Online Service – 10/05/2020

Sunday, 10th of May, 2020

Rev. Dr. Les Hewitt

My name is Les Hewitt.
I am a retired Minister and
a Member of the Keiraview Uniting Church.

It is my privilege to present this service of worship today
for Sunday, 10th May, 2020 – MOTHERS’ DAY

I wish to thank Khairul Hamden and Danny Ivanovski for
making this broadcast possible.

Christ Candle

Our Christ Candle has been lit to remind us
 that Jesus is the “Light of the World”…
  and we Celebrate that His Risen presence is with us.

Call to Worship

“Unless the Lord build the house
   they labour in vain that build it.
    Our help is in the name of the Lord.”

Opening Prayer

We thank you, O God, for those special people
who have been channels of love in our lives:

For those who gave us birth,
and, in the weakness of our infancy,
sheltered, nurtured, and treasured us.

We thank you, O God,
for those who taught us to walk,
to talk and to explore tastes,
smells, sounds,
and to experience the warmth of belonging
and embracing.

We thank you, O God,
for those who overlooked our faults
and affirmed our strengths,
and for those who have shared
our tears and laughter.

Loving God, help us this day
to realize how special
are the days we spend with our families.

Especially today, help us to acknowledge
our gratitude for our mother’s love.

This our prayer we offer in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Hymn 137: (Lucerna Laudoniae) - For the beauty of the earth

1. For the beauty of the earth,
for the beauty of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies,
Christ, our God, to you we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.

2. For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light,
Refrain

3. For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony
linking sense to sound and sight,
Refrain

4. For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild,
Refrain

5. For each perfect gift of thine
to our race so freely given,
graces all of your design,
flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Refrain

6. For the church that evermore
lifting holy hands above,
offers up on every shore
the pure sacrifice of love,
Refrain

Meditation: "Homes" - Psalm 127

from "Australian Psalms" by Bruce Prewer

Unless home-life is built by the Lord,
the carpenter’s efforts are useless;
Unless a nation trusts in God,
armies are quite worthless.

To work heavy overtime
or to run two jobs at once
in order to get rich quickly,
is an exercise in futility.

For the Lord supplies our deepest needs,
and his gifts are as free as sleep.

Children are a favour from the Lord,
a family, the loveliest reward.
Better than weapons to a soldier
are children to godly parents;

They are indeed a happy couple
who are hugged daily by tiny arms.
They shall never feel defeated
when doubts and fears assail them.

A Word for the Young People… and the "Young at Heart"

What Martin Owed

Young people…
Money is very important in life.
There are lots of things you can do…
If you have money.

There was once a boy by the name of martin.
I guess he was about 8 years old
when he realised
that he was going to need
lots… And lots of money
if he was going to “get on”
in the world.

When he went anywhere…
Martin always wanted to know
how much things cost.

And… If they cost a lot of money…
He always thought
that they were important.

And… If they didn’t cost much…
Then he thought that those things
were not important.
It seemed as though
he counted everything
by how much it cost.

Now that was silly…
There are lots of things in the world
that cost a lot…
But they aren’t important.

And there are many important things
that money cannot buy…
Or which cost nothing at all.

that was something…
That martin had to learn.

Anyway… Martin worked out
how he could get some money.

He went to the computer
and made a very neat list…

And when he had finished it…
He printed it out…
Placed it in an envelope…
And put it on his mother’s plate
at breakfast time.
His mother saw the envelope…
Opened it…
And this is what she read….

A bold headline…

Martin’s mother smiled…. A little…
But she didn’t say anything….

And when martin turned up for lunch…
There on his plate
was a five dollar note…
A two dollar coin…
And a fifty cent piece.
A total of $7.50.

But… There was also an envelope.
He opened the envelope
to find an equally neat note
from his mother.
It read….

Suddenly…
Martin could see
that more important
than anything else in the world… The best thing that he had…
Was the love of his mother.

A mother… Who loved him
more than anything else in the world…
A mother who had given him
everything.

Today is mother’s day…
A day when we say “thank you”
to our mother…
And to all the mother’s
across the whole world.

Children's Activity

Now I just want to say a few words about Today’s Children’s Activity Sheet – which can be found by clicking HERE.

When you print it out on A4 paper – the story I have just told about Martin is there which will be on the front and back pages when you fold it in half.

