Monday, 12 February 2018

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 28 January 2018




 

I was drawn in immediately the service began by the Call to Worship and the parts of the service which followed:

 

Call to Worship

(Abingdon Worship Annual 2009)

By this I have known the presence of the Lord:

in the rising of the sun, in the smile of another’s face,

in the touch of a hand or the sound of a laugh,

in the scent of a flower holding the promise of spring.

By this I have known the power of the Lord:

in the healing of hurts, in the forgiveness of sin,

in the giving of gifts beyond all expectation,

in the shower of love that comes from God’s Son.

Let us give thanks to the Lord with all of our heart!

Let us worship our God, whose presence and power

endures forever!

We see God around us in many ways but fail to see that one way others see God is through ourselves. Are we failing to show God to others?

 

Hymn TIS 52: “Let us sing to the God of salvation” I wonder if we are living out the theme of this hymn? Are we living lives of praise? If we are, we couldn't fail to show God to those around us.

 

Opening prayer

Almighty and most merciful God, we give thanks that you know us and love us. Help us, through the power of your Holy Spirit, grow deeper, wider, and fuller in our knowledge and understanding of your ways. Help us, through the bestowal of your divine Wisdom, bring others closer to you and to your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.

 

And there it is! If we make this our minute by minute attitude to walking with God, I think our church would be a better witness to our God.

 

Rev. John then gave the children’s address (to the adults). He told about the pecking order in a chook yard and made a comparison between that and the functioning of society.

He spoke of the violence and aggression. Sometimes that is not so easy to identify and sometimes we don't believe that we are behaving in such a way because the aggression is quiet, the violence is emotional or intellectual.

 

When Rev. John began his sermon he spoke of experiences anyone of us may have had, where a charismatic leader caught our attention. In my experience that can happen simply because of the personal appeal of the leader. Or it may be that the leader makes their message so relevant to our way of thinking that we think we have found the good oil.

But when Jesus spoke to the people of his time or to people of today through hymns, scripture, preachers, creation or the lives of others, what drew and draws people is a recognition of truth.

Rev. John went on to speak of the ramifications of committing ourselves to that truth. We have to surrender our own personal desires and commit ourselves to the person of the one who is the foundation of all that is. The One who is love and light: the One who gave all that we could live a new life.

This commitment to truth is a very personal thing between each of us and our Lord who is truth.

And we need to commit anew each day. That is because we human beings are just so good at forgetting whose we are and who we need to connect with daily to continue living that truth.

 

This theme was continued in:

 

Hymn TIS 560: “All my hope on God is founded”  If only we could keep that before us each day!


Then the Benediction.  We have to act to share our treasure:

 

Go on; get out of here! God’s prophet, God’s Son, calls

us to teach others of God’s power and might.

From this worshipping fellowship, we go into the

community, seeking to tell others our stories.

Go on; get out of here! Share how God has transformed

you. Invite others to become disciples of this new

teacher.

We will invite others to share our journey, even if it

scares us to death.

Go on, I mean it; get out of here! Share how God has

brought you to knowledge and wisdom of new ways, new

opportunities, new ways of being.

We go with joy. We leave in peace. Amen.

 

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 11 February 2018






Today I would like to pay particular attention to the prayers and hymns because I am usually not able to say much in the space available.

Both prayers and hymns give us the words to express what we are unable to do on our own.

Rev. John introduced the Call to Worship with these words:

Chariots and horses of fire . . . a prophet taken up into heaven . . . a gospel unveiled . . . Moses, Elijah, and Jesus shining brighter than the sun . . . the time approaches and now is. Watch . . . listen . . . perceive . . . God is with us. Nothing is as it seems.


signalling that something beyond our
understanding is involved when God becomes known to humankind.

Depending on our particular bent, God will
come to us in a way we can understand.

For some of us that is through words, for others through music, for others through
creation itself or through the myriad of ways
 God is with us. However, because of God’s greatness we only glimpse a little at a
time:

 

Call to Worship

 The glory of God is too great for you to bear.

We are not afraid. We will not turn back.

The mystery of God runs too deep for you to fathom.

We are not deterred. We will not turn back.

The fiery chariot of Elijah is not for mortal sight to see. We are blessed with the eyes of faith. We will not turn back.

Come then, and worship our God, who took Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind.

We will worship the Lord, who transfigured Moses, Elijah, and Jesus to shine like the sun

 

Even though God is great beyond anything we can imagine, as expressed in the first hymn: “Jesus shall reign where’re the sun”, we are invited to approach and fellowship with that Divine presence. How good is that!

 

 Opening Prayer

 God of mighty tempest and devouring fire, you come to us shrouded in mystery. Just as Elisha followed Elijah until he was taken up into heaven, we will follow Christ up the mountain to behold his glory. Who are Moses and Elijah that we should not join their ranks among the faithful? What is to prevent us from shining with Christ this very day? Give us eyes and ears of faith, Holy One, that we may see the heavens open and hear your voice, calling us to follow your Son. Amen.

 

Whenever we are touched by God, we know there is so much more to life over and above the daily trivia and dross, which is expressed in the

 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Through the light of the one who was transfigured to show us the power and glory of God, we find a way through the wilderness of our doubt and confusion; we find strength for the journey and courage for the road ahead. Thanks, be to God!

This Light is the subject of the next hymn: “Jesus the light of your love is shining.” Having the effect expressed in the line: “Set us free by the truth You now bring us”

It is that freedom from all that weighs us down that we all long for.

This theme was continued in the

 

Offering Prayer:

Light of Light, when we grow accustomed to dwelling in the shadows and painting with drab colours, you bless us with your radiance and the vitality of your love. Illumine these gifts, Holy One, that the world may see your light shining through our offering. Illumine our very lives, O God, that we may remain restless until we shine like Christ upon the mountain, until we follow Elisha’s footsteps and behold your glory. Amen.

 

In my experience, we are made restless until we reach out to the only source of Light and Love. And if we stray, that restlessness will return until we find the only cure.

And that comes in our own mountain top experiences. As Rev. John said:

 

 “We too have our "mountain tops." Each of us needs places and times set apart for us to take a good spiritual breath.”

 

But even when we are aware of God’s presence the mystery remains, inspiring the words of hymns like:

“Immortal invisible, God Only wise.”

 

The words of the next hymn: “Lord your almighty word” are a guide to finding God and God’s Light and Love to show to the world and thereby commune with God and build God’s Kingdom…now….here.

 

The words of the Benediction drew the service together and sent us on our way:

 

BENEDICTION

 Go forth with the courage to climb the mountain of God.

We will walk in the light and truth of Christ.

Go forth with ears to hear the voice of God.

We will hear the call to follow Jesus.

Go forth to live as people who shine with Christ’s glory. We will leave footprints of light as we walk.

Go forth in expectation and hope, for God goes with you, and may the blessings of that God go with you, Amen.