Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 24th May 2015

Responsive Call to Worship           Psalm 104:31-33
May the glory of the Lord endure forever,
May the Lord rejoice in his works.
Who looks on the earth and it trembles,
Who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have life. 

Hymn  TiS 133           “O worship the king, all glorious above.”
When Sir Robert Grant wrote this hymn in 1833, he created a crescendo of praise worthy of the Psalms 104 & 18 on which it was based.  “O worship the King all-glorious above, O gratefully sing his power and his love:  our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days, pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.”  Sir Robert was educated in Law at Cambridge and became a Member of Parliament for Inverness and a Director of the East India Company.  In 1831 he became a Privy Councillor and in 1834, Governor of Bombay.  His Sacred Poems were published by his brother after his death in 1838 at the age of 59.

Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving:  We praised the Spirit of God which is active in creation, the Spirit of Love; the Spirit of Jesus and the Spirit of life and rejoiced in the presence and power of God and all that He brings to our lives.  We revelled in Your love which is; “Older than the mountains or the distant stars, new every morning: Presence of Grace.” 

Prayers of Confession & Words of Assurance:  Jan prayed for mercy for us: “If we have followed other spirits, rather than the Spirit of Jesus, if we have refused to give full reign to the Holy Spirit in our deed and words – So that we may be filled with the loving fruits of the Holy Spirit.”  We were assured of God’s forgiveness; and said; “Thanks be to God.”

Announcements:  We were reminded that next Saturday those who are able will gather in the Church Hall to make lamingtons to raise money for Frontier Services.  We also learned that Max who has attended Marsden Road for over 50 years has handed in his driver’s license and will be unable to attend services with us regularly in the future.  We will miss him very much.

Offering / Prayer:  Phil and Nerida were our stewards this morning as we were invited to share our gifts which were dedicated for God’s work.  Amen.

Children’s Message  During the talk with the children, Jan showed pictures depicting symbols of Pentecost – a dove, the flame, the wind and a wild goose which is the symbol for the Iona Community in Scotland.  I rather liked the idea that, unlike the quiet cooing of a dove, a goose’s honk is strong and challenging and perhaps a bit scary.  Sometimes it is scary when God challenges us in life!   This was a children’s message for all ages!

Hymn TiS 711                        “Come, O Holy Spirit, come (Wa wa wa Emimimo)”
This little hymn with a Nigerian translation gave us all the opportunity to imagine the awe of “speaking in tongues” or listening to it in the Yoruba Language and understanding every word. 

Bible Reading:                      John 15:26-27, 16:4b-11  (page 826)   
                                                Acts 2:1-21 (page 837)  
Jan read to us the announcement of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the instruction to the disciples to bear witness to “The Spirit of truth that issues from the Father.”  This is followed by a detailed explanation of what will happen when Jesus goes from the sight of the disciples and ends by telling of the way their grief will be turned to joy.

To very good effect, Jan and Warwick dramatized the Bible Reading from Acts 2: 1-21 

Reflection:                        “Receive the power - the difference the Holy Spirit makes.”
It was interesting to hear from Jan about some of the traditions of the Jewish Festival of Pentecost which has now also become a Christian Festival.  I found it interesting that; “The Jews were all gathered in Jerusalem, to celebrate Pentecost or Shavuot, the end of the barley harvest, 50 days after the offering of the barley sheaf, the first fruits at the beginning of Passover.”

Perhaps I have always been too overwhelmed by the drama of the wind and fire and the speaking in tongues, to take in any of the history of the events or even to follow all the quite specific instructions given to the disciples and the followers of Jesus about what was to happen after he ascended into heaven.  Yet I have always loved the drama and theatre of Pentecost celebrations.

I found Jan’s description of the events reasonable while still conveying the essential drama.
“The wind and fire of Pentecost were symbols of the presence and power of God, the tongues of fire enabled them to speak in other languages which they had not previously known.  God’s Spirit filled the believers and their praise and thanks to God was heard by many Jews from other countries, who wondered what was going on.  There was a sense of excitement, energy and expectation for everyone as the Holy Spirit came upon them with power and broke through in a new way, which caused other people to understand their message.  This gave the opportunity to share with the crowd a message about Jesus, and that God’s prophet Joel had foretold that those who call on Jesus’ name would be saved.”

