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Marsden Road Uniting Worship - Penetcost 25 - 14 November 2021

November 11, 2021 - 10:34pm

 

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

Expectations

Sunday14th November 2021

Pentecost 25 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People

 Acknowledgement of First Peoples

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

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

Theme:

God powerfully responds to the cries of the powerless.

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

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

Call to Worship       

Come into this sacred space to worship God

whose teaching is perfect; whose directions are sure.

Come into this holy place to worship God

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

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

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

Source of life,

Word of life,

Breath of life.

Amen.                    

Hymn TIS 560: All my hope on God is founded

                       (Tune – Michael)

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

     Opening prayer

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

      A Prayer of Confession

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

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

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

Declaration of Forgiveness

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

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

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

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

Offering

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

Hymn TIS 690: Beauty for Brokenness

                      (Tune – Beauty for Brokenness)

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

The Service of the Word

                             First Reading:                   1 Samuel 1:4-20

                             The Gospel Reading:       Mark 13: 1-8

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

                               Please respond by saying                 Thanks be to God.

Readings: NRSV Translation 

1 Samuel 1:4-20

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

Mark 13: 1-8

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

Preaching of the Word - Expectations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                        (Tune – Morning Song)

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

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with:     hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 25 Sunday – Year B 

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

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

In your mercy, hear our prayer

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

In your mercy, hear our prayer

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

In your mercy, hear our prayer

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

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

In your mercy, hear our prayer

 

The Lord's Prayer

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

Hymn TIS 607: Make me a Channel of your Peace.

                       (Tune – Channel of Peace)

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

        Benediction

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

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

                          (Tune – Aubrey).

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



 

Categories: Syndicated Blogs

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

November 5, 2021 - 12:57am

 

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

The Surprise of the Resurrection, Sunday 07th November 2018

All Saints Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am

 Gathering God’s People       

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

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

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

Theme Focus

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Let us be glad and rejoice in our salvation.

     Come feast on rich food and dine on fine wine.

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

     Come! Let us worship the Lord.      

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

                    (Tune – Sine Nomine)

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

     Opening prayer

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

      A Prayer of Confession

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

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

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

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

Declaration of Forgiveness

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

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

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

The peace of Christ be with you.

The peace of Christ be with you always.

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

Offering Prayer

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

Hymn TIS 278: O What a gift

                        (Tune – Canticle of the Gift)

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

The Service of Holy Communion 

The Great Thanksgiving 

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

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

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

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

Merciful God, we thank you for these gifts of your creation, this bread and wine, and we pray that by your Word and Holy Spirit, we who eat and drink them may be partakers of Christ’s body and blood. On the night he was betrayed Jesus took bread; and when he had given you thanks he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take, eat. This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ After supper, he took the cup, and again giving thanks he gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

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

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

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

The Breaking of the Bread

Because our bread has come from one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ.

Thanks be to God. 

Lamb of God

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

have mercy on us.

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

have mercy on us.

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

grant us peace. 

Invitation to Communion

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

Prayer after Communion

Holy God, we give you thanks that we have been fed and renewed by Christ’s life in us and we go now to share that life with others.  Send us forth equipped with the power of your Spirit to follow Jesus, and to spread the message of his love to all whom we meet.  In his name we pray.  Amen 

The Service of the Word

                              First Reading:                                            Isaiah 25:6-9

                             The Gospel Reading:                                John 11:32-44

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

                               Please respond by saying                 Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Isaiah 25:6-9

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

John 11:32-44

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

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

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

Then a full minute of silence passed.

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

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

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

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

That minute of silence is where we find ourselves wondering:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy, Holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts…

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

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

Hymn TIS 448: Blest are the pure in heart

                       (Tune – Franconia)

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

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with:     hear our prayer. 

All Saints Sunday – Year B

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

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

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

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

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

In your mercy, hear our prayer.

