Thursday, 5 August 2021

Marsden Road Worship Sunday Pentecost 11 - 08 August 2021


 Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

Through the Aisles…,

Sunday 08th August 2021

Pentecost 11 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

        Whoever comes to Christ will never hunger. Whoever believes in him will never thirst. Blessed be the bread of life and the living water.

     Come, children of God. Come and find refuge and strength. Our souls wait for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning.

     Come, heirs with Christ. Come and find forgiveness and joy. Our souls wait for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning.

     Come, people of faith.

     Come to the one who is attentive to our pleas.

     Our souls wait for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning. 

Hymn TIS 100: All creatures of our God and King

                       verses 1,2,4,5,7

                       (tune – Lasst Uns Erfreuen) 

     Opening prayer

     Source of faithful love, you redeem us from our wrongs. We come before you today, eager to be refreshed in body and to be made whole in spirit. Feed us from the living bread that comes down from heaven, for we are drawn to your Son as steel is drawn to a magnet. Build up our community of faith through the power of your Holy Spirit, that we may live as those who are worthy of our calling. Amen. 

      A Prayer of Confession

      Out of the depths we cry to you, O God, with eyes streaked with tears.

     For we cannot always save the ones we love and are left alone to taste the bitter dregs of our sorrow.

     In the lonely watches of the night, we yearn to set aside our anger and resentment, and embrace the paths of healing and wholeness.

     In the dark night of the soul, we long to forsake our anguish, and embrace your mercy and compassion. Open our hearts anew to your kindness and love, your mercy and compassion, that we may know in our bones how much we are your beloved children. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Beloved, sorrow may last the night, but joy comes with the morning. Even in the midst of fear and loss, be imitators of God as beloved children, and live as cherished heirs with Christ.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

The words we say matter. Words can tear down as easily as they can build up. Let us offer words of love and joy, as we exchange signs of Christ’s peace with one another.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you!

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

Offering Prayer

Bountiful God, in praise and thanksgiving for your many blessings, receive our tithes and offerings, that they may be for the world signs of the bread of heaven and the fullness of your grace. For we came here hungry for your Spirit, and you fed us with food that satisfies. We came here thirsting for your grace, and you revived us in our need. In humble thanks, we thank you. Amen. 

Hymn TIS 686: Lord Jesus we belong to you.

                       (tune – Cooke Plains)

No You Tube version available with Lyrics on screen to sing to.                              

 The Service of the Word 

First Reading:                                            Ephesians 4:25–5:2

The Gospel Reading:                                John 6:35,41-51

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 4:25–5:2

25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. 28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. 5 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and live, in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

John 6:35,41-51

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. 41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ 42 They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ 43 Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ 

Preaching of the WordThrough the Aisles…,

Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

A husband and wife walk through the aisles of a modern Pharmacy, accompanied by their 4-year-old son. The man stops to examine a new model electric razor that claims to provide the closest shave ever. He holds it in his hand and says to his wife, “I need this.” To which she replies, “Not now, we can’t afford it.”

Their young son sights a display of plastic action figures made to represent popular cartoon characters. He reaches out to touch one and his mother says, “Not now. Wait until your birthday.” And the child protests loudly, “But I need it!”

There is often a big difference between what we want and what we really need. For example, it has often been said that there exists in each of us a “God-shaped hole” that can be filled only by a stirring and nurturing relationship with Christ. However, our problem is that we attempt to fill that deeper, spiritual longing with things that do not ultimately satisfy. Since they cannot ever make us permanently happy, these lesser things become our addictions as we seek more and more and more of them in an increasingly frantic attempt to find satisfaction. Money, materialistic acquisition, food, sex, power, fame, thrill-seeking, the consumption of alcohol and drugs-all call for more and more, as they gradually give back less and less for the amount consumed. And we still feel empty.

Jesus alludes to this in a passage similar to today’s Gospel. In John, chapter four, he tells the woman at the well that the water she draws from the well will eventually leave her thirsty again, but the water that he offers will continue to rise up and flow into eternal life. The point is that there is a hunger we have that cannot be satisfied except by our relationship with the Holy.

In our Western world, bread is the metaphor for food. If we lived in Asia, the symbol of rice would provide that metaphor. In fact, some modern Asian translations of the Christian scriptures often have Jesus saying, “I am the rice of life.” Certainly, we need our daily bread or our daily rice. But we need more than daily food to find any lasting satisfaction and to live fully. As followers of Jesus, we say that we shall never be content until we host Jesus in our lives. Jesus, the “Bread of Life.” Jesus, the one who, St. John says, “came from God and would return to God” (13:3). Jesus, who brings the Creator of the unimaginably vast universe down to dwell in the concrete flesh and blood world of sinful humanity.

