Thursday, 23 July 2020

Marsden Road Worship Pentecost 8


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford
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Today Let's Picture the World...,

Sunday 26th July 2020
Pentecost 8 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 2017)
       
Waiting is seldom easy. Yet, in the process of waiting, we discover new growth. The Spirit moves and breathes, and treasures are sometimes discovered. As we wait this day, may God’s miraculous presence be revealed in us and through us.

Waiting and hoping, we gather together,
seeking God’s presence and singing God’s praise. Waiting and hoping, we come now to worship,
praying and listening for the Spirit’s guidance.
Waiting and hoping, we gather together,
seeking God’s presence and singing God’s praise.

Hymn 093: Praise the Lord, you heavens adore him
               (Tune – Austria)


Praise the Lord: ye heavens, adore Him;
Praise Him, angels in the height.
Sun and moon, rejoice before Him;
Praise Him, all ye stars of light.
Praise the Lord, for He hath spoken;
Worlds His mighty voice obeyed.
Laws which never shall be broken
For their guidance He hath made.

Praise the Lord, for He is glorious;
Never shall His promise fail.
God hath made His saints victorious;
Sin and death shall not prevail.
Praise the God of our salvation;
Hosts on high, His power proclaim.
Heaven and earth and all creation,
Laud and magnify His name.

Worship, honour, glory, blessing,
Lord, we offer unto Thee.
Young and old, thy praise expressing,
In glad homage bend the knee.
All the saints in Heaven adore thee;
We would bow before Thy throne.
As Thine angels serve before Thee,
So, on earth Thy will be done.

Words: Vs 1 & 2 Foundling Hospital Collection 1796 Vs 3 Edward Osler 1798-1863
Tune: Austrian: Franz Joseph Haydn 1732-1809

Opening prayer

Holy One, your kingdom always takes us by surprise— like
a mustard seed growing into a great shrub where the birds
of the air can build their nests; like a treasure hidden in a
field, or a pearl of great price. May we desire your kingdom
more than we value worldly things, through Christ, who
shows us the way. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Eternal God, waiting is hard— waiting for justice, waiting for peace, waiting for love, waiting for your presence to heal us.
Give us the patience and passion of Jacob, to work for the deepest desire of our hearts. Give us the perseverance of Abraham, to keep going when all hope seems lost. Transform our hope into action, that we may help build your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness
      
Nothing can separate us from the love of God: Not death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come. No power on heaven or under the earth can separate us from the love of Christ: Not height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation.
Thanks, be to God!

The Peace

Nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love and peace of God in Jesus Christ. Let us share this love and peace with one another today.
Peace be with you!
And also, with you!

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: We find our treasure at the cross.
Object: A map to hidden treasure that you can make
             yourself, and a wooden cross.

There was a time, when someone who had something of great value would often bury their treasure so that no one could find it and take it away. Of course, there was always the risk that one might forget where their treasure was buried, so to make sure that they would remember where it was, they would often make a map like this one. Usually they would mark the spot where the treasure was with an "X" like the one on this map.

That is where we get the expression, "X marks the spot."
Have you ever dreamed of finding an old map and following it to a spot where a pirate had buried a chest full of glittering gold? Well, this morning I want to tell you about a treasure that is more valuable than a chest full of gold -- and I will even tell you how to find it.

Jesus once said, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and then hid again; in his joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field." If you would like to find the treasure that Jesus was talking about, perhaps the Bible could be the map that leads us to that treasure. The Bible has a lot of information in it, but it is sometimes hard for us to understand, so how do you know exactly where the treasure is? That's easy, because "X marks the spot."

(Hold up the cross at an angle so that it looks like the letter x.) Jesus died on the cross so that you and I could enter into the kingdom of heaven. When you look to the cross and put your trust in Jesus, the treasure will be yours.

To enter the kingdom of heaven is the greatest treasure one could ever desire. It is more precious than silver, gold, or jewels. That is why Jesus calls us to give up all that we have and follow him.

Offering Prayer


Hymn 106: Now thank we all our God
                  (Tune – Nun Danket)


Now thank we all our God,
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mother's arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours to-day.

O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in his grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The son, and him who reigns,
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.

