"A Cloud of Witnesses"
The congregation processed into the church; a cloud of witnesses; a line of saints who have served at Marsden Road Uniting Church and out in the world for so many years out of their love for God and their love for their fellow people.
Hymn TIS 455 verses 1, 2, 3, 7 & 8: “For All the Saints” May we continue as the saints of old who in God's strength and guided by his Spirit, laid the foundations of this church to which we belong and in which we serve.
Call to Worship - (B. J. Beu, Abingdon 2016)
Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song! Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; And from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.
Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song.
Take courage, all you people. Take courage, says the Holy One, for I am with you.
Do not be afraid, for God’s Spirit is with us. The Holy One watches over all who come in love.
Let our mouths speak the praise of God. Let us bless God’s holy name forever and ever.
Hymn TIS 454: “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” We can approach God in confidence, knowing that he will lighten each burden and guide our way.
Almighty God, your people of all the ages live and praise you without ceasing. In our communion with you, we have communion with generations past and generations yet unborn. Before your throne we are one with a great multitude which no one could number, and in praising you we join with people from every nation. Grant to your church on earth that as we celebrate the triumph of your saints in glory we may profit by their example and enter with them into the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
A time when we are given an opportunity to think about all our blessings and God's great generosity to us and then think about and acknowledge all the ways in which we fail to live out the freedom he has given us. Then we can lay that burden of failure on him and ask forgiveness.
Declaration of Forgiveness
Hear again, the word of truth: in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
Thanks, be to God!
As forgiven and loved members of Christ’s body, let us share signs of peace with one another.
The peace of Christ be with you. The Peace of Christ be with you always.
Living, loving, gracious God, in you we find eternal life. Accept these gifts, that we may spread the good news of your comfort and grace throughout the world. Amen.
Hymn TIS 511: “Let us break bread together with the Lord” "Lord, fill all our living with your life." The only way we can live authentically.
The Service of Holy Communion Today, for those unable to attend communion, I will be including as much of the Communion service as possible, which will mean that other sections such as the sermon will need to be left out
The Great Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.
You, O God created us and have brought your people
through many trials: Abraham and Sarah, Miriam and Moses...Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa— all attest to your providence and mercy and show us ways to live.
S0 now with all our hearts we praise you, faithful God. In the beginning, you called light to shine in darkness... Yet we chose our own sinful ways... So, you spoke an eternal word in a human voice in Jesus of Nazareth... He called and people followed, leaving every other loyalty. He set us free to praise your holy name. But hatred and violence shouted Jesus down... Then you turned our sorrow into joy. On the third day, you raised him up to lead your people into life. So, we praise you, holy God, with angels and archangels and all your faithful people:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!
On the night before he died, Jesus gathered with his friends to share a meal and wash their feet, teaching one more lesson of love. He took bread and blessed it and broke it. He gave it to them and said: “Take this and eat it. This is my body.” Whenever you do this, eat it, in remembrance of me. Jesus took a cup of wine and blessed it and gave it to them. He said: “Take this and drink it. This is my blood, sealing God’s promise to forgive your sins. Whenever you do this, drink it, in remembrance of me:
And now, faithful God, send us your Spirit to feed us with the body and the blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Make us one body in Christ. Send us as your messengers in the world and fill us with energy, courage and love:
Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour, power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.
Lamb of God
Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us peace.
Invitation to Communion
The gifts of God for the people of God. Draw near with faith, to feed on Christ in your hearts with thanksgiving.
Prayer after Communion
Holy God, we came to this table scarred by regrets and broken dreams, anxious about many things, knowing that we are not immune to evil's lure. And you met us at this table; embracing us in our brokenness, naming us "beloved", claiming us for eternity. We thank you, living, loving God. Amen.
The Service of the Word
Ephesians 1:11-23 You who have heard and believed, you are his.
Luke 6:20-31 This is about ignoring the ups and downs of this world and other people and remembering whose we are. Thanks be to God.
Preaching of the Word
Today I am making a huge exception. For the first time since I began writing this blog, I am sacrificing the space given to the sermon to relate the blessings received from other parts of the service.
Hymn TIS 256: “From heaven you came, helpless babe” This hymn paints a picture of an unexceptional person, who in obedience to God, provided us with a way back to wholeness. However this wholeness can only be as intended if it is spent in service.
Music to lead us to prayer
As Grahame played we prepared ourselves to hear God's voice and to let our imagination see God's intended will in action.
This is the time when we look outwards, focusing on the world around us, from our own church to our local suburb to our state and country, praying for our secular, business and political leadership.
Praying for all those in distress of any sort, anywhere in the world, especially those who have given up hope as the result of terrible physical or mental illness or because of irreparable damage to their homes brought about by hostilities often way outside their own influence.
God of truth, for all the saints. We give you thanks.
Then we prayed together The Lord's Prayer.
Hymn TIS 456 "Your hand, O God, has guided” An affirmation that God always has been and always will be with his people.
In all things, give thanks to God, for you have been called to bear witness to the good news. And may the Creator of all, Holy Spirit, and Christ Jesus— one God, living in you and through you and around you, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and deed. Amen.
Blessing Song. Hymn TIS 779: “May the feet of God walk with you”
May the feet of God walk with you and his hand hold you tight.
May the eye of God rest on you and his ear hear your cry.
May the smile of God be for you and his breathe give you life.
May the Child of God grow in you and his love bring you home.
Go to Memorial Garden
The congregation then forwarded out and gathered around the church garden while John conducted a service to scatter Tom Lowe's ashes onto the ground of what had been his spiritual home for so long. His Spirit will remain with us.