Thursday, 29 October 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Worship - All Saints - 01 November 2020

                    Marsden Road Uniting Church

Carlingford

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The Beatitudes and Barriers

Sunday 1st November 2020

All Saints in the year of Matthew 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People

 Call to Worship (The Abingdon Worship Annual 2011)   

As we gather, we remember that we are not alone!

We gather with the saints, who live in the presence of God, singing praises to the God of our salvation.

From every nation, race, clan, and culture, God's people gather to worship the One-Who-Is-without-Peer!

To God and to the Lamb, all honour, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, strength, and power.

Blessed be God, now and forever! Amen!

Amen! 

HYMN 455 verses 1, 2, 4 6, 7 & 8: For All the Saints

                     (tune - Sine Nomine)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OaBgaMcOvM 

1 For all the saints who from their labors rest,

who thee by faith before the world confessed,

thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

2 Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might;

thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;

thou, in the darkness drear, their one true light.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

4 O blest communion, fellowship divine,

we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;

yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

6 The golden evening brightens in the west;

soon, soon to faithful warrior cometh rest;

sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

7 But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;

the saints triumphant rise in bright array;

the King of glory passes on his way.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

8 From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,

through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,

singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

William Waltham How (1823-1897)

Tune Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Opening prayer

 

     Blessed are you, God of our salvation. As we turn to you in prayer, be with us and reveal to us your ways from your self-revelation in Jesus, teach us how to live in ways that honour you: by humbling ourselves; by being content with what we have rather than striving for more; by caring and cooperating, rather than competing in unhealthy ways. Teach us, giver of all goodness, to be strong in your strength for the sake of the gospel. Help us honour your prodigal grace, by living as doers of peace. in this world, you love. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Confession 

Holy God, we so often fail to remember how profoundly you love us.

You bless us even when we are at our wit's end.

You created us, and you love us as we are, even as you inspire our desire to be better through your Holy Spirit. Forgive us when we fail to remember that we are the body of Christ, saints-in-process.

Empower us to begin anew, encouraged by the stories of those who live in your eternal presence.

In the name of Jesus, and for the sake of the gospel, we pray. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

Beloved, we are the children of God. Don't fear failure. It is endemic to our human nature. Learn from your mistakes and cherish the forgiving grace of God. Give thanks for all you are, and go forward in faith, knowing that God is faithful.

Thanks, be to God! Amen 

The Peace 

Beloved, we are god’s children now. what we will be has not yet been revealed. what we do now is this: when Christ is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. greet one another with the peace of Christ, recognising the presence of Christ in each person you meet.

The peace of Christ be with you.

The peace of Christ be with you always. 

Offering Prayer 

Holy God, we thank you for the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us as we worship. Their diversity reminds us of your infinite grace to all your creatures. Thank you for the vision of a world at peace: paradise restored, where no one hungers, no one thirsts, and no one is wanting in any way. You guide us to the source of living water and invite us to drink deeply of your love. Your magnificent generosity evokes our deepest thanks. And so, receive these offerings, that we may join that great cloud of witnesses as we share our gifts with others. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 278: O What a gift

                   (Tune – Canticle of the Gift)

You-tube has two extra verses more than TIS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVWmNw_hwp0

                                    

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

1 In the stillness of the night

when the world was asleep,

the almighty Word leapt out.

He came to Mary, he came to us

Christ came to the land of Galilee.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

2. On the night before he died

it was Passover night,

and he gathered his friends together.

He broke the bread, he blessed the wine,

it was the gift of his love and his life.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

3. We are gathered here to remember that night;

To break the bread and bless the wine.

Open your eyes, your ears and your hearts.

This is his peace and unity:

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

4. On the hill of Calvary

the world held its breath,

for there for the world to see,

God gave his Son, his very own Son

for the love of you and me.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

5. Early on that morning when the guards were sleeping,

back to life came he!

He conquered death, he conquered sin,

but the victory he gave to you and me!

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

6. "It is the Lord" cried Peter from the boat.

"It is the Lord" cried Magdalen.

"It is the Lord" cried Thomas the doubter.

"It is the Lord" cry we.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!

 

7. Some day with the saints

we will come before our Father

and then we will shout and dance and sing.

For in our midst for our eyes to see

will be Christ our Lord and our King.

Christ our Lord and our King!

 

O what a gift! What a wonderful gift!

Who can tell the wonders of the Lord?

Let us open our eyes, our ears and our hearts

It is Christ the Lord, it is he!  

