Thursday, 21 January 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Worship Epiphany 3 - 24 January 2021

 Sunday 24th January 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford


How It Works

Sunday 24th January 2021

Epiphany 3 Sunday year of Mark 9.30 am

Gathering God’s People

Call to Worship - (Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)       

The light God shines forth in Jesus Christ changes everything. The world as we know it is passing away and becoming something gloriously new. In Jesus Christ, God’s kingdom is coming . . . and is already here. This is good news indeed.

Jesus says, “Now is the time!”

Startle us, God, from our busyness and routines. Show us how very close your Kingdom is.

Jesus says, “God’s kingdom is at hand!”

Deliver us, God, from faith in our own strength. Free us from the traps of violence, dishonesty, and greed.

Jesus says, “Receive the good news from God!”

Embolden us, God, to trust you anew. For we are as fragile as breath, and draw our strength from your mercy and compassion.

Hymn TIS 111: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,

                       (tune – Lobe Den Herren)

Words in YouTube older English and only four verses – misses verse four.

1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Brothers and sisters draw near,
praise him in glad adoration.

2 Praise to the Lord, above all things is wondrously reigning;
and, as on wings of an eagle, uplifting, sustaining;
Have you not seen all that is needful has been
sent by his gracious ordaining?

3 Praise to the Lord, who will prosper our work & defend us;
surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
if with his love he befriends us.

4 Praise to the Lord, who when darkness of sin is abounding,
who when the godless do triumph, our best hopes confounding,
sheds forth his light, scatters the horrors of night,
saints with his mercy surrounding.

5 Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.

Lyrics - Joachim Neander              Tune - "Lobe den Herren" 

     Opening Prayer

     Loving God, in this season of Epiphany, your kingdom has drawn close— so close we can almost touch it. Help us see that we already live under your rule of peace. May our worship today draw us closer to you and to one another. When we measure greatness by status and success, you challenge us to find true greatness in following Jesus. You call, and like Jonah, we often run away in our unwillingness to preach mercy to others. You call, and like the disciples, we often rush after you, only to falter and fall away when the shadows deepen. Yet your strength and kindness never falter, even for the resistant Jonah or the enthusiastic fishermen. And your strength and kindness never abandon us. Loving God, it is you we worship this day. Amen 

A Prayer of Confession

You, God, are known for your wonderful deeds - your God alone offers strength and hope. Let us welcome God’s kingdom, making it our refuge. Pour out your hearts, trusting God with everything, even your failings and your deepest concerns.

God, we know that you alone are unshakable. You alone are our stronghold and our refuge. You deliver and glorify us, yet we fail to love and glorify you in return. We live as if we can save ourselves, as if we can be our own stronghold and fortress against the storm. Yet we are fragile as breath. We are consumed by our desires to succeed and dominate. We blindly strive to get our way, and are greedy for all sorts of wealth.

And so, we confess our failings to you and to one another, trusting in your forgiveness and your grace. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Beloved, God repays us according to our deeds, and yet in Jesus Christ, we have nothing to fear. Trusting God with everything, we rest in God’s faithful love. Allowing Christ to change our hearts and our lives, we find God’s strength and hope.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

God alone gives us peace, a peace that is trustworthy and sure. Greet one another with the good news of peace in Jesus Christ.

Peace be with you!       And also, with you!

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: Jesus calls us to follow him.

Object: A telephone

Scripture: And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

What do you do when there is an emergency? Let's say, for example, that someone has a serious injury or illness, and if they don't get help right away, they might die. What would you do? Right! You'd pick up the phone and call 0-0-0!

When you call 0-0-0 and tell the person who answers that you need help right away, it is their job to see that you get help. That person would never say something like, "I'm sorry, we are really busy right now, maybe some other time." No way! They drop whatever they are doing and make sure that you get the help you need.

In our Scripture story today, Jesus was walking along beside the sea of Galilee preaching the good news of God when he made a call for help. He saw Peter and Andrew throwing a net into the water. They were fishermen. He called out to them, "Come, follow me and I will teach you how to fish for people."

You see, Jesus wanted Peter and Andrew to help him teach people about God's love for them. When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, they didn't say, "Not right now, we are busy fishing. Maybe some other time." No! Our scripture tells us that they left their nets and followed Jesus.

Jesus, Peter, and Andrew had gone a little farther when they saw James and John sitting in a boat mending their nets. When Jesus saw them, he called to them, "Follow me." They didn't say, "Not right now, we're busy mending our nets. Perhaps some other time." No, we read that they left their father sitting in the boat with the hired hands and followed Jesus.

Jesus is still calling for help today. He has called you and me to help him to bring others into God's Kingdom. Is it an emergency? It sure is! It's a matter of life and death! We hear in scripture, "Unless you repent, you will all perish." Jesus has called us, what will we say? What will we do? I hope and pray that we will drop whatever we are doing and answer the call.

