Thursday, 9 July 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 6 12 July 2020


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford
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The Responsibility of Hearing.
Sunday 12th July 2020
Pentecost 6 Sunday - year of Matthew 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 
May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.


Call to Worship - (Abingdon Worship Annual 2020)
       
Ask the Sower to cast you onto good, fertile soil, that you may bear the fruit of faith and love.

You are the Sower, O God, we are the seed.
God’s word is being sown in our lives this day with the promise of new growth.
You are the Lover, O God, we are the beloved.
God’s love blossoms in our lives with a beauty greater than the lilies of the field.
You are the Healer, O God, we are the healed.
God’s healing flows through our lives with every beat of our heart.
You are the Potter, O God, we are the clay.
God’s hand fashions us to shine with the glory of Christ’s light.
Come! Let us worship the one who sows us in fields of love.

Hymn 261: Lord, you are the light of life to me
                 (Tune – Fairmead)


1         Lord, you are the light of life to me;
when darkness hides my path, you help me see.
Shine on me, O Lord, that now and all my days
your light may lead me on, guiding my ways.

2         Lord, you are the rock on which I stand,
stable and strong in you, held by your hand.
Keep me safe, O Lord; in weakness let there be
your loving, firm embrace upholding me.

3         Lord, you are the truth that sets me free;
only in you is found true liberty.
Teach me then, O Lord, in all things to pursue
your good and perfect will, growing like you.

4         Lord, you are the Lamb of God who died,
suffering for love of me, scorned, crucified.
Love me still, O Lord; let others daily see
your selfless, serving love flowing through me.

5         Lord, you are the King who ever reigns.
Earth's rulers rise and fall: your throne remains.
Rule my life, O Lord; I yield myself anew
your name to glorify, living for you.

Brian R Hoare (born 1935)
© Brian Hoare/Jubilate Hymns Ltd
9 10 11 10

Opening prayer

Great Sower, cast us like seeds upon the winds of your
mercy, that we may grow in fertile ground. Keep our lives
from stony pathways, where the heat of life’s cares and
strife strips our strength and vitality. Protect us from
thorny gullies, where the snares of life’s worries and fears
block the sunshine of your Spirit. Land us safely in rich
soil, Master Gardener, and bless us with the kiss of gentle
rain, that our faith may increase, and our joy may be
complete. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Caretaker of our souls, we yearn to resist the allures of status and prestige, for we often pierce ourselves with wounds of our own making.
We long to bloom where we are planted, that righteousness and peace might flower in our lives.
Free us of the fear of appearing foolish before others, as we seek new growth in your Spirit.
Nurture us with your grace and mercy, that we might blossom and bloom as followers of Christ. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness
      
Those who abide in the Spirit are set free. Those who reside in Christ find no condemnation. Rejoice that we have been planted in the fertile ground of God’s love and mercy.
Thanks, be to God!

The Peace

The Sower has planted us in the fertile ground of this church. Let us express our gratitude for the love that grows within our fellowship by offering one another signs of Christ’s peace.
Peace be with you!
And also, with you!
(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)

Announcements

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Growth depends upon where the seed is planted.
Object: Several packages of seeds.

Have you ever planted anything? Perhaps you took some packages of seeds and planted a garden of vegetables. If so, you know that the type of soil that you have is very important to the success of a garden. If the ground is too hard, or full of rocks and weeds, you probably won't have a very good crop of vegetables.

In our Bible lesson today, Jesus told a story about a man who went out and planted some seeds. This story that Jesus told is usually called "The Parable of the Sower," but actually, the story is more about the soil than it is the sower or the seed. Some of the seed that was planted fell on the path where the ground was very hard. The seeds just lay on top of the ground and the birds came and ate the seeds.

Some of the seed fell on rocky ground. The seeds sprang up quickly, but when the sun came, the plants dried up because they didn't have good roots. Some of the seeds fell among weeds and plants grew for a little while, but the weeds took over and choked them out. Fortunately, some of the seed fell on good soil and the plants grew strong and healthy and produced a good crop.

In Jesus' story, the Word of God is the seed, and we are the soil. Often, when we come to church, the preacher is preaching the Word, but we aren't really paying attention. Perhaps we are thinking about what we are going to do that afternoon or about what we did yesterday. We are hearing the Word, but we are not listening. That is like throwing seed on the top of the ground. It won't ever grow into anything in our life.

