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Updated: 3 hours 29 min ago

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Epiphany 5 - 24 January 2021

January 22, 2021 - 7:07am


 Sunday 24th January 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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How It Works

Sunday 24th January 2021

Epiphany 3 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People

Call to Worship- (Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)       

The light God shines forth in Jesus Christ changes everything. The world as we know it is passing away and becoming something gloriously new. In Jesus Christ, God’s kingdom is coming . . . and is already here. This is good news indeed.

Jesus says, “Now is the time!”

Startle us, God, from our busyness and routines. Show us how very close your Kingdom is.

Jesus says, “God’s kingdom is at hand!”

Deliver us, God, from faith in our own strength. Free us from the traps of violence, dishonesty, and greed.

Jesus says, “Receive the good news from God!”

Embolden us, God, to trust you anew. For we are as fragile as breath, and draw our strength from your mercy and compassion.

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

                       (tune – Lobe Den Herren)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCnQNwQG5GI

Words in YouTube older English and only four verses – misses verse four.

1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Brothers and sisters draw near,
praise him in glad adoration.

2 Praise to the Lord, above all things is wondrously reigning;
and, as on wings of an eagle, uplifting, sustaining;
Have you not seen all that is needful has been
sent by his gracious ordaining?

3 Praise to the Lord, who will prosper our work & defend us;
surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
if with his love he befriends us.

4 Praise to the Lord, who when darkness of sin is abounding,
who when the godless do triumph, our best hopes confounding,
sheds forth his light, scatters the horrors of night,
saints with his mercy surrounding.

5 Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.

Lyrics - Joachim Neander              Tune - "Lobe den Herren" 

     Opening Prayer

     Loving God, in this season of Epiphany, your kingdom has drawn close— so close we can almost touch it. Help us see that we already live under your rule of peace. May our worship today draw us closer to you and to one another. When we measure greatness by status and success, you challenge us to find true greatness in following Jesus. You call, and like Jonah, we often run away in our unwillingness to preach mercy to others. You call, and like the disciples, we often rush after you, only to falter and fall away when the shadows deepen. Yet your strength and kindness never falter, even for the resistant Jonah or the enthusiastic fishermen. And your strength and kindness never abandon us. Loving God, it is you we worship this day. Amen 

A Prayer of Confession

You, God, are known for your wonderful deeds - your God alone offers strength and hope. Let us welcome God’s kingdom, making it our refuge. Pour out your hearts, trusting God with everything, even your failings and your deepest concerns.

God, we know that you alone are unshakable. You alone are our stronghold and our refuge. You deliver and glorify us, yet we fail to love and glorify you in return. We live as if we can save ourselves, as if we can be our own stronghold and fortress against the storm. Yet we are fragile as breath. We are consumed by our desires to succeed and dominate. We blindly strive to get our way, and are greedy for all sorts of wealth.

And so, we confess our failings to you and to one another, trusting in your forgiveness and your grace. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Beloved, God repays us according to our deeds, and yet in Jesus Christ, we have nothing to fear. Trusting God with everything, we rest in God’s faithful love. Allowing Christ to change our hearts and our lives, we find God’s strength and hope.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

God alone gives us peace, a peace that is trustworthy and sure. Greet one another with the good news of peace in Jesus Christ.

Peace be with you!       And also, with you!

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Jesus calls us to follow him.

Object: A telephone

Scripture: And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

What do you do when there is an emergency? Let's say, for example, that someone has a serious injury or illness, and if they don't get help right away, they might die. What would you do? Right! You'd pick up the phone and call 0-0-0!

When you call 0-0-0 and tell the person who answers that you need help right away, it is their job to see that you get help. That person would never say something like, "I'm sorry, we are really busy right now, maybe some other time." No way! They drop whatever they are doing and make sure that you get the help you need.

In our Scripture story today, Jesus was walking along beside the sea of Galilee preaching the good news of God when he made a call for help. He saw Peter and Andrew throwing a net into the water. They were fishermen. He called out to them, "Come, follow me and I will teach you how to fish for people."

You see, Jesus wanted Peter and Andrew to help him teach people about God's love for them. When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, they didn't say, "Not right now, we are busy fishing. Maybe some other time." No! Our scripture tells us that they left their nets and followed Jesus.

Jesus, Peter, and Andrew had gone a little farther when they saw James and John sitting in a boat mending their nets. When Jesus saw them, he called to them, "Follow me." They didn't say, "Not right now, we're busy mending our nets. Perhaps some other time." No, we read that they left their father sitting in the boat with the hired hands and followed Jesus.

Jesus is still calling for help today. He has called you and me to help him to bring others into God's Kingdom. Is it an emergency? It sure is! It's a matter of life and death! We hear in scripture, "Unless you repent, you will all perish." Jesus has called us, what will we say? What will we do? I hope and pray that we will drop whatever we are doing and answer the call.

Offering Prayer

God may these gifts and our very lives be a YES! to follow Christ’s call. Use us and the offerings we bring this day, that your peace, your strength, and your loving-kindness may be made more visible in the world. Amen 

Hymn TIS 672:Lord of earth and all creation

                       (tune – Westminster Abbey)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2vPYrbzeGc

1.  Lord of earth and all creation

let your love possess our land;

wealth and freedom, far horizons,

mountain, forest, shining sand:

may we share, in faith and friendship,

gifts unmeasured from your hand.

2.  People of the ancient Dreamtime,

they who found this country first,

ask with those, the later comers,

Will our dream be blessed or cursed?

Grant us, Lord, new birth, new living,

hope for which our children thirst.

3.  Lord, life-giving healing Spirit,

on our hurts your mercy shower;

lead us by your inward dwelling,

guiding, guarding, every hour.

Bless and keep our land Australia:

in your will her peace and power. 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Jonah 3: 1-5,10

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 1:14-20

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

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings:

Jonah 3: 1-5,10
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2 ‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.’ 3 So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, ‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. 6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. 8 Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.’ 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.   

Mark 1:14-20

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’ 16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. 

Preaching of the Word - How It Works

“Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

That’s all we get in today’s Gospel lesson to describe how Jesus called his first disciples and how they responded. That’s it. In just seven verses our Gospel writer says four fishermen drop everything and follow Jesus on the basis of his two-word command: Follow me.

Our Gospel called Mark known for being terse, staccato in style. In this telling of the Good News, the writer shows us a Jesus on the move, Jesus who does everything immediately. (The word “immediately” occurs twice in today’s little story. It occurs about 27 times in the whole Gospel.) In Mark we get  just the details we need, and the result is a fast-paced, streamlined account of who Jesus is, what Jesus does, and how people respond.

So, it’s no wonder that today we hear Jesus give a command, and these four fishermen respond immediately.

For some, the lack of details is frustrating. We probably want to know: What were they thinking? What motivated the fishermen? How could they really drop everything to follow?

For others, the lack of details is inviting—our imaginations fill in the gaps. Perhaps Simon was bored that day. The nets had been coming up empty, the wind was too strong to go out far from shore, so why not just leave the nets and follow this man who seemed to need him for something? Perhaps James never really felt like he was cut out for fishing. It was the family business, so of course, he was doing what was expected of him, but really, maybe it was time he stood up for himself and told his father he wanted to try something new, put down the nets, and do his own thing for a change. And Andrew, perhaps he saw something in Jesus’s face when he spoke that intrigued him. Maybe.

We are not told. Apparently, the person bringing together this Gospel called Mark doesn’t think it matters what they were thinking or feeling. What matters is that Jesus said, “Follow me,” and that’s what they did. We may wish there were more to it than that. We may wish we knew what it was about them that made them so willing to take risks, so free to respond, so able to walk away from the familiar, from the security of the predictable to go off into an unknown future with a man they hardly knew. But we don’t know.

And because the Gospel called Mark doesn’t tell us, we have to entertain the possibility that this really is the way Jesus gets followed: without all the facts, without really knowing what Jesus is up to or where exactly he’s going, or why he wants us to follow him. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and that’s enough. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and we do.

Or we don’t. Whether we think that Jesus is calling us to undertake even just one task, become more like him in one small way, give up one familiar habit to do something he wants us to do, let alone if following Jesus might mean making large sacrifices, large changes, life-altering plans, it’s hard for us to conceive of the possibility of following on the basis of a simple command.

We are not uncomplicated fishermen, we say, as if any human life is uncomplicated. We are responsible people, we say. We must make our decisions carefully, we say, weigh our options. Our decisions take research; our values need clarification. We can’t just rush into things. We can’t afford to change the directions of our lives merely on the basis of a very vague proposal, let alone just because Jesus tells us to. Really, it would be easier to follow Jesus if we had a different job, a different spouse, if we were single, if we didn’t have children, if we had different friends, a different income.

Discerning the call to follow can be tricky because part of what we try to figure out is when Jesus is calling us to come away from the specifics of our lives in order to follow, and when Jesus is calling us because of the specifics of our lives, that is, because we have the job we have or the life we have, because we are who we are.

Jesus told those fishermen, “I will make you fish for people.” He didn’t say, “I really need accountants, but you’ll have to do.” It may be that he’s saying to you, “I really need you to follow me in your job.” “I really need you to follow me in your marriage.” “I really need you to conform your family life to a way that allows you to follow me.” “I really need you to follow me when you’re with your friends.” “I really need you to use your talents to help in my kingdom, to help in my church, to help in my world.”

Today’s story is a little unnerving, a little unsettling. The Gospel named Mark seems to be saying that whether we follow by making big changes or small, following means giving things up, just like that. We seem to be, being told that this is how one follows Jesus: without all the details, without taking time to consider all the options, without having much of a road map, beyond putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where Jesus takes you. Can we do it?

Today’s gospel story is about a decisive moment in the lives of four fishermen, when Jesus called them to follow and they said yes. But even after they said yes, they had to keep listening. Jesus kept calling them to the next thing, the next way for them to follow. Same with us: we are called again and again to follow, to put aside what’s occupying us, and be about Jesus’ business instead.

Since it’s Jesus who calls us to follow—whether it’s to go halfway around the world or to do one thing for Jesus today right where we live, trust this: Jesus won’t lead us astray or abandon us. God has given the Church, including this particular group of the church, the gift of the Scriptures, the story of Jesus and the Christian community, to form us and guide us. God has given us the sacraments and God’s promise to be with us and nourish us for God’s service in the bread and wine we share together monthly. God has given us the promise to be with us even when just two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus Christ. All these things make our willingness to follow not just about risk, but about promise as well.

When Jesus called those first four fishermen, they didn’t make demands and they didn’t ask for guarantees, they just left their nets and followed. But later in the gospel, when maybe they were rethinking their decision, Jesus gives them a promise. What happens is this: Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus responds, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life”

Today Jesus says to each of us, “Follow me.” 

What do you say? 

Hymn TIS 677: Christ’s is the world in which we move

                        (tune – Dream Angus)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgeYYCuQ9B8

1. Christ’s is the world in which we move.

Christ’s are the folk we’re summoned to love,

Christ’s is the voice which calls us to care,

and Christ is the One who meets us here.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.


2. Feel for the people we most avoid.

Strange or bereaved or never employed;

Feel for the women and feel for the men who,

fear that their living is all in vain.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.


3. Feel for the parents who lost their child,

feel for the woman whom men have defiled.

Feel for the baby for whom there’s no breast,

and feel for the weary who find no rest.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.

4. Feel for the lives by life confused.

Riddled with doubt, in loving abused;

Feel for the lonely heart, conscious of sin,

which longs to be pure but fears to begin.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.

Author: John L. Bell
Tune: Dream Angus 

Intercessory Prayer - Epiphany 3 Sunday – Year B

In you, 0 God, do we place our trust: hear us when we bring our prayers for the world and for the church.

We pray for the peoples of the world: for all who experience the horrors of war, famine, or disease, for all who suffer the loss of freedom and dignity. Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of aggression and greed, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for Australia: for the preservation of the natural treasures of this land: for all who live here, for inhabitants from ancient times and for new arrivals. Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of prejudice and intolerance, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for the church, its clergy and people: for prophets today, who call us to repentance; for our parish family and all who minister in this place. Help us answer your call to leave behind our arrogance and division, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for the communities in which we live: for our families and friends and all who give us love and companionship; for all whose work sustains this community

Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of alienation and apathy, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are in need: for those whose lives are filled with grief, loneliness or despair; for the disabled, the infirm, the sick and the dying, and for all who care for them.

Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of selfishness and neglect, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for your faithful servants of every age, for Andrew, Peter, James and John, and for those in every generation who have followed you. Help us, like them, to answer your call to leave behind all that separates us from you, that we may find new life in your eternal presence.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

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

Hymn TIS 571: Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go

                        (tune – Song 34)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKppMDm5m9I

YouTube has six verses with verse 3 added. Also uses King James English whereas TIS is modern English. extra verse

1 Forth in your name, O Lord, I go,

my daily labour to pursue,

you only, Lord, resolved to know

in all I think or speak or do.


2 Each task your wisdom has assigned

will let me cheerfully fulfill;

in all my work your presence find,

and prove your good and perfect will.


3 You may I set at my right hand,

whose eyes my inmost substance view,

and labour on at your command

and offer all my works to you.


4 Give me to bear your easy yoke,

in every moment watch and pray,

and still to things eternal look

and hasten to your glorious day.


5 for you delightfully employ

all that your bounteous grace has given,

and run my course with even joy,

and closely walk with you to heaven.

Lyrics by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788).

Tune: Song 34, Orlando Gibbons 

Benediction

Go forth and share the good news from God.

God rewards us and our deeds, not with doom, but with mercy. In circumstances both difficult and joyful, God remains our place of safety.

Go forth and proclaim God’s kingdom.

The world as we know it is passing away. We belong to God’s kingdom, which is coming and now is.

Now is the time to be the good news.

We go forth to tell the world the good news of the strength and mercy of our God. 

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.
                       (Tune – Aubrey)

                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

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

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

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

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)          Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)




 


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Church Worship First Sunday after Christmas 27 December 2020

December 26, 2020 - 12:30am

 

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Light in Darkness

Sunday 27th December 2020

Christmas 1 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am 

Gathering God’s People   

 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples 

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

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

Call to Worship- (Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)       

Joy to the world! Christ has come and Christmas is here! Let all of creation sing praise to our God 

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants, you ordain praise and thanksgiving to silence the foe and the avenger.

You make everything beautiful in its own time.

You set eternity in our hearts, yet we cannot fathom what you have done from beginning to end.

What could be better than to be happy and to do good while we live?

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

O God, our God, you are Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. 

Hymn TIS 317: Love Came down at Christmas

                 (Tune – Garton)

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

1 Love came down at Christmas,

love all lovely, Love divine;

Love was born at Christmas;

star and angels gave the sign.

 

2 Worship we the Godhead,

Love incarnate, Love divine;

worship we our Jesus,

but wherewith for sacred sign?

 

3 Love shall be our token;

love be yours and love be mine;

love to God and others,

love for plea and gift and sign. 

Author: Christina Georgina Rossetti (1885)

Tune: Gartan 

     Opening Prayer 

We come to you today, God, the Alpha and the Omega, as people blessed by your tender care. Today, we come to seek your guidance, that we may better understand how to follow the teaching of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, in whose name we pray. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession 

Gracious God, giver of new beginnings, we come to you today, confessing our need.

As we face this coming year, help us through each day.

As we leave the past year behind, help us look to you. When we face birth or death; when we confront a time to plant or to uproot, help us put our faith in you.

When we see a time to tear down or to build up, when we face a time to weep or to laugh, when we meet a time to be silent or a time to speak, help us rely on you.

You alone know what the coming year holds. You alone know of our small triumphs and our grand failures.

Gracious God assure us once again that there is forgiveness in your love.

Heal us with the knowledge that our sins may be left with you, through our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

God brings a season for every activity under heaven and has made everything beautiful in its time. Although we cannot fathom the depths of God's love, we know that God cares for each of us; we know that our inheritance comes from God.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace 

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, be with you. Share this gift of peace with all whom you see and greet.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

A Word with the Children/Young People 

Theme - Keeping our promises

Object - A calendar for the new year

It is coming up to the beginning of a New Year on a Calendars. A brand-new calendar for a fresh start on life. Most people start the new year by making some New Year Resolutions. Making a resolution is like making a promise to ourselves that we are going to do certain things. Usually it is a promise to do better next year than we did last year. Here is a list of resolutions that might be good to make.

·I will watch less TV and get more exercise.

·I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car.

·I will be nice to other children (Even my brothers and sisters!).

·I will put away my toys when I am through playing with them.

Can you think of some more resolutions you could make?

Some people don't take New Year's resolutions very seriously. After all, these are just Promises that are made to one’s self. If you don't follow through, it's no big deal. Well, maybe it is a big deal! A promise is a promise -- and it is important to keep your promises -- even if it is just a promise to yourself.

God is always faithful in keeping promises. In scripture, there is a story about a man named Simeon. Simeon was a very old man who had faithfully served God all of his life. Simeon was looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. God had promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Christ, the promised Messiah.

A few days after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple to dedicate him to God. Simeon was in the temple as he usually was. As soon as Simeon saw the baby, he knew that Jesus was the Christ and that God had kept his promise that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.

Simeon took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, "Lord, now let your servant die in peace. As you have promised, I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people."

Anna, a prophet, was also in the Temple. She was always at the Temple worshiping and praying. She came along just as Simeon was talking to Mary and Joseph. When she heard what Simeon was saying, she began praising God and telling everyone that this child was the Saviour that God had promised. Both Simeon and Anna knew that God is faithful to his promise just as he is faithful to his promises to you and me.

