Thursday, 30 July 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Worship 02 August - Wesley 1

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford


What About God and Science?
2nd August 2020 - Wesley 1 Sunday 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
(The Abingdon Worship Annual 2020)
Sisters and brothers, we meet to worship God, to give thanks for the vocation of us all as the beloved of Jesus Christ, to remember our roots in the teaching of the Wesley Family and to remember the commitments we have made, and to reflect upon our life and ministry.

God gives the Word
Great is the company of the beloved of Jesus Christ.
Young and old, from all walks of life,
blessed with experience, imagination, compassion
Great is the company of the beloved of Jesus Christ.
Warmed by the Word within,
Worshipping God in Spirit and Truth
Great is the company of the beloved of Jesus Christ.
God gives the Word
Great is the company of the beloved of Jesus Christ.

Hymn AHB 229: Let Heaven and Earth Combine
                  (Tune – St John) two extra verses not in AHB.

1.  Let earth and Heaven combine,
Angels and men agree,
To praise in songs divine
The incarnate Deity,
Our God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made man.

2.  He laid His glory by,
He wrapped Him in our clay;
Unmarked by human eye,
The latent Godhead lay;
Infant of days He here became,
And bore the mild Immanuel’s name.

3.  See in that infant’s face
The depths of deity,
And labour while ye gaze
To sound the mystery
In vain; ye angels gaze no more,
But fall, and silently adore.

4.  Unsearchable the love
That hath the Saviour brought;
The grace is far above
Of men or angels’ thought:
Suffice for us that God, we know,
Our God is manifest below.

5.  He deigns in flesh to appear,
Widest extremes to join;
To bring our vileness near,
And make us all divine:
And we the life of God shall know,
For God is manifest below.

6.  Made perfect first in love,
And sanctified by grace,
We shall from earth remove,
And see His glorious face:
His love shall then be fully showed,
And man shall all be lost in God.

Author: Charles Wesley
St. John (13355)
Composer (Attributed To): W. H. Havergal 1850

Opening prayer

     Living God whose Word became flesh in Jesus and whose Spirit of Truth speaks into our hearts all honour and glory and worship belong to you. As our praises pronounce your wonder may our lives overflow with love, that our words and deeds might tell of your goodness and declare your infinite grace. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Holy God hear us as we confess our sins.
If we have taken too lightly the call to proclaim your gospel: Gracious God forgive us.
Help us to live your Word.
If we have been complacent in our preparation
and forgetful of your people’s needs: Gracious God, forgive us.
Help us to live your Word.
If we have put our own ideas and concerns
before the good news of your love. Gracious God forgive us.
Help us to live your Word.
If we have failed to listen to the promptings of your Spirit. Gracious God forgive us.
Help us to live your Word.
If we have not lived the message, we have voiced.
Gracious God forgive us.
Help us to live your Word.
May the living God forgive and renew us, give us victory over sin and set us free in Christ. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness
Gracious God with gratitude and gladness we hear your promise of liberation: that in Christ we are forgiven and set free and restored to serve you.
Thanks, be to God! Amen

The Peace

Let us share the joy, the freedom, and the rest we find in God’s love, as we greet one another in the grace and peace of Christ.
The peace of Christ be with you.
The peace of Christ be with you always.
 (You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)

Offering Prayer

Receive these gifts we now bring, God of gifts, and bless them to be gifts for your world. Through our giving, renew others, that they too may know the comfort and rest of living in the arms of your compassion and your love. Amen.

Hymn AHB 518: From you all skill and science flow
                   (Tune – Kingsfold)

From you all skill and science flow,
all pity, care and love,
all calm and courage, faith and hope
O pour them from above!
And share them, Lord, to each and all,
as each and all have need;
so let your gifts return to you
in noble thought and deed.

And hasten, Lord, that perfect day
when pain and death shall cease,
and your just rule shall fill the earth
with health and light and peace:
Whenever green the grass shall be,
and ever blue the skies,
and our destruction shall no more
deface your paradise.

Charles Kingsley (1819 - 1875)
Tune: Albano
The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                      Romans 9.1-5                   NEB page 879
The Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 14:13-21             NEB page 738

Readings: NRSV Translation

Romans 9.1-5

9. I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Matthew 14:13-21 

13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Preaching of the Word: What About God and Science?

The eighteenth century challenged Christians to adapt their ways to new ideas. Many intellectuals in John Wesley's England embraced a widening gap between the natural and the supernatural, natural law and providence, and rational faith and piety, which had roots in the mechanistic interpretations of nature epitomized by Sir Isaac Newton's accomplishments. The study which began our final of five series on John Wesley and the twenty first century offers an insight of Wesley's interaction with science and the challenges which the new understanding of nature and the physical world brought to believers.

