Monday, 19 August 2019

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 11 August 2019

“Gracious Lord, you have promised to always be with us wherever we live and work, in times of drought and flooding rains, in times when we are gathered with those we love and in times when we are isolated and alone. Hear the praises we bring you as we gather to celebrate your presence within the congregations, we are part of, at home and in the places where our Bush Chaplains and volunteers engage with the people of remote Australia.”

 From the rising of the sun . . .

God speaks, calling out to the earth.

At the beginning of each new day . . .

God speaks, calling us to life and service.

Even with the setting sun . . .

God speaks, reminding us that we are not alone.

As we gather for worship this day

God speaks, inviting us to love freely and to become true treasure on earth.

Despite God’s faithfulness and absolute constancy we look to idols. We may not realize that we have, but instead of worshipping God, we worship the church music, or the minister, or some Godly person, or even the Bible itself. None of these are God, even though they may bring us God’s message or even God’s love. Look to God, the only One.

Opening Prayer

May the Creator Spirit continue to hover over this land of many contrasts, cultures and peoples.

May Christ walk alongside us as we move in His presence. May the cool wind of the Spirit refresh, replenish and restore our souls.

And may the land speak to us in such a way that

we may see, feel and hear God the Creator, God the Spirit and God the Son in the cool evening murmur of the breeze.

Praise be to God.

 And may we seek God and only God, not representations that bring God to us.

The Peace

 Let us share the treasure of love and mercy with one another as we offer the peace of Christ. Peace be with you! And also, with you!


 Launch Quiet Church for this Friday. These are opportunities, among other things, to sit quietly and seek God, and God alone without any distractions.

Offering Prayer

As we offer these earthly treasures back to you, transform these gifts into love and mercy by the power of your Holy Spirit and the gift of your miraculous love. Turn these earthly treasures of human currency into heavenly treasures of love and justice to bring your realm here on earth. Amen

And may these offerings motivate people to seek your outstretched hand and accept your invitation for an eternal friendship.

The Service of the Word

The First Reading: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

The Gospel Reading: Luke 12: 32-40

These readings brought to us by Grahame, tell us of people who had a relationship with God. May we not look to them but to the Author, not matter how much that may scare us. Remember, God is ... Love.

Preaching of the WordDo Not be Afraid (the words in quotes are Rev. John’s the others are mine.)

" ‘Don't be afraid. I will give you the Kingdom. Use your stuff so that you have permanent benefit from it. You will be happy if you are ready for my return.’ Or, to paraphrase it in the simplest way, don't be afraid, enjoy your stuff forever and be happy.

 This sounds wonderful. Our problem is that none of us can do this. Most of our lives are spent in a never-ending journey, searching for something that we hope will give meaning to our lives. Most of us are like the characters in the Wizard of Oz. We look like lions; except we are afraid. We are bright and shiny on the outside, but don't have any of the internal characteristics that help to bring fulfilment. We are tin woodsmen. Or, we are most agile but really don't have wisdom, like the Scarecrow. And some of us, much like Dorothy, are just lost and trying to find a way home.”

Most of the people who are reading this have professed some level of following Jesus for some time, if not all our lives. I think now is the time to step up and look God in the eyes, face to face. It is that that scares us silly, not sacrificing anything of this earthly life, but having a mature relationship with our Maker.

 " ‘Don't be afraid.’" A bold person shared a reflection about the cross. The person said ‘I came to understand that the cross is a test for us. We had God right here with us, in the person of Jesus. God was here to lead and love us out of this mess we are in. And what did we do? We killed him.’

 I wonder if why I struggle not to be one of those yelling out is that there is something in me that can't stand absolute love and goodness, even though I crave it. Yet, God’s answer to my failure is love, forgiveness and presence in my life forever. When I reflect on my failure in the cross, and God's answer, then I can know that I need never be afraid of any failure ever again. I have already failed completely, and God loves me and is present with me, it would be silly and a waste of time to be afraid.”

Think about these words: we are afraid, but God has shown us nothing but love. God has been nothing but amazingly patient with everyone of us. It’s time to look at that squarely and act upon it, stretching out to take the hand of God who has done nothing but love and love us for all our lives.

 “As we grow in love, we grow less and less fearful. As we grow in love, we discover

ourselves focused more and more on eternal relationships. Perhaps, it is scary to think about living this way, but remember the first thing the angels say, "don't be afraid."”

 Hymn TIS 780: May light come into your eyes. Amen to that!


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