Friday, 28 October 2016

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 16 October 2106

Hopeful Expectation

Welcome to this time of worship and community.

Call to Worship -

Using the words of Mary J. Scifres, John made us aware of our reliance on God to reach out to us first, preparing us for our journey of discovery as we seek a closer relationship with him. This relieves us of the burden of being unsure as to whether we are doing the right thing. With God as our guide, we can be sure.

​"God’s teachings are sweeter than honey. Christ’s love is more precious than jewels.

​The Spirit’s wisdom is mightier than the sword. God’s guidance is the treasure we seek."

​Hymn TIS 468: “We are your people, Lord, by your grace” There is something lovely but very scary in the words of this hymn. Opening ourselves to God's work is the scary bit. What could be asked of us? But his strength is sufficient, which is not only a comfort but a reminder not to rely in our own.

Opening Prayer

​God of discernment and truth, guide us as we listen for your wisdom. Guide our hearts, that we may receive your love. Guide our minds, that we may accept your challenges. Guide our lives, that we may follow your direction. Guide us with your wisdom and truth. Amen

 A Prayer of Confession

Forgive us, O God, when we reject your teaching, and neglect your law.

Forgive us when we meditate on movies and gossip, and ignore your words of love and compassion.

Forgive us when we pursue power and wealth, and forsake the path of justice and mercy.

Guide us back to you, that we may walk in your ways and live in your love.

In Christ’s grace and mercy, we pray. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness

In the new covenant of Christ Jesus, grace and forgiveness are ours.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

Offering Prayer

May our gifts become instruments of your truth, and examples of your love. Plant new hope with these gifts, and build a world of justice with the ministries we dedicate to you now. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

Hymn TIS 168: “For the fruits of all creation”​​​ We are inclined to think that the things we enjoy in our daily lives come as a matter of course and that anyone who doesn't have

them is deprived unfairly. I think there would be less "deprivation" if we appreciated each thing as a gift from God and blessed his name for all we receive.

The Bible Readings: ​​Jeremiah 31: 27-34 God promises a new covenant:  "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more."

 ​​2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 "What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them." We live in a world where the evidence is clear that people are determined to do their own thing regardless of the consequences to other people but this sentence from Timothy gives promise and hope.

​​​​Luke 18: 1-18 In this passage we are taught many lessons. We are told to pray and not lose heart. We are told that a humble offering is far more acceptable than a self-serving piece of self-congratulations. And we are told that not only are children very welcome but to enter the kingdom of heaven we must be as simple in our trust of a God as children are.

​Reader: ​For the Word of the Lord. ​Response: Thanks be to God.

Preaching of the Word "Hopeful Expectation" - Jeremiah 31:27-34

I don't think I can do John's sermon justice but the words that hit me were those about starting anew in hope. Words about needing to examine my present state, and acknowledge the parts that need God's attention if His kingdom is to flourish in me and around me. God's blessings only feel like blessings to those who are attuned to his will. If we are to receive God's blessing we first need to let his Spirit prepare our hearts and minds to receive those blessings.

Hymn TIS 158: “God has spoken by his prophets” God speaks to us in many ways. It is up to us to remain ready to hear his voice.

Music to lead us to prayer During this time we quieten our hearts

Loving God, you teach us to bring our needs to you in prayer and you come to our help when we cry to you: hear our prayers for the world and for the church. John continued in prayer, asking for God's help for all those in distress, confessing our own part in causing that distress and our lack of thoughtfulness about addressing the wrongs we cause.

God be merciful to us, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer...

Help us to follow you in humility and obedience. When we fail, guide us and then bring us, with all your saints, into the joy of your eternal presence.

Ever-generous God be merciful to us, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We then joined in The Lord's Prayer,

Hymn TIS 609: “May the mind of Christ my Saviour” That's why we exist - to allow the Spirit to change us so that we will reflect God to the world


Go and build houses of love. Go and plant gardens of kindness. Go and create lives of goodness. Go and proclaim the promise of justice. Go with the blessings of God.

​​​And may the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be with you always. Amen.

Hymn TIS 779: “May the Feet of God” Just to remind us as we leave.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 2 October 2106

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

Lay Preachers’ Service. Welcome to Rowena and visitors given by Lyn.

Call to Worship

Lord God, we quietly reflect that, like the aboriginal people before us, we are on sacred ground. For us, it‘s not because of any special construction of the building, but because we, and generations before us, have met you here. In our worship today, inspire in us: Gratitude, Love and a Willingness to serve our neighbours, our community, our world.  In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen

Hymn TIS 90: “I’ll Praise My Maker” (Number 5 from Top 10 list and a special hymn.)

Opening Prayer

Inspire us this day, O God. With the power of your Holy Spirit, revive our courage. With Christ’s holy calling in our lives, rekindle our sense of purpose. With your steadfast love and faithfulness, renew our faith. In gratitude and trust, we pray. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, comfort us when we wander into exile and find ourselves lost and alone.

