in our lives than any of us are aware. God in Jesus is simply inviting each of us to take the time to notice. But the trick, of course, is to let God do what God needs to do and for us to get out of the way. Jesus is very clear on this point when he says: “I AM the vine, you are the branches.” That is what abiding in the power of the Word is all about, not placing impediments in God’s way by trying to do for ourselves what God wants to do for us: reshape our hearts, bodies and minds to receive the forgiveness being offered.

Hopefully, now, you can hear Jesus’ words as the beautiful invitation it truly is: “Abide in me as I abide in you.” 

Hymn 681: Lord, let me see.

                 (tune – Let me See) 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with hear our prayer. 

Easter 5 – Year B

Loving and merciful God, you sent your Son into the world that all might have life through him: we pray for the whole family of nations.

We pray for all who endure poverty, starvation, oppression or war; we pray for peace between nations and for a just sharing of the earth's resources, that we may live as sisters and brothers, children of the same God.

God of love, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

You sent your Son to be the Saviour of the world: we

pray for your worldwide church.

We pray for all who bring alive the Scriptures, for missionaries, teachers, theologians, writers and preachers:

we pray for unity among Christians, that together we may proclaim the gospel and live as sisters and brothers, children of the same God.

God of love, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

You sent your Son into the world that we might know your love for all people: we pray for this community.

We pray for our families and friends, those we meet in our daily lives, for the hungry and homeless and those without work; We pray for a community that values and cares for all its members, that we may live as sisters and brothers, children of the same God.

God of love, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

You sent your Son into the world to heal the sick, console the sorrowing and satisfy the hungry with good things: we pray for all in need.

We pray for all who are lonely and sad, for those in

grief or despair and for the sick; we pray for compassion and generosity to respond to the needs of others, that we may live as sisters and brothers, children of the same God.

God of love, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

You sent your Son into the world that we might have eternal life: we remember your faithful people who rest in your eternal love.

We give thanks for Philip and all who have opened your Scriptures to others, for all who have carried your good news to distant places and all who have shared your gospel with those close at hand.

In life and in death may we follow your saints, that with our sisters and brothers of every generation, we too may abide forever in your love.

God of love, 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 640: Kneels at the feet of his friends.

                 (tune – Chereponi) 

          Benediction

         Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God.

        We will be born of love each day of our lives.

        Beloved, let us abide in Christ’s love, for he is the vine, and we are the branches.

        We will grow as Christ’s disciples and bear fruit for a world in need.

        Beloved, let us care for one another, for the Spirit helps us abide in God’s peace.

        We will glorify God in the lives we lead. 

Hymn 778: Shalom to you

                 (tune – Somos del Senor)           

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - May 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - April 26, 2021 - 11:44pm

Marsden Road Uniting Church

203 Marsden Road Carlingford

Monthly Newssheet May 2021

Our mission

Reflecting Christ Alive in the Community

Welcome! We gather to worship togetherat 9.30am everySunday on the homelands of theWallumedegal 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 MAY

Psalms: 22: 25-31;98; 1; 104: 24-34,35b; 29.

N.T. Acts: 8: 26-40;10: 44-48; 1: 15-17, 21-26; 2: 1-21.

Gospel of John 15: 1-8; 15:9-17; 17: 6-19; 16: 4b-15; 3: 1-17.

Romans 8:12-17. 

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, walk with us in our day-to-day routine, we pray,so that our lives reflectyour presence and your values, and those with whom we mix can see that we have been with you.Shine though us, wepray. Amen 

CHURCH SERVICES

2nd May 9.30am: Rev John Candy will lead our service.

9th May 9.30am: Rev John Candy will lead our service.

16th May 9.30am: Dermot Armstrong will lead our service.

 23rd May 9.30am: Rev John Candy will lead our service.

30th May 9.30am: Alan Harper will lead our service. 

TRANSPORT

If you need transportto church, pleasering Elaine on 98747231. 

EDUCATION & SOCIAL COMMITTEE

There will be a committee meetingon Thursday 13th May at 2pm at the Forrest’s’, when we will discuss a program of activities for the remainderof the year. Come with your ideas. 

NURTURE GROUP

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 13th May at 11.30am at the Forrest’s’. Val Burgoyne will tell us her life story. Bring a plate to share for lunch. Everyone is welcome.

On Thursday 27th May Helen and Graham Edgerton will come to Nurture Group at the Forrest’s’ and show their pictures and tell of their trip to Arnhem Land. We will start with lunch at 11.30am. Please bring a plate to share. As always, everyoneis welcome. 

CHURCH COUNCIL

Church Council will meet on Tuesday 11th May at 7.30pm in the Gillard Room at the Church. An agenda will be circulated a week before the meeting. 

POP UP PICNIC - Let’s do it again!

To enjoy Autumn in our area and to celebrate belongingto a Christian Church community, we will be holding anotherpicnic.

·        It will all happen on Friday 14th May at 12.30pm and finish at 2pm or whenever!

·        We will gather in Mobbs Lane Park at the bottom of the hill in Mobbs Lane, on the left-hand

·        side coming from Marsden Road. Bring a folding chair, a sunhat, your own lunch, something to drink such as a thermos of tea or coffee or a cold drink.

·        Invite anyone associated with our church - or any friends you would like to bring along.

·        If you require transport, please contact Elaine or Grahame Forrest on 9874 7231.

Relax,catch up and enjoy the time together.

AN ANZAC TRIBUTE

 

ONE THOUSAND MEN ARE WALKING


One thousand men are walking,  walking side by side


singing songs from home the spiritas their guide

they walk toward the light milord they walk towardsthe sun

they smoke and laugh and smile together no foes tooutrun

these men live onforever

in the hearts of those they saved a nation truly grateful

for the path of peace they paved they march as friends and comrades but they do not marchfor war

step closer to salvation a tranquilsteady corps

the meadows lit with golden beams a beacon for the brave

the emerald grass untrampleda reward for whatthey gave

they dream of those they left behind and know they dream of themforever in those poppyfields

there walks one thousand men

Lest we forget

 

Written and illustrated by a 14-year-old boy in 2019.

Joshua Dyer (aged 14) was tasked at schoolto write a poem for Remembrance Day.

An hour later (withoutany help) he produced this. 


2021 Datesfor your Diary

Thursday 13th May NurtureGroup at Forrest’s’ at 11.30am Thursday27th May NurtureGroup at Forrest’s’ at 11.30am

 

Website: www.marsdenroadunitingchurch.org.au

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



 



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

MRUC Worship for Easter 3 - 18 April 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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What Is There to Eat…,

Easter 3 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People 

 Acknowledgement of First Peoples

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

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

Call to Worship - (Abingdon Worship Annual 2021)       

For all who lose sight of hope, adjust our perspective, catch our eye, and touch us, Risen Saviour, with your surprising presence.

Answer us when we call, O God. Be gracious to us and hear our prayer.

When we are in distress, you make space for us. You put gladness in our hearts, as with a fine feast.

When we are disturbed, may we not sin, but ponder things on our beds, and be silent.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace. For you alone,O Lord, make me lie down in safety. 

Hymn TIS 261: Lord, you are the light of life to me.

                       (tune – Fairmead) 

     Opening Prayer

     Holy God, we give thanks that you often reveal yourself to be different from our expectations. When we long for the love we have known in the past, our eyes are dimmed to the beauty you reveal to us now. As your first followers struggled to see how a suffering saviour could be the messiah, we strain to recognize you still today. Come, Spirit, make yourself known in the study of scripture, in our songs of praise, and especially in the grace and love we offer one another, Make yourself known in every friend we have yet to meet in your good and blessed name. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

Spirit of the Risen Saviour, when we fail to recognize you, we become reluctant to follow in your way.

Just as the disciples struggled to comprehend how the Christ could have been a suffering servant, we find it difficult to see you in those who suffer today.

We resist starting down the path you have shown us until we know exactly where it will lead.

Free us from cynicism and fear. Liberate your world from suspicion and prejudice. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Christ lived, died, and rose again for us, even while we were sinners. This is proof of God’s love for us. In the name of Christ, we are forgiven!

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Welcome each other. Welcome the stranger. Welcome all who come. As Christ welcomed everyone, no matter what their background, no matter what their social status; as Christ welcomed enemies and friends, outcasts and leaders, foreigners and neighbours, let us open our hearts and homes and lives. Let us be Christ to everyone we meet.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Jesus appears to the Disciples.

Object: None is needed.

I remember times when I was a youngster when I went on camping trips. One of the favourite activities on those trips was sitting around a campfire at night and telling ghost stories. Even though I kept telling myself, "There is no such thing as a ghost," that didn't keep some of those stories from scaring the daylights out of me, and they often made it difficult for me to go to sleep that night.

Now, that might seem like a strange way to begin a Bible lesson, but even in Bible times, some people believed in ghosts and were afraid of them. Today's Bible lesson is one example of that.

The story begins after two men had walked along a road to a place called Emmaus. They were discussing the crucifixion of Jesus and all of the events that had taken place in the past few days. They wondered what it all meant. As they walked, they were joined by a man on their walk. They did not recognize that the man was Jesus. There is much more to that part of the story, but it is enough for now that we know that Jesus revealed himself to them. Finally, they recognized that the man was Jesus. They were so excited to see that Jesus was alive that they jumped up and walked all the way back to Jerusalem.

The two men found Jesus' disciples and began telling them what they had seen. The Bible tells us that as they said these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be to you." Do you think the disciples felt peace? No! The Bible says that they were terrified and filled with fear, thinking that they had seen a ghost!

Once again Jesus spoke to his disciples. "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do."

Still the disciples stood in disbelief, so Jesus asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of fish, and he ate it as they watched. That was even further proof that they were not seeing a ghost. A ghost doesn't need food.

The disciples had seen Jesus die. They had seen him placed in a tomb. But now they saw Jesus alive. Not just this day, but for more than 40 days, they saw him and talked with him. They even watched him eat food. They were not seeing a ghost! Those same disciples went all over the world, telling the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, his death, and his resurrection. They never stopped telling the story during their whole lives.

You and I have been called to tell the story just like those disciples. We must be a witness for Jesus, too. We must tell the world that Jesus is alive. 

Offering

God of love help us remember that Christ has no body now on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours. Ours are the eyes to see the needs of the world. Ours are the hands to bless the people we meet. Ours are the feet to do good in Christ’s name. Bless, O God, the work of our hands and these offerings, that they may be Christ’s work in the world. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 686: Lord Jesus, we belong to you.

                       (tune – Cooke Plains) 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Acts 3.12-20

The Gospel Reading:                                        Luke 24:36b-48

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 

Acts 3.12-20

12 When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, ‘You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you. 17 ‘And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, 

Luke 24:36b-48

36 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ 37 They were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence. 44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 

Preaching of the Word - What Is There to Eat…,

“What is there to eat?”

“Have you anything here to eat?”

Isn’t that just like Jesus? Not only does he insist, during his lifetime, that we need to enter the Kingdom like children, now in the resurrection he models that for us.

How many times a day in how many kitchens across the land do children, young and old, tall and small, just stand there and demand to know, “What is there to eat?” And that is always the primary question with Jesus. As in real life, so it is in the resurrection of the body.

In Emmaus Jesus breaks bread with two of the disciples. On the shores of the Sea of Galilee, he instructs the “Peter and John Fishing Company” to throw their nets over on the other side of their boat; they do so and fill the boat to overflowing! There are so many fish, in fact, that Peter has to jump overboard and wade into shore, where he finds Jesus, sitting by a charcoal fire, a few fish already on the grill, saying, “Come and have breakfast!”

Jesus says this to us, too: “Come and have breakfast!” We can relate to a God like this: on the beach, a warm fire, fresh fish, bread, some good friends. And then of course there is the story of the little boy. Jesus is there with five thousand people after a long day of teaching and preaching, and he turns to Philip and says, “What is there to eat? What do we have to feed all these people?”

It’s the same question. These stories can be seen as related.

And it’s a little boy who has five barley loaves and two fishes. And as it was that day, so it must have been on the beach, and so it was in that room with the disciples — same question, same food, same story. Everyone ate and was satisfied. Everyone’s eyes were opened, and they could see it was Jesus with them!

Everyone begins to understand when they eat with Jesus; to really understand for the first time. Everyone is to go and tell others to repent, to accept God’s forgiveness, and to tell the story-beginning right here and now!

And so, it is that we gather at the Lord’s table every week, to eat with him and his friends; to be fed to overflowing; to have our eyes opened and to begin to understand. And so, we, too, can go and tell others to repent, to accept God’s forgiveness, and to tell the story. This is how we know it is Jesus we are with-he is always eating and drinking with people. He always fills people to overflowing!

We know others did it, too. Peter, for instance. When asked for money by the lame man on the way to church, Peter said, “Silver and gold have we none. But such as we have given I thee. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And we know the man was healed and went walking and leaping and praising God. He became a witness of these things. Because he praised God and told the story, we are here today.

We gather and hear the words of scripture. We share the meal. We are with his friends. We recognise Jesus is here. And he sends us out to tell others the news, to tell others the story, to offer the Name of Jesus to everyone we meet.

So, when we are asked, “What is there to eat?” We can say, “Come and have breakfast. Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Rise up and walk! 

Hymn TIS 473: Community of Christ.

                       (tune – Leoni)              

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Easter 3 Sunday – Year B

Crucified and living God, we pray for the peace of the world, for harmony and good will between nations, for honesty and compassion in the exercise of government. We pray for all who are locked in lives of poverty, violence or disease. Risen God, send us to be instruments of your peace, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Crucified and living God, we pray for the preservation of the earth, for a delight in its beauty, a respect for its creatures, for wise and just use of its resources. We pray for creatures who are endangered by our cruelty, indifference or greed. Risen God, send us to be good stewards of your creation, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Crucified and living God, we pray for our land, for an appreciation of our diverse backgrounds and heritage, for a common sense of unity and purpose. We pray for all who live in fear because of prejudice, intolerance or exclusion. Risen God, send us to be agents of your reconciliation, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Crucified and living God, we pray for your church, for unity and love between Christians, for power to faithfully proclaim your gospel in the world. We pray for those whose faith is threatened by disobedience, persecution or disbelief. Risen God, send us to be witnesses of your resurrection, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Crucified and living God, we pray for those with whom we live and work, for our families, our friends and for ourselves, for relationships of mutual trust and love. We pray for those who are shut away behind bitterness, resentment or regret.

Risen God, send us to be bearers of your love, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Crucified and living God, we pray for all in need, for comfort for the sad, peace for the anxious, relief for the suffering, and patience and strength for those who care for them. We pray for those who live with grief, loneliness, despair or pain.

Risen God, send us to bring your healing and your hope, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Crucified arid living God, we remember and give thanks for your faithful people of every age who have believed and trusted in you. Help us, like them, to recognise the marks of your wounded love and your risen power, that, with them, we too may know you in our midst. Risen God, in life and in death let us rejoice in your presence, and, 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 210: O for a thousand tongues.

                               (tune – Lyngham)

        Benediction  

        Christ is alive and has met us here. Now let us meet God’s Spirit among friends, strangers, and in all of creation. For God’s love lives today and forevermore. Amen. 

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

                               (tune – Aubrey)




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

MRUC Worship for Easter 2 - 11 April 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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A Week Late to the Resurrection

Sunday 11th April 2021

Easter 2 Sunday - year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People       

Call to Worship - (Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)       

How pleasing it is to God when we live as one family, sharing all that we have in holy love. How eager is our God to bless us with everlasting life when we move from the shadows and forsake the works of darkness. How joyous is the life we find in Christ?

This is the day to walk in the light.

This is the day to share signs of peace.

This is the day to believe where we have not seen.

This is the day to embrace what we cannot touch. Come! Let us worship the Lord of life. 

Hymn TIS 382: Now the green blade rises from the

                       buried grain.

                 (tune – Noel Nouvelet) 

     Opening Prayer

     God of manifold blessing come to us this day. Come and bless us. Come and lead us into the light. For we come to you to find peace. We come to rediscover joy. We come to believe where we have not seen. We come to touch the glory of everlasting life, through the power of your Son. We come to truly live. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

Heart of all hearts, Joy of all joys, teach us how to live as one.

You offer us your abundant grace, and yet we still long to find rest and peace.

You have shown us the light of our salvation, yet we often lurk in the shadows.

You promise us the glory of everlasting life, yet we settle for the tarnished glow of selfish pursuits. Forgive us.

Help us believe where we have not seen; help us walk bravely in the midst of our fear, that we may truly know your peace each and every day. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

In Christ, God has forgiven not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world. Rejoice in the light and peace of the Holy One. Rejoice in the blessings of our God.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

After his resurrection, Christ greeted his disciples with these words: “Peace be with you.” As disciples of Christ, let us greet one another with these same words:

Peace be with you!

And also, with you! 

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Thomas doubts Christ's Resurrection

Object: A driver's license or some other photo identification card

Does anyone ever ask you for identification? It happens to me all the time. In the old days when I went into a store to buy something and I want to pay for it with a cheque, the person behind the counter would take my cheque and then asks, "May I see your driver's license please?" Why does the person need to see my driver's license? The answer is quite simple. The cashier wants to see if I match the picture on the driver's license. Am I really who I claim to be?

There may be other times when you will be asked for identification. You may need a picture ID to get a library card. You might even need a picture ID to sign up for youth soccer. Many schools are now requiring students and teachers to wear a picture ID at school. Almost every day we are asked to prove that we are who we say we are.

On the Sunday that Jesus rose from the grave, he appeared to a group of his disciples. One of the disciples, whose name was Thomas, was not with them. When the disciples told Thomas that they had seen Jesus and that he was alive, Thomas said, "I won't believe it until I see it with my own eyes. I want to see the nail-prints in his hands and put my hand in the place where the spear was thrust into his side."

A week later, Jesus appeared to his disciples again. This time Thomas was there. Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Then Thomas believed!

A lot of people today won't believe that Jesus really rose from the grave because they haven't seen him with their own two eyes. They want "proof of identity" before they will believe. Jesus said, "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed."

How about you? Do you have to have "proof of identity" before you will believe in Jesus, or will you accept him by faith? 

Offering

God of abundant grace, we live in a world where people’s worth is often tied to their wealth. You have shown us how good and pleasing it is when families live together as one. May the offerings we bring before you now be signs of our commitment to help those in need and to live together as the family of God. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 649: These things did Thomas count as real.

                        (tune Kedron (Dare) or Yellow Bittern) 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Acts 4:32-37

The Gospel Reading:                                        John 20:19-31

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 

Acts 4:32-37.

32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). 37 He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 

John 20:19-31

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ 28 Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. 

Preaching of the Word - A Week Late to the Resurrection

Today, the first Sunday after Easter, is traditionally known as Low Sunday. Low Sunday—that’s a tremendously unflattering nickname for us as the Church. Last week we presented the triumph of the church year. We announced to the world the Good News of Jesus Christ: Jesus died and rose again to new life for love of us. And the result is that the next Sunday is the lowest attendance of the whole church year, all the way across Christendom. Ouch. Was it something we said?

It may well have been. It’s a shocking gospel, frankly quite hard to believe. It was hard to believe even for people who knew Jesus in person while he was alive and witnessed his many miracles. Today we tell the story of Doubting Thomas, the apostle who had to see to believe.

Thomas, along with Peter, is the most human of the disciples, and this story is rich with interesting questions. The first thing that we notice is that Thomas misses out on Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples. It’s Sunday night, and they have been locked in the Upper Room, afraid for their lives since Friday night.

But not Thomas. Where is he? Was he terrified and trying to hide by himself, not wanting to be found by the Romans right in the middle of a pack of ringleaders of Jesus’ rebellion? Was he instead full of stoic courage, the only one brave enough to venture out and bring back food to his friends?

Whatever it was, he was definitely not there when Jesus appeared in the locked Upper Room. He missed the Resurrection. Many of us can identify with that sort of frustrated futility. We wonder if we’re missing the Resurrection in a lot of areas in our lives. God is raising things to new life and our attention is elsewhere, checked out, missing in action, like Thomas.

Thomas does eventually show up with the rest of the disciples, and they tell him, “We have seen the Lord.” And what is he supposed to think? If he was the only one who had been brave enough to leave, he has watched his brothers and friends driven nearly mad with fear and grief over the last three days. He probably feels great compassion and love for them. They so desperately want their dead friend and leader not to have been condemned to death and executed, that they have dreamed up this vision they experienced.

And who knows, Thomas wouldn’t put it past Jesus to come to them as a ghost. Lord knows he did stranger things than that when he was alive. But he is no longer alive. He is dead, and Thomas knows that denying that won’t help anyone. It’s never brought back any of the rest of the family and friends he’s lost over the years, and it won’t bring back Jesus.

Thomas remains in this state, unable to trust the word of his friends, for an entire week. What was that week like for him? The rest of the disciples were floating on air knowing that Jesus had been raised from the dead. But where was Jesus for that week? And why did he leave the disciples alone? It’s like Low Sunday. Last Sunday we saw him raised from the dead. Now we’re back and starting to wonder, did we really see what we thought we saw? At least we have witnessed him alive. Thomas has had only his own stubbornness to keep him going.

Stubbornness and maybe a tiny spark of hope. Because what made Thomas stick around for an entire week with what he believed to be friends driven to delusions by grief? If Jesus was truly dead, there was nothing left for him anymore with this group of people. By all rights, he should have gone home to his fields or his fishing boat. Remaining with the disciples was a dead end—the longer they stayed together, the greater the danger of being arrested by the Romans. And spending time with them would only serve to bring home every minute of every day that their friend Jesus was dead.

But Thomas did stay. Is it possible that a small part of him wondered if this story his friends were telling him might possibly be true? He reveals himself a bit in his answer to their claim that they have seen the Lord. He says, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

He doesn’t say, “You people are crazy, I’m leaving.” He sets up a hypothetical condition under which he will believe in the Resurrection. He’s laying out the challenge to Jesus. He’s saying, “Come and show me, Jesus, come and prove it to me. Just come to me, Jesus, on any terms.”

Thomas wants to be tough and uncaring and sceptical, but he loved Jesus. He is grieving as deeply as the others, and although they are now joyful since seeing him alive again, Thomas has had no such comfort. He’s throwing out this challenge to provoke Jesus into coming to them again, because Thomas just wants to see his friend. Ghost or vision or real person, it doesn’t matter.

