Thursday, 2 July 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Penetcost 5 HC 05 July 2020

Marsden Road Uniting
Church Carlingford

Come to me
Sunday 5th July 2020
Pentecost 5 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
(The Abingdon Worship Annual 2020)
“Come to me... and I will give you rest,” Jesus promises. Where do we go, and to whom do we turn, to discover the truth of these words?

The music is playing, and God is calling.
We have come to sing and dance with God.
The prayers are flowing, and Spirit is moving.
Breathe on us, breath of God.
Christ promises rest and renewal, when we come to him. We are here, trusting this sacred promise.

Hymn 585: I heard the voice of Jesus say
                  (Tune – Kingsfold)

1.  I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, thou weary one, lay down
thy head upon my breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

2.  I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

3.  I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk
till traveling days are done.

Tune: Kingsfold

Opening prayer

     Creator God, you have created us to walk with you. Help us walk with you in this time of worship, that we may be strengthened to walk with you all the days of our lives. As we come to you this day, bless us with your grace and your rest, that we may find renewal and the strength to serve with confidence and joy. Amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Come to Christ with the confidence of children, for Christ will carry our burdens, renew our souls, and give us rest, through his mercy and grace.

Prophetic One, you call us to new places and new ways. You challenge us to dance new steps and to sing new songs. We yearn to follow you with confidence and joy, but our resistance is often stronger than our willingness. At times, our steps falter. At moments, we can’t even hear your voice, let alone recognize your song in our hearts. Strengthen us with your mercy. Renew us with your grace. Sing to us with your compassion. Connect us with the yoke of unconditional love, that we may follow joyously, dance confidently, and sing praise and love with every act and with every word of our lives. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness
Rejoice and give thanks. With grace, Christ is already carrying our burdens to renew our souls. With mercy, Christ is already shouldering our load to strengthen our lives.
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 650: Brother, sister, let me serve you
                 (Tune – Servant Song)

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

Richard Gillard 1953 -
arr. Betty Pulkingham 1928 -  
The Service of Holy Communion

The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
       And also with you.
       Lift up your hearts.
       We lift them to the Lord.
       Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
       It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is a right, good, and a joyful thing always and everywhere to give our thanks to you, who saved Abraham from sacrificing his beloved son, Isaac, and has given us the gift of eternal life in Christ. We give you thanks for freedom and friendship, for love and for laughter, for parents and children who travel together in the ways of peace. We give you thanks for new understandings of ancient stories, for happy endings and new beginnings, for cups of cold water on hot, sunny days. And so, with your creatures on earth and all the heavenly chorus, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, and holy is your child, Jesus Christ, who taught his friends to spread the good news of freedom from evil, oppression, and violence, and who teaches us to welcome those who come in his name. On the night in which he gave himself up, Jesus took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, and gave it to the disciples, saying: “Take, eat; this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” When the supper was over, Jesus took the cup, offered thanks and gave it to the disciples, saying: “Drink from this, all of you; this is my life in the new covenant, poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” And so, in remembrance of your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again!

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be the body of Christ to a world filled with temptations. God of light and vision, God of mystery and truth, God of love and grace, we praise your saving, gracious name.

Blessing and honour and glory and power are yours for ever and ever. Amen.    

The Breaking of the Bread

The Bread we break is the Bread of Life
The Cup We Share is the Cup of Promise
These are the gifts of God for the people of God.
Thanks, be to God.

Lamb of God

Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world,
grant us peace.

Invitation to Communion

Come to the table of love. At this table, we will find strength for our journeys and rest for our souls.

Prayer after Communion

God of compassion, through your son, Jesus Christ, you reconciled your people to yourself. Following his example of prayer and fasting may be obey you with willing hearts and serve one another in holy love. Amen.

The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                      Romans 7.14-25                   NEB page 877
The Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 11:15-19, 25-30      NEB page 734
After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord
Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.

Readings: NRSV Translation

Romans 7.14-25

14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can, will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.

Matthew 11:15-19, 25-30

15 Let anyone with ears listen!
16 ‘But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another, 17 “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’ 25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Preaching of the Word: Come to me - Matthew 11: 25-30

There was once a time when any of us going to a service of Holy Communion in many Churches might hear some of Jesus' words in today's Gospel. "Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Or, in a slightly older form of the English language: "Come unto me all ye who travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you."

Often these words were spoken to us by the Celebrant, right after the Confession and Absolution, and -- along with a few other well-chosen sentences of Scripture -- they were part of what were popularly called, in the tradition of the old Anglican Prayer Book, " The Comfortable Words," and were introduced by the celebrating priest with the invitation, "Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith to all that truly turn to him..."

Those of us who are old enough, remember that there was something quite wonderful about hearing those Comfortable Words at that particular point in the liturgy. We had heard the Word of God proclaimed in the lectionary readings of Scripture, just as we do now; and we had heard the preacher's sermon. We had responded to God's Word by asserting our faith in God's unbreakable covenant with us, in the words of the Nicene Creed.

We had brought to God all the concerns for "the whole state of Christ's church and the world" in intercession and petition. Then, as now, we had confessed our manifold sins and wickedness, unburdening ourselves of our grief and guilt by acknowledging our disobedience and our failures of love towards God, our neighbours, and ourselves. We heard the authoritative assurance of pardon to all those who humbly repented and firmly intended to amend our lives-that great declaration of forgiveness intended to raise us up from the dust and ashes of penitence and set us on our feet in joyful liberation and thanksgiving.

