Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 3rd August 2014

The Call to Worship  Our service today was led by Hugh, with Grahame and Mavis playing the organ and piano, respectively.

Hymn  TiS 93                                     “Praise the Lord – Ye Heavens adore Him””

Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights above. Psalm 148:1
These words are from: Psalms, Hymns, and Anthems of the Foundling Hospital, by Thomas Coram, 1796 (verses 1 & 2) & Edward Osler, Church and King, 1836 (verse 3).  London’s Foundling Hospital was an orphanage that became famous for singing. It was founded in 1739 by a merchant Thomas Coram who was involved in the Wesleys’ evangelistic efforts.
Prayer of Adoration and Confession:  Hugh asked us to adore, praise and rejoice in our God of Power and Glory; our provider and our source of comfort, who is always with us, our God who never abandons us, our God who takes care of us, our God who protects us and watches over us.
From beginning to end you are our God — our God who knows us, our God to whom our lives belong, our God to whom we all go home.
We confessed all our sins.  Hugh confirmed the good news that our sins are forgiven – we are loved and accepted and welcomed home again and again.  We were told to; “Receive this good news and live in peace – thanks be to God, Amen.”
 Offering / Prayer:  Our offering was gathered by Val & Pat with help from Charlie and Calliope and we thanked God for everything.  Hugh blessed the gifts and the givers.

Men’s Choir:                                   “Seeking the Lost”

William Augustine Ogden wrote this beautiful harmonious hymn.  Perhaps his own male choir, organized during his army service in the American Civil War, may have sounded nearly as good as our “boys”, .Malcolm, Grahame, Stephen and Hugh who were accompanied by Mavis on the piano.

A Prayer for the Teachers and children was offered by Hugh before they went to Sunday Kids.

Hymn TiS 526                                    "Lord Jesus Christ, You have come to us"
All your commands we know are true; your many gifts will make us new;
into our lives your power breaks through, living Lord.  I just love this positive empowering hymn and the way it has a lilting swing and makes us feel like we are much better singers than we are.

Bible Reading:                                  Psalm 145: 8-9; 15-21 (page 469)
                                                            Matthew 14:13-21  (page 738)
Read for us by May.  “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, forbearing, and constant in his Love.  The Lord is good to all men, and his tender care rests upon all his creatures.”  These two verses from Psalm 145 are more than enough to give us a feeling of peace and love.
The prelude to the story of the feeding of the 5,000 was the news of the death of John the Baptist being brought to Jesus and his need expressed in verse 13, to withdraw “privately by boat to a lonely place.”  It is easy to understand the deep sorrow of Jesus, but in a demonstration of the constant love of God, Jesus unselfishly responded to the crowds who came seeking him.  He showed nothing but care and compassion – even insisting they should be fed and not sent away for food as it became late.  I have never before noticed the part of this story that reads: “Some 5,000 men shared in the meal, to say nothing of the women and children.” Interesting!
Reflection:                             “The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes”        
We could discuss the miracle in general. We could talk about why such crowds would want to hang around the remote countryside after Jesus. We could simply focus on the generosity of the little boy who had given up his own meal for other people; Hugh said.
It was natural at that time that most of the people would carry with them a little pouch containing food and water.  If God had wanted to miraculously multiply fishes and bread, that’s wonderful. If God had opened up people’s hearts to share with one another, that’s great, too.  But the point that I’m going to focus on today is…. ‘how did it all start?’  People were fed.  Everyone had plenty to eat, and baskets full of food were still left over. And everyone was happy. But how did the incident all begin in the first place?
I’d like to say this morning that our confidence and our possibility come from Jesus and his presence only.  If we only focus on ourselves and what we’ve got in our hands, then we will always end up doing things that only our hands are capable of. If we focus, however, on Jesus and his hands, anything is possible.  Nothing is impossible in his hands.

Our Faith journey is about being sure of the things that we cannot see. It is about being certain of the things that others say are impossible.  Our Christian life is to keep focusing on Jesus and take the road.  That Jesus, who had fed those five thousand people with the handful of loaves of bread, is still with you in your ordinary life.  That same Jesus who had said to the disciples, “You give them something to eat” still expects you to do the same thing.
And I still believe… if we are willing to give up our small things from our lives for the sake of Jesus and His ministry, and his church, it will always turn out to be something miraculous and we’ll be blessed to be blessings for many people.
Someone wrote a few years back: “A basketball in my hands is worth about $15. A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth about $30 million. It depends whose hands it’s in.
Jesus’ hands transformed everything he touched. The question is…. Do you really want to experience it?  Then take the road!  
Thanks Hugh – these are meaningful excerpts from this often told and much pondered “miracle.”
Prayers of the People:  May also led our prayers for the people this morning, with many thoughts for the places in the world where tragedy and wars are causing grief and fear.  She spoke of the people who give their time and help for those in need and prayed for the people we know who are sick or in trouble of any kind.  “Let the peace and quiet of Your presence take rest in us.  We await Your peace and healing.”  Then we all joined together in the Lord’s Prayer.
We Shared the Peace then with the table prepared we shared the Communion meal of bread and wine together at the sanctuary rail with Pat and Colin helping Hugh.
Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven,  we laud and magnify your glorious name, evermore praising you and saying:
 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Glory be to you, O Lord most high.
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again – We will be transformed to be Your Kingdom People.
Hymn                                                  "The Summons"
John Lamberton Bell is a member of the Iona Community and a Church of Scotland minister and his “Summons” hymn delivers a challenge so clear and simple in its message; we really do want to say YES and follow the road - when the Lord calls us by name.
Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?  Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?  Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known, will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

The Benediction & Blessing    We were sent out by Hugh with the words:  “May the Lord walk before you to guide you, hover over you to protect you and your families, and live in you to strengthen you,  and…the blessing of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit go with you now and forever”          Amen.

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