Thursday, 4 June 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Trinity Sunday 07 June 2020

Sunday 07th June 2020
Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

Back to Basics.
Sunday 07th June 2020
Trinity Sunday in the year of Matthew 9.30 am
Without Holy Communion

Gathering God’s People

Prelude Music to prepare for worship

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
(B. J. Beu, Abingdon Worship Annual 2017)
Are we ready to call God our Mother or Father? Are we prepared to hear God say to us, “You are very good!”? Can we leave our doubts and insecurities behind and claim our heritage? Will we stand in our truth?

God, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
Your glory surrounds and enfolds us.
Your image resides within us and completes us.
You made us but a little lower than the angels.
How majestic is your name in all the earth?

Hymn 132: Holy, holy, holy Lord God almighty
                  (Tune – Nicea)

2 Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
   casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
   cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
   who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

3 Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
   though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
   only thou art holy; there is none beside thee
   perfect in pow'r, in love, and purity.

4 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
   All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky & sea.
   Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!
   God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Opening prayer

Triune God, your Spirit danced over the waters, your Word
was spoken, and the glory of your creation sprang forth:
sun and moon, earth and sky, creatures beyond count. We
thank and praise you for putting your image within us and
for creating us but a little lower than the angels. Abide in
us, as you abide in the fullness of your holy mystery. Teach
us to be caretakers and stewards of your good earth, that
we may walk gently upon the meadows, and leave puddles
of light wherever we tread. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

God of grace and glory, who are we that you are mindful of us?
You sustain us through the gift of your indwelling Presence, yet we turn from you again and again, and succumb to feelings of inadequacy and despair.
We turn from communion with you and with one another, even though it is only in community that we have the strength to endure the mystery of your glory and weight of our failings.
Claim us anew as your beloved children, and we will be healed. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness
The love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the blessings of the Holy Spirit are ours without price or condition. Rejoice in this good news and live.
Thanks, be to God!

The Peace

Sisters and brothers, when we live in peace with one another, the peace and love of God are ours. Let us share this great gift with one another as we share signs of the peace of Christ.
Peace be with you!
And also, with you!
(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)

Offering Prayer

Your gifts overwhelm us, Creator God. We praise you for placing your image within us— an image that makes us who we are. May these gifts reflect the glory of your image as they go forth to move creation forward toward its fulfillment in you. Amen.

Hymn 188: Where wide sky rolls down
                  (Tune – Hanover)

Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand,
where sun turns to gold the grass of the land,
let spinifex, mulga and waterhole tell
their joy in the One who made everything well.

Where rain-forest calm meets reef, tide and storm,
where green things grow lush and oceans are warm,
let every sea-creature and tropical bird
exult in the light of the life-giving Word.

Where red gum and creek cross hillside and plain,
where cool tree-ferns rise to welcome the rain,
let bushland, farm, mountain-top, all of their days
delight in the Spirit who formed them for praise.

Now, people of faith, come gather around
with songs to be shared, for blessings abound!
Australians, whatever your culture or race,
come, lift up your hearts to the Giver of grace


The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                      2 Corinthians 13.11-13     NEB page 905
The Gospel Reading:                       Matthew 28.16-20      NEB page 755
After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord
Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.


2 Corinthians 13.11-13

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Matthew 28.16-20

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Preaching of the Word – Back to basics

Trinity Sunday, that anomaly of Sundays. A day when we celebrate a doctrine or foundation of our faith within the context of the celebration of Christ's resurrection as every Sunday is. It is always a Sunday that has provided most clergy with anxiety or anguish or consternation as they attempt to prepare a sermon on the Trinity that is not boring or so full of theological jargon that parishioners will fall asleep.

How often have you heard clergy lament on having to preach on the Trinity? Well today is no exception for me. However, I would like to share with you some reflections on how it shapes and forms who we are as a people of faith.

From Advent until through Pentecost we focused all of our attention on the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Even Advent focuses our attention on the coming saviour. The one who came and will come again. We have lived the liturgical drama of Christ Sunday by Sunday climaxing with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, The Easter Vigil and Resurrection Sunday. Now comes the hard part living the faithful life, "with the Spirit's gifts to empower us for the work of ministry."
In order to understand the Trinity, one must go back to basics. To understand how that early faith community understood their life that resulted in the adoption of the Trinity as a way of being and doing.

That community knew their story as found in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the Gospel stories. They knew God as their creator and in whose image, they were created. Not only did they know God as their creator, but that God created all that was and is as reflected in the Genesis reading for this day. But God was more than just their creator, God was in an intimate relationship with them as a parent as a father, a mother.

We glean that from the stories where their God hears the cries of the people and brought them out of bondage cares for her children as a hen cares for her chicks, where God calls Israel my children, and weeps over their destruction, as parents weep over the actions of their brood. No, this God is not a God from afar or just a judging God, but a loving and gracious God who created them, and even when Adam and Eve sinned stayed with them and clothed them. The stories of God as creator and intimate parent, father/mother abounded in their in-salvation story and continues in ours.

For this community another understanding of God came through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. God became flesh and dwelt among us. The incarnate Word. Through the early apostles and disciples, the community heard the story of Jesus and how God lived and acted in new and profound ways among the people. It wasn't until after Jesus' resurrection that his life made sense to the apostles. For during his life, the disciples were still trying to understand. We know from the Gospel of John how difficult that last night was as Jesus was explaining what had to happen and what it all meant. They didn't get it fully until after the centurion said, "truly this was the Son of God."

The disciples finally get the full meaning at the Ascension when "they return to the temple rejoicing and praising God." God was made manifest in Jesus to ensure that the faith community understood that God was not just out there but lived as one of us as our brother through God's son Jesus. The new community had also experienced the resurrected Christ and knew like Mary that with God nothing was impossible for the Easter story is the knowledge that the impossible is possible. Now the new community had all those stories to know God as not only their creator, but as their saviour and redeemer.