Today, as we look to beginning a new year this week, let's remember that just as God is faithful in keeping his promises, we should be faithful in keeping our promises. It doesn't matter whether it is a promise to one’s self, a promise to a friend, or a promise to God. After all, a promise is a promise! 

Offering Prayer 

God, source of all we have, help us remember the tasks that you have set before us. Bless these gifts, that they may help continue the work we are called to do. Use this place and this congregation to reflect the love that Christ has shown. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 301: The first Nowell

                  (Tune – The First Nowell)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6tQlRkF59I 

The first “Nowell” the angels did say

Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;

In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,

On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!

Born is the King of Israel!

 

They looked up and saw a star

Shining in the east, beyond them far;

And to the earth it gave great light,

And so it continued both day and night.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!

Born is the King of Israel!

 

And by the light of that same star

Three wise men came from country far;

To seek for a King was their intent,

And to follow the star wherever it went.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!

Born is the King of Israel!

 

This star drew nigh to the northwest:

O’er Bethlehem it took its rest;

And there it did both stop and stay,

Right over the place where Jesus lay.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!

Born is the King of Israel!

 

Then entered in those wise men three,

Full reverently upon their knee,

And offered there, in his presence,

Their gold and myrrh, and frankincense.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!

Born is the King of Israel!

 

Then let us all with one accord

Sing praises to our heavenly Lord

That hath made heaven and earth of naught,

And with His blood mankind hath bought.

Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell!

Born is the King of Israel! 

Author: Anonymous (1833)
Tune: The First Nowell 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Isaiah 61: 10 - 62:3

The Gospel Reading:                                        Luke 2: 22-40. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Isaiah 61: 10 - 62:3

61 10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. 62 1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. 2 The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. 3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 

Luke 2: 22-40.

22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’ 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’ 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’ 36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him. 

Preaching of the Word - Light in Darkness 

In the bleak mid-winter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone...
snow had fallen, snow on snow,
in the bleak mid-winter long, long ago.

These are the words we hear from the Christina Rosetti’s poem made into the Carol. I was thinking about this when I read todays lessons. If we lived in the Northern hemisphere the following would be so but for us it is the heat, fire and drought that make our Christmas-tide days.

You know though, not only in winter, but some days also seem darker than others. Some days seem colder. The shortest, darkest day of the year are yet to come for us but in the North, although the days will gradually lengthen now, winter hangs on. A phenomena called Canadian clippers with cold blasts of Arctic air continue to slam across the plains slicing down even into the deep South of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. On the East coast recent snow may be melting and the hard ground softening, but the dark winter days continue and soon there will be cold and snow again.

As if it were a last pathetic effort to reach people where they are, little shopping mall angels have sung: "Peace on Earth good will to men," while powerful men talk of war and prominent church figures speak of it as inevitable and sometimes justified. For us this has been in the heat of summer. In the north though, some days seem colder, sometimes seem darker, than others.

We are now twenty years away from a dark and cold century, marked, as one writer has said, by wars or worse: the forced starvation of a whole population in the Ukraine, the forced extermination of whole races in the death camps and ovens of the Holocaust, the forced imprisonment of those declared outside the regime in the gulags of Siberia, the forced banishment or murder for those outside a particular group in ethnic cleansing, and in this land the perpetuated discrimination based on colour or sex.

Today our new century doesn’t seem to have offered great change with attacks on worshipping groups etc. Well even the Covid-19 Pandemic. We still stand before a future not only unknown and therefore frightening, but before a future in which anything can happen, or has already happened -- with a few grieving the loss of faith, and a few trying to remember -- not only how faith was -- but asking: "How it is to be for us again?"

Is there room for God; is there room for faith in a world that seems to have gone mad? Some days seem colder-sometimes seem darker than others. In a season when in places in the world little shopping mall angels sing: "Peace on Earth to people of good will," the arrogant talk of war: defensive, antiseptic, surgical, clean and quick, justified and scorching. The talk of punishing, of election fraud dominates our news.

Yet, on that first Christmas night, when heaven could not hold him and the Earth barely able to welcome him, Jesus Lord and Christ, was stable born, a baby in Bethlehem.

Now in our dark night, does he look to come again? Does he look again for hearts to hold him? We hear again from Christina Rosetti:

Angels and archangels may have gathered there
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air...
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

Is Christmas too good to be true? Is Christmas too far-fetched and too far away? Is it that God Almighty become a baby was something unthinkable? The long-expected gift was too fine and too far-fetched, they said. In Jesus, God joins our weakness and that is foolish to the strong.

On that first Christmas night, when heaven could not hold him, Jesus Lord and Christ, was stable born in Bethlehem, in a land we now call Israel. Well the question for us is: is Christmas too far-fetched; too far away, and too feeble!

No! I want to answer, Christmas is too near!

Christmas is God's work, God's risk for intimacy with you and me. Christmas is a time for closeness and warmth, a time for carols and singing, a time for laughter and love, a time for warmth and kindness -- a time for kissing, for play, and for peace. 

Mary, remembering her revolutionary Magnificat, kissed her baby; and God kissed the Earth. Now in our own dark night, God wants to kiss the earth again -- in Bethlehem’s all around the world in the land between you and me. Today, Jesus wishes to be born again, not in the city of David, but in Bethlehem’s all around the world in the land between you and me.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb...
If I were a wiseman, I would do my part,
yet what can I give him ... give my heart.

(Christina Rosetti)

What is the challenge for this coming new year as Covid is still with us -- 2021? Well, here is a few thoughts. To make room in the land between your heart and mine for faith and beauty and love and goodness and God to live again; and counting on these things, to expect them to make a difference!

"I believe in one God...who was made flesh and dwells among us." "Look at that -- I have never seen anything so beautiful."

"Let love set fear aside -- to welcome, embrace, and feed the fearful stranger again."

To know that God wants and works for Peace On Earth and that with the help of a little child -- the one born in Bethlehem and the one hiding in each of us --

God's will shall be done. 

Hymn TIS 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 honours of your name. 

Author: Charles Wesley

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

Intercessory Prayers  

God of all mercy, we give you thanks for your beautiful and bountiful creation and for all who work to protect it.

We pray for all people in areas of war, for all who suffer persecution and privation; for all with the responsibility of government in this and other lands.

In the darkness of inhumanity, give us compassion; where there is arrogance, give us humility; where there is foolishness, give us wisdom.

May we who have received your light, live so others may see your light. Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

God of all grace, we give you thanks for the birth of your Son, who comes to us as the Light of the World. We pray for your worldwide church, for the National Council of Churches, for all who minister and worship in this place, for the teachers and students at the Sunday Kids.

In the darkness of sin, give us grace; where there is error, give us truth; where there is unbelief, give us faith.

May we who have received your light, live so others may see your light. Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of all love, we give you thanks for all who sustain us with their love and care.

We pray for children and the families in which they live; for those with whom we work and play, for this community, for all whose daily work enriches our lives.

In the darkness of rejection, give us love; where there is alienation, give us reconciliation; where there is injury, give us forgiveness.

May we who have received your light, live so others may see your light. Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of all compassion, we give you thanks for all who lighten the burdens of others.

We pray for all who live with pain, grief, loneliness and hopelessness, for the sick and all who care for them.

In the darkness of pain, give comfort; where there is despair, give hope; where there is grief, give consolation.

May we who have received your light, live so others may see your light. Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of all faithfulness, we give you thanks for your faithful servants of every age: for Simeon and Anna and all who have recognised your Son as the Light of the World and for all whose lives have shone with the radiance of your light.

With these, and with all who have passed through the shadow of death, may we too come to dwell for ever in the glory of your presence. Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

THE LORD'S PRAYER

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

Hymn TIS 309: Angels from the realm of glory

                 (Tune – Iris) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UidzShf8Ihw 

1 Angels from the realms of glory,

wing your flight through all the earth;

heralds of creation's story

now proclaim Messiah's birth!

Come and worship, Christ, the new-born king;

come and worship, worship Christ the new-born king.

 

2 Shepherds in the fields abiding,

watching by your flocks at night,

God with us is now residing:

see, there shines the infant light!

Come and worship, Christ, the new-born king;

come and worship, worship Christ the new-born king.

 

3 Wise men leave your contemplations!

brighter visions shine afar;

seek in him the hope of nations,

you have seen his rising star:

Come and worship, Christ, the new-born king;

come and worship, worship Christ the new-born king.

 

4 Though an infant now we view him,

he will share his Father's throne,

gather all the nations to him;

every knee shall then bow down:

Come and worship, Christ, the new-born king;

come and worship, worship Christ the new-born king. 

Words: James Montgomery

Music: Iris (French Traditional) 

Benediction

      Go forth in peace, the peace of Christ.

             Go forth with the joy of the season.

 .           Go forth with the love, the love of God

             Go forth to serve, led by the Spirit of God.

        Go forth in the name of the living Word, the One whose words bring forth the fruit of the kingdom in your own lives! Amen.        

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

                     (Tune – Aubrey)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA 

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

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

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

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

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)   

      Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)



 

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Christmas Day 25 December 2020

December 24, 2020 - 2:18am

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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


Did You Find What You Were

Looking For?

Sunday 25th December 2020

Christmas Day year of Mark 8.30 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 2011)       

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Let the seas roar and the mountains quake.

Christ was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him.

Sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done marvellous things.

What has come into being in him was life, and that life was the light of all people.

Let heaven and earth break forth into joyous song, singing praises to our God.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.

Christ, our light, shines forth in glory. Christ, our life, brings us grace and truth. Alleluia! 

Hymn TIS 268: Joy to the world (tune – Antioch)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzhCMwqn6OQ 

1.  Joy to The World! The Lord Is Come

Let Earth Receive Her King!

Let Every Heart Prepare His Room

And Heaven and Nature Sing

And Heaven and Nature Sing

And Heaven, And Heaven and Nature Sing

 

2.  Joy to The World! The Savior Reigns

Let Men Their Songs Employ

While Fields and Floods

Rocks, Hills and Plains

Repeat the Sounding Joy

Repeat the Sounding Joy

Repeat, Repeat the Sound Joy

 

3.  He Rules the World with Truth and Grace

And Makes the Nations Prove

The Glories of His Righteousness

And Wonders of His Love

And Wonders of Is Love

And Wonders and Wonders of His Love 

Author: Isaac Watts (1719)
Tune: Antioch 

     Lighting of The Christmas Candle - Unity 

     We are people who have walked in darkness, and who have sometimes walked alongside those for whom darkness is a way of life, whether by choice or through the violence of injustice or conflict.

Now we rejoice in a great light. A child has been born for us all, and we enter the promise of peace.

     Come, let us worship and adore the God who is born among us.

     God is present with us and to us!

            (Christmas Candle-lighting)

     God is in our midst as the Christ candle sits at the       centre of our prayers and longing, expressed as we have gathered over the past weeks.

     In the lighting of this candle, we stand in the miracle of Jesus’    birth. We pray that the fragility of this new dawn will reveal again the mystery and wonder of God’s love.

     It is time to cry out in joy and to proclaim the cause of those who seek justice. It is time to take the light of the Gospel of love to every corner of our lives. Glory to God, in the highest heaven.

     And on earth, peace to all people. And so, trust grows between all people and we become one. 

     Opening prayer 

God of life and light, as you came on that Christmas morning so many years ago, come to us today. Gather us into your light and love and fill us with the brightness of your glory. Shine the light of your love into the recesses of our lives, that we may walk in darkness no longer. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession 

God of love and light, you have blessed us with a priceless gift— the gift of your very self in the person of Jesus.

Forgive us, Holy One, when we deny your gift or neglect your promise in our lives. Forgive us, Mighty God, when we fail to acknowledge Christ as the reflection of your glory and majesty.

Purify our hearts, purge our sins, and make us your beloved children, that we may be full of your righteousness, grace, and love. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

Christ judges us with righteousness and equity and loves us with grace and mercy. Through the gracious gift of God, and the gift of Christ, we are forgiven!

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, be with you. Share this gift of peace with all whom you see and greet.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

A Word with the Children/Young People 

Theme: Don't mistake all the tinsel and lights for the real  

            meaning of Christmas.

Object: Some Christmas decorations, a gift, Christmas

            cookies, etc.

It's here! It's finally here! Christmas is finally here! I just love Christmas, don't you? What do you like best about Christmas? Is it the Christmas tree with its blinking lights? Maybe it's the beautiful music or the delicious Christmas goodies. Perhaps it's Christmas dinner with turkey and dressing and all of the trimmings. For some it might be all of the parties or visiting with family and friends. For many people the best thing about Christmas is the presents — both the ones we give and the ones we receive. Especially the ones we receive!

Hmm. . . Can you think of anything I have left out? Oh yes! It's someone's birthday, isn't it? Whose birthday is it? That's right! It is Jesus' birthday. You know, sometimes we get so caught up in all of the decorations, lights, parties, and presents that we miss the real Christmas.

That reminds me of a story I heard about a little boy who had always wanted to go to a circus. One day he was walking down the street when he saw a poster in a store window. The poster said that a circus was coming to town and that a ticket to the circus cost one dollar. The boy ran home and asked his father if he would give him a dollar to go to the circus on Saturday.

His father told him that if he would work hard and get all of his chores done, he would give him a dollar to go to the circus. Saturday morning came and the boy got up early and did all of his chores.

"I have all of my chores done," the boy told his dad.

The boy's father gave him a dollar and the boy headed into town filled with excitement about seeing wild animals, trapeze artists, and all of the things that come with a circus. Since he arrived in town so early, he was on the front row when the circus parade started down the main street of town. The boy was thrilled when the animals and other circus acts paraded by.

At the end of the parade came the clowns and following the clowns was the ringmaster. When the ringmaster passed by where he was standing, the boy ran out into the street, took his folded dollar bill from his pocket, and handed it to the ringmaster.

"Thanks," mister, said the boy, "that was a great circus." Then he turned around and walked home. He never knew what he had missed. He thought he had been to the circus, but he had only been to the parade.

If we are not careful, we can be like that little boy. We can get so caught up in the celebration, the decorations, and the gifts that we miss the real Christmas -- the birthday of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Offering Prayer 

God of infinite chances, there is no length you will not go to offer us the possibility of new life and the opportunity for redemption. As we gather in gratitude for the gift of your Son, receive our thanks and humble appreciation for all that we receive, which makes us what we are. Bless these gifts and offerings, that they may bring light and life to God's people. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 304: O come all ye faithful verses 1,5,6,7

                       (tune – Adeste Fideles)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8dgI4-bVPU 

1 O come, all ye faithful,

joyful and triumphant,

come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;

come and behold him

born the king of angels:

 

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

Christ the Lord!

 

5 Child, for us sinners

poor and in the manger,

fain we embrace thee with love and awe;

who would not love thee,

loving us so dearly?

 

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

Christ the Lord!

 

6 Sing, choirs of angels,

sing in exultation,

sing all ye citizens of heaven above,

'Glory to God,

glory in the highest':

 

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

Christ the Lord!

 

7 Yea, Lord, we greet thee,

born this happy morning,

Jesus, to thee be glory given;

Word of the Father

now in flesh appearing:

 

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

O come, let us adore him,

Christ the Lord! 

Author (Attributed To):    John Francis Wade, C. 1711-1786

Translator:  Frederick Oakeley, 1802-80 Translator (V3-5):      William Thomas Brooke, 1848-1917

Tune: Adeste Fideles Composer (Attributed To): John Francis Wade, C. 1711-1786                                                     

The Service of the Word                               

The First Reading:            Isaiah 62.2-7

Gospel Reading:               Luke 2:8-20                         

 

Isaiah 62.6-12 

6 Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest, 7 and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it renowned throughout the earth. 8 The Lord has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink the wine for which you have laboured; 9 but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the Lord, and those who gather it shall drink it      in my holy courts. 10 Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an ensign over the peoples. 11 The Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to daughter Zion, ‘See, your salvation comes; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.’ 12 They shall be called, ‘The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord ’; and you shall be called, ‘Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.’ 

Luke 2.8-20 

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,      and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Preaching of the Word - Did You Find What You Were Looking For? 

“Did you find what you were looking for?” You have likely heard this phrase uttered many times over these past few weeks during Christmas shopping forays. It’s rather ubiquitous, isn’t it? “Did you find what you were looking for?”

Most of the time, you likely answered, “Yes, thank you,” or perhaps you inquired about something you had not been able to find. And in the context of purchasing something, you probably didn’t give your answer much thought beyond the immediate transaction.

But today, on this Christmas Day, let’s consider the question again: “Did you find what you were looking for?”

On this day we once again hear the old familiar story of an unwed teenage mother-to-be named Mary and her fiancé Joseph making the trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem under orders to be enrolled from their Roman overlords. The birth of Mary’s son happens, and we hear that a messenger from God appears to shepherds who get the initial report of the birth of the Messiah. The messenger gives them a sign by which they will find the baby, and a great number of the heavenly host appear to glorify God. The shepherds decide to go check this out, and they find things just as the angel had reported to them. They found what they were looking for!

We know this story, don’t we? Even if all we know of it is hearing Linus deliver its strains in King James English as a monologue in “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” we know this story. We know the shepherds found what they were looking for: the baby Messiah, the Anointed One. What they perhaps did not know and could not fully comprehend in that moment over 2,000 years ago is what this child would mean for them – and for us.

