Jan welcomed us, encouraging us all to praise God and give thanks in song. We love singing and it is amazing how much it adds to our ability to say what we want to say to God.
Call to Worship
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh sing for joy,
They sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84
So we sing together
Hymn TIS 143 ‘Immortal, invisible God only wise’ Praise for God's unending ability to be, leaving us confident that we can turn to him at all times.
Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving
Jan led us, acknowledging our God's otherness and asking that we recognize his presence, guiding and inspiring us, gifting us with purity and humility of heart. We long to be more like Jesus and so asked for the Holy Spirit to fill us with God's grace and goodness.
Prayer of Confession A prayer to Jesus, who is true wisdom, to forgive us our foolishness for putting our trust in false treasure. Jan, on our behalf, asked for forgiveness, that through the work of the Holy Spirit we will know true joy.
Words of assurance Because Jesus gave his life for us we are invited to "Accept Christ's gracious gift to live freely, joyously and wisely. Thanks be to God.
Baptism of Arthur Adrian Colin John Halgren
We were reminded of the words of Jesus Christ to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Matt. 28: 18-20.
Jan then explained the meaning of Baptism and asked those present to declare their belief. When Arthur had been Baptized the congregation sang the Aaronic blessing to him, wishing him all of God's blessings as long as he lives.
"May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
Alan cradled Arthur in his arms as he brought him to meet each one of the congregation, so that we could personally welcome Arthur into the fold. Jan then asked us, each in our own role to promise to sustain Arthur in his Christian life.
As Jan spoke throughout the service we were each reminded that we were once in the position of little Arthur and we were also reminded of our personal commitments made later in life. So when Jan spoke the closing words to Arthur it seemed as though she was speaking to each one of us again:
"Arthur, you belong to Christ, the light of the world. May you always walk as a child of the light. Let your light shine before the world, that all may see your good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven." Matt. 5: 16.
HymnTIS 491 “Father welcomes all his children” Jesus made it clear that children are so very welcome and we should ensure that they understand this through our actions towards them.
Offering We worshipped God with our material offering, giving back just a little of his blessings to us.
Bible Readings- Grahame Forrest: Psalm 84 The psalmist is displaying a knowledge of and appreciation for his relationship with God. On our better days, when we aren't resisting God's call, we experience this same happiness.
Ephesians 4:25-5:2 A clear lesson in how to behave as Christians. How much better this world would be if everyone could behave like this. Think of the damage done by enmities between individuals, communities and nations where nobody is really sure where it all started. A total waste.
Sermon- ‘Live together in love’ Dan spoke, inviting us to think about the way we conduct ourselves and the excuses we give for our not-so-attractive habits. Pointing to Paul's letter to the Ephesians, Dan focussed on the way we should conduct our Christian lives, especially in the light of what Christ has done for us and passed on Paul's plea that we "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God." Dan drew our attention to our roots, in our family, community, friends and church.
Dan asked us to look at what Paul had to say about being part of the church. We are told to relate to one another in a way that reflects God's will: we are told to speak the truth, even when that is not easy and we need to be sensitive about it. We are told to avoid anger but that it is a proper reaction in the face of injustice, violence and neglect. We are to support ourselves financially and give to others, both materially and with our time and effort. We should be careful about our speech that we do not hurt others or cause division. Especially within the church, we should resolve conflicts and be kind and tender-hearted towards each other.
We should stop and listen, to be aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and follow his guidance, sharing his love with others.
We should remember that we are forgiven, a child of Christ and that people should be able to glimpse a little of God through us. Amen
Hymn TIS 209 ‘And can it be that I should gain’ It’s because we are loved. We are lifted out of the mess of this world because God loves us and reaches out to us. It is a mystery how that has turned our lives around...totally.
Musical interlude. During this time we prayed silently, holding up our personal concerns before God.
Prayers of Intercession Margaret prayed, thanking God for the life he gives us, as babies and as we look to him for eternal life. She thanked God for his generosity in reaching out to us, inviting us into the blessings of his Kingdom. Thanks were given for parents everywhere and support was offered to all families. Margaret led us, holding up those in our Congregation who have lost loved ones asking for our Father's support. She prayed for leaders, political and religious, that they will be given wisdom and grace, to lead us wisely and compassionately.
Hymn TIS 47 ‘Our God our help in ages past’ God walks beside us, guiding and protecting us, sometimes carrying us, as he has forever, for all who accept him. It is reassuring to know we are not alone as we live our lives in what are often difficult times.
Blessing. The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Phil. 4:7
And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.
Hymn TIS 778 ‘Shalom to you now, shalom my friend.’ Every good wish and every blessing of God to you all.