Call to Worship: The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it. The world and those who live in it. He has founded it on the seas, And established it on the rivers.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits And in his word I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning
More than those who watch for the morning.
Hymn TiS 100 “All creatures of our God and King”
This hymn, with words written by St. Francis of
and translated 400 years later by
William Draper is based on Psalm 69:34; “Let
Heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and all that move in them.” It is always a joy to begin our Sunday morning
with such praise and poetry to awaken our minds to God’s abundant gifts. Assisi
Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving: Jan built on this feeling by addressing God; “Dear Creator God, God of light and love” and by thanking God for his magnificent creation and opening our eyes and hearts to God’s light and love so we may become people who radiate God’s love to the world.
Prayers of Confession & Words of Assurance: Through Jan we confessed that we often choose the easy and non-threatening way and sometimes listen to the media’s truth, allow evil to triumph and lose our way. Jan prayed for forgiveness when we do not follow God’s way and listen to His voice or bear witness to His love and life. As always we were overwhelmed by the gift of God’s Grace as our sins were forgiven.
Children’s Message: Jan read a story by Peter Thamm, about the “Legless egghead green fluffy-haired monster” which lived in his back yard. I smiled as I watched the fascinated children and thought about when I went to Sunday School. Certainly there were no lovable “monsters” in the stories we heard about Heaven and about Jesus being our friend.
Offering / Prayer: The offering for God’s work, was taken up by Carolyn and Colin, with help from the children; before they went with Laurel and Ruth to Sunday Kids with a special Blessing.
Hymn TiS 442 “All Praise to our Redeeming Lord”
This Charles Wesley Hymn of Praise is quite short yet it also encompasses, Grace, seeking God’s presence, encouragement and “glorious hope” and anticipation of eternal life. All this in just 12 lines and 3 verses!
: Read by Dan Jeremiah 17:5-10
(Page 574) Reading
John 1:1-18 (Page 809)
Colossians 1:15-20 (Page 919)
Reflection: “Creation – Why?”
Margaret’s sermon about CREATION was - all about God and this impressed me on several levels. Yes the photos she showed of some of God’s most awesome work like
, the Challenger
Deep, the gigantic Coast Redwood trees and the tiny molecules in our bodies,
all reminded me that I have often wondered how anyone can look at these things
and wonder if there is a God. I have
often looked and smiled as I acknowledge that God must have a sense of
humour! What diversity and what
incredible ways he has addressed the needs of his creatures to overcome their
peculiar needs and address their interdependence. Mt.
Margaret said; “If we extend our appreciation of God's handiwork across the whole planet, we begin to see the webs of life, the pyramids of one form of life depending on another, the cycles of materials through both living and non-living things. Brilliant!
But over the centuries, humans have not baulked at misusing and trampling this creation as though it was theirs and is ours to treat as we wish. And.....as though it was and is infinitely renewable.” She then talked of the way people, including Christians, have often presumed us to “have dominion over the rest of creation” without realizing our responsibility to use this in a God-like way without causing destruction while suiting our own needs.
Many people of my generation, and certainly those of my parents’ generation may have been surprised to hear the ease with which Margaret, as a scientist and teacher, was so comfortable – and I would say – even eager - to stand in the pulpit and talk about what used to be called, “Science versus the Bible”. I was grateful for her enthusiasm and her faith – connected through knowledge. She said;
“I taught the theory of evolution as most people would have heard about it, and with the proviso that goes with any theory – that is that adjustments may be necessary in the future as new information comes to light. One piece of information that's not new but has been neglected is that co-operation as well as competition is involved in evolution.
I also believed what is written in Genesis 1 and 2 and all the other references in the bible to creation. That is still my position – because I believe the evidence supports the theory of evolution and I see it continuing around me and I believe the many references in the bible to creation. I believe they are not about the technicalities of how the Earth and the life on it came into being - but always about God. About God who is love and who created all that exists out of that love.
The authors in the bible were always writing about God. The story of Noah isn't about Noah, it's about God. The stories of David are not about David. They are about God. The story of Paul's conversion is about God.” This part I really liked – how many people do we all know who want to turn everything around and make it about themselves? We could do well to always try to remember that what happens to us is often because we were not thinking about God and God’s way.
In talking about Scientists Margaret said; “God is the author of everything studied in science, he gave reason to the people who ended up being called scientists, to work out the rules and systems that he, God, in the beginning, instituted. We seem to accept this better in the area of medicine. We don't have as much trouble accepting that God works through doctors and nurses.
What is to be noted here most strongly, and this is true of the Genesis stories as well, is God's creative power. This creative power is more than a force that produces matter or things made of matter. God's creative power brings light in the darkness.” Margaret then quoted John 1:4-5 "And the light was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." She went on; “It is this light that raises creation above mere bits and pieces of mineral and living tissue. In Jeremiah we hear that this light can make those who trust in God like "trees planted by water, sending out their roots by the stream." These trees will always stay green, fed by God and they will bear fruit. They will always be illuminated by God's light. Colossians says that "in him all things hold together".
It is his light that creates a Church out of very ordinary people, when their trust is in him. And what happens when this light illuminates the soul of a person? Someone like John the Baptist is created, not only calling the world's attention to the coming of its Saviour but also giving us a template for the lives we are to live. Lives that bear fruit as is written in Jeremiah. Lives that are reconciled to God and who are held together in the Church as in Colossians. Lives that are proclaimers of the Light, telling, by our lives that "From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace".
Have you noticed that we have moved from God's power in creation to his power in transforming our lives?” Yes! It is all about God Margaret – but as always the hard part is - it is all up to us to live our own lives with that in mind!
Hymn AOS Bk 2 No 3 “Christ be our light”
Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts. … Shine in your church gathered today.
Bernadette Farrell comes from a Catholic tradition and her music is often related to the themes of social justice and social action
Prayers of the People: Jan lead these prayers for us today; “We are blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Touch our hearts O God, with your love for all the world, so that we are filled with new ideas and renewed faith, which brings hope about how the world can be changed. Remind us Lord, of ways in which, as individuals, we can care for your creation and ways that together we can protect the goodness of the earth that you have placed us in, and of which you have made us stewards.
We thank you for Jesus the Word, the Light who shines God’s light into the dark places of our lives and of our world. Bring sight and faith, where there is doubt and fear. Bring comfort and strength where there is sadness and a sense of tiredness to go forward.” Jan prayed for the special needs in our red prayer books. Then we shared together in the words of the Lord’s Prayer.
Hymn TiS 456 “Your hand O God has guided””
Edward Hayes Plumptre, 1821-1891 was an important and influential theologian of his time. I love the positive and simple faith expressed in this hymn – God is in control!
May our God, God of love,
Bless and keep you forever
Grant you peace, perfect peace
Strength for every endeavour. Amen.