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Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 17 - 27 September 2020

September 25, 2020 - 2:56am

 Marsden Road Uniting Church 

Carlingford  

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

Walking the Walk

Sunday 27th September 2020

Pentecost 17 Sunday-year of Matthew 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 2011) 

Come, now is the time to worship, to gather and to praise.

We gather to give glory to God!

Come, now is the time to worship, to sing and to pray.

We gather to give glory to God! 

Give ear to God's teaching. Listen to God's words.

We gather to hear stories of old.

Give voice to God's glory. Sing of God's deeds.

We gather to sing praises to God.

Prepare for God's work. Answer Christ's call.

We listen and learn, worship and praise, in order to serve in God's world. 

Hymn TIS 448: Blest are the pure in heart

                        (Tune – Franconia)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpnU2auc3Rk

1.  Blest are the pure in heart,

For they shall see our God;

The secret of the Lord is theirs,

Their soul is Christ’s abode.

2.  The Lord, who left the heavens

Our life and peace to bring,

To dwell in lowliness with men,

Their Pattern and their King;

3.  Still to the lowly soul

He doth himself impart

And for his dwelling and his throne

Chooseth the pure in heart.

4.  Lord, we thy presence seek;

May ours this blessing be;

Give us a pure and lowly heart,

A temple meet for thee. 

(Words: John Keble [stanzas 1 & 3]; William Hall [stanzas 2 & 4]. Tune: “Franconia”, “Harmonischer Liederschatz”, 1738)

Opening prayer

     We gather in your presence, Christ of compassion, thirsting for your living water. Flow through this time of worship with your grace and wisdom. Nourish us with words of truth and challenge. Strengthen us to go forth in humility and love as your servants working in the world. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Confession 

God of ages past and days to come, when we grumble and groan, we are like children of the Exodus; when we doubt your authority and question your call, we are like priests and elders of old.

Forgive us. Make us new in your grace, and clothe us with your compassion. Open our eyes to your presence and our minds to your guidance, that we may have the very mind of Christ. In Christ's holy name, we pray. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness

Give ear to Christ's promise: God's realm is open to all— tax collectors and prostitutes, sinners and slackers. When we open our hearts, and give our lives to Christ, God's forgiveness is truly ours. In the name of Christ, we are forgiven!

Thanks, be to God! Amen

The Peace

Make the joy of God's love and forgiveness complete: share with one another the love that Christ shares with us.

The peace of Christ be with you.

The peace of Christ be with you always.

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: God is our provider.

Object: The children will play the game Rock, Paper, Scissors. 

How many of you have ever played the game Rock, Paper, Scissors? People all over the world play that game. Not just children either -- even adults play the game. Did you know that there is an international tournament each year and players from all over the world come together to compete in Rock, Paper, Scissors? Yes, Rock, Paper, Scissors is a very popular game.

As you probably know, each player holds one fist in front of him and hits it with his other fist three times. Then, on the fourth time, the player's top hand forms either a rock, paper, or scissors. (Demonstrate each as you say the words.) This is how you know who wins: a rock smashes scissors, paper covers a rock, and scissors cut paper.

Let's play! You can all play against me and you can keep track of how many times you win. Ready? One, two, three, go. Okay, I made a rock. If you made paper, you win. If you made scissors, I win. If you made a rock, we tied. (Play the Rock, Paper, Scissors for a few minutes.)

The great thing about Rock, Paper, Scissors is that any one of them can be a winner. I have a real rock, paper, and scissors this morning. If you are going to write a letter, a rock or scissors wouldn't be much help, but a piece of paper would, wouldn't it? If you wanted to cut a piece of paper, a rock or paper wouldn't help, but a pair of scissors would. If you were really thirsty and needed a drink of water, a piece of paper or a pair of scissors wouldn't be much help, but a rock might be exactly what you need.

What? Some of you are looking at me like you think I'm crazy! Don't you think a rock would help you if you needed a drink of water? Well, in our Bible story today, that is exactly what happened. Our Bible story today is called, "Water from a Rock."

Moses was the leader of the people of Israel. He was leading them from Egypt to a land that God would give to them. They were wandering through the desert and people were thirsty. They began to grumble and complain to Moses. "We are dying," they said, "our children are dying, our cattle are dying. Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die out here in the desert?"

Moses went to his tent and fell on his knees before God. "What should I do?" Moses prayed. "There is no water in the desert. The people are thirsty, and they are ready to kill me."

God answered Moses and said to him, "Take your shepherd's staff and walk ahead of the people. I will meet you by the rock at Mount Sinai. When you come to the rock, strike it with your staff and water will flow from the rock. The people will be having plenty of water to drink."

Moses did exactly what God told him to do and guess what happened? He got water from a rock!

So, what should you and I do when we face an impossible situation? We should ask God for his help, and then trust in him. Sometimes we may not understand the way God is leading, but we just have to trust him. After all, who would have thought you could get water from a rock?

Offering Prayer

Compassionate Christ transform these offerings with your Spirit, that they may accomplish your work in the world. To the thirsty and hungry, may these gifts bring water and food. To the oppressed and the forgotten, may these gifts bring justice and hope. To the sinful and the selfish, may these gifts bring grace and new beginnings. May we, likewise, be your humble servants, accomplishing your work in this world. Amen. 

Hymn 650: Brother, sister let me serve you

                 (Tune – Servant Song)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMIMJFgp41U 

1.  Brother, sister let me serve you.

Let me be as Christ to you.

Pray that I might have the grace

To let you be my servant, too. 

2.  We are pilgrims on a journey.

And companions on the road.

We are here to help each other

Walk the mile and bear the load. 

3.  I will hold the Christ-light for you

In the nighttime of your fear.

I will hold my hand out to you;

Speak the peace you long to hear.

4.  I will weep when you are weeping.

When you laugh, I'll laugh with you.

I will share your joy and sorrow

Till we've seen this journey through. 

5.  When we sing to God in heaven,

We shall find such harmony

Born of all we've known together

Of Christ's love and agony. 

6.  Brother, sister let me serve you.

Let me be as Christ to you.

Pray that I might have the grace

To let you be my servant, too.

Tune – Servant Song  Words - Richard Gillard

                                                         The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                                            Exodus 17:1-7

The Gospel Reading:                                        Matthew 21:23-32

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Exodus 17:1-7

1 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarrelled with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord ?’ 3 But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?’ 4 So Moses cried out to the Lord , ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.’ 5 The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.’ Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’  

Matthew 21:23-32

23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ 24 Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” 26 But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ 27 So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 28 ‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” 29 He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go.31 Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him. 

Preaching of the Word - Walking the Walk - Matthew 21:23-32 

Imagine you are watching television and a commercial comes on. The camera pans out over a tranquil beach scene where a family is enjoying the sun and the water. One parent is helping a smiling child build a sandcastle, while the other child runs in the surf, throwing a stick for a bounding, energetic golden retriever. The other parent is sitting in a beach chair under an umbrella with a picnic basket and a drink, waving to the rest of the family. Finally, at the end, the product is advertised.

But that’s not all, right? What was really advertised was not just a drink or an item of clothing or sunscreen or life insurance – the marketers were cleverer than that. They were advertising salvation – buy our product and it will save you from your harried, over-scheduled existence and lead you to this “perfect” life.

Sometimes, we are so harried, we are so tired, we are so over-scheduled, and perhaps are so short-sighted and feel so self-centred in our everyday existence that we buy into this false salvation. We grumble at our church leaders, “Is the Lord among us or not? We aren’t getting what we want. God’s not leading us to salvation as we imagined it, so maybe we need to look elsewhere.” 

Like the Israelites in Exodus, we are wandering through the wilderness of Sin – both a geographical place and a play on words that reminds us of our imperfection and unfaithfulness.

Yet, God remains faithful. God is still at work in our lives, no matter what we believe, no matter what we do as we move through the wilderness. We made promises to God or had promises made on our behalf during our Baptismal Covenant:

“Will you persevere in resisting evil, and whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” These are the gist of those baptismal promises made and if done on our behalf as children, can be confirmed by us through our Confirmation. 

Always, the answer is, “I will, with God’s help.”

We cannot separate our belief in God from the action it demands. We cannot immerse ourselves in “the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers” without being stirred to embodying this knowledge and love of God through our actions in the world. Together, they create faith. We can do a whole lot of prayer or a whole lot of serving in a soup kitchen, but an imbalance of one or the other does not exemplify what Jesus is asking. God is faithful in word and deed, and that is the faith that we are called to.

Take this modern parable for example:

There once was a man who came to know Jesus and wanted to be baptised. The whole community supported him and he was baptised along with several others on a Sunday morning. Things seemed to be going smoothly with his newly minted faith. Prayer flowed easily from his lips and heart, he never went by the homeless person who was on the corner of the street where he worked without speaking to him and giving change when he could. He came to church every Sunday, sang in the choir, and went to adult formation classes.

After a while, things started to feel, well, like a suit that was becoming too small, too tight. What he once did with joy was now starting to feel like an obligation. He didn’t know what to do. When someone asked him to pray for them, he said, “Of course!” with enthusiasm and then forgot to. He began to avoid the homeless person by his work by going through another entrance. He attended church and church events less frequently. He considered his life outside of church as separate from his faith, and it was getting busy. He got a promotion at work, started dating someone seriously, and was getting involved in some philanthropic activities through his workplace. He still believed in God and felt love for God but didn’t know how to integrate these pieces into the rest of his life. It all seemed like it was too hard, too much. Eventually, his church community who witnessed his baptism and vowed to do all in their power to support him in his life in Christ never saw him again.

How many of us have told someone we would pray for him or her and then got distracted and didn’t? How many of us have thought or talked a lot about helping the marginalised in our neighbourhood, but haven’t? How many of us have been puzzled when people who were once zealous about their faith faded away, and we intended to contact them but never have?

We all have good intentions. But as Jesus teaches us in our gospel reading today, our intentions don’t really matter. It’s our actions that are grounded in and flow from our relationship with God that count – individually and as a community.

The man in the parable was not the only one who fell short of his promises – the community did, too. All these everyday actions are outward and visible signs of our inward and spiritual grace. These are all acts of love – love that God has for us and that we have for God. They are sacraments with a small “s.”

Jesus preached and taught and touched and healed people. Jesus was doing all this non-stop for a few years and then was crucified, died and was resurrected. But it doesn’t stop there. Over and over again, God’s actions prove God’s love for us. We were given an advocate, the Holy Spirit to come and assist us in continuing God’s work in the world. We get to become part of God’s action.

If we take an honest examination of how God has touched each of our lives, we can be surprised by joy. Think back on your life, the ways that the tapestry of threads have been woven to get you to where you are today. Those times where just the right thing happened, those unexpected moments that changed your life, and the spaces in between, all where God was caring for you. How do we respond to this? 

Jesus gives a telling example of response to God’s love in his parable today about the two sons being asked to work in the vineyard. The first son tells his father outright that he won’t do it, but then has a change of heart and goes and does it anyway. Whereas the second son tells his father he will and then never does. It’s a pretty extreme example, but it gets the point across. Jesus tells this to the chief priests and elders – who rejected John the Baptist and were rejecting Jesus – in order for them to be caught in their own web of deceit. Jesus asks them, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” and they know they are trapped because the answer, of course, is the first son. He ended up living his life faithfully; he didn’t just talk about it or say things to appease his father.

We often do similar things in our own lives. We say we are Christians, but how do we know? How do others know? God has given us the gift of our lives and we are called to respond. We are to be good stewards of our lives, spreading the love of God that we have received, to others.

We aren’t perfect, but we are definitely called to be different. As one American political comedian Stephen Colbert put it, “Either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition; and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

If we choose not to walk the walk, then we are just as bad as the chief priests and elders Jesus encountered.

But there is hope for us! We can be like the first son and have a change of heart. We can choose to be obedient to God and live in a wide, loving margin of grace.

As we grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus and each other, may there by clarity and fire in God’s call to us, and may we receive the courage to do something about it.

 Hymn TIS 657: God of freedom, God of justice

                 (Tune - Tredegar)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL4TPYF90xQ

             God of freedom, God of justice,

you whose love is strong as death,

you who saw the dark of prison,

you who know the price of faith --

       touch our world of sad oppression

       with your Spirit's healing breath.

 

Rid the earth of torture's terror,

you whose hands were nailed to wood;

hear the cries of pain and protest,

you who shed the tears and blood --

       move in us the power of pity

       restless for the common good.

 

Make in us a captive conscience

quick to hear, to act, to plead;

make us truly sisters, brothers

of whatever race or creed --

       teach us to be fully human,

       open to each other's needs. 

Words: Shirley E Murray, Music: Guthrie Foote (Tredegar).
Words: © 1992 Shirley E Murray,

Intercessory Prayers   

Loving God as we bring our prayers before you before you, give to us honest hearts as we bring you our thanksgiving and confess our needs.

Lord God, the friend of sinners and those in need, your Son Jesus has untied our burdens and healed our spirits. So, we lift before you all those whose hearts are burdened and those who seek healing.

We pray for the nations of the world that justice, truth and mercy would govern the hearts of those who lead, that all people would be led in true peace. Turn the hearts of those who are filled with hate and bring the families of the nations under your just and gentle rule.

We pray for our church leaders, that they may have wisdom and courage to seek to direct your church in right pathways. May your church faithfully serve you and seek always to be faithful your calling to be a light in dark places, bringing about the ways of your kingdom on earth.

God of mercy and healing, you who hear the cries of those in need, receive the petitions of your people that all who are troubled may know peace, comfort, and courage. Lord Jesus you meet us in our suffering and supply our hearts with your strength when we call upon your name. Grant your protection to those in need comfort them and may they know your presence in their affliction. Set your angels charge over them and lead them in your way through the journey before them.

Surround them with your tenderness and support them in your everlasting arms. We pray especially for .......

Gracious God be with all of those who mourn and may they know the tender compassion of your love. May the hope which you supply sustain all those who are troubled by grief, that it may never overwhelm those who call upon you.

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 618: What does the Lord require

                 (Tune – Sharpthorne)

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

What does the Lord require

for praise and offering?

What sacrifice, desire

or tribute did you bring?

Do justly,

love mercy,

walk humbly with your God.

 

Rulers of earth, give ear!

Should you not justice know?

Will God your pleading hear

while crime and cruelty grow?

Do justly,

love mercy,

walk humbly with your God.

 

Still down the ages ring

the prophet's stern commands:

to merchant, worker, king,

he brings God's high commands:

do justly,

love mercy,

walk humbly with your God.

 

How shall our life fulfill

God's law so hard and high?

Let Christ endue our will

with grace to fortify.

Then justly,

in mercy,

we'll humbly walk with God.

                           Author: Albert F. Bayly (1949)

Tune: Sharpthorne

Benediction    

       May we go forth with the mind of Christ and the love of God to serve in the vineyard of life! Tell of God's works! Think on God's deeds! Give glory and praise to God!

        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 Worship Pentecost 15 13 September 2020

September 11, 2020 - 2:06am

 

Marsden Road Uniting Church

Carlingford

__________________________________________________________________________________


And in Anger..., 

Sunday 13th September 2020

Pentecost 15 Sunday year of Matthew 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

(Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)

        If it had not been the Lord who was on our side when the forces of death pressed against us, we would have no songs to sing to our children. If it had not been the Lord who was on our side when the instruments of death had us in their power, we would be the victims of the unrighteous. Sing to our God, who brings us into a future of hope and life.

Sing to God for mercy and grace.

Sing praises to God for laughter and joy.

For our God is mighty and strong, protecting the lowly from the anger of the oppressor.

Our God is righteous and just, saving the weak from the cruelty of the powerful.

Sing to God for mercy and grace.

Sing praises to God for laughter and joy. 

Hymn TIS 569: Guide me, O thou great Redeemer                                        (tune – Cwm Rhondda)

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

1.  Guide me, O my great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but you are mighty;
hold me with your powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore. 

2.  Open now the crystal fountain,
where the healing waters flow.
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
ever be my strength and shield,
ever be my strength and shield. 

3.  When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside.
Death of death, and hell's Destruction,
land me safe on Canaan's side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever sing to you,
I will ever sing to you.

 Author: William Williams (1745)Translator: Peter Williams (1771)

Tune: Cwm Rhondda 

Opening prayer

Gracious God renew our minds and cleanse our spirits, that we might rise above the petty judgments that keep us from full fellowship with you and with one another. Part the waters of our worries and confusion and save us from the tides that threaten to overwhelm us. Be merciful to us and protect us with your powerful hand, that we might dance and sing to your glory. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, when we have inflicted injuries upon others, forgive us; when we have laughed and sung as our enemies faced calamity, pardon us;

when we have belittled the convictions of others through word or deed, restore us in your mercy. Reclaim us, Mighty One, that amidst the trials of life, we might walk on the dry land of your powerful hope and your loving grace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness

"If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, the forces of death would have claimed us as victims. If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, we would have fallen to the sword or been drowned by the sea. Dance and sing to the Lord who is on our side and is on the side of all God’s children. Amen

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

We live not for ourselves, but for the One who rescues us from peril and calls us into fellowship with one another. Let us give thanks for the love of God, as we share signs of Christ’s peace this day.

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: God's Power and Protection

Object: Get ceramic or plastic plate, water, pepper, dish                        soap, paper towel for demonstration.  

One of our Scripture lessons set for this week but which we will not read later is about one of the most spectacular events in the entire Bible. (Exodus 14:19-3) The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for over 400 years. But Pharaoh refused to let God's people go until God sent 10 plagues to all of Egypt. After so many bad things happened, Pharaoh finally decided it was best to let the Israelites go. The Israelites followed Moses out of Egypt.

(For Demonstration - pour enough water on the plate to cover the bottom.)

But Pharaoh changed his mind again. He sent his giant army to bring the Israelites back to Egypt. And the Israelites were caught between the army and the Red Sea. When God’s people saw the Egyptian army and chariots coming, they were afraid. 

(Shake pepper all over the water. Put your finger into the water and touch the bottom of the plate.)

What happened? (Pause for a few responses.) You’re right; nothing happened! The pepper just stuck to my finger. Hmm. The Israelites were afraid that the Red Sea would cover them completely. But Moses said, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch God save you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and God opened up a pathway through the water with a strong east wind. 

Put a drop of dish soap on the tip of your finger. Then put your finger into the water again and touch the bottom of the plate. The pepper on top of the water will instantly spread apart. 

The people of Israel walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side! The Egyptians, with their horses and chariots, followed the Israelites through the sea, but God twisted their chariot wheels, making them difficult to drive.

When the Israelites reached the other side of the water, God said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again.” When Moses did, the water rushed back, and all of the chariots and horses and the entire army of the Pharaoh were drowned. Not a single one survived.

When the people of Israel saw the mighty power, God had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe. 

Imagine that—God caused the waters of the sea to separate. That’s kind of like our pepper trick, but on a giant scale. God is powerful and He protected His people, and He protects us, too. 

Offering Prayer

Merciful God transform our gifts into gifts of hope and joy for a world acquainted with despair. Receive our very lives, and fashion us into instruments of your grace, that we may become love and laughter in places of sorrow and mourning. Mould us into your people— a people of promise and hope, a people who live and die in the Lord. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 090: I’ll praise my maker while I’ve breath                        (plus extra verse from other sources)                                           (tune: Monmouth)  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKz01u63gq8

1.  I’ll praise my Maker while I’ve breath;

And when my voice is lost in death

Praise shall employ my nobler powers:

My days of praise shall ne’er be past,

While life, and thought, and being last,

Or immortality endures.

 

2.  Why should I place in man my trust?

Princes must die and turn to dust;

Vain is the help of flesh and blood:

Their breath departs, their pomp and power,

Their thoughts are gone within an hour,

Nor can they make their promise good.

 

3.  Happy are they whose hopes rely

On Israel’s God; He made the sky,

And earth, and seas, with all their train:

His Truth for ever stands secure;

He saves the oppressed, He feeds the poor,

And none shall find His promise vain.

 

4.  The Lord has eyes to give the blind;

The Lord supports the sinking mind;

He sends the labouring conscience peace:

He helps the stranger in distress,

The widow and the fatherless,

And grants the prisoner sweet release.

 

5.  I’ll praise Him while He lends me breath,

And when my voice is lost in death,

Praise shall employ my nobler powers;

My days of praise shall ne’er be past,

While life, and thought, and being last,

Or immortality endures.

Text: Isaac Watts

Tune: Monmouth

 The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                                            Romans 14:1-14

The Gospel Reading:                                        Matthew 18:21-35

Readings: NRSV Translation

Romans 14:1-14 

1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. 2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables.
3 Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4 Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6 Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also, those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God.
11 For it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’ 12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
13 Let us therefore no longer pass judgement on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling-block or hindrance in the way of another.
14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 

Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ 22 Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. 23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” 29 Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’ 

Preaching of the Word - And in Anger..., - Matthew 18:21-35

And in anger the Lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So, my heavenly Father will also do it to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart. NRSV Matthew 18: 34-35

This is not good news for those of us who have trouble forgiving.

One woman went to her Minister because she had long-term resentments that she held against the men in her life. Her father had greatly favoured her brother and had given him the family business. Her brother offered her a menial job in the family business after she divorced. Her former husband was wonderfully successful with a huge income but was miserly and slow with the child support and alimony paid to her. Her sons resented the divorce and constantly told their mother how much they wanted to go live with their dad.

In short, she was angry and resentful. And what was worse, the reason she was angry and resentful was because she was paying attention, had carefully analysed her situation-and was right!

Her Minister listened carefully and said, "You are really justified in being angry. What is being angry doing to you?" The woman poured out a litany of pains, health problems, loneliness, and depression.

Forgiveness was offered as a possibility.

The woman was unable, or unwilling, to forgive. The men in her life did not change their way of behaving toward her. Her health and wellbeing continued in a downward spiral, even though she was totally justified in her anger.

We have in us a need for vindication when we are injured. There are disciplines in law and equity for assessing responsibility for injury, for assessing the degree of damage that an injury has done, and for determining payment to restore the damage. But, no one who has ever gone through a difficult lawsuit leaves satisfied.

We even have a bumper sticker that says, "Don't get mad, get even!"

It may be that the way most of us imitate God is by claiming that "vengeance is ours," contrary to what God said.

It may be that the torture described in the text is just what happens to us when we refuse to forgive. The choice seems to be whether we will be right and miserable, wrong and miserable, or whether we will be forgiving and happy. There are some very clear words about this from Jesus that we all know: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," or in the familiar translation, "Forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

The door to joy and happiness is forgiveness. It seems to work this way. First, when we forgive, we join with God in doing one of God's essential works. Doing the will and work of God brings fulfillment to our lives. Second, forgiveness brings peace to our relationships. Any parent can tell stories of dealing with the injuries, offenses, and disobedience of children. Without forgiveness, children can't be raised. Marriage, as our institution and way of being, can't be sustained without mutual forgiveness.

Married people can't keep from injuring each other. Without forgiveness the injuries become wounds and the wounds become fatal.

Even more ironic is the reality that most of us can't change destructive behaviour until we find that we don't really have to change it. One man tells a story: "I did things that betrayed all of my father's values. He kept forgiving me. I finally did something that was so bad that I knew he would never forgive me and would banish me. He forgave me. I realised that there was nothing that I could do that would make my father stop loving and forgiving me. That realisation, knowing that I was loved no matter what I did, meant that I didn't have to do all the stuff anymore."

This story is a minor illustration of God's work in our broken, sinful rebellion. The cross is God's ultimate act of love and forgiveness. What God did through Jesus was not correct or legal or right. Rather it was pure love. God said to all humanity, "There is nothing that you can do that will end my love for you." It irritates God when we don't share the love and forgiveness we have received. So, forgive someone -- today!  

Hymn TIS 635: Forgive our sins as we forgive                                            (tune – Detroit (Bradshaw))

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

"Forgive our sins as we forgive,"

You taught us, Lord, to pray,

But you alone can grant us grace

To live the words we say.

 

How can your pardon reach and bless

The unforgiving heart

That broods on wrongs and will not let

Old bitterness depart?

 

In blazing light your cross reveals

The truth we dimly knew:

What trivial debts are owed to us;

How great our debt to you!

 

Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls

And bid resentment cease;

Then, bound to all in bonds of love

Our lives will spread your peace.

                                           Author: Rosamond Herklots (1969)

Tune: DETROIT (Bradshaw) 

Intercessory Prayers

Loving God, we seek your help as we seek to model our lives on the teachings of our Lord Jesus.

As we hear his words encouraging us to be kind to others, we pray that we would be mindful of the needs of those who are less fortunate and never to seek reward or recognition in helping others.

Lord in you mercy: Hear our prayer

We look at the life of Jesus in which he cared for the weak and sick and in which he reached out to children, the poor and all of those who were vulnerable. May we be filled with the same attitude of mercy and may we treat others with equal compassion and dignity.

Lord in you mercy: Hear our prayer

As we think about the death of Jesus, we remember how his life was one of sacrifice in which he willingly forsook his own needs and instead offered all he had for the welfare of others. We ask for the presence of your Holy Spirit to empower us to change and become less selfish, less proud and more generous in the way that we give of ourselves to others in worship to you.

Lord in you mercy: Hear our prayer

We pray for spiritual vision to see ourselves as we really are. Enable us we pray to see our own faults with the same clarity that we see the faults of others.