And Jesus does not disappoint him. Thomas has had a grim week, the lone sceptic among the believers. But as soon as Jesus arrives, as soon as he bids them peace, he calls Thomas to him and says, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

How fascinating and revealing that even in his resurrected body, Jesus’ wounds remain. And how very appropriate to Thomas’ story, and our own story. Resurrection is possible for us in so many areas of our own lives. But our wounds remain, the scars that, painful as they were in the making, have made us indelibly who we are.

Jesus is resurrected to new life, but he’s still himself. And he helps Thomas recognize him through his wounds. That is a potent lesson for us. When we look at ourselves and at each other, part of the proof of our true resurrection is that the past is brought forward to coexist with the present. Our wounds are not erased as though they had never existed. They are still present but no longer cause us pain. They are proof to one another that we are new and whole, but it was our woundedness that got us to this day of resurrection in the first place.

There was one other thing that happened on Low Sunday in the early Church. Those who were baptised on Easter received a new white robe and wore it all week. On Low Sunday, they took it off and went back to their regular clothes. There’s something very poignant about that and our story of Thomas. Today is the day when the loud and public festivities are over, and we return to our normal, everyday lives. But today is also the Day of the Resurrection for Thomas. It is the day when the new white robe falls away and Thomas sees the wounds on Jesus’ body, the same physical person that he knew and loved and now recognizes as both wounded and whole, alive and breathing.

Can we recognize that same type of resurrection in ourselves? In each other? When the fancy Easter dresses and suits are put away for another year, what is left? Our same wounded selves that we fear to show to one another. But we need proof of the Resurrection, and we will only find it in each other. If we are brave enough to show each other our wounded places, we will find that they don’t hurt quite so much. We will find that we are indeed both wounded and healed.

Thomas was a week late to the Resurrection, but he made it all the same. Where do you find yourself today? There is still time for you to come back to life. Reach out to touch the wounded, living Jesus and feel him touch your wounded, living soul. 

Hymn AOV 63: We walk by faith.

                       (tune – Shanti (Marty Haugen))       

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words: In your mercy, - please respond with hear our prayer. 

Easter 2 Sunday – Year B

Jesus Christ crucified and risen, we pray for your beautiful creation, scarred by plunder, pollution and destruction. In the wounds of the world, Jesus, let us see your wounds.

Risen God, bring new life to your creation, and,

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ crucified and risen, we pray for the peoples of the world, scarred by cruelty, hatred and war.

In the wounds of your people, Jesus, let us see your wounds.

Risen God, bring new life to your people, and,

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ crucified and risen, we pray for our nation, Australia, scarred by intolerance, prejudice and greed.

In the wounds of our nation, Jesus, let us see your wounds.

Risen God, bring new life to our country, and,

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ crucified and risen, we pray for your church, scarred by division, discord and disobedience.

In the wounds of your church, Jesus, let us see your wounds. Risen God, bring new life to your church, and,

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ crucified and risen, we pray for the forgotten of our community, scarred by loneliness, rejection and shame.

In the wounds of your little ones, Jesus, let us see your wounds. Risen God, bring new life to our community, and,

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ crucified and risen, we pray for the sick, the sad and the needy, scarred by sorrow, pain and despair.

In the wounds of your suffering ones, Jesus, let us see your wounds. Risen God, bring new life to those in need, and,

in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ crucified and risen, we pray for all who have died believing in you, and for those who have never seen or known you.

Help us to recognise the marks of your presence among us, that we may see and believe and, at our life's end, stretch out your hands to draw us to your eternal presence.

Risen God, in death and in life, bring new life to your people, and, 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 376: I know that my Redeemer lives.

                               (tune – Church Triumphant)

       
Benediction

        Walk in the light of God.

        We will live in the light of God and we will bask in the light of God.

        May the Light of all lights transform your doubts into faith, and your sorrows into joy.

        We go with the peace of God.

Go with the blessings of almighty God. 

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

                        (tune – Aubrey)



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - April 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - April 2, 2021 - 1:13am


 Marsden Road Uniting Church

203 Marsden Road Carlingford

Monthly Newssheet April 2021

Our mission: to reflect Christ alive in the Community.

 Greetings to you out there in your homes. As we worship in our homes in the homelands of the Wallumedegal people. We acknowledge their Elders, past and present.

We hope that you will experience the presence of God in and through the Service, privately or as a Family joining with the people of God who continue to gather in Spirit although not physically.

 BIBLE READINGS: THE EASTER STORY

The Gospel of Mark, chapters 14, 15 and 16

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you carried our sins in your own body on the tree,

so that we might have abundant life.

May we, and all who remember this day

find new life in you, now and in the world to come,

where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

 

CHURCH SERVICES


1st April 6.00pm: Tenebrae Service with Rev John Candy

2nd April 9.30am: Good Friday Service with Rev John Candy

4th April 9.30am: Easter Morning Service with Rev John Candy

11th April 9.30am: Rev John Candy will lead our service.

18th April: 9.30am: Rev John Candy will lead our service.

25th April 9.30am: Lynette Graham will lead our service. 

TRANSPORT

If anyone needs transport to church on Good Friday please ring Elaine on 9874 7231 

NURTURE GROUP

As a trial, Nurture Group is planning to meet for lunch instead of meeting in the evening. We will meet at 11.30 - 2.00. Bring a small plate to share. If you would like to come to a particular meeting that interests you, or to all our meetings, everyone is welcome. 

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 8th April at the Forrest’s' when Rev. John Candy will talk about his visit to Tasmania.

On Thursday 22nd April we will go to the cafe " La Provence " which is attached to the Nursery in West Parade, Eastwood, near the station. We will meet at midday. Please let Elaine know by Tuesday 20th April if you are coming. 

EASTER SERVICES For Easter tide this year, 2021.

Tenebrae Service on Maundy Thursday Evening 1st April at 6pm Good Friday 2nd April 9.30am

Easter Sunday 4th April 9.30am - A Communion Service 

TENEBRAE SERVICE

On Thursday 1st April at 6pm we will meet in the hall for a simple meal of fish and chips, followed by a Service by candlelight at 6.45pm. Cost for meal is $12 00. Please let Elaine (9874 7231) know if you are coming for the meal. 

FAREWELL TO NARGES

We regretfully bade farewell to Dr Narges Miri during and after the morning service on 14th March. She has accepted an offer of a research and clinical appointment to a university hospital in the USA. She flies out on Wednesday 31st March. We wish her and Juan, God's richest blessings. We hope that her husband Reza's visa to accompany her, arrives very soon. Our prayers go with them.

 

Offerings

 

·         Please consider offering via EFT – Direct Credit See details of Church Bank Account below.

·         By stewardship envelopes - set aside the money in them & bring to Church at the next service at MRUC

·         A/C Name: Marsden Road Uniting Church

BSB: 634 634          A/C: 100049856

 

Marsden Road Prayer Cycle

 The April Prayer Cycle has been sent to those for whom we have Email addresses. If you deliver services to those without Internet/Computer, please print these in Landscape and print on both sides flipping on short edge. It folds in three as a pamphlet. 

Parramatta Mission


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 the Mission continues to assist those in need. Details, www.parramattamission.org.au/donate 


CONTACTS

 Minister of the Word

Rev John Candy 0411 267 639 or 98681658 or whitestarhaven@gmail.com 

Church Council Chairperson:        Warwick Roden 9874 7584

Church Council Secretary:             Susan Halgren 9858 1409

Congregation Meeting Chair:         Ian Henderson 9875 2194

Property bookings/enquiries:         Warwick Roden 9874 7584

Website: www.marsdenroadunitingchurch.org.au  

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

 




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

MRUC Worship for Easter Sunday - 03 April 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Look Again,

Sunday 04th April 2021

Easter Day - 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. 

A LIT CANDLE IS PROCESSED IN:

The candle is placed on the table with these words: 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed!

This is the day that that the Lord has made

Let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Call to Worship- (Abingdon 2013)

        When grief holds sway and you feel lost and abandoned... join Mary and the women in the garden, as they cast aside their funeral spices to rejoice in awe and wonder. Fear is healed by hope this day. Death is swallowed up in victory. 

Hear the good news: Christ is Risen!

But we watched him die.

Sing the good news: Christ is alive!

But we saw him buried in the tomb.

Share the good news. Death has lost its sting!

We will sing with the angels and laugh with the saints of God. 

Hymn TIS 368: This is the day the Lord has made.

                        (tune – Arlington) 

     Opening prayer

     God of mystery and might, when we dread the dawn of grief and pain, surprise us with the light of your wondrous love. We come to the tomb expecting death but find life instead. As we behold the glory of our salvation, take us back to that moment of faith when fear was healed by hope and death was swallowed up by life. In the holy awe of Easter morning, may our hearts rest in silent gratitude before they shout that Christ is alive and has called us by name. Amen 

      A Prayer of Confession

During the week of his passion and death, we turned away from your Son, O God.

Even after Christ shared table with us, offering us the bread of heaven and the cup of salvation, we shrank into the shadows and drank the dregs of our regret.

Even after Christ urged us to keep the faith, lest we succumb to temptation in the time of trial, we fell asleep while he prayed in the garden and ran when the soldiers arrived.

But we are here now, Merciful One. As we profess the depth of our gratitude for being called as your disciples, may our living help heal the pain of Christ’s dying. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

God, who raised Jesus from the dead, offers us life with Christ and forgiveness in his name.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

See the peace of Christ in your brothers. Be the peace of Christ for your sisters. Share the peace of Christ with one another as we celebrate the Prince of Peace this day.

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.) 

A Word with The Young People

Theme: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Object: A small juice glass half-filled with juice.

As you can see, I have a glass with some juice in it. There are two ways of looking at this glass of juice. Some people would look at the glass and say it is half empty. There are others who would look at the glass and say it is half full. (Drink all of the juice in the glass.)

Well, we solved that problem, didn't we? Now everyone who looks at this glass would say that it is empty, but guess what? Everyone still wouldn't look at the glass in the same way. Some would look at the glass and grumble and complain because it empty. Others would look at the glass and see it as a glass just waiting to be filled with good things to drink. I guess there are always different ways to look at any situation.

On the Sunday morning after Jesus was crucified, a woman named Mary went to visit the grave where the body of Jesus had been laid. When she got there, she found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. She ran to find someone to tell them what she had seen. She found two of the disciples, Peter and John, and she said to them, "They have taken our Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have put him."

The three of them immediately ran to the tomb. When they got there, they all saw the same thing, but they didn't all look at it in the same way.

Peter looked and was curious. The Bible says Peter went in the empty tomb and looked around. He saw strips of linen laying around and the cloth that Jesus had been buried in folded neatly and placed where the body had been. "Hmmm, very interesting," Peter might have said to himself.

Mary looked and was sad. The Bible tells us that Mary didn't even go inside the empty tomb. She just stood outside the tomb and wept because she feared that someone had stolen the body of Jesus.

John looked and believed. The bible says that John went inside the tomb and he saw and believed. Now, I don't know exactly how much John understood, but I think he believed that Jesus had risen from the grave just as he said he would.

Three people -- they all saw the same thing -- one was curious, one was sad, and one believed. I think that is pretty much the same way people react to the story of Jesus today. Some people hear the story, and they are curious, others hear it and think it is sad, others hear it and believe. How do you look at it? 

Offering Prayer

God of joyful surprises, with laughter in our hearts and songs on our lips, may our lives reflect the glory of this day. You offer abundance of life and fullness of grace to all who turn to you and seek your blessing. Receive our tithes and offerings in the name of your Son, the source of our joy and strength, that they may be for the world your Easter light and life. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 362: Jesus Christ is risen today.

                       (tune – Easter Hymn) 

                                     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. 

Living God, on this most joyous day we offer our thanks and praise to you, creator of heaven and earth, creator and lover of all humanity. Even when we turned away from you, you never rejected us. You spoke words of mercy and love through the prophets; promising to swallow up death forever and to host a banquet for all people; a feast of life-giving sustenance. And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

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

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

Holy God, this meal which we share today is indeed the celebration that death has been defeated forever. We celebrate also how the language of your love became audible through the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, our beloved Lord; and how the nature of your love became visible through his life and sacrificial love. He graced lives with healing and hope, with compassion and power and as if that were not enough, he gave his very life for us. On the night of his betrayal, as he sat at the table and broke bread with his friends, he said:

'Take and eat; this is my body which is broken for you. Remember me each time you do this.'

After they had eaten, he took the cup, and said:

'Remember me as you drink from this, for it is my life, poured out for you - the beginning of a new relationship with God.'

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

God of all power breathe your Holy Spirit upon us, and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that they may be for us the life of Christ and that we may make that life visible through our faithful witness to him. 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

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

Lamb of God

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

have mercy on us.

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

have mercy on us.

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

grant us peace. 

Invitation to Communion

Jesus says: ‘The bread that God gives is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’
(Thanks be to God.)
Come, everything is ready. 

Prayer after Communion

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

The Service of the Word 

First Reading:                                            1 Cor 15:1-11

The Gospel Reading:                                Mark 16:1-8 

                               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 Corinthians 15:1-11

1 Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe. 

Mark 16:1-8

1 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.  

Preaching of the Word - Look Again,

In the darkness on the third day after their rabbi’s execution, three women check one last time to make sure they have everything they need. Followers of Jesus in his lifetime, they want to be faithful to their teacher in death. Jesus had been robbed of a proper Jewish burial as his death came right on the verge of the Sabbath. The women intend to make this one thing right in a universe turned hopelessly away from God. The Twelve are hiding in a locked room with other disciples for fear they will be found out as followers of Jesus. Meanwhile, the women prepare to be at the tomb as dawn breaks.

In purely human terms, the story of the would-be Messiah from Nazareth in Galilee has come to a brutal end. For the Roman colonial government, Jesus is a minor statistic, yet another Jewish revolutionary crucified in Rome’s ongoing efforts to preserve the peace in Palestine. The ringleader, Jesus, has been publicly and cruelly killed. His disciples have vanished for fear of a similar fate. For the keepers of the status quo, this has been a successful Passover festival. Jesus’ movement is buried with its leader.

The women arrive at the tomb and looming large is an insurmountable obstacle between them and their task. The women know they don’t have the strength to budge the great stone blocking the entrance to the tomb. As they walk to the garden, they wonder, “Who will roll the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

Our Gospel reading for this morning tells us that the women then looked up. The original Greek text [anablepo] for this can also mean the women looked again. The women come upon the tomb and as they expected, the stone is rolled in front of the entrance. They don’t stand a chance of getting near Jesus on their own. Then they look again, or perhaps do a double take, and realise that the stone has been rolled away.

Our writer of Mark has already prepared us for this need to do a double take. It works something like bi-focal vision in this Gospel. Twice in the Gospel, Jesus has healed blind men and allowed them to see again. The word used to describe the two blind men seeing again is the same one used here, to look again [anablepo]. Already in those stories of healing the blind, there was a sense in which spiritual healing allowed the men to see again with physical sight.

In Mark’s Gospel, faith gives us the ability to see the world as God sees it. We gain bifocal vision. When we look with the eyes of the world, we see the obstacles and problems. The stone blocks our path, and it is too large for us to even budge. We look with the eyes of faith and a different picture comes into focus. God has already removed the obstacles that we could not remove by our own power.

This is seen most clearly in the Easter story. The three women are blocked by an obstacle, which they stood no chance of removing on their own. They ask one another, “Who will roll away the stone?” Yet, when they look again through the eyes of faith, they see that the stone has already been rolled away. The Greek here is in the perfect tense. The stone that blocks their way is already long gone when they do the Easter double take and see the world as God sees it.

What are the stones that need to be rolled away in our lives? Is the obstacle one of relationships that can’t be made right? Or is our path blocked by an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or some other destructive cycle from which we don’t have the power to break free? All of us can find our way blocked by obstacles too big to budge. The story of Easter tells us that God offers the ultimate leverage to remove the obstacles in our way.

If you rely on your own might, your own abilities, your own wisdom, the stone in your way will be more than you can face. Full Stop. But, when you have the courage to admit you don’t have the power to remove the obstacle, you can turn the problem over to God. Then with the eyes of faith, you may come in time to see that the insurmountable obstacle has been rolled away.

Yet, that is not the end of the Gospel reading. Scripture is if nothing else, the most realistic of books, and today’s reading is no exception. The women enter the tomb to find an angel, a divine messenger, with the news that Jesus has been raised from the dead and has gone ahead of his disciples to Galilee. It would be wonderful to report that the women were immediately filled with joy.

Instead, we are told that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome fled from the tomb seized by terror and stricken with awe. Rather than spreading the joy of resurrection, we are told, “They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

It is there that the reading ends. The Gospel we call Mark offers the challenge of a circular story. The Gospel begins with Jesus in Galilee challenging people to come and follow him; at the close of the story, Jesus has once more gone ahead into Galilee holding out the offer of discipleship to any who will come and follow him.

So, what about you? Would you have the courage to leave the empty tomb and go back to Galilee to take up the task of being Jesus’ disciple now that you know the way of discipleship led to the cross and the grave? Even with the triumph of Easter, we can fearfully retreat now that we know the cost of discipleship.

The Gospel, the Good News offers a dual challenge this Easter. The first is to look at the very real obstacles in your life with the eyes of faith. The things that you are powerless to change are not obstacles to God. Through grace, you can see that God has already removed the problems plaguing you, if you have the faith to push ahead on the journey of life and journey through them.

But the second prong of the challenge of the Gospel, the Good News comes when you push ahead. Just as the women found the stone rolled away only to be struck dumb with terror and awe at the news of Jesus’ resurrection, we too can lose our focus and stop seeing the world as God sees it. The second challenge then is the harder one. Once you have seen that God can remove the obstacles blocking your way, then we are called and invited to follow where Jesus leads.

The three women that morning did break free from fear. We know that they were all active in the earliest Christian church. They found the courage to follow Jesus even after they had learned the cost, they might have to one day pay for their faith in him.

Jesus enables the removal of the obstacles from our paths if we stop trying to remove them only by your own might. Then he will give us the grace to continue the journey. The path is open to each of us. Jesus is still out there beckoning, “Follow me” to those who listen. We only need respond by faith and say yes to the invitation.

For Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia! 

Hymn TIS 380: Yours be the glory.

                        (tune – Maccabeus)   

Intercessory Prayers- Easter – Year B

Praise and honour to you, Jesus Christ, for you have triumphed gloriously.

We pray for your world: for the welfare of all your people and for your creation entrusted to our care; for all in positions of authority; for men and women in their daily work.

Roll away the stones of hatred and greed. Transform us with your spirit of justice and righteousness, that all your people may share in the freedom of your risen life.

Risen God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Praise and honour to you, Jesus Christ, for you have cancelled the power of sin.

We pray for your worldwide church: for our brothers and sisters in Christ, for the people of this congregation and for all wherever they are in the world who make or renew baptismal vows today. Roll away the stones of discord and unbelief. Transform your church with your spirit of wisdom.

and truth, that we may be in the world a witness to your risen life.

Risen God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Praise and honour to you, Jesus Christ, for you show us the mighty power of love.

We pray for the communities in which we live and work; for our families, our friends and all whom we love; for the forgotten and undervalued people of society. Roll away the stones of apathy and selfishness. Transform our lives with your spirit of love and forgiveness, that we may share in the joy of your risen life.

Risen God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Praise and honour to you, Jesus Christ, for you bring us hope when all seems lost.

We pray for all who suffer for the hungry and homeless, the lonely and friendless; for the sick and the sorrowing and all who care for them. Roll away the stones of pain and despair. Transform the Iives of all who suffer with your comfort and balm, that they may share in the hope of your risen life.

Risen God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Praise and honour to you, Jesus Christ, for you have broken the bonds of death.

We give you thanks for your faithful people of every age; for Mary Magdalene, Peter and John and for all who have seen you and believed. May we, following their example and yours, cast off all that binds us in death. Transform our lives by your risen power, that we, with all your saints, may come to share forever in the glory of your risen life.

Risen God, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

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

Hymn TIS 755: You shall go out with joy.

                       (tune – Trees of the Field)      

        Benediction

       Christ is Risen! Go forth in joy.

       From darkness and despair, we go to share Christ’s hope

       and joy.

       Christ is Risen! Go forth in faith.

       From doubt and betrayal, we go to walk in faith and

       fidelity.

       Christ is Risen! Go forth to live.

       From suffering and death, we go to heal a broken world.

       Christ is Risen. Alleluia! Christ is risen!

       Christ is risen indeed!

       This is the day that that the Lord has made.

       Let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you.

                       (tune - Somos Del Senor)




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

MRUC Worship for Good Friday - 2 April 2021

 

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Let Your Idols Fall

02nd April 2021

Good Friday - 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

        Walk with Jesus as he takes his final earthly steps. Observe the ordinary people who cared for the body of the Word made flesh. Find yourself in faith’s most difficult hour.

O God, our God, in you our ancestors trusted, to you they cried aloud.

Since before our mothers bore us, you have been our God.

Do not be far from us, for trouble is near.

Source of refuge come quickly to our aid.

Lest we forget the cost of discipleship, let us remember faith’s hardest story to bear.

With humble and open hearts, let us worship our God. 

We have gathered this Good Friday to remember the betrayal, humiliation, and crucifixion of Jesus. We have gathered to experience anew the events that would change the world. May we experience all the pathos of that day, and may we participate in its meaning together. 

Hymn TIS 356: Here hangs a man discarded.

                       (tune – Shrub End) 

     Opening prayer

Give us strength, O God, to bear the cross with you this day. Comforted by your faithfulness and encouraged by the presence of sisters and brothers around us, lead on, O Jesus. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

O God, our comforter in life and death, Jesus’ last day reminds us of your embodied love and of our own power to do and permit harm. For our sins of commission and omission, we ask your forgiveness, in Christ’s name. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Beloved, know that God walks with us and remains in covenant with us, saying: “I will put my laws in their hearts and write them in their minds; I will remember their sins no more.” God’s loving heart is greater than any of us can imagine. Know that you are loved. Know that you are forgiven. Amen.

Thanks, be to God! 

Hymn TIS 344: Glory be to Jesus.

