Thursday, 22 October 2020

Marsden Road Uniting Worship - Pentecost 21 - 25 October 2020

 Marsden Road Uniting Church


                Do You Love?

Pentecost 21- year of Matthew  

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 2011)       

God welcomes us this day with steadfast love to satisfy our deepest longings.

Praise God who has been our dwelling place in every generation.  

Before the mountains were formed and we were still dust, God loved us into being.

Praise God who created us and renews us still.

May God's favour and grace guide us on paths of love and peace.

We rejoice with gladness this day! 


Hymn 047: Our God, our help in ages past

                  (Tune – St Anne)  

1.  God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast,

And our eternal home!


2.  Under the shadow of Thy throne

Thy saints have dwelt secure;

Sufficient is Thine arm alone,

And our defence is sure.


3.  Before the hills in order stood,

Or earth received her frame,

From everlasting Thou art God,

To endless years the same.


4.  A thousand ages in Thy sight

Are like an evening gone;

Short as the watch that ends the night

Before the rising sun.


5.  Time, like an ever-rolling stream,

Bears all its sons away;

They fly, forgotten, as a dream

Dies at the opening day.


6.  God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Be Thou our guard while life shall last,

And our eternal home. 

Text: Isaac Watts | Tune: St. Anne 

Opening prayer


God of ages past and days to come, be with us this day. Shower us with your love and truth. Open our hearts and minds to truly love as you love us and as you call us to love. Grant us the courage to ask the questions that frighten us, that we may courageously live and grow as your disciples on this earth. With the confidence of Christ's grace in our lives, we pray. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession 

God of steadfast love,

turn away your anger and frustration:

when we fall short in your eyes,

when we forget to love,

when we are afraid to love,

when we neglect to love.

Forgive us and transform us with your amazing grace. Fill us with your love so completely that our lives may overflow with love— in heart, mind, and soul. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness      

God's compassion is sufficient for all our needs. In the name of Christ, you are forgiven!

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace 

Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Love your neighbour as yourself. Simple words. Profound challenges. Let us acknowledge love and peace with one another.

Peace be with you.    And also, with you!  

A Word with the Children/Young People 

Theme: Love God -- Love Others

Object: A song book with some love songs.

I don't know for sure, but I think that there have probably been more songs written about love than about anything else in the world. Here is a list of some of the favourites: "Love Makes the World Go Round," "Love and Marriage," and "When I Fall in Love," I have thought about.

Oh, I almost forgot one the best love songs ever written. I am sure all of you know this song! It goes like this:

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong;
They are weak but he is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

What a wonderful song about Jesus' for love us. In today's Bible story, Jesus teaches another very important lesson about love.

People were always amazed at the teachings of Jesus. One day a crowd was gathered around Jesus when a man who was an expert in religious law tried to trap him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment?"

Jesus answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,' this is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  In other words, Jesus was saying that if we could keep these two commandments, we would not have any trouble keeping the others.

You know, that reminds me of another love song, "All You Need Is Love." Let's pray and ask God to help us to love as we ought.

Loving God, help us to love you with all of our heart and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. 

Offering Prayer 

God of abundant love multiply these gifts to become gifts of abundant love for a world in need. In the name of Christ who first loved us, we pray.  

Hymn 526: Lord Jesus Christ

                  (Tune – Living Lord) 

Lord Jesus Christ you have come to us
You are one with us, Mary’s Son.
Cleansing our souls from all their sin
pouring Your love and goodness in
Jesus our love for you we sing,
living Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ now and every day
Teach us how to pray, Son of God.
You have commanded us to do
this in remembrance Lord of you
Into our lives your power breaks through,
living Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us
Born as one with us, Mary’s Son.
Led out to die on Calvary,
risen from death to set us free,
living Lord Jesus help us see
You are Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ I would come to you
live my life for you, Son of God.
All your commands I know are true,
your many gifts will make me new,
into my life your power breaks through,
living Lord.

Patrick Appleford
© 1960 Josef Weinberger Ltd.