Translator: Catherine WinkworthAuthor: Martin Rinkart (1636)
Tune: Nun Danket
 
                               

The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                      Romans 8.26-39                 NEB page 878
The Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 13: 31-33; 44-52   NEB page 737

Readings: NRSV translation

Romans 8.26-39

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?
33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 13: 31-33; 44-52

44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 ‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ 52 And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’ 53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place. 54 He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did, this man get all this?’ 57 And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour except in their own country and in their own house.’ 58 And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.

Preaching of the Word: Today Let's Picture the World...,

Today let’s picture the world as an ungainly, promising mass of dough. The comedian comes out on stage and starts his routine. In a rapid-fire monologue, he serves up jokes. His timing is masterful, and the one-liners burst forth in succession, with precision, so that you can’t help but laugh.

Jesus comes out in front of the crowds and starts his teaching. In a rapid-fire monologue, he serves up parables. His timing is masterful, and these word-pictures burst forth in succession, with precision, so that you can’t help but see.

Here there’s a similarity between Jesus and a stand-up comic. The comedian makes you laugh; Jesus makes you see. And what you see is something of the kingdom of heaven, that realm where God’s sovereignty is recognized.

The routine Jesus offers in today’s gospel is a bonanza: five short parables in a row. All of them are gems. Parables about a mustard seed, treasure buried in a field, a pricey pearl, a fishing net. Then there’s the one we might focus on this morning: the parable about yeast in the flour.

It’s a one-liner. You might have missed it if you sneezed when the gospel was read. It goes like this: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”


She’s emptying sixteen five-pound bags of flour into the biggest mixing bowl you’ve ever seen. She’s pouring in forty-two cups of water. She’s got a mass of dough on her hands that weighs over a hundred pounds. Kneading this lump of dough, shaping it, pounding it. It looks like some scene at the end of a professional wrestling match. Here we have a no-nonsense operation. Sports fans, this is the art of baking at its best. A woman, with her apron dusted with flour, her ten fingers deep into the dough – she’s a combination of Julia Child and Hulk Hogan.


Take another look at that huge mass of dough. It’s not just the flour anymore. The yeast is in the dough, invisible, but permeating the mass, and having its effect. A mystery is bubbling away inside, with much more happening than meets the eye.

As this process continues, the hidden will become manifest. There’s no way to stop it! The movement from mystery to manifestation: Jesus presents this to us as the pulse of the kingdom of heaven. Here is how God’s sovereignty becomes apparent: it resembles the strange transformation that turns flour into dough.

We get to watch the baker woman at work. We’re invited to look at this process and see it for what it’s worth. But if we’re to get a glimpse of the kingdom, if we’re to look down to the centre of this parable, then two things are asked of us: we must be patient, and we must exercise discernment.

Yeast takes a while to work, and its working is mysterious. So, we have to be patient as the dough rises and comes to life. This dough is not a dead lump, a hopeless, shapeless pile, but instead a universe where opportunities become real. The baker woman is at work with our life, our circumstances, and the people around us. Nothing is outside this lump of dough.

We need to be patient and to exercise discernment if a lump of dough is ever to be bread for the world. And we must exercise this same patience and discernment about the universe. Life is something other than a pile of flour and a bit of yeast. Life is an ungainly, promising mass of dough, on its way to becoming abundant bread. Just as yeast permeates the entire lump, so the kingdom is present everywhere, and everywhere it becomes manifest for those with eyes to see.

If we look around us and within us, we can recognize the presence of the kingdom. That kingdom is at work, just as yeast is active in the dough. And as yeast is invisible and known by its effects, so the kingdom is hidden, concealed, buried deep in ordinary circumstances, yet known by its effects.

Look at your life in the light of grace. Something is there for you to find – whether you feel happy or sad, whether your life seems successful or disastrous, whether you call yourself a winner or a loser. That something is the activity of the kingdom, yeast bubbling away in your corner of the lump.


There’s one caution to keep in mind. The kingdom does not come with brass bands. It is not the subject of headline news and public-relations efforts. We are talking here about yeast working invisibly in the dough, a hidden yet potent activity.

