Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Sunday Service Marsden Road Unitng Church 24 February 2019


 

The theme today was “love”. God’s love which has raised us up to minister to others, so that they will find God’s love for themselves. One of the first statements the Rev. John made during The Call to Worship was:

“Love is an all or nothing proposition. Only by loving your enemies as well as your friends do you live as children of the Most High.”

This theme was continued through the Opening Prayer:

 “Inexhaustible source of love and life, be with us in our time of worship as we seek the love it takes to walk in the ways of your Son. Help us love our enemies and bless those who wrong us, for we cannot do so alone. Teach us the joy of treating others with all the same respect and goodness with which we hope to be treated. May our every word and deed make known that we are your beloved children and vessels of your love. Amen.”

which both acknowledged God as love itself and the source of all love. At the same time the prayer called on God to show us how to love as God loves us. But we needed to Confess our inability to do so as God would want us to do because of our human frailty.

“Teacher of hard truths, it is difficult to let go of our anger toward those who prosper through deceit and unscrupulous ways:

It is not easy to make ourselves believe that the meek will inherit the earth, when they are being crushed by the unjust systems stacked against them.


We long to see the vindication of the righteous
and the prosperity of those who work selflessly
 to bring your realm here on earth.

We yearn for the day when all people will
treat one another as they wish to be treated.
 Help us live into that day, Holy One, even
when it is difficult, that your love might
 shine like the sun through our lives and
our ministries. Amen.”

But having confronted our lack and having
asked for forgiveness, we were able to reach
 out, knowing that we are forgiven and can
pass that generosity onto other children of God.

“Let us be known as children of the Most High by sharing our love with all as we pass the peace of Christ.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!”

We were gathered today to welcome Otis into the family of God and God’s love. Because there is only one way to be so joined the parents were asked if they had made the necessary steps to claim membership of God’s family for themselves and their little boy:

“Do you turn to Christ? Do you repent of your sins? Do you reject selfish living, and all that is false and unjust? Do you renounce all that is evil? Do you believe that the gospel enables us to turn from darkness and evil and to walk in the light of Christ?”

When they answered all these questions in the affirmative, John prayed:

“Almighty God deliver you from the powers of darkness and lead you in the light of Christ to his everlasting kingdom. Amen.”

Then knowing Otis would receive proper guidance from his parents, Rev. John continued:

 “Otis, may the Lord open your ears to hear his word and your mouth to proclaim his praise.”

We then showed our love in a practical manner through our offering according to Jesus words:

“Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure. . . running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

This sense of generosity beyond what was necessary was continued in the Bible reading from Luke which admonished us to love without any sense of reward or return…even those who were our enemies.

The Preaching of the WordUnimaginable Love continued along the same line:

 “To love our enemies prevents us from acting out of our own self-interest. It means that compassion and forgiveness are at the very core of our faith. It means that to do harm to others in any way is totally out of the question. It means that we live by a higher standard, one that leads us to a new and different world which transcends the one in which we live. To follow this principle is humanly impossible.”

The same message was reflected in the Prayers of the People, led by Wendy. Not only was the main body of the prayer focused on love to others but the prayer requests of the congregation were little packs of love, wishing peace and God’s comfort on those we know who are suffering in some way.

  This was emphasized in the following hymn, “Joy to the World.” Joy cannot exist without peace and love.

Benediction

 “Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage;

hold fast that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the faint hearted; support the weak;

help the afflicted; give honour to all; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.  

 

Then we sang a blessing to each other:

HymnTIS 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.

 

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