Monday, 7 April 2014

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 6 April 2014

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Call to Worship

Leader: From the depths of my despair I call to you, Lord.

People: Hear my cry, O Lord; listen to my call for help!

Leader: If you kept a record of our sins, who could escape being condemned?

People: But you forgive us, so that we should stand in awe of you.

Leader: I wait eagerly for the Lord's help, and in his word I trust.

People: I wait for the Lord more eagerly than sentries wait for the dawn.

Leader: Israel, trust in The Lord, because his love is constant and he is always willing to save.

People: He will save his people Israel from all their sins.

Hugh then said a word about the musicians, Grahame, Roger and Andrew, who lead the music each week, and Warwick, the teckie, who delivers the PowerPoint, for the sacrificial nature of the service they offer to the rest of the congregation. They rarely can enjoy or even benefit from the service because they are too busy seeing that the correct music and screen support is delivered at the right time. Our thanks to them.

 Hymn TIS 72 "From all who dwell below the skies" A song of pure praise from all creation. Hallelujah. And amen to that! Our mothers spent so much time teaching us to say "Thank you." You would think we would realise that we had to do at least that for each gift that comes to us minute by minute. If we did, we might even think to give praise as well, for each amazing thing that comes our way, rather than thinking "it just is".

Prayer of Adoration and Confession. Hugh prayed to our Lord who is beyond all comprehension and all wisdom, that the morning would be a time of awakening for the complacent, a time of companionship for the lonely, a time of insight for the confused, a time of release for the guilty, a time of healing for those who ache and are ill and a time of new life for all people.

"We praise your name...we celebrate your presence...we will show your love to the world..."

"We...confess our sins...we have sinned against you and our neighbour. Forgive our sins and restore us again to your image..." Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Offering  The youngest members of our congregation collected the offering and Hugh dedicated it to the work of revealing the Kingdom.

Hymn TIS 655 "O Let the Son of God enfold you" Life can bring its sorrow and its hardship. We  sense our own failings and lack of understanding. This hymn says it all.

 Bible Readings: Laurel read to us from John 11: 1 - 8; 25 - 36. This reading covers the time when Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus saying that their brother was dying. Jesus did not go to them immediately and even when he announced that he was going to go, his disciples reminded him of the hostile reception he had received there from the Jews previously. He went and received a remonstration from Martha, who said that if Jesus had been there her brother would not have died. Jesus' reply was that her brother would rise again and then went on to tell her that, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live..." That's certainly worth our praise!

 Reflection Hugh began his reflection with a reference to the death of "Mr. Hooper" from "Sesame Street".  The staff discussed how to tell their very young audience and after engaging child-development experts, worked the announcement into the script of an episode. The point of Hugh's "parable" was the punch line "when people die, they don't come back." As Hugh said, the Psalmist put his finger on the heart of it: As for man, his days are like the grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more."

"In our Christian faith, however, death is not the end of life; death is the beginning of a new life and a new living"

Hugh told us that Jesus has gone before to prepare a new home for us: that God wants to take us out of all that causes our suffering here and give us a new start.

Hugh then referred to the story of Lazarus, saying, Jesus wept for his own loss but also wept with the people in their grief and loss. In the same way, Jesus is with each of us, right next to us, in all that we suffer.

To go to Martha and Mary, Jesus had to risk being killed but he did so to be able to share their pain. And when we are in pain, Jesus is there sharing that pain with us, if we will let him.

Hymn The Summons: "Will you follow me if I but call your name?" A challenge to us all to commit ourselves anew (or for the first time) to the call of God. He doesn't promise an easy path. In fact, in this hymn, the hardships which are predicted require a sure faith in God.

Prayers of the People and the Lord's Prayer Joan led this part of our service. It is important part because it gives an opportunity for one of us to bring the current concerns of the congregation to the Lord. Joan thanked God for the strength he gives us to cope with life's harder experiences. She mentioned, in particular, the terrible events in the news - the earthquake; the lost plane (presumed crashed) and other disasters. Joan thanked God for the support we are given which allows us to support others and gave thanks for God's love that comes to us through life's experiences. While acknowledging that we can speak with God all through the day at home, she gave thanks for the extra strength that praying as a church gives. Joan prayed on our behalf for those known to us who need God's support and asked for God's help in finding someone to be our minister. We then joined in The Lord's Prayer.


The Peace:

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Preparation of the Table
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: through your goodness we have this bread to set before you, which earth has given and which human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed be God forever.

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: through your goodness we have this wine to set before you, fruit of the vine AND work of human hands. It will become for us the CUP of our salvation.

Blessed be God forever.

The Spirit of The Lord is with you. And also with you.

Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to The Lord our God. It is right to give thanks and praise.

 Prayer Hugh then prayed, thanking and praising God for His Son and all creation. He thanked God that his Son came to live amongst us, and died for us, rising to a new life, fulfilling the Father's promise.

"Therefore with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, forever praising you and saying:

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.


Hugh prayed to God, the source of all holiness, that by his power, the bread and wine would become to us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ...

Let us proclaim our faith.

Christ has died: Christ has risen: Christ will come again.

The Distribution
The Prayer after Communion

We thank you for the sacrifice you made for us and that, now as members of Christ's body we become his agents in the world, being a blessing to those around us. 

Hymn TIS 409 "O breath of life" A prayer for renewal, confessing our need and acknowledging our awareness of the task before us.

Benediction:  Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

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