Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 13 July 2014


I wasn't able to attend this service but Hugh supplied me with most of it in writing so I gained by being able to appreciate it although I was absent and also had the basis for this reflection.

 Call to Worship

The Lord be with you:

And also with you.

A greeting of blessing and goodwill to start us on the journey of this worship service.

Hymn TIS 161 "Tell out my Soul, the greatness of the Lord". The poignant attempt to adore, worship and declare the blessings of God's Grace.

Prayer of Adoration

Hugh, speaking for us, expressed thanks and gratitude for our existence and the opportunity to meet together in worship, just as we are. He gave thanks that we are each known to God, regardless of our circumstances and part of a His grand design. Accordingly, and most humbly on our behalf, Hugh asked God to accept our worship, praise, hymns and prayers.

Prayer of Confession (together)

"Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. Have mercy on us and forgive us, Lord, that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Such relief to be able to approach our maker and receive forgiveness.

Hymn TIS 685 "Lord I come to you". A plea and thanks for its fulfillment that God will change and renew us through the power of his love. What wonderful hope that we can be raised beyond our flawed selves.

Bible Readings Isaiah 55: 10 - 13. God compares His word to the rain that does not return to the atmosphere until it has worked its way through a series of living things. Don't think we can bat God's word away. It will swirl about, disturbing our soul, doing its work.   Matthew 13: 1 - 9, 18 - 23. Both these passages speak of the different responses to God's message. Sometimes it seems to die in the air as it is spoken, sometimes it flourishes for a while and still other times it flourishes within the person who hears it. Which are we - it's our choice but once a person reads God's word they don't forget it and although it seems like a great sacrifice to some people to respond in a positive way, it's actually an amazingly liberating experience.


Hugh's reflection focused on the reading from Matthew and the fate of the seeds that were sown by the farmer. The seeds were all the same but some didn't even start growing, some started then failed, while others flourished. The seeds could have all flourished but those that didn't, failed because of other factors. That points the story back to each of us. When it comes to the word of God, our hearts and minds are those other factors. Then Hugh expanded this comparison by explaining that bamboo has to be nurtured for five years before it surfaces and is visible. And then it takes off in a way we could never imagine. It grows twenty five metres in one season and on up to forty metres. This is the story of our church. We have to be faithful and keep nurturing our church, believing that our work will bring forth growth and fruit in God's time.

Prayers for the People

Hugh prayed on our behalf asking for help to be good stewards of our planet, God's creation. Hugh prayed for our leaders, that their decisions will be guided by a vision of the common good. He then turned attention to our church, asking that as its people and its leaders, we will all feel God's presence in all we do. He then prayed for forgiveness for anyone that should harm us and went on to pray for the special needs of those known to each of us, finishing with the Lord's Prayer.

Hymn TIS 745 "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God " The gospel in a nutshell and praise that this message of hope is available to us.

Hugh then pronounced the Benediction and we rounded off with

Hymn TIS 720 "Halle, Halle, Hallelujah" Thank you for relief from the many flaws that go with being human. With gratitude we welcome your work in our hearts.




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