Sunday, 29 December 2013

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 29 December 2013


Beth commenced the service with a Prayer to God who opens the new day and the new year before us, asking that we should know that we are enfolded in His love.

HYMN  AHB 44 "I'll praise my maker while I've breath" Praise for our maker - when do we stop and give thanks for our very existence? When do we stop to appreciate the people God has put in our way or His creation that speaks of Him and uplifts and enriches us by its mere appearance? And then the God who mends and soothes and comforts -when do we stop with gratitude and turn to the One who provides it all?

Prayer Beth led us and, dispensing with all formality and speaking as a friend, knowing that we would be heard and receive full response, approached the God who became one with the "trash and treasure of humanity". She gave thanks for this time of the year and asked for His aid in helping us to put aside our hurts and asked for forgiveness for the times we forget Him and each other, knowing He understands our humanity, and knows age makes it hard to read and to do. Beth added that it was often age and not will that caused us to forget and asked again that we should know that we are loved and in the everlasting arms and that our sins are forgiven.

Hymn  AHB 552 " Have Faith in God" A little gentle self talk, reminding each aspect of our being that God is the answer to any failing that we have.

Scripture Readings Isaiah 63: 7 - 9 A pledge to remember, acknowledge and praise God for His graciousness and mercy to us. Amen.

Matthew 2: 13 - 23 The story of the flight to Egypt to escape the evil wrath of Herod. Even when Herod died and Joseph and Mary thought it safe to return, they found that Herod's son, Archelaus, was then the ruler and given his reputation of being a nasty piece of work, they withdrew and settled in Nazareth.

Reflection Beth used a series of stories from her life to illustrate the lessons she had learned about God and thought to pass on to the congregation. These stories told of how in our lack of wisdom, we so often tangle ourselves up and create a lack of balance in our lives.
She then showed that through the love shown to her by other people to help her balance her life again, she realised that it was God working through them and understood that by looking to God, we can retain something like a balance. We are not perfect and being a Christian doesn't make us so, therefore there will be times when we take our eyes off God and try to steer our own ship but He is full of love. Also, we are not guaranteed immunity from grief and hurt but God can relieve our hurt and soothe us. Beth then told a story of a Chinese woman who had, with her load of washing been given a lift by a        rickshaw driver. Embarrassed at causing physical distress to the man  she got out at the bottom of a hill to relieve him of the burden but he turned to her and told her to climb back in with her burden, saying, "I am strong enough" (the application of that story is left to you). She then told another story of a lady who was in greater distress than she was, but gave her comfort.

Beth, then referring to the ladies in all the stories told, said they realised they were in the sunlight side of the Cross. Before the Cross - nothing. After the Cross - hope. We were then entreated to become part of the team that, in God's strength, carries others. It's a brand new year - get on with things.

Hymn TIS 658 "I, The Lord of the sea and sky" God: Whom shall I send? Only one answer to that. Us: Here I am Lord...I will go Lord if you will lead me I will hold your people in my heart. However imperfectly, there are only us poor humans to do God's work.

Offering Our chance to return of our worldly wealth to God's work. In this congregation, my observation has been that greater contributions are given in human care and energy and Amen to that.

Prayers for the People Chris reminded us that 2013 is almost over and that it is time to thank God for His steadfast love and mercies and answer to prayers, whether we have been aware or not of God's hand in things. He asked that the gospel should be brought to completion in our becoming Christlike and gave thanks for the privilege of prayer. He prayed for those who have suffered in Australia and abroad from disasters, natural and man-made and asked for guidance for our leaders and then the special concerns of the congregation, ending with The Lord's Prayer.

Hymn Gracegift - Beth Howard, tune Lara's Theme "

Giver of Grace, Your love has come to me. True wealth is mine, faith holds reality.

I didn't know that there could be such love. Each waking day holds a new treasure trove.

This day, I offer you my love, this day, I celebrate with You

I am set free, broken, the chains of sin.

Praise you, My Lord, giver of peace within. I offer you all that I hope to be.

I pledge my live for eternity. (Repeat)

A presentation was then made by Warwick to Beth to thank her for all her ministry during December.

Benediction from TIS 685,,

Lord, I come to you-let my heart be changed, renewed, flowing from the grace that I found in you. And Lord, I've come to know the weaknesses I see in me will be stripped away by the power of your love.

