Monday, 8 December 2014

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 7 December 2014


Call to worship

L. Lord prepare us for your coming

P. And tune our ears to your call.

L. Lord prepare the hearts of your people,

P. For your righteousness goes before us and prepares a way.

L. Lord prepare us to receive and bear witness to your righteousness,

P. Holy Spirit, we welcome you into our lives.

Hymn- TIS 442All praise to our redeeming Lord Praise to the "Other" who by grace, freely given to us, transforms us into people who are motivated by his love for us to work together to grow his love and peace throughout the world.

Prayers of Praise, Thanksgiving and Confession

Jan prayed on our behalf. She gave thanks for God's grace in our lives: for the comfort we receive that grows our trust in him, that inspires us, that gives us hope that our world can be transformed and renews our will to do his work. For us, she confessed the times we fail and the times our unjust words or behaviour are the seeds that lead to the suffering of another or to this beautiful planet in which we live. She then asked that instead, we will seek to proclaim God's presence in Jesus name. Amen.

Words of Assurance

L. In God through Jesus Christ, the harvest always holds love and grace for all people.

We are now forgiven and offered a new beginning. P. Thanks be to Go
Lighting the Advent Candles- Candle of Peace In lighting the candle which was lit last week and in lighting a new candle for today Alexis represented us as we confirmed our hope for the events which are to unfold and the peace which we will seek for the threatened planet, for fractured societies and for suffering souls.

The Bible Words for Today were introduced by Elaine and read by Alexis: Isaiah 41: 10 "Do not be frightened for I am with you." Do not be frightened, anxious, worried, alarmed, apprehensive, distressed, spooked or cowed - just relax into the arms of God and let the Lord of all direct operations.

Offering  Alexis and Alissa gathered the offering which was offered to the work of God for his blessing and use. Just a small part of his infinite blessings to us. Another way God's love can flow through us to this fractured world.

Jan spoke to the children asking them about a number of items used in preparation for Christmas celebrations, such as tinsel, holly and Christmas pudding. Then she directed the attention of the children and the adults to the real significance of Christmas.

Bible Reading Isaiah 40: 1 - 11 and Mark 1:1 - 8 were read to us by Jack. Isaiah: Our God understands our need and a cry for our comfort is sent out. The response is another cry to prepare the way and make straight a highway in the wilderness and in the desert. If anything is a wilderness and a desert in regard to the real, the essential, the meaningful, the uplifting, the enlightening, the healing, the restoring - it is this world we live in and perhaps to a larger or smaller extent - the world that lives inside us. But we are promised that this will all be turned upside down. Read v.11 if you want true comfort. Mark: The fulfillment. John the Baptist comes telling us the time has arrived. Not if we turn our backs or close our ears.

Sermon- Preparing the way for Christ to come" Jan brought us a thought provoking and spirit challenging word but because today's service includes a communion service I am unable to do it justice. However what I can say is that through reference to the readings and their significance in proclaiming the coming of Jesus and the reason for his coming, Jan was able to challenge us as to our approach to the coming weeks.
Rather than running ourselves ragged buying and preparing food and presents (although those things do have a place at Christmas) we should direct our thinking into preparing ourselves for this most important time and perhaps changing our speech and our actions to reflect the purpose of Christmas. Our gifts should be of love and justice to all. "How can we share the gifts of hope, peace, love or joy?

Hymn- TIS 647Comfort, comfort, all my people A retelling of today's message.

Regardless of our state - the way will be made straight to a place of hope and joy.

Prayers of Intercession- Ruth thanked God for our many blessings and ask for God's hand on Jan and all of us at Marsden Road as we work for God's kingdom. Ruth then prayed for all those in need at home and in other countries. She then asked for God's comfort for those in distress because of health problems and for those who work to alleviate those problems. She asked for strength for those looking for jobs and for those known to us with any need. We then joined in the Lord's prayer.

Hymn TIS 514 Be known to us in breaking bread A prayer that God will make himself known to us in the communion service.

Holy Communion - We turned to our neighbours and offered our hand in the sign of peace.

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you./And also with you. Lift up you hearts. /We lift them up to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God./ It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Jan then prayed as Christians have down through the ages and in every place, acknowledging the life and death of Jesus as our path to a new life.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, ever praising you and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of Power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.

The Story of the Lords  Supper Jan retold the origin of the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup and its significance in remembering Jesus' broken body and spilled blood. The bread we break and the cup we take are gifts of God to us.

The Distribution We shared the bread and wine in memory of the sacrifice made for us.

Hymn TIS 607 Make me a channel of your peace. As Jesus showed us the way and died as a result, so we must show that way to others through our words and the way we live.

Blessing. The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.


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