Thursday, 18 June 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Pentecost 3 21 June 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

Let Nothing Disturb You...,
Sunday 21st June 2020
Pentecost 3 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)
Great are the works of God’s hands. Wondrous are the blessings of Christ’s love. Holy are the works of God’s Spirit.

When we have been cast aside in the deserts of our lives, you open our eyes to life-giving water that sustains us in our need.
When our future seems lost and others have taken our place of honour,
you restore our hope and promise us an inheritance of our own.
Who is like you among the gods?
Who answers prayer in times of deepest need?
We are here to worship you, O God,
for you alone can save us.

Hymn 111: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,
                 (Tune - Lobe Den Herren)

1.  Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

2.  Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

3.  Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

4.  Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.

5.  Praise to the Lord, oh, let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him;
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Opening prayer

     Eternal God turn and be gracious to us, for the road is long and we are weary. We feel beaten down by the trials of life and need your strength to sustain us. Show us your favour, and offer us your blessing, that we may abide in faithfulness and not be put to shame. Comfort us, O God, and revive our souls. Grant us the endurance to take up our cross and follow the difficult roads in life. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Holy One, your words cause us to tremble: “nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not be known.”
There is much in our lives that we wish to hide from others, even ourselves.
We fear those who kill the body, while ignoring those who kill the soul.
Teach us once more, O God, that your Son came to bring us life— even if turned son against father, and daughter against mother.
Remind us of our higher calling, and the promises you offer of life in your realm which has no end. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness
Those who seek to preserve their life will lose it, but those who lose their life for Christ’s sake will find it. Those who have died with Christ through baptism are united with him in his resurrection.
Thanks, be to God!

The Peace

With Christ’s peace in our hearts and God’s hope in our lives, let us share signs of joy and love this day.

Peace be with you!
And also, with you!
(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)


A Word with the Children/Young People

Have you ever gone camping in a tent or caravan? How did you enjoy it?  Has anyone had ever spent your holiday in a tent or caravan, and it rained the whole time?  How were relationships at the end of the holiday?  Or how would you imagine relationships would be after being confined to tent/cabin/ caravan etc. for the whole vacation - strained? 

Imagine what it would be like to live in a tent all the time, no house, just a tent, coping with heat, cold, wind, rain, flies, etc.  I think that there would be plenty of occasions when relationships would be strained to breaking point.  The reading about Abraham and Sarah and Hagar is a story that was told over many years about the people's strong belief that God was guiding them at all times.  In the story, we discover that Abraham had two sons, Isaac whose mother was Sarah, and Ishmael, whose mother was Sarah's servant, Hagar.  

In the time when they lived, people lived in tents - maybe even all their lives were spent in tents.  Can you imagine what that would have been like? Perhaps Abraham and Sarah and Hagar and the two boys all lived in the same tent because it seems that relationships between the two women were very strained to the point where Sarah told Abraham to throw Hagar and Ishmael out.  Out into desert type country like the Nullarbor Plain in Western Australia.

Hagar ended up wandering in this wild country thinking that her son and she would surely die, but God guided her to where there was water and they survived.  This is a story about broken relationships and faith.  Faith that God is there, when times are really difficult, helping people to cope.  How does that happen?  God works through people just like us - no matter how young or how old we are. 

Hagar and Ishmael were a couple of refugees - people without a home, like many of the refugees who find themselves in detention centres in this country, and many around the world who spend their lives living in tents in refugee camps.  God works through the people who reach out to help them in their distress.  We are always to be on the lookout for ways in which we can be used to show that God cares for people.

Offering Prayer

Receive the gifts of our hands, O God, that they may be signs of your love and grace for a divided world. Through our offerings, help others follow the ways of life. Fill the world with your mercy, Holy One, that your faithful everywhere will honour you, by sharing your kingdom each and every day. Amen.

Hymn CAHON 752: Will you come and follow me             
                 (Tune – Kelvingrove)

Will you come and follow me,
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know
And never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown
in you and you in me?

Will you leave your self behind
if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind
and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare
should your life attract or scare,
will you let me answer prayer
in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see
if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free
and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean
and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean
in you and you in me?

Will you love the ‘you' you hide
if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found
to reshape the world around
through my sight and touch and sound
in you and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true
when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you
and never be the same.
In your company I'll go
where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow
in you and you in me.


