Call to Worship
"Look up and see the heavens open to us;
Sense the mystery of God's presence with us.
It is our custom to gather, that God may uplift us:
God is our refuge, in whom we trust.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid;
Celebrate the good news: Christ is risen.
We will not fear losses or suffering;
We are raised with Christ to new life.
Come to Christ, the living stone, rejected by many.
Come to Christ, chosen by God, and precious to us.
We rejoice in God's steadfast love.
We are glad for God's faithfulness that redeems us."
Psalm Reading Ps 31: 1-5 A plea for God to hold us close and a declaration that God is our only help.
Hymn TIS 626 "Lord of Creation" A reiteration of the Psalm praising God for his mighty power and a declaration that we have thrown in our lot with him, to be all that he wants us to be, and to do what he wants done.
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Confession
A prayer, praising Jesus for his steadfastness and commitment to us, acknowledging that we are sometimes like stones, hard and sharp and sometimes flinty, fragile and brittle. Confessing that sometimes we throw stones to cause pain and that sometimes our sin is of default rather than intent. Andrew asked for God's healing touch and then reminded us that once we were not people at all and that now we are people of God. And that as such: Our sins are forgiven.
Our response to God's great gift. Live in the light. These offerings are a means whereby more of God's precious children will know his liberating light.
Hymn TIS 602 "O Love that will not let me go." I rest, I give thee back. I yield, I trace and feel, - I lay in dust life's glory dead. It's all about God.
Scripture Reading: John 14: 1-14; 1 Peter 2: 2-10. In John we are assured a place with the Father. We are also told that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We are also told that if we know Jesus, we know the Father. Apply any theology you like to that, it will not matter. It places us on firm ground.
Peter tells us, "Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk"... Because "To you then who believe, he is precious;" Position, popularity, style, wealth, houses, cars etc won't do it, only the real thing.
Andrew began by pointing out that with the news this week, we could easily be distracted from pondering the more important things of life. As important as the issues of the day are, where do we stand as followers of Christ? Where is this taking us? To the text from Peter, the person, Christ chose to lead the Christian movement once our Lord was no longer visible.
Peter wrote or dictated this letter to be read by people with a memory of Jesus during his Earthly ministry but who had left Palestine because of persecution. These people had nowhere to worship so Peter presents new images - images which can centre us today.
In v.9 Peter says we are a Chosen Race, a royal priesthood and a holy nation - breathtaking descriptions - what does he mean? He means that we are the People of God, regardless of nationality and as such we are chosen for the privilege of fellowship with God. We are chosen for obedience and we are chosen for service.
Peter also says we are a priesthood but not one that rules, we are to be one that serves. And finally we are to be holy, as in being a 'whole' person - a person who has high regard for God - getting our priorities right - trusting God - being obedient to the truth - ridding ourselves of malice - honouring everyone in genuine love. Mind - blowing!
Hymn TIS 459 "In Christ there is no East or West" God is the God of all, and it is our responsibility to serve all.
Prayers of the People and The Lord's Prayer
Andrew led us in praying for support for all human endeavours that support God's work. We prayed for those people living in Turkey suffering from the mining tragedy - for the families and nations in conflict - may peace prevail. We asked for help in Ukraine, Syria and Egypt, especially for Peter Greste and his family. We prayed for all those connected with the ferry disaster in S Korea; with the missing Malaysian plane and for Australian leaders of all our various departments. We prayed that all employees will be treated fairly and that we, each one of us will act with justice, compassion, fairness and kindness. To God, Andrew prayed for us: Teach us your ways, may we be guided by your truths.
Hymn TIS 207 "Jesus shall reign" We know it well and that it all comes down to: Let every creature rise and bring the highest honours to our King, angels descend with songs again and earth repeats the long amen.
Commissioning and Blessing
"God has prepared a place for you:
Go out to live as citizens of God's realm.
Into God's hands, we commit our spirits.
In God's work, we would spend our days.
You are a chosen people, gifted by God's grace;
Through you, the family of faith may grow.
We are believers, and thus priests of God;
Others will know they are God's own through us.
Be empowered as you examine the scriptures;
Declare the wonderful deeds of God in your life.
We are ready to live for Christ Jesus.
We will share the steadfast love we have received.
May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow.
May the soft winds freshen your spirit.
May the sunshine brighten your heart.
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you,
And may God enfold you in the mantle of his love.
"May the feet of God walk with you"