We Gather to Worship
We are called to worship:
"Leader: God, you search us and you know us, you have called each and every one of us to seek you and love you evermore deeply, and so we come to worship you here this morning.
All: Open our ears, Lord, we long to hear you.
Jesus, come to us, meet us here in this place, stay with us and change us.
Open our eyes, Lord, we long to see you.
Spirit of truth, inspire us always in the ways of truth and justice.
Open our hearts, Lord, we long to know you. Amen.
Church of Scotland Starters for Sunday.
Hymn TIS 125v 1,2,4,6. "The God of Abraham praise" In praise of God's overarching greatness. His greatness of power, love and grace and His preparedness to reach out to the lowliest of us.
Prayer Chris began by leading us in giving thanks for the many ways God sustains us and then confessed on our behalf of the many times we have failed to respond to God's love. We then, each, thought back through the week to the occasions when we did not show God's love to others and expressed our sorrow for that. (Taken from Church of Scotland Starters for Sunday)
"Hear the good news: because we have been buried with Christ in the waters of baptism, we are raised to new life in him. Forgiven, and freed, live lives worthy to your call, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, seek to do good."
We Listen for a Word from God
We meet Zacchaeus - Luke 19:1 - 10. Val read to us this familiar story. The crowd was following Jesus. A short man, who wasn't popular with the crowd because he was in cahoots with the Romans, acting as a tax gatherer for them, wanted to see Jesus, so climbed into a tree. To his and everyone else's surprise, Jesus called him down and went back to his house and shared a meal with him. The upshot was that Zacchaeus pledged to make good any losses he had caused people and as a result, Jesus declared, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham."
Hymn AHB 551 "I sing a song of the saints of God" A song in praise of all those famous saints and the ordinary ones too. And most importantly a pledge to be one too and all that entails. Do we dare?
As we read Paul's letter Val read this time, from 2 Thessalonians 1:1 - 4, 11 - 12
A letter addressed to the saints (those living for God), giving thanks for them and promising to support them in prayer that Jesus would be glorified in them and they in Him. Read it, it is addressed to you who live according to God's will.
Reflection Chris spoke about his work supporting people who found themselves having to negotiate with Centrelink. He said he thought that the Centrelink staff was at times lacking compassion and then, this year became a client himself. He spoke of the long waits to do 5 minutes work with them; of the frustrations and the need to hold his temper in check at times. Then he said he realised the staff did not have much control over what they had to do. The rules had to be tough, because there were people who would be keen to exploit the system and the staff were there to prevent this happening. He then made the point that we can easily pre-judge and misjudge people.
Then a big surprise. Chris told us that the translation of the passage where Zacchaeus pledges, "...half my possessions...I will give to the poor" could just as validly be translated as, "I give to the poor". Therefore it could be that he is already acting honorably and his neighbours are misjudging him because they don't know everything about him. Which turns the message into a challenge to each one of us. Be careful, all of us, we don't know all there is to know about the lives of others.
We Begin our Response to God's Word
Hymn SANS230. "The life of Jesus shows a way" It’s easy enough to make a pledge to be a saint but how can we tell what such a life entails. This hymn points us to the fool- proof way. Follow the life of Jesus.
In our Giving and in our Prayer we responded to God's Word.
We Share in table fellowship with Jesus.
Hymn TIS 505 "Jesus invites his saints to meet around his board" Let us praise him whose redeeming powers transforms our lives and in whom we are all one.
Share in Communion
Chris gave praise on our behalf and acknowledged the glory and honour that are rightly God's. Chris spoke of God's many creative acts and his many mercies to us and his faithfulness through everything that happens. He recalled the names of many known saints from the bible and those whose names are unknown. Chris recalled the many freedoms God has gifted to us. In response the congregation sang:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of The Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Then Chris reminded us of the events of the evening of The Last Supper and the institution of our tradition of breaking the bread and sharing the wine.
"When we eat this bread and drink from this cup, we experience anew the presence of the risen Christ and look forward to his coming in final glory."
The breaking of the bread:
The bread we break is the sharing in the body of Christ.
The cup we take is a sharing in the blood of Christ.
The gifts of God for the people of God.
Prayer after communion
"Gracious God, we praise, worship and adore you for the food received at your table.
We go from here, strengthened, refreshed, and empowered by your Spirit to be true and joyful witnesses to Jesus Christ. We look to that day when, with the great company of witnesses that surround us, we may eat and drink and be glad with Him in the glory of your kingdom. This we pray in Jesus' name. Amen"
Final hymn TIS 779 "May the feet of God walk with you and His hand hold you tight.
May the eye of God rest on you, and His ear hear your cry.
May the smile of God be for you, and His breath give you life.
May the child of God grow in you, and His love bring you home." Amen.
Roots-Resources for weekly lectionary.
Church of Scotland - Starters for Sunday
Feasting on the Word
Communion Liturgy adapted from Moira Laidlow's Website - Liturgies on Line for 4/5/2008 Easter 7AM and Feasting on the Word.