There are other times when we hear the Word and we get excited about it, but then our excitement fades and we drift away. That is like the seeds that fall on the rocky ground. The plants spring up, but then die because the roots are too shallow.

Sometimes we hear the Word and we believe what it says, but we want to keep on doing the same things we have been doing. That is like planting the seed in with a bunch of weeds. I can tell you what will happen, the weeds will soon take over!

When we hear the word, and we listen and try to understand what it says and put it into practice in our daily life, then we are like good soil. We are like soil where the seed takes root and grows and produces a plentiful harvest. That is the kind of soil that Jesus wants us to be. What kind of soil are you?

Dear Jesus, we want to be like the good soil. Help us to listen to God's Word and put it into practice in our daily life. In your name we pray. Amen.

Offering Prayer

Master Gardener, as you have sown our lives in a rich and fertile soil, may we bear much fruit through our giving. With these offerings, may your realm be brought to earth, as we plant seeds of hope in the fields of life. Bless our gifts and our ministry, that the world may reap a harvest of generosity and love. Amen.

Hymn 607: Make me a channel of your peace
                  (Tune – Channel of Peace)


Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love;
Where there is injury your pardon, Lord;
And where there's doubt true faith in you.

So much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there's despair in life let me bring hope;
Where there is darkness, only light;
And where there's sadness, ever joy.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
In giving to all men that we receive;
And in dying that we're born to eternal life.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

                                   

The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                       Romans 8:1-11               NEB page 878
The Gospel Reading:                  Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23       NEB page 736
After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord
Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.

Readings: NRSV Translation

Romans 8:1-11

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears listen!’ 18 ‘Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

Preaching of the Word: The Responsibility of Hearing.

        We commonly call this the parable of the sower, but it is more accurately described as the parable of the soils. It is the reaction of the soils, of the hearers, that makes the difference. This is the important part of the parable. The sower must possess the seed. There is no point in our being concerned for a messed-up world characterized by crime, starvation, illicit sex, drug addiction and the rest, if we ourselves are part of the problem. We need to first experience the truth of the gospel in our own lives before we can share it with others.

        A sower needs to be skilful and know something of ground composition and soil preparation. We need to be aware of the laws of growth and patiently wait for results. All too often in our enthusiasm we are inclined to become overbearing. We can get into jamming religion down the throats of others and turn the very people we desire to win away. Nor is it enough to simply to have                    know-how and be attentive to our work. We need faith and trust. The farmer needs to be willing to spend money long before being sure of a return.

        Naturally the task of the sower cannot be overlooked. None of us can give eternal life nor can we make it grow & develop. That is God's prerogative - God's work. God alone gives the increase. What the sower sows is equally significant and that is the seed. When he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside. In explaining the parable to his disciples, Jesus left little doubt as to what he meant by the seed. The seed is clearly the word of God.

        There are many today who are not sowing the seed of the living word. You can tell the kind of seed by the kind of fruit that is brought forth. Look around you. How much evidence is there in many of our churches today of transformed lives? As I have said, before, we are all ministers; how are we showing in our lives and through our words and actions the word of God? Are we showing change to our lives that are tarnished by sin? Are we living out the promises that were made at our Baptism?

        Jesus pointed out that it was really the condition of the soil that determined the harvest of the grain. Some seed fell by the wayside, on the well-trod path that led through the fields. Through constant usage the ground had become packed and hard. The seed had no chance to take root and grow. Soon the wind came and blew it away, or the birds swooped down and devoured it.
        There are those who have become callous to the message of the gospel. In failing to respond to God's claim upon their lives, their hearts have been hardened and their minds closed.

        Prejudice can blind us to things. Behaviour not of God, can keep us from being objective in evaluating our own lives. Pride, fear of the unknown and change are all factors that harden our hearts. The very pressures of everyday life have a tendency to crowd out any sense of the sacred. There is no one as blind as the person who will not see.

