Thursday, 8 July 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Worship for end of NAIDOC Week - Pentecost 7 HC Sunday 11 July 2021

 Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford


Being Gathered Up,

End of NAIDOC Week

Pentecost 7 Sunday HC - year of Mark 

 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        

Our land is alive with the glory of God;

desert sands hum and gum trees dance.

Brown grasses sing

and mountains breathe their stillness.

All created things add their rhythms of delight

and even stones rap out their praise.


Let our voices mingle with those of the earth;

may our hearts join the beat of her joy,

for our triune God is with us:

the source of all being surrounds and upholds us.

Christ Jesus walks beside and before us.

The Spirit moves within and between us.

Blessed be God, our wonder and delight.

                                            By Rev Dr Jenny Tymms.   

Hymn TIS 149: This world belongs to God.

                        (tune – Mercer Street) 

     Opening Prayer

God of Holy Dreaming, Great Creator Spirit, from the dawn of creation you have given your children the good things of Mother Earth. You spoke and the gum tree grew. In the vast desert and dense forest, and in cities at the water's edge, Creation sings your praise. Your presence endures as the rock at the heart of our Land. When Jesus hung on the tree you heard the cries of all your people and became one with your wounded ones: the convicts, the hunted, the dispossessed. The sunrise of your Son coloured the earth anew and bathed it in glorious hope. In Jesus we have been reconciled to you, to each other and to your whole creation.  Lead us on, Great Spirit, as we gather from the four corners of the earth; enable us to walk together in trust from the hurt and shame of the past into the full day which has dawned in Jesus Christ. Amen.

                   By Aunty Rev'd Lenore Parker - used with permission 

Prayer of Confession 

God of relationship, you have given us communities filled with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours, all created in your image.

Yet, too often, we find ourselves taking this gift of companionship for granted.

We criticise those closest to us, and even those we have not met.

We are envious of others’ success.

We find ourselves stuck in an attitude of judgment rather than a posture of praise.

We excel at finding fault and are reluctant to seek common ground.

Forgive us for thinking the worst of others, of ourselves, and some-times even of you.

Increase our faith, so that when we look upon the face of others, we see the face of Christ. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Our need to be superior has been met by the one who was willing to be misunderstood, dishonoured, criticised, and unfairly condemned. Christ emptied himself for our sake, opening to us the fullness of life with God – reconciled and redeemed.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Called to be an honour to God’s glory, let’s honour one another with signs of peace and with words of love.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

Offering Prayer

Glorious God, we thank you for trusting us to reflect your glory. For claiming us as your own with all of creation, we give you thanks and praise. As you receive these gifts and offerings, receive us also. Blessing all together, that our gifts and our lives might be a blessing that honours and glorifies you. 

Hymn TIS 459: In Christ there is No East or West.                                  

                       (tune – McKee)

                                    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.

Worship and praise belong to you, God our maker. Out of nothing, you called all worlds to be, and still, you draw the universe to its fulfilment. Dawn and evening celebrate your glory till time shall be no more. In Christ, your Son the life of heaven and earth were joined, sealing the promise of a new creation, given, yet still to come. Taught by your Spirit, we who bear your threefold likeness look for the City of Peace in whose light we are transfigured, and the earth transformed. As children of your redeeming purpose who await the coming of your Son, we offer you our praise, with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven singing the hymn of your unending glory:

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 God, we thank you for these gifts of your creation, this bread and wine, and we pray that we who eat and drink them in obedience to our Saviour Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, may be partakers of his body and blood, and be made one with him and with each other in peace and love. On the night he was betrayed Jesus took bread; and when he had given you thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take, eat. This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' After supper, he took the cup, and again giving you thanks he gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For the love you taught us, the sacrifice you made for us and the hope you give us, we acclaim you, O Christ:

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

And now, faithful God, send us your Spirit to feed us with the body and the blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Make us one body in Christ. Send us as your messengers in the world and fill us with energy, courage, and love. Now to you, most holy God, through Christ your Son and in the Spirit’s power, we bring our worship and our songs of praise:

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

The Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread and take this cup so that we can all share in the life of Christ. God's gifts for God's people. 

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

As tangible as grain plucked by Jesus and his disciples, as mysterious as the Presence known by our faithful ancestors, so is the meal we are about to share. Let us open our hearts and hands, as we remember and partake together. 

Prayer after Communion

This has been no ordinary meal. It has been one in which we have been fed and nourished with the life of Jesus, our crucified and risen Lord. May we go from this table, refreshed and eager, to share that life with others. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen. 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                                            2 Samuel 6:1-5,12b-19

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 6:14-29

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 

2 Samuel 6:1-5,12b-19

1 David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. 3 They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart 4 with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. 5 David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. 12 It was told King David, ‘The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.’ So, David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; 13 and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. 17 They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt-offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. 18 When David had finished offering the burnt-offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, 19 and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes. 

Mark 6:14-29   

14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason, these powers are at work in him.’ 15 But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’ 17 For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18 For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22 When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ 23 And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ 24 She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ 25 Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ 26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Preaching of the Word - Being Gathered Up,

“John, whom I’ve beheaded, has been raised!”

Herod must have been terrified. A man like Herod, who relied on treachery, questionable political moves, the power gained through wealth, is confronted with his worst nightmare. He knew John was dead. He saw his head – yes, through a haze of drunkenness – but he saw the head.

But this Jesus, obviously a man of power himself, is becoming known throughout Herod’s kingdom. Who is he? Could it really be John, raised from the dead? John, the man Herod killed because of a grudge, a grudge he held against him for telling the truth.

How incredibly sad. How very tragic. And yet, because of what we’ve seen in our own lifetimes of the consequence of misused power, political greed and society’s belief that “it’s all about me,” we have to realize Herod has something to teach us.

