Friday, 27 April 2018

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 8 April 2018

Gathering God’s People

We all have doubts about many theories and events presented as facts and we would be remiss not to have such doubts. We must not accept anything passed onto us by another person just because they say so. Given that the Bible is written about people who are no longer with us and events that are well and truly in the past, what can we believe?

Well, to start with, some of what is written in the Bible is there for the message it carries and the possible factual or historic content isn't the chief concern of the reader. The biblical writers had a variety of styles of writing and not all of them were a recount of historical events. So, in the case of Thomas, was he right in doubting? Were his doubts justified? How did he resolve the conflict between what he thought was possible and the events in which he found himself ? Is that event represented correctly?

The Rev. John led us through the problem faced by John; one faced by many of us today.

“This is the day to walk in the light.

This is the day to share signs of peace.

This is the day to believe where we have not seen.

This is the day to embrace what we cannot touch. Come! Let us worship the Lord of life.”


Hymn TIS 382: “Now the green blade rises from the buried grain”. The focus of this hymn, for me, is that love cannot be defeated. Love will rise above.

Opening Prayer

“God of manifold blessing, come to us this day. Come and bless us. Come and lead us into the light. For we come to you to find peace. We come to rediscover joy. We come to believe where we have not seen. We come to touch the glory of everlasting life, through the power of your Son. We come to truly live. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

 “Heart of all hearts, Joy of all joys, teach us how to live as one.

You offer us your abundant grace, and yet we still long to find rest and peace.

You have shown us the light of our salvation, yet we often lurk in the shadows.

You promise us the glory of everlasting life, yet we settle for the tarnished glow of selfish pursuits.

Forgive us.

Help us believe where we have not seen; help us walk bravely in the midst of our fear, that we may truly know your peace each and every day. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness

 In Christ, God has forgiven not only our sins,
 but the sins of the whole world. Rejoice in the light and peace of the Holy One. Rejoice in the blessings of our God.

Thanks, be to God!

Hymn TIS 649: “These things did Thomas
 count as real” I think Thomas is being sold
short in this hymn. After all that time with
Jesus I think that he was well aware of the
very real things that we cannot see or touch.
 But this story would have been more than very difficult for anyone to accept.

 The Service of the Word

Moving from Doubt (A summary)

“After illustrating his point, Rev. John said:

 Isn’t it natural for humans to want to give the right answer?…Most often, we don’t want to doubt or challenge leaders or stand in the way of accepted norms. So, when we have our doubts, we tend to keep them to ourselves. That is the safe way.

Today’s Gospel reveals to us St. Thomas—who was the one who had not seen the risen Jesus when he first appeared to the disciples. The others told him they had seen the Lord, but he was skeptical. He doubted. Still, Thomas must have wanted to fit in. He might have said, “Look, friends, I know the answer is supposed to be that. I acknowledge that you saw Jesus, but it sure sounds like a ghost. But the story of Thomas’ honesty and forthrightness gives us hope and empowers us in our moments of doubt. We don’t have to accept mindlessly whatever seems the expected or accepted answer or view.

 Across the Uniting Church, let alone the Church, there are sharp divisions over decisions made at recent Assemblies, Synods and other meetings. Few congregations or Presbyteries are free from controversy, leaving many in doubt about where God stands in all this. Since doubt and fear are bound to come upon us, we do well by facing the truth of these feelings, like Thomas of old. Let us remember that he was in a good and safe place to question and then to see and learn.

 We are here because this is a place where we can encounter the risen Christ, patiently and lovingly leading us into all truth, just as he led St. Thomas. If we are willing to work through our fear and our doubts, we will find the other side of today’s Gospel that teaches us also about faith. If we are honest in our relationships with one another, we can experience mutual support in learning to believe what we cannot easily see…”

 Hymn AOV 63: “We walk by faith” We may not touch his hands and side, nor follow where he trod, yet in his promise we rejoice, and cry “My Lord and God!”

It's a problem that faces each person of each new generation. Only the Spirit’s work in our lives allows us to step away from worrying over the facts to being sure of the outcome.

Intercessory Prayers

Rev. John led us, lifting up all those in need. We prayed for those close to us; for those known to us through the media; for those who face the same spiritual problems we all face; for those in physical needs of any type and for comfort for them. We then drew together all our prayers in the THE LORD'S PRAYER


Hymn TIS 376: "I know that my Redeemer lives" Those of us who have humbled ourselves before a God know this full well, regardless of any historical details.


 Walk in the light of God.

We will live in the light of God and we will bask in the light of God.

May the Light of all lights transform your doubts into faith, and your sorrows into joy.

       We go with the peace of God.

Go with the blessings of almighty God.


Hymn TIS 779: “May the feet of God walk with you,” Could we wish anything better for each other? Could we wish a greater treasure as a gift to each other?


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