Hold me close, let your love surround me; bring me near, draw me to your side and as I wait I'll rise up like the eagle and I'll soar with you: your Spirit leads me on in the power of your love. The problem and the solution.  Amen.












Monday, 23 December 2013

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 22 December 2013

Beth began our service this morning with a prayer for all the people who worship in this church - so that we can leave here loving each other and loving ourselves and above all loving our God and being ready to live his word.

Hymn  TiS  107  AHB 25                                Sing praise and thanksgiving, let all creatures living

This is one of those really happy hymns that has a swing - and a tune that makes me feel like I am a better singer than I really am.  It includes pure praise for all God has provided, joyful thanksgiving for what God has given us to lead us through darker times and ends with a plea for us to live our lives in a way that brings glory to our God.

Lighting of the Advent Candles

After relighting the candles of Expectation, Hope and Joy, Jan lit the fourth Advent candle; the candle that symbolizes the Peace that starts in our hearts.  She reminded us this Peace is brought to us by the coming of Jesus into the world and by us inviting Jesus into our hearts. 

Prayers of Thanksgiving / Confession          

Beth invited us to “Have a yarn with our Father - God.”  She spoke of the relentless passage of time as seasons come and go and our reminiscences sometimes reflect we are getting old and in danger of “coming to bits”.  She reminded us how lucky we are we can worship in gladness and live through Him without fear.  Even when we are too human and “forget” our duty, God brings us back to Him with renewed peace, energy and love.  Our sins are forgiven.

Children’s address

As Kaye & Terry’s beautiful granddaughter brought over a chair for Beth to sit on while she told a special story - several decades vanished for many of us who had loved and cherished the child’s mother as part of our Marsden Road Church family all those years ago.  Beth brought out a doll which she said was very old – almost as old as she was – and this doll was a girl doll all dressed in pink.  She laid the doll on its tummy on a tiny blanket and to the tune of Braham’s Lullaby, the doll began to move and slowly began to roll over.  Jesus was alive and Jesus moved, Beth told us all - and although he could have told us what to do he gave us free will so we can choose to live good and active lives for him.  Jesus loved to cuddle children Beth said, and she recited a little poem; “My Christ was sunburned, warm and brown and he cuddled all the kids in Nazareth town.”  

Hymn TiS 293   AHB 218                               Unto us a boy is born!

The last verse is such fun as it gives us permission to make a loud and joyful noise.

Omega and Alpha he!  Let the organ thunder,

While the choir with peals of glee now rends the air asunder.


Reflection: It is hard to know what to write about Beth’s Reflection today as there were so many levels to the “Miracles of Christmas” she presented.  The core message was Christmas is holy and pure and beautiful and the miracles include belief and trust and the power of Grace which comes from beyond ourselves. 

To underline the first miracle of belief, Beth asked the ladies to imagine the reaction of their own mothers if they had announced an impending virgin birth when they were young.  It was suggested with a gentle smile that she would not have asked if we would like her to knit pink bootees or blue bootees.  That Joseph and others came to believe - at a time and in a place when women were not held in high esteem and men were taught to give thanks they were not born a dog, a gentile or a woman was a miracle.  It was a miracle that God trusted people like us with his only son. 

God’s love is greater than the storm Beth reminded us, as she told of an experience when she was ministering in Wagga Wagga, at a church where her home was “sandwiched” between the church building and a two story high Telecom tower with no windows.  With her three granddaughters staying the night so they could go to church with her in the morning, Beth was a bit distracted and had to dash over to the church to collect some forgotten papers after dinner.  As she would be gone only a minute she left the girls happily in the dog’s “care”.  A huge thunderstorm struck, making it impossible for her to return for longer than she expected or wanted and she was worried about the girls being frightened of the thunder and lightening.  She was surprised when the storm abated enough for her to return to the house, where she found three girls on the lounge, all sound asleep, with a slightly nervous dog standing guard over them.  When she asked later if the children were frightened by the storm they told her that the storm angels sang to them so they were not afraid - and promptly asked for more toast, with no hint of concern.  Beth worked out that the “storm angels” came from the Wesley Choir practicing in the church and the sound bouncing off the unbroken wall of the Telecom tower to be heard as “storm angels” despite the noise of the storm itself.

