Thursday, 6 May 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Church Worship for Easter 6 - 09 May 2021


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford


Their Feet Are Clean…,

Easter 6 - Sunday 09th May 2021 

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 2013 and Dorothy McRae-McMahon)

        Sing joyful songs to God! Alleluia!

     We are Easter people!

     God has worked miracles!

     Jesus is our joy!

     Sing joyful songs to God!

     Alleluia! We are Easter people!

     God’s love for us lasts forever.

     Jesus makes us into friends.

     Sing joyful songs to God!

     Alleluia! We are Easter people! 

Alleluia! Even the ends of the earth see the saving power of our God.

The sea roars with joy, and the floods clap their hands. Trumpets sound and horns celebrate with song!

Alleluia! The Holy Spirit falls upon all who hear the word of God.

When God shows such generosity, how can we withhold our love?

Alleluia! Jesus has extended to all people the friendship of our God.

We were strangers and then servants, but now we are God’s friends. 

Hymn TIS 268: Joy to the world - (tune – Antioch) 

     Opening prayer

     Holy God, you make us Easter people— a people transformed by the resurrection of your Son, Jesus. Your first and final word to us is Love. You reach out to us, offering joy and wholeness. Yet we often greet your resurrection by grieving at the tomb, doubting the good news we hear, or quaking in fear as we hide in our upper rooms. Still, you call us deeper into Easter, answering our resistance with your loving presence. You claim us as your friends. As we gather now to worship, teach us once more to abide in your love, that our joy may be complete. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

Lord Jesus Christ, you reach across every boundary, even death itself, and draw us into loving intimacy with you.

Forgive us for resisting your love. You call us your friends, yet we act like minor acquaintances or even strangers. You send us into the world to proclaim your love, yet we gape in astonishment when you include all people in your love.

The light of your resurrection conquers the darkness in our lives, yet we act as if your love is a burden.

Give us Easter lives, we pray, for you alone have the power to save us. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Jesus promises, “You did not choose me. I chose you.” We know that we are God’s children, raised to new life with Christ. Abide in the saving love of Jesus Christ.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Jesus loves us and gives us the grace to love one another. Greet one another with signs of the love and peace of the risen Christ.

The peace of Christ be with you.

The peace of Christ be with you always. 

A Word with the Children/Young People

Theme: The love of Jesus fills our hearts with joy.

Object: A happy face poster and a sad face poster (see below sermon) mounted back-to-back on a stick.

What kind of day are you having today? Are you happy, (Show the smiley face.) or are you sad? (Show the sad face.) What are some of the things that make you happy? Here are some things I thought of that might make you happy.

  • A sunny day
  • A party
  • A new toy
  • A puppy
  • An ice cream cone
  • A balloon
  • Spending time with a friend

What are some things that make you sad?

  • Falling down and skinning your knee
  • Making a bad grade in school
  • Feeling all alone
  • Losing your favourite toy
  • Having an argument with your best friend
  • When someone says something that hurts your feelings
  • When you miss someone

When you think about things that make you happy and things that make you sad, it is pretty simple. When something good happens, you are happy and when something bad happens, you are sad. Do you think Jesus wants you to be happy? Listen to what Jesus says in the Gospel Reading from John in our Bible reading for today, As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. Yes, your joy will overflow!" Does that mean that nothing bad will ever happen in your life? No, of course not, but even when you are sad, you can still have joy in your heart because you know that Jesus loves you. 

Offering Prayer

God, you withhold nothing from us. You transform us with your friendship. You desire that we know and share your joy. We offer these gifts to you, grateful for our Easter life in Jesus Christ. Use them, we pray, to make your love and friendship known throughout the world. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 236: Jesus’ hands were kind hands. (tune -  Au Clair De La Lune)                               

                                    The Service of the Word 

First Reading:                                            1 John 5:1-6

The Gospel Reading:                                John 15: 9-17

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

                               Please respond by saying                 Thanks be to God. 

Readings: New revised Standard Version 

1 John 5:1-6

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4 for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5 Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. 

John 15: 9-17

        9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. 

Preaching of the Word - Their Feet Are Clean…,

Their feet are clean, and their bellies are full; they’ve eaten some bread and drunk some wine. They are having supper together on the night before Passover. Judas has hastily left the upper room. A few of them assume that because he kept the cash bag, Judas is off buying needed provisions for the next day’s feast. We, of course, know better. John, the Beloved disciple, is reclining near Jesus’ chest and listening. These readings, this Sunday’s and last’s, taken from the Gospel of John in these weeks before our observance of Ascension Day, record some parting sayings of Jesus — his farewell discourse and prayers. “Now the Son of Man is glorified,” Jesus says “and in him God is glorified; Little children, yet a little while I am with you; I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more.” Goodbye for now, Jesus seems to say. “I am going away and coming back to you.”

He is speaking to his disciples as friends, as one who knows loss and feels a deep sadness at the prospect of parting in death from his flesh-and-blood companions. He alternates between speaking plainly and speaking figuratively. All this may seem a little troubling, but it needn’t be. “If you keep my commandments,” Jesus says in today’s Good News, “you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

Jesus is going away, to be sure. But he is going more in the sense of a homecoming, of going off to a family reunion with his father. They are so close–Jesus and Abba. We get a sense of this throughout the strange, rhapsodic chapters of John’s Gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In Jesus, the Christ, the word becomes flesh and dwells among us. The author of the fourth Gospel gives us the Logos; gives breath and life and form to this Word. He who was in the beginning with God, Jesus, the Christos, is preparing in this fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel to return to the beginning, to God, to the parent.