While Luke tells us the events of Christ’s birth, in essence, answering the “What happened?” question, we are left with another question: “Why did it happen?” Why did God choose to come to us and live as one of us?

Part of the answer is found in the three short verses from today’s reading from the Letter to Titus:

“When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy … so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

This passage is paraphrased to clarify the point of the author: The birth of Christ happened to save us.

It happened precisely because we could not save ourselves from the mess of living life on our own terms. If we could have done so, we would have, right? But human history has proved that we can’t do it in and of ourselves. So God took the initiative and set about this saving work, not because we earned it in any way, but solely because of God’s grace.

What a radical idea this is – especially in light of our capitalistic meritocracy-based culture. We did not earn this salvation – it was freely given to us by God’s grace. Grace is that unmerited, unearned love that God has for all of creation. The letter goes on to say that this grace “justifies” us, which means it makes our relationship with God right and balanced. God initiates making the relationship with us right. Make no mistake, we have the obligation to respond to this invitation and participate in a right relationship; however, we are not the initiators of that action – God is.

And the reason God makes this relationship right is so that we might become heirs, children of God, with a hope of eternal life. Eternal life is an often-misunderstood concept and often posited as “going to heaven when you die,” which turns it into some kind of celestial evacuation plan. But that isn’t what the scriptures mean by the term eternal life. Eternal life is living fully and freely in the present now, loving God and each other. This lifetime of loving presence happens right here and now and continues forever.

So, when we think about the birth of Christ beyond the story of what happened and consider why it happened, it leads us back to the question, “Did you find what you were looking for?” Perhaps you haven’t considered that question in this context but do so for just a moment.

You are here, worshipping, on Christmas. Why did you come? You didn’t have to come, you know. Oh, sure, some here will give a nod to attending worship on Christmas being part of your family tradition, or maybe it was to appease parents or grandparents, and some of you are accustomed to regularly attending church. But regardless of why you think you are here, ponder in your heart for a moment what you are really seeking, because perhaps something deeper brought you here. What are you really looking for?

If we are honest, we all have a deep longing – a sense of something missing in our lives. Some call this the “hole in our soul.” It is the nagging feeling that we are incomplete and lacking. We humans are consciously aware of our fragility, our finitude, our faults and our failings. It is a fearful thing to acknowledge this truth. Most of us spend our lives running away from this stark reality by attempting to fill this hole in our soul with anything that promises to fulfill or fix us.

But try as we might, we cannot fill this hole ourselves because it was placed there by God when we were breathed into existence. It was placed there for a purpose: to draw us to say “yes” to God’s free gift of love in Christ.

Christmas is the proclamation that God spoke an eternal “yes” to us by slipping through the back door of history as a helpless baby, to grow up and live with us, die for us, and be raised from the dead to prove once and for all that our fragility, finitude, faults and failings are not the last word.

Christ is still renewing, redeeming and giving life to us – all of us, no exceptions.

No matter what your life circumstances are this day, God called you here to speak a word of eternal life and love to you: a love that you didn’t have to earn or prove yourself worthy to receive. God’s movement is toward us and for us in the birth of Jesus Christ.

This love is mystical, and it is the only enduring and life-giving way to fill the hole in your soul. It comes to us through Word and Sacrament and is present through this community.

So, come. Come to this worship. Come as you are. Come here today and you will find what you are looking for. 

Hymn TIS 307: The Virgin Mary had a baby boy

                        (tune – Virgin Mary)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqDVq-L269c                

1 The virgin Mary had a baby boy,

the virgin Mary had a baby boy,

the virgin Mary had a baby boy,

and they say that his name was Jesus.

 

He come from the glory,

he come from the glorious kingdom.

He come from the glory,

he come from the glorious kingdom.

Oh, yes! believer!

Oh, yes! believer!

He come from the glory,

he come from the glorious kingdom.

 

2 The angels sang when the baby born,

the angels sang when the baby born,

the angels sang when the baby born,

and they say that his name was Jesus.

 

He come from the glory,

he come from the glorious kingdom.

He come from the glory,

he come from the glorious kingdom.

Oh, yes! believer!

Oh, yes! believer!

He come from the glory,

he come from the glorious kingdom.

 

3 The wise men saw where the baby born,

the wise men saw where the baby born,

the wise men went where the baby born,

and they say that his name was Jesus.

 

He come from the glory,

he come from the glorious kingdom.

He come from the glory,

he come from the glorious kingdom.

Oh, yes! believer!

Oh, yes! believer!

He come from the glory,

he come from the glorious kingdom. 

Tune: [The virgin Mary had a baby boy] 

Intercessory Prayers 

Let us rejoice for our God has done marvellous things; let us give thanks for our God has come to dwell with us.

God of heaven, we give you thanks and praise for glad tidings of a Saviour's birth. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ as we celebrate again your coming to us. We pray for those who are persecuted for their faith; for those who have never heard your name. May we, like the shepherds, hurry to greet you, and make known to others what has come to pass.

God of heaven, dwelling among us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks and praise for glad tidings of peace to a warring world. We pray for our sisters and brothers with whom we share this earth. We pray for those who experience no peace, no justice, no dignity or hope, for all victims of prejudice, hatred violence and greed. May we, like the angelic host, spread abroad your message of peace and good will. God of heaven, dwelling among us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks and praise for glad tidings of love to your lost and lonely ones. We pray for those for whom Christmas is a time of sadness or distress. We pray for the unwanted and the unloved, for the hungry and homeless, and those afraid for the future. May we, like Mary, be bearers of your love to the world. God of heaven, dwelling among us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks and praise for glad tidings of healing to your wounded people. We pray for all broken in body, mind or spirit. We pray for all who mourn the absence of loved ones; for the sick and the dying and all who minister to them. May we, like the Christ child, bring your tender compassion to all in need. God of heaven, dwelling among us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks and praise for glad tidings of everlasting life to your faithful servants of every age. We give thanks for Mary, for Joseph and for all your holy people who have welcomed the Christ child to their hearts and homes. Lead us, with them, to where you may be found, that with your people on earth and with your saints in highest heaven we may behold your glory and worship you. God of heaven, dwelling among us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.    

THE LORD'S PRAYER 

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

        Hymn Carol of the Birds: Orana

                          (tune – Carol of the Birds)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZWXTLNDJ1Q                  

              Out on the plains the brolgas are dancing
Lifting their feet like war horses prancing
Up to the sun the woodlarks go winging
Faint in the dawn light echoes their singing
Orana!  Orana!  Orana to Christmas Day 

Down where the tree ferns grow by the river
There where the waters sparkle and quiver
Deep in the gullies bellbirds are chiming
Softly and sweetly their lyric notes rhyming
Orana!  Orana!  Orana to Christmas Day 

Friar birds sip the nectar of flowers
Currawongs chant in the wattle tree bowers
In the blue ranges lorikeets calling
Carols of bush birds rising and falling
Orana!  Orana!  Orana to Christmas Day 

Author: William Garnet James & John Wheeler
Tune: Carol of the Birds 

Benediction 

         Go forth with happiness and with good works.

        This is what God has called us to do.

        Find satisfaction in all your toil.

        This is the gift of God.

        In everything you do, praise the Lord!

        And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.
                       (Tune – Aubrey)

                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA 

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

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

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

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

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)          Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)




 

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Worship Christmas Eve Family Worship 24 December 2020

December 24, 2020 - 2:02am

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Longing for Peace

24th December 2020

Christmas Eve year of Mark 7.00 pm

URL: https://uca-nswact.zoom.us/j/98503300406

Phone: 80156011 Meeting Number: 98503300406 

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 2011)       

This is a night for rejoicing—a night to sing a new song to God, a night to celebrate the salvation brought through the birth of Jesus, a night to embrace the light shining in the darkness. God's light and salvation have been brought forth through a child who will rule with justice and righteousness. 

We who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. 

Even in a land of deep darkness— on us light has shined.

For a child has been born for us. God's own Son has been given to us.

We call him Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace through his glorious reign.

Let all God's people sing for joy. Let heaven and nature sing! 

Carol TIS 312: Once in Royal David’s City

                       (tune – Irby)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRIZ22dn-XY 

1 Once in royal David's city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little child. 

2 He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord of all,
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall:
with the poor, and mean, and lowly,
lived on earth our Saviour holy. 

3 And thro' all his wondrous childhood
he would honour and obey,
love and watch the lowly maiden
in whose gentle arms he lay:
Christian children all must be
mild, obedient, good as he. 

4 And our eyes at last shall see him,
thro' his own redeeming love;
for that child so dear and gentle
is our Lord in heav'n above:
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone. 

5 Not in that poor lowly stable,
with the oxen standing by,
we shall see him, but in heaven,
set at God's right hand on high;
when like stars his children crowned
all in white shall wait around. 

Author: Cecil Frances Alexander (1848)
Tune: IRBY; Henry John Gauntlet 

Opening Prayer 

Shine your light, O God, into the darkness of our world. Shine your glory, Holy One, into the shadows of our lives. May the singing of the angelic chorus stir our hearts this day, as it did the shepherds as they watched over their flocks by night. Prepare our hearts anew, O God, to behold the gift of your Son in awe and wonder. Amen 

A Prayer of Confession 

God of love and light, you have blessed us with a priceless gift— the gift of your very self in the person of Jesus.

Forgive us, Holy One, when we deny your gift or neglect your promise in our lives. Forgive us, Mighty God, when we fail to acknowledge Christ as the reflection of your glory and majesty.

Purify our hearts, purge our sins, and make us your beloved children, that we may be full of your righteousness, grace, and love. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness 

Christ judges us with righteousness and equity, and loves us with grace and mercy. Through the gracious gift of God, and the gift of Christ, we are forgiven!

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace 

How beautiful are the feet of those who come announcing peace? How radiant are the eyes of those who shine the light of God’s love? With blessings of peace and love to share, let us turn to one another and offer signs of God’s blessings this Christmas day.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

Offering Prayer 

God of infinite chances, there is no length you will not go to, to offer us the possibility of new life and the opportunity for redemption. As we gather in gratitude for the gift of your Son, receive our thanks and humble appreciation for all that we receive, which makes us what we are. Bless these gifts and offerings, that they may bring light and life to God's people. Amen. 

Carol TIS 318: Away in a Manger

                      (tune – Cradle Song)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrX2oHgLqe8 

1 Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.

The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,

The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

 

2 The cattle are lowing; the baby awakes,

But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.

I love you, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky

And stay by my side until morning is nigh.

 

3 Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask you to stay

Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.

Bless all the dear children in your tender care,

And fit us for heaven, to live with you there. 

Author (attributed to): Martin LutherAuthor (st. 1-2): Anonymous (1885)Author (v. 3, attr.): John T. McFarland (1892)
Tune: CradleSong; W.J. Kirkpatrick and L.F. Bartlett                                           

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                    Isaiah 9.2-7

The Gospel Reading:                                Luke 2:1-14

Isaiah 9.2-7 

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness - on them light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. 

Luke 2.1-14 

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.’


Preaching of the Word
- Longing for Peace - Isaiah 9:2-7 

We usually tend to romanticise Christmas, but we don’t do it on purpose. I wonder how that fits this year after the things we have been through with the pandemic. Yet, we are reasonable, logical, and hard-headed, but the magic of the season gets to us in spite of ourselves. Christmas lights, for instance, make us breathe a little faster and our eyes open a little wider.

Not all lights, of course, are breathtaking and eye-opening. The ones in stores and on lampposts at the mall don’t count. The lights in front of houses, even the cheesiest ones, are the magical lights—multi-coloured blinking lights that drape small bushes and scale tall trees, ring wreaths on doors, and trace rectangles around windows. Lighted reindeer graze next to Santa in the hammock.

Electric lights of various types live next door to glow-in-the-dark Josephs and Marys that live next door to solemnly glowing candles.

We notice the lights, not only because they’re hard to miss, but because they give us the feeling that something important is on its way. We love lights, in part because we understand that the world is dark. We want to believe that life should be easy, but the obvious truth is that life is hard. Most of us have more medical tests in our future than in our past, more tears to come than we’ve already shed. The carefree days never last long enough.

Especially after the regulations for Covid-19 a number of us would have some worries about being alone. Will we spend our lives by ourselves? Others worry about family. Will our marriage get better? We’re afraid for our children. Will they turn out like we hope? We’re afraid that our parents are growing old. How are we going to care for them? We worry about our health. Some of us are growing old too.

Life is hard. The world is dark. The state of the world leads us to pessimism. The world is at war and no one has an exit strategy. So many bad things happen that we become numb to the suffering of others. We’ll spend most of our lives hoping for a better day and a better world.

When Isaiah wanted to speak to our deepest longings, the prophet chose light as the symbol because he knew how dark the world can be.

Zebulun and Naphtali, the tribes Isaiah addresses, were in a hopeless situation. These were the two northern- most tribes of Israel. Whenever anyone invaded, they were the first and last to bear the brunt of it. When the Assyrians overran Israel, they decided to annex these two tribes. Naphtali and Zebulun were cut off from the rest of Israel, separated from their countries and their families. What possible word of encouragement can Isaiah offer? What can he say that will bring hope?

Isaiah believed that the chaos of the world would be answered by the birth of a child. He preaches, “I know things are dismal. The enemy has killed people you loved and taken your land but listen to this. A child will be born. This child will make things right. You live in darkness, but take hope, for a light is shining. Your despair will become joy. Your oppressors will be driven away, their battle gear destroyed. This One who comes will be a wonderful counsellor—acting as a true friend, a mighty God—ruling in power, an everlasting Father—caring for you, the Prince of Peace—bringing harmony to a war-torn world. His Kingdom will last forever. Peace will come in the child that will be born.”

It’s such a magnificent vision that it seems more like a fantasy than a promise. In time, one night when the world wasn’t looking, the prophet’s dream became flesh. In the middle of the dreariest of winters, God promised spring.

Isaiah framed his vision in his prophecy. A light will overcome the darkness. People will rejoice. The oppressors will be overthrown. The kingdom of Christ will be peaceful and just. Because of Christ, the world will be better than it is now. Peace will overcome hostility. Love will defeat hatred. Fears will become laughter.

One day, the light will overcome the darkness. We don’t pay enough attention to dreams as big as Isaiah’s or promises as wide as God’s peace.

This day we celebrate as God entering our world invites us to dream of the peace God promises. Every now and then we catch a glimpse: when a young father takes his newborn daughter into his arms for the first time; when a troubled couple falls in love again; when a family makes a pilgrimage to the bedside of a dying loved one and feels an unexplainable peace; when a single woman comes home to her solitary dwelling not as a place of emptiness but as a nest sheltered under the wing of God; when the lights that surround Christmas shine into the darkest places in our lives; when followers of Christ courageously seek peace.

God invites us to believe in this child and the person he grew up to be, to believe in the power of God to bring light into our darkness and peace to our world. 

Carol: The Three Drovers  (tune – The Three Drovers)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Afsc90qotA                

1. Across the plains one Christmas night,

Three drovers riding blithe and gay,

Looked up and saw a starry light,

More radiant than the Milky Way;

And on their hearts such wonder fell,

They sang with joy "Noel! Noel!

Noel! Noel! Noel!"

 

2. The air was dry with summer heat

And smoke was on the yellow moon;

But from the Heavens, faint and sweet,

Came floating down a wonderous tune,

And as they heard, they sang full well,

Those drovers three, "Noel! Noel!

Noel! Noel! Noel!"

 

3. The black swans flew across the sky,

The wild dogs called across the plain,

The starry lustre blazed on high,

Still echoed on the Heavenly strain;

And still they sang "Noel! Noel!",

Those drovers three, "Noel! Noel!

Noel! Noel! Noel!" 

Composer Lyricist: William G. James

Composer Lyricist: J. Wheeler 

Intercessory Prayers 

Let us pray for the people of this world who are in need this day as we celebrate Christmas.
Child of Bethlehem, smile upon the church all over the world: may the Holy Spirit guide us, and grant that we may pursue truth, unity, peace and righteousness. We pray especially for the church now, being tested by difficult questions and challenged in its approach to the pandemic. We pray for the work of the church and for our own ministries as we live our lives. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Child of Bethlehem, smile upon all those charged with the responsibility of government all over the world, that they might rule in peace, justice and mercy, that people may honour one another and seek the common good.Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Child of Bethlehem, smile upon those who will not enjoy this season, for whom life is a struggle for survival as a result of poverty, famine, disease, war, or the greed of others. We pray, too, for those striving to rebuild after the devastation of natural disasters and of terrorism. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Child of Bethlehem smile upon all who are troubled, anxious or sick in mind, body or spirit and for those who love and care for them. Give them courage and hope in their troubles and bring them the joy of your salvation. We remember now anyone known to us who is in special need of our prayers, and name them in a moment of silence …. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer

Jesus Christ is the light of the world, a light which no darkness can quench. We remember before God those who have died and remember a lit candle symbolises the light of Christ, which eternally shines and brings hope. We remember ….
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. 

Carol TIS 311: Silent Night (tune Silent Night)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRZOv31n1sY 

1 Silent night, holy night!

All is calm, all is bright

'Round yon virgin mother and child.

Holy Infant so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

 

2 Silent night, holy night!

Shepherds quake at the sight;

Glories stream from heaven afar;

Heavenly hosts sing "alleluia!

Christ, the Saviour, is born!

Christ, the Saviour, is born!"