Beth quoted some of the words from the beautiful hymn; “There’s a light upon the mountain”.

But His angels here are human, not the shining hosts above,

For the drum-beats of His army are the heart-beats of our love.

We understood the heart of Beth’s message - we can be human angels as we go out into God’s world in the spirit of Christmas, to love and to serve.  God’s love is stronger than the storm.

Bible readings                                                 Isaiah 35:1-10    &       Matthew 11: 2-11

Our Bible passages this morning were read for us by Carolyn.  Beth said that it was an oversight on her part to leave the readings until after her Reflection, but went on to suggest this oversight could actually better set the context of the passages.  I could easily understand what she meant because I rather like reading the last page of a story first - with the excuse it helps me to appreciate the methods and skill of the storyteller. 

In the first reading Ahaz refuses God’s invitation to ask for a sign from him to protect Jerusalem.  However, wearied by the refusal to accept his promise of deliverance, God gave him the sign anyway;  A young woman is with child, and she will bear a son, and will call him Immanuel.

The second reading begins: This is the story of the birth of the Messiah and ends with the words; And he named the child Jesus.

Hymn  TiS 268  AHB 224                               Joy to the World

This hymn was a fitting summons to us just before the annual celebration of the birth of Jesus.  I felt it was reminding us to celebrate with renewed joy in 2013.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.


Offering / prayer         Beth suggested we could celebrate the joy of having something to give, as we gave thanks for God’s gifts to us and thanked Him for the privilege of being in a position to give back to help others.                          

Prayers for Others  Jack chose to follow a different track in the prayers this morning.  He wanted to share two recent occasions when he had experienced harmony among people of different races, colours and religions.  He felt as he enjoyed these events that God would indeed have been pleased.  He stressed that prayer is a two way “thing” and reminded us we must live our life in the setting of our words and turn them into deeds God would have us do.  He also asked us to include a prayer for those who will have an empty chair at the Christmas table this year; a prayer I really appreciated.

Hymn TiS 303   AHB 227                                           Hark! the herald angels sing

The Dismissal and Benediction

“My Christ was sunburned, warm and brown and he cuddled all the kids in Nazareth town.”  These words, repeated by Beth after the Benediction, certainly created a wonderful image of the love of Jesus for all the children, especially at Christmas.

We sang; The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

The Advent candle of Peace burned brightly as we finished the service.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 15 December 2013


This morning Beth immediately united us – a congregation that had come from different family homes around the district - with the inclusive Welcome; “Good Morning, Family of the Church!”  She quietly asked God to take from us our stress and strain and to let us be whole and worship Him in truth. 

Hymn  TiS  281  AHB 214                              When God almighty came to be one of us

The words of this hymn certainly called us to prepare to be a part of the real Christmas story, asking us to sing and dance and share with people from all walks of life, with the assurance;

God in His mercy uses the commonplace,  God on His birthday had a need of you.

We did not do justice to this amazing hymn with our singing, but perhaps in our hesitation with the irregular tune our hearts more clearly “heard” the words and we will be encouraged to go back and re-read them and think more deeply.

Prayer Thanksgiving / Confession    

Beth called on the “Master who brings Peace and Security” and called on us all to love one another.  She prayed that He will come into our lives in a fresh way so we can relive the glories God has brought to us over the years and have the chance to be what God wants us to be in the future.  Beth gently declared our sins were forgiven.

Lighting of the Advent Candles

Jan asked how many of us have remarked how quickly Christmas seems to have come this year.  Having realized we had not followed our usual practice of lighting Advent Candles she spoke about symbols and their significance and said that although symbols are not essential she finds the Advent candles provide a focus for many people in the midst of December madness. 

She asked Warwick to light the candle of Expectation and the candle of Hope for the first and second weeks of Advent.  For today, the third week of Advent, he lit the candle of Joy as Jan reminded us this is the Joy that comes from our Faith in Christ. 

Come O come Emanuel – God with us!

Children’s address

Beth told the children she would use this time to explain to the adults that children do not really understand the meaning of Peace, Comfort and Rest.  These words are magic to those of us who are old and those who are tired, but kids are just too busy wanting to do everything at once.  When Mum is trying to cook dinner and do 19 things at once after a long day and asks for “A little peace and quiet” - children just don’t understand this in their exuberance.  To the adults Beth made a plea that we will make Christ young and vibrant in Marsden Road Church and that we will keep our enthusiasm for life and try to help the children to meet the God of Peace for all ages.