                       (tune –  Caswall; Wem In Leidenstagen                                  

 The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Isaiah 52.13 – 53.12

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 14:53 – 15:47 

Isaiah 52.13 – 53.12

52 13 See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up and shall be very high. 14 Just as there were many who were astonished at him — so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals — 15 so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate. 53 1 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. 4 Surely, he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people.
9 They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. 11 Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors. 

Hymn based on TIS 345: Were You There

          (verse sung after each Gospel of Mark reading)

                      (tune – Were You There) 

     Mark 14:53-63

     53 They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. 54 Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. 56 For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. 57 Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 But even on this point their testimony did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 61 But he was silent and did not answer. Again, the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 Jesus said, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’”         63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 

     Hymn: “Were You There” ... when they came to take my

                  Lord? 

     Mark 14:64-72

     64 You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. 65 Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him. 66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt.[b] Then the cock crowed.[c69 And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” 72 At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept. 

     Hymn: “Were You There” . . . when denial came from

                 Peter? 

     Mark 15:1-15

     15 As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2 Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” 3 Then the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed. 6 Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. 7 Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. 8 So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. 9 Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 14 Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. 

     Hymn: “Were You There” … when they stood my Lord on 

                trial? 

     Mark 15:16-26

     16 Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18 And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20 After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. 21 They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22 Then they brought Jesus[d] to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 

     Hymn: “Were You There” . . . when my Lord was beat

                upon? 

     Mark 15:27-32

     27 And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. 

Hymn: “Were You There” ... when the soldiers mocked my Lord? 

     Mark 15:33-41

     33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” 40 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem. 

Hymn: “Were You There” . . . when they crucified my

            Lord? 

Preaching of the Word - Let Your Idols Fall

This is really not a day for words. When we grieve, all words are too much.

It is much better for us to take in the facts about how Jesus was treated: the injustice, the spiritual blindness, the narrow thinking, the positioning for power. It is better that we just sit with that grief and blackness, make a space inside of ourselves for the death of Jesus; and just abide in it.

We must abide with Good Friday, not because it leads quickly to the empty tomb, but because Jesus did die. It is better that we do not fill it with too many words and instead marvel at this death and consider our part in it.

In this lengthy Passion narratives, we are not spared any detail. There is a great deal here but the scene when Pilate asks the chief priests if he shall crucify their king is very interesting. The priests answer, “We have no king but the emperor.”

Here we see that the powers-that-be have no compunction with violating their very identities to get what they want. Two things are happening here, and both have to do with idolatry.

The first thing that is happening is that the priests are telling the Empire, manifest in Pilate, that their only king is the emperor. This is in direct violation of God’s explicit dislike of kings. Hundreds of years prior to this scene the people of Israel had asked God for kings so that they can be like the other people in the region.

God warned them then that kings would take their sons for soldiers, tax them to death, and all the other things that come with human kings. God’s desire was that he would be their king; that is what would have distinguished them from the other people in the region. But when the people persisted God allowed kings to rise among the Israelites, provided they carried God’s anointing.

God, it seems, is in the habit of taking a bad situation and improvising some good out of it. But today, in our readings from the Gospels, these priests are denying God’s choice for a king and they are putting their faith in the Roman Emperor so that they can make the political alliance necessary for the assassination of their enemy Jesus.

Along with this political posturing is the fact that since the chief priests have allied themselves with the Emperor for their peace and security, they have replaced God with the Emperor. This is idolatry. Idolatry is when a created thing is put in place of the uncreated source of life and love. Idolatry is when we find our security, power, identity in anything other than God. The priests have committed the sin of idolatry.

Idolatry is the most pervasive and insidious. If Good Friday teaches us anything it is that our notions of what God is and can do need to be cast down like the idols they are.

In the life of the spirit the casting down of personal idols usually follows a pattern. The first idol that needs casting down is the idol of things: thinking that the things that surround you make you a worthy person. You are not your things; our things do not give us worth. Only God gives us worth. That’s why God is worshipped, and things are not.

The next idol that needs casting down is the ego. You are not that great. You are also not all that bad either. Self-deprecation, too, is an activity of the ego. The ego: not the healthy bit that makes you a person, but the ego that manipulates people, things, and facts for your own purposes and power. This idol must come down.

In the life of the spirit these idols have been well within the bounds of good advice and general spirituality.

The next idols that need destruction are within the particular purview of the Abrahamic faiths, and, I think, are especially Christian.

The first of these idols is the idolatry of faith. The idolatry of faith is when we begin to use the story and beliefs of God to judge and separate others, to be exclusive and not inclusive. This is when we carve in stone the stories of our tradition as reality to such a level that we lose sight that they are a chronicle of people’s encounters with our God of love and turn the activity of faith into the judgement seat of faith, separating those who are in and those who are out. The idolatry of faith is broken by true faith, which is trust, trust the stories and traditions about God, they are not God themselves, but instead urge us into truth faith, pointing to God.

The next idol does not have a hold on everyone, but it is still a powerful idol.

This is the idol of doubt. This idol tells us that only doubt and suspicion of the stories of God can bring us closer to the true God. It is an idol that says, “If you would simply think like I think about God, then you will perceive the truth.” None of us possess the full knowledge of the unknowable God, and some beliefs should be doubted, but when doubt becomes the enemy of faith instead of its steward, then it has become an idol.

The final idol that needs to come down is the hardest one of all, but it is the one that Good Friday most explicitly addresses: the idolatry of God. The idolatry of God means that we have set ideas of exactly what God is and can do. If I were to use an everyday word for the idolatry of God, I suppose it would be expectation: high expectations, low expectations, horrible expectations, impossible expectations, immature expectations.

When we destroy the idol of God we truly live by faith; living fully, as one moment unfolds from the last, trusting that God is with us in love, come what may.

In Good Friday we see our image of God literally killed. Good Friday, with the death of Jesus is an enactment of the death of all idols, including, most explicitly the idol of God.

God does not die. Messiahs do not die. Yet, Jesus does die, and in the death of Jesus the final idol is destroyed, and, in this death, we are released from all idols and left with the present moment in Christ, redeemed and free.

This freedom is jarring, and it is appropriate that we commemorate the death of idols as we do today. Grieve for the loss of our idols.

Abide in stillness over the death of your grasping for anything other than God. Let our idols fall at the foot of the cross and sit awhile in death and grief and wait.

Wait, because God has a surprise in store. 

Hymn TIS 342: When I survey the Wondrous Cross.

                        (tune – Rockingham) 

Intercessory Prayers

Son of God, you died for us, with arms outstretched upon a cross: we pray for the world where you are crucified each day with the destitute, the oppressed the dispossessed.

Silence

Jesus Christ, crucified by us, have mercy upon us,

and hear our prayer.

Son of God, you died for us, falsely accused, mocked and condemned to death: we pray for all who govern, those who make and administer law, for all who are denied justice.

Silence

Jesus Christ, condemned by us, have mercy upon us,

and hear our prayer.

Son of God, you died for us, denied, deserted and rejected by those you loved: we pray for all who feel the hurt of rejected love, the pain of betrayal and abandonment.

Silence

Jesus Christ, betrayed by us, have mercy upon us,

and hear our prayer. 

Son of God, you died for us, to fulfil the words of the    prophets and bring deliverance to all your people: we pray for the Jewish people, loved by God from ancient time.

Silence

Jesus Christ, bruised for us, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Son of God, you died for us, to rescue your people from the power of sin: we pray for the church, for its clergy and ministers, for all who will make or renew baptismal vows.

Silence

Jesus Christ, wounded for us, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Son of God, you died for us, to show your steadfast love for your people: we pray for all who live or work in this community, our families, our friends and all whom we love.

Silence

Jesus Christ, broken for us, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Son of God, you died for us, to bring healing, wholeness and new life to your people: we pray for those in sickness, sorrow, grief or pain and for all who are close to death.

Silence

Jesus Christ, brought low for us, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Son of God, you died for us, with arms outstretched upon a cross: we remember all who have been condemned to die, all who have died in pain and torment. With the women who loved you and ministered to you and with the disciple whom you loved; may we stand with you this day. At our life's end, forgive us our desertions and betrayals and stretch out your arms to receive us, that, with all your saints, we may live with you in Paradise.

Jesus Christ, raised high for us, in your mercy,

hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

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

Hymn TIS 341: My song is love unknown V 1,2,3,4 and 7

                          (tune – Love Unknown)     

        Hold fast to hope. Hold fast to one another. For God,

        who has promised us, is faithful. The day of God

        approaches. Go in peace. 

          The Cross will be unlit, and we will extinguish the Christ

         candle. The minister and people depart in silence.





Categories: Syndicated Blogs

MRUC Worship Maundy Thursday Holy Communion and Tenebrae - 1 April 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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“Day of Remembrance”

01st April 2021

Maundy Thursday in the year of Mark

 Tenebrae 7.00 pm

Tenebrae or “Service of Darkness” or “Service of Shadows” is the name given to a medieval tradition of reading Scripture and extinguishing candles, either at the end of a Holy Thursday service or on Good Friday. 

Gathering God’s People 

        Call to Worship- (Abingdon 2015)       

     This is a day of remembrance. This is a day to reflect on the traditions our ancestors received as a sacred trust. Listen . . . reflect . . . remember. Enter into the stories of our faith.

     God has delivered us from bondage and has set us free.

     This is a night of remembrance.

     Washing our feet, Jesus shows us that to love is to serve. This is a night to reflect on our faith.

     Bread has been broken; wine has been poured.

     This is a night to journey to our past.

     A new commandment has been given: Love one another. This is a night to reclaim our story.

     Through these acts, we remember that our story lives on. This is a night of remembrance.  

TIS 536: An upper room did our Lord prepare.

             (Tune – O Waly Waly) 

1.  An upper room did our Lord prepare

for those he loved until the end:

and his disciples still gather there

to celebrate their risen friend.


2.  A lasting gift Jesus gave his own:

to share his bread, his loving cup.

Whatever burdens may bow us down,

he by his cross shall lift us up.

 

3.  And after supper he washed their feet,

for service, too, is sacrament.

In Christ our joy shall be made complete:

sent out to serve, as he was sent.

 

4.  No end there is! We depart in peace,

he loves beyond the uttermost:

in every room in our Father's house

Christ will be there, as Lord and Host.

Opening prayer 

     God of our ancestors, we have come tonight to remember. We have come to recall your saving power and your steadfast love for all people. We have come to the Upper Room with Jesus: to be washed, to be fed, to be taught, and to follow his example of service and sacrifice. Through our words and through our actions, draw us into the sacred story of faith once again,  that we might love and serve one another as your disciples. 

     Invitation to Communion 

Tonight, we come to this table remembering the simplicity of this meal. The elements are common— bread and wine— but the meaning is profound. In giving his disciples the gift of this shared meal, Jesus not only called them to remember him, but he also gave them the means to re-member themselves, to become one body around this table. And so, it is with us. Each time we come to this table, we come to remember and to be re-membered; we come to become one in the body of Christ. 

Prayer of Confession 

God of grace and God of glory, we are more of a people of forgetfulness, than a people of remembrance. 

You have freed us from the bondage of death, yet we continue to live enslaved to fear. You have called us to be servants, yet we seek our own gain and put ourselves first.

Forgive us, O God. Guide us in the ways of life when we fail to follow the example of your Son.

Teach us to love, as you have loved us, that everyone may know we are your disciples. 

Assurance of Forgiveness. 

God listens closely to our prayers. God hears our requests for mercy. The cup of salvation has been poured out for us. In the name of Christ, who loves us fully, we are forgiven.

Thanks, be to God! 

Great Thanksgiving 

Holy are you and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ. When we turned aside from your way and abused your gifts, you gave us in him your crowning gift. Emptying himself that our joy might be full, he fed the hungry, healed the sick, ate with scorned and forgotten, washed his disciples’ feet, and gave a holy meal as a pledge of his abiding presence. By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection you gave birth to your Church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.

On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

When the supper was over he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said: "Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.

By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at his heavenly banquet. Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honour and glory is yours, almighty God, now and for ever. Amen. 

Distribution of Communion 

Prayer after Communion 

Holy Trinity, you have given yourself to us through the life and death of Jesus Christ. With thanksgiving, we now follow your last hours as we prepare to give ourselves for others. 

Tenebrae 

Mark 14:32-42  

Extinguish first candle in silence. 

Mark 14: 43-52 

Extinguish second candle in silence. 

Mark 14:53-63  

Extinguish third candle in silence. 

Mark 14:64-65  

Extinguish fourth candle in silence. 

Mark 14:66-72  

Extinguish fifth candle in silence. 

Mark 15:1-5  

Extinguish sixth candle in silence. 

Mark 15:6-15  

Extinguish seventh candle in silence. 

Mark 15:16-20  

Extinguish eighth candle in silence. 

Mark 15:21-26  

Extinguish ninth candle in silence. 

        Hymn TIS 608: Where cross the crowded ways of life

                             (Tune – Fulda) 

1 Where cross the crowded ways of life,
where sound the cries of race and clan,
above the noise of selfish strife,
we hear your voice, O Son of Man. 

2 In haunts of wretchedness and need,
on shadowed thresholds fraught with fears,
from paths where hide the lures of greed,
we catch the vision of your tears. 

3 From tender childhood's helplessness,
from human grief and burdened toil,
from famished souls, from sorrow's stress,
your heart has never known recoil. 

4 The cup of water given for you
still holds the freshness of your grace;
yet long these multitudes to view
the sweet compassion of your face. 

5 O Master, from the mountainside,
make haste to heal these hearts of pain;
among these restless throngs abide;
O tread the city's streets again; 

6 Till all the world shall learn your love,
and follow where your feet have trod;
till glorious from your heaven above
shall come the city of our God. 

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 

Extinguish or remove tenth candle in silence. 

After a brief time, only enough lights are switched on so that people can leave. People are invited to stay for a time of silent meditation and to leave when they wish. 

                                          DEPARTURE 

                   You are invited to leave in silence.





Categories: Syndicated Blogs

MRUC Worship Service Palm Sunday 28 March 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church

                  Carlingford

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Welcome His Folly into Our Lives Sunday 28th March 2021.

Palm Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People 

        Acknowledgement of First Peoples

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

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples

of this Land.

Call to Worship - (Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)

        Exaltation and joy... Passover sacrifice and betrayal ... death and life: such is the terrain of Holy Week. Such are waters that sweep us through the holy mystery of our faith. Now is the time to count the cost of discipleship. Now is the time to follow Jesus.

When they came to Bethpage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task, saying to them,

“Go into the village. As soon as you enter it you will find tied up a colt that no one has ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘Its master needs it.’”

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

They brought the colt to Jesus and threw their clothes upon it, and Jesus sat on it. Many people spread out their clothes on the road while others spread branches cut from the fields.

Bind the festival procession with palm branches. Open the gates of righteousness for us so we can come in and give thanks to the Lord!

This is the Lord’s gate; those who are righteous enter through it.

Enter the gates of righteousness with shouts of thanksgiving. Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

The stone the builders rejected is now the foundation stone.

This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our sight!

The Lord is God, and God has given us light as a lamp to our feet.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

This is the day that the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it! 

Hymn TIS 333: All glory, praise and honour

                        (tune – St Theodulph) 

     Opening Prayer

     Eternal One, as we enter Holy Week and celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, may we laugh with the children and shout our hosannas with the crowd. But never let us forget where this week ends. For the one who emptied himself for our sake, took the form of a servant and was betrayed and denied by his disciples and closest friends. May we sing in our hearts this day, but may our song be mixed with sorrow and regret, for such is the life of followers in every age. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

Source of our hope and strength, when our bones are dried up, and we are tested beyond our endurance, we turn away.

Forgive our wayward feet and our fickle hearts: when we are consumed with doubt, when we succumb to our weakness, when we give in to the impulse of betrayal, when we turn away in denial, when we confuse expedience with virtue.

Teach us anew your ways of life and death, that we may not stumble and fall during the time of trial.

In your holy name, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

God has opened the gates of righteousness and Christ has beckoned us to walk through. Sing with the children; throw your clothes upon the road, for the one who comes in the name of the Lord offers us salvation in his name.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. Give thanks to Christ, whose name is honoured above all names. Give praise to the Spirit, who makes us one. Share this thankfulness and praise with one another as we exchange signs of peace. Let us share the peace of Christ, the peace that passes all understanding.

Peace be with you!

And also with you!

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

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem

Object: Flags, confetti, noise makers, etc.

When I was young, I loved a parade! There was something about a parade that really got my heart to pumping. We often had parades to celebrate special events such as a circus coming to town or the opening of a fair. Sometimes we had a parade to honour an important person who has come to our town which before Christmas Santa Claus.

People would have some flags and noise makers. This morning I want us to imagine that we are watching a parade. Our city is honouring the very first astronaut from our city to ever walk on the moon. Can you imagine what is happening when the astronaut passes by. Everyone waves their flags and blow their noise makers. I didn’t bring noise makers, but we can imagine.

If you have ben to a parade such as Anzac Day, you can hear the band. Bands usually lead the parade and behind the band there are often floats carrying important people...or people from various groups like the Scouts etc., or a MP or Mayor. As they pass by, we smile and wave. Finally, here comes our hero! The crowd cheers waves their flags and blows their noise makers! Then as the parade moves on down the street, the sound of the band fades away in the distance. It is over. The celebration is over.

That is a little bit like something that took place in the city of Jerusalem about 2000 years ago. A king was visiting their city. People lined the streets of the city hoping to get to see the King. The King came riding on a small donkey, and as he rode through the streets of the city, the people waved palm branches and shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

I'm sure that you know who that King was—it was Jesus. Today is Palm Sunday. Today we remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the people cheering and waving palm branches. It was a day that marked the beginning of a week that would see Jesus cheered, then arrested, tried, beaten, and put to death on a cross. But as that week came to an end, another week began just as the previous week had begun, with a celebration. I can hardly wait until next Sunday! 

Offering Prayer

Spirit of humble generosity: thank you for your never-failing mercy; thank you for Christ’s gift of selfless love; thank you for the witness of our forebears. For blessing us with many gifts, we thank you. For walking with us in our weakness, we praise you. Receive these gifts in token and thanks for the love you offer us, a love that makes us well and whole. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 231: At the name of Jesus

                       (tune – Camberwell) 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Philippians 2:5-11

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 11:1-11

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 

Philippians 2:5-11

5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Mark 11:1-11

1 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” 
4 They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5 some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ 6 They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ 11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. 

Preaching of the Word - Welcome His Folly into Our Lives

The story of Holy week presents Jesus as mocked three times, by three different groups: first, the religious authorities; then the secular authorities; and finally, the ordinary people, the crowd.

So, I would like to explore the story following the day of the Palms. The coming steps of the journey to the cross if you like. These instances of mockery have unexpected results. The pretensions of each group are dismantled. The stage is cleared of rivals, and the true king is enthroned.

Jesus appears first before the religious authorities. What brings him there? He acts and speaks contrary to vested interests, against conventional claims. And so, he is taken captive at night. He is identified by a false kiss, surrounded by an armed posse and deserted by his followers.

Once Jesus arrives at the high priest’s house, he stands alone before the religious authorities. They eagerly seek a reason to put him to death. But even their false witnesses cannot produce sufficient evidence against him. Jesus then indicates he is the Messiah. The authorities regard this as blasphemy. They hit him, spit at him and mock him. They ridicule his role as a prophet.

How ironic this scene is! These religious authorities blindfold someone who sees and speaks God’s truth and attack him. By doing so, they expose themselves as void of religious awareness. It is not Jesus who blasphemes; they are the blasphemers, abusing God’s name by their words and deeds.

Next Jesus appears before the secular authorities. As the religious leaders fail to recognise him as a prophet, so the secular authorities fail to see he is a king. The high priest led Jesus to declare his messiahship; then Pilate leads him to declare his kingship, but once again, Jesus is rejected.

Pilate treats him as a fraud. He turns Jesus over to soldiers who clothe him and crown him in a mock ritual, even striking him with his own sceptre. And so, these secular authorities expose themselves as unworthy. They mock the king in front of them.

Jesus appears before the crowd, and they call for his crucifixion. He appears before them again once he is crucified. These are people who welcomed him as a hero when he entered Jerusalem in triumph only a few days before.

He stands before them next to Pilate. A short time later, he appears before them helpless, hanging from a cross, suspended between earth and heaven, his blood seeping from his wounds, taking him down to death. Not far from his cross are the mockers, cowardly and cruel, who hurl abuse at him. They include casual passers-by, priests, and scribes, and even those crucified with him. What they attack is his relationship with his Father. They call on him to rescue himself.

But Jesus refuses to abandon his trust in God. Those who mock him on the cross show that they are devoid of faith. They see the world solely in terms of brute power. They refuse to live as God’s children.

A triple mockery, and in each case, those who revile Jesus reveal their own bankruptcy. Thus, the pretensions of each group are dismantled, and the stage is cleared of rivals, in order that the true king can be enthroned.

In today’s story, Jesus is mocked three times. A series of ironies takes place as well, all of them pointing to a wisdom that stands in judgment on our folly.

When Jesus enters Jerusalem, the crowd welcomes him as king, yet days later, they call for his crucifixion. They are disloyal to him and to their own best interests. Often enough, we also show ourselves disloyal – to him and to ourselves. In their lives and in ours, how ironic this turns out to be!

For a king to be enthroned, there must be an anointing. That happens to Jesus shortly before he goes to the cross. A woman pours expensive oil on his head as he sits at supper in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper. This woman serving the high priest, this anointing at the dinner table, this king consecrated in a leper’s house – all of this is ironic, a monarch set apart not to rule, but to be buried.

It is the high priest in Jerusalem whose words reveal Jesus as the Messiah, and it is the Roman governor there who proclaims him to the crowd as king. Despite themselves, these two speak the truth. That they run from this truth, that they drive Jesus on to his death – this also is ironic.

Irony reaches a climax when Jesus arrives at Golgotha. There he is announced as King of the Jews by a mocking sign attached to his cross. Ironically, the sign declares more truth than its maker intended.

Most ironically of all, the cross, an instrument of shameful death, becomes the throne for this king, that place from which he reigns, the centre of his realm. The places of honour on right and left, once coveted by his disciples James and John, cannot be given away, for they are occupied already – by convicted criminals.

So, Jesus is enthroned upon the hard wood of the cross. Israel’s messiah, the Son of God, becomes a victim to end all victimisation. He drains the cup of our human experience to the last bitter drop. He even knows what it’s like to feel deserted by God.

