Friday, 5 February 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Order of Service Epiphany 5 - 07 February 2021

  Marsden Road Uniting Church 




Sunday 7th February 2021

Epiphany 5 Sunday - year of Mark 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 2018)

The Holy One renews our bodies with strength and fills our longing hearts with peace. Our mighty God opens our hands to share love with the world. May our ears be full of Christ’s story, and may our lips proclaim God’s praises and amazing deeds.

Praise the Lord! How good it is for us to gather and sing praises to our God.

Great is our Lord, who understands us, lifts us up, and strengthens us.

Sing with joy and thanksgiving to the Lord, who fills our lives with steadfast love.

Praise the Lord! 

Hymn 102: Praise to the living God

                  (Tune -Leoni)

1.  Praise to the living God!
All praise be to His name,
Who was, and is, and is to be,
and still the same!
The one eternal God
before what now appears:
The First, the Last, beyond all thought
His timeless years!

2.  Formless, all lovely forms
Declare His loveliness;
Holy, no holiness of earth
Can His express.
Behold the Lord of all!
Creation speaks His praise,
And everywhere, above, below,
His will obeys.

3.  Gods Spirit freely flows,
High surging where it will:
His prophet’s word he spoke of old,
is speaking still.
Established is God’s law,
And changeless it shall stand,
Deep written on the human heart,
On sea, on land.

4. God has eternal life
Implanted in the soul;
His love shall be our strength and stay,
While ages roll.
Praise to the living God!
All praise be to His Name,
Who was, and is, and is to be,
And still the same.
Translator: Max LandsbergAuthor: Daniel ben JudahTranslator: Newton MannAdapter: William Channing Gannett

     Opening prayer

Gracious God, as Jesus spent time with you in prayer, we come before you in prayer this day. Renew our spirits, that we might tell your story with passion and purpose. Fill us with a hope that transcends worldly values. Fill us with a love that knows no bounds. Fill us with a compassion that leads to love and service. Free our lips to proclaim words of praise, as we share your good news with others. Guide, empower, and encourage us with your Spirit, as we seek to minister to the world. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession

Almighty God, we often forget the glory of creation and everything you have done for us.

We ignore the beauty you place all around us. We brush aside the ways you strengthen us. We sing songs of lament instead of songs of praise and thanksgiving.

We lose ourselves in the business of life, and forget that we are only found in you.

Forgive us. Fill our hearts and our lips with your praises and turn our lives toward you. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Brothers and sisters hear these words: The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear God and place their hope in God’s steadfast love. When we turn to God and place our hope in the Lord, we are forgiven.

Thanks, be to God! Amen 

The Peace

Christ came to bring a message of peace, love, grace, and hope. Turn to one another now and proclaim this message, as we share the 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

God of all, as Jesus spent time with you in prayer, we come to you in prayer, asking you to bless these gifts, that they might proclaim your message of love, grace, and peace. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen. 

Hymn 613: Lord of all hopefulness (Tune - Slane)

1.  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.


2.  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.


3.  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.


4.  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.

Author: Jan Struther (1931) Tune: Slane


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 indeed right and good, Lord God, holy Parent, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks to you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. You have sent your only Son to appear among us as a human being, and through him you have fully revealed the light of your presence to us. And so, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we adore and praise your glorious name:

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!

At this table we are forever reminded of your love for us, O God, for here we remember that night when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and sat down at a table to share the meal with them. On that night - the night of his betrayal - he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This is my life, poured out for you and for everyone. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, O God, and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that they may be for us the life of Christ and that we may make that life visible through our faithful witness to the gospel. In Jesus’ name we pray. And so, remembering Christ’s life, love, death, and resurrection, we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Here at the Table of grace, the Holy Spirit proclaims life,
transforming these simple gifts and the people gathered in this place. As we taste the hope in the broken bread, we would go to break the bonds of injustice, and free the oppressed. As we are filled with the cup, we would be light to the world, opening our pantry to the hungry, wrapping a naked child in our love.
And when God's time is fulfilled, and we are gathered together with our sisters and brothers in the kingdom of heaven, we will not keep anything bottled up, but will shout our praises to you, God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

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

Jesus says: ‘The bread that God gives is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’
(Thanks be to God.)
Come, everything is ready.

