Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 22 September 2013


We Gather

We are Called to Worship

"Risen Christ. Your presence fills the cosmos.

Cosmic Christ. Your presence pulses through all galactic space across light years of time.

Living Christ. In this nano-second we call "now". In this nano-space we call "here",

Make your presence felt among us. Yes, make your presence felt."

Hymn TIS 186 "Stars and planets flung in orbit" All creation, from the smallest life to the soaring mountains and through the unimaginably far reaches of space, praise God.

Prayer. In a responsive prayer, we thanked God for that awareness we have of our place in time and space.

Then we confessed that we selfishly had used our position for our own ends, forgetting that it is God's gift and expressed our sorrow at our greed and the results it brought about.

Then Chris declared, "in the name of the risen Christ...our sin is forgiven and our lives made new.

Hymn TIS 187 "Let all creation dance" All creation shouts its praise of God's sublime

energy; every part of creation, even those parts seen as non-living, swell with the music of God's joy-giving dance.

We Listen for a Word from God

The Scriptures 1 Timothy 2: 1 - 7; Luke 16; 1 - 13. Read by Bob, the Timothy reading gives us Paul's instruction to pray for those in positions of responsibility, that we will lead peaceable lives and also that all will come to a knowledge of the truth because that is what is intended. The Luke reading is one that has been regarded all through history as very confusing and at times, contradictory. However, we should listen for God's voice amongst the confusing story.

Reflection Chris introduced the Luke reading by explaining that not only had it puzzled commentators but also seemed to have puzzled the writer at the time of recording.  The story concerns a manager who was summoned by the owner of a property to account for rumours about his having squandered the owner's property. Realizing his job was in jeopardy and not having the strength to do manual work and not wanting to beg, he set about ingratiating himself with the owners debtors. He contacted them all and reduced their debt. Which is when things become confusing. The owner commended him for this strategy. Then the contradiction. If a person can't be trusted with a little, they most certainly wont be trusted with a lot and if a person cannot be faithful with dishonest wealth, then they will not be trusted with honest wealth. Hmmm! What to make of that? Perhaps the manager realised that his own welfare depended on how he treated the less well off. Then the landowner could hardly renege on the arrangement. There may have been a recognition that real wealth lies in relationships and that treatment of people with less power should be just and fair. There are no unimportant people and if those that are fooled by thoughts of self importance realised that, it would be a different world.

The Timothy reading is focused on the need for prayer - for all. In praying for people we begin to see their significance and we thereby build communication with them. But prayer must translate into action and, as confusing as the Luke reading is, that is where it directs us.

We Begin our Response to God's Word.

Affirmation of faith.

We affirmed our belief in God as creator; in the Earth as a sanctuary; a place filled with God's presence. We affirmed our belief that God became human in Jesus and died on the cross for all. We affirmed our belief that Jesus is at the core of creation, reconciling all things to God and renewing all things, groaning with creation and waiting with us for its rebirth. We affirmed that we, together with Christ will celebrate a new creation.

Hymn TIS 146 "God who made the Earth" Singing of our wonder that the God of all creation would have an interest in us to the extent that he would give His son that we can find eternal life.

Our Offering was received for God's work after which announcements were given about God's work as it happens locally.

Prayers for the People Marcia prayed on our behalf to our loving gracious God, approaching Him in prayerful worship, telling of our heavy hearts at the fear and suffering in the world and acknowledging how much more so it is for Him to see innocents suffer like those in Syria. She asked that those suffering people should feel God's compassion and that success might be achieved in bringing about peace.

Thanks was given for our beautiful land and for the loveliness of Spring and that people in Australia can experience a secure life. Marcia prayed for support for teachers, health service workers and law enforcement officers asking that our prayers would be accepted in Jesus' name. She then led us in the Lord's Prayer.

We all Go Out in Love

Hymn "A Smile" We sang of the effectiveness of a smile. How, although it may not bring about revolutionary change, we change someone's world there and then when we give them our smile.

We are sent out with a Blessing

Christ calls you to be His disciples, to serve Him with love and compassion, to serve Earth by caring for creation.

May the Spirit of God, who is the cosmic power above all and through all, fill you with an awareness of Christ's presence, permeating the cosmos and pulsing within you.

Go in peace.


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