Liturgies Online

 
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About Rev Dr Moira Laidlaw and Liturgies Online

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Coming Home

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.

 

Liturgies Online Now Available As Digital Download - YEAR A Liturgies, YEAR B Liturgies, YEAR C Liturgies, or all 3 Years in one complete digital download. These all include complete Orders of Service based on the Common Lectionary for The Liturgical Years in one download.

PLEASE NOTE:  Unfortunately we have discovered that Epiphany weeks 5, 6, and 7 are missing from Year C.  Liturgies will continue from the Transfiguration of Jesus  (Sunday before Lent) .
We apologise for any inconvenience. 

 

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

 
 

PENTECOST Year C
1 Kings 19: 1-4 (5-7) 8-15a; Psalm 42 and 43; Galatians 3:23-29; Luke 8:26-39.

CALL TO WORSHIP: based on Psalm 42
As surely as the deer pants for flowing water, so our souls long for you, O God.
        We thirst for you, O living God, we long to see your face.
People mock us because of our belief in you. “Where is your God”, they cry.
       But we know that our praise and thanksgiving has throbbed with the reality of

        your presence.
Yet doubts still creep in, threatening our confidence in your continuing presence.
       When we are cast down and troubled, our hope is still in you, O God;
despite our fears, we still praise you, our help, our rock, our God.

 

Or

 

We long for you, O God

          We thirst for you.

We praise you.

          Our help

Our rock

         Our God.

TIS 703/ ALL TOGETHER EVERYBODY 206 : “As the deer pants ...”
TIS 25/AHB 29: “As pants the hart for cooling streams”    
TIS 26: “Just as a lost and hungry deer longs for a cool and running stream”
TIS 111/AHB  28: “Praise to the Lord, the almighty”
 

PRAYER OF ADORATION AND PRAISE
Living God, like the author of the psalm, there are times when we feel besieged by unbelief .  Times when we are mocked for our faithfulness and people still cry “where is your God?” So, on this day of celebration, we praise and thank you for giving meaning and shape to our faith in the person of Jesus Christ….

EPISTLE: Galatians 3:23-29


A WORD WITH THE CHILDREN/YOUNG PEOPLE
Paint the word ‘Jesus’ on a tee shirt or print the word out in large type and pin to a tee shirt and wear this under article of top clothing (alb, preaching gown, blouse or shirt if alb not worn) .  Ask the children/young people if they have any favourite clothes - why are they favourites?  Then ask how they feel when they are going to a party or special function and are wearing really swish new clothes.  Probably feels pretty special, but do the clothes change one’s personality?  In the reading from scripture which we just heard, the apostle Paul says that in and through our baptism we are clothed with Christ.   (Open clothing to show tee-shirt)  Ask if they think that this is all that is needed to be clothed with Christ?  An article of clothing we can put on and take off according to how we feel.  Explain how it is far more important than that.  Clothes can transform us from the outside in, but through our  baptism - we are  transformed from the inside out. And that transformation is not just like a temporary change of clothes - it is permanent.  It is visible through the way we pattern our lives on Jesus.  There are some verses in the Old Testament, which were written down a long time before Jesus came, but they describe very well what it means to ‘be clothed with Christ’.  We can find them in the book of Job, chapter 29 verses 14-16 “I put on righteousness and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.  I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame, I helped the needy and championed the cause of the stranger.”  When we are clothed with Jesus we  put on righteousness and justice and love. And remember, it comes from our hearts, not just from a word on a tee-shirt. And we sing about that in our next hymn “Brother, sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you...”  

TIS 650: “Brother, sister, let me serve you”    
AHB 527: “Just as I am, thine own to be”
TIS 468: “We are your people”

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Merciful God, we rejoice that our relationship with you is not dependent upon our race, status or gender.
         We celebrate today our unity in Christ.
Yet the church is all too often torn apart by disunity and so loses its effectiveness as a sign of your reconciling love.
         Forgive us every hurtful word or action  which has caused pain and anger.
Forgive us when we exclude people through the language we use or the prejudicial  attitudes we hold.
         Forgive our inclination to accept people more readily who look and think like us.
Forgive any narrow-mindedness which is so much at odds with the wideness of your love and mercy.
                                               

(silent confession)

Loving God, help us  to be a church in which our unity in Jesus is visible in the way we joyfully welcome and unconditionally accept strangers;…

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS :
“...There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no  longer male or female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus..”  (Galatians 3:28 NRSV) And - “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!   

In Christ, we are reconciled with God and our trespasses are not counted against us.
(2 Corinthians 5:1,19a)
             Thanks be to God!


OLD TESTAMENT : 1 Kings 19:1-15a .
GOSPEL: Luke 8:26-39

 

SERMON 

There was a marvellous little story in the Reader's Digest some time ago about a little boy who was staying with his grandparents one weekend.  A violent electrical storm suddenly broke while the boy was in the garden.  His grandmother thought that he would be terrified as he ran into the house following a great flash of lightning... instead, he was tremendously excited,  "Nan," he shouted, "God just took my photograph!"  

 

Elijah also expected to experience God in the storm but not quite in the same way as that.

