Thursday, 29 July 2021

Marsden Road Worship Sunday Pentecost 10 HC - 01 August 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

Food That Endures.

Sunday 01st August 2021

Pentecost 10 Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

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

        Encourage one another to live as people worthy of God’s calling.

     As one body of Christ,

     we gather together this day.

     Blessed by one Spirit,

     we gather in unity and love. 

Hymn TIS 526: Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us.

                       (tune – Living Lord) 

     Opening prayer

     Speak truth to us this day, O God. Speak truth to the most inward parts of our hearts and minds, that we might speak your truth in love and that you might speak your truth through us each and every day. In your holy name, we pray. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

      Gracious God, we want to live as people worthy of your calling. Help us recognize your gifts and blessings, that we may live up to our calling and bless others with our words and our lives. When we fall short, have mercy on us.    When we don’t know our mistakes, speak truth to us with your loving guidance. Create a new heart within us, a heart full of love and gratitude. Nourish us with the grace of your presence, that we may indeed live as people worthy of your calling. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

In Christ’s grace, our hearts are cleansed, and our lives are made whole. In Christ’s grace, we are forgiven and loved for life.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Accept one another with love, as we have been accepted with love. In the unity of God’s Spirit, let us exchange signs of Christ’s peace.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

Offering Prayer

For calling us into ministry with you, we give you thanks and praise, O God. For gracing us with gifts and abundance, we are ever grateful. Bless these gifts we now dedicate to you, that they may nourish others with the grace of your presence. In gratitude, we pray. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 411: Filled with the Spirit’s power.

                       (tune – Woodlands)                                    

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 right, and a good and joyful thing, to bring our thanks and gratitude to you, God of love and grace. Since the beginning of time, you have created us in your image, nourished us with your wisdom and grace, called us into relationship with you, and invited us to live lives worthy of your calling. When we failed to live in a manner worthy of this calling, and when we wandered lost on the paths of death and destruction, you continued to walk with us, nourishing us with your wisdom and grace. In the words of prophets and poets, you have spoken your truth in love, reminding us of your call, and showing us the way to answer it. In the fullness of time, you came to us as the bread of life, as Jesus the Christ, speaking truth in new and renewing ways, calling us to unity and peace, showering us with mercy and grace, and inviting us to live as your people on earth. And so, with your people on earth, and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn, saying:

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, are you, and blessed is Christ Jesus, the bread of life. With joy and gratitude, we remember that night when Jesus took a simple loaf of bread, broke it, and transformed it with his love, saying: “Take, eat, this is my body, the bread of life, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And so, in remembrance of these, your mighty acts of nourishing love and grace, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving. Called to be your people and yearning to live worthy of our calling in the unity and peace of your Spirit, and in union with Christ’s love for us, we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

Christ will come again!

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts of bread and wine, that they might become for us the bread of life and the living water. May they strengthen us to live as your people, and may they nourish us with grace for eternal life. By your Spirit, make us one with you, one in unity and peace with each other, and one in the ministry to the world until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at your heavenly banquet. Through Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honour and glory is yours, Almighty God, now and forevermore. Amen.

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

The Breaking of the Bread

Because our bred has come from one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.

The cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ.

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

Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

The Service of the Word 

First Reading:                                            Ephesians 4:1-16

The Gospel Reading:                                John 6:24-35

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 

Ephesians 4:1-16

1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling,
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
8 Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high, he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’ 9 (When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.
15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

John 6:24-35

24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ 26 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 28 Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ 29 Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 30 So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ 32 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ 34 They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ 35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 

Preaching of the Word - Food That Endures

A deep spiritual hunger is implanted in every human heart. Different people will seek to fill this need in different ways, but the hunger is not unique. People yearn for a deeper connection, an eternal spiritual connection, and when that is lacking will seek any means to be fulfilled.

Jesus said he came that we might have life and that abundantly. Yet, he who offered fullness of joy was often met by people with simpler, lesser needs. In the fifth chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus met a Samaritan woman who longed for living water so she wouldn’t have to keep returning to the well each day. Jesus started with that basic need and used it to forge a relationship with her that ended with the woman reconnected to God and to others in her community.

In our gospel reading for today, Jesus has met the immediate needs of a host of people. Those remaining after he fed 5,000 with a little fish and bread seek out Jesus. Jesus tells them, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”

The previous day, Jesus fed their physical hunger with bread and fish, and the crowd sought him out once more. Jesus points them to their spiritual hunger, which is what he really wanted to fill. After all, the people were created to love God and love others as they loved themselves, and in chasing after other needs, they risked getting further from the real nourishment they needed.

Jesus compares this to the original bread from heaven, manna, with which God miraculously fed the children of Israel for 40 years in an uninhabitable wasteland. This was the daily bread that would come anew each morning, with enough to last the day and a double portion for the Sabbath. Now Jesus compares the daily bread of manna, which God gave in the desert, to the Bread of Life, which God offers in Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Jesus offers nourishment, which goes to the heart of our most basic human need to fill a spiritual hunger. Having been created to be in relationship with God, without that connection, we can feel empty.

It is an easy move to connect Jesus referring to himself as the Bread of Life to the Eucharist. For in the mystery of the Eucharistic feast we eat the bread and drink the wine, and in so doing we partake of the body and blood of Jesus. But we don’t want to jump to that correct response so quickly that we miss the bigger picture.