The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                          Genesis 21:8-21
The Gospel Reading:                     Matthew 10:24-39      

Readings: NRSV

Genesis 21:8-21

8 The child grew and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. 10 So she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.’ 11 The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named after you. 13 As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.’ 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of
Beersheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, ‘Do not let me look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.’ 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Matthew 10:24-39

24 ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! 26 ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Preaching of the Word: Let Nothing Disturb You...,

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing make you afraid,
All things are passing,
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is lacking to the one who has God--
God alone is enough.
These words, from a meditation titled "St. Teresa's bookmark," are a fine summary of today's readings from Scripture. They all speak to us, strangely enough, about the gift of patience. We are taught that patience is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but it often feels like a heavy burden. People in today's society mistake patience for submission in the same way they mistake kindness for weakness -- and they walk all over you. But as usual, we must look beyond the surface. God has a greater message in store.
Some truly great people in the history of Christianity have been "walked on" in this way, you see. Just as one example, St. Teresa, known as Teresa of Avila, is world famous as a theologian, reformer of the Carmelite Order, and spiritual advisor to the great medieval Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross. But Teresa's ministry was not well received in the community that she loved. Her sisters had grown lax in faith and practice, she called for reform, and their response was to throw her out of convents that she herself had established.

On one occasion, she was turned out at night in the middle of a rainstorm. Dressed from head to toe in her coarse wool habit, she got back into her donkey cart and was riding along when the wheel of the cart hit a ditch and the cart turned over, dumping Teresa into the mud. She sat there, in mud-soaked wool, looked up to heaven, and said, "Lord, if this is the way you treat your friends, it's no wonder that you don't have many."

But frustrated as she was, Teresa clung to God. Her writings also lead us to suspect that she got a response from God while sitting in that muddy ditch. One of her meditations on the Disciplines of the Holy Spirit talks about how we must not be deceived by the appearance that evil triumphs over good, for sometimes, as she wrote, "God uses the Devil as a sharpening-stone for Christians." Teresa not only taught this lesson, she lived by it. She did not give up on God, even when her sisters fought her every step of the way, going to priests and bishops to make trouble for her.

She kept right on teaching what she knew to be the truth. And eventually, she won out. Her desire was not to be right but to be faithful, and God prospered her efforts. Today, the very same saint who was treated so cruelly is known as a Doctor of the Church -- an exemplary teacher and thinker -- while the nuns who treated her so badly are long dead and unknown to us. And the Carmelite convents of Teresa's Reform continue to outnumber those of the unreformed group to this very day.

You see, Teresa understood what the prophet Jeremiah was talking about and what Jesus was teaching in today's Gospel lesson. It's a lesson you could put in very simple words. "Sometimes, when things go wrong, you just have to sit back -- and pat your foot." This is what Teresa did, and it's at the heart of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord himself. He endured persecution wordlessly and embodied the triumph of God over evil while waiting upon God. This Christian example is not a sitting back that does nothing. It is not passive submission; it is active waiting that is grounded in ultimate faith in the righteousness of God. Neither is it surrender to the belief that nothing can be done about the wrong; it is understanding that it is God who makes things right.

When you do everything you know to be right and then sit back and pat your foot, you imitate the long-suffering God who has been watching all along, watching patiently and mercifully, waiting for folks to do what is right. When you do all you can and then sit back and pat your foot, you see that when people refuse to "get it" and God runs out of waiting time, God comes forward to do what only God can. And if Scripture teaches us nothing, it is that when God gets tired, all kinds of things happen.

So, yes, we must be patient because the God we serve is patient. But the patience of God is a mysterious thing that comes in mysterious ways. We do not know how long it will last. We do not know how the solution will come when God steps in to make things right. The only thing we know for certain is that it is very good idea to be on the right side of God when it's time for God to act. Holy Scripture teaches us that misery is waiting for people of ill will, but miracles happen for those who walk by faith.

Holy Scripture gives us lots of examples to follow. The Bible tells the story of a God who recognizes the righteous human, striving to do right in the midst of people who would do harm. Jesus spoke of "sheep among wolves" and warned of the harm that comes from people of ill will. But his warning is intended to teach us to handle our problems with the patience of God and to trust in God's righteous outcome, for "A disciple is not above the teacher." When we try to be like God, giving people the chance to do what is right, God steps in at decisive moments -- and miracles happen.

An old, wandering nomad with no home to call his own ends up with children and great-grandchildren and a great land in which to enjoy God's protection. A parade of persecuted refugees who walk to safety on dry land in the middle of a sea. A woman in labour away from home with no place to bear her child is given warmth and shelter in a rocky cave, and wise men are sent to protect the child's life from a man who would kill it. The One who is killed for speaking God's truth is raised from the dead and goes on to prepare others to witness to God's triumph. The God of the Scripture is a God of miracles-and they happen in our day, too. Martin Luther King taught that "right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant" and the whole world continues to benefit from his legacy of patient but active faith.

