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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LENT B

CALL TO WORSHIP

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant...it will not be like the old covenant: Written on stone. This will be a radically new covenant, my laws will be within you; Written on hearts. And God added these wonderful words - I am your God and you are my people. Imprint these words anew on our hearts, O God, so that we know you in all your fullness, love you as you love us, and worship you as you deserve.

PRAYER OF APPROACH

We praise you, O God, not only with our hearts, but with our minds - indeed - with every part of our lives. We praise you for being our God and for claiming us as your people. As your people. Such easy words to say and yet such astounding words to own. You - great Creator of the universe - acknowledge that each per¬son is special to you. We shake our heads in disbelief at such an unlikely action - and yet - you have proved its truth through the person of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour and Lord. He even went to the length of dying to demonstrate the depth of his love for us - the intensity of divine love for all humanity. Accept our worship, gracious God, for we offer it with glad and grateful hearts, hearts energised and renewed by our relationship with you. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

SERMON

...It appears that the people of the Old Testament who received the ten commandments as the law of the covenant which bound them to God – were not putting their whole heart into keeping the commandments. Obeying the commandments seems to have become a sterile, life-less act or duty. Life and death in the OT had a different meaning from simply being alive or not being alive.

Life meant to be significantly involved in a community of caring, meaning and action, whereas death meant to be excluded from such a community or denied access to its caring or meaning. Life meant a capacity to enter into covenants and the ability to make covenants that offered community - creating life-giving possibilities for others.

So, when Jeremiah prophesies that God will put his law in the people's minds and write it on their hearts, he is describing a movement from death to life. He is pointing out the difference between a God who lays down commandments to be meticulously obeyed and duteously followed, and one who writes the law on our hearts. Our behaviour, if we are to take Jeremiah seriously, is not a matter of a sterile act or duty, but is to be shaped by love. The Pharisees did their duty superbly. Jesus laid down his life out of love.

Sterile duty derives from the desire to appear righteous. The desire to love as Christ did arises from a spontaneous movement of a transformed person from within, to the world.

Life, in the bible then, means relatedness, an action of the heart, whereas death means to be unrelated, excluded, rejected. Jesus puts the question of life and death to God's people He is a bringer of news, but it is both good news and bad news. He announces good news to those who believed that life was nothing but a grinding, hopeless burden to be endured. He announced the good news to the poor and the powerless, the lepers, the demon possessed, all who were outcasts, whom the community had banished and in fact had declared dead. The resurrection power of Jesus is empowerment and restoration for those who believed they were dead.

And do not believe that there are no poor, or powerless, or excluded, or outcasts in our society - there are all kinds of victims - and we can only discover who they are when we venture out to listen, to be merciful, to have the courage to love.

Jesus the life bringer also brought bad news. To those people who presumed that life was an enduring gift that need only be protected and hoarded for one's own benefit he brought the news that such life will be lost.

What Jesus taught, he also embodied. The way to Easter is Good Friday. The victory of resurrection requires the vulnerability of crucifixion. "I tell you the truth' said Jesus “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”...






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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