But the centre spread – on the back of the same piece of paper – or on a separate sheet – simply has the words: “Happy Mother’s Day”.

When I was 10 (70 years ago) I drew a picture of my mother hanging out the washing.

My two sisters are in the drawing – one about to play with her Tea Set – and my youngest sister is there in the pram.

Perhaps you could draw a nice picture of your mother to give to her for Today – Mother’s Day.

If you are a little older – you could even print a favourite picture instead.

My mother died many years ago – so I have put in a picture of my wife Lynette and our five little boys (they are now between 40 and 50 years old).

Any way – perhaps you could print a favourite picture of your mother to say “Thank You Mum” on this Mother’s Day.

Hymn 229: (Jesus Loves Me) - Jesus, loves me this I know

Blended Version

1. Jesus loves me, this I know,
and the Bible tells me so;
little ones to him belong,
in his love we shall be strong.

Refrain:
Yes, Jesus loves me,
yes, Jesus loves me,
yes, Jesus loves me,
the Bible tells me so.

2. Jesus loves me, this I know,
as he loved so long ago,
taking children on his knee,
saying, ‘Let them come to me.’

Refrain

3. Jesus loves me, this I know
Though my hair is white as snow
Though my sight is growing dim
Still He bids me trust in Him

Refrain:

4. When my work on earth is done
And life’s victories have been won
He will take me home above
Then I’ll understand His love.

Refrain

New Testament: John 13:31-35

The New Commandment

31 After Judas had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man’s glory is revealed; now God’s glory is revealed through him. 32 And if God’s glory is revealed through him, then God will reveal the glory of the Son of Man in himself, and he will do so at once. 33 My children, I shall not be with you very much longer. You will look for me; but I tell you now what I told the Jewish authorities, ‘You cannot go where I am going.’ 34 And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

This is the Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God

Prayer of Confession

God of Grace, God of glory,
we turn to You for the word of forgiveness
and new life
that we may be more loving.

When we criticise others
for the same weakness that lies hidden in us:
save us and help us, O Lord.

When we take a legalistic attitude
rather than the more difficult stance of love:
save us and help us, O Lord.
So that we may live the law of love
in all its discipline and freedom:
save us and help us, O Lord.

Loving God,
we thank You that through Jesus Christ
You have saved us, once and for all time.
We thank You for gentle reminders of this
day by day. Amen.

New Testament: 1 John 4:7-12

God is Love

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. 10 This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.

11 Dear friends, if this is how God loved us, then we should love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us, and his love is made perfect in us.

This is the Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God

Hymn 217: (Hyfrydol) - Love divine, all loves excelling

1. Love divine, all loves excelling
joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown:
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart.

Prayer Before Sermon

Surprise us, O God,
with new insights
into Your Truth;

And increase our wonder
at Your Love;

Your Love
revealed in all it’s fullness
in Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

This we ask in His Holy Name.
Amen.

Sermon: Living and experiencing a Christ-like love

Some 200 years ago… the Reverend Samuel Rutherford
was a minister of the Church of Scotland.
HE was one of those involved in writing
the Westminster Confession of Faith.

One evening a stranger came to the door of The Manse
and was invited in to stay the night.

As it was the custom for Samuel Rutherford and his family
to have devotions at the end of the day.
The stranger was asked to join with the family…. which he did.

After Samuel Rutherford read the Scripture for the day,
each person was asked questions about the Bible.

When the time came for the stranger’s question, he was given an easy one.
“How many Commandments are there?”

The stranger quickly answered: “Eleven”!

Samuel Rutherford was surprised at the man’s ignorance,
and immediately corrected him by saying:
“There are only ten Commandments.”

But the stranger then replied:
“Have you never read where Jesus said:
‘A new Commandment I give to you
that you love one another’?”

It was in the Upper Room that JESUS said:
“A new Commandment I give to you
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you so you must love one another.”

It’s an incredible thing… the kind of love that Jesus showed
and that he now asks all of us to live.

It is the love that is represented in the Bread and the Wine…
and remembered as we share around his Table.

It is the love that gives life…

It is the love that is prepared to sacrifice everything
for the person who is loved.

I’m sure that the popularity of mothers’ Day
is linked to this sacrificial kind of love.

All kinds of things can be said about the “over the top”
commercialism of Mother’s Day.

But when push comes to shove…
I think that for most people this day is a celebration of the fact
that the sacrificial love we see in Jesus our Lord
is often seen, and first experienced
in the love of our mothers.