Lord in you mercy: Hear our prayer

Help us to seek always to give to others the same kindness we would like shown to ourselves.

Lord in you mercy: Hear our prayer

May our lives be examples of humility that we might treasure others with the measure of love which you have shown for us.    

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 416: Great God, your Spirit, like the wind                                  (tune – Jerusalem)

https://www.smallchurchmusic.com/MP3/MP3-GreatGodYourSpirit-Jerusalem-PipeLC-128-CAM.mp3 

Great God, your Spirit, like the wind -

unseen but shaking things we see -

will never leave us undisturbed,

fulfil our dreams, or set us free,

until we turn from faithless fear

and prove the promise of your grace,

in justice, peace and daily bread,

with joy for all the human race.

 

Lord, shake us with the force of love,

to rouse us from our dreadful sleep;

remove our hearts of stone, and give

new hearts of flesh, to break and weep

for all your children in distress

and dying for the wealth we keep.

Help us prevent, while we have time,

the blighted harvest greed must reap.

 

And then in your compassion, give

your Spirit like the gentle rain,

creating fertile ground from which

your peace and justice spring like grain;

until your love is satisfied,

with all creation freed from pain,

and all your children live to praise

your will fulfilled, your presence plain. 

Author: Alan Gaunt
Tune: Jerusalem 

Benediction

        Plunge into the waters unafraid, for God leads us forth. Walk straight ahead with purpose and passion, for Christ is our guide and guardian. Live as people of powerful hope, for the Spirit renews us each and every day. Go with the blessings of God. Amen 

Hymn779: 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 Worship Pentecost 14 Sunday 06 September 2020

September 4, 2020 - 2:07am

              


Marsden Road Uniting Church

Carlingford

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No Person is an Island

Sunday 06th September 2020

Pentecost 14 Sunday year of Matthew 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 - (B. J. Beu, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)

          Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song.

Let all God's children rejoice!

Clap your hands and praise God with dancing.

Shout for joy and praise God with music.

For God brings justice to the peoples.

God brings judgment upon the powerful.

Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song.

Let all God's children rejoice!

 

Hymn 107: Let all things now living

                  (Tune Ash Grove) 

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V3zMCfa2II

            Let all things now living

a song of thanksgiving

to God the Creator triumphantly raise,

who fashioned and made us,

protected and stayed us,

who guides us and leads to the end of our days.

His banners are o’er us,

his light goes before us,

a pillar of fire shining forth in the night,

till shadows have vanished

and darkness is banished,

as forward we travel from light into light.

 

His law he enforces;

the stars in their courses

and sun in its orbit obediently shine;

the hills and the mountains,

the rivers and fountains,

the deeps of the ocean proclaim him divine.

We too should be voicing

our love and rejoicing;

with glad adoration a song let us raise,

till all things now living

unite in thanksgiving:

to God in the highest, hosanna and praise! 

Author: Katherine Davis (1939)
Tune: Ash Grove

 

Opening prayer

 

God of love and judgment, when the Egyptians enslaved the Hebrew people, your love set them free; when rulers oppress the poor and powerless, your judgment brings peace and justice back to the land. Move us, O God, that we may fulfil the law of love and be a people who radiate your light. Touch our hearts, that we may come to love our neighbour as we come to love ourselves. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Confession

       Merciful God, it is easier to destroy than it is to build; it is   easier to hurt than it is to heal.

Forgive us, Holy One, when we parade our wounds for all to see, rather than work quietly for forgiveness and reconciliation.

Correct us, Gracious Spirit, when we seek public vindication of our wrongs over the health of your body. Help us love one another with a perfect love, that we may cast aside the works of darkness and fulfil the law of love. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness  

Hear the words of Jesus: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." As we gather to fulfil the law of love, Christ is here with us and we are made whole.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace 

Let us loose the bonds on unfamiliarity, anger and sorrow by offering signs of love and peace, and reconciliation to one another.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

Offering Prayer

In celebration of their deliverance from slavery, and gratitude for their freedom, the ancient Hebrews offered you their worship and their praise. In celebration of our deliverance from the things that enslave us and gratitude for your saving love, we offer you our worship and our praise. Just as the Passover stands as a perpetual observance of our thanksgiving for your love and care, so may our offerings be a perpetual observance of our gratitude for your calling in Jesus Christ. Amen.


Hymn 477: Jesus calls us here to meet him

(Tune Gaelic Air aka as Lewis Folk Melody extra verse to go with YouTube)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCe01UNBktk

             Jesus calls us here to meet him as,

through word and song and prayer,

We affirm God`s promised presence

where his people live and care.

Praise the God who keeps his promise;

praise the son who calls us friends;

praise the spirit who, among us,

to our hopes and fears attends.

 

Jesus calls us to confess him

Word of life and Lord of all,

sharer of our flesh and frailness

saving all who fail or fall.

Tell his holy human story;

tell his tales that all may hear;

tell the world that Christ in glory

came to earth to meet us here.

 

Jesus calls us to each other:

vastly different though we are;

race and colour, class and gender

neither limit nor debar,

Join the hand of friend and stranger;

join the hands of age and youth;

join the faithful and the doubter

in their common search for truth.

 

Jesus calls us to his table

rooted firm in time and space,

where the church in earth and heaven

finds a common meeting place.

Share the bread and wine, his body;

share the love of which we sing;

share the feast for saints and sinners

hosted by our Lord and King.

John L. Bell and Graham Maule - Lewis folk melody arr. John L. Bell


The Service of the Word

 The First Reading:                                            Romans 13:8-14

The Gospel Reading:                                        Matthew 18:15-20.

Readings: NRSV translation 

Romans 13:8-14

8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 And do this, understanding the present time: the hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So, let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. 

Matthew 18:15-20. 

15 ‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’


Preaching of the Word - No Person is an Island - 

Matthew 18: 15-20

Long ago the great Anglican priest and poet John Donne reminded us that, “no person is an island, entire unto himself.” For centuries we have considered a person living totally alone to be a hermit. More and more we are discovering that even in densely populated cities loneliness is a chronic, debilitating, and common condition.    
Solitary experience is contrary to human nature because we are social animals. For all human history life has been lived in the context of communities of one sort or another. This, of course, is simply sociology or anthropology. It is a neutral observation, because communities can be good and bad.

The bad is easy to recognise, because the history of humankind is as much as anything a history of war and conflict. We read in the record of the past and see in the news of our day that humans have great difficulty getting along with one another—whether it be in the neighborhood, village, city, state, nation, or world.

As Christians we understand the negative side of community life, and we confess it. Yet we do not give in to the dark side; we make no peace with the powers that divide community and isolate individuals. Further, our faith and commitment press us to develop the best side of our lives as social creatures.

The primary prayer of Christian faith begins—OUR—not “my,” but “our.” It is a shared prayer for a shared faith. We understand ourselves as part of a family in which we all brothers and sisters. We recognize that our lives in the context of community must be mutually supportive.

Today's Gospel reminds us of the good we can do together, and how we can do it. Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” If any group of us will gather, work, act with the Holy Spirit guiding us, with God’s spirit intentionally a part of what we do, we become much more than simply the collective number of people we are. Two becomes more than two, and three becomes more than three. The sum of our individual ideas and resources and abilities becomes much more because of the synergy that God’s presence provides.

We do gather in Jesus’ name. We re-call him to presence with us. And that makes him a part of us and of what we do. That is what we experience at each Eucharist—we in him and he in us. But we don’t celebrate Eucharist alone. If only the priest shows up for a mid-week service, for instance, there will be no celebration of the Eucharist. There is no community for whom to break bread.
Ours is a faith of community—of twos and threes and fours—but never of individuals. We act together so we can help one another and so we can work in God’s name, thereby multiplying our resources and ability to do what God calls us to do. Our community is the lifeline to the experience of God and to the power of God moving among God’s people.

While a private spiritual and prayer life is essential for each of us, it is likely to become dry and turn inward if it is not infused with regular doses of shared worship and connection with others, gathered in Christ’s name, and for his sake. "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” The gathering—the connectedness—magnifies the Spirit for us and in us and with us.

Today Jesus makes it clear how important we are one to another. Through our link to one another through Christ, there is a power in our community, uniting the values of God to our values on earth. This is how Jesus enables us to use God’s power for making healing and life-giving love more effective among God’s people. We come together, we stay together, we work together—in our Lord's name, bringing to focus the presence of God and unleashing the power of the Spirit to transform our lives and the lives of all God’s children.

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

 Hymn 629: When I needed a neighbour, were you there,

                  (Tune – Neighbour)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrJ190HIk1w  

When I needed a neighbour
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

I was hungry and thirsty
Were you there, were you there?
I was hungry and thirsty, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

I was cold, I was naked
Were you there, were you there?
I was cold, I was naked, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

When I needed a shelter
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a shelter were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

When I needed a healer
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a healer, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

Wherever you travel
I'll be there, I'll be there
Wherever you travel, I'll be there
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
I'll be there

                           Author: Sydney Carter (1965)

Tune: Neighbour

Intercessory Prayers  

Lord God, you are the loving parent of all people and we bring our prayers knowing that you will hear us and help us.

Hear our prayer Lord for the whole family of your church.  Grant that we, and all your people, may be built up in our faith, and always show in our lives the love we see in Jesus.  Give courage to those who find it hard to follow you; to those who are finding it difficult to have faith because of a personal hardship or tragedy; to those who are made to suffer for their faith.  Let your Holy Spirit support them, and may all Christians stand firm in the hope that your kingdom of love will come.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for our country and the many freedoms which we enjoy. We pray for those who govern in us.  Give them health and strength, wisdom and courage, so that they may carry out their many duties in the best interests of all our people.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

We pray for one another.  Help us to grow together in faith and love, rejoicing in your parental care, as we bring our prayers to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Hear our prayer Lord for children and young people

We pray for children and young people as they go about their learning. We pray for those who are eager and active as they explore and welcome new experiences and relationships and those more shyly weighing up their first steps. We think of young people for the first time finding their values tested and their horizons widened, those who are linking industry or commerce with education as they take up apprenticeships, those for whom education seems and end in itself yielding no clear direction for the future. We think of all children and young people, praying that they may be worthy of the best in our society, and society worthy of their potential.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Hear our prayer Lord, as we thank you for giving us so much to enjoy in the world.  Open our eyes to see all the beauty around us as we thank you for the touch of warmth in the air that gives us a new burst of energy, for the greening of trees that shows the creativity of the Divine Artist, for the growing buds and leaves that reveal the strength of the branches, for the harvest to come that will bring us gratitude for the bounty of our land, for this change of seasons that reveals the circle of life. God of all seasons, as you transform the earth, transform us by your Spirit. 

Lord in Your Mercy, hear our prayer

Hear our prayer Lord for those whose lives have been shattered by natural disaster.  We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss.  We ask for your blessing on all those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their security and their hope and we pray for the work of the relief agencies and those providing emergency assistance.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Hear our prayer Lord, for people who are ill, in hospitals, at home, or wherever they may be.  Give them courage, hope and peace, and the knowledge that you are present in their weakness, pain and suffering.  May the skills and knowledge of those who care for the sick be fully used to help and to heal. We pray especially for those who have no one to help them, that in their loneliness they may know that you are with them.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Ever caring God of all, we pray for those we love but no longer see.  Grant them your peace and let light perpetual shine upon them. Jesus Christ is the light of the World, a light which no darkness can quench.  We remember before God those who have died and light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ which eternally shines and brings hope. You turn our darkness into light in your light shall we see light
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

Hymn 468: We are your people, Lord, by your grace

                  (Tune Whitfield)

https://vimeo.com/171332675

We are Your people Spirit of grace

You dare to make us To all our neighbors

Christ's living voice hands and face

Christ's living voice hands and face

 

Joined in community Treasured and fed

May we discover Gifts in each other

Willing to lead and be led

Willing to lead and be led

 

Rich in diversity Help us to live

Closer than neighbors Open to strangers

Able to clash and forgive

Able to clash and forgive

 

Glad of tradition Help us to see

In all life's changing Where You are leading

Where our best efforts should be

Where our best efforts should be

 

Give as we venture Justice and care

(Peaceful resisting Waiting or risking)

Wisdom to know when and where

Wisdom to know when and where

             Author: Brian A. Wren (1973)

Tune: Whitfield (Wilson)

 Benediction  

        God has put a new song in our hearts.

        Sing a new song to the Lord.

        The judgment of God brings victory to the righteous. Sing a new song to the Lord.

        The love of God has set us free.

        Sing a new song to the Lord.

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

    

Hymn 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 Worship 30 August 2020 - Wesley 5

August 28, 2020 - 12:55am

          Marsden Road Uniting                              Church Carlingford

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Of One Book...,

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

(Scifres, Mary J, The Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)

       Jesus reminds us of one of the greatest, and most difficult, paradoxes of Christianity: to save your life you must first lose it. So, we find ourselves once again surprised by the limitless and inexplicable nature of God's love, and we rejoice to stand together on holy ground.

Give thanks for all the wonderful works of God.

Praise the Lord!

Sing a new song of praise to the God of all peoples. 

Praise the Lord!

Proclaim God's name to all the world.

Praise the Lord!

We are God's chosen people; God is with us always. 

Praise the Lord!

Let our hearts rejoice, for the Lord is God.

Praise the Lord! 

Hymn TIS 211: Jesus, lover of my soul

                  (Tune – Aberystwyth)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw0kNiLOIXs#:~:text=Jesus%2C%20lover%20of%20my%20soul,receive%20my%20soul%20at%20la

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,

While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.

Hide me, O my Saviour, hide, till the storm of life is past;

Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.


Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;

Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.

All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;

Cover my defenceless head with the shadow of Thy wing.


Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?

Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—Lo! on Thee I cast my care;

Reach me out Thy gracious hand! While I of Thy strength receive,

Hoping against hope I stand, dying, and behold, I live.


Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;

Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.

Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;

False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.


Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;

Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.

Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;

Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

Words: Charles Wesley

Music: Aberystwyth Joseph Parry

 

Opening prayer

     Surprising God, you have an uncomfortable habit of showing up where we least expect you: in a burning bush, in the face of an enemy, in a livestock feed trough, on a rough wooden cross. Turn our lives upside down with your radical love. Help us fully embrace your surprises, even as we revel in the joy of being fully embraced by your all-encompassing grace and mercy. We pray in the name of your most amazing surprise of all: your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession

God of Mystery, we are constantly amazed by the depth and breadth of your love.

Over and over again, you turn our expectations inside out and upside down. And still we don't understand the radical nature of your grace.

We play by our own rules of justice, even when it means excluding those we are called to love and defend.

In our darkest moments, we doubt if we are worthy of your trust. God, help us remember that you give us all the tools we need; that through the solid foundation of your love, we find the strength to follow your call as true disciples of Jesus Christ. 

Surprise us again, O God. Surprise us again.

Declaration of Forgiveness

The God who brought our ancestors out of slavery will not desert us. God has promised to be with us throughout all generations. Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice, for God is with us!

Thanks, be to God! Amen

The Peace

Rejoice, for you are standing on holy ground.

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 Children/Young People

There are number of yoke images of yokes I can think of. (need pictures)

A yoke in Jesus’ time  and still is in many parts of the world today is both the wooden collar which fitted around  the necks of a couple of oxen  to join two together for farm work such as ploughing,  or a frame which sat on a person’s shoulders to allow them to carry two buckets. There would be quite a strain on the neck/shoulders of the animal/person wearing the yoke. 

Jesus is saying that by sharing his yoke - he is sharing our lives – giving any weight we may be carrying on our own to him.  By doing this we are sharing his life – being gentle and kind like he is.

I also think of humans taken as slaves being yoked together by their necks as they are moved. Then there is the yoke that is used in constructing various equipment and other items.

Another kind of yoke is the part sewn into the back of a garment which holds all the rest of the shirt or blouse together. The sleeves, collar, front and lower back are all attached to the yoke. When you grow or put on weight, you know you need a bigger garment because the yoke becomes tight across your shoulders and is too uncomfortable to wear any more.  How many people are actually wearing a garment with a yoke in it at that moment. 

Jesus invites us to wear his yoke - one that we need never grow out of and which gives us comfort rather than discomfort.  His yoke helps us to learn from him how to live like him - how to be gentle with ourselves and with other people.  So, just as the yoke in the garments we wear is very visible, so the yoke Jesus offers us is visible, as we care for and love others, especially those who may be sad or who feel that nobody loves them.

 Offering Prayer

Dear God, we offer you now these gifts. Take our money and use it to bring comfort to those in need. Take our service and use it to bring justice to those who are oppressed. Take our witness and use it to bring good news to those who hunger for hope. Take our lives and use them for our very salvation. We pray through Jesus Christ, the one whom we follow even to the cross. Amen.

Hymn TIS 245: We have a Gospel to proclaim

                         (Tune - Fulda)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-SPYAgCtkw

We have a gospel to proclaim
Good news for men in all the earth; 
The gospel of a Saviour’s name: 
We sing His glory, tell His worth.

Tell of His birth at Bethlehem,
Not in a royal house or hall 
But in a stable dark and dim: 
The Word made flesh, a light for all.

Tell of His death at Calvary,
Hated by those He came to save; 
In lonely suffering on the cross 
For all He loved, His life He gave.

Tell of that glorious Easter morn:
Empty the tomb, for He was free. 
He broke the power of death and hell That we might share His victory.

Now we rejoice to name Him King:
Jesus is Lord of all the earth. 
This gospel message we proclaim: 
We sing His glory, tell His worth.

Author: Edward J. Burns (1968)
Tune: Fulda

                   The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                      2 Timothy 3: 10-17            

The Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 11:25-30              

Readings: NRSV Translation

2 Timothy 3: 10-17 

10 Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions, and my suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is[a] useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. 

Matthew 11:25-30

25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank[a] you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[b27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

Preaching of the Word: Of One Book...,

From our Study:

Many Christians know John’s Wesley’s claim that he is man of one book. “Let me be homo unius libri,” says Wesley, with Latin flare. But Wesley was far from being concerned with literally only one book. He read widely and required his ministers to read many other books. Wesley scolded his ministers who claimed to read only the Bible as exhibiting “rank enthusiasm.” That’s like calling someone today a raving religious lunatic!

By homo unius libri, Wesley meant he regards no book comparatively but the Bible. Scripture is the first book of importance, but not the only important book.

Wesley drew upon other sources, including scholarly tools, when reading the Bible. He appreciated textual criticism, says Maddox, but was less warm to historical criticism.

Wesley’s comments about the trustworthiness of the Bible focus on what calls the “rule of Christian faith and practice.” Wesley followed 2 Timothy 3:16–17, in which inspiration of Scripture is related to its usefulness for instructing in Christian belief and training in lives of righteousness. This was our first reading today.

Today, we continue and finish our series of looking at how Wesley approached his faith and some of the ways in which his relationship with God is reflected in his approach to important life issues. Our final is to see how scripture informs our lives as Christians. The scripture from 2 Timothy 3:16, gives us a really important description of what the scripture actually is and how important it is for our lives

In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul writes this: “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” And off the back of that verse, we are going to be thinking today about what the scripture is and why it is important to us and how we can incorporate what we hear in scripture more usefully into our everyday lives.

And the context in which the writer of Timothy is writing here is so important to us: the person may have written this 2,000 years ago but could have written it yesterday! We seem to live in what is now being called ‘a post-truth age’ in which Fake News receives as much of a credible hearing as Truth itself. We seem to live in a consumer age in which so many leaders across the world are seeking power through populism and will shape their political or spiritual pitches to the public according to what they know will be popular and win them power and influence, often at the expense of what may be more wise, or more truthful, or more helpful.

 These are difficult days to attempt to proclaim Truth - and the voice of the Church is just one more voice amongst a cacophony of competing opinions. Its interesting to read the next chapter in Timothy which says: “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine but having itching ears.” Doesn’t this sound so much like the world we live in today as Fake News and the pursuit of populism underpins so much of how we live today.

As Christians, we want to pursue the truth about our God. We want to know who Jesus is and we want to understand the sort of life we are to live that having a relationship with Jesus calls us to. And we believe that God has given us scripture as an important way of knowing God and coming into a relationship with Jesus.

The key difference between our approach to the scriptures and the populism that has become so rife in our world today is simply this: That, yes, we want to read the Scriptures and be affirmed and comforted, but we also mustn’t be afraid to read the Scriptures and find ourselves being challenged by God and having our views challenged. And we are called not to be afraid to be changed and transformed by God the more we read Scripture. This is the path that John Wesley seems to advocate.

Scripture is not some Populist Manifesto. It is God speaking to us, inspiring us to change and be transformed ever closer into the likeness of Christ. We believe that God was inspiring these people as they wrote and that they were being inspired by their relationship with God but that the words they wrote are very human words. So, scripture is a book of words written by human beings who were being inspired by God as they wrote. It’s for that reason that we take the teachings in scripture seriously and many people view it as being created through the power of God and that what we need to know about God, our relationship with God and how to live this in everyday life can be found there. But, because there is a human element to it, we are not surprised when we find historical errors in it or some contradictions.

So, we can say like Wesley would have us understand, that scripture is inspired by God, written in human words and contains everything we need to know about God to have a relationship with Jesus. But it is a messy book. And it’s messy because it's a really human book as well as an expression of God. Let me tell you the messiness of human life is clearly expressed in scripture.  

There are wars and battles, there’s physical violence and rape and murder, there’s betrayal, there’s human failure and weakness, there are stories about lying to God, running away from God, ignoring God, there are stories about human love and human devotion, there are beautiful stories and ugly stories, there are stories of courage, stories of shame, stories of hope, stories of despair… The whole of human experience is contained in scripture - for good and for bad.

That’s what makes it such a wonderful book, because as we read the words of Scripture we see ourselves mirrored in its pages…our own failures, our own weaknesses, our own beauty and our own ugliness, our own courage and our own shame, our own hope and our own despair. Scripture can be viewed as a mirror in which we see ourselves reflected before God.

Having seen ourselves in this mirror, and also having read some of the incredible stories in scripture we can then inspired to go beyond ourselves; to transcend our limitations and become available to God to be used for God’s extraordinary purposes. As well as seeing our own fallenness in scripture we also see our own potential for what we could be if we submit ourselves to God’s Holy Spirit at work within us.

That means growth and that means change - and we know that both change, and growth can be painful for us. And so, as we read scripture, we feel uncomfortable and challenged by God beyond what we might be either expecting or hoping for.

We are not reading scripture to gain head knowledge, to gather historical data about the growth of a religious movement, or to get information about God. We read scripture mostly so that we can be comforted and challenged. We read scripture so that we can grow in faith and be transformed slowly but surely into the image of Jesus Christ. And that requires God to teach us. That requires God to chastise us when we get it wrong. That requires God to correct us when we are heading off down the wrong path.

As the writer of 2 Timothy says here, is training for righteousness. And it can be painful. As I said this is a counter-cultural experience in a world that panders to populism and Fake News. Scripture does not offer us the easy way. It is not there just to make us feel good about ourselves or to be some sort of Fortune Cookie that will endorse all our life choices. Scripture provides a real challenge to us and can speak deeply into our souls in the most uncomfortable of ways.

A woman once asked the writer Mark Twain, “Don’t you struggle with those bits of the scripture that you don’t understand?” He replied: “No, madam. I struggle with those bits of scripture that I do understand…” And that is so often our own experience if we take seriously God’s Word to us…

A relationship with Jesus is a conversation, a dialogue, a two-way thing. We are particularly good at praying to God, asking him to give us what we want. Let’s make sure that we balance that with a desire to listen to God as he speaks to us through scripture. Hearing God speak to us may well require us to stand on tiptoes and really make the effort to listen. But if we do that, we will be inwardly transformed, and who knows what God will do in you and through you as you draw closer into a loving relationship with Jesus. 

Hymn TIS 570: Soldiers of Christ arise

                       (Tune – Diademata)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44GUiMdFApA

Soldiers of Christ, arise

And put your armor on,

Strong in the strength which God supplies

Through His eternal Son;

Strong in the Lord of hosts,

And in His mighty pow’r,

Who in the strength of Jesus trusts

Is more than conqueror.


Stand then in His great might,

With all His strength endued,

And take, to arm you for the fight,

The panoply of God.

From strength to strength go on.

Wrestle and fight and pray;

Tread all the powers of darkness down

And win the well-fought day.


Leave no unguarded place,

No weakness of the soul;

Take every virtue, ev’ry grace,

And fortify the whole.

That having all things done,

And all your conflicts past,

Ye may overcome through Christ alone

And stand complete at last.

Author: Charles Wesley (1952)

Tune: Diademata Composer: Elvey

Intercessory Prayers  

Living, liberating God, we give you thanks that you come to free us from all that binds and restricts us.

We pray for the peoples of the world: we pray for those weighed down by oppression, tyranny and hardship,

for those bent low under the weight of unrelenting daily toil.

Lay your hands on these your children, that they may be freed from their burdens and take their rightful places in the world.

Loving God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Living, liberating God, we give you thanks that you come to free us from the bondage of loveless legalism.

We pray for your church throughout the world: we pray that we may be open to your spirit of truth; that we may be brave to proclaim your gospel.

Lay your hands on us, that we may sing your praise and people rejoice at your wonderful deeds.

Loving God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Living, liberating God, we give you thanks that you set us free to live by the law of love.