Jesus dies, and only then does somebody get it right. This is the final irony of today’s story, and it appears in the last spoken sentence. For the one who gets it right is a most unlikely somebody. A Roman centurion is marking time until the death occurs. He is there to make sure that none of the crucified are rescued by their followers or friends. He is a gentile, an officer of the empire, one who looks like an outsider on the turbulent life of Jerusalem during Passover season. He is there simply to maintain order.

A criminal dying on a cross is something this centurion has often seen. He knows how contemptible it is, particularly for Romans. Yet death on a cross looks different on this day, with this prisoner. And so, the tough soldier blurts out about Jesus, to no one and everyone, “Truly, this man was God’s Son!” The centurion has for a moment glimpsed the supreme irony of enthronement on a cross of shame and death.

A couple of decades later, St. Paul makes a similar point when writing to the Christians in Corinth. He tells them that the message of the cross is sheer folly to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it is God’s power at work.

To the extent that we do not come to an awareness like that of the centurion and Paul, then we inevitably mock Christ and his cross, and thus reveal our own fatal folly. To the extent we do come to this awareness, we honour Christ and his cross, and show that we welcome God’s own foolishness, which is the most sublime wisdom.

Do we accept God’s folly for ourselves, or do we not? To refuse this folly is a terrible thing, even when done politely. It places those who refuse together with the characters in today’s story who mock Christ, who reject him as prophet, king, and son of God. Yet we remain free to make this refusal.

Today and always, we can honour his cross and welcome his folly into our lives.

May we do this. 

Hymn TIS 348: Ride on, ride on in majesty.

                       (tune – Winchester New) 

Intercessory Prayers - Palm Sunday – Year B

      After the words:            Jesus, Son of David, let us follow in your way.

      please respond with      let us walk with you to Jerusalem. 

Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

Crowds cheered when you came to Jerusalem; you came to bring peace, but the civil authorities did not welcome you.

Jesus, we pray for your world: for peace that brings an end to violence, oppression, and war; for peace that enables all people to live with dignity and justice; for world leaders and for all who commit their lives to the work of peace.

Jesus, Son of David, let us follow in your way.

let us walk with you to Jerusalem.

Crowds cheered when you came to Jerusalem; you came to bring the freedom of the Spirit, but the chief priests plotted your death.

Jesus, we pray for your church: for a church freed from false dogma and legalism, discord, and division; for a pilgrim church, ready to travel where you lead; for all leaders of your church and for those who minister in your name.

Jesus, Son of David, let us follow in your way.

let us walk with you to Jerusalem.

Crowds cheered when you came to Jerusalem; you came to bring love, but you were betrayed and deserted by your friends.

Jesus, we pray for this community: for our families, our friends, for those with whom we work and learn; for the hungry, the homeless and those without hope for the future,

for all who live in fear or despair and all who know the pain of betrayal.

Jesus, Son of David, let us follow in your way.

let us walk with you to Jerusalem.

Crowds cheered when you came to Jerusalem; you came to bring healing to the sick and release to the captive, but you were beaten, imprisoned, and killed.

Jesus, we pray for all in need: for prisoners of conscience and those held without trial; for all whose beliefs lead them to frightening and lonely places; for the friendless, the unwanted and all from whom we turn away; for the sick and all who mourn.

Jesus, Son of David, let us follow in your way.

let us walk with you to Jerusalem.

Crowds cheered when you came to Jerusalem; you travelled towards the Cross, but Jerusalem was also the place of the empty tomb.

We give you thanks for faithful people throughout the ages who have followed you on this journey. Jesus, let us suffer and die with you, that we may rise to fullness of life with you.

Jesus, Son of David, let us follow in your way.

let us walk with you to Jerusalem. 

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 357: When his time was over the palms lay

                       where they fell

                       (tune – Wakefield Street)

Benediction

        On the back of a donkey,

        Jesus came to bless us.

        With a love that did not count the cost,

        Jesus came to heal us.

        From hopelessness and despair,

        Jesus came to free us.

        With the power of the Holy Spirit,

        Jesus came to save us.

        May your life declare the lordship of Jesus Christ, to

        the glory of God! Amen! 

Hymn TIS 776: Aaronic Blessing,

                       (tune – Aaronic Blessing)




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

MRUC Worship Service 14 March 2021 - Lent 4


 Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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


For God So Loved.

Sunday 14th March 2021

Lent 4 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People       

Call to Worship  (Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)

        When we were lost in our wrongdoing and as good as dead, God sent the Human One into the world to bring us eternal life. God’s will is not to condemn, but to save.

Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good.

God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Let those redeemed by the Lord say:

God’s steadfast love endures forever.

When we cried out to God in our distress,

God saved us in our hour of need.

Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good.

God’s steadfast love endures forever. 

Hymn TIS 154: Great is your faithfulness.

                        (tune – Faithfulness)     

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

Opening Prayer

     God of light and love shine upon your people this day. Meet us in our brokenness and heal our errant ways. Take from us our spirit of disobedience and save us with your grace. Lead us into your truth, that we may live as children of light, and act as children of the “Most High.” Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

God of poisonous snakes and deadly crosses, your ways can be terrible to behold.

When we complain about what we lack, rather than celebrating your sustaining gifts, forgive us.

When we see only the bad in our lives, and fail to see the good, heal our vision.

When we act as disobedient children, and turn away from your light, save us with your unfailing grace.

In Christ’s holy name, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

God sent the Human One into the world, not to condemn it, but to save it. The One who brings us light saves us from our destructive ways and leads us into life.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Share the joy of salvation and the assurance of love with one another by offering signs of peace and reconciliation.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

Announcements 

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Jesus, brought light into the world.

Object: A night light and a flashlight or lantern

Are you afraid of the dark? It is not unusual for children to be afraid of the dark. Some of you may have a night light in your bedroom. You shouldn't be embarrassed. In fact, it might be a wise thing to do. Suppose you wake up in the night and need a drink of water. If you get up in the dark to go get a drink, you might stub your toe or bump your shin. Ouch! That hurts.

If you go for a walk at night, it is a good idea to carry a flashlight or lantern. Even if you are not afraid of the dark, you might step in a hole and sprain your ankle. A flashlight or lantern will help you avoid those things that could harm you. If you have the choice of walking in the dark or walking in the light, which would you choose? I know which one I would choose!

In our Bible readings today, Jesus talks about light and darkness. Jesus said, "Light has come into the world." Do you know what the Light is that Jesus was talking about? He was talking about himself. In another place, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk-in darkness but will have the light of life."

You might be surprised to know that some people choose to walk in darkness rather than in the light. Can you imagine that? Why would they do that? Jesus tells us, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their evil deeds will be exposed."

Every day we make choices. If we live by truth, we walk in the light so that it may be plainly seen. As Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." What choice will you make? Will you walk in the light or in the darkness? 

Offering Prayer

God of light and love shine through our offerings this day. May they bring light to the darkness and help lead others from death into life. Transform these gifts into your glory, that they may reflect the joy of your saving grace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 147: To God be the glory.

                        (tune – To God be the Glory)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CeBoSQsBR0   

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Numbers 21:4-9

The Gospel Reading:                                        John 3:14-21

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

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Numbers 21:4-9

4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.’ 6 Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So, Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’ 9 So Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live. 

John 3:14-21

14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’ 

Preaching of the Word - Quick, What Is Another …….

Quick, what is another name for today, the Fourth Sunday in Lent?

Give up? Actually, there are several possible answers to this question, all of them correct, and all of them originating in ecclesiastical history and liturgical practice.

In some quarters, especially among our Roman Catholic friends and neighbours, the Fourth Sunday in Lent is known as Laetare [pronounced, (lay-TAH-rayâ] Sunday, from the Latin word meaning “rejoice.” It may at first seem odd to speak of rejoicing in the middle of Lent, a season of penitence and sacrifice. After all, we have put away our alleluias and festive faces for the duration. Yet, in ancient times, the special, or proper, parts of the service on this day began with the single word “rejoice,.” reminding worshippers that the Church is more than halfway through its Lenten discipline and well on the way to Easter joy.

So, lighten up a little, the Church seems to have been saying. For much the same reason, in some Denomination circles this day has become known as Refreshment Sunday.

As if that were not enough, in the United Kingdom this day has been celebrated at least since late medieval times as, of all things, Mothering Sunday, the equivalent of Mother’s Day in North America. No one quite knows why mothers have come to be honoured in the middle of Lent. But some scholars speculate that the original Scripture lessons, or readings, on this day referred to Mary, the Mother of God and the mother of the Church. In any event, if you have British friends, be sure to wish them well today.

There you have it. No matter how you name it, the Fourth Sunday of Lent more or less the middle point of the season is special.

Life itself, of course, is made up of middle points and transitions to which we attribute unique and special importance. It is human nature to mark time, to take note of milestones and halfway points. We may remember being halfway through high school or Uni; halfway through a transition between Ministers at Church; or halfway through a project at work. And mothers will certainly remember being halfway through pregnancy, eager for the birth of their child.

Whatever the effort, being halfway through something is special. It can bring either anxiety or a foretaste of accomplishment. Or both.

In our first reading today, we find the ancient Israelites on their journey out of Egypt becoming downright anxious and impatient on the way. Their passage or transition has been long and arduous, and it is far from over. Why, they challenge Moses, I don’t know? They say, have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? As if that had been Moses purpose all along. They even complain of the food and drink. We detest this miserable food, they grumble like spoiled children. Did they perhaps expect gourmet fare in the desert?

The Israelites have forgotten that they are on their way home to the Promised Land. They have lost sight of the purpose and meaning of their journey. The desert and its hardships have robbed them not only of patience, but of perspective and hope as well. Only when the Lord punishes them with a multitude of poisonous serpents do the people come to their senses and repent. Only when those bitten by the serpents look upon the serpent of bronze raised by Moses do they once again come to live. The journey of the Israelites is not over, but it has gained new significance and purpose.

We find ourselves today as a nation in the midst of transformation and crisis. Our economy is struggling after the problems of Covid-19. Our industries are staggering, and many industries are disappearing and others arising. People are losing their jobs at record rates and many are being employed in different ways. No one knows if the government’s remedies will work. And our minds are filled with anxious questions: Where do we stand? Will all the problems bought by the Covid-19 pandemic end soon? Or has it just begun?

It would be easy for us to lose hope and to despair, as did the ancient Israelites. Indeed, today, as in ancient times, there seems to be no end of complaint and blame. Some fault the greed of finance people and business leaders for our problems. Others cite irresponsible politicians and world leaders. Yet few are willing to look in the mirror. We all feel the bite of our anxieties. Perhaps we too need a bronze serpent to gaze upon. Perhaps we too need to face our fears and learn once again to live.

We may well ask: Is there anything left for us to rejoice about on Laetare Sunday, halfway through this discontented Lenten season?

The season itself suggests that there is.

Lent is, after all, a time of reflection, repentance, and prayer; a time to allow the Lord to turn us around in faith so that we may at last be regenerated in the risen life of Easter. And that has little to do with business cycles or the size of our pay packet.

Jesus himself, in our gospel reading today, gives us the best reason of all for rejoicing.  That famous passage from John 3, “God so loved the world,” he tells us, “that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

That is the kind of economy we can all believe in the economy of salvation. So, yes: there is still plenty of room for hope and even joy.

Decades ago, an irreverent wit once observed, God protects fools, children, and the United States of America or maybe even Australia. The truth of the matter is that God protects us all fools as well as the wise; children as well as mothers and fathers; Australians, ancient Israelites, and people of every land and creed. In spite of our fears, complaints, and foolishness, God loves us all without bounds. We need only look to his Son to understand this truth and live.

And that is reason enough to rejoice even today even in the middle of Lent. 

Hymn TIS 155: How great thou art.

                        (tune – O Store Gud)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc0QVWzCv9k 

Intercessory Prayers       

Lent 4 Sunday – Year B –

We give you thanks, 0 God, that you gather your people from north and south, from east and west: hear our prayers for all the peoples of the world. We pray for all who are victims of hatred, oppression or war, for those whose greed, apathy or lust for power destroys the lives of others. When we choose the ways of evil and reject your light, let us turn to you that we might live.

God of love and goodness, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We give you thanks, 0 God, that you sent your Son into the world to bring salvation to your people: hear our prayers for your holy, catholic church. We pray for your clergy and ministers, for all who worship in this place, for all who preach the gospel and seek to bring your people into fullness of life. When we find the bonds of slavery safer than the risks of freedom, let us turn to you that we might live.

God of love and goodness, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We give you thanks, 0 God, that your love for your people is from everlasting to everlasting: hear our prayers for all in this community. We pray for those who are excluded, undervalued or forgotten in our society, for those with whom we work, for our families, our friends and for ourselves.

When we are preoccupied with our own needs and overlook the concerns of others, let us turn to you that we might live.

God of love and goodness, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We give you thanks, 0 God, that you bring healing to the sick and relief to those in distress: hear our prayers for all who suffer in body, mind or spirit. We pray for all who are without purpose or hope, for all who struggle with addictions,

for the friendless and those who mourn, for the sick and for the dying. When we are overwhelmed by grief, loneliness, despair or pain, let us turn to you that we might live.

God of love and goodness, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We give you thanks, 0 God, that in Christ you bring your people from death to everlasting life: hear our prayers for all who have died in your love. We pray for those we love who rest in your presence, for those of this parish whose yearly remembrance occurs at this time. Now, and when we draw near the gate of death, let us look on you and believe, that we, with all your saints, might know the joy of eternal life.

God of love and goodness, 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 217: Love divine all loves excelling...

                         (tune – Hyfrydol)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eb6xfRzjhg

Benediction.

        Leave the shadows of your lives behind and go forth into the glorious light of God.

         Wewill walk in the light of Christ.

        Leave your brokenness of disobedience behind and rest in God’s compassion and grace.

         We will abide in Christ’s tender mercies.

        Go with the blessings of almighty God. 

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

                       (tune – Aubrey)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfOFlWxGaP8





Categories: Syndicated Blogs

MRUC Order of Service Lent 3 - 07 March 2021


 Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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

One Driver Sticks...,

Sunday 7th March 2021

Lent 3 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- (The Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)

Passion consumed Jesus as he overturned the tables of the merchants and moneychangers in the Temple grounds. As we follow Jesus toward the cross, may we too be consumed by a righteous passion to do what is right and honourable.

The heavens declare the glory of God.

The earth proclaims God’s handiwork.

In speech without words, their voices are heard.

In praise without language, their sounds extend

throughout creation.

The law of God is perfect, reviving the soul.

The teachings of God are sure, making wise the simple.

The precepts of God are right, rejoicing the heart.

The ordinances of God are true and are righteous altogether.

Come and proclaim with the heavens the glory and majesty of our God. 

Hymn TIS 156: Morning has broken.

                       (Tune – Bunessan) 

     Opening prayer

God of righteous fire, just as Jesus was consumed with passion as he cleared the Temple, may we be consumed with passion as we seek justice and righteousness in our world; just as Christ never flinched on his journey to the cross, may we never waver in our devotion to you and our defence of the poor. On this great journey of Lent, teach us the perfection of your ways, as we keep our eyes fixed upon your Son. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession

God of majesty and might, when we fail to hear the heavens proclaim your glory in speech without words,

Open our ears to perceive your precepts in the singing of the stars and in the music of the sun and moon; when we fail to perceive the wonder of your law in every act of kindness and mercy and in every act of devotion,

revive our souls with your wisdom and heal our hearts with your ways.

In your holy name, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

The foolishness of the cross is greater than the wisdom of the world. The love and forgiveness of the Holy One is greater than the waywardness of our hearts. Let us rejoice in the glory of our salvation.

Thanks, be to God! Amen 

The Peace

Living according to God’s law brings joy to the heart, light to the mind, and peace to the soul. Let us share this joy, light, and peace with one another as we exchange signs of peace and remember the way of the cross.

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

Eternal God, your law has guided your people from generation to generation. With the blessings of your covenant: receive our lives, that we may live your commandments; receive our gifts, that we may share your glory with the world. This we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus, who is our wisdom and our strength. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 546: Lord Jesus, think on me.

                       (Tune - Southwell (Daman))

 The Service of Holy Communion 

The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise. 

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you our parent, Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth. In love you made us for yourself; and when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, your love remained steadfast. You bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts and prepare with joy for the Easter feast, that, renewed by your Word and Sacraments and fervent in prayer and works of justice and mercy, we may come to the fullness of grace that you have prepared for those who love you. And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

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

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

Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ, whom you sent in the fullness of time to redeem the world. He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in our likeness. He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. He offered himself, a perfect sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection you gave birth to your Church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit.

On the night in which he gave himself up for us, he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: "Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said: "Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ's offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at his heavenly banquet. Amen.

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

The Breaking of the Bread

The Bread we break is the Bread of Life.

The Cup We Share is the Cup of Promise

These are the gifts of God for the people of God.

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

Jesus says: ‘The bread that God gives is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’
(Thanks be to God.)
Come, everything is ready. 

Prayer after Communion

Almighty and merciful God, you sent your only Son as the word of life for our eyes to see and our ears to hear. Help us by your gifts of word and sacrament to believe with joy what they proclaim.

We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Exodus 20: 1-17

The Gospel Reading:                                        John 2.13-22

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

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Exodus 20: 1-17

1 Then God spoke all these words: 2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 you shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. 8 Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. 9 For six days you shall labour and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. 12 Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 13 You shall not murder. 14 You shall not commit adultery. 15 You shall not steal. 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. 17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour. 

John 2.13-22

13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the moneychangers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables. 16 He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ 18 The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ 19 Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 20 The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ 21 But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. 

Preaching of the Word - One Driver Sticks...,

One driver sticks post-it notes all over the dashboard of her car to make sure she remembers each errand. Kitchen calendars fill up with family appointments. Many cell phones now include calendars so their owners can have instant access to appointments that are too numerous to remember.

Chronic stress accompanies an increasing number of Americans who feel busy beyond measure. It’s a common problem for the current generation, even among the retired. People are so overwhelmed that one of the greatest luxuries of the twenty-first century is free time.

Busy-ness intrudes on all of us because we have so many opportunities. And because we want everything at once and more, we have become slaves to what we desire, not what we need. We have become possessed by our activities and by our getting and spending and doing. Isn’t that part of the malady that infects us during this difficult economic period? Living beyond our means? Materialism and greed? Are there no boundaries to keep us in check?

Obviously, we need to re-set priorities and follow them.

A classic story about a business management consultant is instructive. The CEO of a large company stared failure in the face as he floundered, trying to pull his workforce out of a production tailspin. Swallowing his pride, he called in a consultant and said he would take any and all advice. The consultant asked the CEO to list what he did in the course of a normal week. Once this was done, she told the CEO to rank the list in priority.

This took a while, but when it was finished, she told the CEO what he needed to do. When you come to work, complete item number one before attending to item number two, and complete number two before going to number three. The next day, take out the list and start with number one again and repeat the process. Do the same each and every day. Don’t worry if you fail to reach lower items on your priority list. That’s it.

The CEO tried it and turned the company around. He lived into his own priorities and his workforce followed.

Emulating this would be a good way for Christians to amplify their Lenten disciplines while setting priorities and following them rigorously. This might free us from the busy-ness and overindulgence that we have fallen subject to as the things that enslave us. Heeding today’s reading from Exodus would make that task easier.

The Ten Commandments begins with a reminder that it is God who first leads us from that which enslaves us. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, you shall have no other gods before me.” God’s commandments can free us from the confinement of excessive busy-ness, too much wanting everything and more, obsession with our cravings and desires. God’s commandments lay out boundaries and help us set priorities by God’s standards.

Look at any list of the ten commandments in your old Prayer Book or Catechisms. Often these are stripped down lists of ten priorities provides us with a time-honoured but too-often-neglected guide for daily living. The Ten Commandments provide simplicity in the midst of too much complexity and busy-ness that often confounds us.

Furthermore, our Catechism’s, tend to help us even further by grouping the ten into two basic priorities. First is our duty to believe and trust in God. Second is our duty to care for and respect our neighbours.

For the initial priority, simply said, we put God first and putting nothing in God’s place. The Catechism helps us understand deeper meanings of not making idols, not misusing God’s name, and keeping holy the Sabbath day.

We show love for God and obedience to him in thought, word, and deed’s. We set aside special time for reflection on God’s way’s through worshipping with our community of believers and praying and studying about the things of God that are our priority.

For the second priority, simply said, we put our neighbours first. Again, the Catechism expands our understanding of honouring parents and refraining from murder, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting what is our neighbour’s.

We love, honour, and help our parents and others who exercise just authority. It is a partnership, for the sake of God, with those who teach us and lead us into the way of Christ. We respect the created order of humanity by accepting the righteous reality God has made. We honour human life, deplore war, work for peace, rid our hearts of hatred and malice, and seek to become one with what God has created.

We use all bodily desires as God intended, remaining faithful in human relationships. We deal with others honestly and fairly, and we work for justice in the world around us and far off. We seek freedom whether it does not exist. We share the precious resources of this planet and do not horde unnecessary surplus when others stand in need.

We do not simply refrain from lying, but we exercise the courage to tell the truth. We are careful not to mislead others by our silence. We resist the all-too-human temptation to have what is not ours. We guard against desires that lead us to envy, greed, and jealousy. Rather, we look with happiness and thanksgiving at the success of others and what they possess.

In the process of living into these commandments, we continue to expand this view and uncover for ourselves, in the particularities of our lives, the richness of what each means.

The list of Ten Commandments need not complicate our thinking, because each is a part of one whole: duty to and love for God and fellow human beings.

Our Lord Jesus Christ reminds us of this. We recall this teaching at this time as it sems to me to be so appropriate for Lent:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commands hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Here’s the place to grab onto the management consultant’s advice. At the beginning of each day, let’s lay aside all our calendars and day planners and lists of things to do. Rather, let us turn to this top item on our list of priorities, loving God and loving neighbour, and tend to it before we move on to the next thing.

Then maybe, just maybe our problem of busy-ness, our rush to fulfill so many wants and desires, will cease to make us anxious, and the success of our personal lives will be secured. 

Hymn TIS 684: Love will be our Lenten Calling.

