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Marsden Road Uniting Worship Penetcost 5 HC 05 July 2020

July 3, 2020 - 6:15am

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


Come to me Sunday 5th July 2020Pentecost 5 Sunday - year of Matthew 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People

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

Preaching of the Word: Come to me - Matthew 11: 25-30
There was once a time when any of us going to a service of Holy Communion in many Churches might hear some of Jesus' words in today's Gospel. "Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Or, in a slightly older form of the English language: "Come unto me all ye who travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you."
Often these words were spoken to us by the Celebrant, right after the Confession and Absolution, and -- along with a few other well-chosen sentences of Scripture -- they were part of what were popularly called, in the tradition of the old Anglican Prayer Book, " The Comfortable Words," and were introduced by the celebrating priest with the invitation, "Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith to all that truly turn to him..."
Those of us who are old enough, remember that there was something quite wonderful about hearing those Comfortable Words at that particular point in the liturgy. We had heard the Word of God proclaimed in the lectionary readings of Scripture, just as we do now; and we had heard the preacher's sermon. We had responded to God's Word by asserting our faith in God's unbreakable covenant with us, in the words of the Nicene Creed.
We had brought to God all the concerns for "the whole state of Christ's church and the world" in intercession and petition. Then, as now, we had confessed our manifold sins and wickedness, unburdening ourselves of our grief and guilt by acknowledging our disobedience and our failures of love towards God, our neighbours, and ourselves. We heard the authoritative assurance of pardon to all those who humbly repented and firmly intended to amend our lives-that great declaration of forgiveness intended to raise us up from the dust and ashes of penitence and set us on our feet in joyful liberation and thanksgiving.
And then came the Comfortable Words, to strengthen us and give us courage: "Come unto me ..." They were the compass setting, re-orienting us once again towards this gracious God of our hope, the maker and sustainer of our renewed reconciliation and peace, the faithful source of never-ending love in our hearts and lives, the author of that new life in Christ which had been given us in Baptism and was still ours by God's merciful forgiveness. Now we could affirm and acknowledge the peace of Christ coming into our personal and corporate life -- and, refreshed by this, we turned to the Eucharistic offering of ourselves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.
In their Eucharistic context, the words of Jesus, "Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you," were -- and still are -- comforting and strengthening indeed. But they resonate a bit differently here today in the context of Matthew's Gospel where, if we look at them more closely, they reveal to us what kind of comfort Jesus had in mind.
In this section of Matthew, Jesus is speaking as a teacher -- as he so often does, in Matthew. In fact, we can imagine Jesus as a second Moses, delivering the new Law under the same Covenant that Moses himself revealed. Here, Jesus is reassuring his disciples that the yoke of his teaching is easy, and burden of learning from him is light.
We need to realize that the rabbis of this period in history routinely referred to the responsibilities of living by God's Law as a "yoke" -- as something people took on themselves to steer and guide them down God's paths in life. And it seems to have been a common complaint, addressed above all to the scribes and Pharisees as interpreters of God's Law that their teachings had become complicated and difficult to follow, a burden rather than a guide to holy living. 
Those of us who enjoy cooking and read food magazines and cookbooks know that there are some food writers who can turn a simple recipe for mashed potatoes into something so complicated it is intimidating, and not at all the sort of recipe one would give to one's children who were learning how to cook.
The trouble with the Pharisees and their complicated interpretations of the Law was the same sort of problem: they had managed to make some basic guidelines very complex and intimidating. Of course, by doing this they retained their professional authority and power, but they also managed to turn people away from holiness of life with God, just as a complex recipe for puree of mashed potatoes can send a hungry person off for the box of instant rice.
Jesus the teacher takes great issue with this: God has given his people basic guidelines for holy life, but the Pharisees have ended up making God's Law inaccessible and impossible to follow. So, Jesus assures his disciples that by learning God's Law his way, they will not be intimidated by complexity or burdened, and condemned to failure, by Pharisaic rules and regulations. Jesus is returning to the simplicity of God's original Covenant and Law, to give them what they need to steer and guide their path easily, and by following Jesus' way they will find peace, rest, and refreshment.
By putting these Comfortable Words back into the context of Matthew's Gospel, we can see they have a depth that is not immediately obvious from their Eucharistic setting. The absolution and forgiveness which we have received as repentant sinners is neither conditional upon our ability to follow complicated rules, nor is it a permissive wave of the hand of an overindulgent parent implying that our sins don't matter.
The Comfortable Words, "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will refresh you," remind us that God's incomparable, compassionate forgiveness is a gift that releases us into life with God as responsible human beings who want to grow deeper in love and joyful obedience. After all, we are called not only to find peace, refreshment and rest for ourselves but also to live the kind of lives through which others, too, find God's peace, God's refreshing grace, and the joy of placing their lives in God's hands. AMEN
Hymn 613: Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy                  (Tune – Slane)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwAjdkMUAXw
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy:Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe:Be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace:Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm:Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Author: Jan Struther (1931)Tune: Slane

Intercessory Prayers  
Come to prayer, all who labour and are heavy laden, and God will give us rest. Come to praise, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for the revelation of your gift of abundant life and for the rest coming to those who put their trust in you. For such life and rest, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for entrusting us with the message of your grace and love, that we might speak a reconciling word to our age. For such mercy, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for leading us into the ways of peace and for transforming weapons of war into tools of charity. For such peacemaking, we pray to you Lord,Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for the gifts of creation and for wholesome times of recreation. For such times of harmony, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for those who tend the sick, accompany the frustrated, visit the lonely, comfort the dying, confront the addicted, or minister to any need. For such attention tohuman anguish, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.We thank you for sustaining all who are oppressed, all who suffer for reasons of conscience, all who are passionate for justice and all those in need of our prayers for any reason, [especially N.]. For such relief from their burdens and refreshment in you, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.Into your hands, O God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.We thank you for the people of faith who surround us, and for family and friends, teachers, and clergy, especially ………... and for all who assist our growth in grace. For such companions through life, we pray to you Lord, Lord, hear our prayer.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 531: Sent forth by God’s blessing                   (Tune – The Ash Grove)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3Pm8dAALls
Sent forth by God’s blessing, our true faith confessing, the people of God from this dwelling take leave. The service is ended, O now be extended The fruits of our worship in all who believe.The seed of the teaching, receptive souls reaching, Shall blossom in action for God and for all.God’s grace did invite us, and love shall unite usTo work for God’s kingdom and answer the call.
With praise and thanksgiving to God ever living,The tasks of our everyday life we will face.Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring,Embracing God’s children of each tribe and race.With Your grace You feed us, with Your light now lead us;Unite us as one in this life that we share.Then may all the living with praise and thanksgivingGive honour to Christ and that name which we bear.
Author: Omer Westendorf (1964)Tune: Ash Grove
Benediction                Go forth, as people renewed by the love of God. Go forth, to renew others with this very love. Let us go forth to fill the empty cups of all who ask; let us give in the name of the Breath of Resurrection, the Wellspring of Grace, the Teacher of Truth: The One, Triune God, who gives eternal life. Let us share the blessings of Christ’s eternal covenant and praising God for the Spirit’s call to love and give. Amen.                 
Hymn 776: The Lord bless you and keep you                  (Tune – John Rutter)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZN1mryHEnQ
The Lord bless you and keep youThe Lord make His face to shine upon youTo shine upon you and be graciousAnd be gracious unto you
The Lord bless you and keep youThe Lord make His face to shine upon youTo shine upon you and be graciousAnd be gracious unto you
The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon youThe Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon youAnd give you peace, and give you peaceAnd give you peace, and give you peace
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Unting Worship Pentecost 4 28 June 2020

June 26, 2020 - 12:43am

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u-WxpmOpN4
Shalom to you now, shalom, my friends. May God’s full mercies bless you, my friends. In all your living and through your loving, Christ be your shalom, Christ be your shalom
Author: Elise S. Eslinger (1980)
Tune: Somos Del Señor



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 3 21 June 2020

June 18, 2020 - 11:12pm

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Let Nothing Disturb You...,Sunday 21st June 2020Pentecost 3 Sunday - year of Matthew 9.30 am
Gathering God’s People

Acknowledgement of First Peoples
We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal.  May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.

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

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





Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Church Worship Pentecost 2 Sunday 14 June 2020

June 12, 2020 - 1:24am

Sunday 14th June 2020Marsden Road Uniting Church

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




We Have So Many Ways.Sunday 14th June 2020Pentecost 2 Sunday in the year of Matthew9.30 am
Gathering God’s People
Prelude Music to prepare for worship
Acknowledgement of First Peoples
We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal.  May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.

Gathering God’s People

Call to Worship (Mary J. Scifres, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)        Hope in God. Expect miracles. For with God, anything is possible!
We call to the Lord, and God hears our prayers. We lift up our praise, and God hears our songs. We wait for the Lord, and God answers our hope.
Hymn 672: Lord of earth and all creation                                   (Tune – Westminster Abbey - Purcell)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2vPYrbzeGc
1.  Lord of earth and all creation,let your love possess our land:wealth, and freedom, far horizons,mountain, forest, shining sand:may we share, in faith and friendship,gifts unmeasured from your hand.
2.  People of the ancient Dreamtime,they who found this country first,ask with those, the later comers,will our dream be blessed or cursed?Grant us, Lord, new birth, new living,hope for which our children thirst.
3.  Lord, life-giving healing Spirit,on our hurts your mercy shower;lead us by your inward dwelling,guiding, guarding, every hour,Bless and keep our land Australia:in your will her peace and power.
Author: Michael Thwaitesand Honor Mary ThwaitesTune: Westminster Abbey; Composer: Henry Purcell (1680)
Opening prayer
Miraculous, wonderful One, come to us now. Pour outyour grace and your love. Shower us with the power ofyour Holy Spirit, that we may become people ofmiracles— people filled with the laughter of hope. Amen
A Prayer of Confession
Holy One, be with us in our weakness.When we laugh out of fear, calm us with your courage. When we laugh out of doubt, empower us with your faith. When we laugh out of our confusion, guide us with your wisdom. Transform our nervous laughter into songs of praise and shouts of joy and trust. In your blessed name, we pray. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       In God’s faithfulness, we are made righteous. In Christ’s love, we find peace and hope. In the Spirit’s strength, our laughter of derision is transformed into laughter of joy.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
With Christ’s peace in our hearts and God’s hope in our lives, let us share signs of joy and love this day.Peace be with you!And also, with you! (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)
A Word with the Children/Young People
Theme: God’s LoveObject: A String of pearls or pearl earrings
This morning I’d like you to think about a string of pearls. Do you know where pearls come from? They come from oysters. An oyster is a shellfish that lives in the ocean. They have a very hard shell that protects them, but sometimes something like a small grain of sand can get inside the shell and it causes a lot of pain and discomfort for the oyster.
God has given the oyster a way to ease that pain. When a grain of sand gets in there, the oyster oozes out a liquid that coats the grain of sand and then it hardens. The oyster keeps doing this over and over until the grain of sand no longer causes pain. This is how these pearls are made. Something that started out being painful turned into something very beautiful and valuable.
The same thing happens to us. Sometimes something comes into our life that causes a lot of hurt and pain. When that happens, God gives us something to help ease the pain. He gives us His love. If we ask Him to, He will ooze out His love to ease our pain and suffering. Often what started out to be very painful in our life can turn into something beautiful.
Dear Lord, we thank you that when we have pain and hurts in our life, you ooze out your love to ease the pain. Help us to remember that you can take the most painful hurts in our lives and turn them into something beautiful. Amen.
Offering Prayer
Bless these gifts, O God, with your hope and love, that others may know your healing power and your miraculous possibilities. In joyous trust, we pray. Amen.
Hymn 235: A man there lived in Galilee                  (Tune – Tyrolese)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ficsjHnilZ4
A man there lived in Galileelike no one else before,for he alone from first to lastour flesh unsullied wore;a perfect life of perfect deedsonce to the world was shown,that everyone might mark his stepsand in them place their own.
A man there died on Calvaryabove all others brave;he gave to all, he saved and blessed,himself he scorned to save;no thought can gauge the weight of woeon him, the sinless, laid;we only know that with his deathour ransom price was paid.
A man there stands at God's right hand,divine, yet human still;that grand, heroic, peerless souldeath sought in vain to kill.All power is his: supreme he rulesall realms of time and space;yet still our human cares and needsfind in his heart a place.
Author: Somerset Corry Lowry (1926)
Tune: Tyrolese
 
                               
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                          Romans 5.1-8          NEB page 875The Gospel Reading:                     Matthew 9:35-10:8   NEB page 732After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the LordPlease respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.
Readings:
Romans 5: 1-8
1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Matthew 9:35-10:8
9 35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his arvest.’10 1 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.
Preaching of the Word: We Have So Many Ways...,
We have so many ways of learning about God. We learn from Holy Scripture, of course. We learn from our worship, from the seasons of the year and the glories of nature, from one another, in our prayers.
There is a way of watching movies that can open our minds and hearts to God in ways more powerful than we might imagine. When we see a movie strictly for entertainment, we've received our money's worth, but when we watch the screen through the eyes of faith, God can touch us in ways that are worth much more, ways that are surprising, even transcendent. Ordinary, commercial films become "Jesus movies."
Take the film, The Green Mile, for instance. The Jesus figure in The Green Mile is obvious, of course. John Coffey, an enormous black man in the South, has been accused of murdering two small girls, and upon his arrest he is delivered to "the Green Mile," death row in a southern prison. It becomes apparent fairly early in the film that John is innocent; he is sweet and what we used to call "simple-minded;" despite his huge size, he weeps quietly at times and is afraid of the dark. He shows tenderness to all but the truly evil ones he encounters on the Green Mile, and after a couple of miraculous healings, there's no doubt in our eyes just who John Coffey represents. He's our Jesus figure in this movie.
Jesus showed us the nature of the Divine as he walked this earth among us. So, what can John Coffey show us about the nature of God if we view him through the lens of Christ, praying that the Holy Spirit guide us to any truth?
In Matthew's Gospel today, we learn that "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." Matthew continues: "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
Compassion. "Com-passion." "Feeling with." Feeling another's pain, another's suffering.
In The Green Mile, one of the several climactic scenes shows us a gruesome execution, one in which a sadistic rookie deliberately omits a step in the electrocution process, essentially cooking a Cajun inmate named Edouard Delacroix, a man for whom John Coffey -- and the movie's viewers -- have developed a fondness. In one of the most graphic death scenes in cinematic history, as Del screams and jolts and jerks and smokes, John Coffey, in his own death row cell, experiences exactly the same torture. He jerks and grimaces as though he were sitting in "Old Sparky" himself. The lights on the Green Mile dim, then burst, as he lives through Del's electrocution from afar.
After the body has finally died and has been removed for burial, the officer in charge of the Green Mile, Paul Edgecomb, returns to his block and walks to John's cell. Sweat pours from John's body; he is still trembling. He says to Edgecomb through clenched jaws, "Boss, Del, he the lucky one. He out of it now."
"Do you mean you heard that all the way down here, John?" asks Edgecomb.
"No, Boss. I felt it," replies John.
John Coffey, our Jesus character, actually felt the pain of his friend. He experienced his torture, as though he had somehow been in the body of Edouard Delacroix.Compassion. Feeling with.
"Freely you have received, freely give," Jesus tells the twelve as he sends them out to preach and heal those for whom Jesus has such great compassion. We might overhear him saying something like, "Heal every disease and sickness. Cast out evil spirits. Take the message of the Kingdom to those who live on death row every day of their lives. Help me care for them. Have "com-passion" on them. Feel with them. I can't do it all by myself. The task is too great to be done alone, even by me. And it's not God's purpose that it all be done by me. You're in this, too. We can't do it without you. You're going to be my Body on earth soon, so you'd better get out there and start learning what that means before I leave you."
So the followers of Jesus, his disciples, the ones who had left fishing nets and families to follow and learn from this magnetic young man who spoke so winningly of his heavenly Father, these twelve meagrely prepared ones were now to take their first steps as apostles -- those who are sent out to do for the hurting of the world that which Jesus himself wishes done.
As we step into their shoes today, let's listen to this story carefully, because it is our story, too. We are his disciples today and more -- we are his Body. Christ, the compassionate one, is the Head of the Body. Information Central. Where the commands to the Body come from. Unless our own head tells our index finger and thumb to move closer together, we can't do so much as pick up a pencil. We need, as Christ's Body, to listen more carefully to Christ, our Head.
What is Christ telling us? To go out and be do-gooders in the name of the church? No! Some people see this passage as a mandate for evangelism, and that can look scary, even impossible, especially for western white protestants. I read of a plan in the 90's, where someone was heard to say that their plan for evangelism was to build a really attractive aquarium next to the ocean and then wait for the fish to jump in. That's not what Jesus is calling us to here.
Jesus is sending us out to do the work that springs from a heart filled with compassion, with empathy, with doing our best to experience another's pain. We can never reach this ideal, of course; each person's pain is unique. But the heart of the compassionate Christ, which is and must be our own corporate heart, has no place for criticism, for judgment, even for merit. We help those who need help, not those we deem worthy of our help. It is not our own help we offer, of course; we are merely the vehicles for Christ's healing touch, his saving grace, his Word of hope.
As we move more deeply into our identity as Christ's Body, as 21st century apostles, in this work of embodying Jesus today, church growth is a side effect of Christ's impact on those we encounter. Evangelism happens because the "evangel" is Good News indeed! And as we do the will of the one who sends us out, our own lives become daily more filled with the love and grace of our Saviour.
Freely we have been given, not deserving. Freely and with compassion we are called to give. The harvest is plentiful, and we are the laborers today in a field filled with weeds and hungry for the harvest. Shake off the dust and let's go!
Hymn 186: Stars and Planets flung in orbit                  (Tune - Lauda Anima (Goss))
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee_fmMl9trg
Stars and planets flung in orbit,galaxies that swirl through space,powers hid within the atom,cells that form an infant’s face:these, O God, in silence praise you;by your wisdom they are made.
Skies adorned with sunset splendour,silent peaks in calm repose,golden fields awaiting harvest,foaming surf and fragrant rose:earth, its bounty clothed with beauty,echoes all creation’s praise.
Life in wondrous, wild profusion,seed and fruit, each flower and tree,beast and fish and swarming insect,soaring bird, rejoicing, free:these, your creatures, join in chorus,praising you in wordless song.
Humankind, earth’s deepest mystery,born of dust but touched by grace,torn apart by tongue and colour,yet a single, striving race:we, in whom you trace your image,add our words to nature’s song.
Gracious God, we bring before yougifts of human life alone,truth that throbs through song and story,visions caught in paint and stone:these, O God, we gladly offer,gifts to praise the Giver’s name.
Christ, the Word before creationas creation’s final goal,once you came for earth’s redemption;by your Spirit make earth whole:then, O God, the new creationwill your praise for ever sing. 
Author: Herman G. StuempfleTune - Lauda Anima (Goss)
Intercessory Prayers  
We pray for our local community that we can all learn to share with one another. We ask for your blessing on all people in this community in their daily life and work. For the young and the elderly, for families and for all who are alone. Guide and enable all who lead and serve our community and on those whom we depend for our daily needs. We give you thanks for human skill and creativity and all that reveals your glory in our lives.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer We pray for you church throughout the world, for all involved in mission and outreach. We ask for your blessing on our church here and we thank you that there is so much friendship here. Show us how to help each other so that the worship we now offer is the worship of a true family, through Jesus Christ who is head of the Church. Give us grace to proclaim the gospel joyfully in word and deed and help us to fulfil our calling and to care for one another in an unselfish fellowship of love; and to care for the world around us by sharing with it the good news of your love; and serving those who suffer from poverty hunger and disease.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer Loving God, in your hands are the destinies of people and of nations, we bring before you in our prayers those who have been entrusted with special responsibilities for the life of our nation. May all involved in negotiations uphold goodwill and mutual understanding and show due respect to each other.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our Prayer Loving God, we pray for all of us here this morning, for our families and friends. Inspire us to work at our relationships and remind us to welcome you in every situation we meet. We ask for your blessing on our family members and on all for whom we love and care. May we always be ready to forgive, respect and value them.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our PrayerLoving God, we commend to your healing all who are in pain or are ill at home or in hospital. We pray for those about to undergo or who are recovering from surgery: for all who depend on others for life and movement. May they be reassured by the strength of your presence. In a moment of quiet we name in our hearts those whom we know who are in need of our prayers.Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our PrayerWe pray for the bereaved and the desolate: may all in trouble or sorrow draw strength from your life and your victory over death. We pray for those who have died that, falling asleep to this life they may wake to eternal life in the joy of heaven.
Jesus Christ is the light of the world; a light which no darkness can quench. We pray for all who have died and light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ which eternally shines and brings hope.
Lord in Your Mercy Hear Our PrayerWe thank you Father that we are all invited to share your life-giving love: make us worthy of all you have promised.Merciful God accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour – Jesus Christ.  Amen
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 233: I will sing the wondrous story                     (Tune – Hyfrydol)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCyxs4udKi0
I will sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me.How He left His home in gloryFor the cross of Calvary.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
I was lost, but Jesus found me,Found the sheep that went astray,Threw His loving arms around me,Drew me back into His way.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
I was bruised, but Jesus healed me;Faint was I from many a fall;Sight was gone, and fears possessed me,But He freed me from them all.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
Days of darkness still come o'er me,Sorrow's paths I often tread,But the Saviour still is with me;By His hand I'm safely led.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
He will keep me till the riverRolls its waters at my feet;Then He'll bear me safely over,Where the loved ones I shall meet.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous storyOf the Christ who died for me,Sing it with the saints in glory,Gathered by the crystal sea.
Author: Francis H. Rowley (1886)Tune: Hyfrydol
Benediction                Go now in peace. Laugh this week with hope. Take God’s love with you wherever you go!        Go now in peace. Go now in hope. Go now with the love of God. And may that same Almighty God, creator, redeemer and giver of life guide your dance in life forever. Amen
Hymn 778: Shalom to you now                 (Tune – Somos Del Señor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u-WxpmOpN4
Shalom to you now, shalom, my friends. May God’s full mercies bless you, my friends. In all your living and through your loving, Christ be your shalom, Christ be your shalom
Author: Elise S. Eslinger (1980)
Tune: Somos Del Señor


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Trinity Sunday 07 June 2020

June 4, 2020 - 11:33pm
Sunday 07th June 2020Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to Basics.Sunday 07th June 2020Trinity Sunday in the year of Matthew 9.30 amWithout Holy Communion
Gathering God’s People
Prelude Music to prepare for worship
Acknowledgement of First Peoples
We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal.  May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.
Call to Worship (B. J. Beu, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)        Are we ready to call God our Mother or Father? Are we prepared to hear God say to us, “You are very good!”? Can we leave our doubts and insecurities behind and claim our heritage? Will we stand in our truth?
God, how majestic is your name in all the earth. Your glory surrounds and enfolds us. Your image resides within us and completes us. You made us but a little lower than the angels. How majestic is your name in all the earth?
Hymn 132: Holy, holy, holy Lord God almighty                  (Tune – Nicea)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrg7jQ5Ic8c
1 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
   Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
   Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!
   God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