We pray for all whom we love and for those we meet in our daily lives: we pray for those exhausted by responsibilities beyond their strength, for those shamed by circumstances beyond their control.

Lay your hands on these your children, that they may be enabled to live complete and fulfilling lives.

Loving God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Living, liberating God, we give you thanks that you come to us bringing compassion and healing for those who suffer.

We pray for all in need of your consolation: we pray for those heavy-hearted with grief and despair, for those crippled by pain and anguish.

Lay your hands on these your children, that they may feel your loving presence and find healing and wholeness.

Loving God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Living, liberating God, we give you thanks that you come to us to free us from the bondage of death.

We remember those who have died who now live in your eternal presence: those from this parish who have gone before us, and all whom we have loved.

Lay your hands on us and transform our lives by your touch, that we may come with all your saints to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.

Loving God, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

Hymn TIS 425: Come, Spirit blest, our hearts inspire

                       (Tune – Richmond)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-edsHvr10g

Come Holy Spirit, our hearts inspire,
let us thine influence prove;
source of the old prophetic fire,
fountain of life and love.

Come, Holy Spirit, for, moved by thee,
thy prophets wrote and spoke:
unlock the truth, thyself the key,
unseal the sacred book.

Expand thy wings, celestial Dove,
brood o'er our nature's night;
on our disordered spirits move,
and let there now be light.

God, through himself, we then shall know,
if thou within us shine;
and sound, with all thy saints below,
the depths of love divine.

Author: Charles Wesley (1740)

Tune: Richmond

Benediction

       God promised to be with Moses, and we are here to witness to the fulfillment of that promise. From generation to generation, the God of Israel is also the God of Marsden Road Uniting Church and of our area. The God of the burning bush is waiting even now to encounter you, call you, challenge you, and change you. Go out to be sustained and surprised by the love of God. Amen.

Hymn MHB 693: Lord Dismiss us with thy blessing

                     (Tune – Sicilian Mariners) 1 extra verse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9QDIA8zxhc

       Lord, dismiss us with Thy blessing;

Fill our hearts with joy and peace;

Let us each Thy love possessing,

Triumph in redeeming grace.

O refresh us, O refresh us,

Traveling through this wilderness.


Thanks, we give and adoration

For Thy Gospel’s joyful sound;

May the fruits of Thy salvation

In our hearts and lives abound.

Ever faithful, ever faithful,

To the truth may we be found.


So that when Thy love shall call us,

Saviour, from the world away,

Let no fear of death appal us,

Glad Thy summons to obey.

May we ever, may we ever,

Reign with Thee in endless day.

Text by: John Fawcett 1773

Tune: Dismissal. by William Linton Viner 1845

 

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship 23 August 2020 - Wesley 4

August 21, 2020 - 2:35am

 

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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


Wesley on War and Peace

23rd August 2020 - Wesley 4 Sunday 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 Annual 2020)

Give us the assurance that we belong to that great company but save us from living in the past and from resting on the work of others. Help us to find a new beginning and a new vision, that we may know our task in this place and in the world today.

We rejoice, O God, in the Spirit which worked through ancient people of faith to call them from a distant land to a land which they knew not.

We rejoice, O God, in knowing that the Spirit which led our ancestors through the wilderness is our possession today.

We give you thanks, Almighty God, for those who walked along the Way, for their faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ and their steadfast love for you.

We give you thanks, Almighty God, for those whose dedication to the Gospel caused them to express a vital faith and establish a tradition, of which we are grateful descendants. 

Hymn 138: Eternal Father strong to save

                  (Tune – Melita)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cHPSFFa5cU

Eternal Father, strong to save,

Whose arm doth bind the restless wave,

Who bidst the mighty ocean deep

Its own appointed limits keep;

O hear us when we cry to Thee

For those in peril on the sea.

 

O Saviour, whose almighty word

The winds and waves submissive heard,

Who walkedst on the foaming deep,

And calm amid its rage didst sleep;

O hear us when we cry to Thee

For those in peril on the sea.

 

O sacred Spirit, who didst brood

Upon the chaos dark and rude,

Or bad’st its angry tumult cease,

And gavest light and life and peace;

O hear us when we cry to Thee

For those in peril on the sea.

 

O Trinity of love and pow’r,

Our brethren’s shield in danger’s hour;

From rock and tempest, fire and foe,

Protect them wheresoever they go;

And ever let there rise to Thee

Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

 Author: William Whiting (1860)

Tune: Melita (Dykes)

 

Opening prayer

 

     Grant, O merciful God, that following the good example of your servants John and Charles Wesley, we may cleave to you with all our heart, sing and speak your praise, and bring others to love your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


A Prayer of Confession

       Merciful God, through the apostle Paul, you call us to live out our faith in everyday actions beginning with loving one another with a love that is completely sincere - love with no thought of gain for self  but love totally at the service of others. 

We are to hate evil and to hold fast to what is good, yet the grasping for financial gain by whatever means has led to a diminished understanding of what is evil and what is good;  we are to care for and honour one another, yet sadly, divisions exist  in churches and faith communities, when conflict arises over rights and privileges, prestige and power. 

Our faith is to be visible through our joy and our hope -  our patience - even in suffering, and through our persevering in prayer and we are to share what we have with those in need, and to extend hospitality not just to those we know and like - but to strangers. 

We know we fall short of living out our faith in these ways so we pray that we will be renewed, strengthened and empowered with the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus, living, loving and caring as he did.  This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen 

Declaration of Forgiveness

      Hear the good news: God’s love for us is truly revealed in          that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Thanks, be to God! Amen

The Peace

God has received us, pardoned us and loved us; let us forgive each other in love and share the peace of Christ. Peace be with you.And also, with you.

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

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: We find true happiness in Jesus.

Object: A flower or a toy bee

 If I were to ask you to tell me what makes you happy, what would your answer be? Would it be something like "happiness is scoring the winning goal in a soccer game" or "happiness is being the most popular person in my class?"

We all want to be happy, don't we? Does it surprise you to know that God wants you to be happy? Well, he does, but you might be surprised to find out that what Jesus said about happiness is quite different from what you and I might expect. Most of us think that to be happy means having a lot of money, having plenty to eat, having someone to take care of us, or being well-liked by everyone. That isn't what Jesus said. 

One day Jesus went up onto the side of a mountain. He sat down, gathered his disciples around him, and began to teach them about happiness. Even though these are not the exact words Jesus used, I think they will help us to understand what he taught. 

He said things like:

Be happy when you are poor in spirit, because then you will find that your riches are in the kingdom of heaven.

Be happy when you feel you have lost what is most dear to you, because it is then that you will feel the love of the One who is the dearest to you.

Be happy with what you have, because then you will find that your heavenly Father provides everything that you need.

Be happy when you are hungry for the things of God, because then you will find that only He can satisfy.

Be happy when you are caring for others, because it is in caring for others that you will find that you have a heavenly Father who cares for you.

Be happy when your heart is right with God, because it is then that you will see that God is at work in the world around you.

Be happy when you help others to get along peacefully with one another, because it is then that you will know the peace that comes from being a part of the family of God.

Be happy when others treat you badly because you follow me, because your reward will be great in heaven.

You see, happiness is not a feeling that is brought about by the things that happen to us. It is an attitude that we have because of what we have in our heart. We need to be like the bee, buzzing happily through life because of what God has done for us.

Dear Father, help us to have the happiness that you want for us. Happiness that comes, not from what happens to us, but from what happens inside of us. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

 Offering Prayer

Holy God, you bless our lives with gifts which enable us to live in harmony with you and with one another.  In Jesus you have revealed the human face of your love and empowered us with the Holy Spirit to reveal that same love in all we do and say and are.  These gifts we offer in response seem paltry in comparison, but we offer them and our lives confident that you will receive, bless and use them in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, and our Saviour.  Amen

Hymn TIS 219: Jesus comes with all his grace

                 (Tune – Orientis Partibus)

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

                    Jesus comes with all his grace,

comes to save a fallen race,

object of our glorious hope,

Jesus comes to lift us up.

 

Let the living stones cry out,

every child of Abraham shout;

praise we all our lowly King,

give him thanks, rejoice and sing.

 

He has our salvation wrought,

he our captive souls has bought,

he has reconciled to God,

he has washed us in his blood.

 

We are now his lawful right,

walk as children of the light;

we shall soon obtain the grace,

pure in heart, to see his face.

 

We shall gain our calling's prize;

after God we all shall rise,

filled with joy, and love, and peace,

perfected in holiness.

                              Author: Charles Wesley (1749)

Tune: Orientis Partibus

 The Service of the Word

 The First Reading:                      Isaiah 2.1-4          NEB page 505

The Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 5: 1-12   NEB page 727

Readings: NRSV Translation

Isaiah 2.1-4

2 1 The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. 3 Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 

Matthew 5: 1-12

1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: 3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

 


Preaching of the Word: Peace is Never Easy

 From our Study:

It sounds so simple: do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God. It sounds so simple to seek peace and not war. From our study we hear the following which outlines the situation we Christians are called to wrestle with:

Questions about war and peace are never easy for Christians. We live in the tension between loving our neighbours, even loving our enemies, on the one hand, and the desire to be loyal citizens of a nation we love, on the other. This tension has always divided the church, and our generation is no exception. But what can we learn from Wesley about war that we can make a part of our lives today?

First, there is the awareness of the horrors of war. Remember Wesley’s description of the armies killing each other. Add to that the so-called “collateral damage,” the deaths and wounding of civilians, the destruction of the infrastructure of the warring nations, and the devastation of economies. As General Sherman said, “war is hell,” even when it is necessary.

Second, I think Wesley would want us to remember that God’s ultimate will is peace. One of the implications of that is to look carefully at the reasons for war. Obviously, if a nation is attacked, it will defend itself. The list above of some of the reasons why nations go to war reminds us that we often do not look for God’s ultimate will, or even for a common-sense reason for war. Instead, we focus on selfish ends, the expressions of what Wesley called original sin.

Third, Wesley’s statement that, in war, God is forgotten is a powerful one. The adage says that there are no atheists in foxholes. That may or may not be true. It does seem to be true, however, that God’s ultimate will is easily forgotten in time of war.

On closer inspection of the issue and of our scripture from Matthew 5 (the beatitudes), are these instructions so simple after all? How can we be sure we are seeking God’s justice and not our own? How are we to love kindness and not merely like niceness? How do we walk in humility without feeling humiliated?

In one of his essays on the causes of poverty, and the lack of food for the poor, Wesley did advocate cutting the size of the army, in order to make grain available for the poor. That statement shows that, like all the rest of us, Wesley did not always think through what he was saying. If the King had actually disbanded regiments and used the savings to provide grain for the poor, the law of unintended consequences would have kicked in. All those discharged soldiers would have been without work, and in need of the same grain that Wesley intended for the poor. Chances are that the situation of the poor would not have improved in that case. But the idea does suggest that Wesley was willing to consider serious change in government policy in order to care for the needs of the poor.

Fortunately, we have an excellent teacher and guide in Jesus Christ. His teachings on the mountain in Galilee are some of his best-known words. The Beatitudes are perhaps the most famous of all. When we pay attention to the future tense we find that they will be comforted, they will inherit, they will be filled it’s easy to hear these sayings as a series of promises, of rewards to be allotted in the afterlife, or in the new creation at the end of times.

Doubtless those promises will hold true in the new creation, but is that enough consolation to us now, when we mourn, or hunger, or being attacked or are persecuted? As a disillusioned man in a song called, “All this Time,” by Sting says of inheriting the earth: 

Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth  Better to be poor than a fat man in the eye of a needle  And as these words were spoken I swore I hear              The old man laughing                                               'What good is a used up world and how could it be   Worth having'

Perhaps Jesus is also calling us to a deeper and more challenging understanding. Twice he says, “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Just a bit earlier in the Gospel of Matthew, we are told that from the beginning of his teaching Jesus proclaimed that “the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Jesus tells us that the kingdom is near, is at hand, is so close we can reach out and touch it. If the kingdom is truly at hand, then all the blessings Jesus mentions are not afterlife consolation prizes but are present-tense realities. Try out these re-wordings of the Beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they have the kingdom of heaven.                                                                  Blessed are those who mourn, for they are being comforted.                                                             Blessed are the meek, for they are inheriting the earth.   Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for   righteousness, for they are being filled.                   Blessed are the merciful, for they are receiving mercy. 

In this light, the blessings become both strength and guidance for doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our God. They become strength and guidance to seek peace and not war. 

Justice in our earthly kingdoms typically uses the tools of punishment and reparations. Applied well, our justice systems protect the innocent, shield the vulnerable, and ensure equity. Applied poorly, they protect the powerful and disproportionately condemn the weak. Justice in the kingdom of heaven relies on the mercy and righteousness of God. Our Baptismal Covenant calls us to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human beings.” Our tools for this heavenly justice system are mercy and righteousness and peacemaking. If we use these tools to do justice, look at the blessings that follow; “receiving mercy, being filled, being called children of God!

Better yet, the blessings are not only a reward to us, but also a source of motivation and guidance. Because we have received God’s mercy, we have a model for being merciful and the desire to extend mercy. Because we have been forgiven and restored to peace with God, we are strengthened to forgive others and work for peace and reconciliation. Because we are filled with God’s spirit, we hunger and thirst more and more to see righteousness in the world.

But what about the times when it’s hard to see righteousness in the world, when we ourselves are persecuted, or when we are in mourning, or when we feel empty in our own spirit, or when we are attacked violently? Jesus assures us that blessings are present even during these times. Perhaps he is even teaching us that at such moments we are most open to perceiving the grace of God.

Amid persecution and slander, Jesus calls us to rejoice and be glad, “for we are walking in the kingdom of heaven as well as in an unjust world. When we mourn and are tossed by our natural and right emotions of grief and anger, how vivid are those moments when the presence and compassion of God break through!

Walking in the kingdom of heaven means learning more and more how close God is to us when we are in need.

Jesus even assures us that we have the kingdom of heaven just when we feel poorest in spirit. Just when you feel emptiest, he says, keep reaching out to the kingdom that is at hand. In other words, walk humbly with your God.

The Beatitudes call us above all to a sense of openness before God. We don’t see God until we see the face of Christ in others, we learn to do that by pursuing justice and kindness toward all people. We don’t see God until we stop trying to control and begin learning to walk humbly in God’s presence. But when we practice doing justice and loving kindness and walking in humility, the Spirit continues to work in our hearts, purifying us. And blessed are the pure in heart, for they are seeing God.

So, it may never be easy, but perhaps it is simple after all. Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God. Walk in the kingdom of heaven, be comforted, inherit the earth, be filled with righteousness, receive mercy, see God, be God’s children, rejoice and be glad. Be blessed.

Hymn 607: Make me a channel of your peace

                  (Tune – Channel of Peace)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT8bybL_DqY

                Make me a channel of your peace.

Where there is hatred let me bring your love;

Where there is injury your pardon, Lord;

And where there's doubt true faith in you.

 

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love with all my soul.

 

Make me a channel of your peace.

Where there's despair in life let me bring hope;

Where there is darkness, only light;

And where there's sadness, ever joy.

 

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love with all my soul.

 

Make me a channel of your peace.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

In giving to all men that we receive;

And in dying that we're born to eternal life.

 

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love with all my soul.

 Author (attributed to): St. Francis of AssisiAdapter: Sebastian Temple

Tune: [Make me a channel of your peace]

Intercessory Prayers  

Faithful God, you hear our cries and answer when we call on you: give us faith to believe that with you all things are possible.

You created a world of beauty and promise, but we have made places of ugliness and despair: hear our prayers for the preservation of the earth. We pray for careful stewardship of the resources of the earth, for reverence and respect for its wonder and diversity, that we may live in harmony with the created world.

God of mercy hear our prayer.

You have shown us ways of justice and righteousness, but we have chosen paths of violence and greed: hear our prayers for the nations of the world. We pray for an end to bloodshed and oppression, for an equitable sharing of the good gifts of the earth, that we may live together in peace and prosperity.

God of mercy hear our prayer.

You have offered us gifts of redemption and life, but we have clung to old ways of sin and death: hear our prayers for your church and its mission. We pray for unity of heart and purpose between Christians, for discernment and understanding of your word, that we may faithfully proclaim your gospel in the world.

God of mercy hear our prayer.

You rescue the weak and save those in distress, but we have abandoned the vulnerable and neglected those in need: hear our prayers for the people of this community.

We pray for welcome for the stranger and acceptance for the outsider, for assistance for the hungry, the homeless and those without work, that we may learn to love and care for each other.

God of mercy hear our prayer.

You are generous and loving to all your people, but we have been selfish and uncaring towards each other: hear our prayers for all who suffer. We pray for encouragement for the despairing, consolation for the sorrowing, for relief for those who are in pain and peace for those close to death, that they may know your comfort and your strength.

God of mercy hear our prayer.

Your people rejected your love and turned from your ways, but you endured death on a cross to bring us eternal life: we give you thanks for all who have died in the faith. Teach us a faith that is strong and sure, that together with the saints, the martyrs and all the great cloud of witnesses, we may come into the joy of your eternal presence.

God of 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 567: God of all power, and truth

                   (Tune - Ombersley)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W020Vs4pBdc

  God of all power, and truth, and grace,

which shall from age to age endure,

whose word, when heaven and earth shall pass,

remains and stands for ever sure;

 

that I your mercy may proclaim,

that all the world your truth may see,

hallow your great and glorious name,

and perfect holiness in me.

 

Purge me from every evil blot;

my idols all be cast aside:

cleanse me from every sinful thought,

from all the stain of self and pride.

 

Give me a new, a perfect heart,

from sorrow free, and doubt and fear;

the mind which was in Christ impart,

and let my spirit know you near.

 

O that I now, from sin released,

your word may to the utmost prove,

enter into the promised rest,

the Canaan of your perfect love!

                                Author: Charles Wesley

                              Tune: (Ombersley) (Instrumental Version)

Benediction

        Faithful God whose Word does not return empty but accomplishes all that you purpose, may your blessings fall like rain to water the earth, nourishing seed for our food, and filling us with the abundance of your love, through Jesus Christ your living Word. Amen.             

Hymn779: 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, & his hand hold you tight

May the eye of God rest on you, & his ear hear your cry.

May the smile of God be for you, & his breath give you life.

May the Child of God grow in you, & his love bring you Home.

 Robyn Mann (1949 -)         

 Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)

 


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship 16 August 2020 - Wesley 3

August 14, 2020 - 1:02am

 

Marsden Road Uniting Church

Carlingford

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


 Faith and Politics

 16th August 2020 Wesley 3 Sunday 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 Annual 2020)

When all seems to be lost, God is most near to us. 

When quarrels estrange us from one another,

Christ’s light shows us the way to reconciliation.

When we feel excluded and left out,

The Spirit’s peace eases our pain.

When all hope of fellowship seems lost,

God’s grace restores our hope.

Come! Let us worship God, who makes us one. 

Hymn 657: God of freedom, God of justice 

                 (Tune – Picardy)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FzZfk_A2G8  or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw6hHZAWINw

      God of freedom, God of justice,

you whose love is strong as death,

you who saw the dark of prison,

you who knew the price of faith --

       touch our world of sad oppression

       with your Spirit's healing breath.


Rid the earth of torture's terror,

you whose hands were nailed to wood;

hear the cries of pain and protest,

you who shed the tears and blood --

       move in us the power of pity

       restless for the common good.

 

Make in us a captive conscience

quick to hear, to act, to plead;

make us truly sisters, brothers

of whatever race or creed --

       teach us to be fully human,

       open to each other's needs. 

Author: Author: Shirley Erena Murray (1980)Tune: Picardy

 Opening prayer

      Eternal God, part the veil that blinds us to our unity as your beloved children. When those we love, hurt, and betray us, help us let go of our pain and find the balm of forgiveness. When we feel abandoned by those we trust, help us seek your peace and reconciliation. When our hearts are pierced with anguish, help us find those who will bring us solace, through your loving Spirit. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, we yearn to be like the Joseph who wept with forgiveness on the necks of those who sold him into slavery.

But we fear that our anger and resentment would lead us to take retribution on those who have wronged us.

We long to see in the Canaanite woman a child of God worthy of mercy and compassion.

But we fear that our deep-seated prejudices might lead us to dismiss her out of hand, as Jesus’s disciples did before us.

We want to open our hearts, O God, to those who are different from ourselves.

But we fear to expect too much of ourselves. Help us know the joy of living in peace and harmony, even with those we would rather live without.

Declaration of Forgiveness   

The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Rejoice in the knowledge of God’s saving love.

Thanks, be to God! Amen

 The Peace

 Lord Jesus Christ, you know our faults and have heard our prayers. You have ripped apart the barriers that separate us from God and opened us to the grace of God through your sacrifice of love on a cross, and your resurrection from the dead. Promise of God, fill your people and give us 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: What do we owe to God? We owe Him our all!

Object: A five dollar note or a coin with the image of the 

             Queen imprinted on it.

Have you ever heard your parents or other adults complaining about having to pay taxes? You probably have. Most people are not too fond of having to pay taxes. Do any of you pay taxes? Well, it might surprise you to learn that kids pay taxes, too!

How many of you receive an allowance from your parents? Have any of you ever received some money as a birthday gift from your grandparents? How many of you have ever earned some money for doing some chores around the house? How many of you have ever bought anything with your very own money?

If you answered, "Yes" to any of these questions, you have probably paid some taxes. Did you know that every time you buy something, you pay a sales tax? In our state, that tax is about eight cents for every dollar you spend. I wonder what Jesus would say if we asked him whether kids should pay taxes? That is a tough question. If he answered, "Yes," all the kids would probably get mad at him. If he answered, "No," the politicians who make our laws would probably get mad at him because the state needs that money to operate. It seems that someone would get mad at him no matter which way he answered! It looks like a no-win situation, doesn't it?

Did you know that something like that actually happened? In Jesus' day, the people were required to pay a poll tax. It was not a very popular tax with the people. One day some religious leaders came to Jesus and asked him if he thought the people should pay the poll tax. They were actually trying to trick Jesus, because they knew if he said, "Yes," the people would be angry. But if he said, "No," he would get into trouble with the authorities.

Jesus saw right through their plan and he did a very wise thing. He asked them for a coin, then he said, "Whose picture is on this coin?"

They answered, "It is Caesar." Caesar was the Roman ruler and all taxes had to be paid to him.

Jesus then said to them, "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God."

Look at this dollar. Whose picture is on it? It is a picture of George Washington, our first president. What does it say right above his picture? It says, "The United States of America." Well, I guess that means that this dollar belongs to "George" and we will have to pay our taxes.

But what about God? Jesus also said, "Give to God what belongs to God." The Bible says that we were created by God and that we were created in the image of God. If we are created by God, and we were created in His image, we must belong to Him. That means we must give ourselves to Him!

Dear Father, you created us in your image, and we belong to you. Because of that, we give our hearts and lives to you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Offering Prayer

Bountiful God, when famine threatened the world, you blessed Joseph with dreams that saved children of every nation. Faithful One, when hunger threatens our world, you bless us with dreams that we can save the children of our day Bless this offering, that your dreams for a world without want may bless the lives of your children. Accept these gifts, as tokens of our dreams and our commitment to make all people one in your holy name. Amen.

Hymn 210: O for a thousand tongues to sing

                  (Tune – Lyngham)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T-i3COsefM

O for a thousand tongues to sing

my great Redeemer's praise,

the glories of my God and King,

the triumphs of his grace!

 

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,

that bids our sorrows cease,

'tis music in the sinner's ears,

'tis life and health and peace.

 

                     See all your sins on Jesus laid;

The Lamb of God was slain; 

His soul was once an offering made

For every soul of man.

 

He breaks the power of cancelled sin,

he sets the prisoner free;

his blood can make the foulest clean;

his blood availed for me.


He speaks, - and, listening to his voice,

New life the dead receive;

The mournful, broken hearts rejoice; 

The humble poor believe.

 

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb 

Your loosened tongues employ 

Ye blind, behold your Saviour come 

And leap, ye lame, for joy

 

My gracious Master and my God,

assist me to proclaim,

to spread through' all the earth abroad

the honors of your name.

                               Author: Charles Wesley

Tune : Lyngham Composer: Thomas Jarman (C. 1803)

 

                                     The Service of the Word

 The First Reading:                      Romans 13:1-7             NEB page 882

The Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 22:15-22         NEB page 747

 Readings: NRSV Translation

 Romans 13:1-7       

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority[a] does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due. 

Matthew 22:15-22        

         15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in         what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along         with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you            are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with         truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not                regard people with partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you            think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or                     not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are         you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me            the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a                    denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose head is this,            and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.”                Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the           things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that         are God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed;            and they left him and went away.

Preaching of the Word: Faith and Politics

 The bad boys were trying to trap Jesus. Actually, in the eyes of the society, they were supposed to be the good guys. They were the brightest and best. The Pharisees were people who observed all of the traditional standards and rituals of Judaism. They tithed. They were compassionate. They were moral. They were at the heart of virtue in the culture. The Herodians were politically powerful. Had there been an institution such as the "Presidential Prayer Breakfast" in those days, the Pharisees and the Herodians would have been present. They were the brightest and the best. They were trying to trap Jesus. Politics was in play. 