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

In your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

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

        Hymn TIS 456: Your hand, O God, has guided

                         (Tune – Thornbury)

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

          Benediction

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:

        In the name of Christ. Amen 

        Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you now

                      (Tune – Somos Del Señor)

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



Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 22 - 24 October 2021

October 22, 2021 - 12:01am

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

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Let Me See

Sunday 24th October 2021

Pentecost 22 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

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

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

Theme Focus

Many families and communities are challenged by members being less abled, like Bartimaeus. Yet Jesus stops and engages with such people, bringing healing and hope

through the kingdom of heaven. God restores every person into the family of God because every person is valued and loved.

Did anyone learn to write at school with pen and ink?

If you made a mistake, what did you do?

If you learned with a pencil, it was easier to erase, and try again. A blackboard or whiteboard is even easier, to remove all signs of the mistake. Likewise, those who learned to type on a manual typewriter had difficulty, whereas a computer allows us to backspace and start again.

When we make mistakes in our lives, sometimes we cannot undo them. If we say or do something hurtful, it is hard to erase it. We all say and do things, intentionally or otherwise,

that separate us from God and from others. We may call this “sin”.

We are assured that when we confess our sin to God, and say sorry for our mistakes, God will forgive us and give us the opportunity to try again. This does not always shield us from the consequences of our sin but allows us to be freed from being bound forever by those consequences. 

Call to Worship

(Abingdon Worship Annual 2012 and 2018)

        God who restores, who heals, who makes us whole, open our eyes to your work around us. Be in our praying, in our singing, in our proclamation, and in our silence. Open our eyes to see your kingdom coming into the world. 

Jesus has come to town.

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us!

He invites us to join him on his journey.

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us!

Come and be healed and see with new eyes.

Hallelujah! Thanks be to God! 

Hymn TIS 112: Through all the changing scenes of life

                        (Tune - Wiltshire)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flmS7uJz1Ho 

     Opening Prayer

     Great Triune God, through Jesus Christ, our great and eternal High Priest, we give you praise and consecrate ourselves to follow you. As we worship you and celebrate your glorious resurrection, open our eyes so that we may see – open the eyes of our mind to learning and understanding; open the eyes of our heart, to your love and compassion; open the eyes of our soul, to see our spiritual selves during our time of worship. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

Mystical, transcendent God, there is so much of life we simply do not know.

In our arrogance we utter what we do not understand.

Rescue us, O Lord, from our afflictions.

Rescue us, O God from our self-inflicted wounds. Have mercy on us, Son of David, Son of God, and save us by your unending grace. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Cry out to Christ, our great High Priest, for he has saved us. Our faith has made us well, brought us forgiveness and granted us peace.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

That we may come through life’s ups and downs, live to a good and full age, and see God’s mercy to our children and children’s children, let us bless one another with words of peace.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

Offering

Redeeming Lord, we continually seek your comfortable refuge.  You deliver us from our unfounded fears and provide us with miraculous examples of your love.  In response, we offer these gifts.  We pray that these funds will provide an outreach that warms people with your resplendent love.  As a church community, we exalt and praise your holy name.  Amen. 

Hymn TIS 181: Come, O God of all the earth

                        (Tune – Sing Out)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhiO0vrfkRg  

The Service of the Word

 

The First Reading:                                            Job 42:1-6,10-17

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 10:46-52

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

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Job 42:1-6,10-17

1 Then Job answered the Lord: 2 ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?” Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 “Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.” 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.’ 10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. 12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. 16 After this Job lived for one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. 17 And Job died, old and full of days. 

Mark 10:46-52

46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 49 Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.51 Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ 52 Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. 

Preaching of the Word - Let Me See - Mark 10:46-52

The ancients used to call sight, “The Queen of the Senses.” I suspect this enthronement of the sense of sight is still understandable to us. After all, what is lovelier than seeing the orange fire of the sky at sunrise? What is more beautiful than the burning leaves of autumn? What touches our hearts more deeply than seeing a smile on our beloved’s face? You can imagine your own feast for the eyes: sights that delight or enchant, sights that you want to linger over and savour. There are so many sights around me that I want to remember, but, I suppose, the sights I want to remember most are the faces of those I love. I want always to remember the sight of my brother’s face as he held his newborn baby. I want always to remember the wonder in my niece’s eyes as she pointed to geese flying overhead. I want always to remember the smiling, laughing eyes of my grandfather at family gatherings. I can understand why the ancients called sight “The Queen of the Senses.”