There are of course, many sad stories that can be told about mothers.
Just as there are many sad stories that can be told about fathers.
Just read the daily papers – or watch the news on television.

But, any human failing of mothers and fathers,
grievous as they may be, should not be allowed
to overshadow the simple reality,
that it is possible for human beings to love… as God loves.
to love… as Jesus loves us.

And this is the love we see so often in our parents…
sometimes a little… sometimes a lot.

Our Gospel reading today about loving as Jesus loved…
could easily focus on how to be a good mother.

But actually, it is aimed at the whole Christian family.

Jesus is looking towards the Cross where he will glorify God
by his perfect obedience to God’s plan.

At the same time he is calling his disciples to perfect obedience to him.

So he says:
“A new Commandment I give to you
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you so you must love one another.”
By this all people will know that you are my Disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

We might note three things about this passage.

(1) First of all we should notice
that love is not an option for the followers of Jesus.

Jesus says: “A new Commandment I give to you”.

This is not a suggestion…
It is not a recommendation…
It is… a Commandment.

It is… a Commandment
because there is a part in everyone of us that rebels against
the idea of the pure, unconditional love, that we see in Jesus.

Despite the example that almost everyone of us has received
in the form of our mother’s love for us.
There is still part of us which says that such love
is out of place in the world in which we live today.

There is a part of us that says:
“Yes… love in principle is great… but only up to a point.”

For we are living in a culture that de-values the human being.

We live in a culture in which many people
drink and drug themselves into oblivion,
so that every weekend brings reports of violence.

We live in a culture in which some women
may virtually starve themselves in the name of fashion…
or peer pressure…
to create an image of beauty
seeking to be valued as persons.

We live in a culture in which some men.. not only footballers…
still devalue women.

We live in a culture where people suffer mental stress,
because they undervalue themselves.

How can we fulfil a command to “love one another”
if we do not even love ourselves?

It is only in loving and valuing ourselves…
as a person for whom Christ has died…
that we can begin to love… and to value…
everyone else as being persons for who Jesus has died.

(2) The second thing I want to focus upon from today’s Gospel reading is this:

Our ability to love comes from our relationship to Jesus.

The Apostle John says…
“We love, because he first loved us”.

Understanding this is crucial to our ability
to live out the Christian life-style of love.
Love does not happen in a vacuum.

Love is handed on from one person to another.

This is one reason why Christian parents are so important.

A child who does not receive love will not be able to love.
There will always be an emptiness that can never be filled.

If you try to keep Jesus’ commandment to love
without first developing your relationship to him…
then you are doomed to failure.

Without a special relationship to Jesus as Lord…
our love is just an exercise in decent living.
It lacks the power to draw us out of our own little world
to focus upon love for others.

We can only keep the Commandment to love… as Jesus himself loves…
if we open ourselves to him and allow his love to enter our lives.

(3) The third… and last thing I would like to emphasise
about today’s Gospel reading..
is that love… is the Christian’s main witness to the world.

Our wife… our husband… our parents… our siblings… our children…
our relatives… our neighbours…
all will know that we are followers of Jesus
by our love for them… and for everyone whom we meet.

As Christians we are to reveal the same love that Jesus revealed….
and live by the same the same standard of love
that Jesus set down for his own Disciples.

Today we are being reminded that we need to think about
how Jesus gave himself for us.

How he served us with love.
How he reached down to wash the feet of his Disciples.

How he gave his time…
and his energy to ordinary people in their need…
and how for them… and for us…
he endured the Cross… and the pain of death.

By his own example of love…
Jesus did for us what no one else could do.

So Jesus calls us to love as he has loved…
and if we can do just that…
people everywhere will know we are Christians by our love.

Jesus said:
“A new Commandment I give to you
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you so you must love one another.”
By this all people will know that you are my Disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

My hope for you… and for me today…
is that you… and I…
May learn to love ourselves…
And to love all other people
Just as Jesus loves each and every one of us.

Song: They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love

130 - As One Voice

1. We are one in the Spirit,
we are one in the Lord,
We are one in the Spirit,
we are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity
may one day be restored:
And they’ll know we are Christians
by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
by our love.

2. We will walk with each other,
we will walk hand in hand,
We will walk with each other,
we will walk hand in hand,
And together we’ll spread the news
that God is in our land:
And they’ll know we are Christians
by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
by our love.

