Monday, 29 May 2017

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 28 May 2017

Marsden Road Uniting Church Sunday 28th May 2017

 Gathering God’s People

Call to Worship

(Mary J. Scifres, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)

Called to be one with Christ, called to be one with each other, called to be one in ministry, we gather in the unity of God’s Holy Spirit, who calls us here.

Called to be one, we are here.

Called to be strong, we are here.

Called in devotion to God, we gather to worship and pray.

Hymn TIS 100 “All creatures of our God and King” verses 1,2,3,5. Voices raised in praise for all that God is and does.

Opening prayer

Holy Spirit, descend upon us this day. Gather us into your presence, that we may be devoted to prayer and strengthened in unity and love.

In your holy name, we pray. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Rouse us with your grace and mercy, O God.

Scatter the fears within our hearts. Drive away our doubt and our sin.

Melt our insecurities and anxieties.

Banish our divisions and disagreements, that we may be one with you through the grace of Christ Jesus, and one with each other through the power of your Holy Spirit, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness

Sing to God! For we are forgiven and united by God’s power and grace.

Thanks, be to God!

The Peace

Forgiven by Christ’s grace and united in the Spirit, let us share signs of unity and love this day.

Peace be with you! And also with you!

Offering Prayer

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us. Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts. And pour out your Holy Spirit on the ministries we offer to your world. Though our gifts and our offerings, may others may find generous friends and a loving community of faith.

Hymn AOV Vol  2/54 “Be Still and Know” If we just stop: stop and let God speak to us, we will hear that small voice that is just for us.

                    The Service of the Word

The Readings came from Acts 1: 1-11, Ephesians 1: 15-23 and Luke 24: 44-53. These three readings refer to the resurrection and ascension. Many of us are puzzled about the possibility of these events happening just as they are described here. However, those of us who experience the living presence of God with us can leave that aside, and draw comfort from the relationship we have with the Creator God.

Preaching of the Word.

Then He Opened Their Minds. – Lk 24:44-53

Rev. John spoke about the familiar experience of farewelling people and expecting them to return. The disciples had an experience which wasn't so familiar. They expected Jesus to return but the rest was very vague. But what did happen which changed them completely, was the coming of the Spirit.

The work of the Spirit changes people. Rev. John spoke of how it changed him and led to his entry into the ministry.

Most of us don't change our day to day work when the Spirit takes hold of our lives.  But what does change is the way we live those lives, whether at work and at home or at leisure. If it doesn't, we should be asking ourselves questions.  Are we showing others what our God can do to bring fulfillment to an ordinary life, but more importantly, what are we showing other people about God? If they know we are Christians. They expect to see God reflected in us. Do they?

Hymn TIS 474 “Here in this place new light is streaming” Gather us in. It is that closeness to our maker that we all yearn for.

Music to lead us to prayer. Our time to think over things.

Intercessory Prayers

Grahame began his prayer with the words of the hymns "O love that will not let me go," and "Jesus makes us shine" and then sang to lead us into the sense of our prayer being both given to us, and received from God. He reminded us of  God's spirit being made known to us through everyday experiences and then prayed for the various needs of all those who suffer, offering to all the Loving arms of God as a place of refuge.

Hymn TIS 456 “Your hand, O God, has guided” Constancy. God's constancy to each of us, regardless of anything about us, is the thing we can depend on.


Called to be one, we go forth in unity and love.

Called to be strong, we go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Called in devotion to God, we go forth in ministry and witness to the world.

And may the one who calls us, almighty God creator, redeemer and giver of live bless us and keep us as we go forth. Amen

Hymn TIS 780: “May light come into your eyes." It is when we pray for each other in this way that we are at our best as a Christian community.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 21 May 2017

Readings  7

Acts 17: 22-31.  Psalm 66: 8-20. John 14:15-21

Hymns:  Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving

Sung: TIS Hymn 102 Praise to the living Lord, all praise to his name.

Hymn TIS 188 Where the wide sky rolls down

Hymn TIS 454 Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness

Hymn TIS 547   Be thou my vision

Benediction Hymn TIS 780 May light come into your eyes.

Reflection: "Let God be Seen"

I led the service today and, after studying the lectionary readings, the theme that emerged was about letting God be seen.

In the Acts reading we hear of Paul finding the Athenians worshipping many gods in the form of statues, except that one was to the "unknown god" and acknowledged that "we too are his offspring". Paul realised that God had made himself to be seen by the Athenians. That reminded me that the Church does not own God and nor do Christians. That God can appear to whoever God chooses, regardless of people, place, education or culture.