                       (Tune – Picardy)

Intercessory Prayers      

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Lent 3 – Year B –

Holy God, slow to anger and infinite in mercy, hear us when we bring our prayers for your people.

We pray for the world, for peace and co-operation between nations, for wise and honest government and for a just and careful use of the earth ' s resources.

When we make idols of power and possessions, when we are greedy for what is not ours, or take what belongs to others,

overturn our values, that we may be passionate in the pursuit of justice. Holy God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for your worldwide church, for all who exercise leadership, for those who minister in your name, for all who worship in this place.

When we do not place you first in our lives, when we profane your name, or forget your worship, overturn our values, that we may proclaim your gospel by our words and by our lives.  

Holy God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all who live in this community, for our families, our friends and all with whom our lives are bound.

When our jealousy, unfaithfulness or neglect destroys relationships with parents, children, partners or friends, when we are less than truthful, or damage others by our words, overturn our values, that our relationships may be based on mutual respect and trust. Holy God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all in need, for the hungry, the homeless and the unemployed, for those without friends and those who .have lost loved ones, for all who are in pain, for the sick and for the dying.

When our selfishness overrides our concern for others, when we abandon our responsibilities for the vulnerable, the aged and the infirm, overturn our values that we may learn to care for each other with compassion and tenderness. Holy God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for your faithful people of every generation, for all who have walked in your way and now find eternal rest with you.

When we choose to disobey your commandments, when we leave your path and follow our own desires, overturn our values, that, with all your saints, we may find true treasure in following your law and come into the joy of your everlasting presence. Holy God, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

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

Hymn TIS 609: May the mind of Christ my Saviour

                       (Tune – St Leonards) 

          Benediction

         Walk in the ways of God. Go forth with the song of the heavens in your ears. Listen to the words of life. Go forth to live fully and completely: with the teachings of God’s law to lead you, with the grace of Christ Jesus to guide you, and with the peace of the Holy Spirit to sustain you. Go with God.

        And the blessing of God almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be with you always, Amen.     

Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you

                          (Tune – Somos Del Sensor)




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting - Marsden Missive - March, April, May 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - March 1, 2021 - 11:53pm

   


                                                 March, April and May 2021

Marsden Missive


      Marsden Road

Uniting Church Carlingford  

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Dear Marsden Road Members and Friends,

Remember last year, it was around this time we began to truly encounter Covid-19, It’s been quite a year and again we have come around to the period of Lent and Easter. As we draw close to Easter and are focused on our Lenten journey, we again seek to strengthen our faith through reflection and remembrance. 

Comedian David Brenner’s routine relating to Superman uses the image of bullets bouncing off Superman’s chest without incident. When the bullets run out, the bad guy frequently throws the gun at Superman. Brenner reminds us of what Superman does then. He ducks. That’s right. After the bullets bounce off his chest, when the gun comes toward him, Superman ducks. I hope and pray you all have been ducking well since the pandemic began. 

But back to Superman. The people in Jerusalem were looking for Superman. They wanted someone to rid Jerusalemof the Romans. For many people, Jesus was the one, and he was coming to town. Luke writes that the Pharisees encourage Jesus to calm the crowd. Matthew is even more descriptive. Matthew writes that the city is in turmoil. The word turmoil here is from the same word translated “earthquake” elsewhere. Jesus’ presence in Jerusalemcauses tremors. The reactions to Jesus vary. Some people are excited, while others are threatened. Jesus descends upon Jerusalemfrom the Mount of Olives riding a colt. 

People are throwing clothing in his path and reacting to his presence joyfully, praising God with a loud voice. The question of the day was, “Who is this?” For many of the people of Jerusalem, this was the new King . . . the Messiah. Jesus had come to free them from Roman tyranny. The scene reminds me of our own political process, especially in federal election years. Each of us puts great hope in a candidate whom we believe can bring about the changes we desire in our political system. Many people in Jerusalem saw Jesus as their political hope. 

Jesus comes into Jerusalemat Passover, a primary religious observance for Jews. At the end of the Seder meal, the participants covenant with one another to meet in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover the next year. Being in Jerusalem, especially for Passover, was a desire for all Jewish people. Crowds are gathered for Passover, shoulder to shoulder. Into this scene comes Jesus, riding a colt down the main road. Jews are gathered to remember what God had done for them in the exodus from Egypt, and to consider what God still might do. Who is this? Could Jesus be the Messiah, the fulfilment of God’s hope for their future? Not everyone in Jerusalem is excited about Jesus’ presence, however. 

The Roman officials are wary of him. Pontius Pilate has ordered extra soldiers to Jerusalembecause it is Passover, but also perhaps because he knew Jesus was coming. Each street corner has soldiers watching Jesus’ every move. These Gentiles do not fully understand the Jewish expectation of Messiah. When they hear that Jesus might be the “new” Hebrew king, their ears perk up. They hear the people shouting, “Blessed is the king.” The Romans who know Jewish prophecy may believe this Jesus is the new king from the Davidic line who will challenge their authority. That’s a threat to Rome. 

Jewish leaders are also threatened. Jesus is a Jew, but he is certainly not part of the Jewish religious establishment. The Pharisees and the scribes have turned many Jews against Jesus, certain that Jesus isn’t the Messiah. Before the Sanhedrin, they say that Jesus claims to be God. Along with the Romans, the Jewish leaders fear Jesus and build a coalition to destroy Jesus. The disciples of Jesus are also fearful, but for a different reason. They are fearful for their own lives. More than once they have warned Jesus against going into Jerusalem. They know it is not safe. Some of them, led by Judas, are even angry with Jesus because he will not assume the power that they believe is rightfully his as the Messiah. Along with the crowds in Jerusalem, the disciples are also asking, “Who is this?” 

In the musical Cats, the eldest cat, Old Deuteronomy, quotes T. S. Eliot in saying, “We had the experience, but we missed the meaning.” In three years of ministry with Jesus, the disciples had the experience, but they missed the meaning. The city of Jerusalemis in turmoil. Jerusalemis in a state of confusion. Some are celebrating the entry of Jesus with pomp and pageantry. Others are afraid of Jesus and scheming to destroy him. Still others are fearful for different reasons—for their own lives and the life of Jesus, whom they love. 

We can only speculate how we might have responded in such a situation. Would we have found ourselves resenting Jesus or have feared him for any reason? Would we have been angry with him because he did not live up to our understanding of the Messiah? Would we have truly known who he was? During the period of Lent to Easter Sunday we are on our own journey through the streets of Jerusalem. It is the beginning of an unfolding drama that leads to the cross, and ultimately to an empty tomb. Many times, in the Gospels we hear Jesus telling those whom he heals not to tell anyone. Perhaps it was because they would not understand until the Resurrection. We have the Resurrection, and still, we struggle to understand. 

Bishop John Shelby Spong says of the Resurrection, “Something happened after the death of Jesus that had startling and enormous power. Its power was sufficient to reconstitute a scattered and demoralised band of disciples” We have the opportunity this Lenten tide to relive the journey to the cross and experience the incredible power that is ours through the cross and the Resurrection. It is only through the cross that we find the answer to the question on the lips of those in Jerusalem: “Who is this?” The cross reveals not only who Jesus was then, but who he is for us today. Unlike Superman, Jesus does not duck. Jesus faces the cross with great faith and a power that for us seems unfathomable . . . a power that changes lives. 

May your Lenten journey be challenging and fulfilling, and your Easter be a blessed rising with our Lord. 

Humour 

A priest buys a lawn mower at a yard sale. Back home, he pulls on the starter rope a few times with no results. He storms back to the yard sale and tells the previous owner, “I can’t get the mower to start!” “That’s because you have to curse to get it started,” says the man. “I’m a man of the cloth. I don’t even remember how to curse.” “You keep pulling on that rope, and it’ll come back to you.” 

Preparation and or Action. 

Normally we think of Lent as a somewhat sombre time, a time of penitence in preparation for (our remembrance of) the Crucifixion on Good Friday, followed by the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Day. However, let us be reminded that there is more to our preparation than feeling penitent, however important penitence may be. What is important in today is dedication -- real dedication to God, carried out in our actions. We are reminded in Isaiah of what great things God has done in the past. But then we are told that however important these things were, we must focus on what God is doing today, in the present. God is doing new things, and he will continue to take care of his people. This is as true today as it was in Isaiah's time. 

St. Paul tells us that there is nothing in this world as important as the fact that we belong to Christ Jesus: this is the ultimate prize, compared to which everything else is valueless. In St. Luke's Gospel, we are given a picture of what happens to people who try to use portions of God's world for their own purposes, rather than God's purposes, and who do not receive God's Son as they should. I am thinking here of the passage where Jesus tells us about tenants who rented a vineyard, but then refused to pay their rent, a portion of the grapes that they produced from the vineyard. The tenants gave beatings to three successive representatives that the owner sent and sent them away without any payment. When the son of the owner came, they killed that son, in hopes that they might then take over the vineyard. What did Jesus say will happen then? "[The owner] will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others." 

Now in many biblical passages, when Jesus tells a parable, his followers don't understand what he means. We all sometimes have this problem – we may perhaps have a tendency to sympathise with the wrong character, and thus initially to be mystified by the outcome. For instance, it would be easy to sympathise with the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, without seeing that the older son is being quite presumptuous about what is after all, still his father's property. To the father, people are much more important than property, and property is to be used in the service of people, and in the celebration of people's reconciliation. 

In the parable of the lost sheep, you might initially be tempted to sympathise with the ninety-nine whom the shepherd leaves to look for the lost one, without seeing that I might be the lost one, and that I could never feel safe with a shepherd who would not search for an individual who has strayed. But in this story, Jesus’ followers see the point right away. Even the scribes and chief priests understand. Jesus was teaching that God will hold us all accountable for two things: for whether we give God the proper proportion of what we produce using God's resources, and for how we receive God's Son. 

If we do not give back to God the proper portion of the benefits of what God has entrusted to us, and if we do not receive God's Son appropriately, we will be destroyed and replaced. The followers are horrified. They reject the message, saying "God forbid!" But Jesus is absolutely firm. He doesn't let anyone off the hook. Instead, He reminds the followers of what happens to those who do not properly receive God's Son: "The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner." "Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on anyone, it will crush him." Even the scribes and the chief priests got it. They wanted to lay hands-on Jesus, but were afraid to, because of the people. 

It is easy to see why the scribes and chief priests didn't like this teaching, but why was it so upsetting to Jesus’ followers that they said, "God forbid!" 

First, it meant that Jesus was challenging the established religious authorities of the scribes and chief priests -- people that the followers had been taught all their lives to respect. Jesus was being a revolutionary! The idea that God will destroy and replace established leaders who work their own will instead of God's can still be unsettling today. 

Second, the followers probably couldn't be one hundred percent comfortable that they themselves were giving God what is properly due. The Law that they knew set a very high standard. Jesus’ summary commandments are quotations from the Old Testament. Who can say that they faultlessly love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, with their entire mind, and with all their strength? And who absolutely and unfailingly loves their neighbours as they love themselves? 

How then are we today to respond to what Jesus was teaching? What is the rent that we are to pay for the use of God's resources, and how are we to receive God's Son? 

For the rest, the answer is clear. The minimum standard of giving has been stated as being important to at least have a percentage figure personally set. But for me much more important is how am I to receive God's Son. This to me is very clear. Jesus says that we can recognise him in the eyes of the poor, the sick, the downtrodden, and the needy. Do we? Do we then receive him? Do we love these neighbours as we love ourselves? If we do not respond in faith, we will miss the prize that St. Paulso highly values -- Christ Jesus. If we miss this prize, we will surely be destroyed. So, during this upcoming Lent and Easter let us reassess our lives and see where we can make preparation and act to receive Christ into our daily lives by responding in faith. 



SERVICES for March, April, May 2021 

Date

Sunday

Hebrew Scripture

Epistle

Gospel

Mar 7

Lent 3

Exodus 17:1-7

Rom 5:1-11

John 4:5-42

Mar 14

Lent 4

1 Sam 16:1-13

Eph 5:8-14

John 9:1-41

Mar 21

Lent 5

Exodus 37:1-4

Rom 8:6-11

John 11:1-45

Mar 28

Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Phil 2:5-11

Math 21:1-11

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 1

Maundy Thursday

Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Apr 2

Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Heb 10:16-25

Math 27:1-61

Apr 4

Easter

Acts 10:34-43

Col 3:1-4

Math 28:1-10

Apr 11

Easter 2

Acts 2:14a, 22-32

1 Peter 1:3-9

John 20:19-31

Apr 18

Easter 3

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

1 Peter 1:17-23

 

Apr 25

Easter 4

Acts 2:42-47

1 Peter 2:19-25

John 10:1-10

 

 

 

 

 

May 2

Easter 5

Acts 7:55-60

1 Peter 2:2-10

John 14:1-14

May 9

Easter 6

Acts 17:22-31

1 Peter 3:13-22

John 14:15-21

May 16

Ascension

Acts 1:1-11

Ephesian 1:15-23

Luke 24:13-35

May 23

Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21

1 Cor 12:3b-13

John 20:19-23

May 30

Trinity

Isaiah 6:1-8

Romans 8:12-17

John 3:1-17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Humour

What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?

Answer: Yahweh drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury, an automobile produced by Plymouth from 1955 to 1989.

Israel's Triumph (a British automobile produced from 1921 to 1984) could be heard after the death of Goliath (2 Samuel 17:52, New Living Translation.

Honda... because Acts 2:12 says the apostles "were all in one Accord," an automobile produced beginning in 1976.

In Psalm 83, the Almighty clearly owns both a Pontiac and a Geo. The passage urges the Lord to "pursue your enemies with your Tempest and terrify them with your Storm." -- Psalm 83:15

God may favour Dodge pickup trucks since the Israelites were warned not to follow Moses up on the mountain "until the Ram's horn sounds a long blast." -- Exodus 19:13

2 Corinthians 4:8 describes a group traveling in a Volkswagen Bug: "We are hard pressed on every side."


UPCOMING EVENTS

March 2021

1     10am PRC Meeting

2     5pm SCCP Standing Committee Meeting

3     10am and 7.30pm Lent Study Group –

        Through the Eyes of Love.

5     10.30am World Day of Prayer Service –

        All Saints – Malton Road, North Epping

7     9.30am Lent 3 Sunday Service Holy

       Communion

10   10am and 7.30pm Lent Study Group –

        Through the Eyes of Love.

11   12.30pm SCCP PRC Meeting  

14   9.30am Lent 4 Sunday Service

17   10am and 7.30pm Lent Study Group –

        Through the Eyes of Love.

19   NSW Synod Standing Committee Meeting

21   9.30am Lent 5 Sunday Service

24   10am and 7.30pm Lent Study Group –

        Through the Eyes of Love. Last Study

25   7.30am Local Ministers Breakfast

28   9.30am Palm Sunday Service

29   Monday in Holy Week

30   Tuesday in Holy Week

31   Wednesday in Holy Week 

April 2021

1     Maundy Thursday

       6pm Tenebrae Service for Maundy Thursday

2     Good Friday

       9.30am Good Friday Service

3     Holy Saturday

4     Easter Sunday

9.30am Easter Sunday Service Holy Communion

Daylight Saving Time ends.

5     Easter Monday

6     10.00am SCCP PRC Agenda Meeting

       5.00pm SCCP Standing Committee Meeting

9     NSW and ACT Synod Meeting begins

10   NSW and ACT Synod Meeting

11   9.30am Easter 2 Sunday Service

       NSW and ACT Synod Meeting finishes

15   12.30pm SCCP PRC Meeting

18   9.30am Easter 3 Sunday Service

2pm Epping RSL ANZAC Sunday Service

22   7.30am Local Ministers Breakfast

25   9.30am Easter 4 Sunday Service

       ANZAC Day      

May 2021

2     9.30am Easter 5 Sunday Holy Communion Service

3     10.00am SCCP PRC Agenda Meeting

4     5.00pm SCCP Standing Committee Meeting

9     9.30am Easter 6 Sunday Service

13   12.30pm SCCP PRC Meeting

16   9.30am Ascension Sunday Service

19   6pm SCC Presbytery Meeting

23   9.30am Pentecost Sunday Service

27   7.30am Local Ministers Breakfast

30   9.30am Trinity Sunday Service

31   10.00am SCCP PRC Agenda Meeting

Study Groups Lent 

We have selected Through the Eyes of Love - Five Studies consisting of voices helping to shape the life of faith, voices that speak out of personal experiences, communities and passions.written by Ian Price as our Lenten study

These continue in March 2921 Face to Face for both groups.

The Topic and Study Book are not yet finalised for the mid-year Spirituality Study.


NOTES FROM COUNCIL and COMMITTEES 

AGM Congregation of MRUC 

Business Arising:

(i)  City of Parramatta Council (C of PC) – The Sub-committee reported that we have a retro Business Certificate approved for previous work. Over the last twelve months attempts have been made to engage contractors for various works round the Church and grounds. A number of Companies have been approached but to date, no quotations has been forthcoming. It is hoped a contractor who attended on Tuesday 23 February might yet quote for some of the work. This has been a frustrating situation for the Subcommittee. 

(ii)  Church building. Alan Craymer presented a report in relation to the church building reporting on matters of concern. Much of the work was highlighted by stonemasons who viewed the property. Items of concern that have come to light are building movement and resulting presence of cracks in the fabric, the presence of water seeping into the sandstone causing rising damp, water entry through the roof area at both ends of the building, that repointing needs to be done as cement mortar has been used incorrectly causing damage and needs to be replaced by lime mortar and water entry from Gardens abutting the north wall also contributing to rising damp in the walls.

Regarding the interior of the Church, we have been informed that painting had been erroneous, and the walls need to be stripped of paint and returned to their Heritage state. This could raise other issues such as the need for improvement of lighting.

Altogether, that report highlighted several very costly areas of maintenance and upkeep of the building that need to be addressed as soon as possible. 

Sunday Kids – After discussion the meeting decided that we would not restart Sunday Kids and it would be in abeyance at present allowing for assessment of the needs and methods of delivery. Currently we have no children attending the Face-to-Face services that have been held.   

Solar Panels – Rev John, Wendy Pearce, Warwick Roden, and Alan Craymer recently participated in a Zoom meeting arranged by Synod and led by a spokesperson from the Clean Energy Group to pass on current information and update us on regulations and processes for Solar Panels. Synod and Presbytery are looking at ways to encourage zero emissions throughout the Church.  

Reports:

The Minister’s Report - Rev. John’s comprehensive report was noted. John advised that the five-yearly Life and Witness Review, which enables us to look at our current situation and support us to make decisions for the future, was due to start its process in May – see later article. Rev. John advised the meeting that it was Wendy and his intention to retire prior to December 2023. 

The Finance Report –received from the Treasurer.  We have come through Covid-19 in a positive position financially due to support from Jobkeeper and other Government payments. 

The sub-committee reports - these were presented to the meeting for ratification and accepted. 

Congregation Office Bearers: 

Chairperson:               No nomination

Deputy Chair:          No nomination

Secretary:             Stephen Halgren                 

Deputy Secretary:    Grahame Forrest 

There were no Nominations for the Congregation Chair. See article on Life and Witness Consultation.                      

Election of Church Council and Office Bearers 

Chairperson:              Warwick Roden   

Deputy Chair:            Ruth Henderson  

Secretary:                  Susan Halgren           

Treasurer:                  Chris Maddison

Council Members: Caroline Baker, Kaye Baker, Alan Craymer, Joan Craymer, Elaine Forrest, Margaret Johnston (question health), Rev John Candy. 

Elders:

Current Chair, Alan Craymer, Secretary, Elaine Forrest

Elders, Joan Craymer, Pat Dunk, Kaye Baker, Carolyn Baker, Colin Baker, Rev John Candy. Ruth Henderson

Colin Baker and Elaine Forrest were re-elected to fill the positions made vacant when their terms had come to an end. 

Announcement of membership of Subcommittees. 

Music Subcommittee: Grahame Forrest, Lynell Chan remain in place. 

Property Subcommittee: Phil Bendery, Stephen Halgren, Ron Burwood, Joan Craymer; Alan Craymer, Warwick Roden, John Candy 

Social and Education Sub-committee: The current Subcommittee of Lynette Colless, Elaine Forrest, Lynell Chan, Chrisanthi Maddison, Pat Dunk, Kaye Baker, Jan Roden, Noelene Price, Malcolm Colless, Ian Henderson and Rev John Candy will remain in place. 

Sunday Kids: The current group lead by Elaine Forrest will remain in place. 

Nurture Group: The current group of leaders will remain in place. 

Other business:  

·       It was reported the lower panel of the church sign facing Marsden Road was rotting and needed attention.

·       It was also noted with thanks that the floor and walls of the downstairs Livingstone Room had been painted by the Rainbow Congregation and had brightened up the room. The previous carpet tiles on the floor had been removed and the bare floor painted to better cope with occasional flooding in this room. The secretary undertook to write a letter of thanks to Rev. Kyou. 

Life and Witness Consultation 

The purpose of the consultation will be to strengthen the life and witness of the Congregation, to assess future ministerial and lay leadership needs, to assess the future mission and life of the congregation and to review the records of the Congregation. 

Goals - The Life and Witness Consultation provides an opportunity for the congregation to:

  • ·       Clarify their sense of identity.
  • ·       Renew their understanding of context in which they work.
  • ·       Reflect on their direction and missional goals.
  • ·       Identify their leadership needs, and other resources, that might be needed over the next five years.
  • ·       Assist with the deployment of resources, and the implementation of missional goals.
  • ·       To look at the future of the congregation in its current situation. 

Outcomes - The congregation is renewed in mission and ministry and revitalised in their life and witness. It also helps to look at the long-term future of the congregation and plan for whatever that might look like or be.

As Marsden Road is due to begin its five-yearly process in May this year please thoughtfully and prayerfully start to think about and talk about your ideas about, and for the Congregation at Marsden Road. Please be ready to share these when the time comes. 

Presbytery 

Some updates from the November 2020 Meeting of Presbytery: 

Church Planting Course update

Aspects of the course were shared with the meeting. This included highlights, lessons learnt, the diversity of the different teams’ initiatives and plans for running the course again next year. A common theme of all teams was the desire to build a church that would be enmeshed in the community and that would be missed if it wasn’t there. An update on the course will be provided via the Presbytery Newsletter.