2 Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
   casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
   cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
   who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.
3 Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
   though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
   only thou art holy; there is none beside thee
   perfect in pow'r, in love, and purity.
4 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
   All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky & sea.
   Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!
   God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Author: Reginald Heber (1826)
Tune: NICAEA (Dykes)

Opening prayer
Triune God, your Spirit danced over the waters, your Wordwas spoken, and the glory of your creation sprang forth: sun and moon, earth and sky, creatures beyond count. We thank and praise you for putting your image within us and for creating us but a little lower than the angels. Abide in us, as you abide in the fullness of your holy mystery. Teach us to be caretakers and stewards of your good earth, that we may walk gently upon the meadows, and leave puddles of light wherever we tread. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
God of grace and glory, who are we that you are mindful of us? You sustain us through the gift of your indwelling Presence, yet we turn from you again and again, and succumb to feelings of inadequacy and despair. We turn from communion with you and with one another, even though it is only in community that we have the strength to endure the mystery of your glory and weight of our failings. Claim us anew as your beloved children, and we will be healed. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       The love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the blessings of the Holy Spirit are ours without price or condition. Rejoice in this good news and live.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
Sisters and brothers, when we live in peace with one another, the peace and love of God are ours. Let us share this great gift with one another as we share signs of the peace of Christ.Peace be with you! And also, with you! (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)
Offering Prayer
Your gifts overwhelm us, Creator God. We praise you for placing your image within us— an image that makes us who we are. May these gifts reflect the glory of your image as they go forth to move creation forward toward its fulfillment in you. Amen.
Hymn 188: Where wide sky rolls down                  (Tune – Hanover)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFX7VBH_2ZQ
Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand,where sun turns to gold the grass of the land,let spinifex, mulga and waterhole telltheir joy in the One who made everything well.
Where rain-forest calm meets reef, tide and storm,where green things grow lush and oceans are warm,let every sea-creature and tropical birdexult in the light of the life-giving Word.
Where red gum and creek cross hillside and plain,where cool tree-ferns rise to welcome the rain,let bushland, farm, mountain-top, all of their daysdelight in the Spirit who formed them for praise.
Now, people of faith, come gather aroundwith songs to be shared, for blessings abound!Australians, whatever your culture or race, come, lift up your hearts to the Giver of grace
Author: Elizabeth J. Smith
Tune: Hanover (Croft)                                    
The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                      2 Corinthians 13.11-13     NEB page 905The Gospel Reading:                       Matthew 28.16-20      NEB page 755After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the LordPlease respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.
Readings:
2 Corinthians 13.11-13
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
Matthew 28.16-20
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
Preaching of the Word – Back to basics
Trinity Sunday, that anomaly of Sundays. A day when we celebrate a doctrine or foundation of our faith within the context of the celebration of Christ's resurrection as every Sunday is. It is always a Sunday that has provided most clergy with anxiety or anguish or consternation as they attempt to prepare a sermon on the Trinity that is not boring or so full of theological jargon that parishioners will fall asleep.
How often have you heard clergy lament on having to preach on the Trinity? Well today is no exception for me. However, I would like to share with you some reflections on how it shapes and forms who we are as a people of faith.
From Advent until through Pentecost we focused all of our attention on the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Even Advent focuses our attention on the coming saviour. The one who came and will come again. We have lived the liturgical drama of Christ Sunday by Sunday climaxing with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, The Easter Vigil and Resurrection Sunday. Now comes the hard part living the faithful life, "with the Spirit's gifts to empower us for the work of ministry." In order to understand the Trinity, one must go back to basics. To understand how that early faith community understood their life that resulted in the adoption of the Trinity as a way of being and doing.
That community knew their story as found in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the Gospel stories. They knew God as their creator and in whose image, they were created. Not only did they know God as their creator, but that God created all that was and is as reflected in the Genesis reading for this day. But God was more than just their creator, God was in an intimate relationship with them as a parent as a father, a mother.
We glean that from the stories where their God hears the cries of the people and brought them out of bondage cares for her children as a hen cares for her chicks, where God calls Israel my children, and weeps over their destruction, as parents weep over the actions of their brood. No, this God is not a God from afar or just a judging God, but a loving and gracious God who created them, and even when Adam and Eve sinned stayed with them and clothed them. The stories of God as creator and intimate parent, father/mother abounded in their in-salvation story and continues in ours.
For this community another understanding of God came through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. God became flesh and dwelt among us. The incarnate Word. Through the early apostles and disciples, the community heard the story of Jesus and how God lived and acted in new and profound ways among the people. It wasn't until after Jesus' resurrection that his life made sense to the apostles. For during his life, the disciples were still trying to understand. We know from the Gospel of John how difficult that last night was as Jesus was explaining what had to happen and what it all meant. They didn't get it fully until after the centurion said, "truly this was the Son of God."
The disciples finally get the full meaning at the Ascension when "they return to the temple rejoicing and praising God." God was made manifest in Jesus to ensure that the faith community understood that God was not just out there but lived as one of us as our brother through God's son Jesus. The new community had also experienced the resurrected Christ and knew like Mary that with God nothing was impossible for the Easter story is the knowledge that the impossible is possible. Now the new community had all those stories to know God as not only their creator, but as their saviour and redeemer.
Finally, this community understood God as the Holy Spirit. As promised by Jesus, the gift of the Spirit came on Pentecost. It came to the whole community and not just a select few. One would have thought that the spirit would come to the disciples and their friends only, but the spirit came to the gathered group that represented people from all over the region. Jesus lived and preached a life of welcome and inclusion even when his followers didn't. The community now has experienced God as the Holy Spirit.
The doctrine of the Trinity is not a "top down" theology that began with Augustine or Thomas Aquinas, but a way for the faith community to understand the God of our salvation history. Throughout our tradition and the stories handed down this is still be best way to understand God.
Why celebrate Trinity Sunday? For us it is the time when we begin the struggle to understand how it is, we live in this community of faith. The liturgical dramas of Jesus' life are over and we the ones left to tell the story. We are the ones to go out into the world to proclaim the good news, to baptise in the name of God, the Parent, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore, we need to understand how God acts and lives in our lives in order to share the good news in the world.
People are not converted to Jesus because we can articulate a theological doctrine, but because we can share our faith in very human terms. Sharing how God has acted in our lives as creator/parent, redeemer, brother, and empower spirit. Our God is a loving and generous God who gives to us unconditionally. The God we worship is the God who created all of us and accepts all of us as we are. God does not make mistakes.
Understanding God in this way gives us knew insight into loving and accepting others who are different from us for we are all made in God's image. It is us, not God, who has put limits and parameters on who is acceptable to God. Understanding God this way also calls us to reach out and care for all of God's children especially those who cannot care for themselves.
Paul reminds us there are a variety of gifts but one spirit. We are variety of people in one Spirit. We are called to live out and develop our gifts to the fullest. Our gifts are complimentary to one another and there is no scale of 1-10 on the gifts of the spirit.
Trinity Sunday is a day for the church to celebrate how it understands God and how it lives out that understanding. It is an opportunity for us to wrestle with, to struggle with, to celebrate the meaning of God in our lives and in the life of our faith community. It is about getting back to basics.
To the community that lives the resurrected life of the risen Christ and makes itself manifested in the world by living as Jesus lived a welcoming and inclusive life. It really is simple this Trinity. Very basic and very profound. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Amen!
Hymn 245: We have a gospel to proclaim                  (Tune – Fulda)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-SPYAgCtkw
1.  We Have A Gospel to ProclaimGood news for men in all the earth;The gospel of a Saviour’s name,We sing His glory, tell His worth.
2.  Tell of His birth at Bethlehem,Not in a royal house or hallBut in a stable dark and dim,The Word made flesh, a light for all.
3.  Tell of His death at Calvary,Hated by those He came to save,In lonely suffering on the cross,For all He loved His life He gave.
4.  Tell of that glorious Easter moon,Empty the tomb, for He was free.He broke the power of death and hellThat we might share His victory.
5.  Tell of His reign at God’s right hand,By all creation glorified,He sends His Spirit on His Church,To live for Him, the Lamb who died.
6.  Now we rejoice to name Him King,Jesus is Lord of all the earth,This gospel message we proclaim,We sing His glory, tell His worth.
Author: Edward J. Burns (1968)
Tune: Fulda
Intercessory Prayers         On this Trinity Sunday we have come before you Lord to offer our praise and adoration. You are God the creator, giving us richly all things to enjoy. You are Christ the Saviour of the world, made flesh to set us free. You are the Spirit of truth and love, willing to dwell in us. You are holy and blessed. One god, eternal Trinity, be near to us the people formed in your image, and close to the world your love brings to life.Lord, in your mercy Hear our prayerLord we pray for your church throughout the world, for those that are thriving and those which have lost a sense of direction. We give thanks for our church and its people, and gladly acknowledge all the gifts you have given us through its life, we ask you to open wide our hearts that we may welcome the stranger and share our faith with others.Lord, in your mercy Hear our prayerLord we pray for peace in the world, create in us a love for peace, not peace that is absent from struggle, nor peace that is blind to injustice but peace that makes whole what now is broken. We remember those who struggle against injustice, for men and women who have to establish loves supremacy in violent and oppressive societies, and for those whom war and famine have robbed of homes, families and friends, may they be filled with your strength and wisdom.Lord, in your mercy Hear our prayerWe remember those who are sick, sad or lonely and those who are brave and patient when things are going wrong. We pray that they may be aware of your comforting presence and know that in your hands they are safe and loved. Lord we pray for all saddened by the death of a loved one, be with them in their loneliness and let them know that Jesus Christ is the light of the world a light which no darkness can quench. We bring our prayers to conclusion by saying together the Lord's 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 405: O Spirit of the living God                   (Tune - Church Triumphant)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RvfYXWgeSk
1.  Spirit of the living God,In all the fulness of Thy grace,Where’er the foot of man has trod,Descend on our apostate race.
2.  Give tongues of fire and hearts of loveTo preach the reconciling word;Give power and unction from above,Whene’er the joyful sound is heard.
3.  Be darkness, at Thy coming, light;Confusion, order in Thy path;Souls without strength inspire with might;   Bid mercy triumph over wrath.
4.  Spirit of the Lord, prepareAll the round earth her God to meet;Breathe Thou abroad like morning air,Till hearts of stone begin to beat.
5.  Baptise the nations; far and nigh,The triumphs of the Cross record;The name of Jesus glorify,Till every kindred call Him Lord.
Text: James Montgomery Tune: Church Triumphant
Benediction                Go forth in the fullness of holy mystery. May the love of God enfold you. May the grace of Christ Jesus flow through you. And may the communion of the Holy Spirit complete you. And may that same Almighty God, creator, redeemer and giver of life guide your dance in life forever. Amen
Hymn 777: May the grace of Christ our Saviour                    (Tune - Gott Des Himmels)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj2sKDQDhDM    
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.
Text by: John Newton 1779Tune - Gott Des Himmels - Heinrich Albert (1643)



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Worship for Penetcost Sunday 2020

May 29, 2020 - 1:23am
Sunday 31st May 2020Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Gathering God’s People


Call to Worship (Dorothy McRae McMahon, Liturgies for High Days, 2007)        Remember a time when your hopes and dreams died. Remember your feelings of despair and powerlessness. Then remember your surprise when something stirred within, when new seeds of hope sprouted forth. That is the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of Pentecost.
Holy, Holy, Holy God, wonder, mystery and all-goodness, in the power of the Spirit we are carried into your presence.You are God and we are your people. Holy, Holy, Holy God, wonder, healer, liberator and all-justice, in the power of the Spirit we are called into the world.You are our God and we are your people, and come to worship you in faith and in hope. Come in, all who are empty and exhausted. The Good Shepherd fills our lives with goodness and faithful love.        Hymn 398: Come down, O Love divine
                  (Tune – Down Ampney)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HPKL1wOVXk
1.  Come down, O love divine, seek thou this soul of mine,and visit it with thine own ardour glowing;               Comforter, draw near,within my heart appear, and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.
2.  Let it freely burn, till earthly passions turnto dust and ashes in its heat consuming; and let thy glorious lightshine ever on my sight, and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
3.  Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,and lowliness become mine inner clothing; true lowliness of heart,which takes the humbler part, and o'er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.
4.  And so, the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,shall far out pass the power of human telling; for none can guess its grace,till Love create a place wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.
      Words: Bianco da Siena,? – 1434 trans. Richard Frederick Littledale, Jr., 1867         Down Ampney D Ralph Vaughan Williams 1872-1958
Opening prayer
Be alive among us this day, Jesus Christ, drawing all eyestowards your word as it is revealed before us, opening all ears as your Spirit speaks into our hearts and moving within our lives in ways which touch us deeply so that we bow in humble faith before your holiness. Come to us now, we pray, O God. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Loving God, if our faith has become so mundane to us that we have ceased to expect to be surprised by your holiness, treading each day as if we know all that is possible instead of looking around us for your new word. Stride into our lives, Jesus Christ, and interrupt us with your grace. O God, when we look at others and fail to see the godliness which may6 be present there, assuming that we know all there is to know about them and closing our minds and hearts to fresh gifts. Stride into our lives, Jesus Christ, and interrupt us with your grace. O God, if we rarely search ourselves to see if you are inviting the sharing of beauty and wisdom from within our own lives and inspiring us to be the vehicles for your holy word in this day. Stride into our lives, Jesus Christ, and interrupt us with your grace. Forgive us when we expect less than you give. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Turn your lives towards our Holy God, for all grace there, all freedom and hope. The word of God will not fail us. We are forgiven.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
Renewed with the gifts of the Spirit and blessed by visions and dreams of peace in our world, let us share Christ’s peace with one another.
Peace be with you! And also, with you! (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)
A Word with the Children/Young People
Do you remember your first reading ABC book like the ones children and grandchildren have today. How many can remember learning to read from a book such as this.  Ask some of the older adults if they can remember their first reading book
Why do they remember it? I remember a sense of excitement when I think back to my early reading books -probably because they opened up a whole new world.  Hold up the later book and ask how they moved from the ABC book to one such as this.  Hopefully they’ll mention the work of their teachers. Ask if they feel a sense of excitement or anticipation when beginning to read a new book.  Our vocabulary and our knowledge expand every time we read a book.  We can thank our teachers for that.  The Holy Spirit is a teacher too.  We learn a whole new language with the Holy Spirit as our teacher because we learn the language of love - the language that Jesus lived and spoke.  The Holy Spirit lives in us and teaches us that language.  We show that we have learned the language by how we live and how we speak.
Offering Prayer
Gracious God, this is a day of new beginnings. The birth of your newest updated message of love for all of humanity, spoken on the lips not just of one man, but on the lips of many. We speak loudly of our faith and trust in your will and way for us, through our commitment to your church. Bless our gifts to spread your message far and wide, to all who need relief, assurance, and mercy in the name of the Christ. Amen.
Hymn 411: Filled with the Spirit’s power                  (Tune - Woodlands)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43wnrzFb73c
  1. Filled with the Spirit’s power, with one accord
    the infant church confessed its risen Lord:
    O Holy Spirit, in the church today
    no less your power of fellowship display

  2. Now with the mind of Christ set us on fire,
    that unity may be our great desire:
    give joy and peace; give faith to hear your call,
    and readiness in each to work for all.

  3. Widen our love, good Spirit, to embrace
    in your strong care all those of every race:
    like wind and fire with life among us move
    till we are known as Christ’s, and Christians prove.

R. Peacey1896-1971 alt. © 1978 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188 All rights reserved. Used by permission.                                     The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                       Acts 2:1-21                    NEB page 837The Gospel Reading:                  John 20:19-23              NEB page 832     
Readings:
Acts 2:1-21
[2:1] When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. [2] And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. [3] Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. [4] All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. [5] Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. [6] And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. [7] Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? [8] And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? [9] Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, [10] Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, [11] Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." [12] All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" [13] But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."  [14] But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice andaddressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. [15] Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. [16] No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: [17] 'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams. [18] Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. [19] And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. [20] The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.
[21] Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'
John 20:19-23
[19] When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." [20] After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. [21] Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." [22] When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Preaching of the Word–The Gift of Presence – John 20_19-23
In John's Gospel this morning, the gift of the Holy Spirit to Jesus' disciples seems to be part and parcel of their initial experience of Jesus' resurrection. If our worship schedule in church followed John's picture, we would be celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit on Easter Sunday evening. The fact that we don't do that is not only a mercy -- many of us are so exhausted by the liturgies of Easter that we would be hard pressed to find the energy to come to church on Easter Sunday evening -- it is also, and much more so, that our liturgical calendar sticks quite closely to the early pattern of worship in ancient Israel. Fifty days after the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, came what they called the "feast of weeks," celebrating the first harvest of new grain.Sunday School children could possibly tell us that the emblem of the Holy Spirit is a dove. The people that pre-publish church bulletin covers all seem to think the dove is the right thing for Pentecost, the "sweet heavenly dove" of the Holy Spirit. And there is much to be said for this dove. It was a dove bearing an olive branch that flew back to old Noah on his Ark, signalling the good news of dry land after the great Flood. The Spirit of God descends "in bodily form like a dove" upon Jesus at his Baptism, according to Luke's Gospel. A nice white dove suggests innocence and purity, peace, and the olive branch of reconciliation. Certainly, the Holy Spirit is deeply involved in purifying our hearts and minds so that we "may have in us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus," as St. Paul says. Certainly, the Holy Spirit is actively engaged in the human enterprise of peace making whenever we work our way through conflicts great and small toward the goal of reconciliation.St. Paul did not have the benefit of Hallmark Cards, which thinks doves are just like lovebirds, billing and cooing come Valentine's Day. But St. Paul knows for sure, that the sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit is love -- not the love sold to us by Hollywood and the greetings card industry, but the love of God which is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, binding an aggregate of different and unlikely people together, creating new community on new common ground in the Body of Christ.Is it not striking, then, that as we gather to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, our first reading from Scripture, from the Acts of the Apostles, has nothing to do with the innocence and purity and peace and reconciliation that are associated with the Spirit as dove. On the contrary, Acts gives us the stunningly powerful imagery of a raging wind and flames of fire -- elements of nature to be respected and handled with care, for they can be dangerous and destructive, as well as cleansing and comforting.The author of Acts has moved way beyond doves here. He is rooted not so much in the symbolism of Noah's Ark, but in the great passage of Ezekiel concerning the valley of dry bones, where the Spirit blows like a rushing wind bringing the energy and dynamism of new life to a destroyed, limp, and lifeless nation. He is echoing the voice of John the Baptist as he points to Jesus and says, "I baptise with water, but one is coming who will ... baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire." He has in mind the figure of the prophet Isaiah, who was touched by coals of holy fire when he received the divine mandate to go forth and speak the word of God to the people of God.The author of Acts knows that the Resurrection is simply the beginning of God's mighty work of redeeming us in Christ; we still have to be charged with energy and fired up with our divine mandate from baptism. The dynamics of new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus still have to be fleshed out in our lives, and this is the work of the Holy Spirit, this is how we will be caught up in God's work and God's purposes so that God's will may be done on earth as it is in heaven, in our lives, our times, and our places.By giving us the forceful images of wind and fire, our author suggests that God still has one more surprise in store, even after the climactic shock of the Resurrection. God has a yet more wonderful purpose afoot. God has finished commanding his people, telling his people, speaking to and shouting at his people. Through the gift of new life in Christ, the Spirit of God is going to involve all God's people in God's work.At the end of Matthew's Gospel, the risen Jesus is shown appearing to his disciples in Galilee, and sending them forth to baptize all nations, to preach and to teach everything that he has taught them. At the end of John's Gospel, the risen Lord appears to the disciples and says, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you," and then Jesus breathes on them just as God breathed life into Adam in the beginning. "Receive the Holy Spirit," he says. And here in Acts 2, we see the effect and the result of this gift of the Holy Spirit to Jesus' disciples ready to go forth into the world. It is as though the rushing wind has caught them up into God's purposes, and the flames have set their heart and minds afire with the desire to bear witness to the good news of salvation.Filled with the Spirit of God, the disciples can now speak, preach, teach, and communicate in such a way that they are understood by all sorts of different people in many different languages. The power of God to recreate the human community in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit breaks through the human boundaries of language and culture. It does so just as effectively as that same mighty power of God in Christ broke through death, the ultimate boundary of human life on earth, and broke through hell, the barrier constructed by evil and sin. In the words of the old hymn, we are "ransomed, healed, restored and forgiven," in Christ-and now we are put to work with the Holy Spirit.But is this scene from Acts 2 really about us? Isn't it just one more miracle story affecting only a handful of high-class saints long dead? St. Paul, who quite famously was not there at the time and knew nothing of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection or the wind and fire of Pentecost first hand, was absolutely and utterly convinced that just as Jesus was Emmanuel, God-with-us and God-for-us, so the Holy Spirit is God-for-us and God-in-us. This is why Paul writes so passionately and convincingly in 1 Corinthians about how God is now getting the job done in us that he started in Jesus.We have a variety of gifts, he says, but it is the same Spirit that activates them. We are engaged in a variety of ministries and activities, but it is the same Spirit of God who energizes them in us. Wherever, and in whomever, we find wisdom, faith, knowledge, and healing-there is the Spirit of God at work for the common good of all.There are times when we need to focus on the gifts of the Spirit to each of us as individuals, and that's when the issues of Christian life and work come into play for every one of us. What shall we be, and do as we grow up in Christ? There are times when we need to focus on the gifts of the Spirit to the whole community of faith, to congregations and denominations and to the whole Church at large. How does anyone congregation live and work for the common good of its community; how does any given Vestry communicate, discuss, and decide for the common good of the whole parish -- these are matters of our common mission grounded in Christ and energised by the Spirit.But there are also times, and surely we are now living in one of them, when we have to stand back from our self-oriented examinations and concerns as Christian people living and working among other Christian people, and ask the Holy Spirit of God to blow mighty winds of change into the way we live with men and women of other faiths in our local and nation-wide communities.We are surely living in a time when we have to pray that the Spirit of God will descend with wisdom, knowledge, and discernment upon the political and military leaders of our country, to change the ways we deal as a nation with other nations and stateless peoples of the small world we live in. As St. Paul characteristically puts it: just as the body is one, and has many members, all the members of the body, though many, are one body. So, it is with the world we live in.It is almost overwhelming to consider that God invites us to receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts and minds to build us up individually, and to receive the same Holy Spirit into our lives in the body of Christ to build up the community of faith, and to receive the same Holy Spirit into our lives to bring reconciliation and peace to all the communities of the earth. But this is God we are talking about: God with us, God for us, God in us; God involving and engaging us in his work. And with God, all things are possible, and with the Spirit of God with us, in us and for us, all things can work together for good. Let it be. Amen.
Hymn 414: There’s a spirit in the air,                 (Tune – Lauds)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHSF6tkVrDk
1. There’s a spirit in the air,     telling Christians everywhere:    praise the love that Christ revealed,     living, working, in our world.
2. Lose your shyness,     find your tongue;     tell the world what God has done.     God in Christ has come to stay,     live tomorrow’s life today.
3. When believers break the bread,     when a hungry child is fed,     praise the love that Christ revealed,     living, working, in our world.
4. Still the Spirit leads the fight,     seeing wrong and setting right:     God in Christ has come to stay,     live tomorrow’s life today.
5. When a stranger’s not alone,     when the homeless find a home,     praise the love that Christ revealed,     living, working, in our world.
6. May the Spirit fill our praise,     guide our thoughts and change our ways:     God in Christ has come to stay,     live tomorrow’s life today.
7. There’s a spirit in the air,     telling Christians everywhere     praise the love that Christ revealed,     living, working, in our world.
Words: Brian Wren, copyright © 1979 Hope Publishing Company. Music: Jim Strathdee, copyright © 1993 Desert Flower Music. 
Intercessory Prayers         Living God, in this world of disposable cups and disposable heroes, throwaway lines and throwaway lives; set our sights upon those gifts which are sourced in you and continue beyond forever.Ground us in your living Spirit, that we may be witness to the new birth of your love in our livesand the world around us.Slow down the consumption of our communicationand push us beyond the tweets and posts of the 24-hour news cycle.Help us to pause before the pain and confusionof our fractured and fragmented world that we might perceive the story of your Good News in Jesus Christ.Fill us with Pentecost fire and attune us to the needs of others, while not neglecting that which heals our own wounds.Push us beyond simple explanations and proximate solutions onto the steep path of true reconciliation and deep listening.Remind us of the gifts already within us and the challenge of those talents not yet discovered.For all good things are from you, and all good things are of you. Just as we are from you and we are of you.In your spirit-filled and living, giving name, we pray.Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 409: O breath of life,                   (Tune – Spiritus Vitae)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1QZw7q1Xyc
1 O Breath of life, come sweeping through us,   revive your church with life and power;   O Breath of Life, come, cleanse, renew us,   and fit your church to meet this hour.
2 O Wind of God, come bend us, break us,   till humbly we confess our need;   then in your tenderness remake us,   revive, restore, for this we plead.
3 O Breath of love, come breathe within us,   renewing thought and will and heart;   come, Love of Christ, afresh to win us,   revive your church in ev'ry part.
4 Revive us, Lord! Is zeal abating    while harvest fields are vast and white?   Revive us, Lord, the world is waiting,   equip your church to spread the light.
Author: Bessie Porter Head (1920)
Tune: Spiritus Vitae
Benediction                Go forth and point to the wonders of God of God. Go forth and carry justice and compassion into the world, for this is the word in Christ to us.           And may Almighty God, rise up in majesty before us, Christ Jesus draw our eyes towards true life and the Holy Spirit be discovered in every new day. 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 for Ascension 24 May 2020

May 22, 2020 - 12:57am
Sunday 24th May 2020Marsden Road Uniting ChurchCarlingford--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Physical Absence, Spiritual Presence. Sunday 24th May 2020Ascension Sunday in the year of Matthew9.30 am
Gathering God’s People
Prelude Music to prepare for worship
Acknowledgement of First Peoples
We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal.  May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.