That made me realise that we should not assume that people know nothing about God just because they don't speak the "right" words or think highly of the Church.

Often we can see that God is speaking to people through their hospitality, their kindness, their generosity, their encouragement of others.

Paul saw this though the inscriptions on the statue, so instead of berating the Athenians for what they were doing that was wrong, he acknowledged and encouraged their search for the truth.

Clearly, some among them had experienced that enlivening presence that we all know, which convinces us of the existence of an everlasting God.

We should follow that example. Encourage that which is leading to light. It may seem beyond us but we have the most excellent template upon which to mould ourselves - Jesus of Nazareth.

In letting God be seen through ourselves, I realised that there is huge issue, especially for those of us who are getting older and acquiring medical problems. We should be constantly giving thanks for what is good in our lives.

Life is what it is, with everything that comes with it, but there is so much to be thankful for.

A friend taught before his retirement, at a "disadvantaged school". He taught kids whose first language was not English and kids who simply had trouble with reading and writing. Their home backgrounds were not rich in material things, so they could have easily developed a victim mentality but God wouldn't let that happen. He pointed out that in having a home, clothes, food, education and available medical help put them in the top 6% of the world's population.

We all have troubles, but we all have much to be grateful for - comfortable homes, healthy food, friends, family and community help.

Our lives will be that much richer if we focus on that.

And those people who know we are Christians will see God in that instead of seeing those who profess to be God's people grumbling about their lot. What must they think about that?

We have so much to thank God for.  Which is just what the psalmist did:

Bless our God, O peoples,

    let the sound of his praise be heard,

who has kept us among the living,

    and has not let our feet slip.

Let that God be seen.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Sunday Service Marsden Road Unitng Church 7 May 2017

Gathering of God's People 

Call to Worship

(Mary Sue Brookshire, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)

We began with a reflection of our relation to God as sheep to a shepherd. Sheep remember their shepherds and stay close to each other and the shepherd, chewing as they graze. We are invited to "Chew over things": reflect on our relationship with our shepherd. We then joined in a responsive version of Psalm 23 after which followed a sung version to the familiar Crimond tune, bringing back school day memories.

The Opening prayer continued the same theme highlighting God's ability to be heard and recognized over the din that daily surrounds us. To call us from all the distractions of life to true nourishment.

The Prayer of Confession reminded us who should be leading and who should be in control and how we forget that, turning away, for this we asked forgiveness.

Declaration of Forgiveness

Even when we stray like sheep, the Good Shepherd finds us and brings us home. Through Christ, we are forgiven.

Thanks, be to God!

The Peace One of the most moving parts of the service as we reach out to each other:

God makes peace within us. Let us claim it.
God makes peace between us. Let us share it

Peace be with you!

And also with you.


The Good Shepherd provides for our needs; we lack nothing. We come now to share from the abundance we have received.

Offering Prayer

 Holy One we offer these gifts with gratitude for the many ways you care for us. Use these gifts, and our very lives, O God, that all might have life, and have it abundantly. Amen.

Hymn TIS 588: “In heavenly love abiding” In the care of the shepherd we can be safe and secure.

There followed the service of Holy Communion. I was talking to a speaker recently and we agreed. We don't know what happens in Communion or why it happens, but it does. Things are different after we join together, placing ourselves in God's presence, remembering Jesus sacrifice.

Prayer after Communion

God of compassion, through your son, Jesus Christ, you reconciled your people to yourself. Following his example of prayer and fasting may be obey you with willing hearts and serve one another in holy love. Amen

The Service of the Word

The Readings: Acts 2:42-47. 1 Peter 2:19-25. John 10:1-10

Preaching of the Word

Gates! – John 10:1-10

Rev. John spoke about the types of gates which exist and the reason for them. He then spoke of Jesus as the gate to The Kingdom. Before he could say anything else I thought: "Jesus is the gate to let us in, not to keep us out."

Then Rev. John said:  

It may surprise some to learn that the divine kingdom is also now -- a joy filled life in Christ can also be now. This is a reality! Not that it's a bed of roses, that it's utopia, that it's nirvana. No, but it is, in fact, the Divine Kingdom which is real and filled with true Divine Love and it's yours to enter, as you will. The only stipulation is to use the gate...Rev John later followed with:

 This love is so divine that all your earthly treasures will shrink in comparison. This love is so complete that all your woes and trials will be walked through with strength and courage, and you will know the divine support all around you. Come join the flock, those who know the voice of their gatekeeper; come, enter by the front door, for his arms are stretched wide open for you. Amen.