For further information, please contact the growth team on growth@sccpresbytery.org.au  or the presbytery office (michelle.lombard@sccpresbytery.org.au). 

SCCP Emissions Strategy

Max Blacker (Business Committee Chairperson) and Lloyd Robinson presented a renewable initiative that was started in SCCP around two years ago. A group was formed under the auspices of the Business Committee, who could then advise the Standing Committee. Synod has also been active on this front.

The Presbytery will involve Synod and use a combined approach, avoiding duplication. The group would also work with what each congregation is doing already, not against initiatives or investigations already in place – each site should be tailored individually. 

Elders Group

Including Sunday Kids and Nurture Group.

Because of Covid19 none of these groups have met since the last Annual General Meeting. 

However, Elders have tried to keep in contact with our members. The worship by ZOOM has supported the interaction and exchange of news among members of the congregation on screen and especially the 4 members who joined worship by phone.  

Humour 


Property Sub-Committee 

Property Committee Meetings because of the Covid-19 restrictions on social gathering, have not taken place since February 2020. Any matters requiring attention have been addressed by the committee using email or telephone. 

Matters attended to during the past twelve months:

1.  Church entry door (foyer) repair - The door has been repaired by a heritage-listed contractor, repainted and the surrounding timbers also repainted.

2.  Memorial Gardens - Prospective contractors have attended and examined the site. The committee awaits a commitment from one of these qualified persons to offer suggestions for rejuvenating the area and to submit a quote for the work to be undertaken.

3.  White ants - An inspection of all areas of the premises has taken place and the pleasing news is that there is no evidence of white ant activity.

4.  Existing church gardens - The committee is grateful to Grahame Forrest for his upkeep of the various established gardens around the property and for his diligence in watering during the water-restricted drought times. 

Matters earmarked for attention include:

1.  Barge Board and stone masonry replacement in various areas – report to come and quotes for works to be sought.

2.  Water in lower hall rooms – Work carried out by Rainbow Presbyterian congregation to improve situation.

3.  Painting of the church interior – see report to AGM - At the same time, it is intended to remove the superfluous under-pew electric heaters now made redundant by the air-conditioning of the church.

4.  Removal of the old barbeque behind the hall - This superfluous item will be removed when landscaping activity commences.

5.  Painting of the exterior windows and sills of the hall - This will be addressed in due course. 

Social and Education Sub-Committee 

Almost all their organised activities for 2020 had to be postponed or cancelled due to the lock downs and regulations caused by the Covid 19.

The activities for 2019 included:

·       3/02/2019 - Pancake Morning Tea - profit of $215 went to CCAS.

·       24/03/2019 - Equinox Outing - to Lithgow Small Arms Museum - enjoyed by all.

·       30/06/2019 Simply Sharing Tea - Profits topped up by funds held by Subcommittee to $500 to supply an extra water tank at the school we support.

·       18/08/2019 - Outback Morning Tea BBQ - Donation of $520 sent to Frontier Services.

·       6/10/2019 - Progressive Dinner - profit of $250 went into Sub-committees funds.

·       14/12/2019 - Christmas Party - profit of $356 went to general funds.

·       Continued support of work of Parramatta mission from small change jar donation towards their Meals Plus Christmas dinner programme.

·       The Street Library went into abeyance during Covid shut down.

·       1/03/2020 - Pancake Morning Tea - money raised topped up to $500 for the work of CCAS.

·       During 2019 we continued to organise and supply the morning teas, toilet paper and paper towels etc for use.

·       We continue to support Paul and Sara through regular donations to So They Can. 

Finance Position 

The Chart below shows our income and expenditure over the last calendar year. We have had a surplus over this time which has included COVID grants and Jobkeeper grants. Expenditure has been minimal due to the use of Zoom for meetings and worship. No more COVID grants or Jobkeeper are expected.

This means that we all need to consider our giving and look at whether we can increase our support for the work of the Church. Please give this prayerful consideration. 











Humour

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 nopn-perishable food items. Please remember that even the smallest contribution helps.

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 CONTACT 


Minister of the Word: Rev John Candy 0411 267 639 or  whitestarhaven@gmail.com

Available: Tuesday, (Wednesday Morning), Thursday, Saturday Morning and Sunday’s.

Website: www.marsdenroadunitingchurch.org.au

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

Marsden Missive

Please send articles, information and reports to Rev John Phone: 0411 267 639 or email: whitestarhaven@gmail.com

PuzzlE



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

MRUC Order of Service Lent 2 - 28 February 2021

 


Sunday 28th February 2021


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

A Covenant Worth Our Lives,

Sunday 28th February 2021

Lent 2 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am

Gathering God’s People       

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

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

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

Call to Worship- (Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)       

God’s voice calls to us, naming us in holy love. Christ’s voice chastens us, correcting us when we lose our way. The Spirit’s voice sounds within us, drawing us back to the paths of righteousness. God’s voice heals us, naming us as God’s own.

From generation to generation, God names us and claims us.

Let heaven and earth praise God’s holy name.

From our earliest steps, Christ guides our wayward feet. Let all who draw breath come back to the Lord.

From death to life, the Spirit sets us free.

Let the faithful rejoice in God’s holy covenant.

From generation to generation, God names us and claims us.

Let heaven and earth praise God’s holy name. 

Hymn TIS  052: Let us sing to the God of salvation

                        (Tune – Sing Hosanna)            

Opening Prayer

      Spirit of the ages, as you called to Abram and Sarai, renaming them according to your purposes, call to us this day. Open our ears to the sound of your voice, that we may respond to your call and pick up our cross to follow you. Name us anew this day, and raise us to newness of life, that we may be children of your promise, people of your covenant, and disciples of your grace. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

God above every name, when our vision dims, and we prefer human thoughts to your thoughts, heal our eyes of faith.

Grace above every grace, when our suffering closes us off from the joy on the other side of suffering, grant us your strength to follow Christ in hope and promise.

Wisdom of the ages, when we seek to save our lives in destructive ways, love us back onto the right paths and restore us to life.

In your holy name, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

By saying no to ourselves, and picking up our cross to follow Christ, we find ourselves. By saying yes to the good news of God’s Spirit working within us, we find faith and wholeness. God’s promises are sure, God’s love eternal.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Let all who would become Christ’s followers deny themselves and follow Christ in love and grace. Let all who seek freedom pick up their cross and follow him, even when the road is long. On this journey, let us turn to one another and share signs of grace and peace.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme - Discipleship is not easy

Object - A deck of cards and perhaps a book on magic tricks.

Scripture - Mark 8:31,34

I have a really cool card trick to show you this morning. (Shuffle the cards a couple of times.) First, I need a helper. (Choose a helper and continue.) I want you to pick a card out of this deck. Don't show it to me, but you can show everyone else. I'll cover my eyes so I can't see it. Now, I want you to carefully slide that card right into the middle of the deck.

Don't let me see it! Now, this is the amazing part. I am going to snap my fingers, and the card that you selected will move from the middle of the deck to the top of the deck. Are you ready? (Snap!) Here it is! Here is your card right on top. (Pick up the card and show it to your helper.)

That is your card, isn't it? It isn't? Well, I don't understand what happened. I bought this book to teach me how to do this trick and it didn't work. It said I should let you choose a card and put it in the middle of the deck and when I snapped my fingers it would move to the top. Oh, there was a bunch of other stuff I was supposed to do, but that stuff was all too complicated. I skipped over that part. It is supposed to be a magic trick, so I thought it would work at the snap of my fingers.

That was pretty foolish of me, wasn't it? Well, sometimes we think life should be that easy too, don't we? We think that everything should happen at the snap of a finger. When life is hard, we look for the easy way out.

That isn't anything new. People were like that in Jesus' day too. One day Jesus was talking to his disciples and he was telling them all he was going to have to suffer to save the world from sin. He told them how he was going to be made fun of, beaten, crucified, and buried, but that he would rise again on the third day. That was what his Father had sent him to do.

Peter had other ideas. He knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and that wasn't what he wanted for Jesus. There had to be an easier way. Well, it is true. There was an easier way. Jesus had the power. He could have taken the easy way out. He could have set up his kingdom right here on earth with the snap of his fingers. But that was not God's plan.

Jesus turned to Peter and scolded him. "Get behind me, Satan!" Jesus said to Peter. "You don't have your mind on the things of God, you have your mind on the things of men!"

Jesus wasn't interested in taking the easy way out and he doesn't want us looking for the easy way out either. He said, "If anyone would follow me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

Being a disciple of Jesus is not easy. It doesn't happen with the snap of our fingers. It isn't easy, but the reward is great! 

Offering

Bless us this day, Eternal God, that we may be a blessing to a world in need. Bless our gifts and our offerings in your name, that they may light the way home for those who have wandered far and lost their way. As these gifts go forth to do your work, may they help others hear you call their names and bring them peace. Amen 

Hymn TIS 412: God sends us his Spirit to befriend

                        (Tune – Natomah) 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Romans 4:13-25

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 8:31-38

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 

Romans 4: 13-25

13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. 16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17 as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ 23 Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification. 

Mark 8:31-38

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 - A Covenant Worth Our Lives,

We human beings love our rules. The security that comes from knowing how things should be done comforts us in our chaotic world. God understands this about us, and so God comes to us in terms of covenant. In our lesson from Genesis, God provides a clear agreement that Abraham can refer to and rely on to know that God will come through on God’s promises. God willingly limits Godself out of love, knowing that making this clear and concrete covenant, promising to be our God forever and make our descendants fruitful, will bring us comfort and security.

Where we get into trouble is in thinking that our ideas about rules and regulations should govern God. Once we understand that God will always be faithful to us and care for us, we start to think we know better than God who God should be and how God should act. Consider Peter’s action in our gospel story today. At first, his boldness is shocking – how did he have the audacity to take Jesus aside and rebuke him? But when we examine our hearts, we might realize that we, too, have sometimes wanted to take Jesus aside and rebuke him.

Peter acts this way because he doesn’t like what Jesus is saying. How often have we felt that way ourselves? How often have we wanted to explain the realities of a harsh world to a Jesus who seems naïve and unrealistic in his expectations of us? What do you mean, sell everything we have and give it to the poor to follow you, Jesus? How can you expect us to “be perfect as your heavenly Parent is perfect”? It’s simply not realistic to “give to everyone who asks of you.”

The truth is that our human instinct is to remake Christ in our own image, rather than letting ourselves be transformed into Christ’s image. We want to dictate the terms of the covenant, but Jesus makes it clear that that impulse is from the darkness within us, and he will name it and call us out on it. Just a few short verses ago, Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah. Peter got it right! He knew the truth about Jesus and was not afraid to proclaim it. And yet barely a moment later, he has made such a mistake that Jesus is saying that evil is acting through him.

What we can learn from this is the truth that even after – perhaps especially after – our mountaintop experiences of revelation, we still have so very much to learn. Even as we gain more and more knowledge of Jesus and enter deeper and deeper into relationship with him, the mystery of his full nature grows at the same pace. Just because we know him doesn’t mean we get to tell him what to do, a lesson that Peter learned in this moment and that we will learn over and over again.

This gospel lesson is full of truths that are hard to hear. Peter’s expectations are dashed by what Jesus says. He and the other disciples have witnessed Jesus’ power – it was very natural for them to assume that Jesus would bring about the fullness of God’s covenant promises by overthrowing Rome and restoring the throne of Israel. Now Jesus tells them that he knows he will be defeated, arrested and killed – and he fully intends to let it happen.

This is a bitter, painful discovery for Peter and the others. It feels like a betrayal. “Jesus, you have the power of almighty God at your disposal. Rather than rescuing us from oppression, you’re going to give in and give up and let the Romans win again?”

This “gospel” Good News is the worst news imaginable.

What Peter doesn’t understand in this moment is that rather than betraying God’s covenant with Israel, Jesus is simultaneously fulfilling it and rewriting it. The original covenant promise to Abraham in our lesson from Genesis set for today which we haven’t read, was for many fruitful descendants, all of whom would be loved and protected by God. It was a covenant promising a future of life. Jesus is inviting us to a covenant of life also – but it is by following a very different path than we would expect. Jesus promises life to us if we have the courage to face death. Jesus promises that if we give our lives wholeheartedly to him and thereby to serving our neighbours, we will have rich and abundant life flowing through us, welling up to eternal life.

It is an enticing invitation – but a scary one. To know that Jesus is entering death willingly and expects us to do the same would give anyone pause. And while we know that one day, we will all confront literal, physical death, there are many other deaths awaiting us. We will face the death of our pride, the death of our comfortable ideas about what God is calling us to do and be, perhaps the death of our financial security and the death of our ambition and slavery to success. The covenant to which we are invited has very high stakes, and the urge to take Jesus aside and rebuke him as Peter did starts to make more and more sense.

It seems impossible, doesn’t it? It seems as farfetched to imagine ourselves brave enough to follow Jesus into death, to lose our lives to save them, as he says, as it did for Abraham and Sarah to have children in their old age. This covenant to which we are invited, this covenant that takes this strange and frightening path of cross-carrying and death, is only possible under one condition. We cannot make it on hard work or determination or power or strength.

Our lesson from Romans tells us what we need to enter into this covenant:

“It depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed. … Hoping against hope, [Abraham] believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations.’ … He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead. … No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

Faith is the only bridge through death on the cross to the new life of resurrection with Jesus. But it is not a fairy-tale faith that closes its eyes and hopes for the best, blindly wishing for a happy ending. It is a faith that takes stock of the very real cost of discipleship to which Jesus calls us, the price up to and including our very lives, and deems it a worthy gift to the Christ who withheld nothing from us.

Some of us, including many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world, may pay that cost of discipleship with their literal, physical lives. But most of us will not go out in a blaze of martyred glory. Most of us will carry the cross one small step at a time, one spiritual discipline at a time, one act of generosity or sacrifice or love at a time. 

However, we carry the cross, the giving of our lives willingly to follow Jesus will manifest in one perhaps unexpected cost: the risk of being changed. When Abram and Sarai committed to God’s covenant with them, they were changed at such a fundamental level that they could no longer be known by their former names. The man and woman who were God’s covenant partners had to be known as Abraham and Sarah, names that echoed their former selves but were profoundly transformed, just like their lives and their souls.

This is the risk we take when we sign on to Jesus’ covenant of life, the journey with and through the cross and its transforming power, the road through death to resurrection. We will emerge on the other side with the building blocks of our souls familiar to us, but the temple of grace into which they have been built strange and new and glorious. We can finally let go of our urge to rebuke Jesus, to remake him to be like we think he should be, like ourselves, because we know through faith that he will remake us to be like him.

That’s a covenant promise worth our very lives. 

Hymn TIS 657: God of Freedom, God of Justice

                       (Tune - Picardy)       

Intercessory Prayers- Lent 2 Sunday – Year B –

God of promise and hope, we bring to you our prayers believing that with you all things are possible; hear the prayers we offer.

You promised to make Abraham the father of nations and through Sarah and Hagar your promise came to birth hear our prayers for the nations of the world.

We pray for peace among nations, especially Israel, Palestine and the Middle East; for an end to violence, cruelty and oppression; for just and responsible sharing of the resources of the world; for the leaders of nations and all with responsibility of government; for all who commit their lives to the pursuit of justice; for all who work for the preservation of the earth. God of hope, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You promised a Messiah to bring salvation to your people, and through the obedience of Mary your promise came to birth hear our prayers for your holy, catholic church. We pray for a servant church where your gospel is proclaimed in deed and in word; for all leaders of churches, theologians and teachers; for those who take the gospel to distant or dangerous places; for all whose witness is met with apathy, ridicule or persecution; for unity and trust between Christians of different traditions; for understanding and respect between Muslims, Jews and Christians. God of hope, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You promised to send a Comforter to your people, and in the coming of the Holy Spirit your promise was fulfilled: hear our prayers for all who are in pain or distress.

We pray for relief, comfort and healing for your suffering people; for the poor, the hungry and the homeless; for the lonely, the forgotten and the unwanted; for all who grieve the loss of loved ones; for the sick and those who care for them; for the dying and those who watch with them. God of hope, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You promised that from death would come new life and in the resurrection of your Son your promise was fulfilled: remember, we pray, your faithful servants of every age.

We give you thanks for all who have received and believed your promises; for those whom we love who have gone to your heavenly presence. Inspire us with the faith of Abraham, the trust of Sarah, the courage of H agar, the obedience of Mary and the lives of all your saints and fill us with your grace, that in us and through us your promises may be fulfilled. God of hope and promise, 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)        

         Benediction

        Hear the voice of God calling your name.

        We will follow where God leads us.

        Hear the voice of Christ claiming you as his own.

        We will live as brothers and sisters in faith.

        Hear the voice of the Spirit sending you forth.

        We will go where the Spirit sends us.

        Go forth, called, named, and claimed by God.       

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

                              (Tune – Aubrey)




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Order of Service - Feast of Transfiguration - 14 February 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

______________________________________ 

Clinging to the Light,

The Transfiguration

Sunday 14th February 2020

Transfiguration Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People       

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

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

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

Call to Worship (Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)       

Chariots and horses of fire . . . a prophet taken up into heaven . . . a gospel unveiled . . . Moses, Elijah, and Jesus shining brighter than the sun . . . the time approaches and now is. Watch . . . listen . . . perceive . . . God is with us. Nothing is as it seems.

The glory of God is too great for you to bear.

We are not afraid. We will not turn back.

The mystery of God runs too deep for you to fathom.

We are not deterred. We will not turn back.

The fiery chariot of Elijah is not for mortal sight to see.

We are blessed with the eyes of faith. We will not turn back.

Come then, and worship our God, who took Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind.

We will worship the Lord, who transfigured Moses, Elijah, and Jesus to shine like the sun. 

Hymn TIS 207: Jesus shall reign where're the sun

                  (Tune – Duke Street)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7HD_Aul1bw

YouTube misses out verse 5 

1 Jesus shall reign where'er the sun

does its successive journeys run,

his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

till moons shall wax and wane no more.

 

2 For him shall endless prayer be made,

and praises throng to crown his head.

His name like sweet perfume shall rise

with every morning sacrifice.

 

3 People and realms of every tongue

dwell on his love with sweetest song,

and infant voices shall proclaim

their early blessings on his name.

 

4 Blessings abound where'er he reigns:

the prisoners leap to lose their chains,

the weary find eternal rest,

and all who suffer want are blest.

 

5 Where he displays his healing power

death and the curse are known no more;

in him the tribes of Adam boast

more blessings than their father lost.

 

6 Let every creature rise and bring

the highest honours to our King,

angels descend with songs again,

and earth repeat the loud amen. 

Author: Isaac Watts (1719)
Tune: Duke Street 

     Opening Prayer

     God of mighty tempest and devouring fire, you come to us shrouded in mystery. Just as Elisha followed Elijah until he was taken up into heaven, we will follow Christ up the mountain to behold his glory. Who are Moses and Elijah that we should not join their ranks among the faithful? What is to prevent us from shining with Christ this very day? Give us eyes and ears of faith, Holy One, that we may see the heavens open and hear your voice, calling us to follow your Son. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

God of mystery, the mountaintop seems so far away as we stand in its shadow.

In our journey of faith, we yearn to have the courage of Elisha, who followed Elijah with a hope and faith that did not falter; we long to hear answers to questions that are only known at the end of the road.

Will we see your presence in the whirlwind?

Will we see the fiery chariot connect heaven and earth?

Will we even have the courage to look up?

Will we inherent a double portion of spirit from those who brought us up in the faith?

May it be so, O God. May it be so. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Through the light of the one who was transfigured to show us the power and glory of God, we find a way through the wilderness of our doubt and confusion; we find strength for the journey and courage for the road ahead.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Share signs of peace with one another and behold the light of Christ shining in everyone you greet.

Peace be with you!

And also with you!

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

A Word with the Children/Young People

As this is effectively the last Sunday of the season of Epiphany, lets speak of stars.  What comes into the minds of you children/youth when I say the word "star." 

·       Probably stars in the sky,

·       Pop and movie stars.

·       Maybe you children receive stars at preschool or school for doing good work or good behaviour,

·       We could even mention navigation...

Have you ever met a sailor or someone else who has used stars to navigate or to plot their position? I wonder if you know how it’s done (check this out) and could we describe briefly and in simple language how they do it. 

People throughout the centuries - especially sailors, have used the position of the stars to find their own position and to find their way from one place to another. 

Do you know who once used a star to guide them to find the baby Jesus.  We remember that event by calling it Epiphany and that happened more than a month ago and on almost every week since then, there has been some mention of light in the bible readings so in a way, we have been guided by  light and today we are invited to think about God's glory and how that shone out of Jesus like a great light and how it can shine through our lives as we  try to be as loving and as kind as Jesus.   When we do, we will live as though we had a star in our hearts which helps us to navigate our way through life and can help others find the way to Jesus also. If we can let us Stick a star over each child’s heart.

Offering Prayer

Light of Light, when we grow accustomed to dwelling in the shadows and painting with drab colours, you bless us with your radiance and the vitality of your love. Illumine these gifts, Holy One, that the world may see your light shining through our offering. Illumine our very lives, O God, that we may remain restless until we shine like Christ upon the mountain, until we follow Elisha’s footsteps and behold your glory. Amen.

 

Hymn TIS 675: Lord, the light of your love is shining...

                  (Tune - Shine, Jesus, Shine)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rce9UHYZwl4

1 Lord, the light of Your love is shining, 

in the midst of the darkness, shining:

Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us;

set us free by the truth You now bring us –

shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine,

fill this land with the Father's glory;

blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river, flow,

flood the nations with grace and mercy;

send forth Your word. Lord, and let there be light.

 

2  Lord, I come to Your awesome presence, 

from the shadows into Your radiance;

 by Your blood I may enter Your brightness: 

search me, try me, consume all my darkness

shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine,

fill this land with the Father's glory;

blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river, flow,

flood the nations with grace and mercy;

send forth Your word. Lord, and let there be light.

 

3 As we gaze on Your kingly brightness

so our faces display Your likeness,

ever changing from glory to glory:

mirrored here, may our lives tell Your story

shine on me, shine on me. 

Shine, Jesus, shine,

fill this land with the Father's glory;

blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river, flow,

flood the nations with grace and mercy;

send forth Your word. Lord, and let there be light. 