I guess this is why the language of sight and seeing has come to mean so much more than simple sense perception. In our everyday talk, we use the language of seeing as a metaphor for understanding. When someone tries to explain something to us, they say, “I want you to see what I am trying to tell you.” And when we finally get it, we say, “Now I see it!” “It was right before my eyes all along.” “It was staring me right in the face.”

In our religious speech, we also use the language of sight as a metaphor for faith. We talk about those things that are visible only to “the eyes of faith.” In the Nunc Dimittis, known also as the Song of Simeon we sing, “Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.” Classical theology spoke of our ultimate destiny as the “Beatific Vision”: a time when we shall behold God face to face. Now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face.

But sometimes learning to see can be hard work. In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard describes studies done on people who recovered their sight after years of blindness. These people were enabled to see after doctors had discovered how to perform safe cataract operations. Dillard writes, “In general the newly sighted see the world as a dazzle of colour-patches… [they] learn quickly to name the colours, but the rest of seeing is tormentingly difficult.” These people have no idea of space or distance and so they walk around bumping into the sharp edges of the colour patches and only then realize that they are part of something substantial. Some people find their new sense of sight so difficult and frustrating that they refuse to use their new vision, and lapse into their old ways of perceiving things.

A doctor reported of one twenty-one-year-old woman who had regained her sight: “Her unfortunate father, who had hoped for so much from this operation, wrote that his daughter carefully shuts her eyes whenever she wishes to go about the house, especially when she comes to a staircase, and she is never happier or more at ease than when, by closing her eyelids, she relapses into her former state of total blindness.” Another patient, so upset by the difficulty he has in learning to translate what he sees into something he can understand, says that he can’t stand it anymore and that he wants to tear his eyes out.

Dillard also notes that for some, regaining a sense of sight is accompanied by a sense of shame. She writes, “A blind man who learns to see is ashamed of his old habits. He dresses up, grooms himself, and tries to make a good impression.”

Sometimes, learning to see can be tormentingly difficult. This seems to be true not only of physical sight, but also of learning to see the truth in the world around us, and, indeed, of learning to see the truth about ourselves. The pain and sorrow of this world so often make us want to avert our eyes from the truth.

Turn on the nightly news and see the latest reports of violence in our communities, and we may feel like closing our eyes and relapsing into total blindness. Look with the prophet Isaiah at the massive injustices in our world, the grinding poverty, the degradation of human dignity, the prejudice, and we may feel like tearing our eyes out. Look at ourselves in the mirror and see the hurts and the wounds we have inflicted on others and on ourselves, and we may feel ashamed. Learning to see can be tormentingly difficult.

In our Gospel lesson for this morning, we have the story of the healing of blind Bartimaeus. When we look at Bartimaeus, we see that he was not only blind, but also that he was a beggar sitting beside the road. The truth about Bartimaeus is that because of his blindness, he had lost his freedom. Because of his blindness, Bartimaeus had become dependent on strangers. In particular, Bartimaeus had become dependent on people who would travel the busy road between the major cities Jericho and Jerusalem. We see a blind beggar who had to rely on the handouts of passers-by, whose best bet was to position himself along the pathway of people who might toss him a coin or two.

When Jesus and his disciples walked by, Bartimaeus must have heard them, because he cries out for mercy. And what response do you think this blind beggar gets to his request for mercy? Mark tells us that “Many sternly ordered him to be quiet.” That’s a polite way of saying they told him to shut up. This poor man, this blind man, this man who is reduced to begging for his subsistence from passers-by, cries out for mercy, and many people in the crowd tell him to shut his mouth.