The trap was simple but brilliant. If Jesus answers the questions, "Is it right to pay taxes, to render tribute to Caesar?" with ayes, then the Pharisees had him for committing blasphemy. The ritual priority or holiness laws of the Pharisees forbade a Jew from touching Roman money. Roman coins had the image of Caesar on them. The Romans regarded Caesar as a god. So, if Jesus paid tribute or taxes to Caesar, then he would be guilty of both idolatry and blasphemy.

If, on the other hand, Jesus said, "No, don't render tribute, pay taxes, to Caesar," then the Herodians could turn him in to the Romans authorities as a revolutionary. In short, they thought they had him.

Jesus answered by asking for a coin and turning the question around and asking them, "whose image is on the coin?" They answered, "Caesar's." He said, "Render that which is Caesar's to Caesar and to God that which is God's." 

Christians have been trying to figure out how to do that ever since. 

A conservative man said," I believe it is my duty to God to help protect this nation from the Labour Party and the Greens. 

A liberal Christian man said, "I just can't see how a Christian can be a Liberal, One Nation or anything like that. Oh, I know that it is possible. I even have a Liberal Party friend who is a Christian, but I just don't understand how it can be that way." 

A Christian woman said, "I don't vote. I think about it and can't see how voting can honour God. So, I just don't vote." 

Another Christian said," I believe it is my Christian responsibility to vote. I try to vote as intelligently as I can. Frequently it means choosing between the lesser of two evils. One humourist described voting as choosing 'the evil of two lessers.' I think that is funny, but it still hurts. I believe God wants us to do the best we can in an imperfect reality." 

Most of us are somewhere in the middle, trying to honour God and trying to be good citizens of our country. 

But Jesus is saying something deeper. He ends his response with "render to God what is God's." This suggests to us that there are some ultimate citizenship issues. In the scriptures Jesus makes many references to the "Kingdom of God." We all say that we believe it. In the Creeds we use the phrase "whose kingdom will have no end." We have never seen this kingdom. Many contemporary theologians don't even like the image of kingdom. They feel that it doesn't speak to us since most of us don't live in monarchies. Some of them like the phrase, "Commonwealth of God;" others like the phrase "Realm of God." But whatever term we prefer, there is a sense in us that somehow our ultimate citizenship is not in this world. 

“How Far Is It the Duty of a Christian Minister to Preach Politics?” One would think this would be a clear definition of the situation and solve the question of Wesley’s political involvement forever. Unfortunately, he confines the preaching of politics to defending the King, and the King’s ministers, against slanders and lies. 

Three times in this short essay, he says that the chief business of the clergy is to preach Christ, and Christ crucified. That seems to sum up Wesley’s attitude toward the political system. That attitude is almost a hands-off one. Don’t bother with politics, except to set the record straight when people lie about the King or the King’s ministers. 

Wesley did advise Methodist voters about voting. He told them they should vote morally, that is, they should not accept bribes or other favours in return for their votes. In addition, he said, they should vote for the candidate that “loves God”. If there were no candidate who loves God, then they should vote for the one who supports King George. That’s a pretty direct statement, in terms of telling people how to vote! 

The first part, about voting for the candidate who loves God, raises more problems than it solves. How does one determine which candidate loves God? How much weight should campaign rhetoric bear in answering that question? How does one determine the relative weight of words and deeds? 

All through his life, Wesley leaned on the biblical idea of obedience to the powers that be. See Romans 13 for an expression of this idea. Wesley would also warn us to be humble about confusing our own political opinions with the will of God. And, incredibly important for a time when only a small majority of eligible voters actually do vote, Wesley would urge us to get to the polls! 

Wesley would return us to Jesus. The same Jesus who calls us to our true, ultimate, and permanent citizenship. He makes that possible for us through his life, teaching, death, resurrection, and continuing presence with us. Our true citizenship will be at the heavenly banquet. The seating arrangements at the heavenly banquet are going to be interesting. 

The ticket into the heavenly banquet is salvation, by grace, through faith. It is not connected to our works, either good or bad. It is a free gift from God. The passport to heaven is not something of this world. We receive it when we surrender to the love of God and claim Jesus as Saviour. 

When it comes to voting, you are on your own. Do the best you can for the best reasons you can summon up from the political debates, speeches, and televised sound bites. 

But when it comes to heaven -- be with God! We know that this is true; we know that this is where we really belong.

Hymn 122: What shall I do my God to love

                  (Tune – Wiltshire)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB0SDJH-Iew

             What shall I do my God to love,

my loving God to praise?

the length, and breadth, and height to prove,

and depth of sovereign grace?

 

Your sovereign grace to all extends,

immense and unconfined;

from age to age it never ends,

to reach all humankind.

 

Throughout the world its breadth is known,

wide as infinity;

so wide it never passed by one,

or it had passed by me.

 

My trespass was grown up to heav'n;

but far above the skies,

in Christ abundantly forgiven,

I see your mercies rise.

 

The depth of all-redeeming love,

what angel tongue can tell?

O may I to the utmost prove

the gift unspeakable.

 

Come quickly, gracious Lord, and take

possession of your own;

my longing heart be pleased to make

your everlasting throne. 

Author: Charles Wesley Tune: Jerusalem (Grosvenor)

Intercessory Prayers    

Give us, O God, leaders whose hearts are large enough to match the breadth of our own souls and give us souls strong enough to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

In seeking a leader, let us seek more than development for ourselves — though development we hope for — more than security for our own land — though security we need — more than satisfaction for our wants — though many things we desire.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Give us the hearts to choose the leader who will work with other leaders to bring safety to the whole world. Give us leaders who lead this nation to virtue without seeking to impose our kind of virtue on the virtue of others.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Give us a government that provides for the advancement of this country without taking resources from others to achieve it. Give us insight enough ourselves to choose as leaders those who can tell strength from power, growth from greed, leadership from dominance, and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

We trust you, Great God, to open our hearts to learn from those to whom you speak in different tongues and to respect the life and words of those to whom you entrusted the good of other parts of this globe.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

We beg you, Great God, give us the vision as a people to know where global leadership truly lies, to pursue it diligently, to require it to protect human rights for everyone everywhere. We ask these things, Great God, with minds open to your word and hearts that trust in your eternal care.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

In every generation you have spoken through your prophets, and you call us today to be 'a people of compassion. We pray for those in need, that they may find comfort and relief; for those without work and those without rest; for the lonely and those who mourn; for the sick and those who will die this day. We thank you for all who bring to others your compassion and care.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Loving God, in every generation people of faith have heard your voice and responded to your call. We give you thanks for all your faithful servants. May we, following their example, welcome you into our hearts and homes, sit in your presence and seek to understand your word, that we may come to share with all your saints in the joy of your eternal life.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

 THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

Hymn 618: What does the Lord require

                 (Tune – Sharpthorne)

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

             What does the Lord require

for praise and offering?

What sacrifice, desire

or tribute did you bring?

Do justly,

love mercy,

walk humbly with your God.

 

Rulers of earth, give ear!

Should you not justice know?

Will God your pleading hear

while crime and cruelty grow?

Do justly,

love mercy,

walk humbly with your God.

 

Still down the ages ring

the prophet's stern commands:

to merchant, worker, king,

he brings God's high commands:

do justly,

love mercy,

walk humbly with your God.

 

How shall our life fulfill

God's law so hard and high?

Let Christ endue our will

with grace to fortify.

Then justly,

in mercy,

we'll humbly walk with God.

Author: Albert F. Bayly (1949)

Tune: Sharpthorne

Benediction

       The God of dreams has brought us together.

        The God of dreams sends us forth to love one another well.

The God of love has knit us together in unity.

The God of love sends us forth to heal our

divisions.

The God of hope sends us forth together.

The God of peace sends us forth to bring the world

home.

Hymn 483: Lord in the strength of grace

                 (Tune – St Michael)
https://hymnary.org/media/fetch/180856  

Lord, in the strength of grace,with a glad heart and true,myself, my residue of days,I consecrate to you.           

Your ransomed servant, Irestore to you your own;and from this moment, live or dieto serve my God alone.

Author: Charles WesleyTune:  St. Michael (Genevan) Composer: Louis Bourgeois

 

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship - Wesly 2 - 09 August 2020

August 7, 2020 - 3:12am

Marsden Road Uniting Church

Carlingford

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

Thoughts Upon God and Slavery

 09th August 2020 - Wesley 2 Sunday 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 Annual 2020)      

As we worship God today, we sense the presence of a great cloud of witnesses around us. We stand in the tradition of Methodists whose faith sent them, like the early Church, to the farthest corners of the earth with the good news of Christ. It is a heritage made up of many cultures, times, and places, drawn together in one body by the one Spirit who is the Giver of life.

We come to hear the story of God’s faithfulness to past generations.

But we also look to the future as well as the past. The God, who was with our ancestors, is with us as well. Then we can go forward in hope. Whatever else fails, God remains faithful. Nothing can separate us from the love of God! Praise be to God!

Hymn TIS 129: Amazing Grace (how sweet the sound)

                  (Tune – Amazing Grace)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORTa86X4-sI  

1.  Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see. 

2.  'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed! 

3.  Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come:
'tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.  

4.  The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures. 

5.  When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

                     Author: John Newton (1779) Tune: Amazing Grace

 Opening Prayer

      Almighty God, who guided this church through these last 160 plus years, we give you thanks and praise for the many blessings you have bestowed on our congregation. Direct and prosper all that we undertake in accordance with your will and purpose, correct all that may be amiss or imperfect, and by the power of your Holy Spirit inspire and enable every member of your Church in word and deed to proclaim to all people the good news of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who with you and the same Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession

      Almighty God, you have loved us with an everlasting love, but we have broken your holy laws and have left undone what we ought to have done. We are sorry for our sins and turn away from them. For the sake of your Son who died for us, forgive us, cleanse us and change us. By your Holy Spirit, enable us to live for you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

O Lord, we beseech you, absolve your people from their offences; that, through your bountiful goodness, we may be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, loving God, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour.

Thanks, be to God! Amen

The Peace

God has received us, pardoned us and loved us; let us forgive each other in love and share the peace of Christ. Peace be with you.
And also, with you.

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

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Jesus came to heal and forgive.

Object:  A doctor's prescription

We often hear someone say, "That was just what the doctor ordered." What do they mean? They usually mean that something happened which was exactly what they wanted or needed. Do you know where we got that expression? Well, when we are sick, we usually go to the doctor. After checking us over to find out what is making us sick, the doctor takes a piece of paper like this one and writes out a prescription. The prescription tells us what kind of medicine we need to take to make us well. After leaving the doctor's office, we take the prescription to the drug store and the pharmacist fills the prescription with the medicine that the doctor ordered. If we take the medicine as the doctor ordered, we usually get well. That's where we got the expression, "That was just what the doctor ordered." 

When God created us, he wanted us to be happy and well. He didn't intend for us to be unhappy and sick. He never wanted people to be crippled or blind. But sadly, something happened -- and that something was sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they changed life for all of us. But God still loved us and he had a plan to make us well again. Jesus knew God's plan too.

One day Jesus was in Nazareth on the Sabbath so he went to the temple as he always did. When he stood up to read the Scriptures, he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. He looked through the book until he found the part that said, "The Lord's Spirit has come to me and has chosen me to tell the good news to the poor. He has sent me to free the prisoners, give sight to the blind, and to set everyone free from their suffering."

When he had finished reading, he handed the book back to the man who was in charge and sat down. Everyone in the place was looking at Jesus and waiting to see what he would say.

Jesus said to them, "What you have just heard me read has come true today."

What did Jesus mean? He meant that he was the one who came to make us happy and whole the way God intended for us to be. He came to heal the sick and the lame. He came to make the blind to see and to free us from sin. Now if we want to have what Jesus came to give, we must put our trust in him and do what he has told us to do.

Dear Father, we thank you for your love. We thank you for sending your Son to free us from sin so that we can know the joy that you want for us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

 Offering Prayer 

Eternal and loving God, we give thanks to you for your goodness through all the years of worship and witness in this place. May these gifts be blessed in your name. We give thanks for your grace in calling us to be your people, for your love revealed to us in Christ your Son, for your gift of the Spirit and the joy of salvation. Amen 

Hymn TIS 217: Love Divine all Loves excelling

                 (Tune – Hyfrydol) extra verse not in TIS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GenHMi5B7L4

  Love divine, all loves excelling,

Joy of heaven to earth come down;

Fix in us thy humble dwelling;

All thy faithful mercies crown!

Jesus, Thou art all compassion,

Pure unbounded love Thou art;

Visit us with Thy salvation;

Enter every trembling heart.

 

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,

Into every troubled breast!

Let us all in Thee inherit;

Let us find that second rest.

Take away our bent to sinning;

Alpha and Omega be;

End of faith, as its Beginning,

Set our hearts at liberty.

 

Come, Almighty to deliver,

Let us all Thy life receive;

Suddenly return and never,

Never more Thy temples leave.

Thee we would be always blessing,

Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,

Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,

Glory in Thy perfect love.

 

Finish, then, Thy new creation;

Pure and spotless let us be.

Let us see Thy great salvation

Perfectly restored in Thee;

Changed from glory into glory,

Till in heaven we take our place,

Till we cast our crowns before Thee,

Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

                            Author: Charles Wesley.

Tune: Blaenwern composed by W.P. Rowlands

                                      The Service of the Word

 The First Reading:                      Proverbs 22.16-25            

The Gospel Reading:                 Luke 4:16-30                      

Readings: NRSV Translation

Proverbs 22.16-25

16 Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss. 17 The words of the wise: Incline your ear and hear my words, and apply your mind to my teaching; 18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. 19 So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today—yes, to you. 20 Have I not written for you thirty sayings of admonition and knowledge, 21 to show you what is right and true, so that you may give a true answer to those who sent you? 22 Do not rob the poor because they are poor or crush the afflicted at the gate; 23 for the Lord pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them. 24 Make no friends with those given to anger, and do not associate with hotheads, 25 or you may learn their ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

Luke 4:16-30 

16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” 24 And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. 25 But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26 yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

Preaching of the Word: Thoughts Upon God and Slavery

From our Study:

“My boss is such a slave driver. He reminds me of Dagwood’s boss in the comics, Mr. What’s-his-name. Always yelling, piling on more work, never showing me any appreciation, making me work on weekends and at night.”

“I’ve been slaving away all day, trying to make things nice for you. And you can’t even say thanks?”

“I’m just a slave to the system. The only way to keep up my house, my cars, my kids’ school and soccer and swimming and dance is to put in longer and longer hours.”

All those people are using “slavery” as an exaggeration for hard work. The reality of slavery is a topic we want to avoid in the Western World. It is the most painful memory in such places as the USA national culture. The forced labour of African slaves was a crime against humanity, and a blot on that nation’s honour. In Australia, the Blackbirding of Kanaka’s for the Queensland cane field work was also a form of slavery.

The USA fought a great war over slavery and, when the slaves were freed, they continued to hold them in economic bondage for nearly another century. The indenture of European servants was a form of slavery, and yet a notch above slavery, because at least those servants saw an end to their indenture. “Sweat shops” were, and are, a form of economic slavery. We’d rather not think about those awful parts of our past—and present, in some cases.

Slavery continues to flourish in our world today. People who are hungry, homeless, or otherwise vulnerable are lured into debt slavery because they are promised a better life. Some of them are forced into prostitution. Some are forced laborers. Some are illegal immigrants who pay large fees to an “agent,” who smuggles them into a nation, and then keeps them in virtual slavery because of the debts run up. Some are children sold as jockeys, as prostitutes, as laborers. Some are farm laborers whose parents passed on debts to them and they will, in turn, pass those debts on their children.

But let’s go back to our roots. Traditional Methodists cannot be surprised by social science data repeatedly linking poverty, health issues, inadequate education, crime and abuse with divorce, cohabitation, illegitimacy, promiscuity, gambling and substance abuse.  An effective and biblically faithful engagement for Methodist politics will have to rediscover Christian anthropology and understand humans as both body and spirit.

Wesley at times lamented that where the gospel was preached, so too did thrift, industry and riches.  He didn’t begrudge increased wealth per se but feared the distractions from faith they offered.  So too should we, while still working to rescue individuals and societies from beliefs and habits that oppress and impoverish.

The greatest riches are spiritual and moral.  And they are produced by a Gospel-enlivened society organically rooted in stable marriages and families, chastity, sobriety, self-denial, thrift, hard work and moral responsibility.  These virtues and practices are rightly encouraged by churches, which are called to redeem the fallen, and governments, which are responsible for public order.

Wesley and his followers of the first 150 years or so did not deploy the institutional church for routine engagement in political specifics.  Instead they produced Christians and citizens who understood they operated under God in a wider social accountability.  Their faithfulness could bring blessings upon their nation, and their sins could contribute to divine judgment and social decay.

In our own time we should recall their example of faithfulness and godly social engagement while constructing a new Methodist political witness that understands that every person is a moral agent bearing the divine image. This understanding led to the Wesley’s engaging in and being vexed by the issue of slavery. In their world that slavery was most obvious in the ownership by Europeans of those of other races such as Africans. Today slavery can take many forms.

It is a commonplace, although one not often examined closely, that John Wesley was a lifelong opponent of slavery. Such claims originate with Wesley himself. 'Ever since I heard of it first', he wrote to Granville Sharp in October 1787, 'I felt a perfect detestation of the horrid Slave Trade'. Whether that is true is impossible to know. What is certain is that Wesley actively opposed the slave trade from the early 1770s onwards. Scholars of both Methodism and of abolitionism have often noted in passing his contributions to the accelerating abolition movement, which have survived in the form of a pamphlet, a group of letters, and a number of Journal entries.

Wesley's main contribution to that movement, was his pamphlet, “Thoughts upon slavery,” written in 1774. We can read it not only as polemic, but also as 'literature' to demonstrate that Wesley's sentimental style is as important as his moral, religious and economic arguments. Indeed, Wesley, despite objecting to sentimental writing in his Journal, is in fact one of the first major writers on slavery to use a sentimental rhetoric to make arguments against it: an important innovation, since much of the ensuing debate was conducted in exactly those sentimental terms.

Although Wesley claimed to have been opposed to slavery from the first time, he heard of it, we have no way of knowing if this is true. Neither can we know with certainty when he first heard of slavery. He might have come into contact with slaves in England. In the early eighteenth century, it was fashionable for aristocratic women to employ black pageboys, and young liveried slaves were not an uncommon sight. Slaves were also brought to England by visiting colonists and by officers in both the Royal Navy and the merchant marine.

In 1736-7, Wesley visited North America including Georgia, which was then a British colony, and there he came into contact with enslaved people. This experience left him with a loathing of slavery but at first, he felt unable to act on this. From 1739 onwards, Wesley and the Methodists were persecuted by clergymen and magistrates. They were attacked in sermons and in print and at times attacked by mobs.

The focus that Wesley needed came when Granville Sharp contested the case of a runaway slave (James Somerset) in the courts. Wesley was moved to study a text by the Philadelphia Quaker, Anthony Benezet. Wesley's journal shows that Benezet's work, and Lord Mansfield's deliberations in the case of Somerset, caused him much disquiet.

Two years later, in 1774, he wrote that tract called "Thoughts on Slavery" that went into four editions in two years. In it, he attacked the Slave Trade and the slave-trader with considerable passion and proposed a boycott of slave-produced sugar and rum. In August 1787, he wrote to the Abolition Committee to express his support.

In 1788, when the abolition campaign was at its height, he preached a sermon in Bristol, one of the foremost slave trading ports. In those days, an anti-slavery sermon could not be preached without considerable personal risk to the preacher and a disturbance broke out.

He maintained an interest in the abolition movement until he died. Wesley also famously said:

"Give liberty to whom liberty is due, that is, to every child of man, to every partaker of human nature. Let none serve you, but by his own act and deed, by his own voluntary action. Away with all whips, all chains, all compulsion. Be gentle toward all men; and see that you invariably do with everyone as you would he should do unto you." 

Now Wesley was, by birth and inclination, a social and political conservative. But his religious convictions turned him into a radical reformer whenever and wherever conservatism interfered with liberty and human progress. He attacked slaveowners, the captains of slave ships, slave merchants, and even the judges who upheld the legal right to own slaves. “Are there any laws as binding as the eternal laws of justice?” he asked in response to court rulings. 

Wesley preached that we needed to be involved in “social holiness.”  He believed we could only grow as Christians in a community, surrounded by people of similar faith and conviction.  In his preface to the 1739 hymnal, he was insistent that “the gospel of Christ knows of no religion but social; no holiness but social holiness.”

One wonders, to what extent the economy of the Australia depends on some form of slavery, whether it is debt slavery, sweat shops, or other forms of bondage and injustice? Should we be concerned about child slavery in much of the world, about women forced into prostitution? Or laborers in virtual slavery because of generations of debt? Would Wesley say to us, as he said to Wilberforce, “Go on, in the name of God, and in the power of his might until (every vestige of) slavery” shall vanish away? What does our Christian faith, our understanding of God and salvation in our Wesleyan heritage, suggest to us about opposition to slavery? 

Hymn 629: When I needed a neighbour, were you there,

                  (Tune – Neighbour)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrJ190HIk1w

When I needed a neighbour
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

I was hungry and thirsty
Were you there, were you there?
I was hungry and thirsty, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

I was cold, I was naked
Were you there, were you there?
I was cold, I was naked, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

When I needed a shelter
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a shelter were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

When I needed a healer
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a healer, were you there?
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
Were you there?

Wherever you travel
I'll be there, I'll be there
Wherever you travel, I'll be there
And the creed and the colour
And the name won't matter
I'll be there

Author: Sydney Carter (1965)
Tune: Neighbour


Intercessory Prayers

God of truth and justice, in your Son Jesus Christ, people of all races are adopted as your children. We thank you for Thomas Clarkson, Olaudah Equiano, and William Wilberforce, and all who devoted themselves to the abolition of slavery in the past.

Let me hear of your loving-kindness, O Lord.
For you are my hope and salvation.

Give your Church courage to stand for the dignity of all. Forgive the sins of past prejudice and slowness to recognise evil. Inspire all who proclaim the name of Christ with your wisdom to be agents of transformation and peace. God of truth and justice, in your amazing grace, hearts are turned from indifference to passionate pursuit of liberation.

Let me hear of your loving-kindness, O Lord.
For you are my hope and salvation.

Stir those in power to work for the eradication of all forms of slavery today. Sustain all trafficked and exploited peoples — those who are sold and abused as commodities for others’ gratification. May we hear today the fulfilment of your word. God of truth and justice, you announce good news to the poor and freedom to the oppressed.

Let me hear of your loving-kindness, O Lord.
For you are my hope and salvation.


Extend the boundaries of our compassion to include fairness in trading at home and abroad. Give us the will to challenge structures that keep many locked into poverty and deprivation. Make us worthy of your majesty and honour.

God of truth and justice, you hear the cry of all in distress.
Pour out the abundance of your mercy on all weighed down by sufferings of mind or body . . .

Let me hear of your loving-kindness, O Lord.
For you are my hope and salvation.

Break the chains that restrict the spirit, that we may sing songs of praise and hope. God of truth and justice, in your Son we are born to new life, and no one is beyond your reach. Proclaim your favour to all who have entered the shadow of death . . . Give comfort to grieving hearts and bring us to rejoice in your eternity.

Let me hear of your loving-kindness, O Lord.
For you are my hope and salvation.    

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 209: And Can it be

                   (Tune - Sagina)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29myH7xXI4M

And can it be that I should gain

An interest in the Saviour’s blood?

Died He for me, who caused His pain?

For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me?

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me!


'Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!

Who can explore His strange design?

In vain the firstborn seraph tries

To sound the depths of love divine!

'Tis mercy all! let earth adore,

Let angel minds inquire no more.

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me!


He left His Father's throne above,

So free, so infinite His grace;

Emptied Himself of all but love,

And bled for Adam's helpless race;

'Tis mercy all, immense and free;

For, O my God, it found out me.

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me!

 

Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in sin and nature's night;

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free;

I rose, went forth and followed Thee.

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me!

 

No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in Him is mine!

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach the eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me!

Author: Charles Wesley (1738)
Tune: Sagina

 

Benediction       

       Faithful God whose Word does not return empty but accomplishes all that you purpose, may your blessings fall like rain to water the earth, nourishing seed for our food, and filling us with the abundance of your love, through Jesus Christ your living Word. Amen.             

