PREPARING FOR SERVICES OF WORSHIP EACH SUNDAY

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CALL TO WORSHIP

Prayer of Approach - Hymns - Prayer of Adoration and Praise - Readings from Old Testament - Epistle - Gospel - A Word with the Young - Prayer of Confession - Sermon - Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession - Offertory Prayer - Benediction


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PENTECOST SEASON
This season begins with Trinity Sunday and concludes with the Reign of Christ. This is the long season of growth where we go forward as people inspired on the journey by the risen Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Loving Jesus, we are in need of your grace
to unsettle and redirect our hearts.
We are in need of your power
To rekindle and sustain our passion to serve you.
We are in need of your love.
That we might recognize the eveer-present possibilities
For change and conversation and growth

We believe that your Spirit
Is at work in your word and in our church.
Give us the faith to believe
That you can accomplish wonderful things through us
And give us the strength and courage and hope
To live in the knowledge that with you
All things are possible.

This we pray in Jesus' name
Amen.



Pentecost C

Jeremiah 4: 11-12, 22-28; Psalm 14; 1 Timothy 1: 12-17; Luke 15:1-10.

Additional resources for Pentecost C: SCRIPTURE IN SONG, CMC Australasia, Unit 9/147 Marshalltown Road, Grovedale, Vic. 3216; UNITING IN WORSHIP PEOPLE’S BOOK , Uniting Church Press, Melbourne, 3000, 1988; ALL TOGETHER WHATEVER, Openbook Publishers, Adelaide, S.A., 2001.



CALL TO WORSHIP
Based on Psalm 14: v.1, 2 and 1 Timothy 1:12,14,17

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God”. But we rejoice, for our wisdom flows from Jesus. God looks in vain to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God. But we rejoice, for our lives overflow with the love of Christ himself. Let us worship God who has graciously gifted us with that love. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen

TIS 143/AHB 80: “ Immortal, invisible, God only wise”
TIS 84/AHB 43: “Give to our God immortal praise”
TIS 213/AHB 142: “Father, whose everlasting love..”


PRAYER OF PRAISE AND ADORATION
Living God, we give thanks for the many blessings you bestow on our lives. The greatest of these blessings is the way that in Christ, you seek us out and offer us undeserved mercy and love…..


A WORD WITH CHILDREN/YOUNG PEOPLE
Maybe you can use this as a basis for a story...

We live less than five minutes from the beach. At times, the tide can be very treacherous so we are thankful that there are lifesavers on duty. They put up the red and yellow flags telling us where it is safe to swim and, as well as warning flags, they write on a notice board where the rips are, as the rip currents are the major cause of swimmer difficulties necessitating surf rescue....

TIS 662: “I know someone who watches over me”
TIS 145/AHB 81: “The king of love my shepherd is”
TIS 467: “I am the church, you are the church”


PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Merciful God, your joy reflects a love so broad that it enfolds all people. A love that despairs when people, for whatever reason, lose their way in life and feel lost and rejected. Forgive us when we contribute to that despair by our lack of persistence to do as Jesus did - to seek out and save the lost….

We acknowledge, most merciful God, the times when your mercy has sought us out in our lostness and picking us up, has held us tenderly and rejoiced when we have been healed. …


ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
The mercy and grace of God overflows in Jesus Christ, “who came into this world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1: 15) and so we rejoice that in Jesus Christ we are found, we are forgiven, we are loved. Thanks be to God!

OLD TESTAMENT: Jeremiah 4: 11-12, 22-28
EPISTLE: 1 Timothy 1: 12-17
GOSPEL: Luke 15:1-10.


SERMON
In the readings from the Old and New Testaments today, there is a remarkable contrast between the Old Testament understanding of God and the New Testament one as revealed in Jesus. In the OT reading, God is pictured as having withdrawn from the people because they are fools and stupid – because they have chosen evil instead of good. Jeremiah relates how God will therefore bring judgment and destruction upon the land. It is as though the land itself was in mourning as it will be a wasteland devoid of living creatures, and all within it in ruins because of God’s anger. The devastating imagery that Jeremiah presents concludes with the assurance that God has indeed spoken and will not repent of these words or actions.

Do you see the major difference between that understanding of God and the one in the gospel? In the gospel reading, God is portrayed as actively seeking out those who were lost - those who had separated themselves off from God for one reason or another.

And, in the Epistle, we have the end result of this seeking and saving attitude of God. Paul speaks with gratitude of the mercy that was extended to him, even although he was once `a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man.' `Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the very worst' - Paul says…..

In Jesus' day, because a shepherd's job took him out in the fields when he should have been in the synagogue, and because the nature of his work caused him to work on the Sabbath, he was usually despised by those who exercised religious authority. As for the woman, she was even further down the scale of acceptable persons - yet here was Jesus saying - this is how God acts - just like this shepherd - just like this woman - persistently seeking out the lost and celebrating when they are found….

These stories hold many levels of meaning for us today, as they did for their first hearers. Let me tell you a story about someone for whom they held a particularly important meaning. The minister of the adjoining parish told this story about his father. (1)

His father was a medical doctor who spent a considerable time in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during world war 2. He agonised over the fact that he could not supply the medical care that was needed by his fellow prisoners because he had no drugs, no medicine of any kind. All he could offer his patients to tide them over a bad time was a cigarette - he somehow got hold of tobacco and rolled cigarettes for those in need.

The only suitable paper he had was the relatively fine paper of the pages of his bible

This bible was one of the son's most precious possessions - or I should say - what was left of the bible - because the good doctor used for the cigarettes all the pages which he felt held less meaning than others. He started with the Book of Revelation - then went to all the genealogies, lists of meaningless names - and so on. The pages that are left - are heavily annotated and underlined. One of the most heavily marked passages is our gospel reading for today plus the parable which concludes this chapter - the parable of the prodigal son.

The doctor obviously felt that the long-term message that these parables hold was of far greater value than the short term benefit that it could have had meeting a person's immediate need. This chapter is often called - the gospel for the outcasts - think how its message must have sounded to those prisoners who no doubt felt forgotten and cast out by the human race. Yet these words say that they were not cast out - not forgotten by God….

TIS 588/AHB 504: “In heavenly love abiding”


BENEDICTION:
Go into this week,
with the mercy of God embracing you,
the healing power of Jesus enfolding you,
and the energy of the Holy Spirit sustaining you.

ALL TOGETHER WHATEVER 508: Wherever I go"

(1) The late Rev. Keith Biddle.




Click here to play COMING HOME - A short video recorded of Moira telling her story of faith and her journey through a divine encounter into full time ministry.



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