Hymn TIS 655: “O let the Son of God enfold you”

Music to lead us to prayer

Intercessory Prayers

Delma led us, beginning with a prayer of thanks for answered prayer. She then prayed for peace here and now, then for our governments. She followed, asking for wisdom among the leadership of the UCA and for the leaders of our MRUC. She gave opportunity for each of us to pray silently and added a prayer for those that mourn and the sick, particularly those people in our own church or known to our congregation who are suffering in any way, concluding with The Lord's Prayer.

Hymn TIS 147: “To God be the glory,” Sung with gusto by people who were thankful.


As you go out into the world practise being sheep…..

and slow down. Chew on things. Stay close together. And listen for the voice of the shepherd calling to you.

And may the Almighty God, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life bless you and keep you safe out in his world through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Hymn TIS 780: “May light come into your eyes” Our prayer for each other. Amen.

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 14 May 2017

Festival of the Christian Home/Mother's Day
Gathering God’s People
Call to Worship
(Mary J. Scifres, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)
Come to Christ, the living cornerstone. Come to rest on the foundation of God’s love. Come to be strengthened and renewed in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Once we were not a people, but now we are God’s people.
Once we were alone, but together we are the household of God.
Here in this time of worship, and later when we go forth to serve,
Christ is our cornerstone, strengthening us for the journey.
In our living and in our dying, Christ is our sure foundation, strengthening us along the way.

Hymn TIS 161: “Tell out, my souls,” And we sang as though we meant it!

Opening prayer
Shine your face upon us, O God. Help us see your face in
one another and hear your voice in the words that are
spoken. Through your grace, make us holy, that we may
offer spiritual sacrifices that honour and glorify your holy
name. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession
 Gracious God, prepare us for the difficult road ahead. Like Stephen, help us be ready to forgive even the most horrendous of sins. Like the psalmist, help us accept your forgiveness and grace. Like newborn infants, help us receive your unconditional love.
(A time of silent confession may follow.)
With steadfast love, shine your face upon us, that we may know the beauty of your mercy and your grace.
In Christ’s beloved name, we pray. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness
Whoever believes in Christ will never be shamed, for in Christ we are forgiven and loved.
Thanks, be to God!
And having made our peace with God, we offered the Sign of Peace to each other.

Through these gifts, proclaim your word of grace. Shine forth through our offerings and our lives, that others may see your face and know your steadfast love. In your love and grace, we pray. Amen.

Hymn TIS 162: “Thank you for giving me the morning” And we were thankful for being able to attend church this morning to be uplifted and guided into the coming week.

The Service of the Word

Acts 7.55-60
55 But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ (Stephen).

1 Peter 2:2-10
2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.  
John 14:1-14
1 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. .
Preaching of the Word
Whoever Has Seen me. – John 14:1-14
In the epistle, Peter is saying is that we have to yearn for faith in Christ with as much determination as a baby yearns for food.  
The thought that occurred to me after that opening sentence of the sermon was that a baby is totally focussed on its yearning for food. Little babies think of little else. Are we like that in our yearning for faith?
Together, we are all called to echo God's praise
and to
form a place where God's presence is
experienced,  living stones, and holy
priests, all of us. Together, we form the church,
living breathing stones surrounded by
manufactured stones, the ones which go
together to form the material structure of
this church - a building which is visible and
recognisable as a place of
This is a huge responsibility and not one we can carry alone. So, often we hear complaints about the church from members but the church is us! It is what we are!
 Rev John spoke more about the church but space does not permit a reflection on all of it. But the next section is vital: we often wonder what God is like. Well here we are told:
 Jesus said, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."
Just five weeks ago we recalled the crucifixion of Jesus and collectively wondered what kind of radical or revolutionary or extremist he must have been...What on earth do we, law-abiding, tax-paying, church-going citizens have to do with him? In this morning's gospel, we are reminded that Jesus is not a renegade or rogue but instead, he stands with God.
 Hymn TIS 468: “We are your people, Lord, by your grace” Having heard the Word, this is our pledge.

Music to lead us to prayer, a time to contemplate.

Intercessory Prayers A Time to lift up our concerns to the only one who understands. Then we joined in The Lord's Prayer.

Hymn TIS 581: “Happy the home that welcomes you,” Applied faith.

As we have been strengthened, we go forth to strengthen others.
As we have been blessed, we go forth to bless the world.
As we have been loved, we go forth to love with compassion and grace.
As we go forth may remembering the nurture of our mothers, the nurture of God through Jesus and his body the Church, may the same God, creator, redeemer and giver of live bless you and keep you. Amen

Hymn 779: “May the feet of God walk with you" Our prayer for each other.