Call to worship-
L The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P And also with you.
L Shout to God, all the earth.
P Worship the Lord with joy and gladness.
L Come before God with laughter and praise.
P Adore the one to whom we belong.
Hymn TIS 111 “Praise to the Lord, the almighty, the king of creation” Our God who lifts us and all creation above the mundane: to him be praise.
Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving
A prayer asking God to be present as love: for ourselves, for each other and for him. And adding if we cannot imagine such a concept, that we be transformed, so that others will see God in us.
Prayer of Confession
Jan confessed on our behalf how rarely we achieve the radical wholeness which God wants for us. She confessed how hard it is for us to be people of love. We know how costly a life of love is, as shown by the example of Jesus and we are so aware of the many times we fall short. Jan acknowledged our awareness of God's call for a changed world and confessed how easily we lose heart, asking forgiveness for our unfaithfulness.
Words of assurance
God is the beginning and the end.
Let us open our hearts to the forgiveness of God. Amen
P. Thanks be to God
Jan thanked God for his love to which we respond with the offering of our lives. Jan offered our gifts to the service of God and the extension of his kingdom.
Song ‘Pass it on'
It only takes a spark to get a fire going, And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing; That's how it is with God's Love, Once you've experienced it, You spread his love to everyone You want to pass it on. © Kurt Kaiser
Bible Readings Acts 10:44-48 and John 15: 9-17 read to us by Grahame Forrest. In Acts the Holy Spirit falls upon the gentiles making Peter realise that they too are called to be baptised. Perhaps some time we mistakenly think some people are not worthy of membership of our church.
In John Jesus speaks about love as fundamental. We have been loved, therefore we are to love: to experience joy and be one with Jesus and the Father, by whose love we will bear fruit.
Sermon- “Love produces God’s fruit”
Building on the concept of love, so clearly represented today, through the recognition of the love of Mothers, Jan allowed that earthly parents can make mistakes and disappoint, leaving us with memories of being misunderstood and disappointed, without anyone to comfort us. She made the point that today's gospel passage could easily be about being a good parent "This is my commandment, that you live one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you," John 15:12-14.
Jesus’ love was a strong love that would send him to the cross - so that we could be transformed. Despite this example, we often fall short of offering love to others. We may be able to love some but stop short of giving it to all. That isn't real love, it's not the kind of love Jesus was talking about. Love is self- sacrificial and self- giving.
As a teacher, this writer knows of parents who have left lucrative jobs that brought them fulfillment and status in other countries to work in boring low-paid jobs in Australia to give their children a better life. There are also parents who have given up satisfying work to live on less income so that a disabled child would have the best attention and the best chance of developing into an independent adult. Children who have given up their childhood to be the carer of an invalid parent.
Our ability to love comes from God. Live does not happen in a vacuum...it is passed from one to another. We must immerse ourselves in God's word and let the love of God enter our lives, casting off all that is opposed to love.
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud. It us not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; (OUCH!) it does not keep a record of wrongs; it us not happy with evil but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up and its faith, hope and patience never fail.
(1Cor 13: 4-7).
Jan did not finish there, but if all we do this week is fervently attend to the advice given here, leaning on God's strength all the while, we will have grown into more of the person God wants us to be.
Hymn TIS 699 ‘A new commandment I give unto you’ That you love one another. This will be the sign. Is it?
This was a time of private contemplation, giving us time to open our hearts to God, laying before him our needs and of those known to us.
Prayers of Intercession
Jan prayed to our Lord Jesus, our loving God, giving thanks because he has reached out to us and embraced us, supporting us in all things. She confessed, for us, that we have not always been willing to reach out but affirmed God as our guiding light, asking for his care for our loved ones. She declared our trust in God and his love, and admitted that while he knew our needs, thoughts and burdens, that we should put them before him, asking for his help for ourselves; all those who are unwell; the frail; travellers and for anyone finding life difficult in any way. Jan held up our church, both local, Australia-wide and worldwide that that its leaders should work with wisdom to give guidance in his name. She also prayed for victims of unrest and natural disasters, that they should find peace. All to the glory of his name and the extension of his kingdom. Amen.
Hymn TIS 455 ‘For all the saints who from their labours rest- The Christian life is envisioned as difficult but all our solutions lie in God himself.
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. Amen.
Blessing Song -TIS 779 ‘May the feet of God walk with you and his hand hold you tight. May the eye of God be on you and his ear hear your cry. May the smile of God be for you and his breathe give you life. May the child of God grow in you and his love bring you home. Amen and Amen.