He is known to us, then gone. He is present, larger than life. Then he’s absent. He is with us, sharing a meal, teaching and praying. And then he is taken. In this Easter season, we hear how he appears: to Thomas and the twelve in the Upper Room; and again, making breakfast by the lakeshore at the Sea of Tiberius. But just as quickly as he’s known to us, he’s gone. He appears then disappears.

Barbara Brown Taylor describes Christ’s final “disappearance” in a piece collected by Philip Zaleski’s in his Best Spiritual Writing 1999 entitled, “The Day We Were Left Behind”:

“You can read in Acts 1:6-11 how one moment he was there with them and the next moment he was gone, his well-known hand raised in final blessing, his face grown bright and indistinct, his familiar shape vanishing into the fog like the end of a dream too good to be true – all of it slipping out of their reach until he was no longer there for them, no longer present but past, a memory that would haunt them to the end of their days.”

Before vanishing into the fog, Jesus wants us to know something. He prays that we’ll understand this. The disciple whom Jesus loved tells us this something; he seems to “get it.” That something is this: the Maker of all things loves us and wants us. We need to know this and abide in our knowledge of God’s love. The overwhelming love that obtains between Jesus and his disciples has it origin in the Father to whom Jesus is returning. His loves overflows in his final act of self-giving on the cross.

That Jesus and the Father are close there can be no doubt. We get a sense of this throughout John’s Gospel. It’s a sense that Reynolds Price, a contemporary writer and scholar who’s translated John from the original Koine or “common language” Greek, relates his own understanding of Jesus as one who “stood in a demonstrably but inexplicably intimate relation to the creator of our world.” Jesus is leaving. He tells us in John 4:3, “And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will bring you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” By the fifteenth chapter, which we read today, John’s gospel is heading toward its climax.

In a little while Jesus will leave the room where he’s broken bread, go out to the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron valley, to a garden called Gethsemane. There, as we say, things will really start to fall apart at the seams.

In the midst of his farewell to his disciples, as recorded in the Gospel of John, Jesus declares, “As I am loved by the Father, so have I loved you.” His ability to love is the direct fruit and consequence of his being loved: “As I am loved so have, I loved you. Why is it that our love is so faltering and short-lived, so subject to moods and patterns of natural affinity? Because we have not allowed ourselves to fall into the hands of the living God and to experience in its full force the brutal gentleness of the divine love.

The “brutal gentleness” indeed! God’s love is sometimes like this, an oxymoron, brutally gentle, bitterly sweet. Will we stand by and watch as Jesus vanishes into the fog? Will we grasp after an explanation for his premature departure? Will we know ourselves as loved, and through every desolation, await the return of God’s unchanging presence? Praying

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding. Pour into our hearts such love for you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire, 4through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Hymn 641: This is my will, my one command. (tune – Suantrai)  

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Easter 6 – Year B –

Most merciful God, the generosity of your love is astounding to us: in confidence and trust we bring to you our prayers for your people.

Your love reaches out to all your children: hear our prayers for your world and all its people.

We pray for leaders of nations, for all in positions of authority and responsibility; for the hungry, the homeless and the dispossessed,

for all victims of hatred, violence or injustice. Teach us how to love each other as you love us, without distinction of race or colour.

Ever-loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The gift of your Spirit is for all your children: hear our prayers for your church, for all who believe in you and for all who long to know you.

We pray for all religious leaders, theologians, pastors, teachers and administrators; for ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue; for all victims of religious fanaticism or intolerance.

Teach us to love each other as you love us, without regard to creed or practice.

Ever-loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You came among us, born into a human family: hear our prayers for the people of this community, for our families, our friends and for ourselves.

We pray for civic leaders and for all who advance the welfare of this community; for all in relationships that are bitter, violent or destructive; for the unemployed and all who are victims of economic greed.

Teach us to love each other as you love us, welcoming both friend and stranger.

Ever-loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You lived among us, sharing with us our griefs and · pain s: hear our prayers for the sick and all who suffer.

We pray for all who spend their lives bringing care and comfort to others; for those in sadness, anxiety, despair or pain; for all who are forgotten, unheard, unvalued, unloved.

Teach us to love each other as you love us, caring for both the vulnerable and strong.

Ever-loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You laid down your life for those you loved: we remember your friends of every place and age.

We remember those who have given their lives that others may live, the saints and martyrs and all your faithful people.

Teach us to love each other as you have loved us, that following your commandments, we may be numbered among your friends and abide forever in your love.

Ever-loving God, 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 665: Jesus Christ is waiting. (tune – Noel Nouvelet) 


         The whole creation celebrates God’s victory of love. Live lives of victorious faith.

        When God shows such generosity, how can we withhold our love?

        Jesus abides in the love of God. Abide in God’s love every day of your lives.

        When God shows such generosity, how can we withhold our love?

        Jesus calls you, his friends. Carry the friendship of God to everyone you meet.

        When God shows such generosity, how can we withhold our love? 

Hymn 778: Shalom to you. (tune – Somos Del Senor)

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