Hymn TiS 310   AHB 234                               Brightest and best of the stars of the morning

This hymn is based on Job 38:7 “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.”  It was written for the Feast of Epiphany in 1811 by Reginald Heber (1783-1826), the second Bishop of Calcutta, whose diocese in 1823 included India, Southern Africa and Australia.  An ancestor of mine was a missionary in Ceylon for eight years and built a church which was consecrated by Bishop Reginald Heber on 25th September 1825, so I always personally enjoy singing any of the Bishop’s hymns. 

Bible readings                                                 Isaiah 35:1-10    &       Matthew 11: 2-11

Colin read our Bible passages this morning and I was struck by the similarity of the two readings - as is of course often the case.  First we were told of the joy of redemption as we come “home” with gladness and joy to enter Zion. Then the New Testament message came directly from Jesus through his message to John who was in prison and was described by Jesus as God’s Prophet and Herald.   

Reflection: This was an early Christmas present Beth told us – there will be no sermon today!  With the readings that reflected on the road to “the Kingdom to come”, Beth urged us to look around for ourselves and see what is happening around us so we can be a part of the changes that must come.  Then she gave us a “Cook’s Tour” to introduce some of the people she had met on the road – people who had worked for God with the changes they encountered.

First we heard about the tiny Nun in the Philippines who was willing to dress in outrageous clothes to speak with the local women and children whose men had been taken away.  She knew that if she dressed like a clown they would not be afraid and would follow her and listen.  Because she was willing to meet them where they were on the road - she was able to help them.

More than 20 years ago a group of Rotarians went to a poor country to deliver aid and saw an old man pushing a plough with a young man pulling.  With no beast to help they assumed these people were hopelessly poor, but discovered the old man had willingly sold his beast – his only asset - to buy timber to build a church. 

Beth was affected by the poverty in Kowloon when she was there.  She met a young girl working long hours in a shop six days a week.  The girl noticed the cross on a chain around Beth’s neck and said; “You’re Jesus’s person?  Me too!  I have a friend who has a Bible and she can read.  If I go to her place on Sunday and scrub her floors and do her washing she reads to me from her Bible.  I am so lucky!”

A group of young African men went to Young in NSW to learn about crop rotation and other farming methods and they were told NSW was in the middle of a bad drought.  One young African man said; “My friend – we understand – how many of your people do you think will die?”

We heard about a “lavender and old lace” lady from Cabramatta who aspired to do great things, but life and the ill health of her dominating older sister saw her selling gloves at Mark Foys to care for her sister and her nieces and nephews.  When this “Saint” died Beth was given a precious missionary money box that was a poignant testament to her small but courageous giving of all she could afford over many decades.  Although we may not think what we are doing is important, Beth went on; “Your story and love and loyalty are known.  The road goes on – so don’t let our Church and Sanctuary become a ghetto.  People are doing mighty things … and the road goes on!”

God always leaves Witnesses.  In a South American prison there were two groups of prisoners – political prisoners and persecuted Christian prisoners.  As Christmas approached respect for the Christians was shown when the political prisoners were willing to risk harm and the anger of their gaolers by causing a disturbance in another area so the Christians could have a few moments to kneel in communion with God.  They had no bread but asked God if they could stand for all the people who have no food. 

Beth finished by inviting us to: “Walk tall and live in love because the road is still ahead.”

Thanks be to God, Amen.  Many of us had tears in our eyes as we repeated, “Amen.”

Hymn   AHB 551                                            I sing a song of the Saints of God

This hymn is a lovely simple narrative of the kinds of people we meet on the road – people who want to make a difference to the future and bring Hope. 

You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea.  In church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea

For the saints of God began just like me, and I mean to be one too.

Offering / prayer                                            

Prayers for Others  May began with a reading of part of the hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus”, and included our personal prayers for those who are dear to us.  We finished with the Lord’s Prayer - said together.                

Hymn TiS 291   AHB 216                                           Earth has many a noble city 

The Dismissal and Benediction exhorted us to go out to live and love and work for the God who loves us so much and we sang, “Now unto Him who is able to keep, Able to keep us from falling”.

