Friday, 18 August 2017

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 13 August 2017

Gathering God’s People

Call to Worship (I was not able to be present today but reflected on Rev. John’s notes.)

(Mary J. Scifres, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)

When God restored the fortunes of Zion, the Israelites wandered home as if in a dream. Let us be a people who wander in our dreams. Wander amongst God’s marvellous creation! Wonder at the amazing things God has done! Do not worry about your life, today or tomorrow. Trust that God values us even more greatly than birds and flowers, no matter how beautiful they may be. Know that God treasures us completely, and gives us all that we will ever need.

Come with hearts overflowing in gratitude. God has done great things for us.

Be glad and rejoice. We rejoice in God’s gifts.

Sing praises of joy. Our mouths are filled with laughter.

Shout with thanksgiving, in sunshine and rain. Praise God for our lives, for harvest and food.

Hymn TIS 560:All my hope on God is founded;” Echoing the words above.

Opening Prayer

As then moving forward with faith in God to deliver the promise:

Giver of life, for sunshine and showers, we give you thanks; for food and drink, we give you praise; for clothing and shelter, we bestow our gratitude. Gather our worries and our burdens this day, and shelter us from fear and despair. Help us rest assured in your arms, knowing that your loving care is enough. It is enough. It is enough. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

God not only delivers the things of this world but the things of God’s world.

God of abundant love, sprinkle the tears we have sown with your mercy and hope,

that we may reap a harvest of joy; replace our selfish dreams of wealth and prestige, with gratitude for what we have, that we may find contentment in life.

Turn our dreams to you, O Lord. and remind us of the abundance you offer,

for you have done great things for us, turning our tears into shouts of joy.

Declaration of Forgiveness

Through Christ, God’s love has done great things for us. Through Christ, God’s grace restores our life and makes us whole once more.

Thanks, be to God!

The Peace 

Share with one another signs of peace and love. Show Christ to one another, that we may be reminded of the peace that passes all understanding.

 Peace be with you! And also with you!

Today, I have recorded the service almost word for word because in those words there is the expression of the many longings each of us has. We all find it difficult to approach God with the words we need to express what we have to say. And here that is done for us so  beautifully and  so accurately. I hope this is an aid to your expression of your needs to God. In the children’s time, John told the story of the widow offering a few coins, all she had, at the temple. Often we think we have nothing to offer in God’s work. But that all he wants. All of us. And no matter what sort of person we are or how we see our gifts, we all can be used in God’s hands and we are our most effective when we finally offer our all


John’s Prayer reminded us to be glad and joyful for all the good things we are given.

Hymn TIS 555: “Put all your trust in God” If we put our trust and ourselves, including our plans, in God’s hands and stay alert for his voice, then our path will be true.

The Service of the Word

Readings: Joel 2: 21-27. 1Timothy 2: 1-7. Matthew 6: 25-33 –delivered by Wendy

Preaching of the Word 

Rev. John wrote about various approaches to giving he had encountered or had heard of.

At Marsden Road he said he had encountered great generosity and so have I. Not just generosity with money but generosity with both time and energy.

I would agree with the Rev. John that in the Western World we all have trouble coming to terms with sacrificial giving. Not many of us are able to bring ourselves to the level of sacrifice of Mother Teresa, whom Rev. John refers to.

But many give up much for the benefit of others.
There are many ways of being sacrificial. Some go without sleep for a sick friend or relative. But I would agree with that in the West, our giving normally involves giving up luxuries. Not so many visits to the theatre; not so many holidays away; not so many meals in a restaurant, or whatever it is that is a luxury for us.

But I think it is possible to give sacrificially in another way. We can give our all. Not many are asked to live elsewhere or work within the church administration but we can be God’s nurses and doctors; God’s mechanics and plumbers; God’s architects and engineers; God’s teachers and accountants; God’s drivers, police, firemen, seamstresses. And we can all be hospitable; we can all make sure we are aware of those in need. but we can always look for ways to be better hands in this earth for God. Rev. John said:  “It took Mother Teresa of Calcutta to show us how to live out this parable of Jesus. She literally saw Jesus in those she found dying on the streets of Calcutta and the destitute.”

Even those of us who think we are living simply for the sake of God’s other children or all of God’s creation, can probably “do better.”

It's worth reflecting upon - in Jesus name.

Hymn TIS 589: “Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult” It would be a better place if we could all ignore the trivial and keep our focus on God’s plan for us.

Grahame played while the Congregation reflected privately. This was followed by the 

Intercessory Prayers after which they joined in the

Hymn TIS 143: “Immortal, Invisible, God Only WiseThe only one of whom we can depend.

Benediction Go forth with shouts of joy. Proclaim the greatness of God! Be glad and rejoice in Christ’s care. Trust the promises of God! As you go in Trust may the blessing of that same God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life remain with you always.

Hymn TIS 778: “Shalom to you now,”

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