So, we do not strike back in the darkness of our own anger and impatience and arrogance. We do not take the problem into our own hands, tempting God by "flying out in front" with our own solutions. Instead, we turn to God with the truth in our hearts, in the Spirit of the Psalmist. And God will protect and shield us from harm, while dealing with the wrong in God's own way and time. We've all seen it happen -- people banding together to run somebody out of a job and end up losing their own.

School children banding together in a lie to get another child in trouble and ending up suspended themselves. Folks in clubs and societies banding together to harass and mistreat new people and end up with their own organisation disbanded. Indeed, what goes around, comes around. No matter what anyone may choose to do to us, we are all called to love justice, do mercy, and walk humbly before our God-and when we do not, the consequences when we don't can be an awful thing to behold.

As it is written, "weeping comes in the night, but joy comes in the morning." This is the Good News of the Gospel, this is the faith that carries us through, and this is God's own response to evil and sin in this world. So, when troubles come, do just what you know is right and pray for protection. Then sit back, pat your foot, and watch God bring deliverance. Teresa's words are a message of ultimate triumph: "God alone is enough." So, as we come to the Table of Grace, let us come with spirits lifted and hearts grateful for the patience and providence of Almighty God-and let the People of God say, AMEN.

Hymn 186: Give to our God immortal praise                  
                   (Tune - Truro)

       Give to our God immortal praise;
   mercy and truth are all his ways:
   wonders of grace to God belong;
   repeat his mercies in your song.

       Give to the Lord of lords renown;
the King of kings with glory crown:
his mercies ever shall endure,
when lords and kings are known no more.

        He built the earth, he spread the sky,
and fixed the starry lights on high:
wonders of grace to God belong;
repeat his mercies in your song.

        He fills the sun with morning light;
he bids the moon direct the night:
his mercies ever shall endure,
when suns and moons shall shine no more.

        He sent his Son with pow'r to save
from guilt and darkness and the grave:
wonders of grace to God belong;
repeat his mercies in your song.

        Through this vain world he guides our feet,
and leads us to his heavenly seat:
his mercies ever shall endure,
when this vain world shall be no more.

Author: Isaac Watts
Tune: Truro

Intercessory Prayers  
Strengthened by the Spirit who gives us words to speak and hearts that care, let us bring our hopes and needs to God who listens.
Fill your church with bold witnesses who will work for justice, serve with compassion, share your love, and spread the gospel. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Pour out your Spirit on those without access to fresh water, and on those who dig wells to provide it for them, that they may be refreshed. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Stir in the hearts of those who thirst for justice, that they bring peace, speak out against oppression, and preserve human dignity across the globe. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Make families everywhere be places of safety, encouragement, and love. Protect and uphold healthy relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and neighbours, and all your people. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Wherever there is brokenness, bring healing. Bind up our wounds, teach us compassion, and dry our tears. Be especially with those we name now. (Pause) Give them
comfort, reconciliation, and hope. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Thank you for those who through their words and deeds have passed on the faith from one generation to the next. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
We lift our prayers to you, God of mercy, confident that all things are in your hands. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen


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 583: Take up your cross
                  (Tune – Breslau)

“Take up thy cross,” the Saviour said,
“If thou wouldst My disciple be;
Deny thyself, the world forsake,
And humbly follow after Me.”

Take up thy cross, let not its weight
Fill thy weak spirit with alarm;
His strength shall bear thy spirit up,
And brace thy heart and nerve thine arm.

Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame,
Nor let thy foolish pride rebel;
Thy Lord for thee the cross endured,
And saved thy soul from death and hell.

Take up thy cross then in His strength,
And calmly sin’s wild deluge brave,
’Twill guide thee to a better home,
It points to glory o’er the grave.

Take up thy cross and follow Christ,
Nor think till death to lay it down;
For only those who bear the cross
May hope to wear the glorious crown.

To Thee, great Lord, the One in Three,
All praise forevermore ascend:
O grant us in our home to see
The heavenly life that knows no end.

Text: Charles Everest 1833
Tune: Breslau from: As hymnodus sacer 1625

       Though we have been cast aside,
       you restore our future.
Though others seek to banish us from sight,
you bless us with opportunities for new life.
Go with the blessings of the one who loves us fiercely.
We go to share God’ love with the world.
        And may that same Almighty God, creator, redeemer and giver of life guide your dance in life forever. Amen

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

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