Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Marsden Road Uniting Church Sunday January 17, Epiphany 2

Call to Worship:
We are the Body of Christ, gathered in celebration of your transforming presence through which we can become new people, reaching out in love to a waiting world.
Life can be enlarged and enhanced, bearing witness to the creativity of God and the wonder of the Holy Spirit.
People: Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Hymn TIS 121                      "God himself is present"
Let us now adore him. A reminder to ourselves of why we have come today.

Prayer of Invocation:   Ruth
Holy Spirit of God, hover over our lives and bring to us all that we need, to be your true people.  
People: Come Holy Spirit, come.
For we cannot be who we long to be without your presence among us.  
People: Come, Holy Spirit, come.
Breathe your peace within us, and inspire us with your wisdom, inviting in us your passion for good.  
People: Come Holy Spirit, come.Amen.

Prayer of Thanksgiving:   Glenn
Thanks be to you, Holy God, as we discover with gratitude small signs of your divine life within us and among us.
People: Thanks be to you O God, from whom all goodness comes. Amen.

Prayer of Confession:  Margaret
O God, who listens to us as we face our humanness with honesty, we confess that we are not always open to your enlivening work. Sometimes we would rather cling to our comfortable ways. Help us step out into whatever possibilities you have for us. Help us believe that you will always support us whatever risks we take, in your name.
People: Forgive us and bring us to a new day, O God. Give us the faith to act as your people and to believe that we can support each other. Amen

Words of Assurance:  Margaret
God, in Christ, understands our journey and the vulnerability of our humanness.
Grace is always waiting for us, when we come in humble prayer. Our lives are restored to hope and promise. For we are forgiven
People: Thanks be to God.

Hymn TIS 64:                       "O Bless the Lord, my soul"
Again, reminding ourselves of all God's many blessings to us and praising him for them.

Readings:  Pat:                    Psalm 36: 5 - 10; the Psalmist has been in a bit of a pit, telling all the evil people what is in store for them but in this part of the psalm he remembers God's blessings on his own.  John 2: 1 - 11 The account of Jesus first public act after his baptism: the turning of water to wine. Not quite what we were expecting.  But there are lessons there for all of us.

Sermon:   Margaret: 
Are you a Water Christian or a Wine Christian? 

This service was mine and I took a different view of the bible reading from the usual one. I think I was being tapped on the shoulder by God about my own Christian life but I thought what I was thinking was worth passing on.  Water is unique and essential to life on earth and so are "Water Christians" to the faith.  But wine is richer, richer in colour and aroma and can add richness to other things such as a casserole.  Also it comes in so many varieties.  So it occurred to me that because of this richness and variety, this is the sort of Christian who would be of greater service to God's' kingdom. This is the sort of Christian who could contribute to a richer Church.  But to be a wine Christian we need to open up every last little bits of our lives to God. That takes courage. Are we up to it?  The condition of God's church depends on it.

Hymn TIS 398                      "Come down O Love Divine"
Having heard the challenge, this hymn provides us with a way of giving an invitation for God to fully renew us.

Offering:  Margaret : Now let us bring our gifts to God and to others in grateful thanks for all we have received. O God, we place these our gifts into your hands. Guide those that use them for the continuing life of the church.

Prayers for the People:   Margaret prayed for the leadership of our church and our country and the leaders worldwide that they will all be guided by God's Spirit.  She then asked for God's hand to guide in local concerns.  Margaret asked for God's blessing on the church at Marsden Road and all that belong to it, including its leaders and then turned our attention to the personal concerns of the congregation.  Then we joined in the Lord's Prayer.

Hymn TIS 212:                    "Christ whose glory fills the skies" 
Not so much just an invitation but an affirmation that we know God is ready to act and that we are willing for his glorious work in our lives.

Blessing:    Margaret : Let us go forth, holding each other in love.
Let us lift up our hearts in hope for new visions of who we could be as Christ's Church, confident that Jesus has walked this way before us.
And may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you, and remain with you always.  Amen."

Blessing Song: 781   "Father bless us as we go, Jesus walk beside us, Holy Spirit guide us." And to show we mean it, we sang it twice,

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