Hymn 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 Worship 02 August - Wesley 1

July 31, 2020 - 1:13am

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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


What About God and Science?2nd August 2020 - Wesley 1 Sunday 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 Annual 2020)        Sisters and brothers, we meet to worship God, to give thanks for the vocation of us all as the beloved of Jesus Christ, to remember our roots in the teaching of the Wesley Family and to remember the commitments we have made, and to reflect upon our life and ministry.
God gives the Word Great is the company of the beloved of Jesus Christ. Young and old, from all walks of life, blessed with experience, imagination, compassion Great is the company of the beloved of Jesus Christ. Warmed by the Word within, Worshipping God in Spirit and Truth Great is the company of the beloved of Jesus Christ. God gives the Word Great is the company of the beloved of Jesus Christ.
Hymn AHB 229: Let Heaven and Earth Combine                   (Tune – St John) two extra verses not in AHB.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO1AihQTNFQ
1.  Let earth and Heaven combine,Angels and men agree,To praise in songs divineThe incarnate Deity,Our God contracted to a span,Incomprehensibly made man.
2.  He laid His glory by,He wrapped Him in our clay;Unmarked by human eye,The latent Godhead lay;Infant of days He here became,And bore the mild Immanuel’s name.
3.  See in that infant’s faceThe depths of deity,And labour while ye gazeTo sound the mysteryIn vain; ye angels gaze no more,But fall, and silently adore.
4.  Unsearchable the loveThat hath the Saviour brought;The grace is far aboveOf men or angels’ thought:Suffice for us that God, we know,Our God is manifest below.
5.  He deigns in flesh to appear,Widest extremes to join;To bring our vileness near,And make us all divine:And we the life of God shall know,For God is manifest below.
6.  Made perfect first in love,And sanctified by grace,We shall from earth remove,And see His glorious face:His love shall then be fully showed,And man shall all be lost in God.
Author: Charles WesleySt. John (13355)Composer (Attributed To): W. H. Havergal 1850
Opening prayer
     Living God whose Word became flesh in Jesus and whose Spirit of Truth speaks into our hearts all honour and glory and worship belong to you. As our praises pronounce your wonder may our lives overflow with love, that our words and deeds might tell of your goodness and declare your infinite grace. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Holy God hear us as we confess our sins. If we have taken too lightly the call to proclaim your gospel: Gracious God forgive us. Help us to live your Word. If we have been complacent in our preparation and forgetful of your people’s needs: Gracious God, forgive us. Help us to live your Word. If we have put our own ideas and concerns before the good news of your love. Gracious God forgive us. Help us to live your Word. If we have failed to listen to the promptings of your Spirit. Gracious God forgive us. Help us to live your Word. If we have not lived the message, we have voiced. Gracious God forgive us. Help us to live your Word. Silence May the living God forgive and renew us, give us victory over sin and set us free in Christ. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Gracious God with gratitude and gladness we hear your promise of liberation: that in Christ we are forgiven and set free and restored to serve you. Thanks, be to God! Amen
The Peace
Let us share the joy, the freedom, and the rest we find in God’s love, as we greet one another in the grace and 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.)
Offering Prayer
Receive these gifts we now bring, God of gifts, and bless them to be gifts for your world. Through our giving, renew others, that they too may know the comfort and rest of living in the arms of your compassion and your love. Amen.
Hymn AHB 518: From you all skill and science flow                   (Tune – Kingsfold)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhK6Nl2ZiNw
From you all skill and science flow,
all pity, care and love,
all calm and courage, faith and hope
O pour them from above!And share them, Lord, to each and all,
as each and all have need;
so let your gifts return to you
in noble thought and deed.
And hasten, Lord, that perfect day
when pain and death shall cease,
and your just rule shall fill the earth
with health and light and peace:Whenever green the grass shall be,
and ever blue the skies,
and our destruction shall no more
deface your paradise.
Charles Kingsley (1819 - 1875)Tune: Albano                                     The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                      Romans 9.1-5                   NEB page 879The Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 14:13-21             NEB page 738
Readings: NRSV Translation
Romans 9.1-5
9. I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Matthew 14:13-21 
13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Preaching of the Word: What About God and Science?
John Wesley (1703 -1791) was a pioneer of the 1730s British evangelical movement. While best known to us as the founder of Methodism, his intellectual interests included a lifelong engagement with the ideas and activities of the natural philosophers (scientists) of his day. He encouraged his preachers to become conversant with science, incorporated scientific topics in his sermons and other writings, and used electro therapy apparatus in his medical clinics. Science correctly understood was to serve the cause of Christ rather than be feared.
The eighteenth century challenged Christians to adapt their ways to new ideas. Many intellectuals in John Wesley's England embraced a widening gap between the natural and the supernatural, natural law and providence, and rational faith and piety, which had roots in the mechanistic interpretations of nature epitomized by Sir Isaac Newton's accomplishments. The study which began our final of five series on John Wesley and the twenty first century offers an insight of Wesley's interaction with science and the challenges which the new understanding of nature and the physical world brought to believers.
Wesley's intellectual horizon included a lifelong interest in the progress of science and the ways that science could serve Christian purposes. Although he occasionally dabbled in the field or recommended projects to others, Wesley never had the interest (or time) to devote to serious experimental study and cannot be compared with contemporary scientist-clerics such as Joseph Priestley, Stephen Hales, Bishop Samuel Horsley, or William Derham. Mainly, John Wesley focused on science to serve his single goal and purpose of furthering the gospel and helping the sick. He also wrote inexpensive works on natural science for his constituency. Wesley's sermons and other writings point to an enthusiasm for the natural world as "God's World which could be exploited for humanitarian as well as traditional religious purposes.
It is interesting to note that Wesley seemed to be interested in science and he was guided by the empirical method of his day, not by proofs from Scripture. Indeed, he interpreted Scripture in the light of science. He was not interested in theories, but in description. Causes, or broad explanations of events were not his concern. What he was concerned with was facts, data that the mind could grasp. At the same time, he looked at the facts as ways of describing God’s work, as well as describing the world around us. Where the results of science conflicted with the Bible, Wesley gave up the literal meaning of the biblical text—because the Bible was not intended to teach scientific truth!
Wesley's student days at Oxford indicated a more than ordinary attention to science. He was interested in such disparate questions as the nature of "vacuums, the Chain of Being, and the ability of animals to reason."1 In later travels, he would meet and comment on the work of many individuals working in science. He was particularly concerned with unusual natural phenomena and would often speculate on their causes. An insatiable reader, Wesley read scientific works throughout his life, often from the back of his horse.
From his own reading and the advice of others, he developed short lists of scientific works for his correspondents, schools, and lay preachers. These collections included older works by John Ray, Cotton Mather, and Jonathan Edwards as well as current works by Benjamin Franklin, Charles Bonnet, John Hutchinson, and Oliver Goldsmith. Wesley followed the debates that swirled around the various interpretations of Newton's ideas.
As we heard in our study for Wesley scientific facts about the heavens, for example, are not dependent on Scriptural authority. When Scripture makes claims about the world that science has disproved, Scripture must then be interpreted in a non-literal way. One wonders, in that light, what Wesley might have said about the age of the earth and the evolution of life, if he had had at his disposal the data of modern scientific findings.
What would he have said, if he had seen the data, about the rich fossil record for the development of life, spanning hundreds of millions of years? What would he have said about the much sparser, but no less fascinating, fossil record of the development of humans? Would he have said that Genesis 1 and 2 need to be interpreted in a non-literal way? We have no way of knowing, definitively, what he might have said. In the light of the way he interpreted Scripture in relationship to the scientific data of his own day, however, we can guess he might have said, “Yes, we need to reinterpret Genesis 1 and 2.”
Wesley's view of the natural world and the position of nature in God's economy was never listed in one place or integrated into a system. In drawing together his ideas from various sources, we recognize that our understanding will be tentative and incomplete...an appropriate response to one who dealt with challenges in context rather that from a confession.
Hymn AHB 556: Creator of the earth and skies                         (Tune – Plaistow)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWoyZ3Fq-jI
1.  Creator of the earth and skies, To whom all truth and power belong, Grant us your truth to make us wise; Grant us your power to make us strong.
2.  We have not known you: to the skies Our monuments of folly soar, And all our self-wrought miseries Have made us trust ourselves the more.
3.  We have not loved you: far and wide The wreckage of our hatred spreads, And evils wrought by human pride Recoil on unrepentant heads.
4.  We long to end this worldwide strife: How shall we follow in your way? Speak to mankind your words of life, Until our darkness turns to day.
Words by: Donald Hughes
Music by: Jeremiah Clark

Intercessory Prayers  
Almighty God, you raised up your servants, John and Charles Wesley, to proclaim anew the gift of redemption and the life of holiness. Pour out your Spirit, and revive your work among us; that inspired by the same faith, and upheld by the same grace in word and sacrament, we and all your children may be made one in the unity of your Church on earth, even as in heaven we are made one in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Some pointers for prayer: 
Pray for the Church throughout the world – that the Spirit will revive and refresh the Church in every part; • Pray for your local church and the churches in your area – that you may be waiting attentively for the ways God is speaking through the Spirit; • Pray for those who come to your church, and for those on the fringes - that they may have an assurance of God’s love and know that they are saved through Christ; • Pray for those who are in leadership in the Church - that they may be strengthened & upheld in their ministries; • Pray for those who you know who do not know of God’s love – for friends or family, for neighbours or colleagues, that God’s Spirit may fill their hearts; • Pray for the Kingdom of God - that it may break through in us & among us, that the earth may be filled with the glory of God; • Pray for yourself - that God’s Spirit will speak in your heart, that you may be bold to proclaim the gospel in your words and actions.
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 AHB 297: Come, let us with our Lord arise                          (Tune – Surrey) extra verse not in AHB
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvvr6TG7RX4
Come, let us with our Lord arise,Our Lord, Who made both earth and skies;Who died to save the world He made,And rose triumphant from the dead;He rose, the Prince of life and peace,And stamped the day for ever His.
‘This is the day the Lord hath made’ −That all may see His love displayed,May feel His resurrection’s power,And live again to fall no more;Their heart and mind and will renewed,And filled with all the life of God.
Then let us render Him His own,With solemn prayer approach the throne,With meekness hear the Gospel word,With thanks His dying love record;Our joyful hearts and voices raise,And fill His courts with songs of praise.
Honour and praise to Jesus payThroughout His consecrated day;Be all in Jesus’ praise employed,Nor leave a single moment void;With utmost care the time improve,And only breathe His praise and love.
                                  Text: Charles Wesley | Tune: Surrey
Benediction                Faithful God whose Word does not return empty but accomplishes all that you purpose, may your blessings fall like rain to water the earth, nourishing seed for our food, and filling us with the abundance of your love, through Jesus Christ your living Word. 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 youhome.
          Author: Aubrey Podlich
Tune: Aubrey




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Worship Pentecost 8

July 24, 2020 - 1:41am

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford--------------------------------
Today Let's Picture the World...,
Sunday 26th July 2020Pentecost 8 Sunday - year of Matthew 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 - (Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)        Waiting is seldom easy. Yet, in the process of waiting, we discover new growth. The Spirit moves and breathes, and treasures are sometimes discovered. As we wait this day, may God’s miraculous presence be revealed in us and through us.
Waiting and hoping, we gather together, seeking God’s presence and singing God’s praise.Waiting and hoping, we come now to worship, praying and listening for the Spirit’s guidance. Waiting and hoping, we gather together, seeking God’s presence and singing God’s praise.
Hymn 093: Praise the Lord, you heavens adore him               (Tune – Austria)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNvoTbO8JFg
Praise the Lord: ye heavens, adore Him;Praise Him, angels in the height.Sun and moon, rejoice before Him;Praise Him, all ye stars of light.Praise the Lord, for He hath spoken;Worlds His mighty voice obeyed.Laws which never shall be brokenFor their guidance He hath made.
Praise the Lord, for He is glorious;Never shall His promise fail.God hath made His saints victorious;Sin and death shall not prevail.Praise the God of our salvation;Hosts on high, His power proclaim.Heaven and earth and all creation,Laud and magnify His name.
Worship, honour, glory, blessing,Lord, we offer unto Thee.Young and old, thy praise expressing,In glad homage bend the knee.All the saints in Heaven adore thee;We would bow before Thy throne.As Thine angels serve before Thee,So, on earth Thy will be done.
Words: Vs 1 & 2 Foundling Hospital Collection 1796 Vs 3 Edward Osler 1798-1863Tune: Austrian: Franz Joseph Haydn 1732-1809
Opening prayer
Holy One, your kingdom always takes us by surprise— like a mustard seed growing into a great shrub where the birds of the air can build their nests; like a treasure hidden in a field, or a pearl of great price. May we desire your kingdom more than we value worldly things, through Christ, who shows us the way. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Eternal God, waiting is hard— waiting for justice, waiting for peace, waiting for love, waiting for your presence to heal us. Give us the patience and passion of Jacob, to work for the deepest desire of our hearts. Give us the perseverance of Abraham, to keep going when all hope seems lost. Transform our hope into action, that we may help build your kingdom here on earth. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Nothing can separate us from the love of God: Not death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come. No power on heaven or under the earth can separate us from the love of Christ: Not height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation. Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
Nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love and peace of God in Jesus Christ. Let us share this love and peace with one another today.Peace be with you! And also, with you!
A Word with the Children/Young People
Theme: We find our treasure at the cross.Object: A map to hidden treasure that you can make              yourself, and a wooden cross.
There was a time, when someone who had something of great value would often bury their treasure so that no one could find it and take it away. Of course, there was always the risk that one might forget where their treasure was buried, so to make sure that they would remember where it was, they would often make a map like this one. Usually they would mark the spot where the treasure was with an "X" like the one on this map.
That is where we get the expression, "X marks the spot."Have you ever dreamed of finding an old map and following it to a spot where a pirate had buried a chest full of glittering gold? Well, this morning I want to tell you about a treasure that is more valuable than a chest full of gold -- and I will even tell you how to find it.
Jesus once said, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and then hid again; in his joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field." If you would like to find the treasure that Jesus was talking about, perhaps the Bible could be the map that leads us to that treasure. The Bible has a lot of information in it, but it is sometimes hard for us to understand, so how do you know exactly where the treasure is? That's easy, because "X marks the spot."
(Hold up the cross at an angle so that it looks like the letter x.) Jesus died on the cross so that you and I could enter into the kingdom of heaven. When you look to the cross and put your trust in Jesus, the treasure will be yours.
To enter the kingdom of heaven is the greatest treasure one could ever desire. It is more precious than silver, gold, or jewels. That is why Jesus calls us to give up all that we have and follow him.
Offering Prayer
Giver of all good gifts help us be kingdom builders as we offer our gifts to the world. May our gifts be like treasure in a field for those waiting for new life. May our offerings be like yeast for those hungering for their daily bread. Bless our lives and our giving, that we might be part of the great mystery of kingdom building, in world waiting to be remade. Amen.
Hymn 106: Now thank we all our God                  (Tune – Nun Danket)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s99dNPKYtHk
Now thank we all our God,With heart and hands and voices,Who wondrous things hath done,In whom His world rejoices;Who from our mother's armsHath blessed us on our wayWith countless gifts of love,And still is ours to-day.
O may this bounteous GodThrough all our life be near us,With ever joyful heartsAnd blessed peace to cheer us;And keep us in his grace,And guide us when perplexed,And free us from all illsIn this world and the next.
All praise and thanks to GodThe Father now be given,The son, and him who reigns,With them in highest heaven,The one eternal God,Whom earth and heaven adore;For thus it was, is now,And shall be evermore.
Translator: Catherine WinkworthAuthor: Martin Rinkart (1636)
Tune: Nun Danket
 
                               
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                      Romans 8.26-39                 NEB page 878The Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 13: 31-33; 44-52   NEB page 737
Readings: NRSV translation
Romans 8.26-39
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?
33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Matthew 13: 31-33; 44-52
44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ 52 And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’ 53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place. 54 He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did, this man get all this?’ 57 And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour except in their own country and in their own house.’ 58 And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.
Preaching of the Word: Today Let's Picture the World...,
Today let’s picture the world as an ungainly, promising mass of dough. The comedian comes out on stage and starts his routine. In a rapid-fire monologue, he serves up jokes. His timing is masterful, and the one-liners burst forth in succession, with precision, so that you can’t help but laugh.
Jesus comes out in front of the crowds and starts his teaching. In a rapid-fire monologue, he serves up parables. His timing is masterful, and these word-pictures burst forth in succession, with precision, so that you can’t help but see.
Here there’s a similarity between Jesus and a stand-up comic. The comedian makes you laugh; Jesus makes you see. And what you see is something of the kingdom of heaven, that realm where God’s sovereignty is recognized.
The routine Jesus offers in today’s gospel is a bonanza: five short parables in a row. All of them are gems. Parables about a mustard seed, treasure buried in a field, a pricey pearl, a fishing net. Then there’s the one we might focus on this morning: the parable about yeast in the flour.
It’s a one-liner. You might have missed it if you sneezed when the gospel was read. It goes like this: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
Three measures of flour. Do you know how much that is? About eighty pounds! This woman is not Margaret Fulton whipping up a couple delicate, exquisite little biscuits that together weigh less than a canary. No, no. This woman is a baker!
She’s emptying sixteen five-pound bags of flour into the biggest mixing bowl you’ve ever seen. She’s pouring in forty-two cups of water. She’s got a mass of dough on her hands that weighs over a hundred pounds. Kneading this lump of dough, shaping it, pounding it. It looks like some scene at the end of a professional wrestling match. Here we have a no-nonsense operation. Sports fans, this is the art of baking at its best. A woman, with her apron dusted with flour, her ten fingers deep into the dough – she’s a combination of Julia Child and Hulk Hogan.
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus tosses out this parable, this one-liner, and he does so for a purpose. Just as the stand-up comic wants us to laugh, Jesus wants us to glimpse the kingdom of heaven, that realm where God’s sovereignty is recognised.
Take another look at that huge mass of dough. It’s not just the flour anymore. The yeast is in the dough, invisible, but permeating the mass, and having its effect. A mystery is bubbling away inside, with much more happening than meets the eye.
As this process continues, the hidden will become manifest. There’s no way to stop it! The movement from mystery to manifestation: Jesus presents this to us as the pulse of the kingdom of heaven. Here is how God’s sovereignty becomes apparent: it resembles the strange transformation that turns flour into dough.
We get to watch the baker woman at work. We’re invited to look at this process and see it for what it’s worth. But if we’re to get a glimpse of the kingdom, if we’re to look down to the centre of this parable, then two things are asked of us: we must be patient, and we must exercise discernment.
Yeast takes a while to work, and its working is mysterious. So, we have to be patient as the dough rises and comes to life. This dough is not a dead lump, a hopeless, shapeless pile, but instead a universe where opportunities become real. The baker woman is at work with our life, our circumstances, and the people around us. Nothing is outside this lump of dough.
We need to be patient and to exercise discernment if a lump of dough is ever to be bread for the world. And we must exercise this same patience and discernment about the universe. Life is something other than a pile of flour and a bit of yeast. Life is an ungainly, promising mass of dough, on its way to becoming abundant bread. Just as yeast permeates the entire lump, so the kingdom is present everywhere, and everywhere it becomes manifest for those with eyes to see.
If we look around us and within us, we can recognize the presence of the kingdom. That kingdom is at work, just as yeast is active in the dough. And as yeast is invisible and known by its effects, so the kingdom is hidden, concealed, buried deep in ordinary circumstances, yet known by its effects.
Look at your life in the light of grace. Something is there for you to find – whether you feel happy or sad, whether your life seems successful or disastrous, whether you call yourself a winner or a loser. That something is the activity of the kingdom, yeast bubbling away in your corner of the lump.
And when you find the kingdom among the realities of your life, nothing prevents you from finding this same kingdom present as well in the circumstances around you, in the lives of other people, and everywhere you choose to look.
There’s one caution to keep in mind. The kingdom does not come with brass bands. It is not the subject of headline news and public-relations efforts. We are talking here about yeast working invisibly in the dough, a hidden yet potent activity.
As it takes faith to believe that bread will rise, so too faith is necessary to see the kingdom manifest in the everyday and the ordinary. We must exercise patience and discernment wherever God places us. Then we will see that what seems like a dead lump is in fact bubbling with divine life.
So may each of us go forth this week, and encounter places and people and circumstances, and look there for the kingdom: not as distant, but near at hand; not as obvious, but hidden; not as static, but alive and becoming manifest; a kingdom making room for all of us.
When we look for the kingdom, then we find it present, abundantly present. And when we do, then we have more reasons to give thanks than we ever expected.We discover it’s true, that one-liner Jesus tells us. All the world is a lump of dough, flour with yeast mixed in, and SURPRISE! God’s a baker woman making bread.
Hymn 547: Be Thou My Vision                   (Tune - Slane)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY54pCBs-1o
1      Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art--
thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
2      Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
thou my great Father, I thy true son;
thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
3      Be thou my battle shield, sword for my fight;
be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tower:
raise thou me heav'n-ward, O Pow'r of my power.
4      Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.
5      High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
6      Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art--
thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Translator: Mary E. Byrne; Versifier: Eleanor H. Hull
Tune: Slane
Intercessory Prayers  
O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, into this fullness of time You have sent our Messiah, woman-borne, to redeem us as Your own children. Let us rejoice with our whole beings, as heirs of Your eternal Kingdom, justified by faith, and proclaiming Christ’s grace and truth.Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier GodMay our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, with the Spirit of the Son that You have sent into our hearts let us not keep silent. Grant us courage to speak without ceasing to lawful governments and to vengeful despots until righteousness, peace, and mercy prevail across our Earth, across our Country, and across our Communities, great and small. We pray especially for ……………..: Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier GodMay our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, refresh the bodies, hearts, and souls and give hope to all who suffer serious illness, despair, or fear, and to all who give love and support. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need………Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier GodMay our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, dispel the darkness of grief as we remember and celebrate all who have gone ahead and now live again, complete in the radiant joy of Your eternal life. We pray especially for:  add your own petitionsCreator, Redeemer, Sanctifier GodMay our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently……………….Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier GodMay our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, we give You gracious thanksgiving for those entrusted to bring us Your Word and Sacraments. Fill us all with unwavering faith that we may walk together as constant witnesses of Christ Jesus, our Saving Lord. We pray especially for: add your own petitionsCreator, Redeemer, Sanctifier GodMay our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.Holy Triune God: Lord, Word, & Spirit, we are created by You to be Your fertile soil in this world. Let us each, by word and example, sow seeds of forgiveness, hope, and salvation, by grace upon grace, now and in the life to come. We ask through Jesus, Your Word Made Flesh; the Holy Spirit, Your Sacred Breath; and our Almighty Creator, who, together, reign as One God, now and forever.  Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 658: I, the Lord of sea and sky                   (Tune – Here I am Lord)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz9idECYVNg
I, The Lord of Sea and Sky,I Have Heard My People Cry.All Who Dwell in Dark and Sin,My Hand Will Save.I Who Made the Stars of Night,I Will Make Their Darkness Bright.Who Will Bear My Light to Them?Whom Shall I Send?
Here I Am Lord, Is It I, Lord?I Have Heard You Calling in The Night.I Will Go Lord, If You Lead Me.I Will Hold Your People in My Heart.
I, The Lord of Snow and Rain,I Have Borne My People’s Pain.I Have Wept for Love of Them, They Turn Away.I Will Break Their Hearts of Stone,Give Them Hearts for Love Alone.I Will Speak My Word to ThemWhom Shall I Send?
Here I Am Lord, Is It I, Lord?I Have Heard You Calling in The Night.I Will Go Lord, If You Lead Me.I Will Hold Your People in My Heart.
I, The Lord of Wind and FlameI Will Tend the Poor and Lame.I Will Set A Feast for Them,My Hand Will SaveFinest Bread I Will Provide,Till Their Hearts Be Satisfied.I Will Give My Life to Them,Whom Shall I Send?
Here I Am Lord, Is It I, Lord?I Have Heard You Calling in The Night.I Will Go Lord, If You Lead Me.I Will Hold Your People in My Heart.
            Author: Daniel L. Schutte (1981)
Tune: Here I Am, Lord
Benediction                Like treasure hidden in a field, Christ offers us the kingdom of God.         All things work together for good for those who love God.         Like a pearl of great price, Christ offers us the kingdom of heaven.         All things work together for good for those who wait for God.        Like a mustard seed that grows into a great shrub, Christ offers us the realm of God’s blessing.         All things work together for good for those who abide in God’s Spirit.        And may the Holy Spirit fill and inspire you with the wonderful knowledge that nothing is able to separate you from the love of God in Jesus Christ.
Hymn 781: Father bless us as we go                 (Tune – Kookaburra)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POBe6v4fB10
Father bless us as we go.Jesus, walk beside us.Holy Spirit guide us.
Author: Robin Mann
Tune: Kookaburra



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 7 19 July 2020

July 16, 2020 - 11:50pm

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



Can We Stamp Out Darnel? Sunday 19th July 2020Pentecost 7 Sunday - year of Matthew 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 (Abingdon Worship Annual 2020)        While we are waiting, God is waiting with us. God’s promises are both now and yet to come. Wait and see.
We wait with hope,for God’s promises are sure. We wait with patience, for God’s time is a mystery. Come and worship. We will wait upon the Lord together.
Hymn 130: We plough the fields, and scatter                  (Tune – Wir Pflügen)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du-5yPKfSRc

1.  We plough the fields and scatterThe good seed on the land,But it is fed and wateredBy God's almighty hand:He sends the snow in winter,The warmth to swell the grain,The breezes and the sunshine,And soft, refreshing rain.
      All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above;            Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,            For all his love.
2.  He only is the makerOf all things near and far;He paints the wayside flower,He lights the evening star;The winds and waves obey him,By him the birds are fed;Much more to us, his children,He gives our daily bread.
      All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above;            Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,            For all his love.
3.  We thank thee then, O Father,For all things bright and good,The seed time and the harvest,Our life, our health, our food.Accept the gifts we offerFor all thy love imparts,And what thou most desirest,Our humble, thankful hearts.
       All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above;            Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,            For all his love.
Translator: Jane M. CampbellAuthor: Matthias Claudius (1782)
Tune: Wir Pflügen
Opening prayer
     Holy God of mystery and miracles reveal your presence to us, as we gather in worship. Send your Holy Spirit to descend upon us, as angels once descended to Jacob. Raise our thoughts, that we may reflect on your promises and trust with hope in promises yet to come. In your holy name, we pray. Amen
A Prayer of Confession
Patient, loving God, when we are groaning and griping, comfort us and forgive our shortcomings. When we are doubting and afraid, comfort us and reveal your promises to us. Help us trust with hope, and wait with patience, even as you patiently love us with your mercy and your grace. In your loving name, we pray. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       We have this hope: God’s promises are sure, and Christ’s mercy is ours.All is well. All will be well.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
As God’s beloved children, let us share signs of love and peace with our sisters and brothers in Christ.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
Rose was 9 years old and she was well-behaved - except when she had to tidy her bedroom!  Annabel was also 9 and her behaviour could only be classed as bad - so bad that no one wanted to be her friend.  Annabel didn’t go to the same school as Rose, but she lived only four houses away, and the girls’ mothers often chatted if they saw one another in their gardens or when shopping. 
Annabel’ s mother had an idea - she asked Rose’s mother if Rose could come and play with Annabel in the hope that Rose’s good behaviour would rub off on Annabel.  Guess what happened.  When Rose came home after playing with Annabel - she was just plain naughty.  She kicked the dog, pinched her little brother, pressed her face against the fish tank and made horrible faces at her beloved fish.  She even let the chooks (hens) out, who made a beeline for her mother’s herb garden!   Not like Rose at all.  Her mother couldn’t believe the difference in Rose’s behaviour and told Rose this in no uncertain terms. 
The next day was Sunday and the lesson in Sunday school was based on today’s verses from the gospel about the weeds and the wheat growing together.  Rose listened very carefully and, on the way, home she asked her mum - have I been more like a weed than a rose?  Her mum nodded and said that when she had been like a weed she made everyone cranky and no one - not even her brother or the dog - wanted to be near her - so wouldn’t it be a lot better being Rose again?  Rose nodded and said how her Sunday school teacher had told them how Jesus’ love not only helped them to blossom but also helped them to spread love to others so that they could blossom too. 
And Rose went on to say “That’s what I’m  going to do the next time I see Annabel and if we end up playing nicely that would be just like pulling the weedy parts out of her wouldn’t it.”  Rose’s mum had to agree and gave her a big hug.  “Maybe we could invite Annabel to our place tomorrow after school” she said, as Rose skipped off happily..