Herod is an interesting character. What Benedict Arnold is to the word “traitor,” the name Herod has become to the word “evil,” but a sad kind of evil. In Herod we see a man desperate to be king. He killed his own relatives to gain the throne and then surrounded himself with sycophants, men who would use Herod’s favour to garner their own power.

The parties given by the king were as sick and sad as the participants were – days of feasting and uncontrolled drinking, entertainment that was sometimes less than respectable. Into this sad state of the political life of Israel, John the Baptiser dropped the embarrassing and dangerous truth. For this John lost his life because Herod’s character was terribly weak.

So, today’s gospel tells us that this same Herod, who thought he had gotten rid of his adversary John, is now faced with a new adversary, Jesus. Herod had to be frightened. Who is this man he was hearing so much about? Could John have come back from the dead to haunt him, or was this someone new who would challenge his authority?

We know the answer and Herod would soon find out. Jesus was soon known by most as a man who taught with authority, who spoke the truth without fear, and who preached a return to faith by all if they were to be truly children of God. And this Jesus broke the roles and rules made up by weak men who were afraid of losing power.

While today’s gospel passage is mostly a bit of history, we are reminded of the amazing gifts we are given because God loves us. Instead of being afraid that Jesus is John raised from the dead, we find that God’s grace is being lavished on us! None of these things is a worldly gift. These gifts give us a spiritual authority and power that we must use to do good and to spread the Good News among our brothers and sisters.

There’s no comparison between this kind of power and authority and that of people such as Herod and Pilate. Those people built their power on fear and treachery. Our power comes from the deep and abiding love of God. Paul tells us that with all wisdom and insight, God has made known to us the mystery of his will. That will, is simply that God wants to gather up all things in heaven and on earth into Himself. It is our inheritance. The question is, do we want this? Is being gathered up into God’s love enough for us?

We have to ask that question seriously and truthfully. What does it mean to be gathered up into God here on earth? It’s all fine and good to think about that being what happens in heaven, where all is supposed to be perfect love and union with God. But don’t we often find that people still think that in heaven it will be “me and Jesus”? We seem to be fixated, here on earth, with deciding who gets there and who doesn’t.

Let’s be honest about that. We want to be able to judge who gets there and who doesn’t. We too often forget that Jesus constantly talked about the kingdom of God being right here, right now, too. Wait a minute – that means we ought to be living in this abiding love right now, with everyone.

But we are surrounded still with people like Herod and Pilate. People are fighting for power, literally – killing innocent people just to keep control over land and the gifts of the land. We can’t get away from it. The TV and newspapers inundate us with images and blaring headlines that would kill any thought of living in love and peace we might have.

And then, if we’re honest, we, too, want some control. We want to have power; it’s what society tells us is important.

Maybe this gospel about Herod is getting a little too close to home. It’s no longer just a history lesson, it’s a moral lesson, and we may find ourselves coming up short. We must want to be delighted in the thought that God lavishes his grace on us – pours it out joyfully – if only we’d be aware that it’s happening and learn to bathe ourselves in that abundance.

We might ask what the consequence would be if we could do this. It would change our lives. We might see the beauty in all God’s people and be willing to take their hands when solidarity for good is needed. We might see our churches begin to fill again because others would see our witness and want to share what we have. We’d learn to speak about our faith in convincing and inviting ways.

Unlike Herod and others like him, we wouldn’t have to fight and connive and fawn over others so that power would be ours to abuse; we have the power of a loving God supporting us. We have the inheritance of the saints in light. We have the example and teachings of Jesus to show us the way. It’s a much better power.

It’s a much more loving and peace-giving authority. We too can lavish our care on God’s world and on God’s people if we set our minds and hearts to it. Remember, such as St Paul tells us we are marked with seal of the Holy Spirit. We are destined to be God’s people here on earth. We can make no other choice. 

Hymn TIS 668: Touch the Earth Lightly.

                        (tune – Tenderness) 

Intercessory Prayers  

After the words:             In your mercy,

please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 7 Sunday – Year B

Loving God, you know our needs and desires before we ask, and all our days are in your hands: hear the prayers we bring to you.

We pray for the world: for those who suffer because of war or civil strife; for those who are imprisoned, displaced, or dispossessed. When we are unmoved by the plight of others, when our greed keeps others poor, shake us from our complacency and restore us to life.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the church: for your priests and prophets and all who lead your people; for all who worship and minister in this place. When we are legalistic and lacking in love, when we are slow to recognise your voice or understand your word,

call us again by name and restore us to life.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our community: for those who have nowhere to live and too little to eat; for those without any work or means of support. When we are judgmental and mean-minded, when we are slow to compassion and swift to condemn,

unlock our hearts and restore us to life.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all who suffer for those who do not know the love of family or friends; for the sick and the dying and all who mourn. When hearts are broken and spirits crushed, when bodies are crippled or racked with pain, touch us again with your love, and restore us to life.

Loving God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all who have died in your love, for all who have heard your voice and answered your call; for all whose yearly remembrance occurs at this time. Help us to follow the example of your faithful people and, when we come to the end of our earthly days, bring us with all your saints from death to everlasting life, that we may continue forever in your presence.

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 TIS 672: Lord of Earth and All Creation.

                       (tune – Bennelong) 


        Brilliant children of light, go now to shine with God’s glory and love.

        We will shine brightly and love freely.

        Honor God with all that you say and do.

        We will make the world a better and a brighter place for all to live.

        Strap on your sandals and hit the road, my friends.

Shake off the dust of your complacency. Walk with a friend,

and travel light. Go, proclaiming Christ’s message of healing,

and hope. Go, declaring that hearts and lives can change!

Keep going, because Christ gives you authority. Go in the

name of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.                                                                                                                (tune – Aubrey)

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