“… The outcome is that old barriers are broken down, communication is restored, human life is transformed and the whole earth is renewed.”

Jan went on to talk about some historical events where the work of the Holy Spirit was evident; sometimes over many decades and in ways that; “Are an expression of the movement of the Spirit of God in addressing the gospel, to changing times and circumstances, in order that people will have the opportunity to live whole and God filled lives in a safe and healthy community.”

Jan urged us to understand, appreciate and use our own personal Spiritual gifts in all areas of our lives.  Yes we can do this!  We may never speak in tongues but if we strive to show love and understanding; the language of a smile or a hug, or the gift of our time or our money can express the gift of the Holy Spirit within us to share God’s Love for everyone.

Hymn TiS 398                        “Come down O love divine”
How fortunate we are that the hymns of Italian born Bianco da Siena, who entered the Order of Jesuits in 1367 and died in Venice in 1434, were published in Italy in 1851.  Although 92 were published, this wonderful hymn is one of a few that have been translated into English and come into common use.   
“Come down, O Love divine, seek thou this soul of mine, and visit it with thine own ardor glowing; O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear, and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.”

Prayers of the People:  Today our prayers were led by Ruth and as she prayed to the God of Peace for all the children around the world who have never lived in peace - I remembered an image on TV this week that showed a tiny child on his father’s shoulder waving a gun at the sky.  Thanks Ruth we certainly need that prayer and also the ones that followed for the leaders of the world to use their power and influence for peace and for the good of all of humanity.  Ruth prayed for all the people for whom life is a struggle; mentioning in particular the farmers who fight drought and the towns people who rely on the success of the harvest to sell their goods and services; and we thought of the ongoing challenges for the people living in the devastation of Nepal. Ruth then turned to our “red books” for the personal concerns of our church family gathered this morning. 
Then we shared in the well loved words of the Lord’s Prayer.

Hymn TiS 411                        “Filled with the Spirit’s power, with one accord”   
It is the last verse of this hymn which should inspire us to leave this building today to:
“Widen our love, good Spirit, to embrace the people of all lands and every race.
Like wind and fire, with life among us move, till we are known as Christ's and Christians prove.” 
John Raphael Peacey, 1896-1971 seems to have only been published and “discovered” 20 years after his death, although he has been called, “A significant British hymnwriter” by the Hope Publishing Company. 

Blessing    Jan sent us to our Congregational Meeting and our homes with the Blessing of the Holy Spirit, the Love of God and the gift of Peace.   Amen.

Blessing Song TiS 779:       “May the feet of God walk with you.”

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 17 May 2015

After welcoming us to worship Lita led us in the


Clap your hands, all you peoples;

Shout to God with loud songs of joy.

God has gone up with a shout,

the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

Sing praises to God, sing praises;

Sing praises to our Sovereign, sing praises.

For God is the Lord of the earth,

Sing praises with psalms and spiritual songs.

Even in times of great pain, we praise God for his strength and wisdom which is given to us through his Spirit to make sense of the things happening about us in the world.

Lita prayed to the God of all and our creator that our hearts would be filled with the desire to know him. If only we could keep that prayer before us at all times.

HYMN TIS 215 "You servants of God"  Your master proclaim! We must keep our focus on the Lord and keep our hearts and minds open to his will to show his love to the world.

Lita thanked our loving God for the opportunity to worship together as one...that we are able to gather and sing his praises. She gave thanks for the rest that God gives and for the joyful experiences of the past week and the way difficult experiences give us an opportunity to reach out to him. We would do well to remember that. So often, when we are experiencing a difficult time we close off, cutting the connection to the help that God is so willing to give to us. Lita then asked forgiveness for those things we have done which did not glorify God...when we underestimated the depth of God's love and mercy, relying in our own ability, failing to listen to God's spirit. How does Lita know so much about me?