             The Service of the Word


The First Reading:            1 Thessalonians 2:1-8                        

The Gospel Reading:       Matthew 22:34-46

Readings: NRSV Translation  

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

1 You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. 3 For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; 6 nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, 7 though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. 8 So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.  

Matthew 22:34-46

34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ 37 He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38 This is the greatest and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ 41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question:
42 ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son, is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’43 He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,44 “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”?
45 If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’
46 No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Preaching of the Word – Do You Love?

Do you love God with your whole heart and all of your soul and mind?  Do you love your neighbour in the same way?  These are the tough questions of today’s readings.  Loving God is not measured simply by being baptized, going to church, praying regularly, or by professing to be a Christian.  Loving God completely, wholly, is born out of loving God through our love of all that is God in all of creation.

Loving God just as God loved Moses and the Israelites proved to be a challenge.  God’s love delivered them from oppression.  God made it clear that God never intended any of creation to oppress or to be oppressed.  That is why God gave them so many opportunities to get it right. Moses led the people and saw God in a unique way.  God followed through with the promise made to the Israelites and at the end of Moses’ life they stood together looking out over the summit into the “promised land.” Moses died knowing that they had arrived, and that God had provided them with Torah the first five books of the Bible so that they could continue to live the way God intended.  Moses had spent his life doing God’s work and learning what it meant to love God and everything of God.  

God’s love is also evident in Paul’s earliest record of his ministry.  In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul acknowledges that it takes courage to declare the Gospel in the face of opposition.  Paul does not simply accept his ordination to share the Gospel but to do it with the gentleness of a nursemaid.  How might we respond if someone would tell us that they care for us so deeply that they are determined to share not only the Gospel of God but all of themselves, because you have become very dear to them?

The officials in the Gospel of Matthew are thinking very narrowly when they ask Jesus to identify one of the more than 700 commandments as more important than the others. Their perception of what Torah meant did not include the perspective Jesus gave them.  When they asked Jesus to tell them which commandment most important Jesus was answered with what seems like the broader meaning.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Jesus knit together a pattern for us.  He makes it clear that we must love God with every part of us, and every part of us must love all that loves God.  Jesus modelled that for us in his life.  He loved God even when it meant that he would know suffering and death.  Jesus loved even those persons we might be inclined to judge.  We have to ask ourselves if we could do the same.  We have to ask ourselves if the readings seem unrelated to our lives or if we could see our own lives in them, as we might expect it to be in the people we baptise today. 

The world we live in might, at first glance, seem to be different from the Old or New Testament worlds—but are they really?  We cannot deny the context of the Old Testament story.  We read about the oppression of the Israelites and their journey to freedom, but do we consider who is being oppressed today?  Even more difficult is asking ourselves if we are ourselves oppressors or, more importantly, if we treat every person justly.  How do we love God when we are not acting justly? 

These are difficult questions. And we have to ask ourselves if we are living justly and loving God with our whole heart and soul and mind.  But what does it mean to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and our entire mind?  Since all relationships touch our hearts, soul, or mind, we would have to say that this means that every part of us needs to love God.  And if the second commandment is like the first, we are expected to love all relationships as we love God. 

Jesus is not qualifying these relationships to mean only people or only the people we want to love.  Jesus is describing all things in all of creation.  And, it goes one step further, because Jesus also tells us that we cannot love God if we do not love all that God made in creation.  This is what he meant by “the second is like the first,” and what is most difficult about the Gospel reading today because of the nature of the world in which we live. 

This is the world that is being destroyed by consumerism and greed.  The same world that turns its head as the rainforests burn away and glaciers melt away.  The world where we would rather drive bigger cars, SUV’s and such like (all those 4-wheel drives), that are consuming more of our world’s oil faster than we can produce.  This is the same world that answers the needs for more fuel by destroying more and more of God’s creation.  How do we reconcile our love for God with our whole hearts, souls, and minds with these facts?