Prayer after Communion

Almighty and merciful God, you sent your only Son as the word of life for our eyes to see and our ears to hear. Help us by your gifts of word and sacrament to believe with joy what they proclaim. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

The Service of the Word

The First Reading:                                            1 Corinthians 9:16-23

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 1:29-39

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

1 Corinthians 9:16-23

16 If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe betide me if I do not proclaim the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel. 19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I might by any means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. 

Mark 1:29-39

29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 32 That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34 And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ 38 He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’ 39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. 

Preaching of the Word - Touch

In the First Century world of Jesus, sick people had very few options for healing. The first thing they could do was to try what we call folk remedies. These varied from sensible potions and poultices to downright dangerous “fixes.” Many of these remedies are still practiced today in the industrialised world and it must be said that many of these treatments are completely ineffective, especially with serious diseases and injuries.

The second thing a sick person could do was to pay for a physician to see them. This was costly and was not much more effective than the folk remedies. Most Greek physicians in the 1st century followed the teachings of Hippocrates, who is best known for his famous oath. Hippocrates codified the principles of Humourism, a belief that human health is defined as the perfect balance of four fluids, or humours. It was holistic, in that it saw the need for balance between at least the mental and physical elements that make up our being as humans. However, the interventions by physicians often involved bleeding and draining of fluids, which would regularly result in a worsening condition. Treatment was expensive, and therefore only accessible to the privileged.

Another option for sick people in Jesus’ world was one or many religious healing practices. Every ancient religion had extensive teachings on healing, and most of it cost money. With these limited and ineffective options, sickness in the ancient world changed a person’s identity.

Sick people would stand out in a village. They were often visibly scarred or marked. I found this during my time in the Solomons. However, this has been changing in recent years. People with leprosy were required to announce their coming by shouting or ringing bells. Most sick people became beggars, or wholly dependent on their family members for food and shelter. Being labelled a sick person led to an incredibly low status in society. (Comment on group formed by SSF in Honiara who contracted to make soap powder boxes)

The identity of a sick person in Jesus’ day also carried with it the stigma of God’s judgment. In this society, most illnesses were linked to some sin or indiscretion, rather than a scientific cause. In Jesus’ ministry, he confronted some of these beliefs, showing how widespread they were.

The sick person in our Gospel reading this morning is Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. She has a fever and is so weak that she cannot get out of her sickbed. Her condition is of concern to the disciples, and so Jesus is ushered in to see her. Perhaps a fever would not warrant such concern in our day, but it certainly did in Jesus’ day.

Jesus touches her hand with his hand. There is that touch that we see in Jesus’ ministry repeatedly. She rises at once and the fever leaves her. It is not an overly dramatic scene; there isn’t any music or fanfare. There are not any spells or incantations. There is only a hand touching another hand. There is only Jesus reaching out to this sick woman.

And then we are told that she starts to serve them. She now has the strength to offer the customary hospitality to her guests. Her identity is no longer a bedridden, fevered person, but a gracious host to a visiting teacher and his disciples.

And then the zombies attack. Well, not real zombies, but a horde of sick, those thought to be demonised, and injured people swarm Jesus, begging for healing. What we see that has happened to Simon’s mother-in-law, we then see happens for a multitude in the village.

Jesus reached out his hand to a sick woman. Now he reaches out his hand to the multitude just as he reaches out his hand to us. Jesus is here to enable healing or bring healing to you and I. Jesus is here to restore us to the community we have lost. Jesus is here to restore us to a place of service to our community, so we can find dignity and purpose again. This is what Jesus does: he brings people back to wholeness and health. Jesus can and will bring us back to wholeness and health.

But all this healing takes a toll on Jesus; he disappears in the dark of night to pray. On these occasions of night-time prayer, we are seldom told the content of Jesus’ prayers. They seem to be a conversation between the beloved son and his loving parent, an intimate dialogue that may seem incomprehensible to the disciples or us.

