Sunday, 8 September 2013

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 8 September 2013

Lyn welcomed Rev. Chris to MRUC. Chris will be ministering to us in the next months and we look forward our time together.

We Gather

We were Called to Worship. Chris used the words of Ps 130: 1 - 6 to remind us of how thoroughly God knows and understands us: how he knows how our minds are ticking over and how our past informs our present.

"This wonderful knowledge is beyond my understanding;

It surpasses everything, and is beyond my grasp."

"For the stories we share, for our life together, and for the breath of your Spirit among us,

we thank you, O Lord, our God.   Amen.

For some reason I thought for a time that God had called me because of my better characteristics. He called me as I am and as I have been, even if that is not all pretty.

Hymn TIS 90 "I'll praise My Maker While I've Breath" A vow to praise God for all His goodness in this life and beyond. Praise for God's truth and the security we have in Him: praise for His care for those whose personal and material resources are meagre: praise for  His care for the physically afflicted, the guilty, the stranger and the widow: for everything He bestows upon us - praise. Nothing we have or achieve is down to our amazing talent. God is the author of everything good.

We think about a Potter working clay

We pray, being honest with God. ( incl. Ps 139: 13 - 18)

A prayer to the "Ever present God of grace" He who has known every moment of our development. To our "Lord God" whose thoughts about us are impossible to begin to understand. To You, we pray that we will hear Your voice, that we will change and become what we should be.

"Open our ears to hear you, open our eyes to see what we might become, open our hearts to follow in the way you have shown to the world in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

(Hear, see, follow. Take note.)

Hymn SIS 482 "Change my heart O God" Eddie Espinosa, 1982 Mercy Records and Publishing, Anaheim, CA, USA.

A plea to be changed by God and moulded by Him as a potter moulds the clay to his will.

We are assured of God's grace

Hear the sound of love poured out: (water is poured into font)

2 Cor. 5 - 17

If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation...your sin is forgiven, your life is made new,

Let us live as those reborn.

We Listen for the Word of God.

Scripture Reading Norma brought us Jeremiah 18: 1 - 11 and Luke 14: 25 - 33. The message in Jeremiah is about the potter's ability to destroy a flawed piece or rework the clay into something good. God promises that He can reshape us but only if we turn to Him and away from the influences for evil in our lives.

In Luke it is made clear that turning to God will have its cost, so we must calculate that into our decision to hand ourselves over to God's will, which must come first.

Reflection Chris began by raising questions about the reading from Luke, suggesting that it is contrary to much of what Jesus taught about loving our neighbour and showing care for each other. He pointed out that the advice about counting the cost before entering any commitment is sound but that for Jesus to say, "none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions." is not only very harsh but very puzzling. To make sense of this, Chris turned to the reading from Jeremiah which presents a metaphor of God as the divine potter. Chris showed that we can see this metaphor as one of a controlling

God but that on closer viewing, we will realise that the potter works in concert with the clay, bringing out its beauty by feeling the characteristics of the clay and creatively re shaping it.

The work of the Divine will with the human will is a dynamic relationship; it is God working with people, bringing out the best in them.

With reference to the Luke reading, it is then our responsibility to examine our priorities and rid ourselves of anything preventing that moulding process of God having its most beautiful outcome.

We should also be going through this process of prioritising in our church community. How open are we to God's call? How open are we to releasing those things from our individual and community lives that are hindering God's work!

Are we "Letting go of being possessed by our possessions." 

We begin our response to God's Word

Hymn TIS 468 "We are your people" An acknowledgement that we are God's people to be used by Him as voices to those around us. That within our community we should be willing to lead sometimes and be led at other times: that we should hold each other close and at the same time, welcome strangers: to be aware that we will disagree but be prepared to forgive: to value tradition but be prepared to change: asking for wisdom and praising God for His love.

We Share in Prayer for one another and the world - Chris

A humble prayer calling on God's grace to transform us in each situation as we admit our inadequacies and our fears, showing us the good we can do. Chris led us in prayer for MRUC as we journey down a new path, and for those whose value we can't appreciate yet. Chris prayed, on our behalf, for our helplessness in a world of conflict and injustice and the we prayed in the words Jesus taught us.

Offering With Jesus we love generously as we bring our offerings.

We go out to serve Others

Hymn TIS 163 "God who stretched the spangled heavens" To the God of all creation, we look upon all our achievements with pride and see our dreams as possibilities to serve God..."till our goals and yours are one."

We are offered blessing on our way

May the Artist who crafted you continue to shape your heart. Ps. 139: 15

may the Christ who commissioned you, charge you with purpose. Matt. 28: 19 - 20

may the Spirit that stirs you, help you to carry the cross, that you may honour your Creator and bless the world. Luke: 14: 27


Rev. Chris acknowledged these resources in creating the service:

The Billabong website: copyright Jeff Shrowder 2000, 2013.

Feasting on the Word Worship Companion Yr C V2

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