Sunday, 4 May 2014

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 4 May 2014

Call to Worship

Leader:  Dear People of God, what shall we do?

People: We shall praise God who hears our prayers, who draws near to us, and brings new life out of death.

Leader: Dear Friends in Christ, how shall we live?

People: With the confidence of God's beloved children, with security and joy of God's saving Grace.

Leader:  Sisters and Brothers, what is the promise?

People: New life, forgiveness of sin, the Spirit as gift!

Leader:  Dear Children of God, how shall we praise?

People: We lift our voices and our hearts in love, thanks, and praise!

All:        We will live out Jesus' Resurrection!

              We will praise Him as long as we live! Amen.

Today Hugh brought us a message of God's unconditional love. To prepare our hearts and minds we began with the Hymn "Be still for the presence of the Lord", focusing on the need to be still and  reverent before the Holy One, the One whose glory can be revealed to us, if only we humble ourselves and leave ourselves open to his work.

In keeping with this, Hugh then led us in a Prayer of Adoration, reminding us of the great magnificent holiness in whose presence we were and are. Something not to be taken lightly nor someone who can be approached in any way other than with total frankness. He knows us through and through, anyway.

Following this we joined in a Prayer of Confession, asking for wisdom and guidance and admitting that we are not always ready to pass on the great blessing of God's love to others. For this we asked forgiveness, pleading for God to shine his Spirit through us for the benefit of others and the furtherance of his Kingdom.

Hugh then said The Words of Assurance, asking that the "Word of our Stillspeaking God continues to burn in our hearts and then, based on the promise made to us, told us that we could be confident that our sins are forgiven.

After the Offering, which was dedicated to God's work, with, "Let our gifts be the seeds of the living and enduring word of God...", Lyn brought to us the Children's story using a Dr. Seuss book to illustrate that God loves us as we are, which theme was continued in the Hymn TIS 491 "Father welcomes all his children" offering love and life to all.

Alan then read to us from Acts 2:14a, 36 - 41 and 1 Peter 1: 17 - 23. The message in Acts was clear. Follow Jesus, commit to him and enjoy new life. But more, cease from daily creating the same world that sent him to the cross. Peter says, in part: "Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another, deeply from the heart." That's not just the people we like or the people in our church. We have been loved - it is for us to love others.

Hugh then delivered his Sermon, speaking of the extra-ordinary price that was paid to set us free and our responsibility to let others realise that freedom is real and worth having through our love shown to them. Hugh used several examples of real stories to demonstrate how that gift of love to others must work and to impress upon us that the gift of love we have been given cannot be held onto selfishly as that is a contradiction of the gift itself. Hugh reminded us of John 13:35. "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." It's the number one rule.

One of the stories Hugh told was about a priest who, when he was ordained, adopted the name of his friend who saved his life by smothering a grenade with his own body. Our name is Christian for the same reason.

Grahame then led us in Prayers for the People, remembering in particular the strife-ridden areas of the world such as Syria and Ukraine where people are suffering so badly, and asking for God's blessing on our leaders and community care-givers. He then turned to the personal concerns of the congregation, following with The Lord's Prayer.

Communion began with the  Hymn TIS 511 vv 1,2, &, 4 "Let us break bread together with The Lord" a song showing the logical extension of taking part in this service: break bread, drink wine, sing songs and work together for the Lord. This was followed by the offering of The Peace between members of the congregation, putting into immediate effect the command to love one another.

The Table was then Prepared and the people drawn into the service with:

The Spirit of The Lord is with You

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Hugh then prayed, rehearsing the events of Jesus' saving ministry. After the response of the congregation, Hugh prayed again, telling again the events of the last supper.

Let us proclaim our faith. Christ has died: Christ is risen: Christ will come again.

Following the Distribution we were reminded that we were, afresh, members of Christ's body and his agents in the world.

His love led to the events we were commemorating: our responsibility is to show that love to others, that they will come to realise it is for them too.

Our final Hymn TIS 650 vv 1 - 5 " Brother, sister let me serve you" reflected the point of Jesus' sacrifice which we had just remembered, the theme of Hugh's sermon and our way of showing the love that has been showered upon us to others.

Hugh sent us out with the Benediction:

Friends, rejoice in the mothering and fathering love of God! Rejoice in the victorious life of our risen Saviour! Rejoice in the power of the Spirit. Go, living in the love of Christ! Go, serving in the name of Christ! Let your love of God embrace Your children, Your family, Your enemies, Those who are far off, Those who are strangers met on the road. May your lives praise the Lord!

Hymn TIS 781 "Father, bless us as we go"

Father, bless us as we go,

Jesus walk beside us,

Holy Spirit guide us.






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