           

Elijah had experienced God's power in what to him must have seemed mighty and supernatural ways...in the chapter before today's reading, Elijah had just had a mighty victory on Mount Carmel where he demonstrated graphically to a great number of Israelites that his God  was more powerful than Baal, the god of the Canaanites  His actions, however, incur queen Jezebel's wrath and his fear over this catapults him into a spiritual 'low'    "I have had enough, Lord" he said "Take my life..."

 

I remember reading a book on 'spiritual burnout' and it would seem that Elijah had a classic dose of such a condition.  It is something which is not confined to his time...spiritual burnout can and does occur when one is in a state of despair and it's all too easy to slip into such a state when one is confronted with the news each night on TV or when one is faced with some kind of crisis situation in life - perhaps to do with health or stress, or the death of someone close - or perhaps arising out of feelings of guilt over something which happened in the past.  The author of the book wrote that  "People on the way to burnout find the past piling up on them.  They have come to the point of believing that it is too late to change - believing that too much has gone wrong for anything to go right."  Perhaps this is how Elijah felt - he had no courage left to go on any more.  Elijah does not have within himself resources for life.  But these resources are given unexpectedly, inexplicably - just given.  He receives life restoring food, the most elemental sign of care.

 

We were fortunate in being able to contribute in a small way to providing such care for a family who possibly had reached a similar level of burnout as Elijah.  A social worker/ counsellor came to our town once a week, and also went to surrounding towns, and found in one some distance away the most appalling case of poverty she had ever seen.  It appeared that the family had been exploited financially and were in a really desperate situation health-wise - the children did not attend school and were exceedingly listless and malnourished - she knew we kept a stock of food at the church for emergencies such as this, so the upshot was that a couple of large boxes of groceries and toiletries went with her when she returned to further help the family. So, maybe we were all ministering angels for that family.  In a commentary on the verse about Elijah and the angel - we read "It is such a simple thing as "cake and water" which is the effective sign of God's presence.  Without the angel, the story would leave us with a hopeless future.

 

Elijah has enough strength to continue his journey and  he would have had time to reflect on all these manifestations of God's power in his life as he went, to the extent that perhaps he had come to the expectation that God's power would be revealed through splendiferous and mighty signs and wonders...I wonder if Elijah believed that he could decide how and in what way God's power could be put to use...perhaps these verses contain God's answer to that question. God had told Elijah to go and stand before him on top of the mountain and Elijah no doubt expectantly watched and waited to see how God would speak to him through the shattering roar of the hurricane -force winds.  And heard - nothing. 

           

Through the terrifying tumult of the earthquake - again, he heard - nothing.

 

In the crackling ferocity of the fire - again, he heard - nothing.

 

But, after the fire - there came a gentle whisper - and in that whisper, Elijah identified the presence of God. 

 

Walter Brueggeman's (famous old testament scholar) writes in his commentary on this passage 1 

"This is not the voice of Elijah's conscience, but one of awe, not romantic whisperings, but overriding majesty.   For all his graciousness, God stays free of any grasping Elijah may want to do of him.  In this dramatic moment Elijah becomes freshly aware that it is Yaweh and none other, and certainly not himself - Elijah - who is God." 2

           

This is a passage which spells out very clearly that God is beyond our manipulation, beyond our grasping. It is one which says that God is not always identifiable in the ways we expect….

 

Elijah’s expectations were of a God exercising visible power and how unexpected it must have been to experience God in the silence as throughout the Old Testament we have images of God having the power of a warrior, a conqueror, the kind of power that people exercised themselves, power that enabled people to "lord" it over others.

 

Jesus gives us an entirely different image of God....

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." 

 

As Malcolm Smith concludes in his book about burnout "The road back from burnout requires a re-discovery of who God is and what God's grace means.  It involves experiencing God's love as the desire to fill our lives with divine life, and the resulting power to live as vehicles of God's grace.  It means remembering that we are loved because God is love.  We can do God's work because we no longer live but Christ lives within us.  Therefore we are not consumed by the pain, failure and strain of life because it is God's resources upon which we depend."  Elijah certainly discovered that...as we do too as we take the words from one of the following hymns to heart:...

“Drop thy still dews of quietness,

till all our strivings cease;

take from our souls the strain and stress,

and let our ordered lives confess

the beauty of thy peace,

the beauty of thy peace.”  (TIS 598 v.4)

TIS 440/AHB 364 : “Christ from whom all blessings flow”
TIS 585/AHB 500: “I heard the voice of Jesus say”

SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
Prayer no 56, page 240  - “A Rolling Brown Land”  and Litany no. 6  -
“A Litany for the Church”  pp176-178 in Uniting in Worship: People’s Book

THE LORD’S PRAYER

 

OFFERING

OFFERTORY PRAYER

 

TIS 657: “God of freedom, God of justice”
TIS 415: “Praise the Spirit in creation”
TIS 619/AHB 552: Have faith in God, my heart”

 

BENEDICTION
Go into the world
blessed with the holiness of God,
clothed with  the humility of Jesus Christ,
united in the power of the Holy Spirit

THREEFOLD AMEN

 

  1. Walter Brueggemann. 1 Kings , Knox Preaching Guides, Ed. John H Hayes, John Knox press, Atlanta 1982.

  2. Ibid, page 89.

  3. Malcolm Smith. SPIRITUAL BURNOUT 1988  (think I borrowed this book from someone so have no more details!)

  4. The painting based on Elijah’s mountaintop experience is one I started years ago and which is yet unfinished – I wonder why!