                             Pat Uhl (Howard)                                                                         Arr. Betty Pulkingham 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Revelations 7:9-17

The Gospel Reading:                                        Matthew 5:1-12 

Readings: NRSV Translation 

Revelations 7:9-17 

9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ 11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, 12 singing,
‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’  13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ 14 I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. 16 They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17 for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
 

Matthew 5:1-12 

1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: 3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

Preaching of the Word - The Beatitudes and Barriers - Matthew 5:1-12 

When we hear Jesus’ beatitudes, what do we think? Maybe, we think, “Wow, these are the most beautiful words I have ever heard.” We may think, “Wow, these are beautiful words, but like so many beautiful words, they’re fanciful, and they can’t really be followed in the real world.” We may think, “Wow, these are beautiful words, and, oh my, they are another reminder of all the ways I fail to live up to the high calling of being a disciple of Christ.”

Well, if you have ever thought any of these, you are not alone. The Beatitudes have been a source of inspiration and challenge throughout the history of the church. Today, I want to mention a few major approaches to them.

During the Middle Ages, many people saw the Beatitudes as “Counsels of Perfection”. That is, they were things that applied to a spiritual elite made up of priests, monks, and nuns, but not to ordinary folks. Monks and nuns took extraordinary vows of poverty and obedience, so these things about blessings of the poor, the meek, the hungry, the merciful were about folks seeking perfection, but for other people, keeping the Ten Commandments and loving God and our neighbour is enough.

This approach recognises the real challenge these sayings put upon believers, but it limits the full force of them by saying that, in this life, they are only for a spiritual elite.

During the Reformation, Martin Luther took issue with the whole notion of a spiritual elite. The idea that there were higher and lower levels of Christians was repugnant to him. Luther famously proclaimed the priesthood of all believers, that is, that we are all on the same level—no higher, no lower—all called to share in the priestly ministries of the Church. So, Luther saw the beatitudes as applying to all Christians, not just to the few.

But Luther also had a pretty interesting take on the Beatitudes. He saw them as commands of God. And for Luther, while commandments were things that were given by God, and, therefore holy and binding on all people, Luther also felt that human beings, given our fallen nature, can never really fulfill the commandments. Rather, what the commandments do for Luther is point out very clearly that there is no way that human beings will ever be able to earn their salvation by perfectly following God’s will. The upshot is that what the commandments end up doing is pointing out our need for the forgiveness and mercy of God and drive us into the arms of Christ. This approach sees the Beatitudes as so challenging that we will never be able to fulfill them on our own. We need to turn to the grace and mercy offered in Christ if we are ever to be made right with God.

Most New Testament scholars these days don’t find these approaches helpful. Rather, they see the Beatitudes—and indeed the whole Sermon on the Mount—as something that Jesus saw as applying to all his disciples, not just an elite few, and he probably thought that they were, in fact, doable. Certainly not easy, after all, he says, blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Still, most scholars think that he probably meant for his followers to live this way. That’s probably why they stress that these were things that need to be lived out in the context of Christian community. These are not things for spiritual superheroes, but for communities to live out.

And that’s probably also why Jesus stressed the need and reality of forgiveness and reconciliation in our communities. These things are going to take practice.

So, one of the reasons why we have this Gospel lesson on All Saints’ Day is because they are practices for all the saints. And by all the saints, we mean everybody who has been baptised into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are practices for all of us ordinary saints of God.

Today, I want to focus on just one beatitude and explore how we might try to live that out in our ordinary lives. We will have other All Saints’ Days to deal with other beatitudes. So, let’s focus on, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” Most of us probably will not be Nobel Peace Prize winners. But that doesn’t mean we are not called in our own ways to be peacemakers. How may we go about this in our lives? Paul Wadell gives us some practical guidance on how we all can be peacemakers. He reminds us that in Ephesians, Paul speaks of Christ and his cross breaking down the walls that divide us, removing all the barriers that keep us apart, and overcoming the hostilities that so often leave us living more in enmity with one another than in peace.

Wadell says, “There is no shortage of barriers that need to be dismantled if God’s dream of peace is to become a reality. We create barriers through our attitudes toward others. We create barriers when we freeze people out or simply ignore them. We create barriers when we refuse to talk to certain people. We create barriers when we refuse to deal with problems that weaken relationships. We create barriers when we refuse to give ourselves to others. We create barriers when we hold on to grudges and refuse to forgive. We create barriers when we nurture cynicism, bitterness, and resentment instead of seeking peace.”