This discourse comes when Jesus has two more years of ministry ahead of him. In fact, this is, after all, John Chapter 6, out of 21 chapters. There is much more time left in Jesus’ ministry before he gets to that last meal with his disciples. John’s gospel makes clear what the other three gospels only hint at: the Eucharist is not about Jesus’ death alone. Jesus’ self-giving act in communion is not only concerned with the Last Supper, the cross and the empty tomb alone. Jesus’ whole life, rather than just one or two events, will institute the sacrament of communion. Put differently, faith is not in Jesus’ death and resurrection alone, but in Jesus’ whole life – from Bethlehem to Golgotha, and beyond to an empty tomb in a garden, Jesus’ appearances to his disciples, and his ascension to heaven.

Everything Jesus did – who Jesus was and how he acted – are part of God’s revelation to us. We cannot separate one part of his life from the rest. Nor should we have a Christian part of our lives separate from the rest of our lives. We are to take Jesus’ whole story and make it part of our whole story. This is much more than hearing the word, it is word and deed.

In baptism, we do not simply hear of Jesus’ baptism, but water is poured over us as a sign that we are united with Christ through baptism. We don’t just hear the story, we actually get wet. In the Eucharist, we don’t merely listen to the words, “Take eat,” but we actually get up, come to the altar rail to take and eat. It’s not just the bread that we take, bless, break and give. God took Jesus’ whole life, blessed, broke it and gave it to us. We are to let that story of God’s love for us take us, bless us, break us and give us back to the world.

Jesus wanted those who followed him after having their fill of fish and bread to discover real spiritual nourishment so that they would never hunger again. And yes, one is fed through the Eucharist, but this too is only part of the picture. Our Sunday worship is to be just a part of how we are fed spiritually.

Compare spiritual nourishment to food. Eating out once a week in a restaurant is not unusual. In fact, it is rare to find someone who eats out only once a week. But what if that was the only meal the person ate. Someone who goes back to their familiar seat in a restaurant week after week to enjoy their one meal of the week could never be nourished enough to make it through the remaining six days.

In the same way, common worship in church on Sunday is meant to be an important part of one’s spiritual food and drink, but it will never sate your hunger if this is your whole plan for feeding you spirit.

Fortunately, many denominations of the Christian Church have centuries-old norms of daily prayer that are well suited to filling this void. The Daily Office can be used Morning and Evening Prayer and are found in various Prayer Books including our Uniting in Worship 2 or for Anglicans the Book of Common Prayer. They are a wonderfully enriching daily devotion. When praying in this way, together with the daily scripture readings, one is better prepared to meet whatever comes. It is not that troubles never occur to people who pray and read their Bible; it’s just that those who marinate daily in prayer and scripture are more connected to God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Then whatever comes, they can call on that connection.

For those looking for an easy way to get started, there is the very helpful “Forward Day by Day,” which in booklet form or online offers a brief daily reflection to accompany the scripture readings. The booklet offers the same readings as those used in the Daily Office. Either way, you’ll spend 15-20 minutes out of each day re-centring your life in the ground of your being, the God who made you and redeemed you. There is no better way to nourish your spiritual side than through a daily meal of prayer and scripture reading.

So much of our lives is spent working for the food that perishes. We must work to earn food, water and shelter and all the extras that make life enjoyable. But we know there is more to life than the daily grind. For a fulfilled life, one should commit a portion of each day to prayer and reading the Bible, for that is the food that endures for eternal life and the gift of Jesus who came so that you might have an abundant life. 

Hymn TIS 535: I am the bread of life.

                       (tune – Bread of Life) 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 10 – Year B

Jesus, bread of the world, receive our prayers for all your people: for those who hunger for freedom, for justice, for release from poverty and disease; for all who struggle for the peace and welfare of the world.

When we are greedy and take what is not ours, when we stockpile food while others starve, put a right spirit within us, that we may share with justice the resources of the earth and feed your hungry people.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer.

Jesus, food of pilgrims, receive our prayers for your body, the church: for all who hunger to know your forgiveness and love; for all teachers and pastors and all who bring your good news to others.

When we preach a message that neither satisfies nor disturbs, when our divisions and discord make your gospel hard to hear, empower your church anew, that we may be strengthened for your ministry and feed your hungry people.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer.

Jesus, true and living bread, receive our prayers for this community: for those whose daily needs for food and shelter are unmet; for those whose longings for recognition and love go unsatisfied; for our neighbours, our families and all whom we hold dear.

When we turn away from the needs of those around us, when our relationships with others are unforgiving and unkind, help us grow into your likeness, that we may bring your love to others and feed your hungry people.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer.

Jesus, bread of life, receive our prayers for all who are in need: for all in anguish, sorrow, confusion, or fear, for all who are sick or in pain.

When we wander in the desolate places of life, when we abandon ourselves to your goodness, fill our emptiness and satisfy our longing s; make us courageous in adversity and give us compassion for all who suffer, that we may feed your hungry people.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer.

Jesus, bread of heaven, hear our prayers for all who have died: we give you thanks for prophets and apostles, for martyrs and evangelists, for the faithful people of this parish who have gone before us.

In life, feed us and sustain us, and at our death open the doors of heaven, that, in the company of all who believe in you, we may be welcomed to your eternal presence.

Jesus, in your mercy, hear the prayers we offer. 

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 569: Guide me, O my great Redeemer.

                       (tune – Cwm Rhondda)       


         In the Spirit of peace, we go into the world. May we share the unity and love we have found here that others may touch the presence of Christ’s peace, and the grace of God’s love. Go with the love of God our creator, redeemer, and giver of life. Amen. 

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

                       (tune – Blessing Song).

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