Thursday, 25 February 2016

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 21 February 2016

Dermot led us in a service through which we were able to think about our relationship with God and each other.

He Called us to Worship by reminding us that all creation speaks of God and then invited us to join with creation to reveal God through our worship and praise of him.

For this creation we praised God by singing the

Hymn TIS 137 "For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies" expressing our thanks and praise in a familiar way, known since childhood, for all that God showers upon us.

In the Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving, Dermot kept our attention on God's gift of creation, expressing our appreciation of all the minute details of God's handiwork and confessing that we often miss the vibrancy of what is directly in front of us. He continued, praising God for the way creation touches every one of our senses but then confessed that even with such opportunities, how we still miss God right beside us in created things.

Dermot claimed the forgiveness that is offered to us and spoke of how our thanks swells within us, blessing God's' name.

After receiving the Offering, Dermot prayed that with God's blessing it will do great and powerful things in His name.

With the Scripture reading and Sermon to follow we asked for God's' hand upon us in another familiar

Hymn TIS 569 "Guide me O Thou great Jehovah" We acknowledged our weaknesses and inability to negotiate our way without God's wisdom and thanked him for his gift to us.

Scripture Readings. Philippians 3: 17 - 4:1 The Philippians are being exhorted to stand firm in their faith and are being assured that those that follow any other way are not going to end well. This is not a threat, it is simply a reminder that if you don't follow the maker's directions, the product won't work.

Luke 13: 31 - 35 Jesus is warned that he is in danger but is not intimidated and says to tell openly what he is doing. The next section would have sounded very confusing except in hindsight after the Passion. Then, Jesus predicts that they will understand and Bless his name.

Sermon Dermot acknowledged consulting the online help of Bill Loder for guidance in analyzing the text and explained that Paul was frustrated in his attempts to guide the new Christians in their faith. Many of the Christians were Jews and wanted to cling to their Jewish rules, despite now being under the New Covenant. They shouldn't be blamed for this because those rules had been their security for so long. At the same time we can imagine Paul's frustration: Why did Jesus come? There was a new way. A New Covenant. They were released from the old ways.

Many of these old ways applied to dietary laws and other laws affecting the body, which could be adhered to without a Temple and still cement their Jewishness. This approach had grown out of their exile when there was no Temple and when they were surrounded by other religions. So laws were stressed which would prevent their merging with non -Jewish people. They would keep their distinctness.

But did these laws bring them closer to God? Did it make them a vibrantly God-centred people? It seems not.

So Jesus came to put an end to it and open the door to the New Covenant. And Paul is taking a big stick to those who want to cling to the old ways.

Listen up!

Then in the words of the next hymn we asked that God would safeguard our adherence to the new way.

Hymn TIS 407 "Breathe on me breathe of God" - "until this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine". Enough said.

We began Prayers of the People with a time of contemplation, bringing our own needs before God and then Dermot led us in praying for the personal concerns of the congregation.

Our final Hymn TIS 106 "Now thank we all our God" again we thanked God and gave praise for all the multitude of blessings he gives us.

After the Blessing we sang to each other

Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His Glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen

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