Hear the good news! Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us,

Christ prays for us. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.

The old life has gone; a new life has begun. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace.

Thanks be to God! Amen.     

OFFERING We returned but a little of our blessings from God's which Lita prayed would be used in his work.

HYMN TIS 706 "Bless the Lord my soul" Bless the Lord, my soul, and bless God's Holy name. Bless the Lord, my soul, who leads me into life. We sang together, then women and men separately and then together became part of us.

BIBLE READINGS ​​​​Acts 1:15-17, 21-26. A story of the terrible fate of Judas and the method of choosing his replacement. They cast lots to choose between two men, which doesn't seem quite right to our modern ear but they were taking their hands off the choosing and leaving it to God's control. That is very difficult to do.

John 17:6-19​​ Jesus prays for his disciples that they will sanctified as he is sanctified and be led as he is led by the Father to carry out the mission when He returns to the Father. The mission that is now our mission. So may we be sanctified also that we may carry out God's will.

Lita spoke about both of today's readings, firstly drawing our attention to the reading describing the election to decide between Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) to take the place of Judas amongst the disciples. Matthias won the vote but Lita made the point that Justus received a "Holy No"...he was the other winner. It was simply the decision for that time which became obvious when both men ended up in places of prominence in the church years later. In God's kingdom all those who faithfully seek God's will are winners.

Lita then turned to the account of Jesus praying to the Father about his disciples and said there are a lot of big things in the prayer of Jesus for all of us:

"That we become one just as Jesus and the Father are one ( that means caring for one another; helping each other grow in Christ.). That we may have the joy of the Lord. (His joy rests in fully surrendering his will to the Father.). That we may be safe from the evil one. And that we may be sanctified by truth. (That we may have reachable and obedient hearts)."

That we may be led and sanctified just as Jesus was by the Father.

HYMN TIS 547 "Be Thou my vision" My Lord, be thou my all. To whom do we turn except our Lord? There is no other sure source of strength, of inspiration, of direction, of wisdom..of any single thing that we need.

(Musical interlude)

Lita prayed to our loving God on our behalf. He who knows all our prayers, asking him that we will continue to support each other and that we will be sanctified by his word. Turning to the outstretched arms of Jesus she, for us, asked that our prayers would be heard as we open our arms to others. Lita prayed for comfort for those who  mourn, for those who are discouraged in their search for employment, for our leaders and for people in pain, whether it be physical or mental, that they will be given relief and healing. She prayed that Grace be given to anyone who is having a tough full measure and then "Bind us together", in the name of Jesus. Amen.

We then joined in the Lord's Prayer.

HYMN TIS 599 "Take my life" Take my everything. There is nothing I have that is of any worth unless it is under God's direction in being used in the service of God.

Lita's blessing acknowledged how beautiful it is to seek God's will and work together.

She then reminded us that "it all works out perfectly well in the end for those whose hearts are set on the Lord". She continued : May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face to shine upon you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

BLESSING SONG "May our God of love".

May our God, God of love, bless and keep you forever.

Grant you peace, perfect peace! And strengthen for every endeavour.

Now go and serve him with all your heart, serving him forever.

May our God, God of love bless and keep you forever

Tune: Edelweiss.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 10 May 2015


Call to worship-

L  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

  and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

P  And also with you.

 L  Shout to God, all the earth.

P  Worship the Lord with joy and gladness.

 L  Come before God with laughter and praise.

P  Adore the one to whom we belong.

Hymn TIS 111 Praise to the Lord, the almighty, the king of creation Our God who lifts us and all creation above the mundane: to him be praise.

Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving

A prayer asking God to be present as love: for ourselves, for each other and for him. And adding if we cannot imagine such a concept, that we be transformed, so that others will see God in us.

Prayer of Confession

Jan confessed on our behalf how rarely we achieve the radical wholeness which God wants for us. She confessed how hard it is for us to be people of love. We know how costly a life of love is, as shown by the example of Jesus and we are so aware of the many times we fall short. Jan acknowledged our awareness of God's call for a changed world and confessed how easily we lose heart, asking forgiveness for our unfaithfulness.