But thanks be to God, Bartimaeus does not keep quiet. He cries out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And despite the attempts of the crowd to shut him up, Jesus hears him, hears his cry for mercy, and calls him to come near. When Bartimaeus learns that his request has been heard, he springs to his feet and runs to Jesus. And what does Jesus do first? He asks him a question: “What do you want me to do for you?” There is such an outpouring of compassion and love in this simple question.

This blind beggar who was treated by so many people like a piece of trash along the side of the road, who was told to keep quiet, is now brought to Jesus who treats him like a human being. Notice, Jesus does not presume to know what Bartimaeus wants. Rather, Jesus raises this man up onto his own two feet, he takes him from a position of subservience and raises him up as human being, and asks him genuinely, lovingly, compassionately: What do you want?

And Bartimaeus says to Jesus, “My teacher, let me see again.” The depths of longing in that request are almost too much to bear. My teacher, let me see again, and let me no longer have to beg by the side of the road. My teacher, let me see again, and let me no longer be dependent on strangers. Let me see again and let me no longer be looked at with pity and scorn by passers-by. My teacher, let me see again, and let me go free.

And Jesus says, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately, Bartimaeus regains his sight. He leaves his begging cloak behind. And he follows Jesus on the way.

Learning to see can be tormentingly difficult. But if we are willing to undergo the painful process, learning to see can also transform our lives. Learning to see can lift us up onto our own two feet. Learning to see can free us to love and serve our neighbours. Learning to see can free us to love and follow the Lord.

Annie Dillard also writes about the amazing gifts of learning to see again. She writes of a little girl who visits a garden. “She is greatly astonished and can scarcely be persuaded to answer. She stands speechless in front of a tree, which she only names on taking hold of it, and then as ‘the tree with the lights in it.’” Another woman was so dazzled by the world’s brightness that she kept her eyes shut for two weeks. When at the end of that time she opened her eyes again, she did not recognize any objects, but the more she now directed her gaze upon everything about her, the more it could be seen how an expression of gratification and astonishment overspread her features; she repeatedly explained: “Oh God! How beautiful!”

Oh God! How beautiful! Learning to see can be a painfully difficult process. There is so much about our world and about ourselves that may make us want to look away. In so many ways, we are all imprisoned by our own types of blindness. But the good news is that we do not have to remain in bondage to our blindness. We can learn to see. We can learn to look at our neighbours with compassion. We can learn to unmask the self-serving rhetoric of peoples and companies and governments that tell people to keep quiet while they are subjected to grinding poverty and violence.

We can learn to look at our own frailties and failings and ask for help. We can ask people what they need and help them get onto their own feet again. And we can learn to look anew at this amazing, awesome, blooming, buzzing, glorious creation and all the creatures in it, including our own blind and beggarly human race and exclaim, “Oh God! How beautiful! Oh God! How beautiful!”

Let us pray. O Lord our God, hear our cries for mercy. Raise us up from our places alongside the way of life. Heal us from our blindness. Set us free to look with compassion upon those whom you place in our paths. Free us to follow you on the way of self-giving love. And at the last day, bring us with all your saints into that heavenly city where all tears will be wiped away and where we shall behold you face to face. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 223: How sweet the name of Jesus sounds

                       (Tune – St Botolph)

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

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with:     hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 22 Sunday – Year B

Have times of silence to pray and end the silence with the responsive words:

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Here and now in this place we your people, respond to your call upon us, O God, to pray for those in need.

We pray for the people whose names are known across the world, because their stories are ever present in the media, …. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for people in places of suffering whose names only you and their friends and family know; whose lives you cherish and whose cries you hear….. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for the people whose names and lives we know,

those who today are in pain or distress or trouble, those who are happy, those who are sad…. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

O God. You know each of us by name. We bring you ourselves and our prayers for the things we need

…. A silence is kept

God in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Hear the cries of all these people and of your whole creation Lord Jesus Christ. And in your mercy, bring your healing and deliverance. Amen

(adapted from a prayer on the Pilgrim Uniting Church website) 

The Lord's Prayer

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

Hymn TIS 160: Father all-loving and ruling in majesty

                       (Tune - Was Lebet Was Schwebet)

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

          Benediction

Go as the church, as Jesus' entourage, following where he leads. Everywhere he goes he leaves healing and hope in his wake. Go, and listen, and learn, and love.

