Today, as I have indicated previously, I am focussing on specific parts of the service.
Much is being said about our First People recently and so I intend to reflect on the acknowledgement. I also wish to spend more time on the sermon than usual.
Gathering God’s People
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,
From breath to song, from step to dance,
May those who follow Your Song lines guide us on the journey of living honourably in
From greeting to Amen, from silence to chorus,
May our worship join with the voices of he First Peoples of this Land.”
To think more on these words, we need to do more than just imagine how the first people have cared for this place we now call home. Perhaps a little study of factual records would help. It is difficult to appreciate the thought and effort that was needed on the part of the people who originally lived here without some hard facts on the difficulties that they faced.
Call to Worship.(Abingdon Worship Annual 2016)
“The ungodly laugh in their conceit, plotting the destruction of the righteous with sharp tongues and works of treachery. They are fools. For the righteous are like green olive trees in the house of the Lord, and will dwell in God’s steadfast love forever and ever.”
Those of us who have always worshipped at this church might be quite surprised at what was said and thought about them by their neighbours. As someone who was on the outside, looking in, I know the level of contempt still held by those around us for those of us who choose to follow God’s way.
“Like green olive trees in the house of God,
we come into God’s presence.
Like young saplings in the courtyard of the Lord,
we drink deep from the waters of life.
Like the fruit of God’s vineyard,
we ripen in the light of God.
Come, let us worship the Lord.”
“Loving God, your gift of abundant life is like a basket of summer fruit — a delight to the eye and a pleasure to the tongue; your presence in our lives is like a green olive tree— a joy to the heart and a blessing to the spirit. Speak to us your words of life that we may sit at your feet and know that we are yours. Amen.”
Prayer of Confession
“Merciful God, buffeted by the winds of life, we have grown weary and yearn for your hand
to hold us.
Pour forth your words of peace, and bring us back to life.
Forgive us when we are heedless to the needs of others.
Correct our ways when we are self-centred and neglect the poor and powerless.
Be our vision when we seek refuge in our wealth and possessions.
Draw us to you, Holy One, and lead us into life. Amen.”
“Declaration of Forgiveness
Hear the good news: In Christ, we are united and reconciled with God Rejoice in the knowledge that we receive forgiveness and abundant life in his name.
Thanks be to God! Amen.”
“Peace is a gift beyond price. In Christ, we find peace as we are reconciled to God. Let us share this precious gift with one another in joy and thanksgiving. Peace be with you! And also, with you!”
The Service of the Word
The First Reading: Amos 8:1-12Corruption has always existed, and those that practice it have always ended up badly.
The Gospel Reading: Luke 10: 38-42I think we have all found this reading difficult. There is always work to be done. Surely we must all share the load but I think this is saying we should think more about our priorities.
Preaching of the Word – “Crazy Love: The Search for Unquenchable”
“We live amidst the reality of economic instability and religious volatility. Yet, there’s something deep inside all of us that desires another kind of crazy. It’s a crazy love. Our souls are thirsty for a love that’s everlasting. And yet, reality shows, political parties, and public institutions alone cannot quench this thirst. We need something more.”
Rev. John then spoke of observing his step-sons at play and more professional sportsmen
playing and...needing to have their thirst quenched. At home parents choose water with all it’s health giving benefits but professionals often choose commercial drinks which claim to have added ingredients to aid recovery from strenuous exercise and which for the most part don’t.
He also spoke of people who expect God to come to their aid when they are in the position they are in because they have not been good stewards of God’s gifts or have grasped at God’s gifts and simply expect more.
Rev. John then guided our thinking towards choosing spiritual refreshment over any physical or earthly pleasure or reward.
To recap: Martha was right in one way. Hospitality is a great gift but she wasn’t being hospitable. The way she approached her work made it seem like Jesus was a burden to her whereas Mary made Jesus wholly welcome by focussing all her attention on him.
No matter how much we attend to our physical, social and employment needs, we will still experience that deep thirst which can only be quenched by continuous replenishment of our spiritual needs by the only one who can meet those needs...God, the source of all things good.
As Rev. John said at the end of his sermon:
“ we need to come to Gods table and drink from the fountain of everlasting love. May our God be our eternal love and thirst quencher?”
Then after the Prayer of Intercession and the Lord’s Prayer:
Benediction: “Though we may leave God’s house, we do not leave God’s presence.
Like green Olive Trees in the house of God, our roots go deep in the soil of holy love.
Know that Gods presence goes with us as we go forth to share Gods love for all. Amen.
Hymn TIS780: May light come into your eyes. Amen”