Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 31 May 2015

Psalm 29   We viewed a video of evocative images demonstrating the printed text which was superimposed on the visual representations. God's almighty creative power shone forth reminding us that God is sufficient for anything that arises in any of our lives. Even though the most powerful imagery falls short of projecting the wonder of God, it gives us a hint points us in the right direction.

Call to Worship 

Prayer of Approach

Andrew gave thanks, making the comparison of our insignificance against God's great glory and offered out genuine gratitude for our ability to approach that glorious One. 

HYMN ​​​TIS. 132: "Holy, Holy, Holy" Holy holy holy, Lord God Almighty, Early in the morning to you our praise shall be...All your works shall praise your name in earth and sky and sea.

And all we have to do is look with receptive hearts and minds and creation's praise to its creator will fall in upon us.

Prayer of Adoration, Confession and Assurance

For us, Andrew prayed to our loving God who is everything, who is our all. To God who is beyond our understanding and who is our inspiration, we offered our worship. To this God who is more eager to forgive than we are to confess, we, through Andrew, did confess our failure to be live up to our profession of faith. We asked this God to have mercy on us and enliven us as is promised to us in scripture. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Offering A token of God's generosity to us was returned and blessed to the work of his will in the world around us.

Hymn TIS 422 "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine" Sung with gusto, reflecting the authenticity of the conviction of the members of the congregation, secure in the knowledge that their lives are in God's hand.

Bible Readings Marcia

Isaiah 6: 1 - 8 Isaiah experienced God's presence accompanied by heavenly beings in a way that pierced him to his heart and revealed his own need to him and his total inability of meeting that need himself...but God moved to cleanse him and make him fit for His service. Is his response our response? Here am I. Send me.

John 3: 1 - 17 Another reading that cuts clean through to the essence of why we follow the message of Jesus. Like Isaiah we must give up on any hope of redeeming ourself, and as this passage says, be born anew into a new life through the generous, healing hand of God.


Kaye drew our attention to the two readings which are two of the most gripping readings in the Bible and to the fact that it was Trinity Sunday. After speaking briefly about Isaiah and the mystery of the Trinity she spent the greater portion of the time on the gospel reading, walking us through it verse by verse, allowing us to be part the meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus. Rather than draw out the essence of the sermon myself, I am including Kaye's closing words, which deliver the crucial part of the message to us. 

Is this about my story as well, maybe your story?

Is he or are we afraid that being born from above will mean losing control?  Nicodemus liked control; he liked knowing who was righteous and who was a sinner, what to eat and what not to eat, with whom to associate and whom to label "unclean."  We like to try to stay in control of our own lives.

To him and us, Jesus' comparison of being born from above being like the action of the wind was probably a frightening one because the wind is unpredictable, wafting away items to which we have become attached and blowing in others we would not have chosen.
Being born of the Spirit is about a way of living out the life of God in the world. When we see like this, we see the connection between Jesus and God and we see God in Jesus not trying to compete for adoration in the market of miracle workers, but seeking to establish a relationship of love and community. The focus is life. The means is relationship. The motive is love.

Hymn TIS. 411 "Filled with the Spirit's Power" A prayer that the Holy Spirit will fill us and energize us as it did the early Christians that we will reach out to everyone everywhere, telling of Jesus' invitation to receive the promise of a new life. Amen.

Prayers For Others Ruth prayed for us to our Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit with grateful hearts, giving thanks for his presence as we face challenges. She prayed for peace between nations and people, that we all will learn to live lives of obedience. Ruth prayed for those that mourn; the unemployed; for Jan as she leads us and for safe travel for those away from home. We then joined in the Lord's Prayer. I'm always amazed what a difference prayer makes, and I have really no idea why. But it never fails to make a difference.

Hymn ​​TIS. 658 "Here I am Lord": This hymn is a challenge to our hesitancy and anxiety. At the same time it is an invitation to step up and step out in God's will to move closer to His kingdom come. I wonder how much we think about this pledge once we walk out the church door, when the responsibilities of everyday life take up our attention?

Commissioning and Benediction

 May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

  May the eye of God rest 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.

What a lovely way to bid farewell to each other as we leave the service.


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