Offering Prayer

God may these gifts and our very lives be a YES! to follow Christ’s call. Use us and the offerings we bring this day, that your peace, your strength, and your loving-kindness may be made more visible in the world. Amen 

Hymn TIS 672: Lord of earth and all creation

                       (tune – Westminster Abbey)

1.  Lord of earth and all creation

let your love possess our land;

wealth and freedom, far horizons,

mountain, forest, shining sand:

may we share, in faith and friendship,

gifts unmeasured from your hand.

2.  People of the ancient Dreamtime,

they who found this country first,

ask with those, the later comers,

Will our dream be blessed or cursed?

Grant us, Lord, new birth, new living,

hope for which our children thirst.

3.  Lord, life-giving healing Spirit,

on our hurts your mercy shower;

lead us by your inward dwelling,

guiding, guarding, every hour.

Bless and keep our land Australia:

in your will her peace and power. 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            Jonah 3: 1-5,10

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 1:14-20

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord

Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God. 


Jonah 3: 1-5,10
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2 ‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.’ 3 So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, ‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’ 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. 6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. 8 Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.’ 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.   

Mark 1:14-20

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’ 16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. 

Preaching of the Word - How It Works

“Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

That’s all we get in today’s Gospel lesson to describe how Jesus called his first disciples and how they responded. That’s it. In just seven verses our Gospel writer says four fishermen drop everything and follow Jesus on the basis of his two-word command: Follow me.

Our Gospel called Mark known for being terse, staccato in style. In this telling of the Good News, the writer shows us a Jesus on the move, Jesus who does everything immediately. (The word “immediately” occurs twice in today’s little story. It occurs about 27 times in the whole Gospel.) In Mark we get  just the details we need, and the result is a fast-paced, streamlined account of who Jesus is, what Jesus does, and how people respond.

So, it’s no wonder that today we hear Jesus give a command, and these four fishermen respond immediately.

For some, the lack of details is frustrating. We probably want to know: What were they thinking? What motivated the fishermen? How could they really drop everything to follow?

For others, the lack of details is inviting—our imaginations fill in the gaps. Perhaps Simon was bored that day. The nets had been coming up empty, the wind was too strong to go out far from shore, so why not just leave the nets and follow this man who seemed to need him for something? Perhaps James never really felt like he was cut out for fishing. It was the family business, so of course, he was doing what was expected of him, but really, maybe it was time he stood up for himself and told his father he wanted to try something new, put down the nets, and do his own thing for a change. And Andrew, perhaps he saw something in Jesus’s face when he spoke that intrigued him. Maybe.

We are not told. Apparently, the person bringing together this Gospel called Mark doesn’t think it matters what they were thinking or feeling. What matters is that Jesus said, “Follow me,” and that’s what they did. We may wish there were more to it than that. We may wish we knew what it was about them that made them so willing to take risks, so free to respond, so able to walk away from the familiar, from the security of the predictable to go off into an unknown future with a man they hardly knew. But we don’t know.

And because the Gospel called Mark doesn’t tell us, we have to entertain the possibility that this really is the way Jesus gets followed: without all the facts, without really knowing what Jesus is up to or where exactly he’s going, or why he wants us to follow him. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and that’s enough. Jesus says, “Follow me,” and we do.

Or we don’t. Whether we think that Jesus is calling us to undertake even just one task, become more like him in one small way, give up one familiar habit to do something he wants us to do, let alone if following Jesus might mean making large sacrifices, large changes, life-altering plans, it’s hard for us to conceive of the possibility of following on the basis of a simple command.

We are not uncomplicated fishermen, we say, as if any human life is uncomplicated. We are responsible people, we say. We must make our decisions carefully, we say, weigh our options. Our decisions take research; our values need clarification. We can’t just rush into things. We can’t afford to change the directions of our lives merely on the basis of a very vague proposal, let alone just because Jesus tells us to. Really, it would be easier to follow Jesus if we had a different job, a different spouse, if we were single, if we didn’t have children, if we had different friends, a different income.

Discerning the call to follow can be tricky because part of what we try to figure out is when Jesus is calling us to come away from the specifics of our lives in order to follow, and when Jesus is calling us because of the specifics of our lives, that is, because we have the job we have or the life we have, because we are who we are.

Jesus told those fishermen, “I will make you fish for people.” He didn’t say, “I really need accountants, but you’ll have to do.” It may be that he’s saying to you, “I really need you to follow me in your job.” “I really need you to follow me in your marriage.” “I really need you to conform your family life to a way that allows you to follow me.” “I really need you to follow me when you’re with your friends.” “I really need you to use your talents to help in my kingdom, to help in my church, to help in my world.”