How also do we reconcile ourselves to loving God with all that we are when we so willingly go to church and then partake in drinking coffee at our “coffee hours” in Styrofoam cups?  I know it’s convenient and cost efficient but what does it do to the environment. Maybe someone can give me an answer. I don’t know. How does it make sense for us to be more interested in loving the things that we buy with our money while looking away as we pass the person on the street who is asking for help?  How are we loving God with all that we are when we choose to separate ourselves from others using God’s own words as our defence?

Every day God gives us many opportunities to “get right with God”.  Every day when the sun rise’s we can either take it for granted or thank God for another day, acknowledging the miracle of each new day? Every day of our life we are interacting with the world around us.  Do we love our entire world with all that we are—our hearts, our minds, and our souls? 

It is not about proving that we get it and love God.  It is about showing that we love God and get it with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. 

Hymn 201: King of glory, King of peace

                   (Tune – Gwalchmai)  

King of glory, King of peace,

I will love Thee;

and that love may never cease,

I will move Thee.

Thou hast granted my request,

Thou hast heard me;

Thou didst note my working breast,

Thou hast spared me.


Wherefore with my utmost art

I will sing Thee,

and the cream of all my heart

I will bring Thee.

Though my sins against me cried,

Thou alone didst clear me;

and alone, when they replied,

Thou didst hear me.


Seven whole days, not one in seven,

I will praise Thee;

in my heart, though not in heaven,

I can raise Thee.

Small it is, in this poor sort

to enrol Thee:

Even eternity’s too short

to extol Thee.  

Text by: George Herbert 1593-1632 Tune: Gwalchmai by: John David Jones 1827-1870

 Intercessory Prayers  

Glorious Creator, Your Sacred Fire sanctifies our faith, transforms our souls, and guides us to find our footing on holy ground in this earthly life. Help us to continually seek Your Strength and Your Face, that we may not be consumed by human things, but set our minds on all that is divine. Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator, enflame Your Spirit within us to persist and prevail upon the leaders of this Country, this Community, and this World, to reject repaying evil with evil, to hold fast to what is good, legislating only for the honour, dignity, and humanity for all Your people everywhere. We pray especially for: ……………………….. 

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator grant us wisdom as listening ears and helping hands to care for those with physical or mental illness or desperate life circumstance, and for those who struggle to meet those needs. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator may our hearts know the joy that celebrates all who have now risen into the Splendour of Eternity, free of misery and tears. We pray especially for: …………………. Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials… Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Glorious Creator, enhance and extend your enduring grace and faith-filled energy for those among us who are anointed to take on Your mantle of ministry on our behalf. We pray especially for:………………………..

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

O God of Yesterday, Today, and Forever, release us from desire for the superficial milk and honey of this life, the spiritual stumbling blocks of faith. Ignite our passion toFollow, not obstruct, the Way of Christ toward our Salvation. We ask in the name of Jesus, Son of Man, and the Holy Spirit, our Divine Fervour, who reign together with You as One, Living, and Eternal God.

Lord in your mercy: 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 452: God of Mercy, God of Grace

                   (Tune – Heathlands)  

God of mercy, God of grace,

show the brightness of your face.

Shine upon us, Saviour, shine;

fill your world with light divine;

all your saving health extend

unto earth's remotest end. 


Let the people praise you, Lord;

be by all that live adored.

Let the nations shout and sing

glory to their gracious King;

at your feet their tribute pay,

and your holy will obey.


Let the people praise you, Lord;

earth shall then its fruits afford.

Unto us your blessing give;

we to you devoted live,

all below and all above,

one in joy and light and love.                                   

                             Author: Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847)

                               Tune: Heathlands – Henry Thomas Smart (1813-79)


        Go forth in the knowledge and love of God.

        We go, confident in God's steadfast love.

        Go into the world, loving without limits, caring without boundaries.

         We journey forth to fulfill God's law of love.

        Go forth in the name of the living Word, the One whose words bring forth the fruit of the kingdom in your own lives! Amen.

  Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you now

                 (Tune – Somos Del Señor)  

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

Author: Elise S. Eslinger (1980)

Tune: Somos Del Señor


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