The only time we know the content of Jesus’ private, night-time prayer is in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night he was betrayed. On that night, he strained and writhed under the weight of what he was called to do as the Son of God. He pleaded for the cup to pass from him, even as he accepts God’s will for his life. This glimpse of Jesus’ prayer life may not be identical to all those other nights he prayed for hours in the dark, but we can be sure it was intense. Jesus’ sense of mission empowered him to do the work God had called him to do. When he is exhausted, he goes off and prays in the night, and he comes back renewed.

Perhaps we do not so much need rest, although rest is very important, as a renewed sense of our mission and calling by God. Perhaps more people would experience wholeness and healing if we spent more time in the dark with God. It was how Jesus found strength, and many Christian saints through the ages found time alone with God to be renewing and refreshing.

Jesus is reaching out his hand to us today, calling us to a life filled with service and community. Jesus is praying for us so we might have the strength to go into the dark with God and wrestle with our calling and mission. Jesus is with us, going before us, into the world God loves so much. 

Hymn 474: Here in this place new light is streaming

                  (Tune – Gather us in)

1.  Here in this place new light is streaming, now is the darkness vanished away,

see in this space our fears and our dreamings, brought here to you in the light of this day.

Gather us in the lost and forsaken, gather us in the blind and the lame;

call to us now, and we shall awaken, we shall arise at the sound of our name.


2.  We are the young-our lives a mystery, we are the old-who yearn for your face,

we have been sung throughout all of history, called to be light to the whole human race.

Gather us in-the rich and the haughty, gather us in-the proud and the strong;

give us a heart so meek and so lowly, give us the courage to enter the song.


3.  Here we will take the wine and the water, here we will take the bread of new birth,

here you shall call your sons and your daughters, call us anew to be salt for the earth.

Give us to drink the wine of compassion, give us to eat the bread that is you;

nourish us well and teach us to fashion lives that are holy and hearts that are true.


4.  Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven, light-years away,

but here in this place the new light is shining, no is the Kingdom, and now is the day.

Gather us in and hold us forever, gather us in and make us your own;

gather us in-all peoples together, fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

`Gather us in` - Marty Haugen (b. 1950)

Stephen Mann - Johannus Opus 370 


Intercessory Prayers - Epiphany 5 – Year B –

Praise to you, faithful God, for you hear the prayers of your people and answer when we call on you.

Praise to you faithful God, for you set the stars in the heavens, and all the world was shaped by your hands. We pray for your creation, for a sense of wonder and delight at its beauty, for wisdom and justice in the use of its bounty.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you feed the hungry, lift up the downtrodden and set the captive free. We pray for all peoples, for an end to violence, exploitation, and oppression, for peace and harmony among nations.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you have called us by our name and brought us into the company of all believers.

We pray for your church, for a community open to the movement of your Spirit, for a passion to proclaim your gospel in the world.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you welcome the outcast, bring strength to the weary your love for your people is steadfast and sure. We pray for all who live or work in this place, for the building up of community, for the sharing of resources and for the care of those in need.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you heal the sick, bind up the broken-hearted and bring life and wholeness to your people.

We pray for all in anxiety, pain or grief, for comfort for the sorrowing, relief for the suffering and peace for the dying.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

Praise to you, faithful God, for you have broken the bonds of death and promise to your people the joys of everlasting life.

We give you thanks for all who have followed your way of love, for those from this parish and all whom we hold dear, and we pray that we may share with them a joyful resurrection to life eternal.

God of grace; hear our prayer.

      After the words:            God of grace,

      please respond with      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 531: Sent forth by God’s blessing

                  (Tune - Ash Grove) 

1.  Sent forth by God’s blessing, our true faith confessing,

The people of God from His table take leave.

The Supper is ended: may now be extended

The fruits of this service in all who believe.

The seed of His teaching, our hungry souls reaching,

Shall blossom in action for all humankind.

His grace shall incite us, his love shall unite us

To work for his kingdom his purpose to find.


2.  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 as neighbours all those of each race.

One feast that has feed us, one light that has led us,

Unite us as one in his life that we share.

Then may all the living, with praise and thanksgiving

Give honour to Christ and his name that we bear.

Author: Omer Westendorf (1964)
Tune: Ash Grove



        Brothers and sisters be renewed by the strength of God, and boldly proclaim the abundant and unconditional love of God, through Jesus Christ. Go in peace! And the blessing of God almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be with you always 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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