Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sunday Service Marsden Rd. Uniting Church Sept. 23

After the welcome and the notices Helen asked us to put our everyday concerns to one side to praise our God. This we did, singing

Hymn 65 "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty", which we did with much enthusiasm, admitting our inability to comprehend the magnificence of our creator but acknowledging that all that has been created is praise to his name.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving and Confession followed with members of the congregation naming the various blessings and happinesses that they had experienced in the previous week, giving substance to our thanks to God.

 A very worthwhile exercise, calling our attention to all we have been given and preventing any sort of general and fleeting thanks, which often does not give proper credit. We were then reminded by way of confession, how quickly we forget our blessings and sink into the negativeness of resentment and maybe a good old sulk.
We prayed for help to let all this go and
Let God be God.

The Words of Assurance comforted us with the promise that
The Spirit of Jesus gathers us up and holds gently the trembling child within, saying,
You are forgiven.

In Sunday Kids Helen recounted some of the wedding service she had attended on the weekend where the minister warned the young couple that they were different people with different gifts and that should not expect their partner to be strong in the same points and should not expect some miraculous change to occur as the result of going through a wedding ceremony.  Probably a message in there for all of us, concerning all those around us, especially as we are never very good at identifying our own weaknesses.

Hymn 531 "When we walk with the Lord" followed, prodding us to 'trust and obey' and prompting us to remember, as we had prayed in the confession, that peace only comes when we let God be God.

Colin delivered the Scripture Reading Proverbs 31: 10 - 31, the Ode to a Capable Wife, an account of an exemplary woman, who efficiently accomplished every task any woman might be expected to complete, but significantly the account ends with "but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates"

Helen's Reflection "Go on God, pull the other leg!"
Helen introduced the book of proverbs, explaining that it was part of the Wisdom literature and was directed at the middle and upper middle class to direct them in the ethics of their everyday life, with the theme that the fear of the Lord was the path to wisdom.  That is, fear in the sense of respecting God and acknowledging His place as King while enjoying a relationship with him.

This last chapter of Proverbs reiterates sections mentioned earlier and shows the liberated side of this woman's life.   She is known in her own right, not just for her domestic talents but for her use of her wide range of gifts and especially for her "fear of the Lord": her relationship with God. God was with her.

Often we see our value in terms of our job or our achievements but what happens when the job goes and the achievements are forgotten? Our value is not diminished one iota because it does not depend on our job or achievements at all: it is based on our being a child of God and as such we can be assured that God is with us every step of the way.

That is where we find purpose and meaning and grace.

The sad part is that for some of us, the job has to go and the achievements have to fade before we find any of those.

The Prayer which followed was a call to God to help us keep our focus on the real meaning behind all that we do, wherever we go, whoever we meet; to see that everything in God's care.

Hymn 562  "All who live and serve your city" continued the same theme of "seek the Lord, who is your life" and was followed by the Freewill Offering.  We asked for blessing on the way we make it and the way we use it, offering with it our lives, body and soul.

Val led the Prayers for Others and the Lord's Prayer focusing on the vulnerable people in our community, the sick and elderly; those in care and those who are alone; the housebound and the rejected, asking for help and support for them.  She also prayed for the safety of family and friends far away and for all travellers, and finally for the world wide church as it spreads the Good News.

Hymn 205 "My eyes have seen the glory" let us burst forth with the confession of God's victory in our lives, remembering that he can only have that victory as we continue to allow him to be God and don't try playing God ourselves.

The Blessing "Go in peace into all that this day brings...and the Spirit be found as wisdom within you" bound us together and then again as we dismissed each other with the prayer that
May the feet of God walk with you
And his hand hold you tight...
May the child of God grow in you,
And his love bring you home.

A simple message, but one that can make a huge difference.

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