You may want to speak about the imagery of the roots of the weeds and the wheat becoming intertwined as they grow together, it is almost as though they are embracing one another.  The more we learn about Jesus, the more we understand how he wants to embrace us with his love and that can happen any time - maybe even here and now through the embrace -  the touch of another person in love and acceptance which definitely helps us become less weed-like.  This would be a good time to pass the peace - taking time for young and older people to share a touch or embrace.

Offering Prayer
God of ancient times and future hope, we bring these gifts to bless your world with hope. Please bless these gifts, that they may be a blessing to others. And bless us with patience and faith, that we may bring hope to a hurting world. Amen.
Hymn 238: Christ is the world’s true light                  (Tune – Darmstadt)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEmon2MxaBg                                    1.  Christ is the world's true light,
its captain of salvation,
the day-star clear and bright,
desire of every nation;
new life, new hope awakes
for all who own his sway:
freedom her bondage breaks,
and night is turned to day.
2.  In Christ all races meet,
their ancient feuds forgetting,
the whole round world complete,
from sunrise to its setting:
when Christ is throned as Lord,
all shall forsake their fear,
to ploughshare beat the sword,
to pruning-hook the spear.
3.  One Lord, in one great name
unite us all who own you;
cast out our pride and shame
that hinder to enthrone you;
the world has waited long,
has travailed long in pain;
to heal its ancient wrong,
come, Prince of Peace, and reign.
Author: G. W. Briggs (1931)Tune: Darmstadt  The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                       Romans 8:12-25                NEB page 878The Gospel Reading:                  Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43   NEB page 737 After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the LordPlease respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.
Readings: NRSV Translation
Romans 8:12-25
12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. 18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
24 He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow, good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” 28 He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” 29 But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ 37 He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
Preaching of the Word: Can We Stamp Out Darnel?
        Have you had any trouble with darnel lately? It seems to me that this inquiry might bring a big question to our mind. What is it? What does it look like? Does it itch? Will "Head and Shoulders" (that dandruff shampoo we hear so much about) get rid of it?
        When we read the Gospel lesson for today, it is difficult for us. Can we put ourselves in the place of the people in Jesus' time? The people of that time were part of an early society, by our standards; it was primarily agricultural. Their concepts of distance and communication were quite different from our own. As an agrarian economy, the output or crops from the farms-wheat in this parable-were critically important. It was not something that you read about in the newspapers and wondered if it would affect the price of bread. The yield from the farms had a clear meaning to the people.
        It was the difference between starving and living. It was the difference between feeding themselves and their families adequately and going hungry. Jesus uses the allegory of the darnel in the wheat. He does it with the full recognition that his audience will understand what he is talking about. He knew how important it was to them.
        Darnel is not in our daily vocabulary. In fact, it was not even listed in two of the bible dictionaries that were consulted in the preparation of this sermon. It is a weed from my understanding. The definition that was finally located was: "several grassy plants." It sounds like something you might have in your lawn or your footy field or your golf course. However, what it translates into is competition for the vital elements that produce wheat, the "staff of life." The people understood that this was a real threat to their livelihood. While we would probably suggest a trip to the chemical shop to get "Roundup" or some other selective darnel-killer, that was not an option in Jesus' time. The reality was that he was painting a picture of a crop failure, reduced yields, and possible starvation.
        It is hard for us to relate to this story in our land-of-plenty. How many times have you gone to the supermarket and found no bread on the shelf? It just does not happen in Australia or in New Zealand the lands where there are "amber waves of grain." We would dismiss any reports we heard of darnel, get in one of our cars, and go to the market to fill our grocery needs. Pretty hard to get our attention with threats of darnel!  So, it seems pretty obvious that Jesus knew his crowd and how to get their attention. Let's join them and try to see what he is saying and how it impacts our lives today, in our time and society. There are many conclusions that we could reach in reading this parable. Some of them are:
        1. There is good and evil in the world.
2. Bad things happen that are beyond our control.
3. Jesus & God are aware of the evil deeds in our life and world.
4. Jesus blames the bad deeds on the evil presence in the world.
5. The farm in this parable is the world.
6. Jesus is the sower.
7. The good seed represents the good people in the kingdom or those in a relationship with Christ.
8. The darnel or evil ones will not be a part of the kingdom nor will they have a relationship with Christ.                 How are we impacted by these observations? Do we believe them? What do they mean in our lives? Am I darnel? Are you darnel? How do we know who is or is not? Or like most who have faith in God through Jesus Christ do we have times when we are darnel and blessed times when we are wheat? How do we do our best to be a part of the Kingdom or to be a part of Jesus' family?
        In the first place, we can’t argue with Jesus or his knowledge. He says that there is good and evil. We have to agree with this old observation that is confirmed with each morning paper. Each of us has scars in our daily lives that seem to be inflicted by others. We would probably agree that many people in our society live beyond the acceptance of the love of Christ. We see that they live without the knowledge, without the reality of the acceptance of the love of Christ. We would not and should not call them darnel! But our observation may be that their lives are damned or at least without the joy of life with Christ. In a world that can be nurtured by the beauty and love that Christ shares, they seem to be weeds, darnel. Rather than sharing and producing for the good of society, they seem to be on a different path or in a different world from many. 
        It seems that is not our concern or within our ability to determine who is and who is not in the Kingdom of God or family of Christ. Each of us has the responsibility to be the good plant, the good producer, and to devote ourselves to the many teachings of Christ. Ours is to accept, reflect, praise, and share the love of Christ, and the good life that he shares with us.
        When we are tempted to judge and separate the good and bad, we need to back off and remember that we are to love our neighbor. Without this love as the focus of our lives, it is likely that we would be considered to be darnel-the weed that Jesus intends to use for bonfires.
        The challenge is for each of us to live our lives as the good grain, the wheat, the staff-of-life. Let us pray for the strength, faith, and concentration to allow us to keep our course and to inspire others to join us. Let us pray that we are enabled to share the good news of Christ. Who knows--we may stamp out the darnel.
Hymn 087: You are before me, Lord you are                 behind                                              (Tune – Highland Cathedral)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVPs_9rNAPo
1.  You are before me, Lord, You are behind.And over me You have spread out Your hand;Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,Too high to grasp, to great to understand.
2.  Then from Your Spirit where, Lord, shall I go;And from Your presence where, Lord, shall I fly?If I ascend to heaven You are there,and still are with me if in hell I lie.
3.  If I should take my flight into the dawn,If I should dwell on ocean's farthest shore,Your mighty hand will rest upon me still,And Your right hand will guard me evermore.
4.  If I should say, "Let darkness cover me,And I shall hide within the veil of night,"Surely the darkness is not dark to You;The night is as the day, the darkness light.
5.  Search me, O God, search me and know my heart;Try me, O God, my mind and spirit try;Keep me from any path that gives You pain,And lead me in the everlasting way.
Author: Ian Pitt-Watson (1973, 1989)Tune: Highland Cathedral
Intercessory Prayers         Empowering God, you gave the church the abiding presence of your Holy Spirit. Look upon your church today and hear our petitions.Holy Spirit, rest upon the church, inspire our witness and service that the whole world may know the love and grace of God. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.Holy Spirit, rest upon creation, work healing in wholeness where there is brokenness and knit all life into a glorious tapestry. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Holy Spirit, rest upon the nations and their leaders, grant all of humanity to find unity, peace, and justice. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.Holy Spirit, rest upon the broken-hearted, wrap them in the loving arms of your care and lead them to the knowledge of your presence. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.Holy Spirit, rest upon the sick and the dying, bring healing, comfort and peace at the last. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.Holy Spirit, rest upon this congregation, show us how best to use the gifts you have given us for service in the name of Christ. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.Holy Spirit, rest upon us who are still on our pilgrimage and unite us into one body with all who have gone before. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.Grant that, gathered and directed by your Spirit, we may confess Christ as Lord and combine our diverse gifts with a singular passion to continue his mission in this world until we join in your eternal praise. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 626: Lord of creation, to you be all praise                     (Tune – Slane)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLqezg9dWiQ
        Lord of creation, to you be all praise!
Most mighty your working, most wondrous your ways!
Your glory and might are beyond us to tell,
and yet in the heart of the humble you dwell.

Lord of all power, I give you my will,
in joyful obedience your tasks to fulfill.
Your bondage is freedom, your service is song;
and, held in your keeping, my weakness is strong.

Lord of all wisdom, I give you my mind,
rich truth that surpasses man's knowledge to find.
What eye has not seen and what ear has not heard
is taught by your Spirit and shines from your Word.

Lord of all bounty, I give you my heart;
I praise and adore you for all you impart;
your love to inspire me, your counsel to guide,
your presence to cheer me, whatever betide.

Lord of all being, I give you my all;
if ever I disown you, I stumble and fall;
but, sworn in glad service your word to obey,
I walk in your freedom to the end of the way.

            Author: Jack Copley Winslow (1961)
Tune: Slane
Benediction                  May patience pave your path.          May hope comfort your world.          And may love to guide your lives.         Let us share the blessings of Christ’s eternal covenant         and praising God for the Spirit’s call to love and give.    Amen.                                                                             Hymn 778: Shalom to you now                     (Tune – Somos del Senor)
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 Worship Pentecost 6 12 July 2020

July 9, 2020 - 11:19pm

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




The Responsibility of Hearing.Sunday 12th July 2020Pentecost 6 Sunday - year of Matthew 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 - (Abingdon Worship Annual 2020)        Ask the Sower to cast you onto good, fertile soil, that you may bear the fruit of faith and love.
You are the Sower, O God, we are the seed. God’s word is being sown in our lives this day with the promise of new growth. You are the Lover, O God, we are the beloved. God’s love blossoms in our lives with a beauty greater than the lilies of the field. You are the Healer, O God, we are the healed.God’s healing flows through our lives with every beat of our heart. You are the Potter, O God, we are the clay. God’s hand fashions us to shine with the glory of Christ’s light. Come! Let us worship the one who sows us in fields of love.
Hymn 261: Lord, you are the light of life to me                 (Tune – Fairmead)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guaLiGTHDf8
1         Lord, you are the light of life to me;
when darkness hides my path, you help me see.
Shine on me, O Lord, that now and all my days
your light may lead me on, guiding my ways.
2         Lord, you are the rock on which I stand,
stable and strong in you, held by your hand.
Keep me safe, O Lord; in weakness let there be
your loving, firm embrace upholding me.
3         Lord, you are the truth that sets me free;
only in you is found true liberty.
Teach me then, O Lord, in all things to pursue
your good and perfect will, growing like you.
4         Lord, you are the Lamb of God who died,
suffering for love of me, scorned, crucified.
Love me still, O Lord; let others daily see
your selfless, serving love flowing through me.
5         Lord, you are the King who ever reigns.
Earth's rulers rise and fall: your throne remains.
Rule my life, O Lord; I yield myself anew
your name to glorify, living for you.
Brian R Hoare (born 1935)
© Brian Hoare/Jubilate Hymns Ltd
9 10 11 10

Opening prayer
Great Sower, cast us like seeds upon the winds of yourmercy, that we may grow in fertile ground. Keep our livesfrom stony pathways, where the heat of life’s cares andstrife strips our strength and vitality. Protect us fromthorny gullies, where the snares of life’s worries and fearsblock the sunshine of your Spirit. Land us safely in rich soil, Master Gardener, and bless us with the kiss of gentle rain, that our faith may increase, and our joy may be complete. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Caretaker of our souls, we yearn to resist the allures of status and prestige, for we often pierce ourselves with wounds of our own making. We long to bloom where we are planted, that righteousness and peace might flower in our lives. Free us of the fear of appearing foolish before others, as we seek new growth in your Spirit. Nurture us with your grace and mercy, that we might blossom and bloom as followers of Christ. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Those who abide in the Spirit are set free. Those who reside in Christ find no condemnation. Rejoice that we have been planted in the fertile ground of God’s love and mercy.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
The Sower has planted us in the fertile ground of this church. Let us express our gratitude for the love that grows within our fellowship by offering one another signs of Christ’s peace.Peace be with you! And also, with you! (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)
Announcements
A Word with the Children/Young People
Theme: Growth depends upon where the seed is planted.Object: Several packages of seeds.
Have you ever planted anything? Perhaps you took some packages of seeds and planted a garden of vegetables. If so, you know that the type of soil that you have is very important to the success of a garden. If the ground is too hard, or full of rocks and weeds, you probably won't have a very good crop of vegetables.
In our Bible lesson today, Jesus told a story about a man who went out and planted some seeds. This story that Jesus told is usually called "The Parable of the Sower," but actually, the story is more about the soil than it is the sower or the seed. Some of the seed that was planted fell on the path where the ground was very hard. The seeds just lay on top of the ground and the birds came and ate the seeds.
Some of the seed fell on rocky ground. The seeds sprang up quickly, but when the sun came, the plants dried up because they didn't have good roots. Some of the seeds fell among weeds and plants grew for a little while, but the weeds took over and choked them out. Fortunately, some of the seed fell on good soil and the plants grew strong and healthy and produced a good crop.
In Jesus' story, the Word of God is the seed, and we are the soil. Often, when we come to church, the preacher is preaching the Word, but we aren't really paying attention. Perhaps we are thinking about what we are going to do that afternoon or about what we did yesterday. We are hearing the Word, but we are not listening. That is like throwing seed on the top of the ground. It won't ever grow into anything in our life.
There are other times when we hear the Word and we get excited about it, but then our excitement fades and we drift away. That is like the seeds that fall on the rocky ground. The plants spring up, but then die because the roots are too shallow.
Sometimes we hear the Word and we believe what it says, but we want to keep on doing the same things we have been doing. That is like planting the seed in with a bunch of weeds. I can tell you what will happen, the weeds will soon take over!
When we hear the word, and we listen and try to understand what it says and put it into practice in our daily life, then we are like good soil. We are like soil where the seed takes root and grows and produces a plentiful harvest. That is the kind of soil that Jesus wants us to be. What kind of soil are you?
Dear Jesus, we want to be like the good soil. Help us to listen to God's Word and put it into practice in our daily life. In your name we pray. Amen.
Offering Prayer
Master Gardener, as you have sown our lives in a rich and fertile soil, may we bear much fruit through our giving. With these offerings, may your realm be brought to earth, as we plant seeds of hope in the fields of life. Bless our gifts and our ministry, that the world may reap a harvest of generosity and love. Amen.
Hymn 607: Make me a channel of your peace                  (Tune – Channel of Peace)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT8bybL_DqY
Make me a channel of your peace.Where there is hatred let me bring your love;Where there is injury your pardon, Lord;And where there's doubt true faith in you.
Oh, Master grant that I may never seekSo much to be consoled as to console;To be understood as to understand;To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace.Where there's despair in life let me bring hope;Where there is darkness, only light;And where there's sadness, ever joy.
Oh, Master grant that I may never seekSo much to be consoled as to console;To be understood as to understand;To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace.It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;In giving to all men that we receive;And in dying that we're born to eternal life.
Oh, Master grant that I may never seekSo much to be consoled as to console;To be understood as to understand;To be loved as to love with all my soul.
Author (attributed to): St. Francis of AssisiAdapter: Sebastian Temple
Tune: [Make me a channel of your peace]                                   
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                       Romans 8:1-11               NEB page 878The Gospel Reading:                  Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23       NEB page 736After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the LordPlease respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.
Readings: NRSV Translation
Romans 8:1-11
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears listen!’ 18 ‘Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’
Preaching of the Word: The Responsibility of Hearing.
        We commonly call this the parable of the sower, but it is more accurately described as the parable of the soils. It is the reaction of the soils, of the hearers, that makes the difference. This is the important part of the parable. The sower must possess the seed. There is no point in our being concerned for a messed-up world characterized by crime, starvation, illicit sex, drug addiction and the rest, if we ourselves are part of the problem. We need to first experience the truth of the gospel in our own lives before we can share it with others.
        A sower needs to be skilful and know something of ground composition and soil preparation. We need to be aware of the laws of growth and patiently wait for results. All too often in our enthusiasm we are inclined to become overbearing. We can get into jamming religion down the throats of others and turn the very people we desire to win away. Nor is it enough to simply to have                    know-how and be attentive to our work. We need faith and trust. The farmer needs to be willing to spend money long before being sure of a return.
        Naturally the task of the sower cannot be overlooked. None of us can give eternal life nor can we make it grow & develop. That is God's prerogative - God's work. God alone gives the increase. What the sower sows is equally significant and that is the seed. When he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside. In explaining the parable to his disciples, Jesus left little doubt as to what he meant by the seed. The seed is clearly the word of God.
        There are many today who are not sowing the seed of the living word. You can tell the kind of seed by the kind of fruit that is brought forth. Look around you. How much evidence is there in many of our churches today of transformed lives? As I have said, before, we are all ministers; how are we showing in our lives and through our words and actions the word of God? Are we showing change to our lives that are tarnished by sin? Are we living out the promises that were made at our Baptism?
        Jesus pointed out that it was really the condition of the soil that determined the harvest of the grain. Some seed fell by the wayside, on the well-trod path that led through the fields. Through constant usage the ground had become packed and hard. The seed had no chance to take root and grow. Soon the wind came and blew it away, or the birds swooped down and devoured it.         There are those who have become callous to the message of the gospel. In failing to respond to God's claim upon their lives, their hearts have been hardened and their minds closed.
        Prejudice can blind us to things. Behaviour not of God, can keep us from being objective in evaluating our own lives. Pride, fear of the unknown and change are all factors that harden our hearts. The very pressures of everyday life have a tendency to crowd out any sense of the sacred. There is no one as blind as the person who will not see.
        Other seed fell on rocky ground. Immediately it began to grow as there was a thin layer of soil. But just below the surface a hard ledge of rock kept the roots from digging deep. Soon the hot sun and blustering wind killed the new life. Our churches have many what could be described as superficial Christians in them. In a moment of emotion, they take their stand, but over the long haul, when the going gets rough, they are nowhere to be found. We need to encourage the church to be a place for people whose lives are cluttered by rocks to work at removing those very rocks and not to be a place for them to hide.
        Other seeds fell upon thorny ground. This is the best soil yet, but it is uncleansed. To the eye it looks rich and productive. The seed is sown with every good intention. Only when it begins to grow do we become aware that it will be impossible to harvest. There is no way of separating the thorns from the grain. In due course it to, gets choked out by the uncontrolled weeds of the field.
        Jesus indicated three types of thorns to be wary of: cares of the home and family life, bills and sickness, schooling. All of these are legitimate but can become enemies as they change our priorities despite our best intentions. Riches can trap us and chop off the word. We can go after worldly things such as business, success, pleasure, power and acceptance to such an extent that they keep us from putting God first. The thorn of compromise has ruined many a Christian life.
        Not all of the seed feel on poor soil or poorly prepared ground. Some fell on good ground and brought forth fruit. In comparing this kind of soil to the hearer, Jesus says it is a person who hears the word, understands, and responds to that same word. Most of us hear, but it is important that we understand and respond in both word and action also. How important it is for each of us to know our own hearts our response the gospel of Jesus.
Hymn 187: Let all creation dance                  (Tune - Darwall)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GybOFak_a8
Let all creation dancein energies sublime,as order turns with chance,unfolding space and timefor nature's artin glory grows,and newly showsGod's mind and heart.
Our own amazing earth,with sunlight, cloud and stormsand life's abundant growthin lovely shapes and forms,is made for praise,a fragile whole,and from its soulheaven’s music plays.
God's breath each force unfurls,igniting from a sparkexpanding starry swirls,with whirlpools dense and dark.Though moon and sunseem mindless things,each orbit sings:"Your will be done."
Lift heart and soul and voice:in Christ all praises meetand nature shall rejoiceas all is made complete.In hope be strong.All life befriendand kindly tendcreation's song.
Author: Brian A. Wren (July 1989)Tune: Darwall
Intercessory Prayers         Gracious and loving God, we come to you with hearts that need to be opened to your word and your love. There is so much around us that tears at us and causes us to tremble. Keep us ever mindful of your presence and the hope that you have given us in your Son Jesus Christ.Lord in you mercy: hear our prayer Guide us, we pray, as your church, struggling to spread the good news. Keep us focused on the mission and ministry to which you have called us and lead us forward. We know, Lord, that there will often be bumps and holes in the road along the way. Save us from dwelling on them and make us secure in the goals you have placed before us.Lord in you mercy: hear our prayer Hear our prayers for all who need your tender touch of healing in their lives—those we name before you each day, and those who are known only to you in the depths of our hearts. Be with those who mourn. May we all remember the love and grace that your faithful people have brought to our world.Lord in you mercy: hear our prayerWe pray for all your creation, always at odds with one another. Guide our leaders and those of other nations that this world might truly be as you created it to be—a world of peace, hope and love.Lord in you mercy: hear our prayerThese are our prayers, together with those that lie on the hearts of all your faithful people, which we offer to you in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ who said “not my will, but yours be done.”Lord in you 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 439: What shall we offer our good Lord                     (Tune – Duke Street)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLd04tjvKtw
1      What shall we offer our good Lord,
poor nothings, for his boundless grace?
Fain would we his great name record
and worthily set forth his praise.
2      Great object of our growing love,
to whom our more than all we owe,
open the fountain from above,
and let it our full souls overflow.
3      So shall our lives thy power proclaim,
thy grace for every sinner free,
till all the world shall learn thy name,
shall all stretch out their hands to thee.
4      Open a door which earth and hell
may strive to shut but strive in vain;
let thy word richly in us dwell,
and let our gracious fruit remain.
5      O multiply the sower’s seed!
and fruit we every hour shall bear,
throughout the world thy gospel spread,
thy everlasting truth declare.
             Author: August Gottlieb SpangenbergTranslator: John Wesley
Tune: DUKE STREET
Benediction                God’s word is a lamp to our feet.         Christ’s teachings are a light to our path.         May God’s word take root in our lives.         May Christ’s love nourish us like sunshine and spring rain.        God’s word is a lamp to our feet.         Christ’s teachings are a light to our path.
Hymn 777: May the grace of Christ our Saviour                     (Tune – Waltham)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq25i6PmCl8
1.  May the grace of Christ our Saviourand the Father's boundless love,
with the Holy Spirit's favour,
rest upon us from above.
2.  Thus, may we abide in union
with each other and the Lord,
and possess, in sweet communion,
joys which earth cannot afford.
              Author: John Newton (1779)                   Tune: Waltham