Call to Worship (Mary J. Scifres, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)        Called to be one with Christ, called to be one with each other, called to be one in ministry, we gather in the unity of God’s Holy Spirit, who calls us here.
Called to be one, we are here. Called to be strong, we are here. Called in devotion to God, we gather to worship and pray.
Hymn 100: All creatures of our God and King(Tune – Lasst Uns Erfreuen)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An1BzakUTms
All creatures of our God and King,Lift up your voice and with us sing,Alleluia! Alleluia!Thou burning sun with golden beam,Thou silver moon with softer gleam!O praise Him! O praise Him!Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou rushing wind that art so strong,Ye clouds that sail in heav’n along,O praise Him! Alleluia!Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,Ye lights of evening, find a voice!O praise Him! O praise Him!Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou flowing water, pure and clear,Make music for thy Lord to hear,O praise Him! Alleluia!Thou fire so masterful and bright,That givest man both warmth and light.O praise Him! O praise Him!Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
And all ye men of tender heart,Forgiving others, take your part,O praise Him! Alleluia!Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,Praise God and on Him cast your care!O praise Him! O praise Him!Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Let all things their Creator bless,And worship Him in humbleness,O praise Him! Alleluia!Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,And praise the Spirit, Three in One!O praise Him! O praise Him!Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Paraphraser: William H. DraperAuthor: St. Francis Of Assisi (1225)
Tune: Lasst Uns Erfreuen
Opening prayer
Holy Spirit descend upon us this day. Gather us into your presence, that we may be devoted to prayer and strengthened in unity and love. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Rouse us with your grace and mercy, O God. Scatter the fears within our hearts. Drive away our doubt and our sin. Melt our insecurities and anxieties. Banish our divisions and disagreements, that we may be one with you through the grace of Christ Jesus, and one with each other through the power of your Holy Spirit, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Sing to God! For we are forgiven and united by God’s power and grace.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
Forgiven by Christ’s grace and united in the Spirit,let us share signs of unity and love this day.Peace be with you! And also, with you! (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)
Announcements
A Word with the Children/Young People
Do you enjoy puzzles? I like puzzles especially cross word puzzles but not cryptic cross words. Word jumbles are something that I like doing at times. That is a puzzle where the letters of a word are all mixed up and you have to figure out what the word is. Sometimes it is easy to figure the word out. Other times I will look and look and can't figure out what the word is. Then, all of a sudden, it seems my mind is opened, and the word is clear to me.
We have a word puzzle for you today. The letters are not mixed up. The word is just hard to see. I am going to hold it up and show it to you. If you see the word, don't say what it is until everyone has had time to figure out what the word is. (Hold up the puzzle and wait for a short time.) If you can see the word, raise your hand. Who can tell us what the word is? That's right, the answer is Jesus!
This puzzle reminds me of something that happened in our Bible lesson today. The Bible tells us that Jesus appeared to some of his disciples and said, "Peace be with you." The disciples were afraid and weren't sure what they were seeing. They thought they were seeing a ghost.
Seeing that they were afraid, Jesus said to them, "Why are you troubled? Why do you have doubts? Look at my hands and my feet. Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones like I have."
Jesus could see that they still weren't convinced, so he asked them, "Do you have anything to eat?" They gave him a piece of fish and he ate it as they watched.Then Jesus opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. He taught said, "It was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer, die, and be raised from the dead on the third day. It was written so that this message would be told to every nation, beginning in Jerusalem: 'There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.' You are witnesses of all these things."
As Jesus opened the minds of his disciples, let us pray that he will open our hearts and minds to spread the Good News to everyone we know that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again so that we could have forgiveness of sin.
Heavenly Father, open our minds to understand your Word, open our hearts to live your Word, open our lips to share the Word with others. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Offering
Invitation to the Offering
Showered with God’s abundant grace, let us share abundant love in the gifts and offerings we bring.
Offering Prayer
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us. Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts. And pour out your Holy Spirit on the ministries we offer to your world. Though our gifts and our offerings, others may find generous friends and a loving community of faith.
Hymn: Be Still and Know
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbqCJNeUaNU
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am God.Be still and know that I am God.
Composer: John L. Bell                                    
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                                 Acts 1.1-11            NEB page 836The Gospel Reading:                            Lk 24:44-53           NEB page 808After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the LordPlease respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.
Readings:
Acts 1:1-11
1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

Lk 24:44-53
44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so, stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51While he was blessing them; he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
Preaching of the Word - Physical Absence, Spiritual                                 Presence – Acts 1:1-11
Today is one of those relatively obscure Christian holidays of which many are unaware: Ascension Sunday. This is the day in the church calendar when we celebrate the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. In all honesty, the ascension is a rather difficult idea for the modern mind to handle. It’s the story of how Jesus went to the Mount of Olives after his resurrection from the dead. There, according to the book of Acts, Jesus literally flew off into heaven. “He was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”
In the first century, the understanding of the cosmos was very different from ours. People understood heaven to be a place that was literally, geographically, “up” from the earth. They could visualise Jesus leaving them and going “up” into heaven. With our scientific view of the cosmos, we know there is not an up or down in the universe. Even our notion of heaven is not of a geographical location or direction. When contemporary people think of the ascension, it is a little hard to imagine the Lord Jesus Christ flying off like a one-person space shuttle into the skies.
Yet, despite our scientific reservations, the story of the ascension is spiritually important to us. The ascension was the church’s way of dealing with a fundamental fact. The earliest disciples had experienced the bodily presence of the risen Lord, the one who was no longer under the claim of death. After a passage of time, this experience of the risen Lord as bodily present with them seemed to pass. He didn’t appear again. They accounted for his absence by saying that the risen Lord was now in heaven. They had to go forward without his physical presence.
He had ascended into heaven. Christians today have the same circumstance. We believe in a risen Lord who is no longer physically present. The body of Jesus is not here any longer, except in the church as the body of Christ. So, on Ascension Sunday, we do well to think about what Jesus’ physical absence means for Christians today.
First, the absence of the physical Jesus calls us to take seriously the church as the body of Christ. This is a concept with which we all are very familiar. We say that the church is the body of Christ without thinking about what that might actually mean. If the church is the body of Christ, then we are called to give to the church the devotion and respect that Christ deserves.
Think about it. How precious to you is the church? How central to your life is the mission of the church? It is easy for us to think that we would respond to the physical presence of Jesus with all the love and devotion we could humanly summon. Yet we often treat the church as just one more volunteer community organization. Now civic clubs do good work; health-related charities appeal to us, especially if we have lost a loved one to the disease the charity seeks to overcome; organizations that support our schools do important work. But none of these organisations are the body of Christ. Only the church is Jesus among us. Its mission is to be consistent with Jesus’ mission. The love we have for it is the love we have for Jesus.
The church is the closest we will ever come on earth to having Jesus to care for and to love. On Ascension Sunday, we are called to reassess our devotion to the church as the physical body of Christ still among us. The risen Lord is not here; he has ascended. The body of Christ is very much here, and the way we treat the church is the way we treat the risen Lord.
Second, Ascension Sunday reminds us that we are each, individually, a part of Christ’s body. To honour the church as we honour Christ is also to remember that in a powerful way, we are each a part of this body of Christ. When we neglect our part in the mission of the church, we disable the body of Christ. As Paul said, each of us is a physical part of the body of Christ. We are the arms and legs, the eyes and ears; we are limbs and organs of Christ’s present body. When we fail to do our part, the body becomes disabled. Christ becomes disabled without the limb or organ that each of us is called and gifted to be.
The absence of the physical body of Jesus places a claim upon us to relate to the church as we would relate to Christ. It also reminds us that without our individual faithfulness to our role in the church, the body of Christ is weakened and disabled.
Last, Ascension Sunday reminds us that if Christ’s work is to continue, it is up to us to do it. Now that is not to say we receive no godly help. Next Sunday is Pentecost, and we will celebrate our empowerment by the Holy Spirit. But this divine help comes to empower us in doing the work of Christ. Jesus is no longer here to heal the sick. He is no longer here to touch the outcast. He is no longer here to feed the hungry. It is up to us, the body of Christ, to continue this work. If the church fails to be the body of Christ, Jesus is absent. If the church fails to be the body of Christ, Jesus is nowhere to be seen.
Yes, this is an obscure Christian holiday. It celebrates an event that is difficult for the modern scientific mind to take literally. At the same time, this is a critical day in our personal and collective self-understanding. It is significant that the risen Lord ascended into heaven. His ascension invites us to relate to the church as we would to Christ.
It reminds each of us of the critical nature of our role in the body of Christ. It calls us to take up Jesus’ work on earth. This is a most important obscure day.
Hymn 474: Here in this place new light is streaming                  (Tune – Gather us in)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8S5t1LrCSY
Here in this place, new light is streamingnow 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 forsakengather us in the blind and the lame;call to us now, and we shall awakenwe shall arise at the sound of our name.
We are the young -- our lives are a mysterywe are the old -- who yearns for your face.we have been sung throughout all of historycalled to be light to the whole human race.
Gather us in the rich and the haughtygather us in the proud and the stronggive us a heart so meek and so lowlygive us the courage to enter the song.
Here we will take the wine and the waterhere we will take the bread of new birthhere you shall call your sons and your daughterscall us anew to be salt of the earth.
Give us to drink the wine of compassiongive us to eat the bread that is younourish us well and teach us to fashionlives that are holy and hearts that are true.
Author: Marty Haugen
Tune: Gather Us In
Intercessory Prayers         God of Christmas Calling, Easter Joy and Pentecost Fire,our days are filled with strange actions, our world is filled with hurt, our too-quick breath is filled with anxiety.We seek after solutions and solace that ease the pain,but do not lighten the load.Help us cast our cares upon your shoulders, help us to rest our anxiety in your love.Attune us to the needs of others that we might be for them, the comfort promised by you.Help us to be present to our inward unrest that we may show up for others with gentle words and quiet comfort.Be with those filled with angst and anger that so often threatens to devour them.Help us cast our cares upon you that we might know and be led to show your deep care for us and all of creation. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 456: Your hand, O God, has guided                    (Tune – Thornbury)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nGeM_24sJU
Thy hand, O God, has guidedthy flock, from age to age;their wondrous tale is written,full clear, on every page;thy people owned thy goodness,and we their deeds record;and both of this bear witness;one Church, one Faith, one Lord.
Thy heralds brought glad tidingsto greatest as to least;they bade men rise, and hastento share the great King's feast;and this was all their teaching,in every deed and word,to all alike proclaimingone 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,thy victory shall be won;and then, by all creation,thy name shall be adored,and this shall be their anthem:one Church, one Faith, one Lord.
                    Author: E. H. Plumptre (1864)
                
Tune: Thornbury
Benediction                Called to be one,         we go forth in unity and love.         Called to be strong,        we go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit.         Called in devotion to God,         we go forth in ministry and witness to the world.        And may the one who calls us, almighty God creator, redeemer and giver of live bless us and keep us as we go forth. 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 Order of Worship 17 May 2020

May 15, 2020 - 12:50am
Sunday 17th May 2020Marsden Road Uniting ChurchCarlingford  ------------------------------------------------------------------
Once a Young Man..., Sunday 17th May 2020Easter 6 Sunday in the year of Matthew9.30 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 (Mary J. Scifres, Abingdon Worship Annual 2020)        The Spirit of truth dwells among us. Bask in this awareness. In the Lord, we live and breathe and have our being. Rest in this presence.

God made the world and everyone in it. Our life and breath come from God. God made all nations under heaven. We are all God’s offspring. Search for God in our time of worship. When we search, we find God near.
Hymn 134: Praise, my soul, the King of heaven                  (Tune – Praise my Soul)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyRIVbdsi4c
1.  Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;to His feet thy tribute bring;ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,who like thee His praise should sing?Praise Him! Praise Him!Praise Him! Praise Him!Praise the everlasting King.
2.  Praise Him for His grace and favourto our fathers, in distress;Praise Him still the same for ever,slow to chide, and swift to bless.Praise Him! Praise Him!Praise Him! Praise Him!Glorious in His faithfulness.
3.  Father-like He tends and spares us;well our feeble frame He knows;In His hands He gently bears us,rescues us from all our foes.Praise Him! Praise Him!Praise Him! Praise Him!Widely as His mercy flows.
4.  Angels help us to adore Him;ye behold Him face to face;sun and moon, bow down before Him;dwellers all in time and space.Praise Him! Praise Him!Praise Him! Praise Him!Praise with us the God of grace.
Words: Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) Music: Lauda anima John Goss (1800-1880) Public Domain
Opening prayer
     Hear our prayers, O God, as we come to sing your praises. Bless us with your steadfast love, in times of peace and in times of trial. Make your presence known to us this day, for we seek to know you better. Enliven us with your Spirit of truth, and increase our faith, even as we place our hope and trust in you. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
Sometimes, O God, your ways are a mystery to us. When we cry out in desperation, we don’t really expect you to hear our prayers. When we suffer for doing the right thing, it just seems like par for the course. When we deny or doubt your presence, forgive us, O God. Make your presence known to us, and receive our prayers and praise, as those who long to feel your presence. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness       The Spirit of truth abides with you and will be with you. Because the Lord lives, you also will live. Love God and receive God’s abiding love.
Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
As we are forgiven and reconciled to God through Christ Jesus, let us be reconciled to each other. The peace of the Lord be with you all.
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
Amy and Jill were friends - both ten years old, they lived in the same street and were in the same class at school.  While Amy had lots of friends, she often felt that she was Jill’s only friend.  So Amy was surprised when Jill invited her to come to her house after school one day to meet her friends.
 After school, Amy walked to the other end of her street to where Jill lived and rang the bell.  Jill opened the door, invited Amy in and took her down the hall to her bedroom.  Amy looked in amazement at the number of bears and dolls that filled every corner of the room.  Jill saw her expression and said, “These are my friends” and she began to introduce Amy to every doll and bear by name.   

Amy was stunned by the way Jill treated the dolls as though they were real people, but then Jill said, “Now come and meet my Mum’s friends”.  She led Amy to a room at the back of the house and said proudly “These are my Mum’s special friends”.  On shelves and in cabinets around the room were blonde-wigged dolls dressed in every possible outfit you could imagine.  Again, Jill began to introduce them all by name and to explain what activity their style of dress suggested. 
Amy had a couple of these dolls herself and enjoyed playing with them, but she realised that this was different.  She interrupted Jill “They’re lovely but how can you and your Mum call them your friends when they’re only dolls!”  “But they are our friends, we love them” replied Jill. “But they are only make-believe friends - they can’t love you back” said Amy. Looking away from Amy, Jill said “They’re the only friends we have.” “Come on” said Amy “am I not your friend?  I like you and I care about you.  Do these dolls care about you?” Jill shook her head and hugged Amy “Tell me more” she said.
When the Apostle Paul visited Athens and saw all the statues of their gods, he said “Let me tell you about the God who made the world and loved it.  This God came in person to show us that love and how we can share it.”  Let’s hope that each person who heard him said the same as Jill “Tell me more.”
Offering
Invitation to the Offering
As the people of God, let us bring our offerings and gifts, so that others may know the loving foundation we have found in Christ Jesus.
Offering Prayer
God of love, you are present in all things. Be present to a hurting world in these gifts. Help us use this offering to create a community of love and a place of belonging for all people. Help us reach those who seek, and those who doubt. Use these gifts to help people know the blessings of being your beloved children. Amen
Hymn 567: God of all power, and truth, and grace

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WQgoW-NJTc
1 GOD of all power, and truth, and grace,
   Which shall from age to age endure,
   Whose word, when heaven and earth shall pass,
   Remains and stands for ever sure;
2 That I your mercy may proclaim,
   That all the world your truth may see,
    Hallow your great and glorious name,
    And perfect holiness in me.
3 Purge me from every sinful blot;
   My idols all be cast aside;
   Cleanse me from every sinful thought,
   From all the stain of self and pride.
4 Give me a new, a perfect heart,
   From doubt, and fear, and sorrow free;
   The mind which was in Christ impart,
   And let my spirit cleave to thee.
5 O that I now, from sin released,
   Thy word may to the utmost prove,
   Enter into the promised rest,
   The Canaan of thy perfect love!
Author: Charles WesleyTune Ombersley - William Henry Gladstone
                                              The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                                            Acts 17: 22-31The Gospel Reading:                                        John 14: 15-21
After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the LordPlease respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.
Readings:
Acts 17: 22-31
22 Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23 For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we too are his offspring.” 29 Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’
John 14: 15-21
15 ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. 18 ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’
Preaching of the Word - Once a Young Man..., Acts 17: 22-31
Once a young man mentioned to his pastor that he had a love of poetry but that he noticed poetry was never mentioned at church. "Would it be possible," he asked the minister, "to introduce poetry sometime into the service?" The following week the pastor obligingly produced a poem. After explaining to the congregation why she was doing it, she read the poem. No comment; just the poem. Quickly returning to the usual order of the Sunday liturgy, it was evident that she had taken care of another of those little duties that are expected of ministers. A poem had been read in church.

After the service, thinking she might have given the young man short shrift, the pastor asked him to take part in a discussion group -- on the Bible and poetry. The young man jumped at the opportunity and found himself with friends in the wonderful garden of biblical metaphor. This minister had reached out. She had, in effect, built a bridge. What are St. Paul's words in Acts this morning? "They would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him...."

Exactly. That is what this young man was doing. In bringing his interest in poetry to the minister, he was bringing himself to church. He wanted to be received. Trying to link poetry with the Bible, he was clearly looking for ways to link himself with the scriptures. His searching could have been ignored, and it nearly was. But the minister built a bridge -- a bridge over troubled waters, to use words from an old song. With this bridge, the minister was able to bring the young man into the Waters of Life.
Building bridges is hard work. The process inevitably results in confronting the ever-present bridge toll (or troll, if you remember the old children's story about the "three billy goats gruff.") We can almost hear the voices in our heads: "It'll take time and money to get this thing started;" or "It isn't worth it;" or "They won't listen;" or "A lot of wasted effort!" But this kind of bridge building is well worth it, and it isn't wasted effort. And it isn't only the business of ministers you know, but that of parents and congregation members as well. Christians are all, or should all be, disciples. Bearing witness and spreading the Word is the business of every Christian and finding bridges between the teaching of scripture and the outside culture is necessary to aid that process.
In the reading from Acts that we have heard this morning, St. Paul gives us a good example of the productive process of bridge building. He finds himself in the rather hostile environment of Athens. It is a university city and there are many people there to challenge his words. He is clearly an alien among them. He is not one of them. There is actually a 10th century illumination that shows Paul being mocked by his audience. The name the people call him, after he begins to speak, is often translated as, " babbler." But in fact the Greek word of derision was really closer to the old English expression, "cocksparrow," meaning a person who picks up scraps of what he finds around him much as a male sparrow picks up the odds and ends of straw and twigs he finds to build a nest for his mate.
And it is clear that St. Paul was doing just that. He had not come to speak about the well-formulated philosophy of the Athenians. In fact, he was picking up what he could, struggling to give body to his ideas, and in doing so, he was indeed making use of the materials he found around him, of what was at hand. Although St. Paul was "speaking in prose," his was truly a poet's craft.
And just as there was little of the Sophist's philosophy with which Paul could identify, there were also few elements of Greek religion or Greek poetry with which he could feel comfortable. But in speaking to the Athenians he did not choose to denounce or ridicule their beliefs or values. He did not attempt to criticise Greek philosophy or Greek poetry. Rather he confronted the people of Athens with elements of their culture and religion with which he could form a bridge.
How did he do this? He mentioned a famous Greek inscription "to an unknown god" and he cited two Greek poems, one by Epimenides and one by Aratus of Soli. From these points in their culture he formed a bridge in order to develop the image of God he was trying to convey to them.
Although there is much made of the poetry of the Old Testament -- the poetry of the Psalms and in the book of Job, for instance -- we don't hear much about the poetry of Jesus. This is perhaps because we have chosen a very restrictive definition of poetry -- as that which is arranged in verses, or which rhymes, or both. When we accept this restrictive definition of poetry, we are ignoring the use of figurative language, the use of metaphor. Poetry, understood properly in this light, is everywhere in the words of our Lord.
Jesus uses poetry, metaphorical language, to link us to worlds unseen, especially unseen in the culture that surrounds us. In fact, there was no other language that Jesus could have used. "Poetry," one famous poet said, "makes the unseen seen." Wasn't Jesus trying to make us see things we couldn't otherwise see by telling us stories about things we could see? As we read in John, "I have said these things to you in figures of speech." (John 16:25)
Again, we need not go far from today's readings to discover examples of powerful and poetic metaphor. In the Gospel, Jesus uses the symbol of the vine in an effort to express the relationship that exists between him and others. He is the vine and we are the branches. "Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me." Here, the metaphor is about incorporation; the incorporation of all of us in the Body of Christ.
But who are the agents of this incorporation? We are. We must act ourselves as disciples so that others are brought into the words of our Saviour. These are seeds that must be watered. Blanketing them with a hostile blast of snow is hindering and fruitless. In place of a sarcastic cultural critique, how about a little sun, a little water Then the taproots of such powerful images will go deep into our minds.
There may be much to dislike in the culture that surrounds us. It is true there is often more interest in the swimsuit issue of a popular magazine than in the figures in poetry. And often the imagery in a certain amount of modern poetry and song merely seems to meander through the materialistic malls of our country, bereft of any transcendence. But this is not always the case. No one is won through denunciation or dismissal. Just as Jesus formed a bridge between the branches and the vine and our life in him and in God, we must learn to form bridges to the secular culture that surrounds us.
The seeds of understanding and belief must be watered as in a reading from Isaiah:When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them. I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water....
It is often said that scripture is irrelevant to today's people. How can a book so filled with universal imagery be called irrelevant? Rather, it is made irrelevant by those who burn all the bridges between the culture and the words of the scripture. This is done more often by blame and denunciation. Ironically, then, those called to preach the Word are hindering its being spread by their exclusionary attitude towards the culture that surrounds them. The blamed simply withdraw, protective of what is theirs, cutting themselves off from the Vine itself.
There are, of course, materials for this kind of bridge building everywhere. It need not be done only with poetry. But as it was with the minister in this story and with Paul, poetry may be a fine place to start.
In an age in which the Bible is under fire, poetry might serve as a good place to build a helpful bridge from the Bible to the surrounding culture. The minister in this story moved quickly from using poetry to satisfy a young man's request, to using it as a bridge, recognising its great potential for proclamation. The materials for such bridge building are everywhere around us. We need only to stop and pick some of them up and set to work. By doing this, we are doing our part to help others forge a link to the Kingdom of God.

