Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Marsden Road Uniting Church Sunday April 19 2015

Margaret welcomed us and called us to worship and led us in acknowledgement and joy. 

L. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118: 24)
P. It is our privilege that we can gather together to draw close to each other and our Lord.

L. In the previous week we have all experienced many events and emotions.
P. Today is the day and this is the time when we can lay all our concerns before our God.

L. Let us worship his majesty and praise his great wisdom and love, asking him to turn what is sometimes confusing in our lives into part of the great mission of spreading his work of restoration.
P. Be with us O God. May we know your presence among us.

Hymn TIS 188                        "Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand."
Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand - Where sun turns to gold the grass of the land 
Let spinifex mulga and waterhole tell - Their joy in the One who made everything well.

Elizabeth J. Smith’s beautiful Hymn perfectly captures this amazing joy we can share in God’s world.

Prayer of Adoration and Thanksgiving. – These responsive prayers were led by Chris
L. Philippians 2: 9 – 11  Therefore God also highly exalted him
P. And gave him the name That is above every name,

L. So that at the name of Jesus Every knee should bend,
P. In heaven and in earth and under the earth

L. And every tongue should confess
P. That Jesus Christ is Lord,

L. To the glory of God the Father.
Our Lord of Light and Love - We thank you for your guidance in our lives
Leading us in the way we should go.  We thank you for your most generous gifts to us.
The gifts of community, family and friends.  We thank you for supporting our flawed and weak natures - And for the strength you give us day by day. We thank you for this beautiful land
And the gift of belonging we have been given as we journey together here.

P. For all these and so much more, we give you praise and adoration.   Amen.

Confession – Our prayers of Confession were led by Chrisanthi, with Grahame playing some reflective music.
L. In penitence and faith, let us confess our sins to Almighty God.
L. Our Lord God, we bring before you all our sins: all of our thoughts and actions that lead us to being less than whole. 
We confess the times each day that we are less than the people we could be if only we had kept our eyes upon you.  We confess our sins against our neighbours, not just those in our street or suburb but those in other parts of Australia and overseas, against whom we have sinned by neglect - by looking the other way - by maintaining our ignorance for fear of having to act.
We confess, and regret so much, our sins against those we love.  Out irritable replies.  Our impatience with the weaknesses of others; all the time remaining blind to our own weaknesses and flaws.  We confess our neglect of your creation and ask that you will open our eyes to new ways of stewardship.  We confess the times we have not even bothered to seek your will, but have blundered on in our own proud way, undoing the magnificence of your plan for the world and us.
P. For all our sins, we ask for forgiveness and ask that you will guide us in true paths. Amen

Margaret delivered those welcome Words of Assurance - If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
P. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Kaye accepted our offerings for God’s work and Announcements were made.

Children's Address – Marcia told the story of David and Goliath for children young and old.

Hymn TIS 232                        "O the deep, deep love of Jesus"

Bible Readings                     Acts 3: 12 – 19            Page 838
                                                Luke 24: 36b – 48       Page
First Alan read from Acts about the events following the miracle of the healing of the crippled man begging at the temple.  Next we heard about the reaction of the Disciples when Jesus suddenly appeared among them and explained that his death and resurrection had all been explained already in the Scriptures and as witnesses they would be given the gift of God’s Power to go out and offer the gift of forgiveness of their sins to all nations.

Reflection                              Jesus died. Jesus was buried. Jesus lives!
Being “habitually honest” and sometimes an “over-thinker” Margaret began by confessing to having “great difficulty in knowing how to approach the matter of miracles.”  She floated the interesting idea that in performing miracles God may be “breaking his own rules.”  
I found the “pros and cons” of Margaret’s discussions with various Christian friends, theology lecturers and other “learned people” quite stimulating, although basically I am happy to define miracles as daily happenings – often little things surprising us in an unexpected way with the feeling that God is prodding all of us to make the world better through our Christian love inspired by His love for us.  I see many fleeting “miracles” seemingly of little significance to most of society! 

Yet I can accept the more spectacular and unlikely Biblical Miracles without too much concern; but then -I am not a theological student and am a bit lazy if I am required to think too hard.
After talking about a number of interpretations of God’s miracles recorded in various Biblical passages most of us smiled when Margaret announced; “Not that any of this is causing me to have a crisis in faith.”
“In regard to the reading from Luke: if you take the time to read the end of each of the gospels and the beginning of Acts and other references which all cover the time span from Jesus' burial onwards, you will find that there are differences, except these three very important things.
Jesus died. Jesus was buried. Jesus lives!”
There is not enough space here to share all the helpful thoughts that followed, but for me the fact that we are loved exactly the way we are today was the best – we can approach God and he will protect us from our own flaws and stupidity if we admit our imperfections.
Even then God is kept busy if we lock him out, thinking we can manage on our own and take back command of our own lives. “The gift of God's love is not like other gifts. We don't put it in a drawer, or on a shelf.  We don't even wear it. It flows through us. God's love is ours to pass on to others.  In ways big and small.  If we were closer to being what we should be, that love would flow naturally, without impediment.
We need to commit again and again. We need to let God run things.  And we need to remain alert to God's voice telling us our part of that great plan for everyone to know God's love.”
Today our message is; “The living Jesus loves you and that love is given to you in overflowing measure to share with the world around you. In that way we can be part of the miracles God works among us. It's your move.”  Amen.

Hymn TIS 407                        "Breathe on me breath of God"

Prayers of the People – Margaret invited us to take time for contemplation and private prayer.  She prayed that God would draw us towards our neighbours with love and help us to show God’s Love to the world.  Margaret prayed for wisdom for those who govern in any capacity, to meet the needs of the poor and the oppressed, the sick, the uneducated, the depressed, the Spiritually and physically hungry in our midst.  She prayed that God’s people in Marsden Road Church will act as his hand and voice as we show his love to the world. We then prayed the Lord’s Prayer.  Amen.

Hymn TIS 665                        "Jesus is Waiting"

Commissioning  - Margaret sent us away in Peace – renewed and refreshed in the eternal love of God and prayed that He would make us holy in His Love and enriched by His Grace.  That we may be strengthened with joy and blessed and kept in Eternal Life.   Amen.

Hymn TIS 778                                 "Shalom to you my friend"

"Uniting in Worship 2" was used as a resource for this Service.

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