        And may the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life be with you and remain with you always, Amen 

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

                 (Tune – Aubrey)

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




Categories: Syndicated Blogs

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 19 HC - 03 October 2021

September 30, 2021 - 10:15pm

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

________________________________________


Is your heart hard?

Sunday 03rd October 2021

Pentecost 19 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am

 Gathering God’s People

 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

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

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

Theme

God’s Family. Family is God’s idea - we are born into families to be nurtured, sustained and honoured. Families stick together through thick and thin - they teach us faithfulness.

Faithfulness counts through the tough times we can face as families. The call to faithfulness is from God and goes beyond personal challenges: it extends into all our attitudes towards our own families, the communities of which we are part, and to the whole creation and to the God who made it. 

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

     Come to Christ, children of God, for all are welcome here. Receive life as a gift from God.

     From troubled times and difficult walks,

     we come to the arms of Christ.

     From separate journeys and diverse experiences,

     we gather to worship as one.

     As brothers and sisters in Christ, we come to God,

     who welcomes us here.           

     Hymn TIS 567: God of all power, and truth,

                             (Tune – Ombersley)

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku_FyO8nr-s 

     Opening Prayer

     Holy God, as we gather in your glorious presence, come and make us holy. Guide us this day, that we may receive your teachings and walk in your truth, even as we welcome others on the journey with us. Strengthen our holy communion, that we may create a community of belonging, where all are included, and where your grace binds us together in unity and love. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

Holy God have mercy on us.

In your love and grace, save us from troubled times. Rescue us when suffering comes, and comfort us when grief overwhelms us.

When we wander confused, guide us back to your truth. When we waiver out of fear or weakness, strengthen our resolve and help us put our hope and trust in you. When we are abandoned and alone, gather us in the arms of your love, and remind us that we are your children and that you are our Saviour.

In your holy name, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

In God’s love and grace, we are being made holy. In God’s compassion and mercy, we are named as sisters and brothers of Christ. Rejoice and be glad, for in the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we are made one with God and with one another in the body of Christ.

Thanks be to God! 

The Peace

From many paths, we gather as one in God. Let us offer signs of unity and love as we share Christ’s peace with one another.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

Offering

Holy God, thank you for your many gifts and your loving deeds in our lives. As we bring our gifts to your altar, send your Spirit through these offerings, that others may know your loving deeds, experience your abundant grace, and see your miraculous strength. With thanksgiving and hope, we pray. Amen 

Hymn TIS 613: Lord of all hopefulness Lord of all joy  

                                     (Tune – Slane)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8mti7VL3gg                                    

The Service of Holy Communion 

The Great Thanksgiving 

The Lord be with you.

And also, with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise. 

We praise you O God through whom all things exist.
You loved people into being and invited them to live in harmony with you. When they turned away from you and closed their ears to your words, you did not abandon them.  Through the prophets you spoke to them in many and various ways, simply because they were chosen and beloved by you. You revealed how unchanging your love is by speaking a new and living word to us in the person of Jesus Christ, who blesses our lives with healing and wholeness and a love, which like yours, is unending and unconditional. And so, with all the company of heaven and earth we rejoice before you and praise your holy name saying:

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

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

At this table we bear witness to the love which has been poured into our hearts and lives. We remember when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and sat down at a table to share the meal with them. At that meal - he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. We remember, and we give thanks for such outpouring of love.

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, O God, and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that they may be for us the life of Christ - his life in us.  Renewed by his life and recreated in his image, we set our minds on fulfilling your purpose for us and for this world of which we are a part. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

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

The Breaking of the Bread

Because our bread has come from one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ.