And then came the Comfortable Words, to strengthen us and give us courage: "Come unto me ..." They were the compass setting, re-orienting us once again towards this gracious God of our hope, the maker and sustainer of our renewed reconciliation and peace, the faithful source of never-ending love in our hearts and lives, the author of that new life in Christ which had been given us in Baptism and was still ours by God's merciful forgiveness. Now we could affirm and acknowledge the peace of Christ coming into our personal and corporate life -- and, refreshed by this, we turned to the Eucharistic offering of ourselves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

In their Eucharistic context, the words of Jesus, "Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you," were -- and still are -- comforting and strengthening indeed. But they resonate a bit differently here today in the context of Matthew's Gospel where, if we look at them more closely, they reveal to us what kind of comfort Jesus had in mind.

In this section of Matthew, Jesus is speaking as a teacher -- as he so often does, in Matthew. In fact, we can imagine Jesus as a second Moses, delivering the new Law under the same Covenant that Moses himself revealed. Here, Jesus is reassuring his disciples that the yoke of his teaching is easy, and burden of learning from him is light.

We need to realize that the rabbis of this period in history routinely referred to the responsibilities of living by God's Law as a "yoke" -- as something people took on themselves to steer and guide them down God's paths in life. And it seems to have been a common complaint, addressed above all to the scribes and Pharisees as interpreters of God's Law that their teachings had become complicated and difficult to follow, a burden rather than a guide to holy living. 

Those of us who enjoy cooking and read food magazines and cookbooks know that there are some food writers who can turn a simple recipe for mashed potatoes into something so complicated it is intimidating, and not at all the sort of recipe one would give to one's children who were learning how to cook.

The trouble with the Pharisees and their complicated interpretations of the Law was the same sort of problem: they had managed to make some basic guidelines very complex and intimidating. Of course, by doing this they retained their professional authority and power, but they also managed to turn people away from holiness of life with God, just as a complex recipe for puree of mashed potatoes can send a hungry person off for the box of instant rice.

Jesus the teacher takes great issue with this: God has given his people basic guidelines for holy life, but the Pharisees have ended up making God's Law inaccessible and impossible to follow. So, Jesus assures his disciples that by learning God's Law his way, they will not be intimidated by complexity or burdened, and condemned to failure, by Pharisaic rules and regulations. Jesus is returning to the simplicity of God's original Covenant and Law, to give them what they need to steer and guide their path easily, and by following Jesus' way they will find peace, rest, and refreshment.

By putting these Comfortable Words back into the context of Matthew's Gospel, we can see they have a depth that is not immediately obvious from their Eucharistic setting. The absolution and forgiveness which we have received as repentant sinners is neither conditional upon our ability to follow complicated rules, nor is it a permissive wave of the hand of an overindulgent parent implying that our sins don't matter.

The Comfortable Words, "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will refresh you," remind us that God's incomparable, compassionate forgiveness is a gift that releases us into life with God as responsible human beings who want to grow deeper in love and joyful obedience. After all, we are called not only to find peace, refreshment and rest for ourselves but also to live the kind of lives through which others, too, find God's peace, God's refreshing grace, and the joy of placing their lives in God's hands. AMEN

Hymn 613: Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy
                  (Tune – Slane)

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy:
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe:
Be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace:
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm:
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Intercessory Prayers  

Come to prayer, all who labour and are heavy laden, and God will give us rest. Come to praise,
Lord, hear our prayer.
We thank you for the revelation of your gift of abundant life and for the rest coming to those who put their trust in you. For such life and rest, we pray to you Lord,
Lord, hear our prayer.
We thank you for entrusting us with the message of your grace and love, that we might speak a reconciling word to our age. For such mercy, we pray to you Lord,
Lord, hear our prayer.
We thank you for leading us into the ways of peace and for transforming weapons of war into tools of charity. For such peacemaking, we pray to you Lord,
Lord, hear our prayer.
We thank you for the gifts of creation and for wholesome times of recreation. For such times of harmony, we pray to you Lord,
Lord, hear our prayer.
We thank you for those who tend the sick, accompany the frustrated, visit the lonely, comfort the dying, confront the addicted, or minister to any need. For such attention to
human anguish, we pray to you Lord,
Lord, hear our prayer.
We thank you for sustaining all who are oppressed, all who suffer for reasons of conscience, all who are passionate for justice and all those in need of our prayers for any reason, [especially N.]. For such relief from their burdens and refreshment in you, we pray to you Lord,
Lord, hear our prayer.
Into your hands, O God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We thank you for the people of faith who surround us, and for family and friends, teachers, and clergy, especially ………... and for all who assist our growth in grace. For such companions through life, we pray to you Lord,
Lord, hear our 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 531: Sent forth by God’s blessing
                   (Tune – The Ash Grove)

Sent forth by God’s blessing, our true faith confessing,
the people of God from this dwelling take leave.
The service is ended, O now be extended
The fruits of our worship in all who believe.
The seed of the teaching, receptive souls reaching,
Shall blossom in action for God and for all.
God’s grace did invite us, and love shall unite us
To work for God’s kingdom and answer the call.

With praise and thanksgiving to God ever living,
The tasks of our everyday life we will face.
Our faith ever sharing, in love ever caring,
Embracing God’s children of each tribe and race.
With Your grace You feed us, with Your light now lead us;
Unite us as one in this life that we share.
Then may all the living with praise and thanksgiving
Give honour to Christ and that name which we bear.

       Go forth, as people renewed by the love of God. Go forth, to renew others with this very love. Let us go forth to fill the empty cups of all who ask; let us give in the name of the Breath of Resurrection, the Wellspring of Grace, the Teacher of Truth: The One, Triune God, who gives eternal life. Let us share the blessings of Christ’s eternal covenant and praising God for the Spirit’s call to love and give. Amen.                 

                  (Tune – John Rutter)

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
To shine upon you and be gracious
And be gracious unto you

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
To shine upon you and be gracious
And be gracious unto you

The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you
The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you
And give you peace, and give you peace
And give you peace, and give you peace

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen

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