Thursday, 30 April 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Order of Worship for 03 May 2020

Sunday 03rd May 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford


 Sunday 03rd May 2020
Easter 4 in the 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)
Sheep move slowly, chew on things repeatedly before digesting them, and stay close to one another. They remember the face and the voice of their shepherd. God invites us to be like sheep: to chew on thongs, to stay closer together, and listen for the voice of our shepherd. God invites us into green pastures to know the love of our Good Shepherd.

Come in, all who are tired and thirsty.
The Good Shepherd leads us to grassy meadows and restful waters.
Come in, all who are anxious and afraid.
The Good Shepherd protects us and leads us through dark valleys.
Come in, all who are empty and exhausted.
The Good Shepherd fills our lives with goodness and faithful love.
Come in, to be refreshed, to rest, and to receive.
The Good Shepherd has brought us here.

Hymn 10: The Lord’s my shepherd
                 (Tune - Crimond)

Click triangle on lower left of screen to start & has words

Opening prayer

God, Beloved Shepherd, Guardian of our souls, we come
to listen for your familiar voice. Call to us above the noise
of our lives. Gather us in from our comings and goings.
Feed us in the pastures of your love and lead us to
abundant life. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Loving Shepherd, you lead us along right paths and give us abundant life.
Still, we resist your call. We want to be in control; we wish to determine our own direction. Forgive us when we ignore your voice and turn away.
Bring us back into your fold through the gates of your redeeming love.

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

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!

A Word with The Young People –

Theme: The sheep know the shepherd's voice.
Object: Look at or have in your mind a picture of a dog

How many of you have a dog? I don't have a dog. I grew up with there always being a family dog around and ours were usually hunting dogs or Labradors. However, my Uncle next door always had a dog to help him with the sheep on their 10-acre Railway Lease in New Zealand. One of those dog's was called Spike he was mainly a Border Collie. When we were not at home, our dogs had their kennels in the back yard, but when we got home, we would go down and unchain them to enable them to exercise, calling their name to stop them barking loudly.

Once released we would call out the dog’s name. When we called his name, Spike would come running. Do you know what would have happened if you had gone out the back and called Spike? Nothing! Spike would not come because he didn't know you and wouldn't recognise your voice.

Sometimes we would call our dogs to take them for a walk. If a stranger had come to the gate and called them, do you think Spike, or our dogs would come to them? No way! A dog knows his master's voice and will only do what his master tells him to do.

Did you know that same thing is true of sheep? Jesus said that sheep know the shepherd's voice and they will follow him. He then went on to say that he is the shepherd and we are his sheep. If Jesus is our master, we will know his voice and will do what he wants us to do. Sometimes, other people will try to get us to do something we should not do. If Jesus is our master, we won't listen to their voice. Sometimes, evil tries to get us to do something that we should not do. If Jesus is our master, we won't listen to that voice of evil.

The shepherd always wants what is best for his sheep. He leads them into green pastures where they have plenty to eat. He leads them to water so that they have plenty to drink. He leads them to the shelter where they will be safe from the storm. Jesus wants what is best for us. He said that he came so that we could have life and have it abundantly. We will, if we listen to his voice and follow him.

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 588: In heavenly love abiding
                 (Tune – Penlan)

The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                          Acts 2:42-47       NEB page 839
The Gospel Reading:                     John 10:1-10      NEB page 820

Readings: From NRSV Translation

Acts 2.42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the
prayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

John 10:1-10

1 ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ 
6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Preaching of the Word - Experience the Living Christ – Acts 2.42-47