Hymn 408: O breath of God, breathe on us now                 (Tune – Galilee)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTi5D-Ef3Bk
1 O breath of God, breathe on us now
   and move within us while we pray;
   you are the spring of our new life,
   the very light of our new day.
2 How strangely you are with us, Lord,
   neither in height nor depth to seek:
   in nearness shall your voice be heard;
   spirit to spirit you will speak.
3 Christ is our advocate on high;
   you are our advocate within:
   O plead the truth and make reply
   to every argument of sin.
4 But what a faithless heart of mine:
   the way I know, I know my guide:
   forgive me, O my friend divine,
   that I so often turn aside.                    5 Be with me when no other friend
   the mystery of my heart can share;
   be always known, when fears descend,
   by your best name of Comforter.
Author: Alfred H. VineComposer: Philip Armes

Intercessory Prayers         Ever loving God, in the long years since the world has seen you, we come together in prayer in the hope and assurance of your commitment to us, and the life of this world.We pray for ourselves, that we might be filled with your Holy Spirit, that we will be agents for peace, in a world where destruction seems insurmountable, that we will be confident in your commandment to go forth in love for you and each other.We pray for our church, as it continues to change, to evolve, to seek out the best way to follow you, that it will be a conduit for your promise to the world, that it will work for your purpose, not its own concerns of bricks and mortar,arbitrary numbers, or the dreams of past glories.We pray for all those on the margins of our societies, our communities, and our interests.We pray for those who are cast aside by a world obsessed by monetary wealth, the eternal goal of so-called growth, while those with the most continue to gain, and those with the least continue to lose.We pray for our world, torn apart by fighting, by greed, by disregard for the environment. In particular we pray for all your children who have been ravaged by the sin of war, for families destroyed, lives lost,dreams shattered and liberty denied, for all those orphaned by this evil, that they will know your love, and through your people peace might become a reality. In your love,in your spirit, in your life, we pray these things. Amen.

THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen

Hymn 398: Come down, O Love divine                     (Tune – Down Ampney)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi78bnzMyws
         Come down, O Love divine,
 seek thou this soul of mine,
 and visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
 O Comforter, draw near,
 within my heart appear,
 and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.
        O let it freely burn,
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming. 
             Let holy charity         my outward garment be,
and lowliness become my inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart,         which takes the humbler part,
and for its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.
        And so, the yearning strong,
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace,
till Love create a place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.
          Author: Bianco da Siena            Translator: Richard Frederick Littledale Tune: Down Ampney
Benediction                 Go in the name of God, the one who created all the nations of the earth. Go in the name of Christ, the one who abides in love and abides in you. Go in the name of the Spirit of truth, the one who advocates for you and guides you. 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 holdyou tight.May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hear yourcry.May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give youlife.May the Child of God grow in you, and his love bring youHome.

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


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Order of Worship 10 May 2020

May 7, 2020 - 11:58pm

Sunday 10th May 2020Marsden Road Uniting ChurchCarlingford--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Strange and Peculiar.Sunday 10th May 2020Easter 5 Sunday in the year of Matthew9.30 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 (Mary J. Scifres, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)        Come to Christ, the living cornerstone. Come to rest on the foundation of God’s love. Come to be strengthened and renewed in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Once we were not a people, but now we are God’s people. Once we were alone, but together we are the household of God. Here in this time of worship, and later when we go forth to serve, Christ is our cornerstone, strengthening us for the journey. In our living and in our dying, Christ is our sure foundation, strengthening us along the way.
Hymn 161: Tell out, my soul,                  (Tune – Woodlands)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qf3mgRUZkAk
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!
Author: Timothy Dudley-Smith (1961)
Tune: WOODLANDS
Opening prayer
Shine your face upon us, O God. Help us see your face inone another and hear your voice in the words that arespoken. Through your grace, make us holy, that we mayoffer spiritual sacrifices that honour and glorify your holyname. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Gracious God prepare us for the difficult road ahead.  Like Stephen, help us be ready to forgive even the most horrendous of sins. Like the psalmist, help us accept your forgiveness and grace. Like newborn infants, help us receive your unconditional love. (A time of silent confession may follow.) With steadfast love, shine your face upon us, that we may know the beauty of your mercy and your grace. In Christ’s beloved name, we pray. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Whoever believes in Christ will never be shamed, for in Christ we are forgiven and loved.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
Together as God’s people, let us shine upon one another with signs of grace and peace.
Peace be with you! And also with you! (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)
Announcements
A Word with the Children/Young People
If you are going on a trip, you need to know where you are going and how to go to get there. I have two things with me this morning that you might use to help you to find your way when you are traveling. I have a map and a compass. I'm sure all of you have seen a map, but perhaps some of you have never seen a compass. The map will show you where you want to go, and the compass will point you in the right direction. The compass shows you whether you are going north, south, east, or west.
I heard about a lady who was taking a group of children to a soccer game in another city. She knew the right road to take, but she became confused and turned east instead of west. They had travelled for almost an hour before one of the children told her that they were going the wrong direction.
When we are trying to find your way through the journey of life, we need some help in finding the right way to go, don't we? Each day we face many difficult decisions and it is sometimes hard to know which way to turn. Some people use their feelings to make decisions. They say, "I'm going to do this, because it just feels like the right thing to do." That's no good. Our feelings may change from day to day, and just because we feel good about something doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do.
Some people make choices by what's popular. Have you ever tried to convince your parents to let you do something by saying, "Everybody's doing it"? Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do, does it? Besides, tomorrow everyone might be doing something else.
There is one sure way to know if we are going in the right direction in life—and that is to follow Jesus. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." We know where we want to go, we want to go to heaven. And now, we know the way. Jesus is the way. If we follow him, we know we are on the right path and headed in the right direction.
Loving God help us each day as we journey through life to follow Jesus, because we know he is the way, the only way. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Offering Prayer
Through these gifts, proclaim your word of grace. Shine forth through our offerings and our lives, that others may see your face and know your steadfast love. In your love and grace, we pray. Amen.
Hymn 162: Thank you for giving me the morning                  (Tune – Thank You)                                     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yiu-1YX1WvE
1.  Thank you, for giving me the morning.
Thank you, for ev’ry day that’s new.
Thank you, that I can know my worries
can be cast on you.
2.  Thank you,
for all my friends and brothers.
Thank you, for all the men that live.
Thank you, for even greatest enemies
I can forgive.
3.  Thank you, for many little sorrows.
Thank you, for ev’ry kindly word.
Thank you, for everywhere your guidance
reaches ev’ry land.
4.  Thank you, I see your Word has meaning.
Thank you, I know your Spirit here.
Thank you, because you love all people,
those both far and near.
5.  Thank you, O Lord, you spoke unto us.
Thank you, that for our words you care.
Thank you, O Lord, you came among us,
bread and wine to share.
6.  Thank you, O Lord,
your love is boundless.
Thank you, that I am full of you.
Thank you, you made me feel so glad
and thankful as I do.
Author: Martin G. Schneider
Tune: THANK YOU (Schneider)
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                               1 Peter 2:2-10         NEB page 949The Gospel Reading:                          John 14:1-14           NEB page 825
Readings: NRSV Translation
1 Peter 2:2-10
2Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture: “See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,” 8and “A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
John 14:1-14
1 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ 5 Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ 6 Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’8 Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ 9 Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name, you ask me for anything, I will do it.
Preaching of the Word – Strange and Peculiar. – 1 Peter 2:2-10
The scripture lesson for today is a call to a new way of living. It is a call to be a “holy priesthood,” a different people who “long for the pure, spiritual milk.” It is a fitting text as the glow of Easter recedes. It is a reminder that we are called for special work and have been made, by God’s gracious action in Jesus Christ, into a new people. Today’s text culminates in a strong call to the people of faith. We are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that [we] may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
In older translations of this verse there is an interesting variation on the wording. The King James Version renders the phrase “God’s own people” as “a peculiar people.” While I enjoy the clarity of newer and more modern translations, there is an intriguing meaning in being designated “a peculiar people.”
The word peculiar is not one that we wear easily. Most of us want to be normal and fit in. Who wants to be peculiar? I read somewhere that there is a town in west-central Missouri named Peculiar. I often wonder how it feels for those people born and raised there to say they are from a place called Peculiar. I also in my research found there was a church that was named Strange. Apparently, the name Strange United Methodist Church was and is something of a joke in the local ministers’ association.
Strange and peculiar are terms we would rather apply to people other than ourselves. Yet this is exactly the label the text from the King James Version of our scriptures asks us to wear. When you consider the call of Christ to live as a disciple in today’s world, there may not be a more fitting label. We Christians are strange, and we are peculiar. We love our enemies, we care for the forgotten, and we believe that the last shall be first. There is a new world, an alternative community that rises out of the pages of the New Testament, which you and I inherit.
God offers the church as an alternative community for the world’s redemption. This fellowship operates under a new economics that believes people matter as much as profits. This community has a new vision that sees every life as an image of God. Here, in this fellowship, a dynamic of inclusion thrives in a world that has made exclusion a fine art. That is our call.
Christians are different. We are called to practice the ethic of grace in a world that lives by an ethic of law. We are called to embrace cooperation rather than competition. We are called to live with an awareness of the gracious hand of God and not from a sense that we must have more and more things to be happy. This is true because we long for the “pure, spiritual milk” that Christ offers. This diet makes us a different people, a peculiar, strange people, who dare to seek to live the life of love in a world in love with alienation, competition, and winning.
I heard about a mythical village where disturbing things began to happen. The people of the village were going insane. Slowly, madness was taking over and no one knew the cause. After careful observation, the villagers realized that their insanity was tied to the food they were eating. Something was wrong with their diet and it caused insanity. The village elders gathered to find a solution. In the end they concluded they had little choice but to eat the bad grain and go crazy. It was better to be crazy and alive than sane and dead. So, this is the statement they prepared to share with the people.
But just before the elders were to address the villagers, someone came running from another village with an announcement. A warehouse of good grain had been discovered. People who ate this grain did not go crazy. They remained sane and sound. The only problem was, there was not enough grain for everyone. So, the elders gathered again and considered this news. They decided to appoint a special group from the village whose job would be to eat a different diet of good grain. Then, when all the other villagers had become insane, this group could remind them of what sanity was. Because, the elders knew, if enough people are crazy then crazy can begin to look normal.
Our culture has poisoned itself with a bad diet. Racism, sexism, and militarism have been our food. Consumerism, anxiety, and the speed of everything have become the staples of our diet. We have bought it all, raced it all, tried it all, and gone mad in the process. In our collective insanity, we come to live fearful lives, we come to regard the stranger as an enemy, we come to send our young to die in war, and children are denied health care and access to good water and food. There is no question that this is the way we must live for we have bought into a corporate insanity that says, “This is the way life is.”
Then there is the church, the community that eats a diet of prayer, scripture, and love. This is the different diet that many have not known about, but we do. From this diet we live the peculiar and strange lives that show what the kingdom of God looks like, that demonstrate what servant love is, that claim every life as a precious gift.
The world looks at the church and says, “You’re crazy.” But the church knows better, for it lives a sanity born of love and grace. It points to a new way and invites others to the table where the food of love and redemption is served.
You, Church, are one strange-looking, peculiar-acting community. You are beautiful to behold as you “proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” Continue to yearn for the pure, spiritual milk, the special diet of love and grace. By this you show the world a better way, a different way, a way of sanity that is the way of Christ.
Hymn 468: We are your people, Lord, by your grace                 (Tune – Whitfield)
https://vimeo.com/171332675
1.  We are your people,Spirit of grace,you dare to make usto all our neighboursChrist's living voice, hands and face.
2.  Joined in community,treasured and fed,may we discovergifts in each other,willing to lead and be led.
3.  Rich in diversity,help us to livecloser than neighbours,open to strangers,able to clash and forgive.
4.  Glad of tradition,help us to seein all life's changingwhere you are leading,where our best efforts should be.
5.  Give, as we venturejustice and care(peaceful, resisting,waiting or risking)wisdom to know when and where.
6.  Spirit unite us,make us, by grace,willing and ready,Christ's living body,loving the whole human race.
Words © 1975, 1995 Hope Publishing Company, 380 S Main Pl, Carol Stream, IL 60188

Intercessory Prayers      Loving God, we, gathered together, in worship of you, still our hearts in prayer as we focus our minds towardsyour promise of love for us.We pray for ourselves, for this congregation of believers,each at a different stage of life and faith, thriving, struggling, wondering, hoping and trusting.Grant us the grace to meet each person where they are,not where we think they should be.We pray for our communities, for our families, friends, children, parents, neighbours, and enemies, each one your child and our sibling through the love of Christ.Grant us the power to love all others as you love us.We pray for our church and all your communities of faith. In these times of declining numbers as Christianity fights for relevance in many nations around the worldgrant us the wisdom to remember the purpose of your church, not numbers, but salvation in your name.We pray for our world as the planet continues to bear the wounds inflicted upon it by our waste, our arrogance, our inability to see the beauty of your creation.In our constant misuse of the resources given to us,grant us the boldness to see the error of our ways,to act now before it is too late. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Hymn 581: Happy the home that welcomes you,                   (Tune – Welwyn)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuyFl-ltoEs
    1: Happy the home that welcomes You, Lord Jesus,
Truest of friends, most honoured guest of all,
Where hearts and eyes are bright with joy to greet You,
Your lightest wishes eager to fulfill.
    2: Happy the home where man and wife together
Are of one mind believing in Your love:
Through love and pain, prosperity and hardship,
Through good and evil days Your care they prove.
    3: Happy the home, O loving Friend of children,
Where they are given to You with hands of prayer,
Where at Your feet they early learn to listen
To Your own words and thank You for Your care.                             Translator: Honor Mary Thwaites      Author: Karl Johann Philipp Spitta     Tune: Welwyn
Benediction               As we have been strengthened,         we go forth to strengthen others.         As we have been blessed,        we go forth to bless the world.         As we have been loved,         we go forth to love with compassion and grace.        As we go forth may remembering the nurture of our mothers, the nurture of God through Jesus and his body the Church, may the same God, creator, redeemer and giver of live bless you and keep you. Amen
Hymn779: May the feet of God walk with you.
         (Tune – Aubrey)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA
May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand holdyou tight.May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hear yourcry.May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give youlife.May the Child of God grow in you, and his love bring youHome.
       Robyn Mann (1949 -)         Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Order of Worship for 03 May 2020

May 1, 2020 - 12:42am

Sunday 03rd May 2020
Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Experience the Living Christ  Sunday 03rd May 2020Easter 4 in the year of Matthew 9.30 am
Gathering God’s People

Acknowledgement of First Peoples
We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal.  May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.
Call to Worship (Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)        Sheep move slowly, chew on things repeatedly before digesting them, and stay close to one another. They remember the face and the voice of their shepherd. God invites us to be like sheep: to chew on thongs, to stay closer together, and listen for the voice of our shepherd. God invites us into green pastures to know the love of our Good Shepherd.
Come in, all who are tired and thirsty. The Good Shepherd leads us to grassy meadows and restful waters. Come in, all who are anxious and afraid. The Good Shepherd protects us and leads us through dark valleys. Come in, all who are empty and exhausted. The Good Shepherd fills our lives with goodness and faithful love. Come in, to be refreshed, to rest, and to receive. The Good Shepherd has brought us here.
Hymn 10: The Lord’s my shepherd                 (Tune - Crimond)
https://my.hymnary.org/song/dynamic/53?toolkit=veroviostatic&width=1600Click triangle on lower left of screen to start & has words
Opening prayer
God, Beloved Shepherd, Guardian of our souls, we come to listen for your familiar voice. Call to us above the noise of our lives. Gather us in from our comings and goings. Feed us in the pastures of your love and lead us to abundant life. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Loving Shepherd, you lead us along right paths and give us abundant life. Still, we resist your call. We want to be in control; we wish to determine our own direction. Forgive us when we ignore your voice and turn away. Bring us back into your fold through the gates of your redeeming love.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Even when we stray like sheep, the Good Shepherd finds us and brings us home. Through Christ, we are forgiven.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
God makes peace within us. Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us. Let us share itPeace be with you! And also, with you!
A Word with The Young People –
Theme: The sheep know the shepherd's voice.Object: Look at or have in your mind a picture of a dog
How many of you have a dog? I don't have a dog. I grew up with there always being a family dog around and ours were usually hunting dogs or Labradors. However, my Uncle next door always had a dog to help him with the sheep on their 10-acre Railway Lease in New Zealand. One of those dog's was called Spike he was mainly a Border Collie. When we were not at home, our dogs had their kennels in the back yard, but when we got home, we would go down and unchain them to enable them to exercise, calling their name to stop them barking loudly.
Once released we would call out the dog’s name. When we called his name, Spike would come running. Do you know what would have happened if you had gone out the back and called Spike? Nothing! Spike would not come because he didn't know you and wouldn't recognise your voice.
Sometimes we would call our dogs to take them for a walk. If a stranger had come to the gate and called them, do you think Spike, or our dogs would come to them? No way! A dog knows his master's voice and will only do what his master tells him to do.
Did you know that same thing is true of sheep? Jesus said that sheep know the shepherd's voice and they will follow him. He then went on to say that he is the shepherd and we are his sheep. If Jesus is our master, we will know his voice and will do what he wants us to do. Sometimes, other people will try to get us to do something we should not do. If Jesus is our master, we won't listen to their voice. Sometimes, evil tries to get us to do something that we should not do. If Jesus is our master, we won't listen to that voice of evil.
The shepherd always wants what is best for his sheep. He leads them into green pastures where they have plenty to eat. He leads them to water so that they have plenty to drink. He leads them to the shelter where they will be safe from the storm. Jesus wants what is best for us. He said that he came so that we could have life and have it abundantly. We will, if we listen to his voice and follow him.
Offering Prayer
Holy One we offer these gifts with gratitude for the many ways you care for us. Use these gifts, and our very lives, O God, that all might have life, and have it abundantly. Amen.
Hymn 588: In heavenly love abiding                 (Tune – Penlan)
https://my.hymnary.org/song/dynamic/575?toolkit=veroviostatic&width=1600Click triangle on lower left of screen to start & has words                                       The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                          Acts 2:42-47       NEB page 839The Gospel Reading:                     John 10:1-10      NEB page 820
Readings: From NRSV Translation
Acts 2.42-47
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and theprayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
John 10:1-10
1 ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ 6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Preaching of the Word - Experience the Living Christ – Acts 2.42-47
No one can make the case that the Christian faith is theoretical. It is not a system of thought, a bank of words, or a collection of ideas. Ultimately the Christian faith is about living in relationship and community. The Easter legacy is the church of Jesus Christ. Try as we might to clean up Christianity, this faith of ours always brings us back to the same place—the church. What Jesus leaves on this earth to continue his work is the church. I know people who like the idea of religion, but they don’t want the church. Some people enjoy the warm, pleasant feelings that come from spiritual thinking, but they don’t want the church. Some are excited by the idea of love, but they don’t want the church. Some people certainly want heaven for eternity, but they don’t want the church for today. That is a problem because, like it or not, if we are going to follow Jesus, we are going to be involved in the church. Someone said, “I love Jesus. I just wish he wouldn’t bring his leprous bride every place he goes.” But church and Jesus go together like “love and marriage” or “horse and carriage.”So just pause and reflect for a moment. Easter has come. The tomb has been emptied. The Lord has appeared to his disciples, and the announcement has gone forth: “He is alive!” Jesus is alive! Where do we find him for ourselves? Where do we experience his aliveness in personal ways? The answer is through the fellowship of the redeemed, in the quarters of the church, in the embrace of the manifestation of the body of Christ. What I am saying elevates the church to a status that some may not appreciate. In today’s passage, we get a glimpse of the church in its earliest moments, and it is a beautiful thing to behold. The people are united, everyone is attentive to the teaching of the apostles, no one misses a service or a Bible study, there are enough volunteers for every task, people are giving generously to support the church, and people are lining up to join. If you know your Bible and the story of the church, though, you know this way of life does not last. Soon the church will be dealing with all sorts of unpleasant matters. For example, today’s text is from the second chapter of Acts. By the fifth chapter, people are dropping dead in the church for lying about their financial support. We’re talking about lying about their pledge. Hello! Is this the church? Yes, this is the church, we affirm and believe in. This church is the aftermath of Easter. Do you want to experience the living Christ? Go to the church. Oh, I know there will be frustration. The church likes to “major in the minors,” quarrelling over the most foolish things. I know all this. But I also know that if you want to find Jesus, it will be in his church. I think of my own life. Both my parents didn’t attend, they grew up in the Great depression, often their relationship was angry, and we received much of that anger as children. We lived from day to day in a volatile world of economic uncertainty. We led a life that was different to others including supply of most of our food from the land. We often felt outsiders. Our second home which was rented was owned by Presbyterian Social Services. And then I was sent to Church where I felt welcomed into their fellowship. They made me part of their choir. Some said I was important to them. I had nothing to offer in return, but they did not care about that. They offered a new economics, the economics of grace. All I knew was that I was a young person trying to find their way and these good people put the arms of Jesus around my life and sent me in a new direction of hope and meaning and purpose. Slowly but surely as my life passed, I realised that I had found Jesus, or Jesus had found me, and life had forever changed. The Christian faith is never theory. It is not about religious thinking. The Christian faith is about relationship, it is about love and compassion. In the midst of the comings and goings of our lives, the risen Christ appears, community happens, and the church takes shape. Easter has come, and Easter continues. Easter continues in the imperfect, grace-filled community we call church. Remember this the next time you are tempted to give up on church. If you want to experience Jesus, this is the place and the people, for in spite of their imperfections and idiosyncrasies, the church is where the living Christ lives. Give thanks for your church and your place in it. There is no better place to find what you are looking for, which is the touch of the “Master’s” hand in your life. I know because I have experienced it. Thanks be to God for church!
Hymn 655: O let the Son of God enfold you                 (Tune – Spirit Song)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5pUXm57wMA
O let the Son of God enfold you
With His Spirit and His love
Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul
O let Him have the things that hold you
And His Spirit like a dove
Will descend upon your life and make you whole
Jesus, O Jesus
Come and fill Your lambs
Jesus, O Jesus
Come and fill Your lambs

O come and sing this song with gladness
As your hearts are filled with joy
Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name
O give Him all your tears and sadness
Give Him all your years of pain
And you'll enter into life in Jesus' name
Jesus, O Jesus
Come and fill Your lambs
Jesus, O Jesus
Come and fill Your lambs
Writer(s): John Wimber Publisher: Vineyard Publishing
Intercessory Prayers  
(This week’s Intercessions come from spillbeans.org.ukwww.facebook.com/spillbeansresources © 2020 Spill the Beans Resource Team)
Lord, in a world when many search for the protection you offer, for a shepherd to welcome them in and to sit by their side, we bring our prayers for others.We pray for those who wonder where their next meal will come from, and we pray for food justice to become a priority in our world.We pray for those who wonder when and if they will ever wake in the morning to peace, and we pray for an end to fighting and for the courageous role of peacekeepers.We pray for those who wonder when they might be paid a fair price for their labours, and we pray for fair trade practises to become the norm. We pray for those who wonder when they might see their family again, and we pray for those working to reunite refugee families.We pray for those who wonder when they might be able to fully support their family, and we pray for wages that are fair and able to support individuals and families.We pray for all those who wonder where their help might come from, and we pray for communities that mirror your love and care.For all looking for the shelter of a shepherd we pray for your presence to be known. Lord for all these people and situations we pray. Amen.      THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn 147: To God be the glory,                    (Tune – To God be the Glory)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-15v9iworAU
1      To God be the glory, great things he has done!
So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life gate that we may go in.
Refrain:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thro' Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he has done!