Words of assurance

God is the beginning and the end.

Let us open our hearts to the forgiveness of God. Amen

P. Thanks be to God


Jan thanked God for his love to which we respond with the offering of our lives. Jan offered our gifts to the service of God and the extension of his kingdom.

Song Pass it on'

It only takes a spark to get a fire going, And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing; That's how it is with God's Love, Once you've experienced it, You spread his love to everyone You want to pass it on. © Kurt Kaiser

Bible Readings  Acts 10:44-48 and ​​​John 15: 9-17 read to us by Grahame Forrest​​​. In Acts the Holy Spirit falls upon the gentiles making Peter realise that they too are called to be baptised. Perhaps some time we mistakenly think some people are not worthy of membership of our church.

In John Jesus speaks about love as fundamental. We have been loved, therefore we are to love: to experience joy and be one with Jesus and the Father, by whose love we will bear fruit.

Sermon- Love produces Gods fruit

Building on the concept of love, so clearly represented today, through the recognition of the love of Mothers, Jan allowed that earthly parents can make mistakes and disappoint, leaving us with memories of being misunderstood and disappointed, without anyone to comfort us. She made the point that today's gospel passage could easily be about being a good parent "This is my commandment, that you live one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you," John 15:12-14.

Jesus love was a strong love that would send him to the cross - so that we could be transformed. Despite this example, we often fall short of offering love to others. We may be able to love some but stop short of giving it to all. That isn't real love, it's not the kind of love Jesus was talking about. Love is self- sacrificial and self- giving.

As a teacher, this writer knows of parents who have left lucrative jobs that brought them fulfillment and status in other countries to work in boring low-paid jobs in Australia to give their children a better life. There are also parents who have given up satisfying work to live on less income so that a disabled child would have the best attention and the best chance of developing into an independent adult. Children who have given up their childhood to be the carer of an invalid parent.

Our ability to love comes from God. Live does not happen in a is passed from one to another. We must immerse ourselves in God's word and let the love of God enter our lives, casting off all that is opposed to love.

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud. It us not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; (OUCH!) it does not keep a record of wrongs; it us not happy with evil but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up and its faith, hope and patience never fail.

(1Cor 13: 4-7).

Jan did not finish there, but if all we do this week is fervently attend to the advice given here, leaning on God's strength all the while, we will have grown into more of the person God wants us to be.


Hymn TIS 699 A new commandment I give unto you That you love one another. This will be the sign. Is it?

Musical interlude

This was a  time of private contemplation, giving us time to open our hearts to God, laying before him our needs and  of those known to us.

Prayers of Intercession

Jan prayed to our Lord Jesus, our loving God, giving thanks because he has reached out to us and embraced us, supporting us in all things. She confessed, for us, that we have not always been willing to reach out but affirmed God as our guiding light, asking for his care for our loved ones. She declared our trust in God and his love, and admitted that while he knew our needs, thoughts and burdens, that we should put them before him, asking for his help for ourselves; all those who are unwell; the frail; travellers and for anyone finding life difficult in any way. Jan held up our church, both local, Australia-wide and worldwide that that its leaders should work with wisdom to give guidance in his name. She also prayed for victims of unrest and natural disasters, that they should find peace. All to the glory of his name and the extension of his kingdom. Amen.

Hymn TIS 455 For all the saints who from their labours rest- The Christian life is envisioned as difficult but all our solutions lie in God himself.

Blessing 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. Amen.

Blessing Song -TIS 779 May the feet of God walk with you and his hand hold you tight. May the eye of God be 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. Amen and Amen.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 3 May 2015


Jan welcomed us all and led us in the

Call to worship- (Together)

Come to the vine-keeper all those who bear fruit.

Abide in the one who abides in us.

Grafted branches, pruned and nurtured,

Come those who abide in Jesus, to bear much fruit for the reign of God.

Come all of us who can do little on our own,

Be part of the vine and the branches.