What, specifically, is this “bread” that Jesus offers us? We call it love. It is the love of the invisible God made visible and accessible to our human experience. He offers us an opportunity for a relationship with God through him. When we appropriate that love into our lives and the spirit of Jesus fills our deepest hunger (the God-shaped hole), that love begins to overflow to others.

No one in our time has so caught the meaning of this two-dimensional love than Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She and her Sisters of Charity rummaged around the streets of Calcutta seeking the poor who were left to die on the sidewalks and in the alleyways of the city. These dying persons then were brought to a mission where they were bathed and cared for. In Mother Teresa’s words, “Every person at least one time before they die needs to know that he or she is loved.” Jesus is the bread of life because he came to show the world of human beings that we are loved-loved by God and loved by God’s people who, as the church, live to extend that love to others.

D. T. Niles, leader of the Church of South India a half century ago, defined evangelism in light of Jesus’ claim to be the bread of life. “Evangelism,” he explained, “is one hungry person telling another hungry person where to find bread.” Indeed, that is the mission of the church - it is to tell the world where love is to be found. It is found in Jesus-as well as in peace, joy, hope, and all of the fruits of the Spirit. Well it seems especially in these troubled times, that our Lord shows the world the path to brotherhood and sisterhood.

Finally, we cannot ignore the obvious allusion to the sacramental bread of the Eucharist. There is no doubt that in the time St. John was writing his Gospel the first century Christians had already begun to connect Jesus’ words claiming to be the Bread of Life to their growing sacramental understanding of the mystery of Holy Communion. Just as they had experienced Jesus as a man but more than a man, so they saw in the Eucharistic bread more than bread alone. It was a sign of the presence of Jesus. The bread became for them a representation of the mystery of Christ in their midst. To receive the sacrament was to realize the love of God in Christ, gracing, forgiving, accepting and filling their lives in a very profound way. 

To prepare us to receive this filling love, and to help our understanding let us turn to Thomas Cranmer, whose words find their place in various prayer books throughout the world. One of these is the Anglican Book of Common Prayer which has words which go something like the following:

And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee that we, and all who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him.

As we celebrated in our Holy Communion Service last week, the bread that our Lord offers to the world is himself. We who come to the altar with hands outstretched, come desiring to be so filled with Christ that our restless seeking shall come to an end. We come believing that here is the place where the “God-shaped hole” shall be filled. Yes, we are filled when Christ dwells in us and we in him. It is at this moment that he becomes for us the living bread that comes down from heaven. 

Hymn TIS 584: Just as I am, without one plea.

                       (tune – Saffron Walden) 

Intercessory Prayers  

      After the words:            In your mercy,

      please respond with      hear our prayer. 

Pentecost 11 – Year B 

Most merciful and loving God, in you is steadfast love and hope; hear us when we pray for all people and for your church throughout the world.

We pray for all the nations of the world, their leaders and people. In every age you have fed and sustained your people: hear today the cries of those who suffer starvation, oppression, imprisonment or war and teach us how to live together in harmony and peace.

Loving God, broken for us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for your holy, catholic/universal church, its clergy and people.

You feed us with your body and blood and sustain us with your living word: meet us today in the breaking of the bread, make us one in the meal we share and send us out to feed your hungry people.

Loving God, broken for us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all with whom we share our lives, for our families, our friends and the people of this community.

You lived on earth in a human family and gathered around you a group of friends be present in all our relationships, that we may live together in love and sustain one another with our kindness and care.

Loving God, broken for us, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all in need, for the friendless and the bereaved, the sick and the dying, for those in anxiety and distress.

You have pity on all who call on you and you offer wholeness and hope to your people: bring comfort and relief to all who suffer anguish, pain or grief, and to those who care for them give tenderness and skill.

Loving God, broken for us, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

We pray for all who have died in the faith, for your holy people of every age, for those from this parish who have gone before us to eternal life.

Long ago you fed your chosen people in the wilderness and brought them safely to the Promised Land: feed us too with the bread of heaven and, with all your saints, bring us home to the place you prepare for all who love you.

Loving God, broken for us, 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 585: I heard the voice of Jesus say.

                       (tune – Kingsfold)               


         Go forth from this place and imitate the Holy One in all you do.

        We will live with love, speak with kindness, touch with gentleness, walk with humbleness, and build up the kingdom of God.

        Go forth into the world and live-in love, as Christ has lived in and through you. 

Hymn TIS 778: Shalom to you now.

                       (tune – Somos del Senor)

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