2      O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood!
To ev'ry believer the promise of God;
the vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus forgiveness receives.
Refrain:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thro' Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he has done!


3      Great things he has taught us, great things he has done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
but purer and higher and greater will be
our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.
Refrain:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thro' Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he has done!

            Author: Fanny Crosby (1875)
Tune: TO GOD BE THE GLORY (Doane)
Benediction        As you go out into the world practice being sheep…..        and slow down. Chew on things. Stay close together. And listen for the voice of the shepherd calling to you.        And may the Almighty God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life bless you and keep you safe out in his world through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen        Hymn 778: Shalom to you                  (Tune – Somos del Senor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u-WxpmOpN4
Shalom to you now, shalom, my friends. May God’s full mercies bless you, my friends. In all your living and through your loving, Christ be your shalom, Christ be your shalom
Author: Elise S. Eslinger (1980)
Tune: Somos Del Señor
Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Worship for Easter 3 26 April 2020

April 23, 2020 - 11:49pm

Sunday 26th April 2020Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford---------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Corrected Vision Sunday 26th April 20207Easter 3 Sunday - year of Matthew 9.30am
Gathering God’s People
Acknowledgement of First Peoples
We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal.  May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.
Call to Worship (Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)        Walking down the road of life, how often do we meet Christ in a stranger? Chances are good we won’t recognize him, even though our hearts may burn within us. Chances are even better he will move on to bless another unless we offer hospitality to our fellow travellers. Walking down the road of life, look for Christ . . . and be prepared to find him in a stranger.

When you feel alone, don’t despair . . . Christ is here. When your hope falters, open your ears . . . God is still speaking words of comfort and love. When your spirit flags, open your hearts . . . The Spirit is here to guide you home. Here in this house of worship . . . enter, rejoice, and come home.
Hymn 137: For the beauty of the earth                   (Tune - Lucerna Laudoniae)
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTcJ_SQruhE
1 For the beauty of the earth,
   for the beauty of the skies,
   for the love which from our birth
   over and around us lies,
Refrain:
Christ, our God, to you we raise
this our sacrifice of praise. 

2 For the beauty of each hour
   of the day and of the night,
   hill and vale, and tree and flower,
   sun and moon and stars of light,
Refrain:
Christ, our God, to you we raise
this our sacrifice of praise. 

3 For the joy of ear and eye,
   for the heart and mind's delight,
   for the mystic harmony
   linking sense to sound and sight,
Refrain:
Christ, our God, to you we raise
this our sacrifice of praise. 

4 For the joy of human love,
   brother, sister, parent, child,
   friends on earth and friends above,
   for all gentle thoughts and mild,
Refrain:
Christ, our God, to you we raise
this our sacrifice of praise. 

5 For each perfect gift divine
   to our race so freely given,
   graces all of your design,
   flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Refrain:
Christ, our God, to you we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.
  6 For the church that evermore,
   lifting holy hands above,
   offers up on every shore
   the pure sacrifice of love,
Refrain:
Christ, our God, to you we raise
this our sacrifice of praise. 

                     Folliott Sandford Pierpoint, 1835-1917                             David Evans ('E Arthur'), 1874-1948
Opening prayer
God of mutual love, plant an imperishable seed of faithwithin us this day. Nurture the roots of life and hope withinour souls, that our hearts might burn within us when wehear your voice. During times of suffering and doubt, helpus grow strong and true, through your enduring word. Staywith us now and reveal your presence to us, as we showhospitality to strangers and break bread in your name.Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
God of Easter hope, it is easy to dismiss your resurrection miracles in the world we live in. When we fail to recognize you on the road, speak your enduring word to us, that our hearts may yearn to know you better. Help us follow our hearts when we meet you on the road and invite you to stay with us, that our eyes may be opened your life-giving presence. During times of confusion and doubt, open our eyes to the many ways you reveal yourself to us, that we may have the confidence to proclaim the miracle of Easter.
Declaration of Forgiveness       In Christ Jesus, we find mutual love and an imperishable seed of faith and joy. Risen with Christ, we are born anew.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
There is a peace that comes only from welcoming Christ in a fellow traveller on the journey of life. Turn to those around you and offer these words of welcome and peace.Peace be with you! And also, with you!
A Word with The Young People –
A young man was making his final preparations to leave for college. The only thing left to be done was receiving that final piece of advice from his dad. He expected a list of do’s and don’ts, but instead his dad gave him just one piece of advice: “Son, I have only one thing to give you. It's my name. Don't take it anywhere I wouldn't take it. Don't associate it with anything I wouldn't.” With this counsel, the dad sent his son into the world.
We ought to take this story to heart as followers of Jesus Christ. What a powerful word it would be indeed if Jesus looked to those of us who call ourselves Christians—children of God—and reminded us that we carry His name. Carrying His name includes living a life of holiness, reflecting His standards and character.
Peter beautifully conveyed the idea that our beliefs really do affect our behaviour. Since God is holy, we are called to live holy lives. Since God is Judge, we are called to live with fear and reverence. Since God’s Word has transformed us according to the gospel, we are called to live with love toward other believers.
That son who received the simple advice from his father apparently went on to be a Minister, head of a theological college, and author. That man explains that just as he was called upon to carry his family name, he is also called upon to carry our heavenly Parent’s name as well. How well are you carrying the name Christian?
How are you conducting your life as a follower of Jesus Christ? Is it with holiness, fear, and love? Do you want to see Jesus? ( which you will hear about in Sunday Kids as you look at the Road to Emmaus story)  The Bible says, "You will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deuteronomy 4:29)
Oh, he may not appear to you in the same way he did to the disciples in your story, but If you study the Scriptures and seek him with all your heart, he will reveal himself to you.
Dear Lord, open our eyes, we want to see Jesus! In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Offering Prayer
Loving God receive our thanks and praise. For your presence on the road, we thank you. For opening your word to us, we praise you. For revealing yourself to us in the face of a stranger, we offer you our deepest gratitude. May the gifts of our hands reveal the love in our hearts. Amen.
Hymn 601: O Master, let me walk with Thee                                        (Tune – Maryton)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utggz7PN0Lw
1 O Master let me walk with Thee
   in lowly paths of service free;
   tell me Thy secret; help me bear
   the strain of toil, the fret of care.
2 Help me the slow of heart to move
   by some clear, winning word of love;
   teach me the wayward feet to stay,
   and guide them in the homeward way.
3 Teach me Thy patience, still with Thee
   in closer, dearer company,
   in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
   in trust that triumphs over wrong.
4 In hope that sends a shining ray
   far down the future's broadening way;
   in peace that only Thou canst give,
   with Thee, O Master, let me live.
Washington Gladden (1836 -1918)                    H. Percy Smith (1825 - 1898)

The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                                            1 Peter 1.13-25The Gospel Reading:                                        Luke 24.13-35
Readings from NRSV Version of Scripture
1 Peter 1.13-25
13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ 17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.
18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
20 He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.
21 Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. 22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 23 You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For ‘All flesh is like grass all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’  That word is the good news that was announced to you.
Luke 24.13-35
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ 19 He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ 25 Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. 28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Preaching of the Word - Corrected Vision. – 1 Peter 1.13-25
One of the blessings of medicine is good eye care. When our vision becomes compromised by age or disease, we are fortunate to be able to go to the ophthalmologist or optometrist and take care of the problem. Often the doctor prescribes eyeglasses or contact lenses, which correct our vision so we can see clearly. Good vision gives us the right perspective and enables us to function well.
However, when we first try out a new prescription, we may find that it takes a while to get used to the corrected vision. At first things can seem a little strange, as though we are not seeing clearly. Gradually, our eyes adjust to the correction of the new lenses and we are able to see well. The Easter season is a time of adjusting to a new vision. God has done an incredible work. The tomb has been emptied. Death has been defeated. On the Sunday of the resurrection, our hearts fill with joy and our voices soar with the hymns of new life. A new world has been born, a new vision has been given, and a new way of living has been prescribed. The church is invited to wear its Easter lenses as it looks out upon the world and responds to the challenge of living in light of the resurrection.
We live from the perspective of Easter. Perspective is important. The right perspective can bring joy and happiness; the wrong perspective can lead to disaster. A little boy and a little girl, brother and sister, were shopping with their mother in a large department store. The mother needed to have some time for her shopping, so she took the children to the soda fountain, bought them ice-cream cones, and told them to stay there till she came back. Well, the children were fascinated by the elevator and could not resist the temptation to ride it one more time. So, with ice-cream cones in hand, they jumped off their stools and went to ride the elevator.
They were enjoying their up-and-down ride, but the little boy’s ice cream was melting faster than he could eat it. Finally, it was dripping down the cone and onto his hand despite his best attempts to eat the delicious treat before it melted. At one floor the elevator stopped and an elegantly dressed woman in a full-length fur coat got on. She stood in front of the children waiting to be taken to her floor. The little boy was desperately trying to deal with his melting ice cream. Seeing the back of the lady’s fur coat, he gently began to wipe the sticky, melting ice cream on her coat. His sister said, “Be careful, Billy, or you will get fur in your ice cream.” Now that illustrates perspective. That which seems is a solution to one could be seen in another way as the damage an expensive garment. It’s all in the perspective.
Easter people live with the perspective of the resurrection. God has won the victory over death. The worst that can happen to us has been overcome by God taking Jesus from the tomb. That is our perspective. This vision challenges us to live boldly and daringly. “You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). In other words, you have a new perspective. Live from this perspective. Dare to “love one another deeply from the heart” (v. 22).
The early church had to get used to its Easter lenses. It must have seemed strange to live from the perspective of love in a world that was used to living in alienation. It must have been disorienting to include the outcast and the marginalised in the fellowship of the church. But this is what the Easter community did, and its witness was powerful. The world stood in awe as it watched a community of love live its life with redemptive acts of service and inclusion. Such a community was a new reality that embraced a way of living that others had never imagined.
The story continues as Easter people put on their new lenses and dare to live the way of love in a world of alienation and hurt. We are people of new perspective. We have seen what God has done in Jesus Christ. We no longer live in fear; rather, with radical love we go forth to practice the perspective of love as we follow the way and example of our risen Lord.
The church has to put on its Easter glasses and see life from the perspective of the resurrection. We are the people who dare to live the hope that other people believe can never be realized. From the Easter perspective, we live the “as if” principle. That is, we live “as if” the world has more love than it does, “as if” there is more hope than people are willing to embrace, “as if” the kingdom of God can reign on the earth today. Our Easter glasses also give us the holy boldness to ask, “What if?” What if every child had a warm, safe place to sleep? What if there was enough food for every person on this earth? What if we all lived from a sense of abundance rather than scarcity? What if today all the killing of all the wars stopped?
It all starts with vision, with perspective. Have the right perspective and you can live the right life. Our perspective is Easter. “Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God” (1 Peter 1:21). We are the people of Easter whose vision has been forever corrected by what God has done in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hymn 390: Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks                   (Tune - Alleluia, Alleluia)
       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k2UqKcFIW8
Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.

Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
He is the King of creation.

Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.

Spread the good news o'er all the earth:
Jesus has died and has risen.

Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.

We have been crucified with Christ.
Now we shall live for ever.

Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.

God has proclaimed his gracious gift:
Life eternal for all who believe.

Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.

Come, let us praise the living God,
Joyfully sing to our Saviour.
Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.

Donald Fishel (1950 -)Betty Pulkingham (1928 – 2019)
Intercessory Prayers
(This week’s Intercessions come from spillbeans.org.ukwww.facebook.com/spillbeansresources© 2020 Spill the Beans Resource Team)
Lord God, each of us walks our own Emmaus Road.Some seem to have an easy route, for others it is a bumpy, twisty, uneven road. And so for them we pray this day.
For those who are ill and see no end in sight for their pain, we pray for healing and for a sense that you are there with them.
For those who face financial difficulties and see no end to their problems we pray for solutions and for a sense that you are there with them
For those who struggle to put food on the table and see no end date to their empty cupboards we pray for fairness and a sense that you are there with them.
For those who are caring for loved ones and see no end to their fatigue we pray for rest and a sense that you are there with them.
For those who struggle with the daily juggle of responsibilities and see no end to their merry-go-round life, we pray for moments of stillness and a sense that you are there with them.
Lord, so many people, so many challenges, it is often difficult for us to know where to begin. Help us to take each situation as it comes, to know what the priorities are, to work out the ways in which we can help.
Help us to stick to your path of righteousness,justice and peace, in all we say and do. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 613: Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy                   (Tune – Slane)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-D_aT8CXyc
1            Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy:
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.
2       Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe:
Be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.3            Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace:
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.
4      Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm:
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
Joyce Placzek ('Jan Struther'), 1901-53Erik Reginald Routley, 1917-82
Benediction                As you meet strangers on the road, let mutual love increase. Born of the imperishable seed of God’s love, we will grow in grace and power. As you experience Christ in the smile of another, be purified in the presence of the Holy One. Born to grow into oaks of righteousness, we go forth to reveal the glory of God in our lives. We go with God’s blessings.
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 holdyou tight.May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hear yourcry.May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give youlife.May the Child of God grow in you, and his love bring youHome.
          Robyn Mann (1949 -)         Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Service for Easter 2 Sunday 19 April 2020

April 17, 2020 - 1:19am

Sunday 19th April 2020Marsden Road Uniting ChurchCarlingford
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Doubt Strengthens FaithSunday 19th April 20207Easter 2 Sunday the year of Matthew 9.30 am
Gathering God’s People
Acknowledgement of First Peoples
We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal.  May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.
Call to Worship (Abingdon Worship Annual 2020)        All the doubt in the world cannot wash away our inheritance from God—an inheritance of love, refuge, and strength.
Come into God’s presence with joy. In God, we have an inheritance that is imperishable. Come into God’s presence with hope. In Christ, we have an inheritance that cannot be defiled. Come into God’s presence with longing. In the Spirit, we have an inheritance that never fades.Come into God’s presence with love. In God, we have an inheritance that brings new life.
Hymn 370: Christ the Lord is Risen Today                  (Tune – Easter Hymn)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XveIGmAUdkQ
1 Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
   Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
   Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
   Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
2 Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
   Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
   Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
   Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia! 
3 Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
   Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
   Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
   Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
4 Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
   Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
  Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
  Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! 
 Charles Wesley (1707-1778)
Opening prayer
     God of signs and wonders breathe new life into us this day, that our spirits may awaken to the joy and the hope of our glorious inheritance through the living Christ. Clear our vision, Holy One, that we may see the promise of Easter in the stirrings of this precious earth and in the life, energy flowing through our bodies. Help us find the faith to believe where we have not seen that others may see, in our living and our loving, the glory of the risen Christ. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, you come offering us peace, but we hold onto our fears; you come offering us faith, but we cling to our doubts; you come offering us a future filled with promise, but we retreat to pleasant memories of the past. We want to believe that you offer us an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. We want to see ourselves as you see us. We want to live as you would have us live. We want to believe that life is stronger than the death we see all around us. Help our unbelief, O God, that we may truly know and live your gift of resurrection. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       The inheritance that God promises us is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. Even when we are consumed by doubt, God is always faithful. Even when we lose our way, God is able to find us and bring us home. Even when we are at war with ourselves, God is able to bring us peace.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
When our minds churn like turbulent waters, Christ comes to offer us peace. When our lives careen out of control like cars on a frozen highway, Christ comes to offer us peace. Christ is here now, offering us peace. With the Spirit of Christ within us, let us turn to one another and share signs of peace with one another.Peace be with you! And also, with you!
A Word with The Young People –
We do not know exactly where the disciples were when Jesus was crucified - they obviously were not close by him.  Peter even denied knowing him.  Someone who was not counted as among his closest disciples came and took Jesus’ body away from the cross to put into the tomb.  So, it may have been understandable if Jesus, when he rose from the dead, had some angry words to say to his friends. 
Now I wonder what our young people or maybe even you adults think that Jesus could have said ... He may have said something like, “Where were you when I needed you?  “How could you do that to me? etc. etc.  They are words that we may have said...relating to how we may have felt - but in our gospel reading today - we hear that they are not the words that Jesus said. The first word Jesus said to his friends was “Peace”. 
After all that he had gone through, and after being virtually deserted by his disciples - his first word to them was a  word of peace - the message of peace sung by the angels at Jesus’ birth and here we have the message of peace once more.  More than ever, Jesus wants people to experience that peace and also to pass that peace on to one another. He wants us to experience that peace and also to pass that peace on to one another. 
Offering Prayer
O God, our refuge and our strength, we rejoice that you are our chosen portion, you are our cup that overflows to eternal life. As we celebrate your Easter miracle of bringing life out of death, we express our gratitude and joy for the new life budding within us and all around us. Bless the gifts we offer you this day and all days, that they may bring hope and new life to a world that clings even now to the illusion of death’s victory over the Lord of Life. Amen.
Hymn 379: He is risen, he is risen                  (Tune – Unser Herrscher)        
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxSsLnZBogY   
1 Christ is risen, Christ is risen!
Tell it with a joyful voice.
Christ has burst the three days' prison;
Let the whole wide earth rejoice.
Death is conquered, we are free;
Christ has won the victory.
2 Come, you sad and fearful hearted,
With glad smile and radiant brow.
Death's dark shadows have departed,
All our woes are over now;
Through the passion that he bore,
Sin and pain have pow'r no more.
3 Come with high and holy hymning;
Chant our Lord's triumphant might.
Not one gloomy cloud is dimming
That bright glorious morning light
Breaking o'er the purple east,
Symbol of our Easter feast.
4 Christ is risen, Christ is risen!
And has opened heaven's gate.
We are free from evil's prison,
Risen to a holier state;
And a brighter Easter beam
On our longing eyes shall stream.
Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895), alt. Unser Herrscher, Joachim Neander (1650-1580)
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                                            1 Peter 1.1-12The Gospel Reading:                                        John 20.19-31
Readings from the NRSV Translation of Scripture
1 Peter 1.1-12
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood: May grace and peace be yours in abundance. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, 11 inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated, when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look!
John 20.19-31
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ 28 Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’ 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Preaching of the Word
Doubt Strengthens Faith. John 20:19-31
One of the greatest blessings we encounter as Christians is the freedom to admit when we have doubts.  As faithful Christians, we need to have the audacity to ask tough questions concerning our faith and traditions.For some, doubt is synonymous with having a lack of faith, but doubt and faith are two sides of the same coin. They are the Ying and Yang, if you would, of the Christian life.
According to Paul Tillich, doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. Rather than suppress our doubts, we should explore them and allow them to set us on a journey of discovery and a deepening of our beliefs and convictions. In our Gospel reading today, Thomas asked for proof, and we also want proof as well that our faith is not in vain.
Thomas often gets a bad rap for doubting the resurrection of Jesus; however, he was no more doubtful than the other disciples and apostles.
The other disciples didn’t believe that Jesus had risen until he appeared to them, so why should we expect Thomas to be any different?
In fact, we applaud Thomas for his insistence on wanting tangible proof. After all, Thomas was well aware that Jesus wasn’t the first messianic figure on the scene to be crucified by the Roman occupiers. Thomas showed great religious restraint and demonstrated the proper amount of rational doubt.  But when Jesus appeared to him, Thomas proclaimed without reservation, “My Lord, and my God.”
Doubt can be a wonderful tool that propels us into deeper learning, earnest soul searching, and spiritual revelation. Faith based on absolute certainty leads to fanaticism, but faith tempered with doubt is mature and stable.
Many believers struggle with their own doubts brought about by life’s unpredictability and tempestuous nature. We have very real struggles in our lives that generate an uncertainty about where God is to be found in all the turmoil.
Sometimes we look to spiritual giants, the superstars of Christianity, and feel inferior in our own personal walk in comparison. However, the greatest in the Kingdom sometimes deal with the greatest doubt.
Mother Teresa’s diary reveals a saintly person who struggled with a type of doubt that would crush the faint of heart. She wrote to her spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, in 1979, “Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”
For the last nearly half-century of her life Mother Teresa felt no presence of God whatsoever — neither in her heart or in the Eucharist. That absence seems to have started at almost precisely the time she began tending the poor and dying in Calcutta and— except for a five-week break in 1959 — never abated.
Although perpetually cheery in public, Mother Teresa lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain. She bemoans the “dryness,” “darkness,” “loneliness” and “torture” she was undergoing. She compares the experience to hell and at one point says it has driven her to doubt the existence of heaven and even of God. Nevertheless, she continued to love the least in God’s creation and dedicate her life to Christ to the very end.
Mother Teresa isn’t alone in her struggle with doubt. The Polish-born Jewish-American author Isaac Bashevis Singer states that doubt is part of all religion, that all the religious thinkers were doubters. The art critic Robert Hughes said, “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”
Catholic priest Henri Nouwen wrote, “So I am praying while not knowing how to pray. I am resting while feeling restless, at peace while tempted, safe while still anxious, surrounded by a cloud of light while still in darkness, in love while still doubting.”
Despite Henri Nouwen’s own struggle with doubt, he was able to mentor and encourage countless thousands through his writings, lectures, and sermons. One particular quote from a book of his has been a lifeboat for many who find themselves overcome with the waves of life’s stormy doubts: “Have the courage to trust that you will not fall into an abyss of nothingness, but into the embrace of a God whose love can heal all your wounds.”
Faith is a daily, ongoing exercise. It is a risk. Doubts arise. We struggle with God. And hopefully, faith grounded in the goodness of God triumphs — even when we do not have all the answers and life doesn’t make sense.
Will we believe in a God of love who wants to be near us and has our best interest at heart? Or will we believe in a God who plays games with us, and is ultimately cruel and uncaring? Will we believe in a God who stands beside us in our troubles, or one who is distant and difficult?
The author of Hebrews writes, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is not void of doubt but requires a daily commitment to developing our spiritual walk despite life’s uncertainties and sometimes cruelties.
Faith doesn’t take away our doubts but is strengthened by them.  And faith doesn’t deliver us from our problems and heartaches but gives us the strength to persevere through them and lead others as well as they navigate around the abyss of nothingness.
May his resurrection power be at work in our lives as we learn to allow our doubts to strengthen our faith.Amen.
Hymn 609: May the mind of Christ my Saviour                  (Tune – St Leonards)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ghgaqT57lk
1.  May the mind of Christ my SaviorLive in me from day to day,By His love and pow’r controllingAll I do and say.
2.  May the Word of God dwell richlyIn my heart from hour to hour,So that all may see I triumphOnly through’ His power.
3.  May the peace of God my FatherRule my life in everything,That I may be calm to comfortSick and sorrowing.
4.  May the love of Jesus fill meas the waters fill the sea;Him exalting, self-denyingThis is victory.
5.  May I run the race before meStrong and brave to face the foe,Looking only unto JesusAs I onward go.
6.  May His beauty rest upon meAs I seek the lost to win,And may they forget the channel,Seeing only Him.
Kate B. Wilkinson (1859 - 1928)Arthur. Cyril Barham-Gould (1891 - 1953)