As it takes faith to believe that bread will rise, so too faith is necessary to see the kingdom manifest in the everyday and the ordinary. We must exercise patience and discernment wherever God places us. Then we will see that what seems like a dead lump is in fact bubbling with divine life.

So may each of us go forth this week, and encounter places and people and circumstances, and look there for the kingdom: not as distant, but near at hand; not as obvious, but hidden; not as static, but alive and becoming manifest; a kingdom making room for all of us.

When we look for the kingdom, then we find it present, abundantly present. And when we do, then we have more reasons to give thanks than we ever expected.
We discover it’s true, that one-liner Jesus tells us. All the world is a lump of dough, flour with yeast mixed in, and SURPRISE! God’s a baker woman making bread.

Hymn 547: Be Thou My Vision
                   (Tune - Slane)


1      Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art--
thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

2      Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
thou my great Father, I thy true son;
thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

3      Be thou my battle shield, sword for my fight;
be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tower:
raise thou me heav'n-ward, O Pow'r of my power.

4      Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.

5      High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

6      Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art--
thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.


Intercessory Prayers  

May our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.
O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, with the Spirit of the Son that You have sent into our hearts let us not keep silent. Grant us courage to speak without ceasing to lawful governments and to vengeful despots until righteousness, peace, and mercy prevail across our Earth, across our Country, and across our Communities, great and small. We pray especially for ……………..: 
Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier God
May our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.
Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier God
May our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.
O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, dispel the darkness of grief as we remember and celebrate all who have gone ahead and now live again, complete in the radiant joy of Your eternal life. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions
Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier God
May our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.
O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently……………….
Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier God
May our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.
O God of All That Is, Seen and Unseen, we give You gracious thanksgiving for those entrusted to bring us Your Word and Sacraments. Fill us all with unwavering faith that we may walk together as constant witnesses of Christ Jesus, our Saving Lord. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier God
May our lives reflect Your Light and Glory.
Holy Triune God: Lord, Word, & Spirit, we are created by You to be Your fertile soil in this world. Let us each, by word and example, sow seeds of forgiveness, hope, and salvation, by grace upon grace, now and in the life to come. We ask through Jesus, Your Word Made Flesh; the Holy Spirit, Your Sacred Breath; and our Almighty Creator, who, together, reign as One God, now and forever.  Amen.

THE LORD'S PRAYER


Hymn 658: I, the Lord of sea and sky
                   (Tune – Here I am Lord)


I, The Lord of Sea and Sky,
I Have Heard My People Cry.
All Who Dwell in Dark and Sin,
My Hand Will Save.
I Who Made the Stars of Night,
I Will Make Their Darkness Bright.
Who Will Bear My Light to Them?
Whom Shall I Send?

Here I Am Lord, Is It I, Lord?
I Have Heard You Calling in The Night.
I Will Go Lord, If You Lead Me.
I Will Hold Your People in My Heart.

I, The Lord of Snow and Rain,
I Have Borne My People’s Pain.
I Have Wept for Love of Them, They Turn Away.
I Will Break Their Hearts of Stone,
Give Them Hearts for Love Alone.
I Will Speak My Word to Them
Whom Shall I Send?

Here I Am Lord, Is It I, Lord?
I Have Heard You Calling in The Night.
I Will Go Lord, If You Lead Me.
I Will Hold Your People in My Heart.

I, The Lord of Wind and Flame
I Will Tend the Poor and Lame.
I Will Set A Feast for Them,
My Hand Will Save
Finest Bread I Will Provide,
Till Their Hearts Be Satisfied.
I Will Give My Life to Them,
Whom Shall I Send?

Here I Am Lord, Is It I, Lord?
I Have Heard You Calling in The Night.
I Will Go Lord, If You Lead Me.
I Will Hold Your People in My Heart.


Benediction
       
        All things work together for good for those who love God.
        Like a pearl of great price, Christ offers us the kingdom of heaven.
        All things work together for good for those who wait for God.
        Like a mustard seed that grows into a great shrub, Christ offers us the realm of God’s blessing.
        All things work together for good for those who abide in God’s Spirit.
        And may the Holy Spirit fill and inspire you with the wonderful knowledge that nothing is able to separate you from the love of God in Jesus Christ.

                 (Tune – Kookaburra)


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





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