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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
CALL TO WORSHIP: Read Psalm 19 responsively or read Bruce Prewer’s interpretation of this psalm “The Ways of God” p.20 Australian Psalms or use the following based on Psalm 19 NRSV
The heavens tell of the glory of God -
the Southern Cross flags our identity
proclaiming the wonder of God’s handiwork.
The skies communicate beauty day after day
and knowledge pales in comparison
with the brilliance of the star-studded night sky.
The magnificence of God’s creation needs no words,
for it speaks for itself….
Let the words of our mouths
and the meditation of our hearts
be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock, and our redeemer.
AHB 330 “The heavens declare your glory, Lord” (based on Psalm 19) Alt. Tune AHB 469 Morning Hymn.
TIS 188: “Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand”
TIS 155: “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder...” (How great thou art)
Creator God, we worship and adore you - source of all wisdom, praying that today our understanding of your holy wisdom may be deepened. May such wisdom flow into our lives so that we begin to see the world and everything in it through your eyes; so that we know what it is to be shaped by Jesus’ wisdom: when the last will be first; where the meek rather than the mighty will inherit the earth; where those who lose their lives for the sake of Jesus will find them and taking up our cross to follow him will be the wisest thing we ever do. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
As a continuation of the prayer, invite people to sing softly, while seated, TIS 342/AHB 258 “When I survey the wondrous cross” - standing to sing -with full voices - the final verse.
ALL TOGETHER OK 325: “Sing to God with joy”
TIS 465/AHB 399: “Father in heaven, grant to your children”
TIS 162/AHB 114: “Thank you for giving me the morning” In AHB 114 verse 2 make the hymn more inclusive by inviting half the congregation to sing ‘sisters’ instead of ‘brothers’
GOSPEL: Mark 8:27-38
PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
Lord Jesus Christ, you exercised ‘uncommon sense’ when you turned conventional wisdom on its head with your call for your followers to deny themselves; to lose their lives for your sake and to embark on a narrow path leading towards life centred in you and your love.
Forgive us when, like Peter, we identify your power with prestige rather than servanthood,
and falter in our understanding of what following you really means.
Pause for reflection on these words
Forgive us for failing to trust your holy wisdom Lord,…
Lord Jesus Christ , give us the grace to listen and to trust in the unknowing nature of your call to each of us, and the unknown direction which you call us to travel. You have travelled the road already so what have we to fear?...
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS:
All of us do make mistakes (James 3:2) but we are fortunate that God sent Jesus into the world to save sinners - people like us. And so I declare to you, in Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!
OLD TESTAMENT: Proverbs 1:20-33
EPISTLE: James 3: 1-12
As two of the readings today are specifically about wisdom, I thought that I had better check out what its dictionary definition is, and I found that it means according to the Macquarie Dictionary "The knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action sagacity, prudence, or common sense.”
That definition makes sense if we think about it in relation to the experience and the knowledge we each have in relation to who we are and what we do. We have each acquired knowledge in a variety of ways - passed on from someone else, parent, teacher, colleague, at school, at home, college, university, but it is through the experience of applying the knowledge that wisdom comes. Wise people have knowledge of themselves, about other people and society in general - knowledge that integrates the past, present and future.
If we add faith to these definitions then we might have a better understanding of wisdom according to the bible.
In Proverbs, Wisdom is found in the creation of the world - and in the experience of people…
Wisdom is also portrayed as being like a gradual dawning, a slow coming together of insights, a recognition which comes at its own pace, so that wisdom in relation to faith is often called discernment…
In the gospel reading, Jesus is trying to find out if his disciples’ wisdom included this spiritual dimension in relation to his identity. And so, he asks the question of his disciples "Who do people say I am?”…
Whatever else his disciples were thinking, Jesus knew by now that ahead there lay the inescapable cross. The opposition was gathering itself ready to strike. Now the problem and the question confronting Jesus was this - had his teaching had any effect at all? Had he really achieved anything?
If he had lived and loved and taught and moved amongst the people and if no one had discerned, had glimpsed God in him then all his work had gone for nothing…
So, in response to his question, he heard from the disciples the popular rumours and reports – John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets.
Then he put the question that meant so much - "But who do you say that I am? Did he look at Peter as he spoke – and did the word Messiah slip into Peter’s mind and then be initially dismissed…
But when Jesus then began to speak about the suffering that lay ahead, Peter was confused about the possibility of this happening to one he had just named Messiah. So Jesus clearly spells out that those who wish to be his disciples must take up their cross and follow him.
This challenging teaching provides a most important insight into what it means for us to be Christians…
His way was the way of love and forgiveness, of liberty and justice and peace. He told us not to worry about tomorrow. He challenged us to be like the lilies of the field, pure and carefree, and clothed with the values of God's Kingdom. Where healing and caring, and even loving enemies is the order of the day…
He poured out his power like pouring water into a basin and washing disciples' feet. He emptied himself of self and filled himself with others - a reversal of the accepted wisdom of his day and of ours….
"Who do you say that I am?" asks Jesus of us….
TIS 225/AHB 160: “My heart and voice I raise” ;
TIS 226/AHB 161: “Thou art the way, by thee alone...”
TIS 167/AHB 116: “How deep the riches of our God”;
TIS 430/AHB 337: Your words to me are life and health”
SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION…
THE LORD’S PRAYER
We prayed that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts would be acceptable to you, O God. We add the offering of these gifts and our lives in the hope that they are also acceptable to you. May they be evidence of our desire to follow Jesus and our turning away from all that hinders our discipleship. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
TIS 563/AHB 146: “Let him to whom we now belong”;
TIS 409/AHB 322: “ O breath of life come sweeping through us” ;
TIS 572/AHB 486: “O thou who camest from above”
May the holy wisdom of God,
the selfless wisdom of Jesus Christ
and the discerning wisdom of the Holy Spirit
fill and bless our lives, now and always.