Forgive us when we wander from your gracious love and find ourselves falling into sin.

In Christ Jesus, reconcile us to yourself, and bring us back into your loving embrace.

Revive our souls, strengthen our faith, and bless us with your holy calling, that we may be inspired to live your calling, and trust in your grace, all the days of our lives. In Christ’s mercy and grace, we pray. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness

God did not give us a spirit that is timid, but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled. Trust in the power of this good news: God’s grace is ours through Christ Jesus, who has destroyed both death and sin. In the name of Christ, we are forgiven and made anew.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

Hymn TIS 474: “Here in this place - gather us in.” 

The Service of Holy Communion presided over by John

The Great 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.

With all our hearts we praise you, faithful God. In the beginning, you called light to shine in darkness, you made living things to grow and flourish and you created human beings in your image. You chose us in love, guided us by your presence and blessed us with your holy law. Yet we chose our own sinful ways. We broke your commandments, persecuted your prophets, forgot your wisdom and, time after time, refused to answer your call. So you spoke an eternal word in a human voice in Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, Son of God. He called and people followed, leaving every other loyalty. He set us free to praise your holy name. But hatred and violence shouted Jesus down. Betrayed and abandoned and nailed to a cross, he laid down his life for the world he loved, and broke the chains of evil and death. Then you turned our sorrow into joy. On the third day you raised him up to lead your people into life. So we praise you, holy God, with angels and archangels and all your faithful people:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

John then told us again the story of that night when Jesus blessed the bread and wine and shared it with his friends,

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

And now, faithful God, send us your Spirit to feed us with the body and the blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Make us one body in Christ...

As this broken bread was once many grains, which have been gathered together and made one bread: so may your Church be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom.

Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us.

Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.

Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us peace.

The gifts of God for the people of God. Draw near with faith, to feed on Christ in your hearts with thanksgiving.

The Distribution.

Prayer after Communion

Holy God, we came to this table scarred by regrets and broken dreams, anxious about many things, knowing that we are not immune to evil's lure. And you met us at this table; embracing us in our brokenness, naming us "beloved", claiming us for eternity. We thank you, living, loving God. Amen.

Early History of MR Church: Joan spoke to us about the early history of the MRUC and the people who had devoted so much of themselves to the establishment and the nurture of this church. As I sat there listening, I wondered if we are prepared to give our all as they seemed to have done, contributing so much time, money and energy to what was obviously their first concern, the building of God's kingdom here at Marsden Road.

My Call to Lay Preaching Rowena spoke to us of her call to Lay Preaching and the steps in the path that led to that from an early age. She also spoke of the difficulty of obtaining training, when she could only attend classes at night and the hurdles which needed to be jumped to become accredited. We are glad that she persisted because she has been a blessing to the people at MRUC.

Choir: “Bless the Lord” The choir has brought us a number of items during this time of celebrating the anniversary of MRUC, all adding that extra dimension to our worship.

Bible Readings:​ Romans 10: 13-17; Luke 10: 25-37         Glen & Emma

Reflection Warwick spoke on the reading about the Good Samaritan. He covered many relevant points but I think these are especially worth keeping in our minds daily as we travel through life:

The four questions the Good Samaritan didn’t ask, but could have:

1. Is this man one of my group ? Lies at the heart of the story, a story that happens time and time again: Sunni & Shiite; Catholic & Protestant. Does he share my beliefs or values? No! There is a fellow human in need. Why didn’t the priest and Levite stop?

2. Do I like him ? It’s easy to be kind to people we like. People we warm to, people we know and appreciate. But Jesus said, “If you love those who love you....” No ! Liking had nothing to do with it; he didn’t even know him, let alone like him.

3. Does he deserve my help? There are a lot of undeserving people. Warwick then passed on a story of a man in Germany who gave his property as a shelter for asylum seekers...who trashed it. Were they deserving? The Samaritan didn't consider that, he got in and helped.

4. What can I get out of it for me? The satisfaction of helping, but it actually cost him time and effort, and money to pay the innkeeper.

These are the 4 questions the Samaritan didn’t ask, and we can’t afford to ask them either. Jesus asks us: “Of these three men, who do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The lawyer said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” Jesus says to us as he did to the lawyer: “Go and do the same.” 

Hymn TIS 629: “When I needed a neighbour” ​​

Prayers of the People: Laurel led us. Praying for the concerns of the world and our church in particular, especially the Lay Preachers who have served MRUC. She asked for help for those in physical need in war-torn countries and for refugees who
have had to flee their homes. She prayed for more local concerns but the thing that touched our hearts was the ending:

Take the clay of our lives and shape it to love,

Take the clay of the Church and shape it to grace,

Take the clay of today and shape it to hope,

And then breathe your spirit into it all again.                             

Hymn TIS158: “God has spoken by his prophets”​​


May the all embracing love of God, our Father

The grace and example of Jesus Christ, our Lord

The power and conviction of the Holy Spirit

Be with us now, as we go from here.

Sung Blessings:  “May the feet of God walk with you”