Gathering God’s People
Call to Worship (Abingdon Worship Annual 2011)
The Call to Worship said in part:
Make a joyful noise to the Lord. Worship God with gladness.
But is it really like that? How glad are we for all that God is? Or are we looking too much at what we lack. And is what we lack of any importance at all? How glad are we that God is and holds us close?
Hymn TIS 738: “My Jesus, my Saviour” (Shout to the Lord)
Tender, comforting Shepherd, your steadfast love is present in this place and resides within each of us. But sometimes it is hard, so very hard, to open ourselves to your love. We feel like scattered sheep, frightened and alone. Help us know your loving presence as we live as your gathered community. Enlighten our hearts, that we may know the hope to which we have been called. Amen.
Help us; enlighten us. Amen and Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Holy One, we are like sheep that stray from your fold. We are the perpetually hungry, ever in spiritual need, and at times in physical want.
We are the naked, with wounds exposed and bleeding. We are the sick, fevered, chilled, and in pain. We are the strangers, separated from others and even from ourselves.
Hear us now as we confess our brokenness and our need. Amen.
We should remember that brokenness can be mended and accept the words that follow, otherwise we cannot be God’s servants.
Declaration of Forgiveness
Our creator God sees our hunger and gives us food. Christ, the healer, touches our wounds, offering comfort and blessed relief. The Spirit blows through us, cools our fever, and eases our pain. God sees and touches and heals our wounds. Thanks, be to God!
When we were strangers, Christ welcomed us. Let us share the peace of Christ with friends and strangers with words of welcome:
The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you!
Holy One, you have given us all that we have and all that we are. Through these gifts and in our lives, help us be the shepherds and healers and lovers that you are calling us to be. Amen.
Hymn TIS 675: “Lord, the light of your love is shining” And our offering is one way to allow that to happen. Also, our congregation is older than some others and so many of us are not so well. If would be easy to look around and see other people living more comfortable lives. But if we look at how blessed we are, that will shine through.
The Service of the Word
For the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
The Preaching of the Word
Rev. John’s message today was so clear, so I have copied and then summarised the first main points:
Scattered. Dispersed. People, like boats, can be cast loose from their moorings and drift away. Sheep, preoccupied with grazing, can move from one patch of grass to another until they look up and find they are nowhere near where they began. The same is sometimes true for people.
Calamity! Imagine being one of the Israelites of the Babylonian exile - you would have wondered what would become of your people. Like modern-day refugees from Iraq, Indian subcontinent, Palestine, Afghanistan,… you would have felt lost.
Our part is to think about how we are lost but worse, how we look to the wrong things to mend that lostness. (We are) the sinner whom Jesus seeks to bring back into the fold of a loving and forgiving community.
“I myself will search for my sheep,” says God (34:11). It might seem unlikely or impossible to gather up all the disconnected lives. But God makes it clear that God will accomplish it. “I will seek . . . I will rescue . . . I will bring them . . . I will feed them . . . I will bind up the injured . . . I will strengthen the weak” (34:11- 16)
Hymn TIS 674: “Inspired by love and anger”
Music to lead us to prayer
Intercessory Prayers -Ruth gave thanks for our many blessings, and asked God to be with the leadership of Marsden Road Uniting Church. She prayed for the ending of wars and unrest and especially for children who have never known peace. She prayed that we will always remember that above all, we are God’s children, regardless of our appearance. She asked for strength and courage for all those who are faced with any obstacles of any kind and for comfort and healing for the sick. She then prayed for our personal concerns after which we joined in The Lord’s Prayer.
Hymn TIS 256: “From heav’n you came, helpless babe” (The Servant King) Benediction
Come, you who are blessed! Inherit all that is prepare for you!
We leave this sacred space to claim the riches and glorious inheritance that are ours through Christ.
Go out into the world to share your blessings with all in need.
Go forth in the name of the living Word, the One whose words bring forth the fruit of the kingdom in your own lives! Amen.
Hymn TIS 779: “ May the feet of God walk with you”