Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 14 August 2016

Welcome to this time of worship and community. We hope you find the service helpful and encouraging.

Call to Worship - (D Sokolove, Abingdon 2016)

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Strengthen us, Holy one. Let your face shine upon us, and keep us safe.

By faith, Gods people passed through the Red Sea. By faith, the walls of Jericho fell.

We come in faith, calling on the name of God to save us.  

Is a cloud rising in the west? Is the south wind blowing?

We come in faith, calling on the name of God to save us.

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, who show us the way to run the race set before us.

Strengthen us Holy one. Let your face shine upon us and keep us safe.

HYMN TIS 119: I sing the almighty power of God

Opening prayer

Using a number of metaphors, John praised God for his guidance, nurturing and his enlivening being. He acknowledged the need for God to shape us according to his will and asked for his help in carrying out his commands, that love and justice should prevail in this world.

A Prayer of Confession

Continuing the use of metaphor of God planting, nurturing and pruning vines which will yield sweet fruit, John thanked God for his preparations for us but confessed that even with such care we somehow fall short of what God intended,

"Forgive us, Holy One, for ignoring the cries of anguish that rise up to you.

Restore us, God of hosts, that we might yield good fruit to feed a hungry world. Amen."

Declaration of Forgiveness

"God fills us with life and love, offering us forgiveness and grace whenever we call on the name of the Holy One. In the name of Christ, you are forgiven.

In the name of Christ, we are forgiven. Thanks be to God. Amen."

The Peace

"As forgiven and beloved people of God, let us offer one another signs of peace.

The peace of Christ be with you all.

And also with you."

Offering Prayer

"God of All, we are so thankful for this opportunity to give. Our joy is tempered by the knowledge that so many of your children suffer in war-ravaged countries and impoverished cities. Multiply these gifts so that those oppressed by injustice may experience your care. Awaken us so that[1]  our need to act faithfully against all injustice is reflected in how we speak and how we serve. In your holy name, we pray.  Amen."

The First Reading: Isaiah 5:1-7 This reading echoed the theme of the prayers: God has prepared the ground and nurtured the crop but is not rewarded for his efforts as we people simply ignore his guidance. And God withdraws his care and all descends into ruins.

The Epistle Reading: Hebrews 11: 29 - 12: 2  Recounts all those who have suffered in God's name and for his sake. Then, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God"

The Gospel Reading: Luke 12: 49-56 A warning that the coming of the kingdom will be very disturbing and will not be an easy thing to experience.

For the Word of the Lord: Thanks be to God

Preaching of the Word - Hard Sayings.

John spoke on today's lessons including the hard sayings and pointed out that God makes it clear that our behaviour is important - our readings today make that very clear.

"This is the other side of the Gospel, the other side of the faith; the side that we dont embrace quite so willingly. Yet it is very much a part of the whole Christian message."

God calls us to live in obedience to him: to live according to the truth with God at our centre. To live not for ourselves but to live for others and for our planet.

"The bottom line is the imitation of ChristJesus living his life again in us and through us. God is very serious about this vision of life and expects us to strive to have our lives reflect this vision."

And the reason we are be disciplined and moulded is that God wants us to live life to the fullest. I remember an old joke: When all else fails, read the instructions!

"The way we are created to live is not always the way the world around us says we should live. The values are different and holding onto those values and the vision of our faith will show us what Jesus meant about division, and conflict, and fire. Our reward will be a life, lived in its fullest, and its most abundant. God loves us, and wants that life for us. God gives us through Jesus, this vision of how human beings should livefor our own sake."

John told us how people were challenged to a new life through Jesus and that our lives should be such a challenge today. We must open our hearts so that Jesus can transform us to be that challenge.

TIS Hymn 598: Dear Father, Lord of humankind"

Music to lead us to prayer

Intercessory Prayers (Selected)

"Faithful God, you hear our cries and answer when we call on you: give us faith to believe that with you all things are possible...

You have shown us ways of justice and righteousness, but we have chosen paths of violence and greed: hear our prayers for the nations of the world...

You have offered us gifts of redemption and life, but we have clung to old ways of sin and death: hear our prayers for your church and its mission...

You rescue the weak and save those in distress, but we have abandoned the vulnerable and neglected those in need: hear our prayers for the people of this community...

You are generous and loving to all your people, but we have been selfish and uncaring towards each other: hear our prayers for all who suffer...

Your people rejected your love and turned from your ways, but you endured death on a cross to bring us eternal life: we give you thanks for all who have died in the faith."


TIS Hymn 456: Your hand, O God, has guided


Like the martyrs who suffered and died, witnessing to the power of Christ in their lives, let your lives be a witness to the power of Christ in your lives, as you go out in faithful service to the world.

And may the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the life of the Spirit be with you, in you and around you this morning and into the future. Amen.



Saturday, 13 August 2016

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 7 August 2016

Marsden Road Uniting Church-  9.30am, 7 August, 2016 Sacrament of Holy Communion

Today Our Communion service was focused on Frontier Services, our Uniting Church service to people in remote Australia

Acknowledgment of Country (from Frontier Services.)

We acknowledge the First Peoples whose stories of this place reach back into aeons of time and have shaped their care for this land since time immemorial.

We honour their stories and pray that we too may care

for this land that sustains all our lives in this place.