        Other seed fell on rocky ground. Immediately it began to grow as there was a thin layer of soil. But just below the surface a hard ledge of rock kept the roots from digging deep. Soon the hot sun and blustering wind killed the new life. Our churches have many what could be described as superficial Christians in them. In a moment of emotion, they take their stand, but over the long haul, when the going gets rough, they are nowhere to be found. We need to encourage the church to be a place for people whose lives are cluttered by rocks to work at removing those very rocks and not to be a place for them to hide.

        Other seeds fell upon thorny ground. This is the best soil yet, but it is uncleansed. To the eye it looks rich and productive. The seed is sown with every good intention. Only when it begins to grow do we become aware that it will be impossible to harvest. There is no way of separating the thorns from the grain. In due course it to, gets choked out by the uncontrolled weeds of the field.

        Jesus indicated three types of thorns to be wary of: cares of the home and family life, bills and sickness, schooling. All of these are legitimate but can become enemies as they change our priorities despite our best intentions. Riches can trap us and chop off the word. We can go after worldly things such as business, success, pleasure, power and acceptance to such an extent that they keep us from putting God first. The thorn of compromise has ruined many a Christian life.

        Not all of the seed feel on poor soil or poorly prepared ground. Some fell on good ground and brought forth fruit. In comparing this kind of soil to the hearer, Jesus says it is a person who hears the word, understands, and responds to that same word. Most of us hear, but it is important that we understand and respond in both word and action also. How important it is for each of us to know our own hearts our response the gospel of Jesus.

Hymn 187: Let all creation dance
                  (Tune - Darwall)


Let all creation dance
in energies sublime,
as order turns with chance,
unfolding space and time
for nature's art
in glory grows,
and newly shows
God's mind and heart.

Our own amazing earth,
with sunlight, cloud and storms
and life's abundant growth
in lovely shapes and forms,
is made for praise,
a fragile whole,
and from its soul
heaven’s music plays.

God's breath each force unfurls,
igniting from a spark
expanding starry swirls,
with whirlpools dense and dark.
Though moon and sun
seem mindless things,
each orbit sings:
"Your will be done."

Lift heart and soul and voice:
in Christ all praises meet
and nature shall rejoice
as all is made complete.
In hope be strong.
All life befriend
and kindly tend
creation's song.

Tune: Darwall

Intercessory Prayers  
     
Guide us, we pray, as your church, struggling to spread the good news. Keep us focused on the mission and ministry to which you have called us and lead us forward. We know, Lord, that there will often be bumps and holes in the road along the way. Save us from dwelling on them and make us secure in the goals you have placed before us.
Lord in you mercy: hear our prayer
Lord in you mercy: hear our prayer
We pray for all your creation, always at odds with one another. Guide our leaders and those of other nations that this world might truly be as you created it to be—a world of peace, hope and love.
Lord in you mercy: hear our prayer
These are our prayers, together with those that lie on the hearts of all your faithful people, which we offer to you in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ who said “not my will, but yours be done.”
Lord in you mercy: hear our prayer

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn 439: What shall we offer our good Lord
                     (Tune – Duke Street)


1      What shall we offer our good Lord,
poor nothings, for his boundless grace?
Fain would we his great name record
and worthily set forth his praise.

2      Great object of our growing love,
to whom our more than all we owe,
open the fountain from above,
and let it our full souls overflow.

3      So shall our lives thy power proclaim,
thy grace for every sinner free,
till all the world shall learn thy name,
shall all stretch out their hands to thee.

4      Open a door which earth and hell
may strive to shut but strive in vain;
let thy word richly in us dwell,
and let our gracious fruit remain.

5      O multiply the sower’s seed!
and fruit we every hour shall bear,
throughout the world thy gospel spread,
thy everlasting truth declare.


Benediction
       
        Christ’s teachings are a light to our path.
        May God’s word take root in our lives.
        May Christ’s love nourish us like sunshine and spring rain.
        God’s word is a lamp to our feet.
        Christ’s teachings are a light to our path.

Hymn 777: May the grace of Christ our Saviour
                     (Tune – Waltham)


1.  May the grace of Christ our Saviour
and the Father's boundless love,
with the Holy Spirit's favour,
rest upon us from above.

2.  Thus, may we abide in union
with each other and the Lord,
and possess, in sweet communion,
joys which earth cannot afford.

              Author: John Newton (1779)
                   Tune: Waltham