Today we were especially privileged for our service to be taken by a Tongan group from Auburn Uniting Church. They delivered a service of great warmth, touching our hearts with their amazing music.
Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today, come into stay. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
Hu mai 'Eiki, Hu mai 'Eiki. Hu mai 'Eiki, Hu mai 'Eiki, Hu mai kia au, Sisue
Hu mai Sisu, kiate au Nofo he loto ni 'o'ku
Call to Worship
Leader: I will sing to the Lord for he has dealt with me richly
All: I will praise the name of the Lord Most High.
Leader: Jesus said that whoever welcomes one of his followers, welcomes Jesus himself.
All: Welcome to our worship (welcoming other members of the congregation)
Leader: Whoever welcomes Jesus, welcomes God.
All: Welcome to our worship (turning to others)
Leader: Whoever offers even a cup of cold water to one of God's children, will be blessed
All: All are welcome here! Let us worship God.
Hymn TIS 59 "All people who on earth do dwell" A hymn of instruction to praise, know and approach the Lord our God without fear - and why can we say this? "The Lord our God is good; his mercy is forever sure;" whatever our burdens - whatever our fears - whatever: the Lord is the only one we can utterly depend on. His love is available for anyone in any need. Just ask.
Never mind the children- the entire congregation was charmed by a story with which all families are familiar. The child who does exactly the opposite to what the parent tells them. The message: better listen to and obey God now. BUT the best part was the chorus. Sita led us in "Father Abraham had many sons. Had many sons had Abraham. I am one of them and so are you- So let's just praise the Lord----with ACTIONS - what joy!
Prayer of Adoration
A prayer, acknowledging God as source of all that is good through his grace, be it at work, or anywhere else, expressing our adoration of him, the creator of all things and reminding ourselves that God knows everything there is to know about us. God who offers us new life.
Prayer of Confession
"Almighty and Merciful God, we have sinned against you and strayed from your ways like lost sheep." This prayer continued with details of the kinds of sins we commit every day but that first sentence said it all. We are unable, in our own strength, to live the life of a fulfilled human.
Prayer of Assurance
An assurance that forgiveness is ours.
Musical Offering The Tongan group sang two hymns, enthralling us with their amazing ability to create a place of holiness through the quiet warmth of their beautiful harmony.
Bible Readings and Reflection Ruth brought the readings to us and then Joye delivered his thoughts on the Genesis reading. The gospel reading, taken from Matthew 10:40 - 42 is the text from which our Call to Worship was taken and Genesis 22:1 - 14 is a well known story to most of our congregation. In this account, God tests Abraham's loyalty and devotion by telling him he should sacrifice his son. Abraham begins to follow this instruction, preparing for the sacrifice. The boy, Isaac, questions the lack of a lamb to sacrifice - Abraham, utterly sure of God, answers that God would provide, which he did. Joye brought this story to us with the message that "God will provide". When we see the job God has for us to do, we need not be anxious about our ability to do it - God will provide.
Hymn TIS 685 "Lord I come to you" A song that follows the thought of the reflection: that the power of God's love is sufficient for us to proclaim, "I'll rise up like the eagle and I will soar with you - your spirit leads me on - in the power of your love."
Prayers of the People
Margaret introduced the Prayers for the People with a prayer of St. Francis "Lord make me an instrument of thy peace" following with a plea for God's hand to work in those countries experiencing the insanity and hell of war and God's blessing on all those who work for peace in the world. After this we each prayed quietly in our place for our personal concerns and then Margaret concluded with prayers for the church everywhere, concluding with The Lord's Prayer.
Hymn TIS 155 "O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the works thy hand has made" You know the rest and you can imagine how the congregation used this well known hymn, that for many, was there when they began their journey as a Christian, to proclaim their love and adoration for God, in full voice. (Especially Lynell)
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, now and forever more.
Hymn TIS 779 "May the feet of God walk with you"
A word to those who receive this write-up each week. I will be in and out of Sydney over the next few weeks. Joan may be able to write the blog some weeks. (You will recognize her style - it's much better than mine) but some weeks there may not be a blog. Please be patient. )