Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 25th August 2013


Helen welcomed us all and the notices were given including one about Operation Christmas Child. Anyone who would like a box into which to put items for a child for Christmas, please see Pat.

Hymn TIS 106. "Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices"

This hymn is a bit of a fave with me. A hymn from a people assured of God in their lives, in control. A few times, when I have wondered about what is going on around me, I have just settled for, "God knows what He is doing".

Prayer of Praise and Confession

"Eternal God, you are the one who reigns, who guides and who blesses. When we pause and glimpse your stature and selfless being we are amazingly insignificant. Yet Lord, we strut around full of our own importance, believing our way is the only way. We believe we have the right to dominate and hurt others, so OUR will prevails - little if at any time, seeking or being open to your will.

Forgive us Lord.

When will we learn?

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy on us.

Words of Assurance

While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom. 5:6)

Hear then Christ's word of grace to us:

Your sins are forgiven.

Thanks be to God"

Hymn TIS 465 "Father in Heaven, grant to your children" Grant to your children: What? Ponies for Christmas? A parking space? Good exam results? An impressive house or car?

Don't think so. God isn't in that business. God doesn't give us the things we want: God gives us the things we need.

Helen then explained that she saw, in the readings, images of God in all stages of our lives.

Scripture Reading Terry delivered the readings today. Jeremiah 1: 1 8. God has known us from before our birth and knows what is in store for us but, more importantly, will be with us at all times.

Reflection Helen explained that she was to explore how God is with us from before we are born, throughout all our lives. God told Jeremiah, a mere boy, that He had holy plans for him: that Jeremiah would be the prophet for a nation. Jeremiah couldn't see that as any sort of possibility. He protested his lack of talent and influence but God settled that with, "I will be with you".

Helen recalled her anger when, after the anticipation of the birth of her first granddaughter, the little girl's medical difficulties made Helen think that they had not received the love of God as we are promised. However Helen came to realise that God doesn't say that there won't be problems but that He will be with us through all of them.
And that relationship begins from before we are born. Helen's mother prayed for her from her conception and Helen believes that shaped who she is.

Recently I have had a bit of an operation and there have been a couple of unexpected complications. At first these caused me extreme anxiety, but last week I was sitting very still one morning and it hit me that I was loved and cared for by the God of the universe. I hardly dared breathe for fear of disturbing the exquisite beauty of it all.

God knows us in the womb - God has a plan - He'll be there looking after us.

Hymn TIS 158 "God has spoken by His prophets" Through His word that does not change,  our rock. He has spoken through Jesus, God revealed. He has spoken through His spirit, directly to our hearts. How can we miss hearing Him?

Freewill Offering

"Like Jeremiah, we often think that we have very little to offer. Help us provider, God, to rise to the occasion, offering all that we have and all that we are in your mission of love to the world."

Scripture Reading Psalm 71: 4 - 7 A plea for God to rescue us from any threats to our safety. In a place like the one we live in, we are not in huge physical danger: as a rule Australians aren't in physical danger. But we are in danger of losing our backbone; our integrity is under threat. We are under threat from the greedy and the unscrupulous.

It's amazing what prayer can do.

Reflection  Helen sees this as the way we are in midlife, running around trying to attend to all our responsibilities, asking God to get us out of the mess we are in and onto our feet. As is often the case, in a time of trouble, the psalmist has turned to God, asking, as in the version being used, for God to be a guest room to which he could retreat, a lovely picture of God providing a space for salvation.

Hymn MP 352 v.1,2,4 "I've found a friend O such a friend" A friend beyond any other we can have, who seeks us out because He loved us forever. A friend who sacrificed Himself so we can live forever, under His guidance, according to His counsel. Now that's a friend we all need.

Scripture Reading Luke 13: 10 - 17 Jesus heals a woman who has been bent double for eighteen years and is immediately set upon and accused of breaking the Sabbath. Then Jesus gives a lesson on the real relationship between God and people. It isn't one of our obeying demanding rules. It's about us accepting the love of God.

Reflection Helen explained that this reading shows us what the Kingdom of God is like. The Pharisees saw the Kingdom of God as a place for the Holy and so people were expected to obey all the rules, down to the tiniest ones, to be Holy enough. However, Jesus turned that idea on its head in this event. By healing the crippled woman, He showed that the Kingdom of God is about freedom and wholeness and, to be free and whole, we will need to change from the way we are. Helen then invited Graham to help her demonstrate how our journey with God is a lot like dancing with a partner. Sometimes we hold God close to us;
sometimes we step away from God but keep hold of Him, sometimes we face Him but from afar. If we think about the varying dance positions, we can use our creative imagination to explore the possibilities of our life's journey with God.

Prayer for Others and The Lord's Prayer Val prayed for all those we love and care for: those far away, those travelling, those who are sick and elderly, those who are housebound,
those who feel rejected and the unemployed. She prayed to God, our strength, to support all. We then joined in the Lord's Prayer.

Hymn TIS 242 v. 1,3,5 A song about the joy of living a life with God. "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 in the dance said he."


May the Lord of the Dance, live in you and you in him, forever.

Amen. Amen. Amen. 


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