Intercessory Prayers         Gracious God, your love reaches us through doors bolted by fear and doubt; your life reaches us through wounds and scars. Help us to hear your words of peace and healing; fill our hearts with  joy so that we too may confess you as our God.Spirit of peace move among us. Breathe trust that relies on your presence when we see and when we don’t see. Breathe honesty that acknowledges our doubts and questions. Breathe hope and forgiveness for the sake of community with you and others.God of new life, As we continue to reflect on the happenings of Easter, renew our joy and trust in you; encourage our faith so that although we do not see you, yet we are able to believe and rejoice in you.May we know what is real. May we know the barriers that divide, ethnic cleansing, sectarianism, racism. May we touch and know what is real and pray for unity.May we know what is real. May we know the ground on which people walk, and which is home to those who have none: a cold place, a lonely place. May we touch what is real and pray for an end to poverty. May we know what is real: the world one step beyond this place. May we know where compassion is needed, where love searches, where Jesus walks. May we touch what is real and pray for those beyond this place. May we know what is real: those people we share life with; our family and friends, our neighbours and community, our world. May we touch what is real and pray for those who journey with us. May we find Jesus standing beside us. May he be close enough to touch. May he breathe on all your living and speak peace into your lives and may we go now in that peace. Always.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 228: Crown him with many crowns                   (Tune – Diademata)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YJnVN6wdvI
1.  Crown Him with many crowns,The Lamb upon His throne.Hark! how the heavenly anthem drownsAll music but its own!Awake, my soul and singOf Him who died for Thee;And hail Him as thy matchless KingThrough all eternity.
2.  Crown Him the Lord of life,Who triumphed o'er the grave.Who rose victorious to the strife,For those He came to save.His glories now we sing,Who died and rose on high.Who died eternal life to bring,And lives that death may die.
3.  Crown Him the Lord of years,The Potentate of time;Creator of the rolling spheres,Ineffably sublime.All hail, Redeemer, hail!For Thou hast died for me.Thy praise and glory shall not failThroughout eternity.
4.  Crown Him the Son of GodBefore the worlds began,And ye, who tread where He hath trod,Crown Him the Son of man;Who every grief hath knownThat wrings the human breast,    And takes and bears them for His own,That all in Him may rest.
Benediction                Through Christ, God has given us a new birth into a living hope. God has given us an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading— an inheritance protected by the power of God. Rejoice, therefore, even if for a while we suffer various trials. For life is stronger than death, love is stronger than hate, joy is stronger than sorrow, and the promises of God are sure. Amen
Hymn779: May the feet of God walk with you.
         (Tune – Aubrey)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA
May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand holdyou tight.May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hear yourcry.May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give youlife.May the Child of God grow in you, and his love bring youHome.
       Robyn Mann (1949 -)         Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)
Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Easter Sunday Worship 12 April 2020

April 10, 2020 - 1:57pm

Life AnewSunday 12th April 2020Easter Day in the year of Matthew 9.30 am
Gathering God’s People

HymnsHymn 362: Jesus Christ is risen today                   (Tune – Easter Hymn) Hymn 390: Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks …                   (Tune – Alleluia Alleluia)Hymn 380: Yours be the glory                  (Tune – Maccabaeus) Hymn 755: You shall go out with joy                   (Tune – Trees of the Field)Hymn 702: Alleluia, Alleluia                   (Tune – Alleluia 7 Taize)

Readings:The First Reading:             Acts 10: 34-43                  NEB page 847The Gospel Reading:       Matthew 28:1-10.             NEB page 755
A Candle can be lit and placed somewhere near where you are worshippingThe candle is lit with these words:
Alleluia! Christ is risen!           Christ is risen indeed!This is the day that that the Lord has made          Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
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         Praise the Lord!God has defeated death.Praise the Lord!Sing the Easter song.
It is the first day of the week.God Almighty is with us.Peace be with us.It is the first day of the week.Jesus is here.Peace be with us.It is the first day of the week.The Holy Spirit is upon us.Peace be with us.
Hymn 362: Jesus Christ is risen today                   (Tune – Easter Hymn)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMwPEmUMP7U
1.  Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!Who so lately on the cross, Alleluia!Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
2.  Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!Unto Christ, our heavenly king, Alleluia!Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!
3.  But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!Our salvation has procured; Alleluia!Now exalted he is king, Alleluia!And the angels ever sing. Alleluia!
Words: Lyra Davidica, 1708Music: Easter Hymn (W Monk)
Opening prayer
Our Lord and our God, like doubting Thomas so long ago,it is sometimes difficult for us to believe in new life andResurrection. We ask you to turn our doubts into vibrant faith. We have not seen but help us believe. Amen.
 A Prayer of Confession
God of life and love, we rejoice in our own salvation, but find it hard to forgive those who have hurt us. You call us to seek the paths of peace and blessing, to be your face to everyone we meet, but it is easier sticking to well-travelled streets of anger and resentment. We yearn to live in ease in heaven, but too often make life hard for people around us. You call us to spread your word of resurrection, to witness to your love and grace for the world, but our lips remain silent. Forgive us, Holy One, when we hold on to what we have, rather than share your gifts with the world.
Declaration of Forgiveness       The One whom the prophets foretold, and of whom the Gospels testify, lives among us today. In the love of the Creator; in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ; and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are forgiven. Alleluia! Amen.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
Rejoicing in Christ’s life among us, let us share signs of peace. The peace of Christ be with you. The peace of Christ be with you always. (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)

A Word with The Young People –
Theme: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Object: Imagine a small juice glass half-filled with juice.
There are two ways of looking at a glass of juice. Some people would look at the glass and say it was half empty. There are others who would look at the glass and say it is half full. (Next drink all of the juice in the glass or imagine it.)
Well, we solved that problem, didn't we? Now everyone who looks at this glass would say that it is empty, but guess what? Everyone still wouldn't look at the glass in the same way. Some would look at the glass and grumble and complain because it empty. Others would look at the glass and see it as a glass just waiting to be filled with good things to drink. I guess there are always different ways to look at any situation.
On the Sunday morning after Jesus was crucified, a woman named Mary went to visit the grave where the body of Jesus had been laid. When she got there, she found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. She ran to find someone to tell them what she had seen. She found two of the disciples, Peter and John, and she said to them, "They have taken our Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have put him."
The three of them immediately ran to the tomb. When they got there, they all saw the same thing, but they didn't all look at it in the same way.
Peter looked and was curious. The Bible says Peter went in the empty tomb and looked around. He saw strips of linen laying around and the cloth that Jesus had been buried in folded neatly and placed where the body had been. "Hmmm, very interesting," Peter might have said to himself.
Mary looked and was sad. The Bible tells us that Mary didn't even go inside the empty tomb. She just stood outside the tomb and wept because she feared that someone had stolen the body of Jesus.
John looked and believed. The bible says that John went inside the tomb and he saw and believed. Now, I don't know exactly how much John understood, but I think he believed that Jesus had risen from the grave just as he said he would.
Three people -- they all saw the same thing -- one was curious, one was sad, and one believed. I think that is pretty much the same way people react to the story of Jesus today. Some people hear the story and they are curious, others hear it and think it is sad, others hear it and believe. How do you look at it?
Offering Prayer
God of love and grace, for the love and life that you give us in Christ, we offer you signs of our gratitude; for the compassion and mercy that you give us in the Holy Spirit, we offer you our thankfulness and praise. Receive our gifts in your holy name. Amen.
Hymn 390: Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks …                  (Tune – Alleluia Alleluia)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U1MuOCHon4
Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.

1. Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
    He is the King of creation.
Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.


2. Spread the good news o'er all the earth:
    Jesus has died and has risen.
Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.


3. We have been crucified with Christ.
    Now we shall live for ever.
Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.


4. God has proclaimed his gracious gift:
    Life eternal for all who believe.
Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.


5. Come, let us praise the living God,
   Joyfully sing to our Saviour.
Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to his Name.


           Text: Donald Fishel (1950 -)          Betty Pulkingham (1928-)
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:             Acts 10: 34-43           Pew Bible NEB page 847The Gospel Reading:       Matthew 28:1-10.       Pew Bible NEB page 755     
Readings from the NRSV Translation of Scripture
Acts 10: 34-43
34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’
Matthew 28:1-10.
1 After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples.  9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.
Preaching of the Word – Life Anew
Violent earthquakes, fearful friends, tearful disciples, running men, appearing angels, disappearing bodies, empty tombs, mistaken identities, more running, more tears and fears, running to and fro. Confusion, chaos, conflicting messages (stay here or go to Galilee?). Easter sounds more like a disaster story in desperate need of the SES rather than the triumphant Jesus comeback we retell year after year.
We really don’t want to go there on Easter Sunday. We much prefer the shiny golden cross, the trumpets, the happy hymns in major keys, the heavily perfumed Easter lilies. We deserve this after all we’ve been through. Holy Week nearly drove us off the rails; worship can’t get more depressing than Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. We need an upper! A shot in the arm! A win for the team!
But if resurrection is really about new life, then it is messy, stressful, and emotional. It is most likely not without physical pain. I once heard a young preacher compare childbirth to the new life of Easter. “Jesus is NOT AN EPIDURAL!” he blurted out. What an inspired sentiment. We can’t use Jesus to numb the pain of some new thing God is trying to show us.
Think about death-defying. That’s what resurrection is. What activities use the term death-defying? Bungee-jumping off a mile-high cliff? Swimming with great white sharks? Death-defying is TERRIFYING. I’m not saying that we should turn Easter into an Evel Knievel or Halloween Holy-day, but there is something way too pretty about our packaging of Easter into egg hunts and chocolate crosses when the idea of life-death-resurrection should be unsettling and awe-inspiring in the truest sense of the word.
Of course, there is another side of new life. There are tears of deep joy and surprise, gratitude and wonder. How did this happen? How can this happen? The miracle of life continues to astound and confound us. Peace be with us.
Hymn 380: Thine be the glory                  (Tune – Maccabaeus)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMwPEmUMP7U
1.  Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son;endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won;angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.
Refrain:Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,Endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won.
2.  Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;let the Church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.
Refrain:Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,Endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won
3.  No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life;life is naught without thee; aid us in our strife;make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love:bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.
Refrain:Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,Endless is the victory, thou o'er death hast won
Edmond Louis Budry, 1854-1932Richard Birch Hoyle, 1875-1939George Frederick Handel
Intercessory Prayers         Great God of light, you come to us while it is deepest night; God of life, you overcome the power of death. Alleluia! We come from the shadows to stand in your presence, unafraid. Alleluia! Fill our hearts with joy on this day of resurrection.We think of your church today celebrating in clusters and crowds all over the world. Our language race and nationalities may be different but our worship is one and our praise for you united.
We pray that your spirit may guide and strengthen us all in mission and service to you , to our own community and to the world outside in whatever way we can each contribute and  we  pray that day by day we may draw closer to you, experiencing your love for us .Lord, on this special day grant us peace in your world for countries where there is war and communities that are broken. We remember today those involved in conflicts around the world and in our prayers we  especially remember the people of the Middle East, we pray for our service personnel in active duty around the world and ask that you will keep them safe until they return home to their families and those they love.
We pray for those living in our own country in areas of deprivation where high unemployment and crime levels make daily living a tough challenge.
May all who struggle know that you are always with them in their suffering and will follow them step by step down whichever road they choose to take.
Lord we pray for ourselves, you know the needs of human life.  As we seek to live our lives according to your example, help us by your presence to overcome our hasty speech that hurts  others, to be free from greed and selfishness, from pride and jealousy that spoil our life.
Help us to curb our temper, to be free from moodiness and wanting our own way, let your presence help us to care about the feelings of others to be gentle and ready to say we are sorry.
You know us Lord bring out the best in us so that our lives may reflect your way for the world.Lord we pray for those in your world who are in need and ask you to look with pity on those who suffer.
Be merciful to those in need. We pray for the broken hearted that you would bind up their sorrows, for the sick that you would heal their infirmities, for the lonely that in you they would discover the perfect friend, for the bereaved that in the midst of their unmeasurable loss they would know the depths of your love .
Jesus Christ is the light of the world a light which no darkness can quench we remember before God all those who have died being reminded that the light of Christ always eternally shines and brings hope. You turn our darkness into light in your light shall we see lightEver living God help us now to celebrate our joy in the resurrection of Jesus and to express in our lives the love we celebrate.
Death cannot hold the Lord of Life,  new life for him means new life for all who believe in Christ.
Merciful father accept these prayers for the sake of you son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 755: You shall go out with joy                   (Tune – Trees of the Field)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_suMalwyN4
        You shall go out with joy
And be let forth with peace,
And the mountains and the hills
Will break forth before you.
There'll be shouts of joy
And the trees of the fields
Will clap, will clap their hands.                And the trees of the fields will clap their hands,
And the trees of the fields will clap their hands,
And the trees of the fields will clap their hands,
While you go out with joy.
Steffi Geiser Rubin, Stuart Dauermann Publisher: Lillenas Publishing Company
Benediction                With Mary and the disciples and all those who live in Christ, let us rejoice that we have seen our Saviour, who is not dead, but lives. In the love of the Creator; in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and the power of the Holy Spirit, let us go forth to love and serve the world.         Alleluia! Christ is risen!           Christ is risen indeed!This is the day that that the Lord has made          Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Hymn 702: Alleluia, Alleluia                   (Tune – Alleluia 7 Taize)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0i5vFQwBQE
              Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!                                      Taize Community – Jacques Berthier (1923-1994)
Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Good Friday Service

April 8, 2020 - 7:06am

Good Friday10th April 2020Marsden Road Uniting Church
Carlingford ___________________________________________________________________________________ Walking in the Light10th April 2020        Good Friday in the year of Matthew 9.30amGathering God’s People
Hymns
TIS Hymn 350: There is a green hill faraway                          (Tune - Horsley)    TIS Hymn 787: Longing for Light, we wait in darkness                       (Tune – Christ be our Light) TIS Hymn 350: There is a green hill faraway                          (Tune - Horsley)    TIS Hymn 242: I danced in the morning                       (Tune – Lord of the Dance)TIS Hymn 800: In the bulb there is a flower                          (Tune – Hymn of Promise)
Readings
The First Reading:                                            Isaiah 52.13 – 53.12The Gospel Reading:                                        Matthew 27:24‐26, 45‐54
Acknowledgement of First Peoples
We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal.  May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.Call to Worship Our way through Lent has brought us to this hour. During our journey of forgiveness and restoration, we have faced old habits and explored new possibilities.We have felt God’s protection.We have heard about God’s plans for our lives.We have renewed our friendship with God.We have experienced God’s gifts of silence and introspection.We now experience the passion of Jesus, who suffered and died this day.Let us worship God together, as we remember the meaning of Jesus’ death, and embrace the new life to come.We have gathered in our homes this Good Friday to remember the betrayal, humiliation, and crucifixion of Jesus. We have gathered to experience anew the events that would change the world. May we experience all the pathos of that day, and may we participate in its meaning together.
TIS Hymn 350: There is a green hill faraway                          (Tune - Horsley)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0ybUpuLn8M
1.  There is a green hill far away,without a city wall,where our dear Lord was crucifiedwho died to save us all.
2.  We may not know, we cannot tell,what pains he had to bear,but we believe it was for ushe hung and suffered there.
3.  He died that we might be forgiven,he died to make us good,that we might go at last to heaven,saved by his precious blood.
4.  There was no other good enoughto pay the price of sin,he only could unlock the gateof heaven and let us in.
5.  dearly, dearly has he loved!And we must love him too,and trust in his redeeming blood,and try his works to do.
Text: Cecil Frances Alexander, 1818–1895Music: William Horsley, 1744–1858    
Opening prayer O God, when our lives ache with pain, and we feel alone, we long for your presence. We feel the empty longingof the psalmist and of Jesus:“My God, my God, why do you desert me? We cry desperately for help, but it does not come.” We feel scorned and abused by those closest to us. Like a pack of dogs, evil people close in on us. They surround us and   tear at us. Stay close to us, O God, and we will praise your power to all people! In the midst of the congregation, we will praise you. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Just as Judas betrayed Jesus out of good intentions, thinking he could force Jesus’ hand against the Romans, we too betray Jesus out of good intentions, thinking he will take our side and fight for us.Just as Caiaphas sacrificed Jesus out of good intentions, believing it better for one man to die for the people, we too sacrifice others out of good intentions, convincing ourselves of the justness of our cause, and that our actions are for the greater good.Just as Peter denied Jesus three times when asked if he knew the Nazarene, we too deny Jesus many times when strangers ask us about our faith.Just as Pilate washed his hands of responsibility of doing what he knew to be right, we too have condemned the innocent and let the guilty go free.Forgive us, kind Jesus, and help us never again betray or deny you. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness
Hear the words of Jesus, “Abba, forgive them. For they do not know what they do.” Out of Christ’s anguish, we shall see light. Out of Christ’ suffering, we shall touch the mystery of love and grace that pours from the inexhaustible heart of God.Thanks, be to God!
TIS Hymn 787: Longing for Light, we wait in darkness                       (Tune – Christ be our Light)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B63zLFQmp3U
        Longing for light, we wait in darkness. Longing for truth, we turn to you. Make us your own, your holy people. Light for the world to see
        Christ, be our light. Shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness. Christ, be our light. Shine in your church, gathered today
        Longing for peace, our world is troubled. Longing for hope, many despair. Your word alone has pow'r to save us. Make us your living voice
        Longing for food, many are hungry. Longing for water, many still thirst. Make us your bread, broken for others, shared until all are fed
        Text and music copyright 1993, 2011, Bernadette Farrell. Published by OCP
The Service of the WordThe First Reading:                                            Isaiah 52.13 – 53.12The Gospel Reading:                                        Matthew 27:24‐26, 45‐54
       Readings from the NRSV Translation of Scripture
Isaiah 52.13 – 53.12               
     he shall be exalted and lifted up,
     and shall be very high.
14 Just as there were many who were astonished at him
     —so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,
     and his form beyond that of mortals—
15 so he shall startle many nations;
     kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which had not been told them they shall see,
     and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate. 53 1 Who has believed what we have heard?
     And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
     and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
     nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by others;
     a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
     he was despised, and we held him of no account.
4 Surely he has borne our infirmities
     and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
     struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
     crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
     and by his bruises we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
     we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
     the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
     yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
     and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
     so he did not open his mouth.
8 By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
     Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
     stricken for the transgression of my people.
9 They made his grave with the wicked
     and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence,
     and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.
When you make his life an offering for sin,
     he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.
11 Out of his anguish he shall see light;
he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
     The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous,
     and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
     and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out himself to death,
     and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
     and made intercession for the transgressors.         Matthew 27:2426, 4554
24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood;[a] see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ 48 At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ 50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’
Preaching of the Word - Walking in the Light
As we journey through Holy Week, we are invited into some of the darkest and most troublingmoments in Jesus’ life. Surely today’s story is the darkest and most troubling of all. A holy manof God, who spent three years of his life preaching and teaching, healing and caring, is put todeath. Not a very fitting end to a life of compassion and kindness, is it?
Yet that ending is too often the story of so many who bring light to our world. It is almost as ifthe very light that they bring offends and must be snuffed out. We could compose long lists ofthe early church martyrs who followed in Jesus’ footsteps as people offering compassion andhealing only to face brutal deaths. In modern times, great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr.and Mahatma Gandhi have been assassinated cruelly.
When we think of such deaths, we aretempted to think that the assassins and the politicians who would cause such deaths are evil or crazy, nothing like the rest of us. Likewise, when we read the stories of this last week of Jesus’life, we are tempted to think that disciples who betray and deny are weak willed or filled withevil sinfulness, nothing like the rest of us. The gift of this Holy Week journey is to remember notonly Jesus’ story but also the story of the disciples and the politicians. For in this story, we areinvited to learn valuable lessons from each person’s place on this journey.
On the disciples’ journey, we see fear ruling the day. Judas betrays, Peter denies, others fallasleep or hide. Betrayal and denial and fear are not unfamiliar themes in today’s world. If weeach took a few minutes; I suspect all of us could come up with several stories in our own liveswhen we betrayed or were betrayed, when we denied someone’s importance in our lives or were denied by someone important to us. Living up to our relationship commitments with unwavering loyalty is no easy task.
Living up to our ethical and spiritual commitments with similar dedication is a mighty challenge. On this journey to the cross, I am reminded of many places where I need forgiveness for betraying and denying. On this journey of life, fear too often haunts my steps and guides my actions. These are the aspects of my life that need Christ’s forgiveness, coupled with the Spirit’s strength if I am to walk as a disciple of Jesus with steadfast faithfulness.
When I journey as a follower of Christ with that steadfast faithfulness, however, I run right intothe all‐too‐familiar theme of being light in a dark world that too often wants to thrive on thatdarkness. I love thinking I might occasionally be a bit Christlike in my life. After all, that is a majorgoal of the Christian journey, is it not? But being extinguished doesn’t sound inviting, and havingour light extinguished is not something that only happens to great saints of God. Even everyday disciples like you and me run the risk of being an affront to people who are frightened of the light.
We are called to be the light of Christ in this dark world. But shining light into dark closets orshadowy corners where people hide their fears and inadequacies, their darkest secrets and sins, isdangerous work. For light that reveals truth is never an easy light to face. Even light that revealslove and forgiveness where we are harbouring anger and hate can seem offensive.
Knowing all of this, Jesus went on preaching and teaching, healing on the Sabbath, and including the excluded. We are challenged as followers of Christ to do the same. Knowing the painful death, he would face, Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem even as that journey ended at the cross. We are challenged on this day to find the strength to walk this journey with Jesus. We are promised that we can walk this journey because of Christ’s compassion and love for us. When we betray or deny, when we accuse or crucify, we are still invited into the brilliant light of God’s forgiveness.
When we are afraid or want to hide, God’s Holy Spirit offers us strength and courage to endure whatever may transpire on this journey. When we live this journey as disciples who walk all the way to the cross, who truly strive to walk in the way of Christ Jesus, we make this Friday truly good. We make Jesus’ teachings come alive. We make Christ’s sacrifice a worthwhile gift rather than a tragic demise.
May we walk as disciples who are steadfast and true, who are filled with light and love, andwho offer forgiveness and compassion as readily as we receive these gifts. May we trust in the Easter joy of new life and hope even as we embrace the reality of Friday’s death and despair.
Hymn 242: Lord of the dance                  (Tune – Lord of the Dance)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkk0YodJqH8
I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
and I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth,
at Bethlehem I had my birth.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.