Wesley's intellectual horizon included a lifelong interest in the progress of science and the ways that science could serve Christian purposes. Although he occasionally dabbled in the field or recommended projects to others, Wesley never had the interest (or time) to devote to serious experimental study and cannot be compared with contemporary scientist-clerics such as Joseph Priestley, Stephen Hales, Bishop Samuel Horsley, or William Derham. Mainly, John Wesley focused on science to serve his single goal and purpose of furthering the gospel and helping the sick. He also wrote inexpensive works on natural science for his constituency. Wesley's sermons and other writings point to an enthusiasm for the natural world as "God's World which could be exploited for humanitarian as well as traditional religious purposes.

Wesley's student days at Oxford indicated a more than ordinary attention to science. He was interested in such disparate questions as the nature of "vacuums, the Chain of Being, and the ability of animals to reason."1 In later travels, he would meet and comment on the work of many individuals working in science. He was particularly concerned with unusual natural phenomena and would often speculate on their causes. An insatiable reader, Wesley read scientific works throughout his life, often from the back of his horse.

From his own reading and the advice of others, he developed short lists of scientific works for his correspondents, schools, and lay preachers. These collections included older works by John Ray, Cotton Mather, and Jonathan Edwards as well as current works by Benjamin Franklin, Charles Bonnet, John Hutchinson, and Oliver Goldsmith. Wesley followed the debates that swirled around the various interpretations of Newton's ideas.

As we heard in our study for Wesley scientific facts about the heavens, for example, are not dependent on Scriptural authority. When Scripture makes claims about the world that science has disproved, Scripture must then be interpreted in a non-literal way. One wonders, in that light, what Wesley might have said about the age of the earth and the evolution of life, if he had had at his disposal the data of modern scientific findings.

What would he have said, if he had seen the data, about the rich fossil record for the development of life, spanning hundreds of millions of years? What would he have said about the much sparser, but no less fascinating, fossil record of the development of humans? Would he have said that Genesis 1 and 2 need to be interpreted in a non-literal way? We have no way of knowing, definitively, what he might have said. In the light of the way he interpreted Scripture in relationship to the scientific data of his own day, however, we can guess he might have said, “Yes, we need to reinterpret Genesis 1 and 2.”

Hymn AHB 556: Creator of the earth and skies
                         (Tune – Plaistow)

1.  Creator of the earth and skies,
To whom all truth and power belong,
Grant us your truth to make us wise;
Grant us your power to make us strong.

2.  We have not known you: to the skies
Our monuments of folly soar,
And all our self-wrought miseries
Have made us trust ourselves the more.

3.  We have not loved you: far and wide
The wreckage of our hatred spreads,
And evils wrought by human pride
Recoil on unrepentant heads.

4.  We long to end this worldwide strife:
How shall we follow in your way?
Speak to mankind your words of life,
Until our darkness turns to day.

Words by: Donald Hughes
Music by: Jeremiah Clark

Pray for the Church throughout the world – that the Spirit will revive and refresh the Church in every part; •
Pray for your local church and the churches in your area – that you may be waiting attentively for the ways God is speaking through the Spirit; •
Pray for those who come to your church, and for those on the fringes - that they may have an assurance of God’s love and know that they are saved through Christ; •
Pray for those who are in leadership in the Church - that they may be strengthened & upheld in their ministries; •
Pray for those who you know who do not know of God’s love – for friends or family, for neighbours or colleagues, that God’s Spirit may fill their hearts; •
Pray for the Kingdom of God - that it may break through in us & among us, that the earth may be filled with the glory of God; •
Pray for yourself - that God’s Spirit will speak in your heart, that you may be bold to proclaim the gospel in your words and actions.


Hymn AHB 297: Come, let us with our Lord arise
                          (Tune – Surrey) extra verse not in AHB

Come, let us with our Lord arise,
Our Lord, Who made both earth and skies;
Who died to save the world He made,
And rose triumphant from the dead;
He rose, the Prince of life and peace,
And stamped the day for ever His.

‘This is the day the Lord hath made’ −
That all may see His love displayed,
May feel His resurrection’s power,
And live again to fall no more;
Their heart and mind and will renewed,
And filled with all the life of God.

Then let us render Him His own,
With solemn prayer approach the throne,
With meekness hear the Gospel word,
With thanks His dying love record;
Our joyful hearts and voices raise,
And fill His courts with songs of praise.

Honour and praise to Jesus pay
Throughout His consecrated day;
Be all in Jesus’ praise employed,
Nor leave a single moment void;
With utmost care the time improve,
And only breathe His praise and love.

                                  Text: Charles Wesley | Tune: Surrey


                        (Tune – Aubrey)

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.
May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hear your cry.
May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give you life.
May the Child of God grow in you, and his love bring you

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