Today’s story is a little unnerving, a little unsettling. The Gospel named Mark seems to be saying that whether we follow by making big changes or small, following means giving things up, just like that. We seem to be, being told that this is how one follows Jesus: without all the details, without taking time to consider all the options, without having much of a road map, beyond putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where Jesus takes you. Can we do it?

Today’s gospel story is about a decisive moment in the lives of four fishermen, when Jesus called them to follow and they said yes. But even after they said yes, they had to keep listening. Jesus kept calling them to the next thing, the next way for them to follow. Same with us: we are called again and again to follow, to put aside what’s occupying us, and be about Jesus’ business instead.

Since it’s Jesus who calls us to follow—whether it’s to go halfway around the world or to do one thing for Jesus today right where we live, trust this: Jesus won’t lead us astray or abandon us. God has given the Church, including this particular group of the church, the gift of the Scriptures, the story of Jesus and the Christian community, to form us and guide us. God has given us the sacraments and God’s promise to be with us and nourish us for God’s service in the bread and wine we share together monthly. God has given us the promise to be with us even when just two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus Christ. All these things make our willingness to follow not just about risk, but about promise as well.

When Jesus called those first four fishermen, they didn’t make demands and they didn’t ask for guarantees, they just left their nets and followed. But later in the gospel, when maybe they were rethinking their decision, Jesus gives them a promise. What happens is this: Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus responds, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life”

Today Jesus says to each of us, “Follow me.” 

What do you say? 

Hymn TIS 677: Christ’s is the world in which we move

                        (tune – Dream Angus)

1. Christ’s is the world in which we move.

Christ’s are the folk we’re summoned to love,

Christ’s is the voice which calls us to care,

and Christ is the One who meets us here.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.

2. Feel for the people we most avoid.

Strange or bereaved or never employed;

Feel for the women and feel for the men who,

fear that their living is all in vain.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.

3. Feel for the parents who lost their child,

feel for the woman whom men have defiled.

Feel for the baby for whom there’s no breast,

and feel for the weary who find no rest.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.

4. Feel for the lives by life confused.

Riddled with doubt, in loving abused;

Feel for the lonely heart, conscious of sin,

which longs to be pure but fears to begin.

To the lost Christ shows his face;

to the unloved He gives His embrace;

to those who cry in pain or disgrace,

Christ, makes, with His friends, a touching place.

Author: John L. Bell
Tune: Dream Angus 

Intercessory Prayer - Epiphany 3 Sunday – Year B

In you, 0 God, do we place our trust: hear us when we bring our prayers for the world and for the church.

We pray for the peoples of the world: for all who experience the horrors of war, famine, or disease, for all who suffer the loss of freedom and dignity. Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of aggression and greed, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for Australia: for the preservation of the natural treasures of this land: for all who live here, for inhabitants from ancient times and for new arrivals. Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of prejudice and intolerance, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for the church, its clergy and people: for prophets today, who call us to repentance; for our parish family and all who minister in this place. Help us answer your call to leave behind our arrogance and division, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for the communities in which we live: for our families and friends and all who give us love and companionship; for all whose work sustains this community

Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of alienation and apathy, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are in need: for those whose lives are filled with grief, loneliness or despair; for the disabled, the infirm, the sick and the dying, and for all who care for them.

Help us answer your call to leave behind our ways of selfishness and neglect, that we may proclaim your gospel to our broken world.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for your faithful servants of every age, for Andrew, Peter, James and John, and for those in every generation who have followed you. Help us, like them, to answer your call to leave behind all that separates us from you, that we may find new life in your eternal presence.

God, in whom we trust and hope, in your mercy,

hear our prayer. 

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 TIS 571: Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go

                        (tune – Song 34)

YouTube has six verses with verse 3 added. Also uses King James English whereas TIS is modern English. extra verse

1 Forth in your name, O Lord, I go,

my daily labour to pursue,

you only, Lord, resolved to know

in all I think or speak or do.

2 Each task your wisdom has assigned

will let me cheerfully fulfill;

in all my work your presence find,

and prove your good and perfect will.

3 You may I set at my right hand,

whose eyes my inmost substance view,

and labour on at your command

and offer all my works to you.

4 Give me to bear your easy yoke,

in every moment watch and pray,

and still to things eternal look

and hasten to your glorious day.

5 for you delightfully employ

all that your bounteous grace has given,

and run my course with even joy,

and closely walk with you to heaven.

Lyrics by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788).

Tune: Song 34, Orlando Gibbons 


Go forth and share the good news from God.

God rewards us and our deeds, not with doom, but with mercy. In circumstances both difficult and joyful, God remains our place of safety.

Go forth and proclaim God’s kingdom.

The world as we know it is passing away. We belong to God’s kingdom, which is coming and now is.

Now is the time to be the good news.

We go forth to tell the world the good news of the strength and mercy of our God. 

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.
                       (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 Home.

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)          Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)


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