I danced for the scribe and the pharisee,
but they would not dance and they wouldn't follow me.
I danced for the fishermen, for James and John -
they came with me and the dance went on.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.


I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame;
the holy people said it was a shame.
they whipped and they stripped and they hung me on high,
and they left me there on a Cross to die.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.


I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black;
it's hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I'd gone,
but I am the Dance, and I still go on.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.


They cut me down and I leapt up high;
I am the life that'll never, never die;
I'll live in you if you'll live in me -
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

Words © 1963 by Stainer & Bell Ltd. (admin. by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188).
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Intercessory Prayers
This material was first published by Redemptorist Publications

Jesus, though crucified, is raised from the dead and now draws alongside us as we offer prayers to God for the world, the church and all for whom Jesus died on the cross.We pray for the church of God on this Good Friday that all who are disciples of Jesus will be given the grace and strength they need to walk in the way of the cross speaking words of love and truth in places of hatred and lies.We pray for God’s world on this Good Friday that the dying Jesus on the cross and the living Jesus of resurrection will draw all people to himself, the source of eternal reconciliation and salvation.We pray for the communities in which we live, work and worship that bonds of love within families and between friends will be healed where they are broken and strengthened where they are weak.We pray for all those who are experiencing their own Good Friday darkness that all who suffer pain of body or mind will be held by the hands of Jesus which bear the marks of his pain and the promise of restoration and resurrection.Heavenly Father, at the foot of the cross on which Jesus died we offer you these prayers in hope, trusting in your promise to hear us and in your power, which raised Jesus from the dead. Let your grace, mercy, love and peace surround us and all those for whom we have prayed in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.THE LORD'S PRAYEROur Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
TIS Hymn 800: In the bulb there is a flower                          (Tune – Hymn of Promise)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDpByzZqeQ4
1.In the bulb there is a flower;    in the seed, an apple tree;
   In cocoons, a hidden promise:    butterflies will soon be free!
   In the coldness of the winter    there’s a spring that waits to be,
   Unrevealed until its season,    something God alone can see.
2.There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
3.In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
Natalie Sleeth (1930-1992)Words and Music 1986 Hope Publishing Company
Lord Jesus Christ,the story of your suffering is written on our hearts, and the salvation of the world is in your outstretched hands. Keep your victory always before our eyes, your praise on our lips, your peace in our lives.    Amen.
Now that the Cross will have been draped with black cloth all over the world and people everywhere are extinguishing the Christ candle. The minister and people depart as all go into reflective silence as we await the days to go by until the Resurrection on Easter Morn.
Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service

April 8, 2020 - 6:55am

Maundy Thursday 09th April 2020Marsden Road UnitingChurchCarlingford-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  “The Shadow of Love”09th April 2020 - Maundy Thursday
Tenebrae 6.00 pm
Tenebrae or “Service of Darkness” or “Service of Shadows” is the name given to a medieval tradition of reading Scripture and extinguishing candles, either at the end of a Holy Thursday service or on Good Friday.You can use candles to assist in this worship at home or use semidarkness.
Gathering God’s People
Prelude Music to prepare for worship
Call to Worship - (Abingdon 2015)             God is light. In God, there is no darkness at all. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. On this night, centuries ago, the world attempted to put out the light of Jesus’ earthly life. Yet our darkness is never darkness in God’s sight.
HYMN TIS 536: An Upper room did our Lord prepare                         (Tune – O Waly Waly)
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdIGyPaLMp8
     An Upper Room did our Lord prepare
for those he loved until the end:
and his disciples still gather there
to celebrate their Risen Friend.
     A lasting gift Jesus gave his own:
to share his bread, his loving cup.
Whatever burdens may bow us down,
he by his Cross shall lift us up.
     And after Supper he washed their feet
for service, too, is sacrament.
In him our joy shall be made complete –
sent out to serve, as he was sent.
     No end there is! We depart in peace,
he loves beyond the uttermost:
in every room in our Father’s house
he will be there as Lord and Host.
Opening prayer
     God who came in flesh in Jesus Christ, you know the shadows of sin and evil. Strengthen us to follow your light, Lord Christ, that it may shine in us as a beacon to your truth. Through the power of your Holy Spirit we pray, One God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
In light of your commandment to love one another as you have loved us, we see our failures to love, Holy Jesus: We have not remembered or even grasped how much you love us. We have not given that love away, that you might fill us anew. We have neglected one another and argued so much that the world does not see that we are your disciples. Holy God, forgive us, we pray. Free us to know that we are loved, and to love one another. Grant us your Spirit of forgiveness.
Assurance of Forgiveness.
By the power and work of the Holy Trinity, we are loved and forgiven.      Thanks, be to God!
The Approach to God
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen
Blessed be the name of the Lord our God,
who redeems us from sin and death.
For us and for our salvation, Christ became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
TIS 341: My Song is Love Unknown (Verses 1-4)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMart4wXsI0
My song is love unknown,
my Saviour’s love to me,
love to the loveless shown,
that they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
my Lord should take frail flesh and die?
He came from his blest throne,
salvation to bestow;
but men cared not, and none
the longed-for Christ would know.
But oh, my Friend, my Friend indeed,
who at my need his life did spend!
Sometimes they strew his way,
and his sweet praises sing;
resounding all the day
hosannas to their King.
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
and for his death they thirst and cry.
Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
he gave the blind their sight.
Sweet injuries! Yet all his deeds
their hatred feeds; they 'gainst him rise.
The Service of Shadows
This service comprises readings interspersed with Handel’s Messiah and the Hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.
The Shadow of Betrayal
Matthew 26:20-25
20 When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve;[c21 and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” 25 Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”

Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOtC_ZvzpNo
The Shadow of the Agony of Spirit and Arrest
Matthew 26:36-50
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. 38 Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” 39 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” 40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial;[e] the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. 
Behold and See If There Be Any Sorrow
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN4oTbNQzQQ
The Shadow of Denial
Matthew 26:69-75

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” 71 When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”[h] 72 Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Surely, He Hath Borne our Griefs –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63tsdDnJtdQ

The Shadow of Accusation
Matthew 27:11-14, 20-29

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”[r] All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood;[s] see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters,[t] and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 
The Shadow of Crucifixion and Humiliation
Matthew 27:31-43
31 After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.32 As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots;[u36 then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37 Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”38 Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by derided[v] him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself.[w] He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 
The Shadow of Death
Matthew 27:45-54
45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land[x] until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48 At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”[y50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.[z51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”[aa]

The Shadow of Burial
Matthew 27:57-60

57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.
Silent Meditation
TIS 342: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDkuxEIcpdI

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small,
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.
Dismissal

May Jesus Christ
who for our sakes became obedient unto death,
even death on a cross,
keep you and strengthen you.
Amen.

Meeting will be closed at end of service.
People may like to have a time of silent meditation after if they wish.


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Order of Service for Palm Sunday 05 April 2020 - Marsden Road Uniting

April 2, 2020 - 10:14pm
Sunday 5th April 2020Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford
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The Nature of the Kingdom Sunday 5th April 2020Palm Sunday in the year of Matthew9.30 am
HymnsHymn  52: Let us sing to the God of salvation
           (Tune – Sing Hosanna) Hymn 341: My song is love unknown V 1,2,3,4 and 7                  (Tune – Love Unknown) Hymn 348: Ride on, ride on in majesty                 (Tune – Winchester New)Hymn 333: All glory, praise and honour                   (Tune – St Theodulph) Hymn 779: May the feet of God walk with you
          (Tune – Aubrey)
Readings
The First Reading:               Isaiah 50: 4-9a                NEB page 535The Gospel Reading:          Matthew 21:1-11            NEB Page 745
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         A borrowed colt is loosed.Our Master needs it!He rides over a carpet of cloaks.Hosanna to the King!He rides in humble majesty.The rocks cry out! Shout for joy! Hosanna to the King!
We welcome you, Lord Jesus.Hosanna to our king!The greatest among us has become the least.Hosanna to our servant king!Gracious master, humble teacher,With a word, you sustain our weary souls.We stand with you in this time of trial.We stand with you, though you have done no wrong.Remember us, Lord Jesus. Remember us!Remember us when you come into your kingdom!Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!Hosanna in the highest! Amen.
Hymn 052: Let us sing to the God of salvation
           (Tune – Sing Hosanna)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU3yTLEX6LQ 
1 Let us sing to the God of salvation,
   let us sing to the Lord our rock;
   let us come to his house with thanksgiving,
   let us come before the Lord and sing!
Refrain
Praise our maker, praise our saviour,
praise the Lord our everlasting king:
every throne must bow before him
God is Lord of everything!

2 In his hand are the earth's deepest places,
   and the strength of the hills is his;
   all the sea is the Lord's, for he made it
   by his hand the solid rock was formed.

Refrain
Praise our maker, praise our saviour,
praise the Lord our everlasting king:
every throne must bow before him
God is Lord of everything!

3 Let us worship the Lord our maker,
   let us kneel to the Lord our God;
   for we all are the sheep of his pasture
   he will guide us by his powerful hand.
Refrain
Praise our maker, praise our saviour,
praise the Lord our everlasting king:
every throne must bow before him
God is Lord of everything!

4 Let today be the time when you hear him!
   May our hearts not be hard or cold,
   lest we stray from the Lord in rebellion
   as his people did in time of old.
Refrain
Praise our maker, praise our saviour,
praise the Lord our everlasting king:
every throne must bow before him
God is Lord of everything!

After Psalm 95, Venite, Richard Bewes (born 1934)
© Richard Bewes/Jubilate Hymns

Opening prayer
     Lord Jesus, your hour has come. You arrived as a kingin the midst of a procession of waving palms. You moveamong us as one who serves - an example for us to follow.How you have longed for us to join you: to eat and drinkwith you at your table in your kingdom. Now your body isbroken for us, like a loaf of bread. The cup poured out forus is the new covenant sealed by your blood. We rememberyour sacrifice. We can never forget such amazing love. Howwe long to join you at your table in your kingdom. In yourname we pray, amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Lord, in your mercy, hear me. By your grace, help me. I’m in great trouble. I can’t see or think clearly. My body wastes away from grief and sorrow.My strength fails me. The burden of my miseryis crushing me. Friends, neighbours, and family avoid me.All who see me quickly turn away. Yet even in the depth of my despair, Lord, I place my trust in you.You are my God!Let your face shine upon me and save me,in your unfailing and steadfast love! Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       Give thanks to God, for God’s faithful love lasts forever! In this faithful love, we are forgiven and strengthened in Christ.Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God. We meet in the name of Christ and share his peace.Peace be with you! And also with you! (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)
 A Word For The Young People 
Do you know what we call today? Does anyone know why today is called Palm Sunday… Well it comes from the Palm Branches that were waved and laid in front of Jesus as he entered into Jerusalem on an ass. Have you ever seen Palm Branches? Some of you will have them in your gardens at home. Find a picture and have a good look at them sometime or maybe go into the garden and look.
Have you ever thought about what other kind of palms there are? What about any other kind of palms – well we have the Palm of hands which before the problems with Covid-19 we used to welcome people with a handshake. Sometimes we use them for a "come over here" motion… but we can also use our hands to say "stop", or "get away".
Palm Sunday is the beginning of our journey which we as Christians call Holy Week and takes us through the crucifixion of Jesus to the Easter Day celebration of his resurrection. From the Welcome of "Hosanna" to the rejection of "Crucify Him!".  How would Jesus want us to use the palms of our hands? – To say welcome; to hug people, to give gifts and to receive gifts – to reach out to people. 
For hundreds of years we Christians have shared a sign of peace in church – and hopefully outside church – by shaking hands – using the palms of our hands. We hope it won’t be too long before we are able to do so again, before we can again invite people to share a sign of peace with each other by shaking hands. 
Offering Prayer
Blessed are you, Christ Jesus, as you come to us this day. Blessed are you, as you work through the gifts we bring you now. Blessed are you as you live in our lives, helping us become faithful disciples and stewards of your love. Bless and strengthen our gifts, that they may bless and strengthen others. With gratitude and joy, we pray. Amen.
Hymn 341: My song is love unknown TIS V 1,2,3,5 and 7                  (Tune – Love Unknown)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMart4wXsI0
                                    
1.  My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh, and die?
2.  He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed-for Christ would know:
But oh, my Friend,
My Friend indeed,
Who at my need
His life did spend.
3.  Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then "Crucify!"
Is all their breath,
And for His death
They thirst and cry.
4.  They rise and needs will have
 My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they save,
The Prince of life they slay.
Yet cheerful He
To suffering goes,
That He His foes
From thence might free.
5.  Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Could gladly spend
Lyrics: Samuel Crossman (1623-1683)Music: John Ireland (1879-1962)
The Service of the Word
The First Reading:               Isaiahh 50: 4-9a             NEB page 535The Gospel Reading:          Matthew 21:1-11            NEB Page 745
After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the LordPlease respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.
Readings from NRSV Version of Scripture
Isaiah 50: 4-9a
4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens — wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. 5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards. 6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. 7 The Lord God helps me; therefore, I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; 8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. 9 It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.
Matthew 21:1-11
21When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethpage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’ 4This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 5 ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ 6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd* spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ 10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ 11The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’
Preaching of the Word
The Nature of the Kingdom – Matthew 21:1-11
It is Palm Sunday. Our Lord comes. Yet Jesus does not come as we expect, not as we would like him to come. Today we mark the end of Lent; we make final preparations to commemorate Christ’s passion. Our work during Lent has been to clear the spiritual path so that Christ’s presence in and with us may become more recognizable. As we hear the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, we are called to reflect on what it really means to welcome Jesus into this passion week.
The narrative leading up to Jesus’ triumphal entry is an awkward mix of Jesus’ instruction on the nature of the kingdom of heaven and the disciples’ misunderstandings and jockeying for power. Jesus teaches them to become like children in their faith, but they fight like children for their master’s favour. Jesus tells them that the kingdom is about suffering and service, and then they ask to be first in glory. Peter asks about the limits of forgiveness, only to be told that he must forgive from the heart without limits. The rich young man approaches Jesus hoping the kingdom is about doing, only to find that it is about emptying.
This awkwardness bleeds over into today’s text as Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd traveling with him sets up a king’s entry, but Jesus comes in on a donkey. Others go to purchase their sacrifices, but Jesus walks in, pronounces judgment on those buying and selling, challenges the priests and scribes, and then leaves the city for the evening. One thing is clear: Jesus does not come to us on our terms. Jesus comes on his own terms.
Yet, he comes. Jesus could have resisted this royal processional, but he permits it, even participates in it. He comes on a donkey instead of riding in on a warhorse, yet he comes. Although in this parade there is a great deal of misunderstanding, Jesus still allows them to offer him praise. So, there is a bit of a dance going on here, isn’t there? How do we welcome our king this week without falling into the trenches of misunderstanding? We cannot expect with the crowd a glorious assumption of military, political, or religious power. Jesus clearly means to suffer and serve rather than to rule and reign. We must not, however, sit back and critically second-guess the incorrect expectations of the crowd—that is not a helpful view of this passage, and it certainly is no way to welcome our Lord.
Instead, let us consider afresh what Jesus’ entry means. Jesus has come as Jerusalem’s king to bring salvation, but salvation means more than relief from an oppressive regime. Jesus enters Jerusalem to free the people from themselves. You see, the oppressive Roman state is not the only thing wrong with this picture. In fact, political liberation does not even seem to be on Jesus’ radar. Those who suffer often fail to see beyond their immediate complaints. Oppression can be overwhelming, but it is just one small symptom of a fallen world.
Jesus comes to make many wrong things right. Jesus comes to bring salvation from oppression … and from shame, hate, selfishness, greed, fear, death, lust, and anything else that corrupts God’s creation. Jesus’ salvation reaches far beyond our urgent, gnawing needs. He does not simply bow to us and our needs; Jesus saves us from the short-sightedness of our own perceived needs.
Jesus’ entry also signifies divine judgment. We pretend that it is only those religious leaders who are being judged, but Jesus’ judgment falls on us all. We are so misguided that we contribute more to the problem than to the solution. Our desires lead us far from celebrating Jesus’ kind of kingdom, so his judgment also falls on us. In this sense, Jesus’ coming to town is not good news to us. It thwarts our own plans for salvation.
What we often resist seeing about the kingdom is that every step of the way Jesus must wrestle with his own people, us and our agendas. Resistance to the way of peace, self-sacrifice, and service is so strong that his own disciples will eventually desert him, and his own people will kill him. Humans in this story do not prefer God’s judgment, and neither do we. Now, no one wants to think about divine judgment on Palm Sunday, when a crowd happily fills the streets and the singing of “Hosanna” fills the air. But if we truly seek to prepare the way of the Lord, and if we really want to follow Jesus’ footsteps, we must prepare our own hearts by accepting God’s judgment of our intentions and plans. Otherwise we stand in the way when Jesus enters.
I wonder what sort of ways we can use to allow God to break down our resistance and bring us into the kingdom. Well here’s a few thoughts.
Offer forgiveness freely and from the heart. It may be that you have been withholding forgiveness from someone who has deeply offended you. Or perhaps you need to work on forgiving those little everyday offenses that creep up. If you love money or possessions, as did the rich man who approached Jesus, let go of your money or stop obsessing so much over it that you spend too much time holding on to what you think is yours. There are other dreadfully practical ways to welcome Jesus as well. Be a peacemaker; love and pray for your enemies; go an extra mile with someone; stop striving to be first or best or most powerful.
It is true that many of these instructions don’t seem spiritual in themselves but remember we must do them, not because of their own spiritual weight, but because our hearts are very small. We clutter them daily with concern for ourselves, misplaced loves, and hurt feelings. Somehow this practical work done with spiritual attention prepares the way of the Lord as nothing else can. It changes us.
It makes room in our hearts that Jesus can fill with the kingdom of heaven. This is the way to make straight the path of the Lord: self-emptying. There is no other way to let Jesus’ message sink in, and there is no other way to follow our Lord than to walk in his footsteps. Jesus’ life was one of self-emptying and service to God and humanity, and so we make our lives in his likeness. If there was ever a week to get this right, this is it. If there was ever a point in the Christian narrative to step out of the way and let the story of divine love continue, this is it. Let this work be the homage you pay to the king as he comes. Amen.
Hymn 348: Ride on, ride on in majesty                 (Tune – Winchester New)
1.  Ride on, ride on in majesty! Hark, all the tribe’s hosanna cry, thy humble beast pursues his road with palms and scattered garments strowed.
2.  Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die,                      Christ thy triumph now begin O’er captive death and conquered sin.
3.  Ride on, ride on in majesty! The winged squadrons of the skylook down with sad and wondering eyes to see the approaching sacrifice.
4.  Ride on, ride on in majesty! Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh; the Father on his sapphire throne awaits his own anointed Son.
5.  Ride on, ride on in majesty!In lowly pomp ride on to die; bow thy meek head to mortal pain, then take, O God, thy power and reign.
Henry Milman (1791-1868)


Intercessory Prayers  
(A suggested Intercession with your own petitions is below from “Prayers for All Seasons: Based on the RCL Year A. Wood Lake Publishing Inc. Kindle Edition. However, if you so desire you can use your own.)
      God of mercy gird our hearts to be wholly present to the events of Jesus’ final days. Open our hearts to sing your praise and use our tears to water lives committed to working for your reign on earth.
Compassionate God, we lift our palms of praise with those who first sang out, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Like them, each hand that holds a palm has a heart that holds a story – a story of pain, of disappointment, of sorrow. We share those stories with you in hearts. (Pause.) We pray to you, O God.
Prince of Peace, you came in humble obedience and walked the path of enduring love even in the face of violent rejection. We confess that it is difficult to follow your path of peace, and the violent road of abuse and war is all too familiar to us. We long for your peace, O God. (Pause.) We pray to you, O God.
Saving God, we trust in your goodness and believe your desire is for all creation to be held in your redeeming love. Send us out in your name to bring comfort to those who mourn, healing love to those who are sick, and justice to those who are oppressed. We wait now for your Spirit. (Pause.) We pray to you, O God.
O God in Christ Jesus, move in love on this path among us. Guide your humble people of today, in every place, as we try to carry faithfully your love. Warm us with branches of care. Cool us with gentle leaves when we are tired or discouraged. This we pray in your name, Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 333: All glory, praise and honour                   (Tune – St Theodulph)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9VnLNh5YY8
All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

1.  You are the King of Israel,
And David's royal Son,
Now in the Lord's Name coming,
Our King and Blessed One.

All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet
hosannas ring.
2.  The company of angels
Are praising you on high;
And mortals, joined with all things
Created, make reply.

All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

3.  The people of the Hebrews
With palms before you went:
Our praise and prayers and anthems
Before you we present.

All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

4.  To you before your passion
They sang their hymns of praise:
To you, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.

All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

5.  Their praises you accepted,
Accept the prayers we bring,
Great source of love and goodness,
Our Saviour and our King.

Theodulph of Orleans 821
Benediction                May the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus:the One who never turned backward in defiance;the One who gave his back to the lash;the One who faced spitting and insult.May your bearing be that of Christ Jesus:the One who emptied himself;the One who took the form of a servant;the One who was raised to the heightsand given the name above all names.May your life declare the lordship of Jesus Christ,to the glory of God! Amen!
  Hymn 779: May the feet of God walk with you
           (Tune – Aubrey)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfOFlWxGaP8
May the feet of God walk with you, and his handhold you tight.May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hearyour cry.May the smile of God be for you, and his breath giveyou life.May the Child of God grow in you, and his lovebring you home.