 Words Graham Kendrick       Music: Shine Jesus shine 9.9.10.10.6 

The Service of the Word

 

The First Reading:                                            2 Kings 2:1-12

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 9:2-9

Readings: NRSV Translation

2 Kings 2:1-12

1 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So, they went down to Bethel. 3 The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’ 4 Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So, they came to Jericho. 5 The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’ 6 Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground. 9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ 10 He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

 

Mark 9:2-9

2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 

Preaching of the Word - Clinging to the Light, The Transfiguration

Transfiguration! Metamorphosis.

We recognise metamorphosis, the Greek word that means to change shape or to move from having one image to another, because of the process most of us encountered in school—the marvellous metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The word with the Latin roots, transfiguration, is associated more with spiritual experience, specifically this occasion recounted in Matthew, Mark and Luke known as the synoptic gospels.

This is a luminous story, and its light has blinded interpreters into flights of fancy or has left them, and us, simply dazzled. All the other gospel stories, before the resurrection, even the miracles or signs, are quite earthbound. There are sick and troubled women, crippled and blind men, miserable, possessed people, and they are all healed or liberated. Yet, always earthy. The miracles of Jesus are always other-directed. This one, however, concerns Jesus himself and has the atmosphere of the otherworldly surrounding it.

This story takes us and the three chosen disciples to a height where the veil is rent for a few seconds probably, seconds that must have seemed like hours. It’s important to remember when this event occurs in the chronology of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus has started preparing his beloved disciples for his death. He knows what awaits him: he has challenged what we would call the status quo of the religious authorities of his day; he has shown that his values are not their values; his focus has been the kingdom of heaven. But his disciples, time and again, fail to understand who he is and what it is that he is showing them, and he tells them time and time again what inevitable end awaits him. He asks them: “Who do the crowds say that I am?” and they answer with the famous names of their past—John the Baptist, Elijah, even Jeremiah. And then he asks them the most crucial question of all: “And who do you say that I am?”

Of course, it is Peter who answers: Peter, who had flashes of revelation and understanding to be replaced almost immediately by confusion, fear, or puzzlement. In this instance, he comes through with the declaration of recognition and of faith: “The Messiah of God.” After this declaration, Jesus makes it clear to Peter and to us that this realization of his person is a gift from God. Matthew tells of Jesus responding, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Parent in heaven.” The words take away the temptation to human pride.

Eight days have passed after this moment of revelation, and Jesus takes his three closest friends on a hike to a mountain—not named but guessed at through the ages. It was not a surprising excursion; Jesus made it a habit of going away in order to pray, to listen to his Father; being fully human, he cherished the companionship of his dear friends whenever he removed himself from the crowds. The mountain he chose was a high one so the trek must have taken all day, and night must be approaching. The three disciples must wonder at times how it is that they get so worn out from the constant walking and the crowds pressing upon them; but the demands of all the needy people on their master, who seems never to stop, having nowhere to lay his head, must appal them. “How does he keep going?” they are probably asking themselves. They must also have recognised that prayer was a lifeline for their teacher. They have accompanied him, but now they are probably longing to rest and sleep while Jesus is at his prayers.

Suddenly, all tiredness is forgotten. A bright light dazzles them, but the light is Jesus himself. Instead of the familiar head and shape of their teacher, they see something like the light of the sun—brilliant and blinding. Jesus is transformed before them. He is no longer the tired man who has walked miles and miles, who has been pulled and pushed by a crowd, but he is a shining being that somehow does not seem to be of this world. He is bathed in glory. The sight must have filled the three disciples with such awe that they could not move or open their mouths. But as their eyes become accustomed to the brilliance emanating from their once familiar teacher, they behold two more persons near him.

Why did they think the persons were Moses and Elijah? There were no representations in the Hebrew tradition. Certainly, there were no photographs and no paintings or sculptures of the two greats in their history. Did Jesus call them by name? We are not told. And if they represent the Law and the Prophets respectively, why imagine that one of them is Elijah instead of the great Isaiah as representative of the prophets? No answer is given. One is tempted to suspect that because six days before they had responded that the crowd thought Jesus was a new Moses or a new Elijah the names were available to their brains. Regardless. The surmise is that the two were encouraging him to face what was to come. And now Peter starts babbling.

And who can blame him? Below the mountain, the dangers and the darkness are approaching. The early, heady days of ministry are gone. Now Pharisees and Sadducees are clamouring to trip their beloved teacher at every turn, and Jesus himself keeps dropping hints of his own early death. It is all so frightening. This, this is so much better. Here there is light and beauty and safety among heavenly beings. Jesus is finally where he belongs—in the Other Realm which is bathed in Light.

Peter doesn’t want this moment to stop. How many of us have prayed for the same thing—for the joyful times to linger, for people we love not to die, for darkness and depression and sadness not to return? We can imagine Peter later in his life telling this story to his followers, who would share it all and eventually they would write it down. “I told the Lord that we should stay there. I said I would build three cabins so they could stay—one for him, one for Elijah and one for Moses. I guess I thought we three would just stay on the ground gazing at their light. In scripture we read that he didn’t know what he was saying. Would any of us have known? To have a glimpse of heaven, to see the one we have admired for so long revealing himself in all his glory—who would not want to stay in that bliss?

And there is more. A voice from heaven booms to tell them: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” Terrified now, they fall on their faces. And then, just as suddenly, they are alone, and Jesus looks as he always did. His time has not yet come, but the cross cannot be avoided. They will go down from the mountain and Jesus will set his face toward Jerusalem. Arrest, torture, and death are awaiting him.

Why did this moment of Transfiguration happen? They must wonder as they go down the mountain. Was it real? Did Peter and James and John remember it afterward when they were watching him through the agonising hours on the Via Dolorosa? We are given no hint that they did. Perhaps after the Resurrection and his appearances to them, they remembered that moment on the mountain and understood. But again, we are not told. It is very possible that the Transfiguration happened because Jesus needed it. His three friends just happened to be there to witness the glory. What was awaiting Jesus was a horror beyond words – not just on his physical body, but in the terrible abandonment he felt on the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He needed those moments of encouragement and of light on the Mount of Transfiguration. In the times of fear and desperation in this life, we all do. When the darkness is approaching, let us cling to the Light. 

Hymn TIS 143: Immortal, invisible, God only wise

                 (Tune – St Denio)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd0FyrzVUCM

YouTube has King James English version.

1.  Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

almighty, victorious, your great name we praise.

 

2.  Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

nor wanting, nor wasting, but ruling in might;

your justice like mountains high soaring above,

your clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

 

3.  You give life to all, Lord, to both great and small;

in all life now living, the true life of all;

we blossom and flourish as leaves on a tree,

then wither: but ever unchanged you will be.

 

4.  Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,

your angels adore you, all veiling their sight;

of all your rich graces this grace, Lord, impart -

take the veil from our faces, the veil from our heart.

 

5.  All praise we would render: reveal to our sight,

what hides you is only the splendour of light;

and so let your glory, Almighty, impart

through Christ in the story, your Christ to the heart. 

Tune: St. Denio. Author: Walter Chalmers Smith 1824-1908 

Intercessory Prayers - Transfiguration Sunday – Year B

Holy God, in the beauty of your created world, we glimpse your glory. It is good,0 God, to be in your presence.

We pray for your world: Where its beauty is disfigured by our careless stewardship. Where its beauty is broken and bleeding from war. Where its beauty is diminished by corruption· and greed. Transfigure your world by your presence, 0 God, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the shining light of the gospel, we glimpse your glory.

We pray for your church: For all who preach your word. For all who translate your word. For all who minister in your name. Transfigure your church by your presence, 0 God, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the joy and wonder of human love, we glimpse your glory.

We pray for those whose love enriches our lives: For little children with generous and forgiving hearts. For those who care for the frail and the sick. For our families and friends and all relationships that speak to us of you. Transfigure us by your presence, 0 God, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the compassionate heart of Jesus, we glimpse your glory. We pray for all in need of your compassion and care: all whose bodies are bruised; all whose spirits are crushed; all whose minds are confused; all whose hearts are broken.

Transfigure their lives with your presence, 0 God, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the lives of your saints, we glimpse your glory. We pray for all who have departed this life and who are now with you.

0 God, you summon home your faithful servants. As you gathered up to heaven your servant Elijah, may you draw us also into the promise of your glory, for it is good, 0 God, to be in your presence. Holy God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

The Lord's Prayer

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

 

Hymn TIS 447: Lord your almighty word

                 (Tune – Moscow)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfdR7r7xgN8

YouTube has some different words but close.

1 Lord, your almighty word

chaos and darkness heard,

and took their flight:

hear us, we humbly pray,

and where the gospel day

sheds not its glorious ray,

let there be light.

 

2 Saviour, who came to give

those who in darkness live

healing and sight,

health to the sick in mind,

sight to the inly blind,

now to all humankind

let there be light.

 

3 Spirit of truth and love,

life-giving holy dove,

speed forth your flight;

move on the waters' face

bearing the lamp of grace,

and in earth's darkest place

let there be light.

 

4 Holy and blessed Three,

glorious Trinity,

Wisdom, Love, Might,

boundless as ocean's tide

rolling in fullest pride,

through the earth far and wide,

let there be light. 

Author: John Marriott, 1720-1825

Tune: Moscow Composer:    Felice Giardini, 1716-96       

Benediction

Go forth with the courage to climb the mountain of God.

We will walk in the light and truth of Christ.

Go forth with ears to hear the voice of God.

We will hear the call to follow Jesus.

Go forth to live as people who shine with Christ’s glory.

We will leave footprints of light as we walk.

Go forth in expectation and hope, for God goes with you, and may the blessings of that God go with you, Amen. 

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.
                       (Tune – Aubrey)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hear your cry.

May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give you life.

May the Child of God grow in you, and his love bring you Home. 

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)   Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)




 

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Order of Service Epiphany 5 - 07 February 2021

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

Touch.

Sunday 7th February 2021

Epiphany 5 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. 

 

Call to Worship - (The Abingdon Worship 2018)

The Holy One renews our bodies with strength and fills our longing hearts with peace. Our mighty God opens our hands to share love with the world. May our ears be full of Christ’s story, and may our lips proclaim God’s praises and amazing deeds.

Praise the Lord! How good it is for us to gather and sing praises to our God.

Great is our Lord, who understands us, lifts us up, and strengthens us.

Sing with joy and thanksgiving to the Lord, who fills our lives with steadfast love.

Praise the Lord! 

Hymn 102: Praise to the living God

                  (Tune -Leoni)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygAaMiSlRU0

1.  Praise to the living God!
All praise be to His name,
Who was, and is, and is to be,
and still the same!
The one eternal God
before what now appears:
The First, the Last, beyond all thought
His timeless years! 

2.  Formless, all lovely forms
Declare His loveliness;
Holy, no holiness of earth
Can His express.
Behold the Lord of all!
Creation speaks His praise,
And everywhere, above, below,
His will obeys. 

3.  Gods Spirit freely flows,
High surging where it will:
His prophet’s word he spoke of old,
is speaking still.
Established is God’s law,
And changeless it shall stand,
Deep written on the human heart,
On sea, on land. 

4.God has eternal life
Implanted in the soul;
His love shall be our strength and stay,
While ages roll.
Praise to the living God!
All praise be to His Name,
Who was, and is, and is to be,
And still the same.
Translator: Max LandsbergAuthor: Daniel ben JudahTranslator: Newton MannAdapter: William Channing Gannett
Tune: LEONI

     Opening prayer

Gracious God, as Jesus spent time with you in prayer, we come before you in prayer this day. Renew our spirits, that we might tell your story with passion and purpose. Fill us with a hope that transcends worldly values. Fill us with a love that knows no bounds. Fill us with a compassion that leads to love and service. Free our lips to proclaim words of praise, as we share your good news with others. Guide, empower, and encourage us with your Spirit, as we seek to minister to the world. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession

Almighty God, we often forget the glory of creation and everything you have done for us.

We ignore the beauty you place all around us. We brush aside the ways you strengthen us. We sing songs of lament instead of songs of praise and thanksgiving.

We lose ourselves in the business of life, and forget that we are only found in you.

Forgive us. Fill our hearts and our lips with your praises and turn our lives toward you. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Brothers and sisters hear these words: The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear God and place their hope in God’s steadfast love. When we turn to God and place our hope in the Lord, we are forgiven.

Thanks, be to God! Amen 

The Peace

Christ came to bring a message of peace, love, grace, and hope. Turn to one another now and proclaim this message, as we share the peace of Christ.

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.) 

Announcements 

Offering Prayer

God of all, as Jesus spent time with you in prayer, we come to you in prayer, asking you to bless these gifts, that they might proclaim your message of love, grace, and peace. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen. 

Hymn 613: Lord of all hopefulness (Tune - Slane)

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

1.  Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,

Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,

Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,

Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

 

2.  Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,

Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,

Be there at our labours and give us, we pray,

Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

 

3.  Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,

Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace.

Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,

Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

 

4.  Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,

Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,

Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,

Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Author: Jan Struther (1931) Tune: Slane

  

The Service of Holy Communion 

The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right and good, Lord God, holy Parent, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks to you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. You have sent your only Son to appear among us as a human being, and through him you have fully revealed the light of your presence to us. And so, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we adore and praise your glorious name:

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 are forever reminded of your love for us, O God, for here we remember that night when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and sat down at a table to share the meal with them. On that night - the night of his betrayal - 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 also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This is my life, poured out for you and for everyone. 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. 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 and that we may make that life visible through our faithful witness to the gospel. In Jesus’ name we pray. And so, remembering Christ’s life, love, death, and resurrection, we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Here at the Table of grace, the Holy Spirit proclaims life,
transforming these simple gifts and the people gathered in this place. As we taste the hope in the broken bread, we would go to break the bonds of injustice, and free the oppressed. As we are filled with the cup, we would be light to the world, opening our pantry to the hungry, wrapping a naked child in our love.
And when God's time is fulfilled, and we are gathered together with our sisters and brothers in the kingdom of heaven, we will not keep anything bottled up, but will shout our praises to you, God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

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

The Breaking of the Bread

The Bread we break is the Bread of Life

The Cup We Share is the Cup of Promise

These are the gifts of God for the people of God.

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

Jesus says: ‘The bread that God gives is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’
(Thanks be to God.)
Come, everything is ready. 

Prayer after Communion

Almighty and merciful God, you sent your only Son as the word of life for our eyes to see and our ears to hear. Help us by your gifts of word and sacrament to believe with joy what they proclaim. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                                            1 Corinthians 9:16-23

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 1:29-39

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 Corinthians 9:16-23

16 If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe betide me if I do not proclaim the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel. 19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I might by any means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. 

Mark 1:29-39

29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 32 That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34 And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ 38 He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ 39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. 

Preaching of the Word - Touch

In the First Century world of Jesus, sick people had very few options for healing. The first thing they could do was to try what we call folk remedies. These varied from sensible potions and poultices to downright dangerous “fixes.” Many of these remedies are still practiced today in the industrialised world and it must be said that many of these treatments are completely ineffective, especially with serious diseases and injuries.

The second thing a sick person could do was to pay for a physician to see them. This was costly and was not much more effective than the folk remedies. Most Greek physicians in the 1st century followed the teachings of Hippocrates, who is best known for his famous oath. Hippocrates codified the principles of Humourism, a belief that human health is defined as the perfect balance of four fluids, or humours. It was holistic, in that it saw the need for balance between at least the mental and physical elements that make up our being as humans. However, the interventions by physicians often involved bleeding and draining of fluids, which would regularly result in a worsening condition. Treatment was expensive, and therefore only accessible to the privileged.

Another option for sick people in Jesus’ world was one or many religious healing practices. Every ancient religion had extensive teachings on healing, and most of it cost money. With these limited and ineffective options, sickness in the ancient world changed a person’s identity.

Sick people would stand out in a village. They were often visibly scarred or marked. I found this during my time in the Solomons. However, this has been changing in recent years. People with leprosy were required to announce their coming by shouting or ringing bells. Most sick people became beggars, or wholly dependent on their family members for food and shelter. Being labelled a sick person led to an incredibly low status in society. (Comment on group formed by SSF in Honiara who contracted to make soap powder boxes)

The identity of a sick person in Jesus’ day also carried with it the stigma of God’s judgment. In this society, most illnesses were linked to some sin or indiscretion, rather than a scientific cause. In Jesus’ ministry, he confronted some of these beliefs, showing how widespread they were.

The sick person in our Gospel reading this morning is Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. She has a fever and is so weak that she cannot get out of her sickbed. Her condition is of concern to the disciples, and so Jesus is ushered in to see her. Perhaps a fever would not warrant such concern in our day, but it certainly did in Jesus’ day.

Jesus touches her hand with his hand. There is that touch that we see in Jesus’ ministry repeatedly. She rises at once and the fever leaves her. It is not an overly dramatic scene; there isn’t any music or fanfare. There are not any spells or incantations. There is only a hand touching another hand. There is only Jesus reaching out to this sick woman.

And then we are told that she starts to serve them. She now has the strength to offer the customary hospitality to her guests. Her identity is no longer a bedridden, fevered person, but a gracious host to a visiting teacher and his disciples.

And then the zombies attack. Well, not real zombies, but a horde of sick, those thought to be demonised, and injured people swarm Jesus, begging for healing. What we see that has happened to Simon’s mother-in-law, we then see happens for a multitude in the village.

Jesus reached out his hand to a sick woman. Now he reaches out his hand to the multitude just as he reaches out his hand to us. Jesus is here to enable healing or bring healing to you and I. Jesus is here to restore us to the community we have lost. Jesus is here to restore us to a place of service to our community, so we can find dignity and purpose again. This is what Jesus does: he brings people back to wholeness and health. Jesus can and will bring us back to wholeness and health.

But all this healing takes a toll on Jesus; he disappears in the dark of night to pray. On these occasions of night-time prayer, we are seldom told the content of Jesus’ prayers. They seem to be a conversation between the beloved son and his loving parent, an intimate dialogue that may seem incomprehensible to the disciples or us.

The only time we know the content of Jesus’ private, night-time prayer is in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night he was betrayed. On that night, he strained and writhed under the weight of what he was called to do as the Son of God. He pleaded for the cup to pass from him, even as he accepts God’s will for his life. This glimpse of Jesus’ prayer life may not be identical to all those other nights he prayed for hours in the dark, but we can be sure it was intense. Jesus’ sense of mission empowered him to do the work God had called him to do. When he is exhausted, he goes off and prays in the night, and he comes back renewed.

Perhaps we do not so much need rest, although rest is very important, as a renewed sense of our mission and calling by God. Perhaps more people would experience wholeness and healing if we spent more time in the dark with God. It was how Jesus found strength, and many Christian saints through the ages found time alone with God to be renewing and refreshing.

Jesus is reaching out his hand to us today, calling us to a life filled with service and community. Jesus is praying for us so we might have the strength to go into the dark with God and wrestle with our calling and mission. Jesus is with us, going before us, into the world God loves so much. 

Hymn 474: Here in this place new light is streaming

                  (Tune – Gather us in)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ar0BXa82F9M

1.  Here in this place new light is streaming, now is the darkness vanished away,

see in this space our fears and our dreamings, brought here to you in the light of this day.

Gather us in the lost and forsaken, gather us in the blind and the lame;

call to us now, and we shall awaken, we shall arise at the sound of our name.

 

2.  We are the young-our lives a mystery, we are the old-who yearn for your face,

we have been sung throughout all of history, called to be light to the whole human race.

Gather us in-the rich and the haughty, gather us in-the proud and the strong;

give us a heart so meek and so lowly, give us the courage to enter the song.

 

3.  Here we will take the wine and the water, here we will take the bread of new birth,

here you shall call your sons and your daughters, call us anew to be salt for the earth.

Give us to drink the wine of compassion, give us to eat the bread that is you;

nourish us well and teach us to fashion lives that are holy and hearts that are true.

 

4.  Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven, light-years away,

but here in this place the new light is shining, no is the Kingdom, and now is the day.

Gather us in and hold us forever, gather us in and make us your own;

gather us in-all peoples together, fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

`Gather us in` - Marty Haugen (b. 1950)

Stephen Mann - Johannus Opus 370 

 

Intercessory Prayers - Epiphany 5 – Year B –

Praise to you, faithful God, for you hear the prayers of your people and answer when we call on you.

Praise to you faithful God, for you set the stars in the heavens, and all the world was shaped by your hands. We pray for your creation, for a sense of wonder and delight at its beauty, for wisdom and justice in the use of its bounty.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you feed the hungry, lift up the downtrodden and set the captive free. We pray for all peoples, for an end to violence, exploitation, and oppression, for peace and harmony among nations.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you have called us by our name and brought us into the company of all believers.

We pray for your church, for a community open to the movement of your Spirit, for a passion to proclaim your gospel in the world.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you welcome the outcast, bring strength to the weary your love for your people is steadfast and sure. We pray for all who live or work in this place, for the building up of community, for the sharing of resources and for the care of those in need.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you heal the sick, bind up the broken-hearted and bring life and wholeness to your people.

We pray for all in anxiety, pain or grief, for comfort for the sorrowing, relief for the suffering and peace for the dying.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you have broken the bonds of death and promise to your people the joys of everlasting life.

We give you thanks for all who have followed your way of love, for those from this parish and all whom we hold dear, and we pray that we may share with them a joyful resurrection to life eternal.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

      After the words:            God of grace,

      please respond with      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 531: Sent forth by God’s blessing

                  (Tune - Ash Grove)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK0regU4W68 

1.  Sent forth by God’s blessing, our true faith confessing,

The people of God from His table take leave.

The Supper is ended: may now be extended

The fruits of this service in all who believe.

The seed of His teaching, our hungry souls reaching,

Shall blossom in action for all humankind.

His grace shall incite us, his love shall unite us

To work for his kingdom his purpose to find.

 

2.  With praise and thanksgiving to God ever living,

The tasks of our everyday life we will face.

Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring,

Embracing as neighbours all those of each race.

One feast that has feed us, one light that has led us,

Unite us as one in his life that we share.

Then may all the living, with praise and thanksgiving

Give honour to Christ and his name that we bear.

Author: Omer Westendorf (1964)
Tune: Ash Grove

 

          Benediction

        Brothers and sisters be renewed by the strength of God, and boldly proclaim the abundant and unconditional love of God, through Jesus Christ. Go in peace! And the blessing of God almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be with you always Amen     

Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you now

                 (Tune – Somos Del Señor)                  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u-WxpmOpN4

Shalom to you now, shalom, my friends.