In Ephesians, Paul tells us to get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. Paul says leave all that behind, get away from it, and refuse to be ruled by it, because all those things put walls and barriers between ourselves and others. Instead, Paul says be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ. These are the practices of peace. We nurture peace among ourselves and others when we are people marked by kindness, compassion, healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Happy All Saints’ Day to all you saints of God. The Beatitudes are for you! 

Hymn 448: Blest are the pure in heart

                  (tune – Franconia)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpnU2auc3Rk 

Blest are the pure in heart,

For they shall see our God;

The secret of the Lord is theirs,

Their soul is Christ’s abode.

 

The Lord, who left the heavens

Our life and peace to bring,

To dwell in lowliness with men,

Their Pattern and their King;

 

Still to the lowly soul

He doth himself impart

And for his dwelling and his throne

Chooseth the pure in heart.

 

Lord, we thy presence seek;

May ours this blessing be;

Give us a pure and lowly heart,

A temple meet for thee. 

Words: John Keble [stanzas 1 & 3]; William Hall [stanzas 2 & 4]. Tune: “Franconia 

Intercessory Prayers       

God of all truth, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. We give thanks for those whose lives have shone with integrity and goodness, for your prophets of old and all today who fight for justice, freedom and truth. Help us to follow their example, that we too ma y be filled with your spirit.

God of truth, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise.

God of all peace, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who bring peace to a world of strife. We give thanks for negotiators, peacekeepers and all who work for reconciliation, for those who respect and value others and those who listen and give wise counsel. Help us to follow their example, that we too may be called the children of God.

God of peace, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise.

God of all humility, you have chosen as your blessed ones those whose hearts are simple and pure. We give you thanks for those who do not grasp at material possessions, for those whose good works have been unnoticed and unsung. Help us to follow their example, that we too may come to see your face.

God of humility, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise

God of all compassion, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who show mercy to others. We give you thanks for those who are filled with generosity and grace, for those whose hearts are forgiving and kind. Help us to follow their example, that we too may receive your mercy.

God of compassion, for all the saints,

we give you thanks and praise.

God of all consolation, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who mourn especially, we remember those from our congregation. We pray for those who weep for what is lost, for all who grieve for those they love, for all whose lives are lonely, desolate and bleak. We pray for and give thanks for continued healing, especially for those in the congregation. Help us to ease all their pain, and in times of trouble may we too be comforted.

God of consolation, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise.

God of all faithfulness, you have chosen as your blessed ones those who have remained steadfast in the face of danger and persecution. We give thanks for those of this parish who have gone before us, for all whom we hold dear who are now in your eternal presence, and for all who have followed in your way until their life's end.

Help us to follow their example, that we too may rejoice to come into our reward and, with all the saints of heaven, worship you forever.

God of faithfulness, for all the saints, we give you thanks and praise. 

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 456: Your hand, O God, has guided

                    (tune – Thornbury)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaI3cRtXqRw 

Thy hand, O God, has guided

Thy flock, from age to age;

The wondrous tale is written,

Full clear, on every page;

Our fathers owned thy goodness,

And we their deeds record;

And both of this bear witness:

One Church, one faith, one Lord.

 

Thy heralds brought glad tidings

To greatest, as to least;

They bade men rise, and hasten

To share the great King's feast;

And this was all their teaching,

In every deed and word,

To all alike proclaiming

One Church, one faith, one Lord

 

Through many a day of darkness,

Through many a scene of strife,

The faithful few fought bravely,

To guard the nation's life.

Their Gospel of redemption,

Sin pardoned, man restored,

Was all in this enfolded:

One Church, one faith, one Lord

 

Thy mercy will not fail us,

Nor leave thy work undone;

With thy right hand to help us,

The victory shall be won;

And then, by men and angels,

Thy name shall be adored,

And this shall be their anthem:

One Church, one faith, one Lord. 

            Author: E. H. Plumptre (1864)
Tune: Thornbury – Basil Harwood 

Benediction       

       We are renewed and filled with the sweetness of God. Go forth to bless the world with joy in the Spirit of God's redemptive love and sustaining peace.

        And the blessing of God almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be with you always Amen      

Hymn 778: Shalom to you now

                 (Tune – Somos Del Señor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u-WxpmOpN4 

Shalom to you now, shalom, my friends.

May God’s full mercies bless you, my friends.

In all your living and through your loving,

Christ be your shalom, Christ be your shalom 

Author: Elise S. Eslinger (1980)
Tune: Somos Del Señor

 

 

 

 


No comments:

Post a comment