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Order of Service for March 29th 2020 - Marsden Road Uniting

March 26, 2020 - 11:17pm

Sunday 29th March 2020Marsden Road Uniting ChurchCarlingford

                               It's Hard Getting God...,
Sunday 29th March 2020Lent 5 Sunday in the year of Matthew 9.30 am
HymnsHymn 84: Give to our God immortal praise                   (Tune - Lasst Uns Erfreuen) Hymn 242: Lord of the dance                  (Tune – Lord of the Dance)Hymn 210: O for a thousand tongues to sing                   (Tune – Lyngham) Hymn 684: Love will be our Lenten calling                   (Tune - Picardy)Hymn 777: May the Grace of Christ our Saviour                  (Tune – Benjamin M Culli)
Readings:The First Reading:                 Ezekiel 37:1-14             NEB page 647The Gospel Reading:            John 11:23-45.             NEB page 822
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 - (Mary J Scifres, Abingdon 2016)             In the midst of life, we are in death. But in the face of death, God’s Spirit comes to bring us life. Can dry bones live? Can life emerge from death? Only God knows. And yet, Christ promises just such a miracle through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit, come.
     All who are dwindling and dying . . .     come forth to new life.      All who are lying in darkness and despair . . .      come out into the light.      All who feel separated and alone . . .      come to the presence of God, whose Spirit finds us here.
Hymn 84: Give to our God immortal praise                   (Tune - Lasst Uns Erfreuen)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jaua_rOb6z0
1 Give to our God immortal praise;
   mercy and truth are all his ways:
   wonders of grace to God belong;
   repeat his mercies in your song.
2 Give to the Lord of lords renown;
   the King of kings with glory crown:
   his mercies ever shall endure,
   when lords and kings are known no more.
3 He built the earth, he spread the sky,
   and fixed the starry lights on high:
   wonders of grace to God belong;
   repeat his mercies in your song.
4 He fills the sun with morning light;
   he bids the moon direct the night:
   his mercies ever shall endure,
   when suns and moons shall shine no more.
5 He sent his Son with pow'r to save
   from guilt and darkness and the grave:
   wonders of grace to God belong;
   repeat his mercies in your song.
6 Through this vain world he guides our feet,
   and leads us to his heavenly seat:
   his mercies ever shall endure,
   when this vain world shall be no more.
Give to Our God Immortal Praise Isaac Watts, 1719. Ralph Harrison, 1784
Opening prayer
     Come, Holy Spirit. Breathe new life into our lives and our worship. Create new possibilities, in our imaginations and in our dreams. Send the promise of your hope into our depression and our despair. Expand our hearts and our minds, as we enter your presence this day. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
God of new life and emerging possibilities forgive us when death and despair occupy our focus. Embolden our faith when your future feels out of reach. Strengthen our courage, that we might come forth into the light and life of your promises. In hope and trust, we pray. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness 
In God’s love, there is hope. In Christ’s forgiveness, there is peace. In the Spirit’s power, we are renewed and brought forth into life!Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
Come out of your seats to share signs of new life and hope. Join one another in sharing signs of Christ’s peace.Peace be with you! And also, with you!
A Word with The Young People –
Has anyone ever had to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation – If you have been a member of the local Ambulance, St John’s Ambulance person a lifesaver   etc. you may have practiced this but never had to use it.  If you have, think about your experience - especially how you felt when the person began to breathe on their own and you knew that the person being resuscitated was going to live.
In all my years in Ambulance and the Medical area I have never had to myself, but I am told it is like a miracle when the person begins to breathe.
When people are physically saved by receiving a person’s breath or oxygen into their lungs, they are restored to be an active human person again.  Our reading today from the Old Testament tells us how God can breathe ‘new’ life into even dry bones so that they have life.  It’s a story that says that God can bring to life what appears to be totally life-less.  The Spirit of God dwells in us and so we are alive in a very special way - in ways that help us be more loving, more caring, more like Jesus. 
When we are alive in that special way - our hearts dance with joy - our next hymn tells how Jesus is Lord of that dance and how he gives us a life that’ll never, never die.
Offering Prayer
With these gifts, mighty God, bring forth new life and renewed hope. Work in us and through, that our lives and our gifts may become signs of life and hope for all to see. Amen
Hymn 242: Lord of the dance                  (Tune – Lord of the Dance)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkk0YodJqH8
I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
and I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth,
at Bethlehem I had my birth.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.


I danced for the scribe and the pharisee,
but they would not dance and they wouldn't follow me.
I danced for the fishermen, for James and John -
they came with me and the dance went on.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.


I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame;
the holy people said it was a shame.
they whipped and they stripped and they hung me on high,
and they left me there on a Cross to die.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.


I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black;
it's hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I'd gone,
but I am the Dance, and I still go on.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.


They cut me down and I leapt up high;
I am the life that'll never, never die;
I'll live in you if you'll live in me -
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
and I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
and I'll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

Words © 1963 by Stainer & Bell Ltd. (admin. by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188).
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

                                                  The Service of the Word
The First Reading:                 Ezekiel 37:1-14             NEB page 647The Gospel Reading:            John 11:23-45.             NEB page 822     
Readings from NRSV Translation:
Ezekiel 37:1-14
1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all round them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live?’ I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’ 4 Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord .’7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus, says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.’ 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. 11 Then he said to me, ‘Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.
John 11:23-45

23 Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ 24 Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ 25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ 27 ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’ 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The Teacher is here,’ she said, ‘and is asking for you.’ 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.34 ‘Where have you laid him?’ he asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ 37 But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’ 38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.39 ‘Take away the stone,’ he said. ‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.’ 40 Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’ 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’ 45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. For the Word of the Lord:Thanks be to God
Preaching of the Word
It's Hard Getting God..., – John 11: 23-45
        It's hard getting God to obey us. After all we're the ones on the scene. We know what we need, or our congregation needs, or what we need as individuals. God should listen to us and take our advice. If God would only be here when needed, there would be no tragedy in our lives. That’s very true for us now as we face a major upheaval in our lives with the out fall from Covid-19. We want God to sort this out quick time and we know what God needs to do.
        I heard once of a popular doctor who was told that his best friend is dying. The doctor had a wonderful reputation for his healing skills. But he delays going to see his friend, and the friend dies. When the doctor arrives to console the relatives, his friend's practical and blunt sister says, "Where on earth were you when we needed you? You could have saved his life, but you had better things to do!"
        Our Gospel reading for today gives us a glimpse into our Lord's private life. Jesus made friends with Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Word came that Lazarus had died. For reasons we can only guess, Jesus delayed going to see Mary and Martha. When he finally arrived, Lazarus has been dead for some while. Martha, the ever-practical sister, said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
        Martha was on the scene. She knew what could have been done. That simple statement contained both faith and reproach. "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." The statement reminds us that Martha believed Jesus could and would have healed his friend Lazarus. Because she believed she could also complain about Jesus' tardiness.
        Moments of grief may well produce the same partnership between faith and reproach in us. Someone we love dies. Surely our Lord would have done something to stop this tragedy? Where was he? It's not that we doubt. Either we don't understand, or we try to understand by grasping at unsatisfactory answers. "It was her time," we say, as if God sits around leisurely selecting at random those to die. If God is really like that, one wouldn't really like to have God as a friend!
        It's always good to ask a simple question when we say that God does something or other: "If a human did that sort of thing could she or he be admired?"
        Living in a congregation where only the faithful few attend worship can also be a grief experience. When a congregation member dies, or leaves the area, we try to make sense of our dilemma. "Why doesn't God do something about this situation?" we pray as we attend the quarterly Church Council meeting at which we discuss the fact that fewer people have to manage all the jobs, and funds dwindle while prices rise.
        In the first lesson today, we hear the familiar story of "Them dry bones. O hear the word of the Lord," as the old folk song puts it. Just before the verses we read this day, Ezekiel expresses confidence that Israel will come back into its own one day. Now that offers us hope at this time in our history. We too are promised that Gods beloved will come back into its own.
        Faced with the dichotomy between belief in God and confusion about why God didn't seem to do much to help the people, Ezekiel still believes. He is given a vision. He finds himself in a valley of dry bones. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy and to bid the wind blow life into the bones. God says, "Mortal, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for ever.'" Then Ezekiel speaks for God and says: "O my people, I will open your graves and bring you up from them and restore you to the land of Israel."
        Now for the final thread to weave together what the lessons have to say to us on this fifth Sunday in Lent. St. Paul in Romans 8:1-11 (which I haven’t written out in the readings for this service, but we can look at in our own Bibles) alludes to a dreadful institution: slavery. Slavery was widely practiced in the Roman Empire. We sometimes forget that it was practiced in this country not many years ago. While there are no slaves today, men and women of all ethnic backgrounds still find themselves tied to badly paying jobs, to hopeless relationships, to squalid living conditions because they lack the economic resources and the education, or "know-how," to break free. It is terrible to have no options.
        Slaves belonged to their owners and were to be obedient. As many slaves became Christians in Apostolic times, and some of them became deacons, priests, and bishops, slavery was a familiar institution to the early Christians. St. Paul points out that a slave must be obedient to something or other. Christians, like slaves, can be obedient to the things that bring life, or to the things that kill.
        Those people today who struggle with the power of addiction know the truth of this. It's not enough, for most, to walk away from addiction. Loving and supporting friends, groups like AA, and above all God's healing grace are constantly and always needed. It's so much easier to be enslaved even if we know that we may well kill ourselves in the process.
        We want to do something about those who are enslaved. We want to do something about churches and missions that seem to be dying. We want to ensure our survival through this current Pandemic that is isolating many of us from the community which gives us strength. We want to stop our friends and loved ones from dying. We constantly say to God, "If you had been here on time, you could have stopped this happening." We want to give God the answers. We are full of wonderful suggestions and if we are lucky, we get another committee formed, another pressure group recognised, and even some more legislation adopted by our human committees!
        The root problem is that we have not been let in on the whole story. Before Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb, he said, as an aside: "Loving parent, I thank you for having heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me." Out of the tragedy and sorrow of a friend's death comes good. It was not good that Lazarus died. Lazarus didn't die so that people might believe in Jesus. Death and life, evil and good, darkness and light are not each a separate thing. Good is merely evil put back on its feet again. Life is the positive end of death.
        Before we rush into situations blaming God for not turning up on time, we have to realize that we don't ever quite get the whole story. Instead of blaming God or suggesting that God has been absent, we need to believe that God and God's purpose are always at work. God does not will evil or tragedy. Yet God's love works good even at moments of personal or institutional despair.
        Asking for a vision may seem counter-cultural to us, but it is when we accept that God is at work and then seek to become part of God's solution, rather than part of our own problem, that miracles occur. Despite the destruction of Israel, Ezekiel hands things over to God and is given a vision of a restored, renewed, and living Israel. For all her grumbling, Martha handed over to Jesus and Lazarus came out of the tomb. When we are "enslaved to God," that is when we hand ourselves over to God's love and forgiveness, we find holiness and life.
        So in our prayers today let us ask God to give us the gift of loving God's purposes and promises, that our wills may be fixed on the essential and eternal Good which is always there, even when the world around us seems to be coming unglued.
Hymn 210: O for a thousand tongues to sing                   (Tune – Lyngham)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu9YgZZm29w 
1.  Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and king,
The triumphs of His grace!
2.  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.
3.  He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
4.  He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.
5.  Hear Him, you deaf; His praise, you dumb,Your loosened tongues employ;You blind, behold your Saviour come,And leap, you lame, for joy
6.  My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad,
The honours of your name.
Thomas Jarman 1776 -1861Charles Wesley 1707 - 1788
Intercessory Prayers  
(A suggested Intercession with your own petitions is below from “Prayers for All Seasons: Based on the RCL Year A. Wood Lake Publishing Inc. Kindle Edition. However, if you so desire you can use your own.)
God of light, we give thanks for the physical light and warmth that brighten our lives: the sun that rises and sets and offers us day and night; the moon that waxes and wanes and notes the passage of time; the stars that illuminate the sky and by which we measure space and mark the seasons. Thank you for the gift of seeing, for the beauty we sense with our eyes; for the insights we perceive as we listen and learn; for the ability to reason and think ahead.God of darkness, we give thanks for times and places where rest and growth can happen: the night time when we can sleep and be refreshed; the earth where seeds lie dormant and animals hibernate undisturbed; the womb where new life can grow in safety. God of darkness and light, we confess that: We have sometimes ignored the insights we should have heeded or used our perspective for selfish gains. We have tried to force growth when we should have respected the darkness or chosen to stay in a comfortable place when we could have exposed our lives to the gentle scrutiny of your love. We own that sometimes life has seemed like a deep ravine and we could not find your presence near us. We seek assurance of your goodness and mercy, wherever we may be on life’s journey.For while we do see good and hopeful change, we also witness violence and dysfunction whereby the most innocent and vulnerable continue to be forgotten, abused, or treated as of no account. In your goodness and mercy, hear the prayers of our hearts: Change us, O God. Create within the desire and capacity for a love that can gently hold yet let go, that encounters all others with deep respect, and is concerned with others’ well-being above personal interest. In your goodness and mercy, hear the prayers of our hearts: we are alive to your imaginings for a new world and ready to make a creative difference.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn 684: Love will be our Lenten calling                   (Tune - Picardy)
https://hymnary.org/media/fetch/199115
1.  Love will be our Lenten calling,
love to shake and shatter sin,
waking every closed, cold spirit,
stirring new life deep within,
till the quickened heart remembers
what our Easter birth can mean.
2.  Peace will be our Lenten living
as we turn for home again,
longing for the words of pardon,
stripping off old grief and pain,
till we stand, restored and joyful,
with the Church on Easter day.
3.  Truth will be our Lenten learning:
hear the Crucified One call!
Shadowed by the Saviour’s passion,
images and idols fall,
and, in Easter’s holy splendour,
God alone is all in all.
Benediction
        Let those who were languishing and dying rejoice.        We go forth with the promise of life.         Let those who have lain in the shadows of despair take heart.         We go forth with the promise of light.         Let those who have known the separation of loneliness feel union in life with the Spirit.         We go forth revived by the Spirit to proclaim the glory of God.
        May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Hymn 777: May the Grace of Christ our Saviour                  (Tune – Benjamin M Culli)
https://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.
John Newton 1725-1807


Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Order of Service for March 22nd 2020 - Marsden Road Uniting

March 19, 2020 - 6:49pm


Sunday 22nd March 2020

Marsden Road Uniting ChurchCarlingford---------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Clay Vessels of Beauty Sunday 22nd March 2020Refreshment and Mothering Sunday in the year of Matthew9.30 am
HymnsHymn 10: The Lord’s my shepherd                  (Tune - Crimond)Hymn 256: From heaven you came, helpless babe                              (Tune – Servant King)
Hymn 129: Amazing grace                  (Tune – Amazing Grace)Hymn 681: Lord, let me see                                           (Tune – Lord let me see)
Hymn 778: Shalom to you                 (Tune – Somos del Senor)
Readings:The First Reading:                 1 Samuel 16: 1-13       NEB page 205The Gospel Reading:            John 9:1-41                  NEB page 817
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 - (James Dollins, Abingdon 2016)        Show me your way, O God, my Shepherd. Open a right path and let me hear your call to follow. Show me your way, O Christ, my Healer. Open my eyes to the needs of my world.
Shepherd us, O God. Open our ears to hear your calling. Shepherd us, O God. Open our eyes to see your care.Shepherd us, O God. Shear our fascination with the ways of the world. Shepherd us, O God. Prepare us to follow you.
Hymn 10: The Lord’s my shepherd                  (Tune - Crimond)
YouTube – Click on link below to take you to Hymn
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3USOwbb-byk
                                        i.    The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want;
he makes me down to lie
in pastures green; he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.
                                      ii.    My soul he doth restore again,
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
e'en for his own name's sake.
                                    iii.    Yea, though I walk through death's dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill,
for thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.
                                    iv.    My table thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
my head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.
                                      v.    Goodness and mercy all my lifeshall surely follow me;and in God's house forevermoremy dwelling place shall be.
Opening prayer
     Visionary creator; give us your vision. Show us our hearts,our homes, our communities, and our world through youreyes. Wash away our blind spots, and help us to see wherewe do not see. Allow us to see creation as you see it now,and as you envision it to become. Help us realize yourvision, and walk the road of life— the way and path ofJesus. Amen
 A Prayer of Confession
Divine God, our Guide, give us the clarity to wake to our short-sightedness and stay woke. Give us the courage to wake to our shortcomings and stay woke. Give us the compassion to wake to our hurtful acts and stay woke. Give us wisdom to face our fears, receive your grace, wake to your call and stay woke. Hear our silent prayer, as we sit in awareness of our need.
(Pause in silent prayer)
Help us wake to this awareness and stay woke. As we receive your grace, we wake to your whispers and direction, yearning to stay woke. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness       “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”Thanks, be to God!
The Peace
Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God. We meet in the name of Christ and share his peace.Peace be with you! And also, with you! (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)
A Word with The Young People –
Theme: Humanity looks on outward appearances, God looks              at the inside.
Object: An x-ray
Some of you have probably seen an X-Ray before. Yes, an X-ray. Many times, when we go to the doctor, he cannot tell if we have something wrong just by looking at us. We may look just fine on the outside, but there might be something wrong on the inside. To see what is on the inside, the doctor takes an x-ray. By looking at the x-ray, the doctor can see what's on the inside and helps us to get well. You can't always tell by looking at the outside. 
The Bible tells us that humans look at outward appearance, but God looks on the inside. You can't always tell what a person is really like by looking at the outside. Some people may be beautiful on the outside, but they may be very mean, selfish, and hateful on the inside. Some people may not be very beautiful to look at, but on the inside, they are loving, gentle, and kind.
We spend a lot of time making sure we look good on the outside, but what are we doing to make sure we look good on the inside? (Read 1 Peter 3: 3-4) When we look at people, we need to remember that we can only see what's on the outside, but God can see what's on the inside - and it's what's inside that counts.
Lord, help us to be more concerned with our own inner beauty than with our outward appearance and help us not to judge other people by what we see on the outside. Amen.
Offering
 Your offering can be given electronically – please talk to the Treasurer.
God of our waking receive our gifts, that they may bring the goodness of our ministry to your world. Receive also the gifts of our transformed lives, as we open our hearts to perceive our short-sightedness. Give us the vision to offer our lives in service of you. Light our paths, and shine through our lives, as we follow you. Amen.
Hymn 256: From heaven you came, helpless babe                               (Tune – Servant King)
YouTube – Click on link below to take you to Hymn

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

The Service of the Word
The Gospel Reading:            John 9:1-41                  NEB page 819
Please respond by saying             Thanks be to God.

John 9:1-41 from NRSV   
1 As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3 Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7 saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8 The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ 9 Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ 10 But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ 11 He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.’ 12 They said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’ 13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.’ 16 Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. 17 So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’ 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ 20 His parents answered, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’ 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’ 24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.’ 25 He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ 26 They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ 27 He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?’ 28 Then they reviled him, saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ 30 The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ 34 They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ 36 He answered, ‘And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.’ 37 Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ 38 He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped him. 39 Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’ 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ 41 Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains.
Preaching of the Word - Clay Vessels of Beauty
Lent has often been seen as a time of intense self-reflection. But self-reflection without understanding the power that God holds to make something beautiful of our clay vessels, our little lives, is to defy the power of the God of Love. According to the psalmist, the valley of the shadow of death is where God is. It is in the presence of our enemies that a table is set, and, deep in our own muck, we are led beside the still waters.
According to the book of Samuel, God picks David, a young child, to fight Goliath and to be king of all Israel. And through that kingship, which has its times of horror and times of victory, God makes David the king Israel needed for the moment. In addition, in the Gospel of John, the blind man suffers consistently throughout his life because people look at him as deficient, as sinful, as someone not worthy.
Self-reflection in all these cases would bring us to a place of despair, but in the hands of a good and merciful God? Something beautiful happens. As human beings, we look at vulnerabilities as weaknesses, as those places that need to be thrown out or erased, denied, or refused .... But it’s in our weakness and vulnerabilities that God reveals God’s self. It was in the choice of the smallest and youngest son that God revealed the king. It was in the valley of the shadow of death and in the presence of enemies that the poet knew that his God anointed him with the most fragrant oil and his cup ran over.
And it was in the man’s blindness that the Holy One’s spit and a little mud helped him see. But we live in a world where the expectation is that we are always and forever at the top of our game or we are punished. We live in a world where admitting our weakness is to admit defeat and to encourage harassment. We are in a world where we hide our hurt or we will be further damaged. And God says, “It’s in our vulnerabilities that we find the grace” and that finding grace and mercy is the ultimate goal of human existence within the Christian faith.
John Wesley hoped we would become perfected but being perfected meant perfected in receiving and showing mercy, not in our perfection in a particular moral code or a sense of our own “doing it right.” That is the transformative power of the Christian faith. The ability to receive and swim through the muddy and spit-filled complexity of life with a merciful loving creator.
The blind man could have been a “seeing” man—it is not the healing of the man’s blindness that is the ultimate experience Jesus hoped to address. The ultimate experience is God making us whole; God’s work is in making us whole. The one who was blind from birth was surprised by grace, surprised by Jesus, shockingly loved and chosen, and his vulnerability became the place where the good news that he, too, was deeply loved was made manifest.
The real injury in the blind man’s life was the criticism from society, the damning from the religious leaders, and the selling out of his parents. The ultimate holy experience, and one that is throughout scripture, is to experience God as one who does not see as mortals see—who does not see us in all the ways others have judged us, raced us, held us down, and been aggressively jealous or arrogant toward us.
Yet it is facing those judgments, oppressions, imprisonments, jealousies, and arrogances, and reflecting and focusing on God’s love, grace, and mercy that will heal us. The ultimate is that we are all yet beautiful, full, alive, living this life with the Spirit of God deep in our hearts. The ultimate is that God chose to birth us from love and mercy, continues to love and give us mercy every day of our lives, and, at the end of our life, will receive us into arms of love and mercy.
Hymn 129: Amazing grace                  (Tune – Amazing Grace)
YouTube – Click on link below to take you to Hymn

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDdvReNKKuk
Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come:
'tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.
Intercessory Prayers  - Pray for those in need, our world etc.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn 681: Lord, let me see                                           (Tune – Lord let me see)
YouTube – Click on link below to take you to Hymn
http://rosslangmead.50webs.com/rl/Downloads/SongsMP3/LordLetMeSee.mp3
       Lord, let me see, see more and more:        See the beauty of a person, not the colour of the skin,       See the faces of the homeless with no-one to take them       in,        See discouragement because she'll never win,        See the face of our Lord in the pain. Lord, let me see.
        Lord, let me hear, hear more and more:         Hear the sounds of great rejoicing, hear a person barely sigh,         Hear the ring of truth, and hollowness of those who live a lie,         Hear the wail of starving people who will die,         Hear the voice of our Lord in the cry. Lord, let me hear.
        Lord, let me care, care more and more:         Care for those who feel the loneliness, for those who have no say,         Care for friends who have no job and find it hard to face the day,         Care for those with whom we sing and work and pray; And in care, Jesus Christ will be found.        Lord, let me care.                 Lord, let me learn, learn more and more:         Learn that what I know is just a speck of what there is to know,         Learn from listening to my neighbour when I'd rather speak and go,         Learn that as we live in faith and trust we grow;         Learn to see, hear and care, with our Lord.         Lord, let me learn.
        Lord, let me love, love more and more:         Love the loveless and the fragile, help them be what they can be,         Love the way that I would like them to be looking after me,         For to know you is to love them and be free;         And in love Jesus Christ will be found.         Lord, let me love.
Benediction                Let us in the daily life we currently live, be awake to the call of God, our creator. May we go forth, true to the path lit by Christ, our redeemer. May we go forth, awake to the conscience of the Holy Spirit, our helper and guide. Amen.
  Hymn 778: Shalom to you

YouTube – Click on link below to take you to Hymn
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
Categories: Syndicated Blogs