Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 1 May 2016

Welcome Ruth welcomed Raymond to our service and, he, in turn, welcomed us to worship.

Call to worship

God is the beating heart;

Of everything that was, is and ever shall be.

God is the energy in us and around us.

God is the power that makes everything live!

Let us worship God

Hymn TIS 72 From all who dwell below the skies A song that speaks of the magnitude of God's blessings and the infinite nature of the range of those blessings. So often we are focused on ourselves and perhaps our own burdens or in some cases, minor irritations that side-track us from appreciating all that God offers.

Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving Raymond began his praise of God through annunciating the sacrifices Jesus made to become one of us: being obedient to the end to open the Gates of Heaven to all who believe. He acknowledged God as life, wisdom, power and spirit who draws us together as His family.

Prayer of Confession Raymond confessed that even though God has set forth our intended way of life in Jesus, we, to our shame, have not always followed that way. Have mercy on us.

Words of Assurance God is light. There is no darkness in Him. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin.

Hear God's words of Grace: Your sins are forgiven.

Thanks be to God.

Announcements Firstly, the resounding success of the activity day for children on the pupil-free day was announced but then we were saddened to hear of Rev. Jan's illness which is going to keep her from us for a while, so that she can recover.

Offering  Thanking God for His immense generosity, Raymond asked God to help us use His gifts to change lives and so bring about a transformed world.

Hymn TIS 538 Feed us now, bread of life A prayer, confessing our yearning for God's hand upon us, and giving thanks for the Eucharist to follow, and the blessing it mysteriously brings.

Holy Communion  Iona liturgy  Raymond reminded us that this table was not his, not that of the elders, not that of the congregation, but God's and when we approach the table it is in response to the invitation of Christ Jesus.

This communion service has been recorded in past months but today I paid greater attention, first to the words spoken but also to the bread and cup as they were raised up for our attention, reminding us of Jesus' sacrifice..

But then the image of bread and wine and various vessels on the screen at the front of the church, with its richness of colour and overall unity, somehow impressed upon me how Jesus' whole life was lived, in its great richness, for the sole purpose of our redemption.

Prayer after Communion Raymond prayed that our ears would hear God's voice, that our eyes would see God's blessings and that our tongues will tell the story of God's love. He then gave Glory to God for His inexpressible gift.

HymnTIS 526 Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us The melody runs like that of a lilting love song. And that's just what it is. God's love for us and our love for him. Amen.

Bible Readings  these readings were brought to us by Carolyn: Acts 16:16-24 This passage is worth reading in full. It shows what happens when people of good will stand between other people and their money. And we can all recognize the characters as this story as played out in our own world today. Greediness is invariably accompanied by bullying.

Revelation 21: 22 22:5 The promise of life which is not diminished in any way - shining brightly.

Sermon  God's Hospitality Room for everyone at the table Raymond reminded us that, not only are we all welcome at the Lord's table, but we all have a role to play in bringing about God's kingdom. We have the joy of our Christian Faith and the joy of belonging to the community of the Uniting Church in Australia. As such, we are assured that we are not forgotten or lost. He stressed that even as we look about and see a senior congregation, we are still in the game. The promise of what is to come in the message in Revelation is for us but it is our responsibility to spread the good news of that message to all. That is the message of Shalom which has been passed down through so many generations. The message of everything that is good. And we are part of the game of passing on of that message of everything that is good to all. Raymond told us of his visit to Malawi as part of a push to eliminate government corruption which was resulting in funds meant for medicine for the people being sidetracked to the purses of people in power. Corruption is everywhere and we are part of the game to stand up to such corruption. On the other side of that same coin we are part of the game of spreading the news of God's love to all.

Musical interlude before prayers A time to sit and speak to God and listen for his voice.

Prayers of Intercession  Joan led us in prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Some of us are feeling world-weary when we look around your world and this beautiful country and hear and see so much anger, discontent, depression, intolerance, violence greed and negativity.

God give us a passion for joy and teach us tolerance. 

We shout at each other and make loud noises to fill the silence so we dont have to listen to what is really going on around us. 

God open our ears to hear you and teach us to love.

We choose to stare at electronic screens so we dont have to see the loneliness of people or look into their faces and risk having to become involved.

God open our eyes and teach us compassion and caring. 

We surround ourselves with more possessions than we need, but dont always pause to see the desperate needs of others.

Lord, open our hearts to the needs of your people everywhere. 

We pray for generosity of spirit, for the ability to listen to each other and speak on any matter without being overbearing or insensitive.  We ask for your wisdom to see and sense the insecurity of people who are trying to protect themselves by hiding their true feelings. 

We must learn to accept that others, yes - even in this building today have diverse opinions. 

They are not wrong and we are not right! 

We are all different.  We are all people who have come to your house this morning through different paths and varied life experiences.

Only you can see the harm we sometimes cause to others when we question the validity of their feelings or their actions.  It is only you who can see into our human hearts and minds.  Help us to be gentle and kind in all things, so we can be a living example of your love and your generous forgiveness towards us; specially when we fall short of the example of Jesus who was willing to die for our sins. 

We pray for the grace to share your gifts of kindness, love, generosity, peace and understanding, with all your people.  We pray for unselfish and tolerant leadership that seeks the common good for the leaders of all nations and all people.  Father we pray that we may be part of your plan to break down the barriers and misunderstandings that cause conflict in our families, our community, our country and your world. 

We ask for your blessing on all who mourn and all who are sick in mind or body - and we ask for your blessing on those people who care for the sick and dying.

We have all been affected by stories we have heard or seen on the news in this past week, or we know of someone who is sick, or in trouble, or out of work, or disappointed.  We lift all these situations and people up to you dear Father - and offer a silent prayer for them all. Amen           

Hymn TIS 611 God of grace and God of glory A prayer that God will guide us and give us His power to do his work. A prayer that God will save us from our petty squabbles and save us from retreating when the going gets hard. A prayer that we all can effectively be part of the game.

Blessing Eternal God, from whom all holy desires, all good purposes, and all just works come; Give to us that peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be set to obey your commandments, and also that by you, we, being defended from all fear, may pass our time in peace; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

And now may the blessing of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you, Always.  Amen.

Blessing Song  TIS 778 Shalom was the only choice possible.

Shalom to you now, Shalom, my friends. May God's full mercies bless you, my friends.

In all your living and through your loving, Christ be your Shalom, Christ be your Shalom.

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