May God’s full mercies bless you, my friends.

In all your living and through your loving,

Christ be your shalom, Christ be your shalom

Author: Elise S. Eslinger (1980)
Tune: Somos Del Señor



 

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter February 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Newsletter - January 27, 2021 - 9:39pm


     Marsden Road Uniting Church  

   203 Marsden Road Carlingford


                                 Monthly Newssheet February 2020

Our mission: to reflect Christ alive in the Community.


Greetings to you out there in your homes. As we worship in our homes in the homelands of the Wallumedegal people. We acknowledge their Elders, past and present. We hope that you will experience the presence of God in and through the Service, privately or as a Family joining with the people of God who continue to gather in Spirit although not physically.
 

February 2021 Services by Zoom 

7     9.30am Epiphany 4 Service Holy Communion (Zoom)

13   Chinese New Year 

14   9.30am Epiphany 5 Sunday Service (Zoom or face to face 

       – subject to latest Covid-19 Regulations)

17   7.30pm Ash Wednesday – Epping Uniting Church

21   9.30am Lent 1 Sunday Service (Zoom or face to face)

24   7pm MRUC Lent Study Through the Eyes of Love

28   9.30am Lent 2 Sunday Service (Zoom or face to face)

       Congregation 2020 Annual General Meeting – face to face 

        to be Confirmed.

 CHURCH SERVICES

Worship for January will be found On-line via Phone and delivered by hand to people. See Newssheet and Website to access these services. Worship in February will change

  1. Through Live Zoom on the Internet on

Sunday at 9.30am. Email info@marsdenroadunitingchurch.org.au for details

  1. Receiving as printed Documents in Mailbox.
  2. Proposed beginning of Face to Face from February 14 2021

Offerings

 

·         Please consider offering via EFT – Direct Credit See details of Church Bank Account below.

·         By stewardship envelopes - set aside the money in them & bring to Church at the next service at MRUC

·         A/C Name: Marsden Road Uniting Church

BSB: 634 634          A/C: 100049856  

UPCOMING EVENTS  

Face-to-Face Worship at Marsden Road Church 

 

We still hope to start Face to Face worship 14thof February 2021. This will be subject to the Covid-19 conditions at that time. If there are changes in the meantime, either due to another outbreak of Covid-19 or the further relaxing of Regulations we will inform you as soon as we get details.

 

Marsden Road Prayer Cycle

 

 The February Prayer Cycle has been sent to those with Email addresses. If you deliver services to those without Internet or Computer, please print these in Landscape and print on both sides flipping on short edge. It folds in three as a pamphlet.

 

Lent Study Groups



We have selected Through the Eyes of Love - Five Studies written by Ian Price as our Lenten study.

Due to a kind donation most of the cost of Study Guides has been covered and therefore will only be $10 each.

If Face to Face Night Group- Wednesday’s 7.30pm - 9.00pm – 24 February, and 03, 10, 7, 24 March 2021, Venue: Rev John and Wendy’s home. The morning group will be taking place if circumstances allow it.

 



CONGREGATIONAL ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

 

Date: Sunday 28th February 2021 in the hall, following the 9.30am morning Church Service. Hopefully we will still be able to do this Face-to Face.

Reports: from Minister, Church Council, Elders, and the Treasurer to be with Congregational Chair or Secretary before the 14th of February 2021.

The Sub-committee Reports from Property, Nurture Group, Education and Social o be with the Church Council by January 30th, 2021 to be included with the Church Council report to the congregation.

 

Elections to Take Place at the Congregational AGM.

Election of Congregation Meeting Office Bearers:

Chairperson, Deputy, Secretary, Deputy, Treasurer, Deputy

Election of Church Council and Office Bearers

Chairperson, Deputy, Secretary, Deputy, Council Members:

Nominations to Congregational Chair or Secretary before 14thof February 2021.

 

Election of Elders

We have vacancies for two Elders. We will need Nominations to be with Warwick or Susan by 21st February 2021. 

Please give serving in this position some thought and prayer.

 

Nominations for Sub-Committees of Church Council

Nominations are required for those to serve on the Property, Social and Education, Nurture and Sunday Kids.

Nominations to Church Council Chair or Secretary before the 5thof February 2021.


Membership of Sub-Committees will be appointed and ratified at the Meeting of the Church Council on February 09, 2021.



Considering Solar Panels

 – an online talk for Uniting Church members

 

When:   Tuesday February 23rd 7.30pm-8.45pm

Where:            Via Zoom

 

You’ll hear about:

Ø  The rapid adoption of roof top solar across Australia

Ø  Information on how solar panels work.

Ø  Understanding your energy consumption and how to maximise the benefit of solar.

Ø  Choosing a solar retailer

Ø  What to look for in quotes and contracts

Ø  The installation process.

Plus, there will be plenty of time for questions.

 

The talk is aimed at individual church members and households but may also be of interest to congregations thinking about installing solar panels on their church buildings.

 

You need to register for this event using the Eventbrite link below. The Zoom link will then be sent to your email address.

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/installing-solar-panels-for-uniting-church-members-tickets-133045100477

 

This information evening is offered as part of the Synod Climate Action Strategy, initiated by the 2019 Synod meeting in keeping with our church’s responsibility to care for creation.

 

For more information about the evening or the Synod Climate Action Strategy please contact Jon O’Brien in the Uniting Advocacy team at joobrien@uniting.org 0477 725 528

 

Congregation Picnic Morning Tea/Lunch 

New Year Marsden Rd Pop Up Picnic
"Anyone For A Picnic Morning Tea? " (Socially Distanced).

To Celebrate The Joy Of Living In Australia and Being Part Of A Caring Christian Community

Date:  Friday, 5th February 2021

Time:  10.00 - 11.30am (before it gets too hot).  Come for as long as you like.

Place:  Mobbs Lane Park, Mobbs Lane (bottom of hill). On left hand side coming from Marsden Rd. 
Excellent shaded location. appreciated on our two previous picnics.  Parking.  No public toilet.

Bring:  folding chair, sunhat, a small morning tea munchie for yourself or to share, drink (thermos tea or coffee), cold drink, extra glass (if a few other bottles of cold drinks appear!)

Invite:  anyone associated with our congregation and other friends.

Wet Weather:  Other arrangements will be considered.

Relax, catch up and enjoy! Jan, on behalf of a bunch of Marsden Movers

Lent Event 

Lent Event is Uniting World's annual fundraising event, bringing people together to learn about our overseas partners and commit to end poverty. Pledge to live simply for the 40 days of Lent (17 Feb - 29 Mar 2021) and help our global neighbours be free from poverty and injustice.


Lent Event is your opportunity to change lives. 

The 40-day season of Lent is an opportunity to disrupt our everyday routines by living more simply, taking up a spiritual discipline or being more intentional about our lives and habits. 'Fasting’ is a common discipline for Lent, going without something for 40 days. But more powerful than fasting from chocolate or Netflix etc, is choosing to fast from indifference to others and to the challenges facing our world: poverty, conflict, inequality, violence, a changing climate...

 

Lent Event is 40 days of living more simply, learning from our global neighbours and choosing to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others. Take up a Lent Event challenge in 2020 and be part of a movement to end poverty and injustice in our world. 

This is your call to be personally changed by God’s work in the world. As you learn about and raise funds for Uniting World's church partners, you're building peace, beating poverty and creating hope.

Since 2009, Lent Event has raised over 3 million dollars for people living in the Pacific, Asia and Africa through long-term partnerships with the Uniting Church in Australia. 10.30am

Thanks so much for being with us. With your help, we can't wait to see this work continue to thrive and expand!

Our Lent Event Coordinator is Stephen Halgren

 

The World Day of Prayer.

 

Time: 10.30am

Date:5th March 2021

Place:All Saints Anglican Church, 295 Malton Road,

          North Epping

Service: Compiled by the People of Vanuatu

Theme:Build on a Strong Foundation

Lunch after Service: Please bring your own sandwich lunch. Tea, Coffee, Slices and fruit will be provided.

 

Marsden Road plays a part each year and if you are able to join Rev John and take part please let him know.

 

The World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical movement led by Christian women who welcome you to join in prayer and action for peace and justice. It is run under the motto “Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action,” and is celebrated annually in over 170 countries on the first Friday in March. The movement aims to bring together people of various races, cultures and traditions in a yearly common Day of Prayer, as well as in closer fellowship, understanding and action throughout the year.






 

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Epiphany 5 - 24 January 2021


 Sunday 24th January 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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

How It Works

Sunday 24th January 2021

Epiphany 3 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People

Call to Worship- (Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)       

The light God shines forth in Jesus Christ changes everything. The world as we know it is passing away and becoming something gloriously new. In Jesus Christ, God’s kingdom is coming . . . and is already here. This is good news indeed.

Jesus says, “Now is the time!”

Startle us, God, from our busyness and routines. Show us how very close your Kingdom is.

Jesus says, “God’s kingdom is at hand!”

Deliver us, God, from faith in our own strength. Free us from the traps of violence, dishonesty, and greed.

Jesus says, “Receive the good news from God!”

Embolden us, God, to trust you anew. For we are as fragile as breath, and draw our strength from your mercy and compassion.

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

                       (tune – Lobe Den Herren)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCnQNwQG5GI

Words in YouTube older English and only four verses – misses verse four.

1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Brothers and sisters draw near,
praise him in glad adoration.

2 Praise to the Lord, above all things is wondrously reigning;
and, as on wings of an eagle, uplifting, sustaining;
Have you not seen all that is needful has been
sent by his gracious ordaining?

3 Praise to the Lord, who will prosper our work & defend us;
surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
if with his love he befriends us.

4 Praise to the Lord, who when darkness of sin is abounding,
who when the godless do triumph, our best hopes confounding,
sheds forth his light, scatters the horrors of night,
saints with his mercy surrounding.

5 Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.

Lyrics - Joachim Neander              Tune - "Lobe den Herren" 

     Opening Prayer

     Loving God, in this season of Epiphany, your kingdom has drawn close— so close we can almost touch it. Help us see that we already live under your rule of peace. May our worship today draw us closer to you and to one another. When we measure greatness by status and success, you challenge us to find true greatness in following Jesus. You call, and like Jonah, we often run away in our unwillingness to preach mercy to others. You call, and like the disciples, we often rush after you, only to falter and fall away when the shadows deepen. Yet your strength and kindness never falter, even for the resistant Jonah or the enthusiastic fishermen. And your strength and kindness never abandon us. Loving God, it is you we worship this day. Amen 

A Prayer of Confession

You, God, are known for your wonderful deeds - your God alone offers strength and hope. Let us welcome God’s kingdom, making it our refuge. Pour out your hearts, trusting God with everything, even your failings and your deepest concerns.

God, we know that you alone are unshakable. You alone are our stronghold and our refuge. You deliver and glorify us, yet we fail to love and glorify you in return. We live as if we can save ourselves, as if we can be our own stronghold and fortress against the storm. Yet we are fragile as breath. We are consumed by our desires to succeed and dominate. We blindly strive to get our way, and are greedy for all sorts of wealth.

And so, we confess our failings to you and to one another, trusting in your forgiveness and your grace. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Beloved, God repays us according to our deeds, and yet in Jesus Christ, we have nothing to fear. Trusting God with everything, we rest in God’s faithful love. Allowing Christ to change our hearts and our lives, we find God’s strength and hope.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

God alone gives us peace, a peace that is trustworthy and sure. Greet one another with the good news of peace in Jesus Christ.

Peace be with you!       And also, with you!

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Jesus calls us to follow him.

Object: A telephone

Scripture: And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

What do you do when there is an emergency? Let's say, for example, that someone has a serious injury or illness, and if they don't get help right away, they might die. What would you do? Right! You'd pick up the phone and call 0-0-0!

When you call 0-0-0 and tell the person who answers that you need help right away, it is their job to see that you get help. That person would never say something like, "I'm sorry, we are really busy right now, maybe some other time." No way! They drop whatever they are doing and make sure that you get the help you need.

In our Scripture story today, Jesus was walking along beside the sea of Galilee preaching the good news of God when he made a call for help. He saw Peter and Andrew throwing a net into the water. They were fishermen. He called out to them, "Come, follow me and I will teach you how to fish for people."

You see, Jesus wanted Peter and Andrew to help him teach people about God's love for them. When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, they didn't say, "Not right now, we are busy fishing. Maybe some other time." No! Our scripture tells us that they left their nets and followed Jesus.

Jesus, Peter, and Andrew had gone a little farther when they saw James and John sitting in a boat mending their nets. When Jesus saw them, he called to them, "Follow me." They didn't say, "Not right now, we're busy mending our nets. Perhaps some other time." No, we read that they left their father sitting in the boat with the hired hands and followed Jesus.

Jesus is still calling for help today. He has called you and me to help him to bring others into God's Kingdom. Is it an emergency? It sure is! It's a matter of life and death! We hear in scripture, "Unless you repent, you will all perish." Jesus has called us, what will we say? What will we do? I hope and pray that we will drop whatever we are doing and answer the call.

Offering Prayer

God may these gifts and our very lives be a YES! to follow Christ’s call. Use us and the offerings we bring this day, that your peace, your strength, and your loving-kindness may be made more visible in the world. Amen 

Hymn TIS 672:Lord of earth and all creation

                       (tune – Westminster Abbey)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2vPYrbzeGc

1.  Lord of earth and all creation

let your love possess our land;

wealth and freedom, far horizons,

mountain, forest, shining sand:

may we share, in faith and friendship,

gifts unmeasured from your hand.

2.  People of the ancient Dreamtime,

they who found this country first,

ask with those, the later comers,

Will our dream be blessed or cursed?

Grant us, Lord, new birth, new living,

hope for which our children thirst.

3.  Lord, life-giving healing Spirit,

on our hurts your mercy shower;

lead us by your inward dwelling,

guiding, guarding, every hour.

Bless and keep our land Australia:

in your will her peace and power. 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Jonah 3: 1-5,10

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 1:14-20

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

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings:

Jonah 3: 1-5,10
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2 ‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.’ 3 So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, ‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. 6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. 8 Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.’ 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.   

Mark 1:14-20

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’ 16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. 

Preaching of the Word - How It Works

“Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

That’s all we get in today’s Gospel lesson to describe how Jesus called his first disciples and how they responded. That’s it. In just seven verses our Gospel writer says four fishermen drop everything and follow Jesus on the basis of his two-word command: Follow me.

Our Gospel called Mark known for being terse, staccato in style. In this telling of the Good News, the writer shows us a Jesus on the move, Jesus who does everything immediately. (The word “immediately” occurs twice in today’s little story. It occurs about 27 times in the whole Gospel.) In Mark we get  just the details we need, and the result is a fast-paced, streamlined account of who Jesus is, what Jesus does, and how people respond.

So, it’s no wonder that today we hear Jesus give a command, and these four fishermen respond immediately.

For some, the lack of details is frustrating. We probably want to know: What were they thinking? What motivated the fishermen? How could they really drop everything to follow?

For others, the lack of details is inviting—our imaginations fill in the gaps. Perhaps Simon was bored that day. The nets had been coming up empty, the wind was too strong to go out far from shore, so why not just leave the nets and follow this man who seemed to need him for something? Perhaps James never really felt like he was cut out for fishing. It was the family business, so of course, he was doing what was expected of him, but really, maybe it was time he stood up for himself and told his father he wanted to try something new, put down the nets, and do his own thing for a change. And Andrew, perhaps he saw something in Jesus’s face when he spoke that intrigued him. Maybe.

We are not told. Apparently, the person bringing together this Gospel called Mark doesn’t think it matters what they were thinking or feeling. What matters is that Jesus said, “Follow me,” and that’s what they did. We may wish there were more to it than that. We may wish we knew what it was about them that made them so willing to take risks, so free to respond, so able to walk away from the familiar, from the security of the predictable to go off into an unknown future with a man they hardly knew. But we don’t know.

And because the Gospel called Mark doesn’t tell us, we have to entertain the possibility that this really is the way Jesus gets followed: without all the facts, without really knowing what Jesus is up to or where exactly he’s going, or why he wants us to follow him. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and that’s enough. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and we do.

Or we don’t. Whether we think that Jesus is calling us to undertake even just one task, become more like him in one small way, give up one familiar habit to do something he wants us to do, let alone if following Jesus might mean making large sacrifices, large changes, life-altering plans, it’s hard for us to conceive of the possibility of following on the basis of a simple command.

We are not uncomplicated fishermen, we say, as if any human life is uncomplicated. We are responsible people, we say. We must make our decisions carefully, we say, weigh our options. Our decisions take research; our values need clarification. We can’t just rush into things. We can’t afford to change the directions of our lives merely on the basis of a very vague proposal, let alone just because Jesus tells us to. Really, it would be easier to follow Jesus if we had a different job, a different spouse, if we were single, if we didn’t have children, if we had different friends, a different income.

Discerning the call to follow can be tricky because part of what we try to figure out is when Jesus is calling us to come away from the specifics of our lives in order to follow, and when Jesus is calling us because of the specifics of our lives, that is, because we have the job we have or the life we have, because we are who we are.

Jesus told those fishermen, “I will make you fish for people.” He didn’t say, “I really need accountants, but you’ll have to do.” It may be that he’s saying to you, “I really need you to follow me in your job.” “I really need you to follow me in your marriage.” “I really need you to conform your family life to a way that allows you to follow me.” “I really need you to follow me when you’re with your friends.” “I really need you to use your talents to help in my kingdom, to help in my church, to help in my world.”

Today’s story is a little unnerving, a little unsettling. The Gospel named Mark seems to be saying that whether we follow by making big changes or small, following means giving things up, just like that. We seem to be, being told that this is how one follows Jesus: without all the details, without taking time to consider all the options, without having much of a road map, beyond putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where Jesus takes you. Can we do it?

Today’s gospel story is about a decisive moment in the lives of four fishermen, when Jesus called them to follow and they said yes. But even after they said yes, they had to keep listening. Jesus kept calling them to the next thing, the next way for them to follow. Same with us: we are called again and again to follow, to put aside what’s occupying us, and be about Jesus’ business instead.

Since it’s Jesus who calls us to follow—whether it’s to go halfway around the world or to do one thing for Jesus today right where we live, trust this: Jesus won’t lead us astray or abandon us. God has given the Church, including this particular group of the church, the gift of the Scriptures, the story of Jesus and the Christian community, to form us and guide us. God has given us the sacraments and God’s promise to be with us and nourish us for God’s service in the bread and wine we share together monthly. God has given us the promise to be with us even when just two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus Christ. All these things make our willingness to follow not just about risk, but about promise as well.

When Jesus called those first four fishermen, they didn’t make demands and they didn’t ask for guarantees, they just left their nets and followed. But later in the gospel, when maybe they were rethinking their decision, Jesus gives them a promise. What happens is this: Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus responds, “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, 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”

Today Jesus says to each of us, “Follow me.” 

What do you say? 

Hymn TIS 677: Christ’s is the world in which we move

                        (tune – Dream Angus)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgeYYCuQ9B8

1. Christ’s is the world in which we move.

Christ’s are the folk we’re summoned to love,

Christ’s is the voice which calls us to care,

and Christ is the One who meets us here.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.


2. Feel for the people we most avoid.

Strange or bereaved or never employed;

Feel for the women and feel for the men who,

fear that their living is all in vain.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.


3. Feel for the parents who lost their child,

feel for the woman whom men have defiled.

Feel for the baby for whom there’s no breast,

and feel for the weary who find no rest.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.

4. Feel for the lives by life confused.

Riddled with doubt, in loving abused;

Feel for the lonely heart, conscious of sin,

which longs to be pure but fears to begin.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.

Author: John L. Bell
Tune: Dream Angus 

Intercessory Prayer - Epiphany 3 Sunday – Year B

In you, 0 God, do we place our trust: hear us when we bring our prayers for the world and for the church.

We pray for the peoples of the world: for all who experience the horrors of war, famine, or disease, for all who suffer the loss of freedom and dignity. Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of aggression and greed, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for Australia: for the preservation of the natural treasures of this land: for all who live here, for inhabitants from ancient times and for new arrivals. Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of prejudice and intolerance, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for the church, its clergy and people: for prophets today, who call us to repentance; for our parish family and all who minister in this place. Help us answer your call to leave behind our arrogance and division, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for the communities in which we live: for our families and friends and all who give us love and companionship; for all whose work sustains this community

Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of alienation and apathy, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are in need: for those whose lives are filled with grief, loneliness or despair; for the disabled, the infirm, the sick and the dying, and for all who care for them.

Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of selfishness and neglect, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for your faithful servants of every age, for Andrew, Peter, James and John, and for those in every generation who have followed you. Help us, like them, to answer your call to leave behind all that separates us from you, that we may find new life in your eternal presence.

God, in whom we trust and hope, 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 571: Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go

                        (tune – Song 34)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKppMDm5m9I

YouTube has six verses with verse 3 added. Also uses King James English whereas TIS is modern English. extra verse

1 Forth in your name, O Lord, I go,

my daily labour to pursue,

you only, Lord, resolved to know

in all I think or speak or do.


2 Each task your wisdom has assigned

will let me cheerfully fulfill;

in all my work your presence find,

and prove your good and perfect will.


3 You may I set at my right hand,

whose eyes my inmost substance view,

and labour on at your command

and offer all my works to you.


4 Give me to bear your easy yoke,

in every moment watch and pray,

and still to things eternal look

and hasten to your glorious day.


5 for you delightfully employ

all that your bounteous grace has given,

and run my course with even joy,

and closely walk with you to heaven.

Lyrics by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788).

Tune: Song 34, Orlando Gibbons 

Benediction

Go forth and share the good news from God.

God rewards us and our deeds, not with doom, but with mercy. In circumstances both difficult and joyful, God remains our place of safety.

Go forth and proclaim God’s kingdom.

The world as we know it is passing away. We belong to God’s kingdom, which is coming and now is.

Now is the time to be the good news.

We go forth to tell the world the good news of the strength and mercy of our God. 

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.
                       (Tune – Aubrey)

                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hear your cry.

May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give you life.

May the Child of God grow in you, and his love bring you Home.

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)          Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)




 


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