As we sang I noted the dignity and grace of our leader Beth as she walked down the steps of the Sanctuary with the aid of a walking stick and her trust in God to keep her following along the road.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 8 December 2013

Beth took today's service and provided an outline days before. I was so taken with her outline that I didn't think I could improve on it. First of all, these are the readings and hymns she used with my comments. Look up the readings and the hymns too, if you have the books.

The readings for today's service were Isaiah 11:1 - 10 and Matthew 3:1 - 12. The Isaiah reading speaks of someone who was to come, who would not make judgements on the basis of appearances but rule according to the righteousness of God and as a result would change the world beyond anything anyone could imagine. Matthew introduced John the Baptist as he appeared proclaiming, "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." He made short work of the Pharisees and Sadducees, making it clear that Jesus power would be beyond anything they thought they had.

The hymns were 208, 119, and 546 from the Australian Hymn Book and 693 from TIS. 208 speaks of the response to Jesus and His teaching- crucifixion - and challenges us to look at whether at this time, we are crucifying Him anew or casting our pride aside, accepting the renewal only His grace can work. 119 tells us of God's great love and constancy. 546 raises our eyes to the hope God offers and the peace He brings. But in there, TIS 693 gave us God's loving invitation, "Come as you are". We don't have to meet any prerequisites - just come,

Within the framework of those readings and hymns and the prayers offered, Beth gave us this message:

Her notes:

The usual practice is to enter into the story and glory of Christmas as December begins but today I've chosen to look deeper - the hope and the foundation of the Incarnation.

Firstly we have Isaiah's picture poem of Shalom, God's just and holy peace where the Christ child might fulfill His mission, followed in Matthew, by John's rough entry into the smug, self satisfaction of Jewry - and the aching loneliness of the outsider, denied access to worship, both challenging us not to sit in judgement of those involved in the Christmas story or see "Christmas the accomplished fact". Rather, we should realise a babe born in Bethlehem means little if that same babe is not born anew in human hearts and experience.

We need to realise the costly grace at work in new and needy areas of the world - and as ever, among unlikely people - God never leaves Himself without witnesses - and the living church renews itself in and where the foundation enables its birth.

We may be  the Remnant with a tired faith here and now. But the valid Incarnation message is offered anew each year. Perhaps we yearn for the festival but are not prepared to be part of the foundation - perhaps unseen and unappreciated but none the less the base whereon others might see the Eternal Hope unfold. Beth's actual reflection wove in and out these thoughts, using stories, life experiences and events around us to pin it down in our lives

I could not add anything that would make the message clearer.

The prayers Beth used to lead us through this service to God acknowledged our many frailties but pointed us to that costly grace that brings forgiveness and freedom.

We concluded the service singing "Shalom to you now, Shalom my friends" a prayer of the gentlest goodwill to each other. As an ending it couldn't have been more fitting. Amen



Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 1 December 2013

Advent Prologue
In this prologue we were asked to "Listen" for the many indicators of the coming event.
"Listen! Listen to the stirring of the heavens. The stars are gathering, the light shifts, and there is a steady beat, beat, beat across the universe...Listen! Come with me and pick up the beat of God for God is beating out the rhythm of something new."
A very compelling exhortation to be ready for the anniversary of the event that changed the world.
Hymn TIS 272 "Come, thou long - expected Jesus." A prayer that He who is able to free us will do just that.
Opening Prayer
Chris prayed that we would prepare ourselves at this time to 'create a place' to hear God's word of renewal.
Prayer of Confession
Chris prayed on our behalf, acknowledging that despite our knowing fully God's intentions for us, we charge through life doing the very opposite, hurting everyone else and ourselves in the process.
Assurance of Pardon
We were assured that God knows us through and through and not only called us as we are but also pardons us and reshapes us through His love.
Hymn TIS 236 "Jesus' hands were kind hands" A declaration of the good Jesus did and a plea that our hands will be used to work such good too.
Scripture Readings Isaiah 2:1 - 5; Matthew 24:36 - 44 brought to us by Malcolm.
The Isaiah reading is a prophecy that the time will come when God's presence will be known and many will turn to him, rounding off with a plea that we will "walk in the light of the Lord!"
The Matthew reading echoed this prediction but says it will be a time of judgement and that there will be no warning, so that we should be prepared at all times.
Even without such a dire warning it seems to me that we should always be ready to account for ourselves. Our lives should always be such that we will not be crushed with regret at some time in the future or put in everyday language, that we should always be able to look at ourselves in the mirror each morning.
Proclaiming the Word Chris provided the background for the Isaiah reading at 700 years before the birth of Jesus when the Assyrians were rampaging through the world around them destroying nations. Israel had succumbed and Judah was next. For all who could see what was happening there was nothing to be optimistic about but Isaiah, despite being in the middle of it all, and powerless to do anything about it, saw a vision of hope.
Around us today there are natural disasters, corruption, and crime but it is up to us, the people of God to hold onto hope.
Jesus always was able to bring forth hope in hopeless situations. He healed the sick but more important, gave people spiritual freedom.
The Matthew reading is a reference to the rapture. Chris did not see it as a time of judgement but as something we can hope for.
God is calling us to hope - for Him to bring the world to its fullness. Isaiah's vision was of a world where everything has pulled together.
Think of Jesus' start - his poor beginning - who would have thought that such a child would be the light of the world. Jesus shows us hope and possibility because God is with us. Advent is an opportunity for renewed focus on the hope Jesus would have us have for the world and its people.
Hymn TIS 323 "Born in the night" Jesus' is born, the one to show us the way.
Commissioning of Elder
A responsive declaration that there are many ways we can serve the community of the church was followed by the
An explanation that the Uniting Church provides for the exercise of gifts given by the Holy Spirit and a presentation of those people elected to the ministry of Elder: Ruth Henderson, Beth Howard and Carolyn Baker. This was followed by the minister addressing the newly elected Elders, telling them that the priority of the church is building the congregation in faith and love, leading the congregation to fuller participation in Christ's mission. Then the duties were explained. This was then followed by
The Vows
These encompassed the elders' personal belief and sense of calling; their intention to work within the church and to rely on God's grace in carrying out their duties. To which each answered in the affirmative.
The congregation were then asked for their vow of acceptance and support.
The elders were then commissioned - God of grace, through the Holy Spirit empower your servant for the ministry of elder. Amen. Then at the end of this service:
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I declare you to be elders and church councillors of  the Uniting Church in Australia in the Marsden Road Congregation.
Prayers of the people and Offering
Ruth reminded us: "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you." She then prayed for help for us to open any door keeping us from God: help to find a new way forward: help to realise that prayers are not always answered as we expect and it may be that the situation will not change - we may - we may be given strength we did not realise we had. She held up before God all those suffering in any way and those trying to relieve that suffering. She prayed for Chris and Helen at their new church and for those responsible for choosing our new minister as well as the Elders commissioned in the service.
Celebrating Community
Holy Communion
Hymn TIS 514 "Be known to us in breaking bread" A prayer that God will not only be with us during the breaking of bread, but stay with us, our immortal food.
Setting we acknowledged that we were gathered in God's presence.
Thanksgiving A statement of our belief that God has always been and is the creator of all;  still present with us now as we seek to discern His presentness.
Bread and Wine
We were reminded of the institution of this meal at the last supper followed with, "May this gathering of your community of faith be comforted and challenged during this Advent season."
Communion followed after which:
We are one with the mystery and Source and Sustainer of all that exists. We rejoice in our human capacity to wonder and marvel, to appreciate, to rejoice, and to give thanks.
Communion Liturgy by Rev Rex Hunt
Some of the resources used in shaping this liturgy:
Iona Community. 2001. Iona abbey worship book.Scotland: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Lee,B.J. (ed) . 1987 Alternative futures for worship. Vol 3 The eucharist. MIN:Collegeville. The Liturgical press.
Morely,J.1992. All desires known. Expanded edition. Gt.Britain :London.SPCK.
Morwood, M.2003. Praying a new story. VIC: Richmaond. Spectrum Publications.
Seaburg,C. (ed).1993 The communion book. MA:Boston.UUMA
Uniting in Worship. Leaders Book. 1998. VIC: Melbourne. Uniting Church press.
Withrow, L. 1995. Seasons of prayer. Resources for worship. Gt. Britain:London.SPCK.
Go Forth
Hymn TIS 276 "There's a light upon the mountain" a celebration of all that can be.
Blessing Into the waiting time we go, open and ready for the days ahead. Into the listening time we go, attuned and attentive for voices of hope. And into the seeing time we go, alert to the unfolding presence of love.
Now may the grace of the Promised One, the love of God who calls all things into being and abiding friendship of the Holy Spirit, lead, uphold, and strengthen us, now as always.
Hymn TIS 779 "May the feet of God walk with you"  Aubrey Podlich









Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 24 November 2013


Call to Worship

"Ldr. Strength through vulnerability. Peace through pain.