 

3 Silent night, holy night!

Son of God, love's pure light

Radiant beams from thy holy face,

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth. 

Author: Franz Xaver Gruber
Tune: Silent Night; Joseph Mohr 1792-1848 

Benediction 

Walk in darkness no longer.

We will walk in the light of Christ.

Sing of salvation and peace.

We will live with grace and joy.

Go and proclaim the good news,

Jesus Christ is born. Alleluia!

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain 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 Service Advent 3 - 13 December 2020

December 11, 2020 - 1:13am

 

      Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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One of the Classic Stories...,

Sunday 13th December 2020

Advent 3 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am 

Gathering God’s People 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples 

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

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

Call to Worship- (Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)       

Christmas is near at hand. But do we truly believe Christ is coming soon? Do we yearn for the day when faithful love and truth shall meet, when righteousness and peace shall kiss? Will we prepare our hearts to receive the coming miracle? It is time to get ready. 

Look! Faithful love and truth have met in this place. Righteousness and peace have kissed in our midst. Listen! God is speaking words of hope.

Christ is calling us into God’s flock.

See! The glory of God shines all around us. The love of Christ flows through our lives.

Come! Let us worship

Hymn TIS 265: O come, O come, Emmanuel

                       (tune - Veni Emmanuel)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO7ySn-Swwc&list=RDXt5UhDHIqYY&index=8 

1.  come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

 

2.  come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

 

3.  come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death's abode. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

 

4.  come, O Branch of Jesse's stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o'er the grave. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

 

5.  come, O dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by our Advent hear;
disperse the gloomy clouds of the night
and death’s dark shadows put to flight. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.
 

Translator: J. M. Neale (1851)
Tune: Veni Emmanuel (Chant) 

     Lighting of The Advent Candle - Joy 

The Advent season encourages us to be joyful always; to pray continually and to give thanks in all circumstances; this is God’s will, promised to us in Jesus Christ.
We light the candle of hope to proclaim that God’s light is coming into the world.
The first purple candle is lit
We light the candle of peace to proclaim that the Prince of peace is coming to us heralded by the angels’ message of peace and goodwill to all.
The second purple candle is lit
We light the candle of joy to proclaim that God came into the world to share our common humanity.
We rejoice that ‘humanity’ here embraces people of diverse cultures - Aboriginal people, and old and new settlers from a variety of backgrounds.
The pink candle is lit.
God of joy, we find great delight in the way you chose to share our humanity - born of a woman who glorified you.  Strengthen us to glorify you in faith and peace and joy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

     Opening prayer 

Shepherding God, as lambs of your flock, we long to lie down in green pastures. Lift us into your lap and comfort our troubled minds. Give us your rest and strengthen our weary bodies. Guide us through this season of anticipation and hope, that we might lift our voices in laughter and song. Make our paths straight, that we might move boldly forward as we prepare for your arrival. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession 

God of shepherding love, we need your guidance this day. 

You proclaim that faithful love and truth have met, but we cannot see it.

You rejoice that righteousness and peace have kissed, but we can scarcely believe it.

Forgive our jaded hearts and correct our wandering ways.

Breathe your grace into our lives and give us the confidence to shout for all the world to hear: “Here is our God!” Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

“Comfort, O comfort, my people,” says our God. We have served our term. Our penalty is paid in full. Rejoice in the good news.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace 

In Christ, faithful love and truth have met; righteousness and peace have kissed. May we, who eagerly await his arrival, share the blessings of Christ as we share his peace with one another this day.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

Announcements 

A Word with the Children/Young People 

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the oil of gladness chang­ing people’s lives from sadness to joy. Oil was used in a very special way in ancient times and even right through to the present time - not just for cooking or nowadays helping our cars work - it was and is used in the crowning ceremonies of kings and queens. The use of oil signified the sacredness of the occasion and the setting apart, of the person for their special role. We have some fragrant oil here today as we celebrate the joy of this Advent Sunday.  By anointing each oth­er’s hands we shall also be celebrating the sacredness of each person.

THE OIL OF GLADNESS: Small bowls/dishes of fragrant Australian oil.  Children and/or youth/ adults distribute the oil by making the sign of the cross on the backs of the hands of the people on the ends of the pews - saying ‘Receive the oil of gladness and joy’. The ‘end-pew’ person then marks the back of the hand of their neighbour with the oil - and so on...passing the oil along to the person in the aisle. 

Offering Prayer 

You have sheltered us in your flock, O God. You have gathered us in your arms and lifted us into your lap. May the gifts we offer you this day, reflect in some small measure, the immense gratitude we feel for the generosity of your love. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 179: Praise with joy the world’s creator

                        (tune – Praise My Soul)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee_fmMl9trg 

Praise with joy the world's creator,

God of justice, love and peace,

Source and end of human knowledge,

Force of goodness without cease.

Celebrate the Maker's glory,

Power to rescue and release.

 

Praise the Son who feeds the hungry,

Frees the captive, finds the lost,

Heals the sick, upsets religion,

Fearless both of fate and cost.

Celebrate Christ's constant presence -

Friend and Stranger, Guest and Host.

 

Praise the Spirit sent among us

Liberating truth from pride,

Forging bonds where race or gender,

Age or nation dare divide.

Celebrate the Spirit's treasure -

Foolishness none dare deride.

 

Praise the Maker, Son and Spirit,

One God in Community,

Calling Christians to embody

Oneness and diversity.

Thus, the world shall yet believe

When shown Christ's vibrant unity. 

Tune: Praise my soul the king of heaven. J Goss c. 1986 Wild Goose Publications

Authors: John L Bell, Graham Maule 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

The Gospel Reading:                                        John 1:6-8, 19-28 

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

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 

1 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord  has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord ’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion — to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 8 For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. 10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord , my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. 

John 1:6-8, 19-28 

 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ 20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ 21 And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ 22 Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ 23 He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord” ’,as the prophet Isaiah said. 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ 26 John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ 28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing. 

Preaching of the Word - One of the Classic Stories..., 

One of the classic stories that is repeated each December is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The timeless character of Ebenezer Scrooge demonstrates the consummate selfish, self-centred, unforgiving and unloving qualities of humankind.

This originator of the "bah-humbug" was the perfect embodiment of sin. Whether we read this famous story in a leather bound first edition or we watch one of the numerous Hollywood versions, and maybe even use it as a study, it is the timelessness of the tale that reminds us of our own need for repentance; it shows us the love and joy that follow true repentance.

Ultimately, Scrooge's repentance leads to rejoicing and a whole new awareness and understanding of himself and the world around him. The Good News of Dickens' story is that Scrooge is guided to repent for his past and present cold and heartless behaviour. After years in a selfish and miserly existence, a life absent of faith or friendship or love, his repentance brings forgiveness, and he is able to love and once again rejoice in life.

Our Advent scriptures also talk to us very clearly about repentance and rejoicing.

In our first reading, the prophet Isaiah invites us to "to be glad and rejoice in what God is creating."

St. Paul in the Lectionary reading from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 reading which we have not read today echoes this exhortation with the exclamation: "Rejoice always!"

John the Baptist completes his proclamation of repentance, begun in last week's Gospel. He invited us to make a straight path to God that we might be in a right relationship with God and with one another through repentance. In today's Gospel, he calls us to rejoice -- for the Bridegroom, Jesus the Lord, is at hand.

Repentance and Rejoicing are certainly corner stones of the Christian faith. They are eternally yoked to each other. As Christians we are called to Repentance which means to turn away from sin and turn toward God.

Repentance means focusing on God, instead of on ourselves, our own needs and wants, our own sin. Repentance requires that we turn away from ourselves and our sinfulness. Repentance calls us to focus on the Lord and His love for us and for those around us.

Genuine repentance leads us to rejoicing. This was demonstrated by a clergy person I heard about who spoke of an encounter he had with a congregation member. This congregation member was angry that God wasn't working more rapidly in his life in the midst of a variety of crises and upheaval. The minister and the congregation member talked together at great length. They prayed together. In the hope of bringing about repentance and a reorientation toward God, the minister suggested that the congregation member read three chapters of John's Gospel each day; the goal was to complete the twenty- one chapters in seven days.

On the second day after their consultation together, the congregation member phoned the minister. He shared that on the first night he, begrudgingly and out of a sense of obligation, began to read the Gospel of John. He barely made it through the fourth verse of the first chapter when he began to weep uncontrollably. He recognised, in just those first verses, God's incredible love for him and for the world God created. This man's repentance, his turning back to God, initially brought him to his knees in tears and then moved him to a posture of rejoicing for he recognised God's infinite love and forgiveness.

Genuine repentance leads us to rejoicing.

All too often we are so totally self-centred and self-absorbed that we shut God out of our lives altogether. It is difficult, if not impossible, to rejoice when this is the case. Like Ebenezer Scrooge, our lives can be miserable and unfriendly when Joy and Rejoicing are absent. The absence of joy is most noticeable when the selfish, self-centred, narcissistic, sinful, and darker side of each of us dominates and pervades our thoughts and actions. When we refuse or are unwilling to acknowledge the sin in our live and the sin around us, we will remain estranged from joy. It takes repentance to re-orient and refocus our lives on the Lord Jesus Christ, who will lead us once again to a posture of rejoicing.

If for some reason you are not yet in the Advent and Christmas spirit, or if you feel like Scrooge before his conversion, then be reminded as John the Baptist reminds us, the season of Advent calls us to repentance. Advent invites us to make a straight path, to turn from materialism and commercialism, hedonism and greed, infidelity and neglect, distrust and racism, laziness and selfishness, pride and envy....to turn from sin.

Advent calls us to repent so that we might rejoice this Christmas season. And like the wolf and the lamb, the lion and the ox in today's reading from the Hebrew Scripture, we might experience Christ's peace and wholeness through Repentance and Rejoicing.

Today's newspaper reminds us that there are only eleven shopping days left until Christmas. So, whether our list is completed, or we are only just beginning, might we add two more items to our list: the two R's. And if we add the Repentance first, we will be led to Rejoice! For basically, Repentance means to 'get right with God,' to reposition our lives toward God, to 'make straight our path.' As we get right with God, we also will become right with ourselves and with each other.

In such a loving triangular relationship: God, neighbour, self, there can only be rejoicing.

Eleven shopping days.... are Repentance and Rejoicing on your list? 

Hymn TIS 274: The people that in darkness walked
                        (tune - Dundee)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcTkFh-ZVRQ 

1 The people that in darkness walked

have seen a glorious light;

the light has shined on them who dwelt

in death's surrounding night.

 

2 To hail you, Sun of righteousness,

the gathering nations come:

rejoicing as when reapers bear

their harvest treasures home.

 

3 To us a child of hope is born,

to us a Son is given;

him shall the tribes of earth obey,

and all the hosts of heaven.

 

4 His name shall be the Prince of Peace,

for evermore adored,

the Wonderful, the Counsellor,

the great and mighty Lord.

 

5 His power increasing still shall spread,

his reign no end shall know:

justice shall guard his throne above

and peace abound below. 

Words: John Morrison 1781.

Music by Thomas Ravenscroft (c.1592-1635) 

Intercessory Prayers   

0 God, for whom we wait and long, we bring to you our prayers for your world and for your church.

Promise of righteousness, come. Feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and hear the cries of all who plead for justice. Come, 0 God for whom we wait, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Promise of freedom, come. Bring good news of release to the oppressed, free those in chains of misery and despair. Come, 0 God for whom we wait, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Promise of peace, come. Heal ancient feuds and hatreds and deliver your people from the horrors of war. Come, 0 God for whom we wait, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Promise of forgiveness, come. Look with mercy on our wrongdoings and help us to turn from our sinful ways.

Come,0 God for whom we wait, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Promise of salvation, come. Remember your people, according to your ancient promises, and send your Messiah. Come, 0 God for whom we wait, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Promise of love, come. Hold in your tender embrace all who are lonely, friendless, forgotten, rejected. Come,0 God for whom we wait, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Promise of comfort, come. Bring the balm of your presence to all who know pain, anguish, sorrow or grief. Come,0 God for whom we wait, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Promise of hope, come. Let us see that the time of your coming is near and keep us watchful for your return. Come,0 God for whom we wait, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Promise of glory, come. Draw your saints, in this world and the next, into the light of your eternal presence.

Come,0 God for whom we wait and long, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

THE LORD'S PRAYER 

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

Hymn TIS 786: Word of God, come down on earth

                      (tune – Liebster Jesu, Wir Sind Hier)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej7ublzEceM 

1 Word of God, come down on earth,

living rain from heaven descending;

touch our hearts and bring to birth

faith and hope and love unending.

Word almighty, we revere you;

Word made flesh, we long to hear, you.

 

2 Word eternal, throned on high,

Word that brought to life creation.

Word that came from heaven to die,

crucified for our salvation.

Saving Word, the world restoring,

speak to us, your love outpouring.

 

3 Word that caused blind eyes to see,

speak and heal our mortal blindness.

Deaf we are, our healer be,

loose our tongues to tell your kindness.

Be our Word in pity spoken;

heal the world, by our sin broken.

 

4 Word that speaks your father’s love,

one with God beyond all telling.

Word that sends us from above

God the Spirit, with us dwelling.

Word of truth, to all truth lead us;

Word of life, with one bread feed us. 

Words: James Quinn

Music: Liebster Jesu, Wir Sind Hier (Johan Rodolph Ahle 1625-1673 ) 

Benediction 

         Christ is coming soon. Love is on the way. But Christ is already here.

        And love is all around us.

        Faithful love and truth have met.

        Righteousness and peace have kissed.

        We wait for the fullness of God’s kingdom.

        Christ is coming soon.

        Love is on the way.

 

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.
         (Tune – Aubrey)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA 

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

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

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

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

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)       Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)





 


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship - Advent 2 - 06 December 2020

December 3, 2020 - 9:16pm


                     Marsden Road Uniting                           Church Carlingford

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Finding Comfort versus

Being Comfortable, 

Sunday 06th December 2020

Advent 2 year of Mark 9.30 am

          Gathering God’s People

 Acknowledgement of First Peoples

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

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

Call to Worship - (Abingdon Worship Annual 2011)       

Let us hear what God will speak, for the Holy One speaks peace to the people, to the faithful, and to all who turn to God in their hearts.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet. Righteousness and peace will embrace.

Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.

The Holy One will give what is good, and we will bring our praise and song. 

The world is dark and cold.

We look for signs of your coming.

The world is hungry for righteousness.

We look for signs of your coming.

The world yearns for your love.

We look for signs of your coming. 

Hymn TIS 272: Come, thou long-expected Jesus

                        (tune – Stuttgart)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_YA9GZB76I 

Come, thou long expected Jesus,

born to set thy people free;

from our fears and sins release us,

let us find our rest in thee.

 

Israel's strength and consolation,

hope of all the earth thou art;

dear desire of every nation,

joy of every longing heart.

 

Born thy people to deliver,

born a child and yet a King,

born to reign in us forever,

now thy gracious kingdom bring.

 

By thine own eternal spirit

rule in all our hearts alone;

by thine all sufficient merit,

raise us to thy glorious throne.


Composer (attr): Christian Friedrich Witt (1715)

Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788) 

     Lighting of The Advent Candle - Peace

      The glory of the Lord will be revealed, for the Lord has spoken.
Like pale spinifex in the sweltering desert, the grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever.
We wait with hope and expectation for the Word, which was in the beginning with God, to come into the world.
We light this candle as a symbol of our hope.
Congregation member lights a purple candle.
The glory of the Lord will be revealed when love and faithfulness meet, and righteousness and peace kiss.
We long for the day when the angels’ song of peace and goodwill will be heard in all the world.
We light this candle as a symbol of peace.

      Second Candle is lit. 

     Opening Prayer 

God of winter and starlight, you have promised us your presence: to live among us, to right all wrongs, to bring good things to all who wait for your new day. In these dark days, we look for signs of your coming: the sounds of children at play, the music that fills our hearts with anticipation, the company of all who serve the last and the least. Make us at home with righteousness, that we may be ready to walk in your holy ways. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession 

God of love and kindness, you have promised to renew our lives, to be with us in a new heaven and new earth— a realm where steadfast love and faithfulness embrace forever.

We are afraid of your promised coming. We cling to rules we understand: the rules of privilege and power.

We are afraid of a world of true justice and peace, afraid that you will change the way things have always been. As we wait for you to live among us, we confess our unwillingness to see that you have always been here. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

In God's love and mercy, we are given each new day for the healing of the world. In the name of Christ, you are forgiven. In the name of Christ, you are forgiven.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace 

Shout for joy! Live in laughter! Share signs of peace and love with everyone you meet.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

Offering Prayer 

Merciful One, prepare our hearts to receive anew the coming of your Son with fire and the Spirit. We offer you our thanks and these gifts, that all may know the power of your love to transform the world with justice and righteousness. 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 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]

                     The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Isaiah 40:1-11

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 1:1-8. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Isaiah 40:1-11 

1 Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord ’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’ 6 A voice says, ‘Cry out!’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever. 9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’ 10 See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep. 

Mark 1:1-8. 

1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; 3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”’, 4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Preaching of the Word - Finding Comfort vs. Being Comfortable,  

“Comfort ye! … Every valley shall be lifted up and every mountain made low.”

What heart-lifting words we hear from our God shouted across the millennia into our very own day. Isaiah offers us images in just 11 verses that have become the focus of artists and musicians who have turned the words into pictures and music that channel our thoughts deep into the heart of God. We lay grasped by God’s arms and held tightly – our fears and concerns known by this immanent God who wants us to share those worries, and trust they are as important to God as they are to us.