Thanks be to God. 

Lamb of God

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

have mercy on us.

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

have mercy on us.

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

grant us peace. 

Invitation to Communion

Come to the table, children of God, for all are welcome here. Let us open our hearts and hands, as we remember and partake together. 

Prayer after Communion

Holy God, we give you thanks that we have been fed and renewed by Christ’s life in us and we go now to share that life with others.  Send us forth equipped with the power of your Spirit to follow Jesus, and to spread the message of his love to all whom we meet.  In his name we pray.  Amen 

The Service of the Word 

                              First Reading:                   Job 1:1; 2:1-10

                             The Gospel Reading:        Mark 10:2-12,

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

                              Please respond by saying                  Thanks be to God. 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Job 1:1; 2:1-10

1 1 There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. 2 1 One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ 3 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.’ 4 Then Satan answered the Lord, ‘Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. 5 But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.’ 6 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.’ 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself and sat among the ashes. 9 Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God and die.’ 10 But he said to her, ‘You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips. 

Mark 10:2-12,

2 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ 3 He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ 4 They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’ 5 But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” 7 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh.9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ 10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her;12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’ 

Preaching of the Word Is your heart hard? – Mark 10: 2-12

This Sunday’s gospel has words that are likely to make us cringe. It is hard to hear them as good news! It sounds, on the face of it, that Jesus is ruling out divorce. And so many of us are divorced, or our friends and family members are. Where does that leave us?

As we reflect on this Gospel reading, we need to think about how God created man and woman to help and to care for each other. And that their relationship should be primary and permanent. This is the ideal for relationship created by God for us. And when we prepare for commitment to another person we long for the reality of this ideal. It is not likely that anyone who comes to church for marriage preparation does not hear this and intend it to be so.

But in the Gospel, we also hear the echoes of the same story in the context of a sparring match between Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees never seem to really hear Jesus and like to accuse him of blasphemy. In this particular scrap, they are trying to catch Jesus about his knowledge of the law of Moses. They ask if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus tells them that Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her. But he then goes on to say that allowing that was because of their hardness of heart. Now what does that mean?

Well, remember that in creation God gave us the ideal of man and woman in a mutually responsible and caring relationship. But in the time of Moses the status of women had dropped from that ideal to such an extent that a man was able to divorce his wife on any pretext whatsoever. She had absolutely no say in the matter. For Moses to say that a man had to write a certificate of dismissal meant that the wife’s status was raised so that she was at least not regarded as a prostitute. Which is the way she would have been regarded had she just been cast off.

Now we come to Jesus. He says that Moses gave his law because of the hardness of men’s hearts. They had been treating their wives as a possession which they had grown tired of and had not even cared if she was regarded as someone fit to be stoned. Moses’ law raised the status of women a notch. But Jesus says that God made man and woman in the beginning of creation. And in the relationship of husband and wife, they as one flesh are clearly a condition of equal value for both the woman and the man. They are to be mutually responsible in caring for each other.

Here the status of men and women is equally valuable and so Jesus is raising the status of women even more and telling the Pharisees that they must exceed the letter of the law. This, of course, upholds the ideal of life-long, mutually loving relationships. And the pain that is experienced by anyone who is going through a divorce only speaks to the validity of that ideal in all of our hearts. Because we know that it is painful to divorce. We hate it when a relationship is no longer mutually loving and caring. We agonise about the hurt that will ensue from a rupture between a couple. We work to lessen the difficulty for the children caught in such a situation. Almost never have I heard of people who think nothing of getting a divorce. It hurts.

God said in creation that it is not good for a person to live alone. When one lives alone there is the chance that there is no one to listen when we are upset. Or to celebrate the small joys of our lives with us. To fix us a hot drink on a cold and wet night. We know that it is better to have someone who cares deeply. Yet, when two people are caught in a broken relationship it is painful.

There is still the loneliness. There may be harsh recriminating words. There may be abusive behaviour to their partner of their children. There may be abusive action toward the self. No matter what one thinks there is pain. It is real and present. There is no easy way to make thing right.

