Monday, 27 May 2019

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 26 May 2019



My apologies for the length of this today but I couldn’t leave anything else out.

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

 From river to ocean, from campfire to hearth,

May the First People who have cared for this Land,

where we worship, the Wallumedgal, be blessed.

From breath to song, from step to dance,

May those who follow Your Song lines guide us on the journey of living honourable in this place.

From greeting to Amen, from silence to chorus.

Call to Worship(Abingdon Worship Annual 2016)

Rev. John challenged us to think upon the following:

What would your life be like if you made a home for the Holy Spirit in your heart and mind? What would our worship life be like if we made a home for the Holy Spirit in the heart and mind of our congregation? What would our world be like if the love and justice of God ruled in every nation? Let us imagine such a life and such a world as we worship the God who lives in us today.

Having done that there followed a responsive prayer asking for exactly that to be done.

Do we carry that invitation into our daily lives? Do we open up a personal invitation to the Spirit on a minute by minute basis? What a difference that would make.

 Hymn TIS 452:God of mercy, God of grace.” Both an invitation and a word of praise.

 Opening Prayer (abridged)

...We have heard of the mighty acts of those who received the gift of your promised Holy Spirit, and we are amazed. We dare to invite this same Holy Spirit into our lives, to teach us and to guide us that we too may learn of God’s love and justice. By the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, may your word make a home in us today. Amen.

 Prayer of Confession

 Rev. John acknowledged on our behalf that God had made his living word known to us. After which, in a responsive prayer which went to the depths of our hearts we confessed personally:

Without your mercy, we have no hope, no future, O God.

You have shown us the way of peace, but we have chosen paths of greed, exploitation, and hostility between peoples and nations.

Without your mercy, we have no hope, no future, O God.

You have shown us the way of salvation, but we have embraced practices that lead to death: Lying, idolatry, faithlessness, cowardice, sexual immorality, murder, drug abuse . . .

Without your mercy, we have no hope, no future, O God.

Have mercy on us, according to your loving-kindness. Forgive our sins and restore us by your grace, that we may resist the powers of evil, live in your light, and keep your word. Amen.

 Declaration of Forgiveness

Then we were assured and comforted with these words:

 With justice and equity, God forgives everyone who earnestly repents of their sin. May God’s face shine upon us and save us from our sin.

Thanks be to God! Amen.

The Peace

Jesus said, “Live in me and I will live in you.” As we greet one another with the peace of Christ, rejoice that Jesus Christ lives in each one of us.Peace be with you!

And also, with you

Invitation to the Offering

 When Lydia became a believer and was baptised in the faith, she invited Paul and his companions to stay in her home. Generous giving naturally follows believing! May our giving joyfully reflect our believing.


To offer is the thing. To have to be asked takes so much
 away from any gift and reveals a  lack of generous spirit.

Offering Prayer

Gracious God, we thank you for the abundant blessings
 you bestow upon the earth. As we offer these gifts, in thanksgiving and praise, we pray that they will be a blessing to others. Through our gifts, may the word
 of your goodness spread to the ends of the earth that all
people may know of your love and make a home for you
in their hearts. Amen.

Hymn TIS 408: “O breath of God, breathe on us now”
 It seems to me that the Spirit is the God I know: the God
that refuses to let go and demands that I keep to this path,
 no matter how imperfectly.

The Service of the Word.                  

Readings: Lyn Colless

The First Reading: Acts 16:9-15. Some people talk about his as our imagination opening up the Truth to us. If we look back through history it seems God has pointed men and women to the Truth this way whether they have been loyal followers or not.

The Gospel Reading: John 14:23-29. Following what I have said above and my own imperfect loyalty, I wonder if in God’s amazing generosity, truth is given for the benefit of all, to people who don’t merit its revelation because they have the resources to use it for the rest of God’s creation.

Preaching the Word – No Longer an Orphan - John 14:23-29

Rev. John spoke about wondering how he will feel when his mother is no longer living. He related that a person he had read about who as a child was really quite frightened of such a prospect. When the death of that person’s parents did take place he wasn’t scared but was certainly lonely and he turned to scripture for comfort.

“He read the passage that I have preached from many times during funerals and many of you have heard regularly. John 14:1-6.

 In this particular passage, Jesus prepares his disciples for his departure. Later in the passage that is used in funerals we have our scripture for today. Jesus is leaving them and they will feel alone— “orphaned”—having lost their Master, their Lord. Jesus is acutely aware of their pending experience of grief, loss, and sense of abandonment. It is then that Jesus offers them assurance that God will not forget them and will bless them, by telling them, But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not   let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (14:26-27).” One of the great promises from God to humans is that God will be with us.

 ...Sometimes we forget to continue reading the chapter 14 as it continues to offer words of comfort. The man I had been reading talking about earlier did. The sharp sense of feeling alone for him diminished and for many of us diminishes. We can feel peace in our hearts. This man went on to say that as he kept praying and reading these two verses, he experienced the Holy Spirit gently soothing his spirit. For this man it was more than a wonderful feeling; he experienced the Holy Spirit flowing into my being like fresh, soothing water.”

Rev. John related a story of a person finding peace through such a reading and through community with friends at church. We know many such stories.

 “The good news of Jesus Christ is that in God’s kingdom there are no orphans, no lonely people, no abandoned children, no forgotten elderly, and no rejected individuals. In God’s kingdom, we have a caring Parent who never forgets us and never abandons us. Praise be to God!”

Hymn TIS 451: “Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us” This hymn soothes and calms.

Intercessory Prayers

Ruth Henderson, relying on the promises of today’s readings and sermon, prayed for the people of God’s creation, worldwide: for their guidance, their healing and their comfort.

We then joined in THE LORD'S PRAYER

Hymn TIS 607: “Make me a channel of your peace” God’s way of being assurance and comfort to the world.

Benediction

May your heart be a home for Christ. May your home be a place where God’s love abounds. May your heart and your home so abide in God’s love that everyone who knows you will say, “Look! God lives here!”

And may that same Almighty God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life bless you and keep always Amen.

Hymn TIS 780: “May light come into your eyes”

 

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