Hymn TIS 431 Thanks to God, whose word was spoken. We thanked God for his plan to redeem the people of his creation and for his spirit that speaks to each of us.


Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving Using the analogy of our being plants tended by a gardener, Jan praised God for his compassion as he tends us, pruning and grafting where necessary to produce in us the people he wants us to be.

Prayer of Confession Jan prayed that God might "Refresh all the branches of our being, O God. Free us from the guilt and mistakes which stop us from growing." She confessed on our behalf that we are often unwilling to change, resisting God's hand and closing ourselves off, failing to find new ways.

Words of Assurance

The rich source of our life in God is everlasting.

It never dies or shrivels away in harsh judgement.

It simply waits for us to free the way for the renewal of grace.

When we approach our God in faith, we are always forgiven.

Thanks be to God.

Hymn As One Voice No 71 Gather your people, O Lord. We prayed that God would not only gather us at the table but in the world, sharing his peace.

Holy Communion

In this part of the service we remembered the story of the first shared meal in the upper room when Jesus broke bread and poured out wine, symbolizing his broken body and shed blood on the cross. In response to this story of promise we joined together, singing:

Holy, holy, holy Lord God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. All glory to your name. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest. The bread and wine were then blessed and shared after which we joined, to say: As this broken bread was scattered through the fields and hills before being gathered to become one, so may we and all people be gathered from the ends of the earth into Christ's kingdom.

Bible Readings

Acts 8:26-40 and ​​​John 15:1-11​​ were read by Caroline. In Acts we hear of the Ethiopian eunuch meeting Philip. The eunuch was seeking the truth but couldn't unravel the meaning of the passage he was reading. Philip stepped in to help, resulting in the Ethiopian finding understanding and seeking baptism.

John's message was that of Jesus being the true vine, and of us being the branches. Jan was to combine the messages of these two readings in her sermon.

Sermon- Abide in Christs love. Jan's leading statement was that: Abiding in Christ's love helps us grow and moves us to share the good news of Jesus with others. Following last week's message of loving and caring for others, Jan introduced the image of the vine as describing our connection to God and the fact that our life comes from God. Jan spoke of the complex preparations that are needed to produce the grape crop...a simple process that has become very scientific. Jan then spoke of her orange tree and the function of the roots and each part of the plant in distributing nutrition thoughout the plant. Jan then likened our relationship to God with the vine, with Jesus as the vine and the Father as the vine-grower. If we belong to Jesus, we are part of the vine...branches, leaves, grapes, stems etc. It is only as we draw on the nourishment of the vine that we can fulfil our true purpose. "Abide in me as I abide in you, just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."

Jan went onto advise us that we need to abide in Christ...spend quality time with him. In this way we become more like Jesus. In the Christian community we are called to produce the fruits of justice and love but to do so faithfully we must be prepared to have God change us (prune away the unwanted parts) to encourage the better parts to grow.

The early disciples abided in Christ by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in them. They met, they broke bread and shared the message of the risen Lord. Philip and others moved out into the rest of the world, spreading the good news of Jesus' love and forgiveness.

Philip was able to explain to the eunuch that Jesus offered new life and forgiveness to all. Our mission is to follow Philip's example...we seek to be bearers of the love of Christ, with his love abiding in and flowing through us to others.

Hymn TIS 588 In heavenly love abiding In this hymn we sang of our absolute confidence in Christ's love to sustain us in all things.

Musical interlude before prayer

Prayers of Intercession

Dan prayed, as we gathered together, that through his spirit, God would be with us. Dan prayed for all those seeking work; for those in areas of conflict that they will be granted peace; for comfort for the sick; for wisdom for the decision makers. He continued, asking for God's support of all those affected by the floods and other disaster relief areas, especially Nepal. Dan prayed for Jan as she leads us and for ourselves he prayed that those bad habits will be pruned away.

Hymn TIS 239 Jesus the Lord said, I am the bread In fact Jesus is all things to us. He answers every need.

Jan blessed us and then we sang together:

Hymn TIS 781 Father bless us as we go, Jesus walk beside us, Holy Spirit guide us.