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Penetcost 5 HC 05 July 2020

July 3, 2020 - 6:15am

Marsden Road UnitingChurch Carlingford--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Come to me Sunday 5th July 2020Pentecost 5 Sunday - year of Matthew 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 Annual 2020)        “Come to me... and I will give you rest,” Jesus promises. Where do we go, and to whom do we turn, to discover the truth of these words?
The music is playing, and God is calling. We have come to sing and dance with God.The prayers are flowing, and Spirit is moving. Breathe on us, breath of God. Christ promises rest and renewal, when we come to him. We are here, trusting this sacred promise.
Hymn 585: I heard the voice of Jesus say                  (Tune – Kingsfold)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUVCpF8-VuE
1.  I heard the voice of Jesus say,"Come unto me and rest;lay down, thou weary one, lay downthy head upon my breast."I came to Jesus as I was,so weary, worn, and sad;I found in him a resting place,and he has made me glad.
2.  I heard the voice of Jesus say,"Behold, I freely givethe living water; thirsty one,stoop down and drink, and live."I came to Jesus, and I drankof that life-giving stream;my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,and now I live in him.
3.  I heard the voice of Jesus say,"I am this dark world's light;look unto me, thy morn shall rise,and all thy day be bright."I looked to Jesus, and I foundin him my Star, my Sun;and in that light of life I'll walktill traveling days are done.
Author: Horatius Bonar (1846)Tune: Kingsfold
Opening prayer
     Creator God, you have created us to walk with you. Help us walk with you in this time of worship, that we may be strengthened to walk with you all the days of our lives. As we come to you this day, bless us with your grace and your rest, that we may find renewal and the strength to serve with confidence and joy. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Come to Christ with the confidence of children, for Christ will carry our burdens, renew our souls, and give us rest, through his mercy and grace.
Prophetic One, you call us to new places and new ways. You challenge us to dance new steps and to sing new songs. We yearn to follow you with confidence and joy, but our resistance is often stronger than our willingness. At times, our steps falter. At moments, we can’t even hear your voice, let alone recognize your song in our hearts. Strengthen us with your mercy. Renew us with your grace. Sing to us with your compassion. Connect us with the yoke of unconditional love, that we may follow joyously, dance confidently, and sing praise and love with every act and with every word of our lives. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Rejoice and give thanks. With grace, Christ is already carrying our burdens to renew our souls. With mercy, Christ is already shouldering our load to strengthen our lives.Thanks, be to God! Amen
The Peace
Let us share the joy, the freedom, and the rest we find in God’s love, as we greet one another in the grace and 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.)
Offering Prayer
Receive these gifts we now bring, God of gifts, and bless them to be gifts for your world. Through our giving, renew others, that they too may know the comfort and rest of living in the arms of your compassion and your love. Amen.
Hymn 650: Brother, sister, let me serve you                 (Tune – Servant Song)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qblqtb4jzL8
Brother, sister, let me serve you,let me be as Christ to you;pray that I may have the grace tolet you be my servant too.
We are pilgrims on a journeyand companions on the road;we are here to help each otherwalk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for youin the night-time of your fear;I will hold my hand out to you,speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping;when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;I will share your joy and sorrowtill we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heavenwe shall find such harmony,born of all we’ve known togetherof Christ’s love and agony.
Brother, sister, let me serve you,let me be as Christ to you;pray that I may have the grace tolet you be my servant too.
Richard Gillard 1953 - arr. Betty Pulkingham 1928 -                      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 a right, good, and a joyful thing always and everywhere to give our thanks to you, who saved Abraham from sacrificing his beloved son, Isaac, and has given us the gift of eternal life in Christ. We give you thanks for freedom and friendship, for love and for laughter, for parents and children who travel together in the ways of peace. We give you thanks for new understandings of ancient stories, for happy endings and new beginnings, for cups of cold water on hot, sunny days. And so, with your creatures on earth and all the heavenly chorus, 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 holy is your child, Jesus Christ, who taught his friends to spread the good news of freedom from evil, oppression, and violence, and who teaches us to welcome those who come in his name. On the night in which he gave himself up, Jesus took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, and gave it to the disciples, saying: “Take, eat; this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” When the supper was over, Jesus took the cup, offered thanks and gave it to the disciples, saying: “Drink from this, all of you; this is my life in 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 your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died.Christ is risen.Christ will come again!
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be the body of Christ to a world filled with temptations. God of light and vision, God of mystery and truth, God of love and grace, we praise your saving, gracious name.
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 LifeThe Cup We Share is the Cup of PromiseThese 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
Come to the table of love. At this table, we will find strength for our journeys and rest for our souls.
Prayer after Communion
God of compassion, through your son, Jesus Christ, you reconciled your people to yourself. Following his example of prayer and fasting may be obey you with willing hearts and serve one another in holy love. Amen.
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                      Romans 7.14-25                   NEB page 877The Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 11:15-19, 25-30      NEB page 734After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the LordPlease respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.
Readings: NRSV Translation
Romans 7.14-25
14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can, will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
Matthew 11:15-19, 25-30
15 Let anyone with ears listen!16 ‘But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another, 17 “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’ 25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Preaching of the Word: Come to me - Matthew 11: 25-30
There was once a time when any of us going to a service of Holy Communion in many Churches might hear some of Jesus' words in today's Gospel. "Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Or, in a slightly older form of the English language: "Come unto me all ye who travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you."
Often these words were spoken to us by the Celebrant, right after the Confession and Absolution, and -- along with a few other well-chosen sentences of Scripture -- they were part of what were popularly called, in the tradition of the old Anglican Prayer Book, " The Comfortable Words," and were introduced by the celebrating priest with the invitation, "Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith to all that truly turn to him..."
Those of us who are old enough, remember that there was something quite wonderful about hearing those Comfortable Words at that particular point in the liturgy. We had heard the Word of God proclaimed in the lectionary readings of Scripture, just as we do now; and we had heard the preacher's sermon. We had responded to God's Word by asserting our faith in God's unbreakable covenant with us, in the words of the Nicene Creed.
We had brought to God all the concerns for "the whole state of Christ's church and the world" in intercession and petition. Then, as now, we had confessed our manifold sins and wickedness, unburdening ourselves of our grief and guilt by acknowledging our disobedience and our failures of love towards God, our neighbours, and ourselves. We heard the authoritative assurance of pardon to all those who humbly repented and firmly intended to amend our lives-that great declaration of forgiveness intended to raise us up from the dust and ashes of penitence and set us on our feet in joyful liberation and thanksgiving.
And then came the Comfortable Words, to strengthen us and give us courage: "Come unto me ..." They were the compass setting, re-orienting us once again towards this gracious God of our hope, the maker and sustainer of our renewed reconciliation and peace, the faithful source of never-ending love in our hearts and lives, the author of that new life in Christ which had been given us in Baptism and was still ours by God's merciful forgiveness. Now we could affirm and acknowledge the peace of Christ coming into our personal and corporate life -- and, refreshed by this, we turned to the Eucharistic offering of ourselves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.
In their Eucharistic context, the words of Jesus, "Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you," were -- and still are -- comforting and strengthening indeed. But they resonate a bit differently here today in the context of Matthew's Gospel where, if we look at them more closely, they reveal to us what kind of comfort Jesus had in mind.
In this section of Matthew, Jesus is speaking as a teacher -- as he so often does, in Matthew. In fact, we can imagine Jesus as a second Moses, delivering the new Law under the same Covenant that Moses himself revealed. Here, Jesus is reassuring his disciples that the yoke of his teaching is easy, and burden of learning from him is light.
We need to realize that the rabbis of this period in history routinely referred to the responsibilities of living by God's Law as a "yoke" -- as something people took on themselves to steer and guide them down God's paths in life. And it seems to have been a common complaint, addressed above all to the scribes and Pharisees as interpreters of God's Law that their teachings had become complicated and difficult to follow, a burden rather than a guide to holy living. 
Those of us who enjoy cooking and read food magazines and cookbooks know that there are some food writers who can turn a simple recipe for mashed potatoes into something so complicated it is intimidating, and not at all the sort of recipe one would give to one's children who were learning how to cook.
The trouble with the Pharisees and their complicated interpretations of the Law was the same sort of problem: they had managed to make some basic guidelines very complex and intimidating. Of course, by doing this they retained their professional authority and power, but they also managed to turn people away from holiness of life with God, just as a complex recipe for puree of mashed potatoes can send a hungry person off for the box of instant rice.
Jesus the teacher takes great issue with this: God has given his people basic guidelines for holy life, but the Pharisees have ended up making God's Law inaccessible and impossible to follow. So, Jesus assures his disciples that by learning God's Law his way, they will not be intimidated by complexity or burdened, and condemned to failure, by Pharisaic rules and regulations. Jesus is returning to the simplicity of God's original Covenant and Law, to give them what they need to steer and guide their path easily, and by following Jesus' way they will find peace, rest, and refreshment.
By putting these Comfortable Words back into the context of Matthew's Gospel, we can see they have a depth that is not immediately obvious from their Eucharistic setting. The absolution and forgiveness which we have received as repentant sinners is neither conditional upon our ability to follow complicated rules, nor is it a permissive wave of the hand of an overindulgent parent implying that our sins don't matter.
The Comfortable Words, "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will refresh you," remind us that God's incomparable, compassionate forgiveness is a gift that releases us into life with God as responsible human beings who want to grow deeper in love and joyful obedience. After all, we are called not only to find peace, refreshment and rest for ourselves but also to live the kind of lives through which others, too, find God's peace, God's refreshing grace, and the joy of placing their lives in God's hands. AMEN
Hymn 613: Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy                  (Tune – Slane)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwAjdkMUAXw
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.

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.

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.

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

Intercessory Prayers  
Come to prayer, all who labour and are heavy laden, and God will give us rest. Come to praise, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for the revelation of your gift of abundant life and for the rest coming to those who put their trust in you. For such life and rest, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for entrusting us with the message of your grace and love, that we might speak a reconciling word to our age. For such mercy, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for leading us into the ways of peace and for transforming weapons of war into tools of charity. For such peacemaking, we pray to you Lord,Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for the gifts of creation and for wholesome times of recreation. For such times of harmony, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for those who tend the sick, accompany the frustrated, visit the lonely, comfort the dying, confront the addicted, or minister to any need. For such attention tohuman anguish, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for sustaining all who are oppressed, all who suffer for reasons of conscience, all who are passionate for justice and all those in need of our prayers for any reason, [especially N.]. For such relief from their burdens and refreshment in you, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.Into your hands, O God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.We thank you for the people of faith who surround us, and for family and friends, teachers, and clergy, especially ………... and for all who assist our growth in grace. For such companions through life, we pray to you Lord, Lord, 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 – The Ash Grove)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3Pm8dAALls
Sent forth by God’s blessing, our true faith confessing, the people of God from this dwelling take leave. The service is ended, O now be extended The fruits of our worship in all who believe.The seed of the teaching, receptive souls reaching, Shall blossom in action for God and for all.God’s grace did invite us, and love shall unite usTo work for God’s kingdom and answer the call.
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 God’s children of each tribe and race.With Your grace You feed us, with Your light now lead us;Unite us as one in this life that we share.Then may all the living with praise and thanksgivingGive honour to Christ and that name which we bear.
Author: Omer Westendorf (1964)Tune: Ash Grove
Benediction                Go forth, as people renewed by the love of God. Go forth, to renew others with this very love. Let us go forth to fill the empty cups of all who ask; let us give in the name of the Breath of Resurrection, the Wellspring of Grace, the Teacher of Truth: The One, Triune God, who gives eternal life. Let us share the blessings of Christ’s eternal covenant and praising God for the Spirit’s call to love and give. Amen.                 
Hymn 776: The Lord bless you and keep you                  (Tune – John Rutter)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZN1mryHEnQ
The Lord bless you and keep youThe Lord make His face to shine upon youTo shine upon you and be graciousAnd be gracious unto you
The Lord bless you and keep youThe Lord make His face to shine upon youTo shine upon you and be graciousAnd be gracious unto you
The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon youThe Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon youAnd give you peace, and give you peaceAnd give you peace, and give you peace
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Unting Worship Pentecost 4 28 June 2020

June 26, 2020 - 12:43am

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


Whom Ought I Welcome?Sunday 28th June 2020Pentecost 4 Sunday - year of Matthew 9.30 am
Gathering God’s People
Prelude Music to prepare for worship
Call to Worship (Deborah Sokolove, The Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)       
God’s love is steadfast, inviting us to rejoice and find eternal life in love of God and others.
The Holy One calls us to trust God’s steadfast love. With our ancestor Abraham, we say: “Here I am.” The Holy One calls us to be guided by prophets. With the first followers of Jesus, we say: “Here I am.”The Holy One calls us into eternal life. With the Gospel writers, we say: “Here I am.” Let us worship the God who calls us. Amen.
Hymn 102: Praise to the living God                      (Tune – Leoni)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u6diH2jVlI
Praise to the living God!All praised be His name,Who was, and is, and is to be,And still the same!The one eternal God,Ere aught that now appears;The first, the last: beyond all thoughtHis timeless years!
His Spirit floweth free,High surging where it will;In prophet’s word He spoke of old;He speaketh still.Established is His law,And changeless it shall stand,Deep writ upon the human heart,On sea or land.
He hath eternal lifeImplanted in the soul;His love shall be our strength and stay,While ages roll.Praise to the living God!All praised be His name,Who was, and is, and is to be,And still the same.
Text: Jewish Doxology Translated by: Max Landsberg and Newton Mann 1914 Tune: Leoni arr. by: Meyer Lyon 1770 Source: Episcopal 1940 Hymnal #286
Opening prayer
     Wellspring of Grace, Teacher of Truth, Breath of Resurrection, you welcome us into your life, and invite us to welcome others with a cup of water, a bite of bread, a moment of conversation. As we drink from the overflowing spring of your endless love, fill our hearts with thanksgiving and joy, that we may become the body of Christ pouring our lives into a world that yearns to be filled. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Teacher of Truth, you tell us to welcome prophets and teachers, and to give to those in need. Yet we want to hug your salvation to ourselves and keep your gifts for our own use. You call us to be servants of your teaching, and to remember that we are no longer slaves to sin. Yet we want to continue doing what we have always done before, hanging onto old habits and opinions, even when you show us a better way. You even offer us eternal life when we surrender to your will.Forgive us, Holy One, when we mistake our will for your own. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       God is a wellspring of grace, offering the gift of eternal life to all who do God’s will. In the name of Christ, we are forgiven, loved, and free.Thanks, be to God! Amen
The Peace
In gratitude for the gift of eternal life, let us greet one another with signs of 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 Young People –
Theme: Opening our hearts and homes to othersObject: "Welcome Mat"
Good morning. Have you ever seen a Welcome mat? Where have you seen something like this? Usually we'd see a mat like this outside the door to our home, wouldn't we? A mat such as this usually has two purposes. Do you know what those two purposes are?
Well, for one thing, it is a friendly reminder for people to wipe their shoes off so that they won't track dirt or mud into your home. And second, it is placed outside your door as a sign to let people know that they are welcome in your home.
Welcome — what does the word "welcome" mean? It means to receive someone in a warm and friendly way. Are people always welcome in our homes? Do we welcome people into our home if their skin is a different colour from ours? Do we welcome people into our homes if they don't have as much money as we do?
How about in our church? Do you think that we make everyone feel welcome in our church? Do we speak to those people who are visiting our church that we do not know? If someone comes to our church and they are not dressed the way we are dressed, do we make sure that they are made to feel welcome?
Jesus said, "He who receives you receives me." If we turn that around, we will understand that if we do not welcome others into our homes and into our churches, it is the same as if we are refusing to welcome Jesus. We wouldn't do that, would we?
Well, let's put the welcome mat out — and let's be sure that we mean it!
Announcements
Offering Prayer
God of grace and truth, you welcome us into your presence and provide refreshment and renewal for our lives in Jesus, your Son, our Lord.  Receive and bless these gifts and our lives which we offer in response to your many gracious gifts to us.  May our hands be always open to welcome people in Jesus’ name.  Amen

Hymn 129: Amazing grace               (Tune – Amazing Grace)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4_--goDv70
1.  Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

2.  ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
3.  Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
4.  When we’ve been there ten thousand years,Bright shining as the sun;We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,Then when we first begun.
5.  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,That saved a wretch like me;I once was lost, but now am found,Was blind, but now I see.Was blind, but now I see.
Lyrics: John Newton (1725-1807)Music: Traditional American melody                                     The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                                            Romans 6:12-23The Gospel Reading:                                        Matthew 10:40-42
Readings: NRSV
Romans 6:12-23
12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. 20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death.22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Matthew 10:40-42
40 ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’
Preaching of the Word
Whom Ought I Welcome? – Matthew 10:40-42
“Jesus said, ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’”Just so we get this straight: whoever welcomes you welcomes Jesus, and whoever welcomes your friend or neighbour or family member or work colleague or elected official or mother-in-law or next door neighbour or chatty seat companion on an airplane or the stall holder at the Farmers market or grocery checkout person or barber (if you still use one) or the Startrack driver or the child who hit your new car with a soccer ball…and so on and so forth…welcomes God? We could have fun with this! But would there ever be an end to such a list of those who are welcome? If there is an end to such a list of who is welcome, what does this mean? And if not, well- what does that mean?
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me. And whoever welcomes any one of us welcomes Jesus, welcomes God.The message we hear in this morning’s gospel reading from Matthew was important enough to Jesus and to the early church that some variation on this theme shows up in each gospel, and often more than once. There are numerous other examples and variations throughout the New Testament record. The bottom-line emphasis seems to be on inclusion, reciprocity, welcome and doing for others—all those things it takes to build up community, to include the stranger as neighbour. If we can believe the record of today’s lesson and so many other passages, Jesus and the early disciples and later apostles put a high value on welcoming and proclaiming the presence of God thereby.
Pause for a moment and think about what we’ve been hearing through all the election drama and to the present day about division, exclusion, keeping people separated, kicking people out.
There may be legitimate and compelling reasons to consider the economic impact or national safety issues in such things, but if an inhospitable, exclusive attitude goes along with these ideas, then they are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus who talked so very much about welcome, inclusion, hospitality.
Hospitality is a primary ethic of the cultures and peoples of the Middle East even now. Whether one is brought into a family home of Muslims, Christians or Jews, there is joy in welcoming, there is the belief that it is desired of God, the welcoming of strangers who are strangers no longer, but beloved friends, believing that in welcoming people into one’s home they are earning their crown in heaven, doing as God would have them do in welcoming the living God among us.
Such an understanding of hospitality, of the obligation of welcome, dates back to well before the time of Jesus. It was a matter of survival and community health which translated into the religious understanding of what God wants of us. Where and how do we experience such welcome today?
“Jesus said, ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’”Is this what we hear? Or do we hear, instead, words of separation, words of breaking relationship, words of opposition and repudiation?
So many of the ugly attitudes playing out on the world stage and in the evening news have spilled over into our popular culture, showing up in a variety of television shows with comments about the increase in bullying not only among children in our schools, but flowing out into our neighbourhoods, showing up in stepped-up immigration strictures and deportation raids, among other things.
Where is our witness to welcoming others, and thereby welcoming Jesus and the one who sent him? This Sunday falls is close two other occasions marked by some on their Church calendar: Queens Birthday Weekend celebration here in NSW and other states and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. It is important to note this for a number of reasons. First, think about Peter and Paul. They did not agree on many things, didn’t get along at all, and finally went their separate ways in the proclamation of the Gospel.
Peter insisted that the early believers must follow Jewish ways, must be circumcised, must hold to the Law. Paul’s vision led him to distant lands proclaiming faith in a risen Christ and urging believers to conform their lives to that faith. What they had in common, though, was the conviction that God had visited humanity in Jesus, and that Jesus had brought something new and remarkable to humankind demonstrated in a way to live, a way to relate and a way to witness to God’s love. And they both understood that the welcome of God was an invitation to a place in God’s kingdom.
As we celebrate this this Queens Birthday, and as some sing Advance Australia or God Save Our Queen, and as we have parties, picnics, BBQ’s etc., let us also ask ourselves what Jesus meant in telling us over and over again, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me” (Matthew 10:40).
We may believe differently about the details of faith, as Peter and Paul certainly did and as Christians are wont to do. We may understand civic responsibility differently; Americans have always held a variety of opinions on things.
But for us as Christian Australians the question of the day growing out of this gospel text asks: What does it mean to welcome, and how do we do that? What does it look like in our churches, in our neighbourhoods, in our national policies, in our very attitudes? For we are Christians first, as citizens of God’s kingdom, living that faith in an Australian context of privilege and challenge.Jesus didn’t say that we have to agree on everything, but he pretty clearly told us to be welcoming. Like Peter and Paul, we won’t all agree on everything. And as Australians, we will stand proudly to celebrate on the Fourth. When we put all that together, one possible outcome is that we may have to agree to disagree on some aspects of Australian policy as we live our Christian faith in daily practice.
Christian people are called to be welcoming, for in welcoming others we welcome God. Can we at least agree on that? As the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews reminds us, when we welcome strangers, we may be entertaining angels unaware. 
Hymn 585: I heard the voice of Jesus say                 (Tune – Kingsfold)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUVCpF8-VuE
1.  I heard the voice of Jesus say,"Come unto me and rest;lay down, O weary one, lay downyour head upon my breast."I came to Jesus as I was,weary and worn and sad;I found in him a resting place,and he has made me glad.
2.  I heard the voice of Jesus say,"Behold, I freely givethe living water; thirsty one,stoop down and drink, and live."I came to Jesus, and I drankof that life-giving stream;my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,and now I live in him.
3.  I heard the voice of Jesus say,"I am this dark world's Light;look unto me, your morn shall rise,and all your days be bright."I looked to Jesus and I foundin him my Star, my Sun;and in that light of life I'll walk,'til travelling days are done.

Author: Horatius Bonar (1846)Tune: Kingsfold
Music to lead us to prayer
Intercessory Prayers  
Come to prayer, all who labour and are heavy laden, and God will give us rest. Come to praise, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for the revelation of your gift of abundant life and for the rest coming to those who put their trust in you. For such life and rest, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for entrusting us with the message of your grace and love, that we might speak a reconciling word to our age. For such mercy, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for leading us into the ways of peace and for transforming weapons of war into tools of charity. For such peacemaking, we pray to you Lord,Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for the people of faith who surround us, and for family and friends, teachers and clergy, especially ………... and for all who assist our growth in grace. For such companions through life, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for the gifts of creation and for wholesome times of recreation. For such times of harmony, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for those who tend the sick, accompany the frustrated, visit the lonely, comfort the dying, confront the addicted, or minister to any need. For such attention to human anguish, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for sustaining all who are oppressed, all who suffer for reasons of conscience, all who are passionate for justice and all those in need of our prayers for any reason, [especially N.]. For such relief from their burdens and refreshment in you, we pray to you Lord,Lord, hear our prayer.Into your hands, O God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn 650: Brother, sister, let me serve you                   (Tune – Servant Song)                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qblqtb4jzL8
Brother, sister, let me serve you;let me be as Christ to you;pray that I may have the grace tolet you be my servant too.
We are pilgrims on a journey,and companions on the road;we are here to help each otherwalk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ light for youin the nighttime of your fear;I will hold my hand out to you,speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping;when you laugh I'll laugh with you;I will share your joy and sorrow,till we've seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven,we shall find such harmony,born of all we've known togetherof Christ's love and agony.
Brother, sister, let me serve you;let me be as Christ to you;pray that I may have the grace tolet you be my servant too.
Authors: Richard GillardTune Name: THE SERVANT SONGArranger: Betty Pulkingham

Benediction                With prophets and teachers, and all who seek to do the will of God— let us go forth to fill the empty cups of all who ask; let us give in the name of the Breath of Resurrection, the Wellspring of Grace, the Teacher of Truth: The One, Triune God, who gives eternal life. Let us share the blessings of Christ’s eternal covenant, and praising God for the Spirit’s call to love and give. Amen.                    Hymn 778: Shalom to you                  (Tune – Somos del Senor)

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 Worship Pentecost 3 21 June 2020

June 18, 2020 - 11:12pm

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Let Nothing Disturb You...,Sunday 21st June 2020Pentecost 3 Sunday - year of Matthew 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 (Abingdon Worship Annual 2020)        Great are the works of God’s hands. Wondrous are the blessings of Christ’s love. Holy are the works of God’s Spirit.
When we have been cast aside in the deserts of our lives, you open our eyes to life-giving water that sustains us in our need. When our future seems lost and others have taken our place of honour, you restore our hope and promise us an inheritance of our own. Who is like you among the gods?Who answers prayer in times of deepest need? We are here to worship you, O God, for you alone can save us.
Hymn 111: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,                  (Tune - Lobe Den Herren)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JvCmvlm-Qg
1.  Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.
2.  Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
3.  Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.
4.  Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.
5.  Praise to the Lord, oh, let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him;
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.
Author: Joachim Neander (1680)Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1863)
Tune: Lobe Den Herren
Opening prayer
     Eternal God turn and be gracious to us, for the road is long and we are weary. We feel beaten down by the trials of life and need your strength to sustain us. Show us your favour, and offer us your blessing, that we may abide in faithfulness and not be put to shame. Comfort us, O God, and revive our souls. Grant us the endurance to take up our cross and follow the difficult roads in life. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Holy One, your words cause us to tremble: “nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not be known.” There is much in our lives that we wish to hide from others, even ourselves. We fear those who kill the body, while ignoring those who kill the soul. Teach us once more, O God, that your Son came to bring us life— even if turned son against father, and daughter against mother. Remind us of our higher calling, and the promises you offer of life in your realm which has no end. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Those who seek to preserve their life will lose it, but those who lose their life for Christ’s sake will find it. Those who have died with Christ through baptism are united with him in his resurrection.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
With Christ’s peace in our hearts and God’s hope in our lives, let us share signs of joy and love this day.
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
Have you ever gone camping in a tent or caravan? How did you enjoy it?  Has anyone had ever spent your holiday in a tent or caravan, and it rained the whole time?  How were relationships at the end of the holiday?  Or how would you imagine relationships would be after being confined to tent/cabin/ caravan etc. for the whole vacation - strained? 
Imagine what it would be like to live in a tent all the time, no house, just a tent, coping with heat, cold, wind, rain, flies, etc.  I think that there would be plenty of occasions when relationships would be strained to breaking point.  The reading about Abraham and Sarah and Hagar is a story that was told over many years about the people's strong belief that God was guiding them at all times.  In the story, we discover that Abraham had two sons, Isaac whose mother was Sarah, and Ishmael, whose mother was Sarah's servant, Hagar.  
In the time when they lived, people lived in tents - maybe even all their lives were spent in tents.  Can you imagine what that would have been like? Perhaps Abraham and Sarah and Hagar and the two boys all lived in the same tent because it seems that relationships between the two women were very strained to the point where Sarah told Abraham to throw Hagar and Ishmael out.  Out into desert type country like the Nullarbor Plain in Western Australia.
Hagar ended up wandering in this wild country thinking that her son and she would surely die, but God guided her to where there was water and they survived.  This is a story about broken relationships and faith.  Faith that God is there, when times are really difficult, helping people to cope.  How does that happen?  God works through people just like us - no matter how young or how old we are. 
Hagar and Ishmael were a couple of refugees - people without a home, like many of the refugees who find themselves in detention centres in this country, and many around the world who spend their lives living in tents in refugee camps.  God works through the people who reach out to help them in their distress.  We are always to be on the lookout for ways in which we can be used to show that God cares for people.