 All. Jesus is the image of the unseen God.

 Ldr. Justice through questioning. Light through darkness.

 All. Jesus is the image of the unseen God.

 Ldr. Courage through truth. Love through reconciliation.

 All. Jesus is the image of the unseen God."

                                            Ruth Burgess, "Candles and Conifers", Wild  Goose Publications.

Hymn TIS 216 "Rejoice the Lord is King" A celebration of the greatness of our God. Believe it and rejoice!

Opening Prayer A plea that we will see the truth and be open to God's vision.

Prayer of Confession

"With humble hearts, trusting in grace, let us confess our sins before God and one another:"

This was an interactive prayer asking for forgiveness for our lack of discipleship, for not showing God's love, for not listening to Him, for trying to run our own show, and for using God's work for our own ends.

For this we asked forgiveness.

Assurance of Forgiveness

We hope for forgiveness and we are certain of forgiveness. "We have been rescued from the power of darkness".

"Know that you are forgiven, and be at peace." Thanks be to God.


Hymn TIS 28 "God is our strength and refuge" A declaration of our faith in God as the answer to anything life can turn up. Sit still and listen.

Scripture Reading: The readings today were delivered by Pat. Jeremiah 23: 1 - 16. Harsh warnings for those who lead God's people astray. And the promise of a true leader.

Colossians 1: 11 - 20. The word that the promise from Jeremiah has been fulfilled and praise for Him who has fulfilled the promise.

Luke 23: 33 - 43 The Crucifixion: the deriding of Christ by the soldiers and the insight of Jesus' fellow condemned that He is God. Look closely. Which are we - really?

Reflection Unfortunately, I was unable to attend today's service so what follows is my attempt to summarise Chris' notes.

Chris pointed out that today marks the end of the church calendar with Reign of Christ Sunday. We have been led by the seasons through the life, death, resurrection and ministry of Jesus. The relevance of this has been that we have learned as disciples of Jesus, to live our lives like Him.

Today's passages focus on a. From judgment to promise: b. Description of situation to its solution: c. From what people have messed up to what God is still able and willing to accomplish.

In each passage is the same idea of an ending and a new beginning; a new possibility beyond our past and our present, each speaking of reconciliation in a restored relationship.

This Sunday used to be called Christ the King Sunday but the connotations earthly kings and queens throw up do not fit with the image of Jesus' sovereignty. Jesus is close to us and involved in our lives. He lived simply and was/is not cut off from the people.

He was chosen as king because of his ability to relate to the people (today, us). He stood for a different way of being valued to the point of giving His life.

"To celebrate the Reign of Jesus...let that rhythm of life we have encountered beating through the scriptures and beating vibrantly in the life of Jesus, beat boldly in our hearts.


Hymn Sans2 "The Life of Jesus"  (George Stuart) A song of the example Jesus set, showing us how to live our lives. We have all heard it said, "God is love" and Jesus showed us how that love works in this world.

The Offering and Prayers for the People were expressions of the obedience of the congregation to live as Jesus did.

Go Forth

Hymn TIS 547 "Be Thou my Vision" A plea that God's way will inform everything we do, so that we will show His love to the world.

Sending Forth (interactive)

"Ldr. Our God reigns.                                    All. Our God reigns.

Ldr  Our God believes in us.                         All. Our God believes in us.

Ldr. Our God loves us.                                  All. Our God loves us.

Ldr. Our God sends us.                                 All. Our God sends us.

Ldr. Our God blesses this world through us. All. Our God blesses this world through us.

Ldr. Our God reigns.                                      All. Our God reigns.         Amen.

Hymn TIS 779. 

"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 breath give you life.

May the Child of God grow in you, and His love bring you home." Amen.

Aubrey Podrich