No one can make the case that the Christian faith is theoretical. It is not a system of thought, a bank of words, or a collection of ideas. Ultimately the Christian faith is about living in relationship and community. The Easter legacy is the church of Jesus Christ.
Try as we might to clean up Christianity, this faith of ours always brings us back to the same place—the church. What Jesus leaves on this earth to continue his work is the church. I know people who like the idea of religion, but they don’t want the church. Some people enjoy the warm, pleasant feelings that come from spiritual thinking, but they don’t want the church. Some are excited by the idea of love, but they don’t want the church. Some people certainly want heaven for eternity, but they don’t want the church for today.
That is a problem because, like it or not, if we are going to follow Jesus, we are going to be involved in the church. Someone said, “I love Jesus. I just wish he wouldn’t bring his leprous bride every place he goes.” But church and Jesus go together like “love and marriage” or “horse and carriage.”
So just pause and reflect for a moment. Easter has come. The tomb has been emptied. The Lord has appeared to his disciples, and the announcement has gone forth: “He is alive!” Jesus is alive! Where do we find him for ourselves? Where do we experience his aliveness in personal ways? The answer is through the fellowship of the redeemed, in the quarters of the church, in the embrace of the manifestation of the body of Christ.
What I am saying elevates the church to a status that some may not appreciate. In today’s passage, we get a glimpse of the church in its earliest moments, and it is a beautiful thing to behold. The people are united, everyone is attentive to the teaching of the apostles, no one misses a service or a Bible study, there are enough volunteers for every task, people are giving generously to support the church, and people are lining up to join.
If you know your Bible and the story of the church, though, you know this way of life does not last. Soon the church will be dealing with all sorts of unpleasant matters. For example, today’s text is from the second chapter of Acts. By the fifth chapter, people are dropping dead in the church for lying about their financial support. We’re talking about lying about their pledge. Hello!
Is this the church? Yes, this is the church, we affirm and believe in. This church is the aftermath of Easter. Do you want to experience the living Christ? Go to the church. Oh, I know there will be frustration. The church likes to “major in the minors,” quarrelling over the most foolish things. I know all this. But I also know that if you want to find Jesus, it will be in his church.
I think of my own life. Both my parents didn’t attend, they grew up in the Great depression, often their relationship was angry, and we received much of that anger as children. We lived from day to day in a volatile world of economic uncertainty. We led a life that was different to others including supply of most of our food from the land. We often felt outsiders. Our second home which was rented was owned by Presbyterian Social Services.
And then I was sent to Church where I felt welcomed into their fellowship. They made me part of their choir. Some said I was important to them. I had nothing to offer in return, but they did not care about that. They offered a new economics, the economics of grace. All I knew was that I was a young person trying to find their way and these good people put the arms of Jesus around my life and sent me in a new direction of hope and meaning and purpose. Slowly but surely as my life passed, I realised that I had found Jesus, or Jesus had found me, and life had forever changed.
The Christian faith is never theory. It is not about religious thinking. The Christian faith is about relationship, it is about love and compassion. In the midst of the comings and goings of our lives, the risen Christ appears, community happens, and the church takes shape. Easter has come, and Easter continues. Easter continues in the imperfect, grace-filled community we call church.
Remember this the next time you are tempted to give up on church. If you want to experience Jesus, this is the place and the people, for in spite of their imperfections and idiosyncrasies, the church is where the living Christ lives.
Give thanks for your church and your place in it. There is no better place to find what you are looking for, which is the touch of the “Master’s” hand in your life. I know because I have experienced it. Thanks be to God for church!

                 (Tune – Spirit Song)

O let the Son of God enfold you
With His Spirit and His love
Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul
O let Him have the things that hold you
And His Spirit like a dove
Will descend upon your life and make you whole

O come and sing this song with gladness
As your hearts are filled with joy
Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name
O give Him all your tears and sadness
Give Him all your years of pain
And you'll enter into life in Jesus' name

Jesus, O Jesus
Come and fill Your lambs
Jesus, O Jesus
Come and fill Your lambs

Writer(s): John Wimber
Publisher: Vineyard Publishing

Intercessory Prayers  

(This week’s Intercessions come from © 2020 Spill the Beans Resource Team)

Lord, in a world when many search for the protection you offer, for a shepherd to welcome them in and to sit by their side, we bring our prayers for others.
We pray for those who wonder where their next meal will come from, and we pray for food justice to become a priority in our world.
We pray for those who wonder when and if they will ever wake in the morning to peace, and we pray for an end to fighting and for the courageous role of peacekeepers.
We pray for those who wonder when they might be paid a fair price for their labours, and we pray for fair trade practises to become the norm.
We pray for those who wonder when they might see their family again, and we pray for those working to reunite refugee families.
We pray for those who wonder when they might be able to fully support their family, and we pray for wages that are fair and able to support individuals and families.
We pray for all those who wonder where their help might come from, and we pray for communities that mirror your love and care.
For all looking for the shelter of a shepherd we pray for your presence to be known. Lord for all these people and situations we pray. Amen.

                    (Tune – To God be the Glory)

1      To God be the glory, great things he has done!
So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life gate that we may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thro' Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he has done!

2      O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood!
To ev'ry believer the promise of God;
the vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus forgiveness receives.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thro' Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he has done!

3      Great things he has taught us, great things he has done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
but purer and higher and greater will be
our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thro' Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory, great things he has done!

       As you go out into the world practice 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
                 (Tune – Somos del Senor)

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

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