People who make a decision to divorce have to live in the pain of realising that they have failed in living up to the ideal God desires for us or that they desired for themselves.

But they also might have to live in the pain of a frustrated and deadened life. One leached of meaning and satisfaction. There is no easy solution here. None that is not painful.

We live in a world full of ambiguity. We also live in a world we wish to make better. One that can fulfill our dreams. We are constantly faced with choices that are difficult to make. And choices that may have the possibility of avoiding pain, both for ourselves and for others.

Jesus does not offer us an easy world. Jesus was constantly faced with the need to respond to those who were hoping to make him seem wrong or foolish. He was steadfast in his faithfulness to God and set before us a way of forgiveness and hope. He held up to us the responsibility to be loving and just. And he held it up to us by living it out for himself. He also held up for us the necessity to choose.

Throughout his public ministry he was harassed. Not only by the Pharisees but by many others as well. In the letter to the Hebrews, you will hear that Jesus was just like we are. That it was necessary for him to be so in order for us to be saved from the power of death.

Jesus was just as we are. Facing all the vicissitudes that life has to offer us. Jesus was a real living human being just as we are. And he did not have an easy painless life. His life was not one without choices all along the way. His was even a life wherein he could not be any surer than we are that his decision was just the right one. He could only pray and try to remain faithful to what he knew and understood to God.

We are called by God to love him and be faithful. But not to live in an unambiguous world in which the choices are spelled out for us in the beginning and are easy to figure. For someone deciding whether to end a broken relationship the choice is never easy. But we know that God loves us and dreams a creative, meaningful life for us. And all along the way we must decide.

The letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus died that we might be saved from the power of death. Death haunted those around him as deaths sometimes haunt us. Death for us takes many forms. Physical death is just one of those forms. Death of a relationship is another. We must live trusting in God’s gift of freedom to us through the life of Jesus. A life of freedom is a life that is full of responsibility, and a life that is full of choices. Let us live in response to that good gift. 

Hymn 516: Here, gracious Lord, we see you face to face.

                 (Tune – St Agnes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRl0p36-mcY 

Intercessory Prayers   

Pentecost 19 Sunday – Year B

Loving God, hear the prayers we bring to you for the world and for the Church.

We pray for our brothers and sisters throughout the world: for all who exercise authority, and all who work for justice and peace; for your people enslaved and exploited, hungry and homeless. Give to us the generous heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of justice.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our sisters and brothers with whom we share this land: for those whose ancestors settled this land and those who are new arrivals; for those taken from their families and those who are neglected or abused. Give to us the contrite and forgiving heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of reconciliation.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our brothers and sisters who are members of your worldwide church: for those who are newly baptised or confirmed; for children in Sunday schools and youth groups,

and members of this congregation. Give to us the trusting heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of grace.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our sisters and brothers with whom we live in this community: for civic leaders and all who contribute to the welfare of this city; for our families and friends, for our neighbours and for ourselves. Give to us the warm and welcoming heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of love.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our brothers and sisters who are in trouble or need: for the unemployed, for those trapped in addictions, and for all without hope; for the lonely and sorrowing, for the sick and all who are in pain. Give to us the hopeful heart of a little child, that we may be open, to receive your reign of healing.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We remember our sisters and brothers in the whole company of heaven: all who throughout the ages have followed you with child-like faith; all whom we have loved and those of this parish who have gone before us. Give to us the faithful heart of a little child, and at our death take us in your arms and bring us home, that with all your children we may enter your eternal kingdom.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

The Lord's Prayer

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

Hymn 596: Fill my whole life, O Lord my God.

                 (Tune – Richmond)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8d0bMPl2hY   

          Benediction

         Even as we scatter to live our separate lives, we are still one body of Christ. Even as we go our separate ways, we travel this journey together. Go now to share this miraculous truth with God’s world. And the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life be with you and remain with you. Amen.

 

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

                       (tune – Aubrey).

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



    

               

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