Offering Prayer
Receive the gifts of our hands, O God, that they may be signs of your love and grace for a divided world. Through our offerings, help others follow the ways of life. Fill the world with your mercy, Holy One, that your faithful everywhere will honour you, by sharing your kingdom each and every day. Amen.
Hymn CAHON 752: Will you come and follow me                               (Tune – Kelvingrove)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHEjyGfRO7s
Will you come and follow me,If I but call your name?Will you go where you don't knowAnd never be the same?Will you let my love be shown,will you let my name be known,will you let my life be grownin you and you in me?
Will you leave your self behindif I but call your name?Will you care for cruel and kindand never be the same?Will you risk the hostile stareshould your life attract or scare,will you let me answer prayerin you and you in me?
Will you let the blinded see
if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free
and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean
and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean
in you and you in me?
Will you love the ‘you' you hideif I but call your name?Will you quell the fear insideand never be the same?Will you use the faith you've foundto reshape the world aroundthrough my sight and touch and soundin you and you in me?
Lord, your summons echoes truewhen you but call my name.Let me turn and follow youand never be the same.In your company I'll gowhere your love and footsteps show.Thus I'll move and live and growin you and you in me.
Author: John L. Bell
Tune: Kelvingrove                      
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                          Genesis 21:8-21The Gospel Reading:                     Matthew 10:24-39      
Readings: NRSV
Genesis 21:8-21
8 The child grew and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. 10 So she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.’ 11 The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named after you. 13 As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.’ 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, ‘Do not let me look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.’ 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
Matthew 10:24-39
24 ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! 26 ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Preaching of the Word: Let Nothing Disturb You...,
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing make you afraid,
All things are passing,
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is lacking to the one who has God--
God alone is enough.        These words, from a meditation titled "St. Teresa's bookmark," are a fine summary of today's readings from Scripture. They all speak to us, strangely enough, about the gift of patience. We are taught that patience is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but it often feels like a heavy burden. People in today's society mistake patience for submission in the same way they mistake kindness for weakness -- and they walk all over you. But as usual, we must look beyond the surface. God has a greater message in store.        Some truly great people in the history of Christianity have been "walked on" in this way, you see. Just as one example, St. Teresa, known as Teresa of Avila, is world famous as a theologian, reformer of the Carmelite Order, and spiritual advisor to the great medieval Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross. But Teresa's ministry was not well received in the community that she loved. Her sisters had grown lax in faith and practice, she called for reform, and their response was to throw her out of convents that she herself had established.
On one occasion, she was turned out at night in the middle of a rainstorm. Dressed from head to toe in her coarse wool habit, she got back into her donkey cart and was riding along when the wheel of the cart hit a ditch and the cart turned over, dumping Teresa into the mud. She sat there, in mud-soaked wool, looked up to heaven, and said, "Lord, if this is the way you treat your friends, it's no wonder that you don't have many."
But frustrated as she was, Teresa clung to God. Her writings also lead us to suspect that she got a response from God while sitting in that muddy ditch. One of her meditations on the Disciplines of the Holy Spirit talks about how we must not be deceived by the appearance that evil triumphs over good, for sometimes, as she wrote, "God uses the Devil as a sharpening-stone for Christians." Teresa not only taught this lesson, she lived by it. She did not give up on God, even when her sisters fought her every step of the way, going to priests and bishops to make trouble for her.
She kept right on teaching what she knew to be the truth. And eventually, she won out. Her desire was not to be right but to be faithful, and God prospered her efforts. Today, the very same saint who was treated so cruelly is known as a Doctor of the Church -- an exemplary teacher and thinker -- while the nuns who treated her so badly are long dead and unknown to us. And the Carmelite convents of Teresa's Reform continue to outnumber those of the unreformed group to this very day.
You see, Teresa understood what the prophet Jeremiah was talking about and what Jesus was teaching in today's Gospel lesson. It's a lesson you could put in very simple words. "Sometimes, when things go wrong, you just have to sit back -- and pat your foot." This is what Teresa did, and it's at the heart of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord himself. He endured persecution wordlessly and embodied the triumph of God over evil while waiting upon God. This Christian example is not a sitting back that does nothing. It is not passive submission; it is active waiting that is grounded in ultimate faith in the righteousness of God. Neither is it surrender to the belief that nothing can be done about the wrong; it is understanding that it is God who makes things right.
When you do everything you know to be right and then sit back and pat your foot, you imitate the long-suffering God who has been watching all along, watching patiently and mercifully, waiting for folks to do what is right. When you do all you can and then sit back and pat your foot, you see that when people refuse to "get it" and God runs out of waiting time, God comes forward to do what only God can. And if Scripture teaches us nothing, it is that when God gets tired, all kinds of things happen.
So, yes, we must be patient because the God we serve is patient. But the patience of God is a mysterious thing that comes in mysterious ways. We do not know how long it will last. We do not know how the solution will come when God steps in to make things right. The only thing we know for certain is that it is very good idea to be on the right side of God when it's time for God to act. Holy Scripture teaches us that misery is waiting for people of ill will, but miracles happen for those who walk by faith.
Holy Scripture gives us lots of examples to follow. The Bible tells the story of a God who recognizes the righteous human, striving to do right in the midst of people who would do harm. Jesus spoke of "sheep among wolves" and warned of the harm that comes from people of ill will. But his warning is intended to teach us to handle our problems with the patience of God and to trust in God's righteous outcome, for "A disciple is not above the teacher." When we try to be like God, giving people the chance to do what is right, God steps in at decisive moments -- and miracles happen.
An old, wandering nomad with no home to call his own ends up with children and great-grandchildren and a great land in which to enjoy God's protection. A parade of persecuted refugees who walk to safety on dry land in the middle of a sea. A woman in labour away from home with no place to bear her child is given warmth and shelter in a rocky cave, and wise men are sent to protect the child's life from a man who would kill it. The One who is killed for speaking God's truth is raised from the dead and goes on to prepare others to witness to God's triumph. The God of the Scripture is a God of miracles-and they happen in our day, too. Martin Luther King taught that "right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant" and the whole world continues to benefit from his legacy of patient but active faith.
So, we do not strike back in the darkness of our own anger and impatience and arrogance. We do not take the problem into our own hands, tempting God by "flying out in front" with our own solutions. Instead, we turn to God with the truth in our hearts, in the Spirit of the Psalmist. And God will protect and shield us from harm, while dealing with the wrong in God's own way and time. We've all seen it happen -- people banding together to run somebody out of a job and end up losing their own.
School children banding together in a lie to get another child in trouble and ending up suspended themselves. Folks in clubs and societies banding together to harass and mistreat new people and end up with their own organisation disbanded. Indeed, what goes around, comes around. No matter what anyone may choose to do to us, we are all called to love justice, do mercy, and walk humbly before our God-and when we do not, the consequences when we don't can be an awful thing to behold.
As it is written, "weeping comes in the night, but joy comes in the morning." This is the Good News of the Gospel, this is the faith that carries us through, and this is God's own response to evil and sin in this world. So, when troubles come, do just what you know is right and pray for protection. Then sit back, pat your foot, and watch God bring deliverance. Teresa's words are a message of ultimate triumph: "God alone is enough." So, as we come to the Table of Grace, let us come with spirits lifted and hearts grateful for the patience and providence of Almighty God-and let the People of God say, AMEN.
Hymn 186: Give to our God immortal praise                                      (Tune - Truro)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxImKByscwU
       Give to our God immortal praise;   mercy and truth are all his ways:
   wonders of grace to God belong;
   repeat his mercies in your song.
       Give to the Lord of lords renown;
the King of kings with glory crown:
his mercies ever shall endure,
when lords and kings are known no more.
        He built the earth, he spread the sky,
and fixed the starry lights on high:
wonders of grace to God belong;
repeat his mercies in your song.
        He fills the sun with morning light;
he bids the moon direct the night:
his mercies ever shall endure,
when suns and moons shall shine no more.
        He sent his Son with pow'r to save
from guilt and darkness and the grave:
wonders of grace to God belong;
repeat his mercies in your song.
        Through this vain world he guides our feet,
and leads us to his heavenly seat:
his mercies ever shall endure,
when this vain world shall be no more.
Author: Isaac WattsTune: Truro
Intercessory Prayers         Strengthened by the Spirit who gives us words to speak and hearts that care, let us bring our hopes and needs to God who listens.Fill your church with bold witnesses who will work for justice, serve with compassion, share your love, and spread the gospel. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.Pour out your Spirit on those without access to fresh water, and on those who dig wells to provide it for them, that they may be refreshed. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.Stir in the hearts of those who thirst for justice, that they bring peace, speak out against oppression, and preserve human dignity across the globe. Lord, in your mercy,hear our prayer.Make families everywhere be places of safety, encouragement, and love. Protect and uphold healthy relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and neighbours, and all your people. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.Wherever there is brokenness, bring healing. Bind up our wounds, teach us compassion, and dry our tears. Be especially with those we name now. (Pause) Give themcomfort, reconciliation, and hope. Lord, in your mercy,hear our prayer.Thank you for those who through their words and deeds have passed on the faith from one generation to the next. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.We lift our prayers to you, God of mercy, confident that all things are in your hands. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 583: Take up your cross                  (Tune – Breslau)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxw3jRhsVVY
“Take up thy cross,” the Saviour said,“If thou wouldst My disciple be;Deny thyself, the world forsake,And humbly follow after Me.”
Take up thy cross, let not its weightFill thy weak spirit with alarm;His strength shall bear thy spirit up,And brace thy heart and nerve thine arm.
Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame,Nor let thy foolish pride rebel;Thy Lord for thee the cross endured,And saved thy soul from death and hell.
Take up thy cross then in His strength,And calmly sin’s wild deluge brave,’Twill guide thee to a better home,It points to glory o’er the grave.
Take up thy cross and follow Christ,Nor think till death to lay it down;For only those who bear the crossMay hope to wear the glorious crown.
To Thee, great Lord, the One in Three,All praise forevermore ascend:O grant us in our home to seeThe heavenly life that knows no end.
Text: Charles Everest 1833 Tune: Breslau from: As hymnodus sacer 1625
Benediction                Though we have been cast aside,        you restore our future. Though others seek to banish us from sight, you bless us with opportunities for new life. Go with the blessings of the one who loves us fiercely. We go to share God’ love with the world.        And may that same Almighty God, creator, redeemer and giver of life guide your dance in life forever. Amen
Hymn 777: May the grace of Christ our Saviour                     (Tune – Waltham)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq25i6PmCl8
1.  May the grace of Christ our Saviourand the Father's boundless love,
with the Holy Spirit's favour,
rest upon us from above.
2.  Thus, may we abide in union
with each other and the Lord,
and possess, in sweet communion,
joys which earth cannot afford.
              Author: John Newton (1779)                   Tune: Waltham





Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Church Worship Pentecost 2 Sunday 14 June 2020

June 12, 2020 - 1:24am

Sunday 14th June 2020Marsden Road Uniting Church

Carlingford---------------------------------------------------------------------




We Have So Many Ways.Sunday 14th June 2020Pentecost 2 Sunday in the year of Matthew9.30 am
Gathering God’s People
Prelude Music to prepare for worship
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.

Gathering God’s People

Call to Worship (Mary J. Scifres, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)        Hope in God. Expect miracles. For with God, anything is possible!
We call to the Lord, and God hears our prayers. We lift up our praise, and God hears our songs. We wait for the Lord, and God answers our hope.
Hymn 672: Lord of earth and all creation                                   (Tune – Westminster Abbey - Purcell)
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.
Author: Michael Thwaitesand Honor Mary ThwaitesTune: Westminster Abbey; Composer: Henry Purcell (1680)
Opening prayer
Miraculous, wonderful One, come to us now. Pour outyour grace and your love. Shower us with the power ofyour Holy Spirit, that we may become people ofmiracles— people filled with the laughter of hope. Amen
A Prayer of Confession
Holy One, be with us in our weakness.When we laugh out of fear, calm us with your courage. When we laugh out of doubt, empower us with your faith. When we laugh out of our confusion, guide us with your wisdom. Transform our nervous laughter into songs of praise and shouts of joy and trust. In your blessed name, we pray. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       In God’s faithfulness, we are made righteous. In Christ’s love, we find peace and hope. In the Spirit’s strength, our laughter of derision is transformed into laughter of joy.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
With Christ’s peace in our hearts and God’s hope in our lives, let us share signs of joy and love this day.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: God’s LoveObject: A String of pearls or pearl earrings
This morning I’d like you to think about a string of pearls. Do you know where pearls come from? They come from oysters. An oyster is a shellfish that lives in the ocean. They have a very hard shell that protects them, but sometimes something like a small grain of sand can get inside the shell and it causes a lot of pain and discomfort for the oyster.
God has given the oyster a way to ease that pain. When a grain of sand gets in there, the oyster oozes out a liquid that coats the grain of sand and then it hardens. The oyster keeps doing this over and over until the grain of sand no longer causes pain. This is how these pearls are made. Something that started out being painful turned into something very beautiful and valuable.
The same thing happens to us. Sometimes something comes into our life that causes a lot of hurt and pain. When that happens, God gives us something to help ease the pain. He gives us His love. If we ask Him to, He will ooze out His love to ease our pain and suffering. Often what started out to be very painful in our life can turn into something beautiful.
Dear Lord, we thank you that when we have pain and hurts in our life, you ooze out your love to ease the pain. Help us to remember that you can take the most painful hurts in our lives and turn them into something beautiful. Amen.
Offering Prayer
Bless these gifts, O God, with your hope and love, that others may know your healing power and your miraculous possibilities. In joyous trust, we pray. Amen.
Hymn 235: A man there lived in Galilee                  (Tune – Tyrolese)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ficsjHnilZ4
A man there lived in Galileelike no one else before,for he alone from first to lastour flesh unsullied wore;a perfect life of perfect deedsonce to the world was shown,that everyone might mark his stepsand in them place their own.
A man there died on Calvaryabove all others brave;he gave to all, he saved and blessed,himself he scorned to save;no thought can gauge the weight of woeon him, the sinless, laid;we only know that with his deathour ransom price was paid.
A man there stands at God's right hand,divine, yet human still;that grand, heroic, peerless souldeath sought in vain to kill.All power is his: supreme he rulesall realms of time and space;yet still our human cares and needsfind in his heart a place.
Author: Somerset Corry Lowry (1926)
Tune: Tyrolese
 
                               
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                          Romans 5.1-8          NEB page 875The Gospel Reading:                     Matthew 9:35-10:8   NEB page 732After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the LordPlease respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.
Readings:
Romans 5: 1-8
1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Matthew 9:35-10:8
9 35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his arvest.’10 1 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.
Preaching of the Word: We Have So Many Ways...,
We have so many ways of learning about God. We learn from Holy Scripture, of course. We learn from our worship, from the seasons of the year and the glories of nature, from one another, in our prayers.
There is a way of watching movies that can open our minds and hearts to God in ways more powerful than we might imagine. When we see a movie strictly for entertainment, we've received our money's worth, but when we watch the screen through the eyes of faith, God can touch us in ways that are worth much more, ways that are surprising, even transcendent. Ordinary, commercial films become "Jesus movies."
Take the film, The Green Mile, for instance. The Jesus figure in The Green Mile is obvious, of course. John Coffey, an enormous black man in the South, has been accused of murdering two small girls, and upon his arrest he is delivered to "the Green Mile," death row in a southern prison. It becomes apparent fairly early in the film that John is innocent; he is sweet and what we used to call "simple-minded;" despite his huge size, he weeps quietly at times and is afraid of the dark. He shows tenderness to all but the truly evil ones he encounters on the Green Mile, and after a couple of miraculous healings, there's no doubt in our eyes just who John Coffey represents. He's our Jesus figure in this movie.
Jesus showed us the nature of the Divine as he walked this earth among us. So, what can John Coffey show us about the nature of God if we view him through the lens of Christ, praying that the Holy Spirit guide us to any truth?
In Matthew's Gospel today, we learn that "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." Matthew continues: "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
Compassion. "Com-passion." "Feeling with." Feeling another's pain, another's suffering.
In The Green Mile, one of the several climactic scenes shows us a gruesome execution, one in which a sadistic rookie deliberately omits a step in the electrocution process, essentially cooking a Cajun inmate named Edouard Delacroix, a man for whom John Coffey -- and the movie's viewers -- have developed a fondness. In one of the most graphic death scenes in cinematic history, as Del screams and jolts and jerks and smokes, John Coffey, in his own death row cell, experiences exactly the same torture. He jerks and grimaces as though he were sitting in "Old Sparky" himself. The lights on the Green Mile dim, then burst, as he lives through Del's electrocution from afar.
After the body has finally died and has been removed for burial, the officer in charge of the Green Mile, Paul Edgecomb, returns to his block and walks to John's cell. Sweat pours from John's body; he is still trembling. He says to Edgecomb through clenched jaws, "Boss, Del, he the lucky one. He out of it now."
"Do you mean you heard that all the way down here, John?" asks Edgecomb.
"No, Boss. I felt it," replies John.
John Coffey, our Jesus character, actually felt the pain of his friend. He experienced his torture, as though he had somehow been in the body of Edouard Delacroix.Compassion. Feeling with.
"Freely you have received, freely give," Jesus tells the twelve as he sends them out to preach and heal those for whom Jesus has such great compassion. We might overhear him saying something like, "Heal every disease and sickness. Cast out evil spirits. Take the message of the Kingdom to those who live on death row every day of their lives. Help me care for them. Have "com-passion" on them. Feel with them. I can't do it all by myself. The task is too great to be done alone, even by me. And it's not God's purpose that it all be done by me. You're in this, too. We can't do it without you. You're going to be my Body on earth soon, so you'd better get out there and start learning what that means before I leave you."
So the followers of Jesus, his disciples, the ones who had left fishing nets and families to follow and learn from this magnetic young man who spoke so winningly of his heavenly Father, these twelve meagrely prepared ones were now to take their first steps as apostles -- those who are sent out to do for the hurting of the world that which Jesus himself wishes done.
As we step into their shoes today, let's listen to this story carefully, because it is our story, too. We are his disciples today and more -- we are his Body. Christ, the compassionate one, is the Head of the Body. Information Central. Where the commands to the Body come from. Unless our own head tells our index finger and thumb to move closer together, we can't do so much as pick up a pencil. We need, as Christ's Body, to listen more carefully to Christ, our Head.
What is Christ telling us? To go out and be do-gooders in the name of the church? No! Some people see this passage as a mandate for evangelism, and that can look scary, even impossible, especially for western white protestants. I read of a plan in the 90's, where someone was heard to say that their plan for evangelism was to build a really attractive aquarium next to the ocean and then wait for the fish to jump in. That's not what Jesus is calling us to here.
Jesus is sending us out to do the work that springs from a heart filled with compassion, with empathy, with doing our best to experience another's pain. We can never reach this ideal, of course; each person's pain is unique. But the heart of the compassionate Christ, which is and must be our own corporate heart, has no place for criticism, for judgment, even for merit. We help those who need help, not those we deem worthy of our help. It is not our own help we offer, of course; we are merely the vehicles for Christ's healing touch, his saving grace, his Word of hope.
As we move more deeply into our identity as Christ's Body, as 21st century apostles, in this work of embodying Jesus today, church growth is a side effect of Christ's impact on those we encounter. Evangelism happens because the "evangel" is Good News indeed! And as we do the will of the one who sends us out, our own lives become daily more filled with the love and grace of our Saviour.
Freely we have been given, not deserving. Freely and with compassion we are called to give. The harvest is plentiful, and we are the laborers today in a field filled with weeds and hungry for the harvest. Shake off the dust and let's go!
Hymn 186: Stars and Planets flung in orbit                  (Tune - Lauda Anima (Goss))
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee_fmMl9trg
Stars and planets flung in orbit,galaxies that swirl through space,powers hid within the atom,cells that form an infant’s face:these, O God, in silence praise you;by your wisdom they are made.
Skies adorned with sunset splendour,silent peaks in calm repose,golden fields awaiting harvest,foaming surf and fragrant rose:earth, its bounty clothed with beauty,echoes all creation’s praise.
Life in wondrous, wild profusion,seed and fruit, each flower and tree,beast and fish and swarming insect,soaring bird, rejoicing, free:these, your creatures, join in chorus,praising you in wordless song.
Humankind, earth’s deepest mystery,born of dust but touched by grace,torn apart by tongue and colour,yet a single, striving race:we, in whom you trace your image,add our words to nature’s song.
Gracious God, we bring before yougifts of human life alone,truth that throbs through song and story,visions caught in paint and stone:these, O God, we gladly offer,gifts to praise the Giver’s name.
Christ, the Word before creationas creation’s final goal,once you came for earth’s redemption;by your Spirit make earth whole:then, O God, the new creationwill your praise for ever sing. 
Author: Herman G. StuempfleTune - Lauda Anima (Goss)
Intercessory Prayers  
We pray for our local community that we can all learn to share with one another. We ask for your blessing on all people in this community in their daily life and work. For the young and the elderly, for families and for all who are alone. Guide and enable all who lead and serve our community and on those whom we depend for our daily needs. We give you thanks for human skill and creativity and all that reveals your glory in our lives.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer We pray for you church throughout the world, for all involved in mission and outreach. We ask for your blessing on our church here and we thank you that there is so much friendship here. Show us how to help each other so that the worship we now offer is the worship of a true family, through Jesus Christ who is head of the Church. Give us grace to proclaim the gospel joyfully in word and deed and help us to fulfil our calling and to care for one another in an unselfish fellowship of love; and to care for the world around us by sharing with it the good news of your love; and serving those who suffer from poverty hunger and disease.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer Loving God, in your hands are the destinies of people and of nations, we bring before you in our prayers those who have been entrusted with special responsibilities for the life of our nation. May all involved in negotiations uphold goodwill and mutual understanding and show due respect to each other.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer Loving God, we pray for all of us here this morning, for our families and friends. Inspire us to work at our relationships and remind us to welcome you in every situation we meet. We ask for your blessing on our family members and on all for whom we love and care. May we always be ready to forgive, respect and value them.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our PrayerLoving God, we commend to your healing all who are in pain or are ill at home or in hospital. We pray for those about to undergo or who are recovering from surgery: for all who depend on others for life and movement. May they be reassured by the strength of your presence. In a moment of quiet we name in our hearts those whom we know who are in need of our prayers.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our PrayerWe pray for the bereaved and the desolate: may all in trouble or sorrow draw strength from your life and your victory over death. We pray for those who have died that, falling asleep to this life they may wake to eternal life in the joy of heaven.
Jesus Christ is the light of the world; a light which no darkness can quench. We pray for all who have died and light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ which eternally shines and brings hope.
Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our PrayerWe thank you Father that we are all invited to share your life-giving love: make us worthy of all you have promised.Merciful God accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour – Jesus Christ.  Amen
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 233: I will sing the wondrous story                     (Tune – Hyfrydol)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCyxs4udKi0
I will sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me.How He left His home in gloryFor the cross of Calvary.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
I was lost, but Jesus found me,Found the sheep that went astray,Threw His loving arms around me,Drew me back into His way.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
I was bruised, but Jesus healed me;Faint was I from many a fall;Sight was gone, and fears possessed me,But He freed me from them all.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
Days of darkness still come o'er me,Sorrow's paths I often tread,But the Saviour still is with me;By His hand I'm safely led.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
He will keep me till the riverRolls its waters at my feet;Then He'll bear me safely over,Where the loved ones I shall meet.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
Author: Francis H. Rowley (1886)Tune: Hyfrydol
Benediction                Go now in peace. Laugh this week with hope. Take God’s love with you wherever you go!        Go now in peace. Go now in hope. Go now with the love of God. And may that same Almighty God, creator, redeemer and giver of life guide your dance in life forever. Amen
Hymn 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


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