Finally, this community understood God as the Holy Spirit. As promised by Jesus, the gift of the Spirit came on Pentecost. It came to the whole community and not just a select few. One would have thought that the spirit would come to the disciples and their friends only, but the spirit came to the gathered group that represented people from all over the region. Jesus lived and preached a life of welcome and inclusion even when his followers didn't. The community now has experienced God as the Holy Spirit.

The doctrine of the Trinity is not a "top down" theology that began with Augustine or Thomas Aquinas, but a way for the faith community to understand the God of our salvation history. Throughout our tradition and the stories handed down this is still be best way to understand God.

Why celebrate Trinity Sunday? For us it is the time when we begin the struggle to understand how it is, we live in this community of faith. The liturgical dramas of Jesus' life are over and we the ones left to tell the story. We are the ones to go out into the world to proclaim the good news, to baptise in the name of God, the Parent, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore, we need to understand how God acts and lives in our lives in order to share the good news in the world.

People are not converted to Jesus because we can articulate a theological doctrine, but because we can share our faith in very human terms. Sharing how God has acted in our lives as creator/parent, redeemer, brother, and empower spirit. Our God is a loving and generous God who gives to us unconditionally. The God we worship is the God who created all of us and accepts all of us as we are. God does not make mistakes.

Understanding God in this way gives us knew insight into loving and accepting others who are different from us for we are all made in God's image. It is us, not God, who has put limits and parameters on who is acceptable to God. Understanding God this way also calls us to reach out and care for all of God's children especially those who cannot care for themselves.

Paul reminds us there are a variety of gifts but one spirit. We are variety of people in one Spirit. We are called to live out and develop our gifts to the fullest. Our gifts are complimentary to one another and there is no scale of 1-10 on the gifts of the spirit.

Trinity Sunday is a day for the church to celebrate how it understands God and how it lives out that understanding. It is an opportunity for us to wrestle with, to struggle with, to celebrate the meaning of God in our lives and in the life of our faith community. It is about getting back to basics.

To the community that lives the resurrected life of the risen Christ and makes itself manifested in the world by living as Jesus lived a welcoming and inclusive life. It really is simple this Trinity. Very basic and very profound. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Amen!

                  (Tune – Fulda)

1.  We Have A Gospel to Proclaim
Good news for men in all the earth;
The gospel of a Saviour’s name,
We sing His glory, tell His worth.

2.  Tell of His birth at Bethlehem,
Not in a royal house or hall
But in a stable dark and dim,
The Word made flesh, a light for all.

3.  Tell of His death at Calvary,
Hated by those He came to save,
In lonely suffering on the cross,
For all He loved His life He gave.

4.  Tell of that glorious Easter moon,
Empty the tomb, for He was free.
He broke the power of death and hell
That we might share His victory.

5.  Tell of His reign at God’s right hand,
By all creation glorified,
He sends His Spirit on His Church,
To live for Him, the Lamb who died.

6.  Now we rejoice to name Him King,
Jesus is Lord of all the earth,
This gospel message we proclaim,
We sing His glory, tell His worth.

Intercessory Prayers  
On this Trinity Sunday we have come before you Lord to offer our praise and adoration. You are God the creator, giving us richly all things to enjoy. You are Christ the Saviour of the world, made flesh to set us free. You are the Spirit of truth and love, willing to dwell in us. You are holy and blessed. One god, eternal Trinity, be near to us the people formed in your image, and close to the world your love brings to life.
Lord, in your mercy Hear our prayer
Lord we pray for your church throughout the world, for those that are thriving and those which have lost a sense of direction. We give thanks for our church and its people, and gladly acknowledge all the gifts you have given us through its life, we ask you to open wide our hearts that we may welcome the stranger and share our faith with others.
Lord, in your mercy Hear our prayer
Lord we pray for peace in the world, create in us a love for peace, not peace that is absent from struggle, nor peace that is blind to injustice but peace that makes whole what now is broken. We remember those who struggle against injustice, for men and women who have to establish loves supremacy in violent and oppressive societies, and for those whom war and famine have robbed of homes, families and friends, may they be filled with your strength and wisdom.
We remember those who are sick, sad or lonely and those who are brave and patient when things are going wrong. We pray that they may be aware of your comforting presence and know that in your hands they are safe and loved. Lord we pray for all saddened by the death of a loved one, be with them in their loneliness and let them know that Jesus Christ is the light of the world a light which no darkness can quench. We bring our prayers to conclusion by saying together 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 405: O Spirit of the living God
                   (Tune - Church Triumphant)

1.  Spirit of the living God,
In all the fulness of Thy grace,
Where’er the foot of man has trod,
Descend on our apostate race.

2.  Give tongues of fire and hearts of love
To preach the reconciling word;
Give power and unction from above,
Whene’er the joyful sound is heard.

3.  Be darkness, at Thy coming, light;
Confusion, order in Thy path;
Souls without strength inspire with might;
   Bid mercy triumph over wrath.

4.  Spirit of the Lord, prepare
All the round earth her God to meet;
Breathe Thou abroad like morning air,
Till hearts of stone begin to beat.

5.  Baptise the nations; far and nigh,
The triumphs of the Cross record;
The name of Jesus glorify,
Till every kindred call Him Lord.

Text: James Montgomery
Tune: Church Triumphant

       Go forth in the fullness of holy mystery. May the love of God enfold you. May the grace of Christ Jesus flow through you. And may the communion of the Holy Spirit complete you. 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 - Gott Des Himmels)


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.

Text by: John Newton 1779
Tune - Gott Des Himmels - Heinrich Albert (1643)

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