A tenor opens Handel’s “Messiah” with a delicate, yet brilliant “Comfort ye!” When you listen to it, does your hear not soar with the beauty? This is our God calling out to us in our world – this world torn by evil, war and debilitating poverty.

Can there be any comfort for us? Maybe, for those of us who live in a relatively safe country, for those of us who have more than we need – a roof over our heads, food, clothing, safety. We can become comfortable, which is different from finding comfort. And we can feel that being comfortable is enough, perhaps until life takes a disastrous turn.

We can take God’s presence in our hearts for granted. But this isn’t the comfort Isaiah is talking about. His comfort is an overwhelming truth that surpasses the feeling of having “enough,” his comfort is the comfort of our God, who lives deep in our lives, even when we don’t think about it, even if we may not believe it, even if our fear blinds us to that presence.

The prophet goes on to explain what the truth of God will do for us. Valleys will be raised up, mountains will be laid low! No, Isaiah is not talking about a disastrous environmental exercise, he’s, of course, using an image to explain how the coming of the Lord will level the way for all people to see God’s glory and share in God’s goodness.

What a wonderful image! Instead of struggling over the rocky wilderness paths up into the mountains and down across arid deserts, the people will have a safe highway, broad and smooth. Even in life’s most difficult moments, God leads the soul along that safe, broad highway.

“But,” we may want to argue, “look at our world. See the things happening to people that would make a rocky path and an arid desert walk look like a picnic in the park. This image doesn’t work.”

And that’s true. Life does seem to throw ever more obstacles into our paths. Where is this highway?

And so, we continue reading the prophet’s words and find that, yes, we are all grass, and grass withers and fades; we are mortal, and life is often difficult. So, to make this highway image work at all in our world, we are told we must work together. We must want this world to change, we must also see beyond this mortal life and trust in God’s promise of eternal life.

“All people shall see it together,” says Isaiah. One way to think about this image is that we won’t see it if we harbor exclusion in our hearts. When we choose to separate ourselves from any of our neighbours, we begin to see only ourselves. We may not be aware of it, but doing that makes us stumble along the rocky path of injustice and sadness – a path that causes us to circle only inward, blindly into the darkness of self.

Another way to think about it is to look at what happens when groups join forces out of hatred for others, or ignorance or fear. The Israelites sometimes found themselves carried off to foreign lands because of their unfaithfulness. Some then took on the practices and idolatry of the pagan nations, to their downfall. They lost everything. We see the same thing happening today. Children get caught up in bullying, out of fear or a need to be accepted. Young people join gangs. People are drawn into terrorist organizations, to the horror of their families and friends. Sadly, we can be lured off the highway of our God by temptation and the false, bright promises of evil.

But all is certainly not lost. If we keep reading, we come to the final image of our passage and can’t help but hear again Handel’s “Messiah,” when the soprano’s beautiful voice sings, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd and he shall gather the lambs with his arm … with his arm.”

On our worst days, the Shepherd is with us. We need only to turn back and allow him to offer comfort and forgiveness. The sheep of his flock are a community – a community like us. Together, a community can offer healing and love to those who have been excluded. A community can begin dealing with their issues of poverty and helplessness.

We don’t have to build that level highway; God does that for us if we open our eyes and hearts to the gifts God has placed in our midst. We can begin demolishing the lure of evil, the temptation of ill-gotten power and greed if we work together with our children, being unafraid to teach about the power and graciousness of our God – if we ourselves are unafraid to trust that God is our shepherd, that God is our comfort.

In just a few weeks, the Incarnation of our God will descend over us like a blanket of stars, and we will be filled with the song of angels, the gentle amazement of shepherds, and the humility of the kings. If the image and the songs of Bethlehem can fill us that day, we might pray during these last few weeks of waiting that our hearts will be filled with the comfort of God and strengthened to bring that Good News to all. 

Hymn TIS 270: On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
                             (tune -  Winchester New)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ixc96i_Bc8 

1 On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry

Announces that the Lord is nigh;

Come, then, and hearken, for he brings

Glad tidings from the King of kings!

 

2 Then cleansed be every breast from sin;

Make straight the way for God within;

Prepare we in our hearts a home,

Where such a mighty Guest may come.

 

3 For Thou art our salvation, Lord,

Our refuge, and our great reward.

Without Thy grace our souls must fade

And wither like a flower decayed.

 

4 Stretch forth Thine hand, to heal our sore,

And make us rise and fall no more;

Once more upon Thy people shine,

And fill the world with love divine.

 

5 To Him who left the throne of Heaven

To save mankind, all praise be given;

Like praise be to the Father done,

And Holy Spirit, Three in One. 

Words: Charles Coffin, 1736; Trans. John Chandler, 1837

Tune: Winchester New (Havergal) 

Intercessory Prayers 

We wait, 0 God, for your glory to be revealed, for the angels' message of peace and joy. We pray for the peoples of your world and for all your creation: for those in places of war and civil unrest; for those in places of injustice and cruelty. Speak peace to your people, God. Come, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We wait, 0 God, for your glory to be revealed, for the good news that salvation is at hand. We pray for your church throughout the world: for leaders of churches in this land; for the clergy and people of this parish; for prophets who call your church to repentance today. Speak salvation to your church, 0 God. Come, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We wait, 0 God, for your glory to be revealed, for the Christmas message of reconciliation and love. We pray for our community: for our homes and our neighbours.

for our schools, our hospitals and our workplaces. Speak tenderly to your people, 0  God. Come, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We wait,0      God, for your glory to be revealed, for your good news of healing and wholeness. We pray for all in need of your comfort and care: for those whom we neglect and those who cannot care for themselves; for those without resources and those without hope; for the sick and for the sorrowing. Speak comfort to your people, 0 God. Come, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We wait, 0 God, for your glory to be revealed; with all your saints we wait to hear the words. Behold your God. We give you thanks for your prophets of old, and for all who call us to follow your ways of righteousness and peace. May we repent of all that is displeasing in your sight, that, with your faithful people of ages past, we may be gathered into the joy of your presence,

inhabitants of a new heaven and a new earth. Come quickly to your people, 0 God. Come, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

THE LORD'S PRAYER 

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

Hymn TIS 517: Alleluia! sing to Jesus

                      (tune – Hyfrydol)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bkt-qoeACJM 

1 Alleluia sing to Jesus!

his the sceptre, his the throne:

Alleluia! his the triumph,

his the victory alone.

Hear the songs of holy Zion

thunder like a mighty flood:

'Jesus out of every nation

has redeemed us by his blood!'

 

2 Alleluia! not as orphans

are we left in sorrow now:

Alleluia! he is near us;

faith believes, but knows not how.

Though the cloud from sight received him

whom the angels now adore,

shall our hearts forget his promise,

'I am with you evermore'?

 

3 Alleluia! bread of heaven,

here on earth our food, our stay:

Alleluia! here the sinful

come to you from day to day.

Intercessor, friend of sinners,

earth's redeemer, plead for me,

where the songs of all the sinless

sweep across the crystal sea.

 

4 Alleluia! King eternal,

you, the Lord of lords we own;

Alleluia! born of Mary,

earth your footstool, heaven your throne:

you, within the veil have entered,

robed in flesh, our great high priest;

yours the blood and yours the body,

in our eucharistic feast.

Words: William Dix / Jubilate Hymns

Music: Hyfrydol (Rowland Hugh Prichard) 

Benediction 

        Go out to a world that hungers for righteousness.  Prepare the highway for our God: make ready the paths of peace.

        Go forth in the name of the living Word, the One whose words bring forth the fruit of the kingdom in your own lives! Amen.       

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

                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA 

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

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

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

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

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)          Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)





Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship - Christ the King - 22 November 2020

November 19, 2020 - 10:18pm

 

Marsden Road Uniting Church

Carlingford

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The Star Thrower

Sunday 22nd November 2020

Christ the King in year of Matthew 9.30 am

URL: https://uca-nswact.zoom.us/j/96239994683

               Phone: 80156011 Meeting Number: 962 3999 4683

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 2011)

       Make a joyful noise to the Lord.

Worship God with gladness.

Come into God's presence with singing.

We are God's people, the sheep of God's pasture.

Give thanks to the Lord; bless God's holy name,

for God's steadfast love is present now and endures forever.

Hymn TIS 738: My Jesus, my Saviour (Shout to the Lord)

                  (tune – Shout to the Lord) Sing through twice

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

My Jesus, My Saviour

Lord, there is none like You

All of my days I want to praise

The wonders of Your mighty love


My comfort, my shelter

Tower of refuge and strength

Let every breath, all that I am

Never cease to worship You


Shout to the Lord all the earth, let us sing

Power and majesty, praise to the King

Mountains bow down

And the seas will roar

At the sound of Your name

 

I sing for joy at the work of Your hands

Forever I'll love You, forever I'll stand

Nothing compares to the promise I have in You 

My Jesus My Saviour Words and music Darlene Zschech

© 1993 Darlene Zschech/Hillsongs Australia 

     Opening prayer 

Tender, comforting Shepherd, your steadfast love is present in this place and resides within each of us. But sometimes it is hard, so very hard, to open ourselves to your love. We feel like scattered sheep, frightened and alone. Help us know your loving presence as we live as your gathered community. Enlighten our hearts, that we may know the hope to which we have been called. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession 

Holy One, we are like sheep that stray from your fold. We are the perpetually hungry, ever in spiritual need, and at times in physical want.

We are the naked, with wounds exposed and bleeding. We are the sick, fevered, chilled, and in pain. We are the strangers, separated from others and even from ourselves.

Hear us now as we confess our brokenness and our need. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

Our creator God sees our hunger and gives us food. Christ, the healer, touches our wounds, offering comfort and blessed relief. The Spirit blows through us, cools our fever, and eases our pain. God sees and touches and heals our wounds.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace 

When we were strangers, Christ welcomed us. Let us share the peace of Christ with friends and strangers with words of welcome:

The peace of Christ 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: How do you tell a sheep from a goat?

Object:  Need Photos of sheep and goats.  

How many of you think you can tell a sheep from a goat? Wait a minute! It may not be as easy as you think. If you had some pictures it would soon test how well you can tell a sheep from a goat.

It’s not as easy as we think as I remember seeing on the show QI when they put up pictures and asked which were sheep and which were goats. Here are a few hints that might help. The easiest way to tell a goat from a sheep is that a goats tail usually sticks up in the air, but a sheep's tail hangs down. If sheep have horns, they are usually curved. A goat's horns are less curved. Sheep usually have fluffy wool that must be sheared, while goats have flatter hair.

Do you think Jesus can tell the sheep from the goats? Well, that's what our Bible lesson is about today. One day Jesus was speaking to a group of followers about the day when the Son of Man would come in all his glory. (Son of Man was a title Jesus used for himself.) He said, "He will sit on his throne and all of the nations would be gathered before him. He will separate the people like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left." How did he know the sheep from the goats?

Jesus went on to explain, "He will say to those on his right, 'I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'

"When did we do that?" the righteous ones will ask.

"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

"Then he will turn to those on the left and say, 'I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.'

"Then they will ask, 'When did we refuse to help you?'

"He will answer, 'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'

"And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life." 

Offering Prayer 

Holy One, you have given us all that we have and all that we are. Through these gifts and in our lives, help us be the shepherds and healers and lovers that you are calling us to be. Amen. 

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

                 (tune – Shine Jesus shine)

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

Lord, the light of your love is shining

In the midst of the darkness, shining

Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us

Set us free by the truth you now bring us

Shine on me, shine on me. 

Shine, Jesus, shine

Fill this land with the Father's glory

Blaze, Spirit, blaze

Set our hearts on fire

Flow, river, flow

Flood the nations with grace and mercy

Send forth your word

Lord, and let there be light.

 

Lord, I come to your awesome presence

From the shadows into your radiance

By the blood I may enter your brightness

Search me, try me, consume all my darkness

Shine on me, shine on me 

Shine, Jesus, shine

Fill this land with the Father's glory

Blaze, Spirit, blaze

Set our hearts on fire

Flow, river, flow

Flood the nations with grace and mercy

Send forth your word

Lord, and let there be light.

 

As we gaze on your kingly brightness

So our faces display your likeness

Ever changing from glory to glory

Mirrored here may our lives tell your story

Shine on me, shine on me 

Shine, Jesus, shine

Fill this land with the Father's glory

Blaze, Spirit, blaze

Set our hearts on fire

Flow, river, flow

Flood the nations with grace and mercy

Send forth your word

Lord, and let there be light. 

Author: Graham Kendrick  Tune: Shine, Jesus, Shine 

Composer:   Graham Kendrick

The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                                            Ephesians 1:15-23

The Gospel Reading:                                        Matthew 25:31-46.

 Readings: NRSV Translations 

Ephesians 1:15-23 

15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. 

Matthew 25:31-46. 

31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40 And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 44 Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” 45 Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ 

Preaching of the Word - The Star Thrower 

Today is the Sunday of the Christian year that is often called the Feast of Christ the King; it is the last Sunday before Advent. Sunday after Sunday, 52 Sundays of the year, we say out loud and together, "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end."

What a funny king!

No purple robes. No crown. No legions of soldiers. No great processions and parades. No castle. No place to live -- period.

Instead he claims to be poor, and hungry, and a stranger, and in prison, and sick, and thirsty. He claims to have nowhere to lay his head. He says to us, his disciples, "See all these sisters and brothers of mine who are homeless like me? They are me. I am them. To serve me you must serve them. When I come back, I will see what you are doing and whom you serve."

Then at the end of the whole Gospel he says, "Lo, I am with you to the end of the age."

You see, the problem is we think he’s not here and he can’t see what we’re doing. But he says he is with us always, to the end of the age. We can’t expect to wait until the last minute before his coming and then scramble to do the work he has sent us out to do. We cannot deceive him into thinking we have been doing it all along.

Because he never left.

We can scramble and rearrange the words any way we wish, but it always comes out the same. It is a description of what life is like in his kingdom. To understand our role in his kingdom more clearly, the are many forms in Prayer Books and Confessions that offer us a job description.

It is in various Catechisms we have information to help us. Here is one as an example. They all have a number of questions and answers:

Q. Through whom does the Church carry out its mission?
A. The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members.

Q. Who are the ministers of the Church?
A. The ministers of the Church are lay people, (bishops), priests and deacons.

Notice who comes first -- before priests and deacons: lay people.

Q. What is the ministry of the laity?
A. The ministry of lay people is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given to them, to carry on Christ's work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.  ...according to the gifts given them …

God equips us with the gifts and not all of us have the same gifts, but all of us have gifts important to God. The life of faith is about finding and using these gifts to carry on Christ's work in the world.

Yet often it seems to be just too much. There are too many hungry and poor and lonely people for us to make any difference.

There is an interesting story told about the scientist and writer called Eisley was in the south of France, on the coast, attending a scientific symposium. He woke early one morning and went for a walk on the beach before sunrise. As he moved through the misty dawn he focused on a faint, far away figure. It was a youth, bending and reaching and flinging his arms, seemingly dancing on the beach. Eisley thought, "No doubt he is dancing in celebration of the new day about to begin."

As he came nearer, he realized the youth was not dancing at all, but rather was bending to sift through the debris left by the night tide, stopping now and then to pick up a starfish and then, standing, heaving it back into the sea.

He asked the youth the purpose of the effort. "The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach, and they cannot return to the sea by themselves," the youth replied. "When the sun rises, they will die, and the people come from town to pick them and sell them in the marketplace. I throw them back to the sea so they might live another day."

As the youth explained, Eisley surveyed the vast expanse of beach, stretching in both directions beyond his sight. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation. The youth's plan seemed hopeless. "But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot expect to make a difference?"

The youth paused to consider his words, then bent to pick up a starfish, whirled around and threw it as far as possible. Turning to the scientist he said simply, "I made a difference to that one," and kept dancing down the beach.

Eisley went back to his room and thought much as it had never occurred to him how important it is for one creature to help another, and how the seemingly natural order of things might be dramatically altered by the simple actions of one person.

The next morning, Eisley awoke, and again went down to the sea before dawn. There he joined the youth in the dance of life, one starfish at a time! Never before had he felt so alive and connected to our Creator God.

Whatever talents or gifts we have each been given, they are more than enough for us to do our part in the dance of life. Each simple action of our lives can make a difference in carrying on Jesus' work of reconciliation in the world.

We are the people who carry out the mission of the church, which is the mission of Jesus, our odd, our unique king. This is called life in his kingdom.

Bending, reaching, flinging our arms, one starfish at a time, we bring ourselves closer to others, closer to God and closer to ourselves. 

Hymn TIS 674: Inspired by love and anger

                  (tune – Salley Gardens)

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

Inspired by love and anger, disturbed by need and pain,

Informed of God’s own bias we ask him once again:

How long must some folk suffer? How long can few folk mind?

How long dare vain self-interest turn prayer and pity blind?”

 

From those forever victims of heartless human greed,

Their cruel plight composes a litany of need:

“Where are the fruits of justice? Where are the signs of peace?

When is the day when prisoners and dreams find their release?”

 

From those forever shackled to what their wealth can buy,

The fear of lost advantage provokes the bitter cry,

“Don’t query our position! Don’t criticise our wealth!

Don’t mention those exploited by politics and stealth!”