Prayer of Adoration 

This prayer acknowledged God's eternal nature, a nature without limit of any sort.

God, whose brilliance tells of his untarnished being, not modified in anyway by those elements which can limit us or other created things. God, who is utterly dependable and our hope for everything that is good.

Hymn- TIS 188 Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand. Sometimes it is hard for our spirit to resonate with the hymn's built in images from a different hemisphere or geography. But this hymn touches our core.

Prayers (that God will help us to live more responsibly and simply.)

Because the world is beautiful and beauty is a tender thing, and we are stewards of creation,

we need you, God. R: We need you God.

Because human knowledge seems endless, and we do not know what we do not know,

we need you, God. R: We need you God.

Because we cannot live without you, and are free to go against you, and could worship our wisdom alone, we need you God. R: We need you God.

All: God, open our eyes that we may know the difference between needs and wants; living in poverty and living simply; the exploitation of resources and the responsible use of resources. Amen

(From UCA Mission Prayer Handbook, 1992.)

Prayer of Confession (from Frontier Services.)

A confession which was hard to escape from, if that was our need. We can try to excuse ourselves from sin because we "didn't know". But perhaps that is because we don't look past our own needs and instead disregard the needs of others because we have minimized and dismissed their impact.

For our foolish and careless use of the gifts of your creation Lord, have mercy Lord, have mercy. For our indifference to the plight of others, Especially those in remote areas facing the harsh reality of drought, our brothers and sisters for whom you died; Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

For our neglect of the means of grace, our tendency to blame others for their misfortune; Lord, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

Declaration of forgiveness Through Jesus Christ our Saviour know that your sins are forgiven. Thanks be to God

Hymn TIS 526 Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us. This hymn speaks of all that Jesus has done for us and we are all aware of that but none of it has affect unless as in the last verse: Lord Jesus Christ I would come to you ...into my life your power breaks through, Living Lord.

Sacrament Of Holy Communion

Marion began with a reminder that Jesus welcomed everyone and that we are all invited to God's meal. She then recalled the night before Jesus crucifixion when he instituted this meal, explaining that as being the basis for our gathering today

The Great Prayer Of Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.  And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.  We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.  It is right to give our thanks and praise.

There followed a prayer of acknowledgement and thanks for all God's blessings to us, especially the landscapes of Australia and for Jesus' life which is given as a pattern for our lives.

And we thank you for the Holy Spirit, who takes our hand and lives with us every day as our friend and helper. And now we join with people everywhere and we join with the angels in heaven to praise you, our God.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Then followed The Lord's Prayer

The Breaking Of The Bread

The congregation was then exhorted to LOOK at the bread which was broken and the cup which was poured out, absorbing through that sight, the sense of the sacrifice made.

Lamb Of God Jesus, Lamb of God, Have mercy on us. Jesus, bearer of our sins, Have mercy on us. Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us your peace.
The Bread And Wine Are Shared

Receive this holy sacrament of the body and blood of Christ,

and feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

Prayer After Communion
ALL: We thank you, loving God, that you have fed us through your Word and through this sacrament. Help us to be your true disciples, loving you, and caring for others.

May we show kindness, speak truth, do justice, and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

Bible Readings (Val)       Isaiah.1: 1, 10-20;     Luke 12: 32-40


Marion introduced the idea of a "dummy spit" and while conceding that God does not have dummy spits, she thought what happened appeared as though he had. She referred to the readings: God has "had enough" (v11) bringing offerings is futile (v.12) I cannot endure your solemn assemblies (v 13) my soul hates the religious festivals (v.14) I will hide my eyes from you...your hands are full of blood...I will not listen (v.14). God is fed up with observance of worship and religious ceremonies while justice and care for the suffering are neglected - missing altogether!

Marion said much more but the above gives us pause enough to shake ourselves up. And don't look at what others are doing or not doing. We are being told to think about our own lives.

I wonder if I kept all the money I spend on chocolate, how much I would have saved up to give away at the end of the year?

Hymn TIS 618 What does the Lord require for praise and offering?..Do justly; love mercy; walk humbly with your God. Regardless of the specific circumstances, that is the command that we must follow. Simple but requiring a close walk with God.

Musical interlude before prayer during which we prayed privately.

Prayers of the people  (Chris - from Frontier Services. )

God of the story, revealed to us through your story-telling son, come now to your world and its people, for whom we pray. We pray for the First Peoples of this land who have known the spirit of your presence in this place for aeons of time. Enable them to overcome crippling dispossession and social disadvantage to rightfully share in the blessings of this land.

God of the story, come with your gift of life

We pray for all who live beyond our cities, especially for people and communities in the grip of drought or economic hardship, despairing for their future.

God of the story, come with your gift of hope

We pray for all who serve in remote communities, especially through the support of Frontier Services for patrol ministry, or as volunteers through Outback Links.

God of the story, come with your gift of compassion and care.

We pray that our lives and response to others and the world may continue to be shaped by the Gospel of Jesus Christ

God of the story, come to your world and its people.

Hymn TIS 665 Jesus Christ is waiting, waiting in the streets. As we look about us, we are called to see Jesus in all other people. But if we don't see a reflection of our own way of being, we so often miss Jesus, right there before us.

Dismissal and Blessing   

May God grant you grace to see your origin in Gods love - your light that shines in the dark. And may the blessing of God Almighty the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you now and forever. Amen.