Marsden Road Uniting Church Order of Service Sunday, 26th June, 2016
Welcome Lyn welcomed Rowena, who, in turn extended the welcome of God to us all.
As is usual, Rowena had prepared a deeply thought out service, which included the message. However, somehow the hymns really touched my heart, so I have included as much of them as I could.
Call to Worship:
A Deaf Person's Perspective on Silence
Perceptive awareness of the presence of God in the world of silence,
Created for me the joy of a relationship
which alone conquers the isolation of deafness.
The Biblical scenes on the stained glass windows.
The outward symbols which portray
the ever present visible sign of God’s presence
within (God’s) Holy house.
I accept with humble gratitude
this which God has bestowed upon me.
The gift of knowing stillness.
The gift of feeling a presence – knowing without hearing.
Rev. G. Sloane (1993)
There is something there for those of us who can hear physically but sometimes don't listen from our inner being.
Hymn “Be Still for the presence of the Lord” This hymn by David Evans is a response to Exodus 3:5.
Be still for the presence of the Lord
The Holy One is here
Come bow before Him now
With reverence and fear
In Him no sin is found
We stand on holy ground
Be still for the presence of the Lord
The Holy One is here.
Another expression of our theme today, of sitting, waiting for our God to speak to us.
Prayers of Confession: Rowena prayed on our behalf, confessing that we do not always understand; that we become discouraged when our plans fail; that we are quick to give up or to question the way things seem to be turning out - for this we asked forgiveness. Rowena asked, for us, that we be granted patience and look for God's leadership; that we be granted courage to act in faith and obedience, trusting in God to lead. She praised God for his love and for our being able to meet him through his mercy and forgiveness.
Private Prayer of Confession.
Declaration of Forgiveness: Hear the good news of God's love: Our sins are forgiven!
Hymn:“Now Thank we all our God’ -- TiS 106. A hymn well known to this congregation and a wonderful vehicle for us to express our thanks and praise, when we often cannot find words of our own to say all that we want to say.
Scripture Readings: Galatians 3: 23-29 A word to remind the people that they were (and we are) all one in Christ Jesus. Any other rules don't count.
1 Kings 19: 1-4, (5-7), 8-15a. Elijah had been successful in showing The Living God's power to Israel but the followers of Baal would not accept defeat and were baying for Elijah's blood. Elijah decided to lie down and die but God had other plans and raised up leaders whom Elijah was to anoint to carry out His plan. If a man such as Elijah can be so discouraged, we should realise our own discouragement is not beyond repair by God's hand.
Reflection:“Voice of Silence”
Rowena spoke of our human longing amongst the daily grind and not finding God where we expect to.
But when we wait, we find him unexpectedly in the silence. She referred to the humanity of Elijah, being successful sometimes and failing other times. Something in us resonates with this.
There are times when all seems to going well, when we are assured of God's presence but there are other times when we can't find God and things seem to be falling apart and we feel rejected.
But then if we are still, there he is, his voice cuts through the dross and pierces the barriers between him and us.
Rowena then spoke of her discomfort with silence because she faces a future of silence as her hearing fails but then pointed out that most of the noise in our lives is part of the chaos of living, part of the rush and bustle.
We show our faith in action but we can't keep that up without retreating to a place of silence to hear a God's voice. Jesus needed that from time to time.
In that silence we hear God's real concerns. That's where we become men and women of integrity. We may think God has given up on us but it's us who have given up on him because we are trying to carry out our own plans not God's plans. We need the balance between listening and doing.
Then, there is contemplative prayer where we find intimacy with God. In that special place we find new possibilities and opportunities. There where we wait for the wisdom and ever-present spirit of God. Amen
Hymn:“God is Calling through the Whisper” There are many times when we don't know what we want. We simply know there is something deep within us that is empty. We can't ask God to meet that need because we don't know what it is. This hymn guides us in the way to wait on God as he reaches out to us.
Verse 1. God is calling through the whisper of the Spirit’s deepest sighs,
through the thrill of sudden beauties that can catch us by surprise.
Flash of lightning, crash of thunder; hush of stillness, rush of wonder:
God is calling—can you hear? God is calling—can you hear?
Prayers of Intercession Ruth led us, praying that, in the presence of the Lord, that we approach our Heavenly Father, thanking him for his love and concern for us and for the amazing unexpected things that are bestowed upon us; for his unexpected love, support and kindness. She gave thanks for his grace that is his gift to us, so that we can worship him. Ruth then prayed for our specific concerns: those of the congregation and those of people worldwide. She brought before God, all those refugees who are unsettled, asking that they be comforted. She prayed that the violence in the world will cease and for comfort for the family of the British politician who was assassinated. She asked for help for those that cannot care for themselves and that God's voice should penetrate all that we do; that it should break through so that we will hear. After praying for the personal concerns of the congregation we joined in the Lord's Prayer.
Hymn TIS 598 "Dear Father, Lord of Humankind” forgive our foolish ways.
Breathe through the heats of our desire thy coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire; speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still small voice of calm. O still small voice of calm.
There's little more to say. Rowena has made her point. A point no doubt, she heard in the silence.
Commissioning and Benediction: Go in Peace to love and serve the World
Blessing Song:“Now Unto Him” a sung verse from Jude:
Jude 1: 24-25
Now unto him that 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 forever. Amen.