 

To God, who through the prophets proclaimed a different age,

We offer earth’s indifference, its agony and rage:

“When will the wronged be righted? When will the kingdom come?

When will the world be generous to all instead of some?”

 

God asks, “Who will go for me? Who will extend my reach?

And who, when few will listen, will prophesy and preach?

And who, when few bid welcome, will offer all they know?

And who, when few dare follow, will walk the road I show?”

 

Amused in someone’s kitchen, asleep in someone’s boat,

Attuned to what the ancients exposed, proclaimed and wrote,

A Saviour without safety, a tradesman without tools

Has come to tip the balance with fishermen and fools. 

Author: John L. BellAuthor: Graham Maule
Tune: Salley Gardens

Intercessory Prayers       

Jesus Christ, true ruler of the created world, we pray for the peoples of the world: for victims of war, brutality and oppression; for victims of unjust economic and political systems; for the hungry, the homeless and the refugee.

We give thanks for leaders who serve the common good, and for all who work for an increase of justice and peace.

Make us a people whose hearts are ruled by your mercy and compassion, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ, true shepherd to all your sheep, we pray for your church: for courage in places of persecution; for renewed zeal in places of apathy; for unity in places of discord and division. We give you thanks and pray for all who are shepherds to your people, for priests and pastors and all who minister in your name. Make us a people whose hearts are ruled by your forgiveness and grace, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ, true companion to all who seek you, we pray for those to whom our lives are bound: for our families, our friends and all whom we love; for this parish community; for those with whom we work and play. We give you thanks for all whose love or care or daily work enriches our lives. Make us a people whose hearts are ruled by your reconciliation and love, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ, true comforter to all who suffer, we pray for all in special need: those lost in grief or loneliness or hopelessness; those imprisoned by pain or guilt or despair; those sick in heart or mind or spirit; We give you thanks for all who bring healing and hope to those in need. Make us a people whose hearts are ruled by your compassion and hope, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ, true ruler of earth and heaven, we give you thanks and praise for your faithful servants of every age.

Help us follow in the footsteps of your saints that we, like them, may be gathered into your eternal presence, a people after your own heart, the sheep of your own fold. Jesus Christ, 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 256: From heav’n you came, helpless babe

                 (tune -The Servant King)

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

From heaven you came helpless babe

Entered our world, your glory veiled

Not to be served but to serve

And give Your life that we might live

This is our God, The Servant King

He calls us now to follow Him

To bring our lives as a daily offering

Of worship to The Servant King

 

There in the garden of tears

My heavy load he chose to bear

His heart with sorrow was torn

'Yet not My will but Yours,' He said 

This is our God, The Servant King

He calls us now to follow Him

To bring our lives as a daily offering

Of worship to The Servant King

 

Come see His hands and His feet

The scars that speak of sacrifice

Hands that flung stars into space

To cruel nails surrendered 

This is our God, The Servant King

He calls us now to follow Him

To bring our lives as a daily offering

Of worship to The Servant King

 

So let us learn how to serve

And in our lives enthrone Him

Each other's needs to prefer

For it is Christ we're serving 

This is our God, The Servant King

He calls us now to follow Him

To bring our lives as a daily offering

Of worship to The Servant King 

Author: Graham Kendrick
Tune: The Servant King 

Benediction 

         Come, you who are blessed! Inherit all that is prepared

        for you!

        We leave this sacred space to claim the riches and

        glorious inheritance that are ours through Christ.

        Go out into the world to share your blessings with all in

        need. Go forth in the name of the living Word, the One whose

        words bring forth the fruit of the kingdom in your own lives! Amen.        

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.
         (Tune – Aubrey)

                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA 

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

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

May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give you

life.

May the Child of God grow in you, and his love bring you

Home.

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)          Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)






 


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Church - Pentecost 23 - 08 November 2020

November 5, 2020 - 9:53pm

  Marsden Road Uniting Church

Carlingford

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


Can You Imagine a Scene...?

Sunday 08th November 2020

Pentecost 23 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 2011)       

Choose this day to sing with joy.

We give thanks and praise to God!

Choose this day to love and serve.

We rejoice in Christ's call in our lives!

Choose this day to worship God.

We gather to worship and pray.

 

Hymn TIS 154: Great is your faithfulness

                       (tune – Faithfulness)

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

1 Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;

there is no shadow of turning with thee;

thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;

as thou hast been thou forever wilt be. 

Great is thy faithfulness!

Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see:

all I have needed thy hand hath provided--

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

 

2 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

sun, moon, and stars in their courses above

join with all nature in manifold witness

to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. 

Great is thy faithfulness!

Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see:

all I have needed thy hand hath provided--

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

 

3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,

strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! 

Great is thy faithfulness!

Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see:

all I have needed thy hand hath provided--

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Author: Thomas O. Chisholm (1923)
Tune: Faithfulness (Runyan) 

Opening prayer

 

We gather this day to listen for God's ancient truths, stories of wisdom passed down through the ages. We gather this day to listen for Christ's ongoing call, challenging words shared from generation to generation. We gather this day to listen for the Spirit's movement, the wind of change that pushes us into new dimensions of truth and discipleship. Speak to us, O God, that we may hear your truth, both ancient and new. Amen 

A Prayer of Confession 

Holy One, we gather this day with the knowledge that our choice to serve you carries challenges each and every day.

Forgive us when we fail to meet those challenges. When we are unprepared for what we face, strengthen us with new resolve and better abilities to move forward in faith.

When we stray onto paths of danger and betrayal, betrayal, lead us back to your path of truth and love.

Let your words ring true in our lives, that we may love and serve you— loving and serving your world in all that we say and in all that we do. In hope and trust, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

Keep awake! But even when you sleep, know that God is our keeper, Christ is our saviour, and the Spirit is always with us. Rise in hope and joy, my friends. In the name of Christ, we are forgiven and reconciled to God.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace 

As forgiven and reconciled children of God let us be reconciled to one another. Share your oil, trim one another's lamps, serve one another even as we serve God. Come! Let us share signs of love and reconciliation as we pass the peace of Christ.

Peace be with you!

And also with you! 


A Word with the Children/Young People 

Theme: Be prepared to meet Jesus

Object: Some of the items to be included in a survival kit. 

In the past year, we have seen many natural disasters in our world. Things such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and even forest fires. One thing that we are hearing over and over again these days is that it is very important for us to be prepared in case of an emergency. Here are a few of the things we are told that we should do to make sure we are prepared. - BE INFORMED

Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared. - HAVE A PLAN

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations. - HAVE A SURVIVAL KIT

Your survival kit should include things like water, food, medicine, a first aid kit, blankets, candles and matches, flashlights, and batteries.

These are all good things for us to remember. It is wise to be prepared, isn't it?

Jesus once told a story to teach us the importance of being prepared. In Jesus' story, ten bridesmaids took their oil lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Jesus said that five of them were foolish because they had their lamps, but they didn't bring any extra oil to put in their lamps. When it was time to go out and meet the bridegroom, they were out of oil. The other five were very wise and well-prepared. They had brought plenty of oil for their lamps. When it was time to go out and meet the bridegroom, they were ready.

In this story, the bridegroom is Jesus and you and I are the bridesmaids. The story is teaching us that one day we are going to go to meet Jesus. It teaches us that we must be prepared because we don't know exactly when that time is coming. Do you know what we must do to be prepared? We must invite Jesus to come into our hearts. When we do that, we are ready! 

Offering Prayer 

As we celebrate the many wonders in our lives, we give you thanks and praise, O God. Transform these offerings into gifts of wonder and glorious deeds, that all may see the light of your love, leading us to abundant life. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 161: Tell out, my soul,

                        (tune – Woodlands)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6ji4y9Q-K0 

1.  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!

Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;

tender to me the promise of his word;

in God my Saviour shall my heart rejoice.

 

2.  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his Name!

Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;

his mercy sure, from age to age to same;

his holy Name--the Lord, the Mighty One.

 

3.  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!

Powers and dominions lay their glory by.

Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,

the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

 

4.  Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!

Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord

to children's children and for evermore! 

Words: Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926),

Tune: 'Woodlands', Walter Greatorex (1877-1949) 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The Gospel Reading:                            Matthew 25:1-13. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 

9 Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, 11 to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, 12 so that you may behave properly towards outsiders and be dependent on no one. 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 

Matthew 25:1-13 

1 ‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” 7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” 9 But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” 10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” 12 But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” 13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. 

Preaching of the Word - Can You Imagine a Scene..., 

Can you imagine a scene in which there are ten contestants, pitted against each other at an international piano competition? Image further that five of them have constantly practiced their entries to perfection and remained ever ready to be called to play. Meanwhile, imagine the other five contestants spending their time watching television and eating pizza and doing everything but practicing. If you can envision this, it won't take much imagination to figure out who would meet the approval of the judges.

This might be an example through which Jesus would approach us in 2020 to make an important point about the way of God. But, of course, Jesus was not aware of piano competitions, so he drew from what he knew. In today's Gospel, we find him telling about some maidens who were called to serve as attendants at a wedding.

In that time, weddings were great moments in the life of a village, with every resident participating. If the bridegroom came from another village, as seems to be the case here, there was no way to know exactly when he would arrive, and therefore it was not certain exactly when the wedding would begin. To compensate for this, maidens kept the bride company, awaiting the arrival of the groom with great anticipation. Of course, when it grew dark on such occasions, lamps were needed to see.

As soon as the bridegroom arrived, a festive welcome was made, and a torchlight procession led the couple to the place of the wedding. When the procession reached the appointed place, all entered, the doors were locked, and the festivities began. No one was admitted late.

Jesus used this setting, quite familiar to his hearers, to present a parable about ten maidens, five who were prepared for the eventualities and five who were not.

The wise ones had prepared. They had enough oil to last until the bridegroom came. They were ready. They knew what was required of them, and they did it. When the time came, they were able to act in a manner that was faithful to their culture.

The foolish attendants were unprepared. They ran out of oil and were unable to obtain more. So, when their moment came, they lost the opportunity to help light the way. They were unable to act out their appointed role in the community. They lost the chance even to witness the wedding.

Over and over again Jesus shows us what God is like. Today, he illustrates the truth that God takes no vacations. God never takes a break from offering love to us graciously. God is always prepared. God never stops forgiving us. God never ceases to watch over us. God never rests from the desire that we follow in his way. God never lets up on loving us, no matter how much we may rebel and stray. God is always ready.

For our part, as we seek to stay on the journey of faith, we live and move by doing and being what Christ is. Imitating God, we take no vacation from being prepared to act in keeping with the values of God. We must therefore imitate the wise maidens, remaining prepared, moving in accordance with our training, when the time comes to act.

And like the maidens in Jesus' parable, we do not know when or how we will be called upon. But if we remain always prepared, we will be able to act in accordance with the values we confess, through the Baptismal Covenant and other tenets of our faith. To be prepared is to practice these values, more perfectly, and with more dedication, than the wise maidens.

Although God's gifts are free, the questions for today are these: Will we be like the wise or the foolish maidens? Will we be prepared to recognize and accept what God offers us? Will we recognize God's love, God's grace, God's forgiveness, God's joy, hope, and the wonders of God's creation? Will we be able to accept these gifts and, in response, will we be able to act toward others as God has acted toward us? Are we prepared? As God presents us daily with challenges and choices, will we be ready? 

Hymn TIS 266: Wake, awake! for night is flying

                        (tune – Wachet Auf)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6V3TVGX7N4 

1 "Wake, awake, for night is flying,"

the watchmen on the heights are crying;

"Awake, Jerusalem, arise!"

Midnight hears the welcome voices

and at the thrilling cry rejoices:

"Where are the virgins pure and wise?

The Bridegroom comes: Awake!

Your lamps with gladness take!

Alleluia!

With bridal care and faith's bold prayer,

to meet the Bridegroom, come, prepare!"

 

2 Zion hears the watchmen singing,

and in her heart new joy is springing.

She wakes, she rises from her gloom.

For her Lord comes down all-glorious

and strong in grace, in truth victorious.

Her star is risen, her light is come!

Now come, O Blessed One,

Lord Jesus, God's own Son.

Sing hosanna!

We answer all in joy your call;

we follow to the wedding hall.

 

3 Lamb of God, the heavens adore you,

the saints and angels sing before you

with harp and cymbals' clearest tone.

Of one pearl each shining portal,

where, joining with the choir immortal,

we gather round your radiant throne.

No eye has seen that light,

no ear the echoed might

of your glory;

yet there shall we in victory

sing shouts of joy eternally! 

Text: Philipp Nicolai, (1556-1608) Tr: Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878) Tune: Wachet Auf By Philipp Nicolai 

Intercessory Prayers   

Ever-loving God, in every generation you have cared for your children, and your mercy is everlasting: hear the prayers we bring for your world and for your church.

We pray for the peoples of every land: for all who suffer the horrors of war, for soldiers, civilians and refugees; for all who endure the effects of famine, disease and natural disasters; for all who govern and those who administer law. We give you thanks for all who work to bring an end to oppression and suffering, remembering especially those who have given their lives that others might live. Loving God, we wait for your coming, for your reign of justice and peace.

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for your church throughout the world: for all priests and pastors, teachers and youth workers; for the newly baptised and for those whose faith has grown cold: for all who worship or minister in this parish. We give you thanks for all who bring to others your gospel of salvation, remembering especially those who work in places that are dangerous, remote or unresponsive. Loving God, we wait for your coming, for your reign of righteousness and truth.

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the communities in which we live: for those without work and those with too much responsibility; for those who are forgotten, unwanted or abused; for our families, our friends and all  whom  we love. We give you thanks for all whose work enriches this community, remembering especially all who give their time to care for the needy, the elderly and the young. Loving God, we wait for your coming, for your reign of forgiveness and love.

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are in trouble or distress: for the destitute and those who despair for the future; for the broken-hearted and all who mourn for loved ones; for those in mental torment, for the sick and for the dying. We pray for and give thanks for continued healing, especially for Marcia, Susan, Kaye, Ruth, Margaret, Von, Kirsten, Gwen, Mae, Joan and Pat. We give thanks for the stable health of Lawrence. We give you thanks for all who bring comfort, hope and relief to your people, remembering especially all medical staff, chaplains and pastoral workers. Loving God, we wait for your coming, for your reign of compassion and healing.

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for all who have served you faithfully to their life's end. We remember those who mourn, for Robin and her family and the family of Barbara. Keep us ever watchful and ready for the day of your coming, that we may hear with joy the archangel's call, and, with all who have died in Christ, rise to meet you.

Loving God, we wait for your coming in glory.

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 624: Christ be my leader by night as by day
                     (Tune – Slane)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDtMuABB-h4 

Christ be my leader by night as by day;

safe through the darkness for he is the way.

Gladly I follow, my future his care;

darkness is daylight when Jesus is there.

 

Christ be my teacher in age as in youth,

drifting or doubting for he is the truth.

Grant me to trust him; though shifting as sand,

doubt cannot daunt me; in Jesus I stand.

 

Christ be my savior in calm as in strife;

death cannot hold me, for he is the life.

Nor darkness nor doubting nor sin and its stain

can touch my salvation; with Jesus I reign. 

Tune: Irish folk tune, Slane

Text: Timothy Dudley-Smith, b. 1926 

Benediction 

       Keep awake, for darkness is all around!

       May our hearts shine with God's love.

       Keep awake, for the world is in constant need!

       May we see and respond where Christ calls us to

       serve.

       Go forth in the name of the living Word, the One whose

       words bring forth the fruit of the kingdom in your own

       lives! 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 Saviour

and 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 - All Saints - 01 November 2020

October 30, 2020 - 1:36am
                    Marsden Road Uniting Church

Carlingford

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The Beatitudes and Barriers

Sunday 1st November 2020

All Saints in the year of Matthew 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People

 Call to Worship (The Abingdon Worship Annual 2011)   

As we gather, we remember that we are not alone!

We gather with the saints, who live in the presence of God, singing praises to the God of our salvation.

From every nation, race, clan, and culture, God's people gather to worship the One-Who-Is-without-Peer!

To God and to the Lamb, all honour, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, strength, and power.

Blessed be God, now and forever! Amen!

Amen! 

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

                     (tune - Sine Nomine)

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

1 For all the saints who from their labors rest,

who thee by faith before the world confessed,

thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

2 Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might;

thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;

thou, in the darkness drear, their one true light.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

4 O blest communion, fellowship divine,

we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;

yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

6 The golden evening brightens in the west;

soon, soon to faithful warrior cometh rest;

sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

7 But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;

the saints triumphant rise in bright array;

the King of glory passes on his way.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

8 From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,

through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,

singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

William Waltham How (1823-1897)

Tune Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Opening prayer

 

     Blessed are you, God of our salvation. As we turn to you in prayer, be with us and reveal to us your ways from your self-revelation in Jesus, teach us how to live in ways that honour you: by humbling ourselves; by being content with what we have rather than striving for more; by caring and cooperating, rather than competing in unhealthy ways. Teach us, giver of all goodness, to be strong in your strength for the sake of the gospel. Help us honour your prodigal grace, by living as doers of peace. in this world, you love. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Confession 

Holy God, we so often fail to remember how profoundly you love us.

You bless us even when we are at our wit's end.

You created us, and you love us as we are, even as you inspire our desire to be better through your Holy Spirit. Forgive us when we fail to remember that we are the body of Christ, saints-in-process.

Empower us to begin anew, encouraged by the stories of those who live in your eternal presence.

In the name of Jesus, and for the sake of the gospel, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

Beloved, we are the children of God. Don't fear failure. It is endemic to our human nature. Learn from your mistakes and cherish the forgiving grace of God. Give thanks for all you are, and go forward in faith, knowing that God is faithful.

Thanks, be to God! Amen 

The Peace 

Beloved, we are god’s children now. what we will be has not yet been revealed. what we do now is this: when Christ is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. greet one another with the peace of Christ, recognising the presence of Christ in each person you meet.

The peace of Christ be with you.

The peace of Christ be with you always. 

Offering Prayer 

Holy God, we thank you for the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us as we worship. Their diversity reminds us of your infinite grace to all your creatures. Thank you for the vision of a world at peace: paradise restored, where no one hungers, no one thirsts, and no one is wanting in any way. You guide us to the source of living water and invite us to drink deeply of your love. Your magnificent generosity evokes our deepest thanks. And so, receive these offerings, that we may join that great cloud of witnesses as we share our gifts with others. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 278: O What a gift

                   (Tune – Canticle of the Gift)

You-tube has two extra verses more than TIS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVWmNw_hwp0

                                    

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

1 In the stillness of the night

when the world was asleep,

the almighty Word leapt out.

He came to Mary, he came to us

Christ came to the land of Galilee.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

2. On the night before he died

it was Passover night,

and he gathered his friends together.

He broke the bread, he blessed the wine,

it was the gift of his love and his life.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

3. We are gathered here to remember that night;

To break the bread and bless the wine.

Open your eyes, your ears and your hearts.

This is his peace and unity:

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

4. On the hill of Calvary

the world held its breath,

for there for the world to see,

God gave his Son, his very own Son

for the love of you and me.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

5. Early on that morning when the guards were sleeping,

back to life came he!

He conquered death, he conquered sin,

but the victory he gave to you and me!

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

6. "It is the Lord" cried Peter from the boat.

"It is the Lord" cried Magdalen.

"It is the Lord" cried Thomas the doubter.

"It is the Lord" cry we.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

7. Some day with the saints

we will come before our Father

and then we will shout and dance and sing.

For in our midst for our eyes to see

will be Christ our Lord and our King.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!  

                             Pat Uhl (Howard)                                                                         Arr. Betty Pulkingham 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Revelations 7:9-17

The Gospel Reading:                                        Matthew 5:1-12 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Revelations 7:9-17 

9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ 11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, 12 singing,
‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’  13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ 14 I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. 16 They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17 for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ 

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 - The Beatitudes and Barriers - Matthew 5:1-12 

When we hear Jesus’ beatitudes, what do we think? Maybe, we think, “Wow, these are the most beautiful words I have ever heard.” We may think, “Wow, these are beautiful words, but like so many beautiful words, they’re fanciful, and they can’t really be followed in the real world.” We may think, “Wow, these are beautiful words, and, oh my, they are another reminder of all the ways I fail to live up to the high calling of being a disciple of Christ.”

Well, if you have ever thought any of these, you are not alone. The Beatitudes have been a source of inspiration and challenge throughout the history of the church. Today, I want to mention a few major approaches to them.

During the Middle Ages, many people saw the Beatitudes as “Counsels of Perfection”. That is, they were things that applied to a spiritual elite made up of priests, monks, and nuns, but not to ordinary folks. Monks and nuns took extraordinary vows of poverty and obedience, so these things about blessings of the poor, the meek, the hungry, the merciful were about folks seeking perfection, but for other people, keeping the Ten Commandments and loving God and our neighbour is enough.

This approach recognises the real challenge these sayings put upon believers, but it limits the full force of them by saying that, in this life, they are only for a spiritual elite.

During the Reformation, Martin Luther took issue with the whole notion of a spiritual elite. The idea that there were higher and lower levels of Christians was repugnant to him. Luther famously proclaimed the priesthood of all believers, that is, that we are all on the same level—no higher, no lower—all called to share in the priestly ministries of the Church. So, Luther saw the beatitudes as applying to all Christians, not just to the few.

But Luther also had a pretty interesting take on the Beatitudes. He saw them as commands of God. And for Luther, while commandments were things that were given by God, and, therefore holy and binding on all people, Luther also felt that human beings, given our fallen nature, can never really fulfill the commandments. Rather, what the commandments do for Luther is point out very clearly that there is no way that human beings will ever be able to earn their salvation by perfectly following God’s will. The upshot is that what the commandments end up doing is pointing out our need for the forgiveness and mercy of God and drive us into the arms of Christ. This approach sees the Beatitudes as so challenging that we will never be able to fulfill them on our own. We need to turn to the grace and mercy offered in Christ if we are ever to be made right with God.

Most New Testament scholars these days don’t find these approaches helpful. Rather, they see the Beatitudes—and indeed the whole Sermon on the Mount—as something that Jesus saw as applying to all his disciples, not just an elite few, and he probably thought that they were, in fact, doable. Certainly not easy, after all, he says, blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Still, most scholars think that he probably meant for his followers to live this way. That’s probably why they stress that these were things that need to be lived out in the context of Christian community. These are not things for spiritual superheroes, but for communities to live out.

And that’s probably also why Jesus stressed the need and reality of forgiveness and reconciliation in our communities. These things are going to take practice.

So, one of the reasons why we have this Gospel lesson on All Saints’ Day is because they are practices for all the saints. And by all the saints, we mean everybody who has been baptised into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are practices for all of us ordinary saints of God.

Today, I want to focus on just one beatitude and explore how we might try to live that out in our ordinary lives. We will have other All Saints’ Days to deal with other beatitudes. So, let’s focus on, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” Most of us probably will not be Nobel Peace Prize winners. But that doesn’t mean we are not called in our own ways to be peacemakers. How may we go about this in our lives? Paul Wadell gives us some practical guidance on how we all can be peacemakers. He reminds us that in Ephesians, Paul speaks of Christ and his cross breaking down the walls that divide us, removing all the barriers that keep us apart, and overcoming the hostilities that so often leave us living more in enmity with one another than in peace.

Wadell says, “There is no shortage of barriers that need to be dismantled if God’s dream of peace is to become a reality. We create barriers through our attitudes toward others. We create barriers when we freeze people out or simply ignore them. We create barriers when we refuse to talk to certain people. We create barriers when we refuse to deal with problems that weaken relationships. We create barriers when we refuse to give ourselves to others. We create barriers when we hold on to grudges and refuse to forgive. We create barriers when we nurture cynicism, bitterness, and resentment instead of seeking peace.”

In Ephesians, Paul tells us to get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. Paul says leave all that behind, get away from it, and refuse to be ruled by it, because all those things put walls and barriers between ourselves and others. Instead, Paul says be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ. These are the practices of peace. We nurture peace among ourselves and others when we are people marked by kindness, compassion, healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Happy All Saints’ Day to all you saints of God. The Beatitudes are for you! 

Hymn 448: Blest are the pure in heart

                  (tune – Franconia)

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

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.

 

The Lord, who left the heavens

Our life and peace to bring,

To dwell in lowliness with men,

Their Pattern and their King;

 

Still to the lowly soul

He doth himself impart

And for his dwelling and his throne

Chooseth the pure in heart.

 

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 

Intercessory Prayers       

God of all truth, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. We give thanks for those whose lives have shone with integrity and goodness, for your prophets of old and all today who fight for justice, freedom and truth. Help us to follow their example, that we too ma y be filled with your spirit.

God of truth, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise.

God of all peace, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who bring peace to a world of strife. We give thanks for negotiators, peacekeepers and all who work for reconciliation, for those who respect and value others and those who listen and give wise counsel. Help us to follow their example, that we too may be called the children of God.

God of peace, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise.

God of all humility, you have chosen as your blessed ones those whose hearts are simple and pure. We give you thanks for those who do not grasp at material possessions, for those whose good works have been unnoticed and unsung. Help us to follow their example, that we too may come to see your face.

God of humility, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise

God of all compassion, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who show mercy to others. We give you thanks for those who are filled with generosity and grace, for those whose hearts are forgiving and kind. Help us to follow their example, that we too may receive your mercy.

God of compassion, for all the saints,

we give you thanks and praise.

God of all consolation, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who mourn especially, we remember those from our congregation. We pray for those who weep for what is lost, for all who grieve for those they love, for all whose lives are lonely, desolate and bleak. We pray for and give thanks for continued healing, especially for those in the congregation. Help us to ease all their pain, and in times of trouble may we too be comforted.

God of consolation, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise.

God of all faithfulness, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who have remained steadfast in the face of danger and persecution. We give thanks for those of this parish who have gone before us, for all whom we hold dear who are now in your eternal presence, and for all who have followed in your way until their life's end.

Help us to follow their example, that we too may rejoice to come into our reward and, with all the saints of heaven, worship you forever.

God of faithfulness, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise. 

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 456: Your hand, O God, has guided

                    (tune – Thornbury)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaI3cRtXqRw 

Thy hand, O God, has guided

Thy flock, from age to age;

The wondrous tale is written,

Full clear, on every page;

Our fathers owned thy goodness,

And we their deeds record;

And both of this bear witness:

One Church, one faith, one Lord.

 

Thy heralds brought glad tidings

To greatest, as to least;

They bade men rise, and hasten

To share the great King's feast;

And this was all their teaching,

In every deed and word,

To all alike proclaiming

One Church, one faith, one Lord

 

Through many a day of darkness,

Through many a scene of strife,

The faithful few fought bravely,

To guard the nation's life.

Their Gospel of redemption,

Sin pardoned, man restored,

Was all in this enfolded:

One Church, one faith, one Lord

 

Thy mercy will not fail us,

Nor leave thy work undone;

With thy right hand to help us,

The victory shall be won;

And then, by men and angels,

Thy name shall be adored,

And this shall be their anthem:

One Church, one faith, one Lord. 

            Author: E. H. Plumptre (1864)
Tune: Thornbury – Basil Harwood 

Benediction       

       We are renewed and filled with the sweetness of God. Go forth to bless the world with joy in the Spirit of God's redemptive love and sustaining peace.

        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 - Pentecost 21 - 25 October 2020

October 23, 2020 - 12:11am

 Marsden Road Uniting Church

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

                Do You Love?

Pentecost 21- year of Matthew  

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 2011)       

God welcomes us this day with steadfast love to satisfy our deepest longings.

Praise God who has been our dwelling place in every generation.  

Before the mountains were formed and we were still dust, God loved us into being.

Praise God who created us and renews us still.

May God's favour and grace guide us on paths of love and peace.

We rejoice with gladness this day! 

 

Hymn 047: Our God, our help in ages past

                  (Tune – St Anne)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVy77bGE9Ho  

1.  God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast,

And our eternal home!

 

2.  Under the shadow of Thy throne

Thy saints have dwelt secure;

Sufficient is Thine arm alone,

And our defence is sure.

 

3.  Before the hills in order stood,

Or earth received her frame,

From everlasting Thou art God,

To endless years the same.

 

4.  A thousand ages in Thy sight

Are like an evening gone;

Short as the watch that ends the night

Before the rising sun.

 

5.  Time, like an ever-rolling stream,

Bears all its sons away;

They fly, forgotten, as a dream

Dies at the opening day.

 

6.  God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Be Thou our guard while life shall last,

And our eternal home. 

Text: Isaac Watts | Tune: St. Anne 

Opening prayer

 

God of ages past and days to come, be with us this day. Shower us with your love and truth. Open our hearts and minds to truly love as you love us and as you call us to love. Grant us the courage to ask the questions that frighten us, that we may courageously live and grow as your disciples on this earth. With the confidence of Christ's grace in our lives, we pray. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession 

God of steadfast love,

turn away your anger and frustration:

when we fall short in your eyes,

when we forget to love,

when we are afraid to love,

when we neglect to love.

Forgive us and transform us with your amazing grace. Fill us with your love so completely that our lives may overflow with love— in heart, mind, and soul. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

God's compassion is sufficient for all our needs. In the name of Christ, you are forgiven!

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace 

Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Love your neighbour as yourself. Simple words. Profound challenges. Let us acknowledge love and peace with one another.

Peace be with you.    And also, with you!  

A Word with the Children/Young People 

Theme: Love God -- Love Others

Object: A song book with some love songs.

I don't know for sure, but I think that there have probably been more songs written about love than about anything else in the world. Here is a list of some of the favourites: "Love Makes the World Go Round," "Love and Marriage," and "When I Fall in Love," I have thought about.

Oh, I almost forgot one the best love songs ever written. I am sure all of you know this song! It goes like this:

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong;
They are weak but he is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

What a wonderful song about Jesus' for love us. In today's Bible story, Jesus teaches another very important lesson about love.

People were always amazed at the teachings of Jesus. One day a crowd was gathered around Jesus when a man who was an expert in religious law tried to trap him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment?"

Jesus answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,' this is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  In other words, Jesus was saying that if we could keep these two commandments, we would not have any trouble keeping the others.

You know, that reminds me of another love song, "All You Need Is Love." Let's pray and ask God to help us to love as we ought.

Loving God, help us to love you with all of our heart and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. 

Offering Prayer 

God of abundant love multiply these gifts to become gifts of abundant love for a world in need. In the name of Christ who first loved us, we pray.  

Hymn 526: Lord Jesus Christ

                  (Tune – Living Lord)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH4-e__BJM0 

1.
Lord Jesus Christ you have come to us
You are one with us, Mary’s Son.
Cleansing our souls from all their sin
pouring Your love and goodness in
Jesus our love for you we sing,
living Lord.
2.
Lord Jesus Christ now and every day
Teach us how to pray, Son of God.
You have commanded us to do
this in remembrance Lord of you
Into our lives your power breaks through,
living Lord.
3.
Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us
Born as one with us, Mary’s Son.
Led out to die on Calvary,
risen from death to set us free,
living Lord Jesus help us see
You are Lord.
4.
Lord Jesus Christ I would come to you
live my life for you, Son of God.
All your commands I know are true,
your many gifts will make me new,
into my life your power breaks through,
living Lord. 

Patrick Appleford
© 1960 Josef Weinberger Ltd.

             The Service of the Word

 Readings:  

The First Reading:            1 Thessalonians 2:1-8                        

The Gospel Reading:       Matthew 22:34-46

Readings: NRSV Translation  

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

1 You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. 3 For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; 6 nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, 7 though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. 8 So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.  

Matthew 22:34-46

34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ 37 He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38 This is the greatest and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ 41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question:
42 ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son, is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’43 He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,44 “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”?
45 If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’
46 No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Preaching of the Word – Do You Love?

Do you love God with your whole heart and all of your soul and mind?  Do you love your neighbour in the same way?  These are the tough questions of today’s readings.  Loving God is not measured simply by being baptized, going to church, praying regularly, or by professing to be a Christian.  Loving God completely, wholly, is born out of loving God through our love of all that is God in all of creation.

Loving God just as God loved Moses and the Israelites proved to be a challenge.  God’s love delivered them from oppression.  God made it clear that God never intended any of creation to oppress or to be oppressed.  That is why God gave them so many opportunities to get it right. Moses led the people and saw God in a unique way.  God followed through with the promise made to the Israelites and at the end of Moses’ life they stood together looking out over the summit into the “promised land.” Moses died knowing that they had arrived, and that God had provided them with Torah the first five books of the Bible so that they could continue to live the way God intended.  Moses had spent his life doing God’s work and learning what it meant to love God and everything of God.  

God’s love is also evident in Paul’s earliest record of his ministry.  In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul acknowledges that it takes courage to declare the Gospel in the face of opposition.  Paul does not simply accept his ordination to share the Gospel but to do it with the gentleness of a nursemaid.  How might we respond if someone would tell us that they care for us so deeply that they are determined to share not only the Gospel of God but all of themselves, because you have become very dear to them?

The officials in the Gospel of Matthew are thinking very narrowly when they ask Jesus to identify one of the more than 700 commandments as more important than the others. Their perception of what Torah meant did not include the perspective Jesus gave them.  When they asked Jesus to tell them which commandment most important Jesus was answered with what seems like the broader meaning.

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

Jesus knit together a pattern for us.  He makes it clear that we must love God with every part of us, and every part of us must love all that loves God.  Jesus modelled that for us in his life.  He loved God even when it meant that he would know suffering and death.  Jesus loved even those persons we might be inclined to judge.  We have to ask ourselves if we could do the same.  We have to ask ourselves if the readings seem unrelated to our lives or if we could see our own lives in them, as we might expect it to be in the people we baptise today. 

The world we live in might, at first glance, seem to be different from the Old or New Testament worlds—but are they really?  We cannot deny the context of the Old Testament story.  We read about the oppression of the Israelites and their journey to freedom, but do we consider who is being oppressed today?  Even more difficult is asking ourselves if we are ourselves oppressors or, more importantly, if we treat every person justly.  How do we love God when we are not acting justly? 

These are difficult questions. And we have to ask ourselves if we are living justly and loving God with our whole heart and soul and mind.  But what does it mean to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and our entire mind?  Since all relationships touch our hearts, soul, or mind, we would have to say that this means that every part of us needs to love God.  And if the second commandment is like the first, we are expected to love all relationships as we love God. 

Jesus is not qualifying these relationships to mean only people or only the people we want to love.  Jesus is describing all things in all of creation.  And, it goes one step further, because Jesus also tells us that we cannot love God if we do not love all that God made in creation.  This is what he meant by “the second is like the first,” and what is most difficult about the Gospel reading today because of the nature of the world in which we live. 

This is the world that is being destroyed by consumerism and greed.  The same world that turns its head as the rainforests burn away and glaciers melt away.  The world where we would rather drive bigger cars, SUV’s and such like (all those 4-wheel drives), that are consuming more of our world’s oil faster than we can produce.  This is the same world that answers the needs for more fuel by destroying more and more of God’s creation.  How do we reconcile our love for God with our whole hearts, souls, and minds with these facts?

How also do we reconcile ourselves to loving God with all that we are when we so willingly go to church and then partake in drinking coffee at our “coffee hours” in Styrofoam cups?  I know it’s convenient and cost efficient but what does it do to the environment. Maybe someone can give me an answer. I don’t know. How does it make sense for us to be more interested in loving the things that we buy with our money while looking away as we pass the person on the street who is asking for help?  How are we loving God with all that we are when we choose to separate ourselves from others using God’s own words as our defence?

Every day God gives us many opportunities to “get right with God”.  Every day when the sun rise’s we can either take it for granted or thank God for another day, acknowledging the miracle of each new day? Every day of our life we are interacting with the world around us.  Do we love our entire world with all that we are—our hearts, our minds, and our souls? 

It is not about proving that we get it and love God.  It is about showing that we love God and get it with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. 

Hymn 201: King of glory, King of peace

                   (Tune – Gwalchmai)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB3rPt0ZqFc  

King of glory, King of peace,

I will love Thee;

and that love may never cease,

I will move Thee.

Thou hast granted my request,

Thou hast heard me;

Thou didst note my working breast,

Thou hast spared me.

 

Wherefore with my utmost art

I will sing Thee,

and the cream of all my heart

I will bring Thee.

Though my sins against me cried,

Thou alone didst clear me;

and alone, when they replied,

Thou didst hear me.

 

Seven whole days, not one in seven,

I will praise Thee;

in my heart, though not in heaven,

I can raise Thee.

Small it is, in this poor sort

to enrol Thee:

Even eternity’s too short

to extol Thee.  

Text by: George Herbert 1593-1632 Tune: Gwalchmai by: John David Jones 1827-1870

 Intercessory Prayers  

Glorious Creator, Your Sacred Fire sanctifies our faith, transforms our souls, and guides us to find our footing on holy ground in this earthly life. Help us to continually seek Your Strength and Your Face, that we may not be consumed by human things, but set our minds on all that is divine. Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator, enflame Your Spirit within us to persist and prevail upon the leaders of this Country, this Community, and this World, to reject repaying evil with evil, to hold fast to what is good, legislating only for the honour, dignity, and humanity for all Your people everywhere. We pray especially for: ……………………….. 

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator grant us wisdom as listening ears and helping hands to care for those with physical or mental illness or desperate life circumstance, and for those who struggle to meet those needs.  We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need…

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator may our hearts know the joy that celebrates all who have now risen into the Splendour of Eternity, free of misery and tears. We pray especially for: …………………. Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials… Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator, enhance and extend your enduring grace and faith-filled energy for those among us who are anointed to take on Your mantle of ministry on our behalf. We pray especially for:………………………..

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

O God of Yesterday, Today, and Forever, release us from desire for the superficial milk and honey of this life, the spiritual stumbling blocks of faith. Ignite our passion to Follow, not obstruct, the Way of Christ toward our Salvation. We ask in the name of Jesus, Son of Man, and the Holy Spirit, our Divine Fervour, who reign together with You as One, Living, and Eternal God. 

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 452: God of Mercy, God of Grace

                   (Tune – Heathlands)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3PIRShdR8s  

God of mercy, God of grace,

show the brightness of your face.

Shine upon us, Saviour, shine;

fill your world with light divine;

all your saving health extend

unto earth's remotest end. 

 

Let the people praise you, Lord;

be by all that live adored.

Let the nations shout and sing

glory to their gracious King;

at your feet their tribute pay,

and your holy will obey.

 

Let the people praise you, Lord;

earth shall then its fruits afford.

Unto us your blessing give;

we to you devoted live,

all below and all above,

one in joy and light and love.                                   

                             Author: Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847)

                               Tune: Heathlands – Henry Thomas Smart (1813-79)

Benediction

        Go forth in the knowledge and love of God.

        We go, confident in God's steadfast love.

        Go into the world, loving without limits, caring without boundaries.

         We journey forth to fulfill God's law of love.

        Go forth in the name of the living Word, the One whose words bring forth the fruit of the kingdom in your own lives! 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 19 - 11 October 2020

October 8, 2020 - 9:55pm

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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

What Does the Lord Require?

Pentecost 19 Sunday in 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 2011)

          Come, let us put God in the centre of our lives!

We rejoice in God's steadfast love!

Come, let our gentleness be a reflection of God's love.

We give thanks for Christ's enduring grace!

Come, let us lay down our burdens and worries.

       We offer our needs to God in prayer.

Come, let us focus on what is honourable and true.

With hope, we turn now to God's guiding word.

 

Hymn 474: Here in this place new light is streaming

                  (tune – Gather us in)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ar0BXa82F9M

 Here in this place new light is streaming, now is the darkness vanished away,

see in this space our fears and our dreamings, brought here to you in the light of this day.

Gather us in the lost and forsaken, gather us in the blind and the lame;

call to us now, and we shall awaken, we shall arise at the sound of our name.


We are the young-our lives a mystery, we are the old-who yearn for your face,

we have been sung throughout all of history, called to be light to the whole human race.

Gather us in-the rich and the haughty, gather us in-the proud and the strong;

give us a heart so meek and so lowly, give us the courage to enter the song.


Here we will take the wine and the water, here we will take the bread of new birth,

here you shall call your sons and your daughters, call us anew to be salt for the earth.

Give us to drink the wine of compassion, give us to eat the bread that is you;

nourish us well and teach us to fashion lives that are holy and hearts that are true.

 

Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven, light-years away,

but here in this place the new light is shining, no is the Kingdom, and now is the day.

Gather us in and hold us forever, gather us in and make us your own;

gather us in-all peoples together, fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

 Gather us in` - Marty Haugen (b. 1950)

Opening prayer

     Most Holy God, we come into worship with thanksgiving and praise, but we also come before you with worries and doubts. As we lay these burdens down, fill us with your Spirit and bless us with peace and joy. Keep our minds in Christ Jesus, that we may remain focused on issues of justice and righteousness, love and grace. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Most Holy God, we have made gods out of gold and clay; we have allowed worries and doubts to cloud our vision and faith.

Do not think on these things, gracious God. Find in us all that is honourable and true, commendable and excellent. Shine in our lives, that we may reflect the just and righteous parts of ourselves. 

Forgive us when we reflect false gods or sinful values.

Guide us back into your holy presence and transform us with your grace, that we may be the gentle and just people you would have us be and become.


Declaration of Forgiveness

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, is ours through Christ Jesus. In Christ, we are forgiven indeed! Amen.

Thanks, be to God!

 The Peace

Let us show one another signs of God's peace, the peace beyond all understanding that is yours and mine to share. The amazing peace of God be with you.

And also, with you!

 

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Worship God and him alone.

Object: A small statue

Who can tell me what this is? (Give time for answers.) That’s right, it is a statue. How many of you have statues in your home? Have you ever seen any statues in parks around the city? Perhaps it was a famous baseball player or an artist or author. I once went to a park with statues of characters from books by Dr. Seuss. My favourite was Horton the elephant.

Statues are great unless they become something that we worship other than God. When we do that, the statue becomes an idol that replaces our God.

That is what one our Bible lesson that we won’t read that is set for this morning in Exodus is about. The main characters in the story are God, Moses, and his brother Aaron. As the story begins, Moses is up on a mountain called Mt. Sanai. I am sure that you remember that God had told Moses to go up on the mountain so that God could give him the Ten Commandments for the people to follow. 

Now Moses stayed up on the mountain longer than the people thought he should. They went to Aaron and said to him, "We want you to create gods who will go before us so that we will know what way to go. As for this fellow Moses who brought us out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him."

Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings you are wearing and bring them to me." So, all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took all the gold they had given to him and made it into an idol in the shape of a calf. The people were very happy with the idol that had been made for them. 

When Aaron saw how happy the people were, he built an altar and placed it in front of the calf. He said, "Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord and you are to rise up early and make a sacrifice burnt offerings before the calf." 

When God saw what the people were doing, he became very angry and told Moses that he was going to destroy the people because of their unfaithfulness. But Moses begged the Lord to remember the promise that he had made to Abraham, Isaac, and the children of Israel. Moses convinced the Lord and he changed his mind and did not do what he said he might do—he did not destroy them. 

What can we learn from this story? We sometimes put other things before God. It may not be an idol made of gold in the shape of a calf, but it may be things. It might be things like money, cars, or sports. Anything that we put ahead of our love for God becomes an idol and that is a big mistake. 

Offering Prayer  

God of steadfast love, we thank you for the abundant gifts in our lives: love and grace, clothing and belongings, friends and family. We thank you for the steadfast signs of your loving presence in our world: wondrous works and awesome deeds. We come before you with our offerings, rejoicing in this opportunity to help bring your realm to this earth. Amen.  

Hymn 430: Your words to me

                  (Tune – Capel)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=553ynQB2-rY  

1.  Your words to me are life and health;pour strength into my soul;enable, guide, and teach my heartto reach its perfect goal!  

2.  Your words to me are light and truth;from day to day they showtheir wisdom, passing earthly lore,as in their truth I grow.  

3.  Your words to me are full of joy,of beauty, peace, and grace;from them I learn your blessed will,through them I see your face.  

4.  Your words you have fulfilled on earth,yourself, the living Word;within my heart your image printin clearest lines, O Lord.  

Author: G. Currie MartinTune: Capel (English)

The Service of the Word

 Readings:

The First Reading:            Philippians 4:1-9                        

The Gospel Reading:       Matthew 22:1-14

Readings: NRSV Translation

       Philippians 4:1-9                    

4 1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Matthew 22:1-14

22 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Preaching of the Word - What Does the Lord Require?

Imagine this: “A man flips lazily through the television channels and stops for a few minutes to look at a religious program. He then turns the set off, gets up, and walks into the hall where he encounters his wife. "Will you," he asks her, "be ready when the Bridegroom comes?" "Yes," she responds quickly, "I have my outfit all picked out."

This is, of course, comedy. It works as such because in this context it follows a formula similar to the one used in making puns. It replaces the symbolic, scriptural meaning of "Bridegroom" with the literal meaning of the word. In making light of the parable, the couple block out the light of understanding. Nothing is more corrosive to symbolic understanding than the literal. Do you recall how, during the 1960s, Timothy Leary declared LSD (lysergic acid), with which he was experimenting, to be a "sacrament." Do you remember how corrosive an idea that was, not just to brain cells but to the understanding of some people as to what was really a sacrament? It reduced the idea of "sacrament" to being a mere thing.

Jesus did not do stand-up comedy. Parables are like puzzles, and Jesus, we are told, always spoke in parables. Today's Gospel incorporates one of his best-known parables. He didn't use them to entertain or to perplex his audiences, or to give them games to play. His parables were like pieces of string that had to be rolled up into a ball. Like poetry, they were stories at whose heart was a metaphor. He was not trying to be difficult. He used the language of parable because he was speaking of something that was intangible. He was speaking of something unseen. And like the poet, he had the difficult task of making the unseen, seen.

Often the meanings contained in the parables were left, for the moment, unseen. Even the disciples had difficulty and more than once asked Jesus to explain the parables. Scripture can be difficult. It takes work.

A minister once wrote, "Only the poetic imagination can understand the Bible. Like unsolved puzzles, the meaning of parables can lie hidden in the mind. Hindrances to our understanding abound-like bars on a door or locks on a gate. We do remain curious about what lies on the other side.

We can be barred from entrance through the door of meaning by attempting to interpret the meaning of the parables as though the stories are literal. As with our initial scene, such a response flattens out the meaning, makes it comic or banal. Simply put, then, the meaning of today's Gospel story of the marriage feast might be:

"You had better get your clothes ready if you want to go to the wedding feast or you will be booted out; or, worse, you might be thrown to the dogs!" Would we leave deeper meaning behind and take off for the mall? The better we look when we go into church for the wedding, the more likely we are of being able to pass into heaven.

Is this what we really believe? Do we try and interpret and understand the metaphor or do take things literally? Would there be fewer trip to the mall? There is no section at the mall for symbolic wedding garb, or for symbolic brides. So, let's leave the literal and try doing the work of seeing through different lenses, in a way that will give us a new heart.

Literal interpretations of the parables bring us to a dead end. Symbolic interpretation can open things up for us. In today's Gospel, Jesus is using the image of a wedding feast, a favourite of his, to speak about the Kingdom of God. The bride in the story is not spoken about because she is everywhere, for she can be compared to the entire body of Christ's people. Jesus, I believe was really talking about a sacred marriage between God and humans; between the bridegroom who is the Word and human nature. Jesus himself is the bridegroom and the bride is every one of us. We are being given a picture, Jesus' vision, of the "married land." As in Revelations, the Bridegroom has come. It is heaven where, the divine and human have been united.

And when he comes, will we be ready? Will we be foolish enough to say that as there is a sale this week, we will certainly be able to look our best for the wedding in church? No, the costume in the story is to be understood metaphorically. It is our lives we need to change, the contents of our consciousness, our hearts, and our vision -- not our clothes! These are the intangible garments that concern Jesus. When we wear them -- then he will come, bringing his Kingdom of Heaven. Right here. Right now.

Will we be thrown out where there will be fire and the weeping and gnashing of teeth? Does this fate sound familiar? Similar language is used in other parables recorded by Matthew. It is a harvest metaphor. Literally, it is the weeds that are thrown out from the gathering and the bad fish from the net. And is it a mean God who will throw us out if we show up without the proper gown?

No. The purpose of a parable is to make one point and the point here is to get ready, to stitch together for ourselves the garments of truth, of the Way, so we will be open to God.

There are many people who will remain well armoured against the piercing truths today's parable conveys. They will refuse the challenge. It is easier, like the couple in our opening story, to protect ourselves from the real meaning of the parable by turning it into comedy. It is easier to limit our Vision, to wear a garment of armour. "The kingdom of God is spread on the earth and people don't see it," we read. Jesus' kingdom cannot be stormed. It must descend upon us like light.

In today's parable, Jesus has given us all a key. For God's sake, for Heaven's sake (heaven was used as a synonym for God), we must prepare, make our garments, clothe ourselves in understanding. Only by preparing such a robe are we to gain entrance into his Kingdom. 

Hymn 665: Jesus Christ is waiting

                   (Tune – Noel Nouvelet) 

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

1. Jesus Christ is waiting,Waiting in the streets;No one is his neighbour,All alone he eats.Listen, Lord Jesus,I am lonely too.Make me, friend or stranger,Fit to wait on you  

2. Jesus Christ is raging,Raging in the streets,Where injustice spiralsAnd real hope retreats.Listen, Lord Jesus,I am angry too.In the Kingdom’s causesLet me rage with you.  

3. Jesus Christ is healing,Healing in the streets;Curing those who suffer,Touching those he greets.Listen, Lord Jesus,I have pity too.Let my care be active,Healing just like you.  

4. Jesus Christ is dancing,Dancing in the streets,Where each sign of hatredHe, with love, defeats.Listen, Lord Jesus,I should triumph too.On suspicion’s graveyardLet me dance with you.  

5. Jesus Christ is calling,Calling in the streets,”Who will join my journey?I will guide their feet.”Listen, Lord Jesus,Let my fears be few.Walk one step before me;I will follow you.  

Author: John L. BellAuthor: Graham MauleTune: Noel Nouvelet  

Intercessory Prayers 

Remembering God's marvellous works and living in hope, let us pray for the church, the world, and all people according to their needs.

Stir up your church to do the work of evangelism and proclaim the message of the salvation through faith in Christ Jesus to the world. Lord, in your mercy,hear our prayer.

Enlighten world leaders with new and creative ways to become good stewards of the earth's resources for the sake of future generations. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Watch over all who suffer from injustice, hear and answer their cry, and preserve them from all evil. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

Let us pray for the sick (including) and especially for those with Covid-19 and those who deal with other viruses and illnesses, that God will give health and strengthen their faith. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Inspire our congregation to persistent prayer and steadfast study of the scriptures, so that we will be equipped for every good work. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for the witness of those who have gone before and our examples of faith. Give us persistence of faith until we, with all the saints, may see you face to face. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of faithfulness, encircled in your lovingkindness, we lift up to you all in need. Hear our prayers on behalf of others and sustain us as we await the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray.  

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 573: A Charge to keep I Have

                   (Tune – Boylston)  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M-64OwBK1E  

1.A charge to keep I have,

A God to glorify,

A never-dying soul to save,

And fit it for the sky. 

 

2.To serve the present age,

My calling to fulfill;

may it all my powers engage

To do my Master’s will!

 

3.Arm me with jealous care

As in Thy sight to live,

And now Thy servant, Lord, prepare

A strict account to give!

 

4.Help me to watch and pray,

And still on Thee rely,

                            let me not my trust betray,

But press to realms on high.  

Author: Charles Wesley (1762)

                        Tune: Boylston

Benediction 

        May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus this day and forevermore. Go forth in the name of the living Word, the One whose words bring forth the fruit of the kingdom in your own lives! Amen.        

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA  

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

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

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

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

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)          Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)


Categories: Syndicated Blogs