3. We will work with each other,
we will work side by side,
We will work with each other,
we will work side by side,
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity
and save each one’s pride:
And they’ll know we are Christians
by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
by our love.

4. All praise to the Father,
from whom all things come,
And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son,
And all praise to the Spirit
who makes us all one:
And they’ll know we are Christians
by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
by our love.

Prayer for the Dedication of the Offering

Lord Jesus, through our offerings we again affirm our love for You,
and our commitment to You
as Lord and Saviour in our lives.

Use the gifts we present, and the lives we offer,
that others will come to recognise You
as the one who gives eternal life. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession and The Lord's Prayer

Robyn Bradly

Loving Heavenly Father, we are reminded from Your Word that you love us so much that You sent Your One and only Son into this world, to live and die for us, and to show us how to love. Your love is unconditional, it can’t be measured, can’t be earned, and comes as Your free gift to us through faith in Christ Jesus and all we need to do is receive it. Teach us how to love, and help us to pass that love on to others.

We come Father in strange, and troubling times. But in this uncertainty, we are certain of one thing, and that is, You are the same yesterday today and forever. Your promises to us from Your Word haven’t changed and they are there to remind us of Your present help in times of need.

Father on this special day we remember our mothers, grandmothers, and all who were role models in our lives. We thank you for their love and nurture of us and for their patient teaching, and guiding us through life. We too pray for mothers in these hard times. Give them strength and courage to make the hard decisions in caring for their families, and to be the role model for them that brings honour to You.

Father we pray for all the nations of the world. We ask You to unite the leaders of the nations, so that they will work together to find solutions to heal our people and economies. Thank You for Your provision and caring for us in our situation. We ask for wisdom as Government and health workers try to keep us safe moving out of isolation. Thank You for the time they have spent finding a way to meet as many of our needs, as possible.

Loving God we ask you to be near Annette, Nigel, and their family at this difficult time and pray for Annette’s treatment to be effective. Give to them an extra measure of Your Holy Spirit to be their comforter and guide. Help them to know Your peace in the ups and downs of their every day, and we specially ask Your blessing on the marriage of Chelsea and Andrew.

We thank You loving God for all the members of our church family who have helped to make church services available. We thank You that we can feel part of those services, and pray for those who don’t have access to this technology. We pray for our 2 new workers, that together they will be able to prepare for their roles in the future, and to feel part of the congregation right now.

For people in aged care centres, or hospitals; take special care of them Lord. We pray for children in care centres, and ask for safety and protection for them and their carers. We do ask that a vaccine will be available soon, and we give thanks for people who will make that happen.

We pray for students and teachers in schools Father – we ask for safety in their return to classrooms. For those doing final exams give them opportunity to catch up and not be disadvantaged, and give patience to all parents who are home schooling.

We pray for the many people now out of work in their struggle to provide for everyday needs. We pray for the stress and tension in those homes and families and ask Lord for adequate and appropriate help for them all.

We ask You to guide the members of the Joint Nominating Committee as they look for someone to Minister to us. You have a purpose and plan for us, so we ask You will lead them to that person. We are grateful Lord for Rev Les and others in our congregations who have led us in our worship, and ask for Your blessing on them.

Father we pray for people still struggling to get back on their feet after the fires and the floods. We pray that they are not forgotten, but they continue to receive practical and emotional help to return to normal.

We pray for all outreach activities of churches and institutions that have been placed on hold. For meals for the hungry and care for the homeless, help for the drug addicted, and for all group’s activities; for Kairos and other prison ministries, for charities and those depending on them. Come to them and multiply their resources to reach out to all in need we pray.

For all in need in our own families and congregation, we bring them to You now in silence……..

Now let us say the family prayer together.

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 106: (Nun Danket Alle Gott) "Now thank we all our God"

1. Now thank we all our God,
with hearts and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom the world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

2. O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
Lord, keep us in your grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all harm
in this world and the next.

3. All praise and thanks to God
who reigns in highest heaven,
to Father and to Son,
and Spirit now be given:
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
who ever was, is now,
and shall be ever more.

The Benediction

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God;
and of His Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you,
and remain with you always.
Amen.

Hymn 699: (New Commandment) - A new commandment

A new commandment I give unto you
that you love one another
as I have loved you,
that you love one another
as I have loved you.
By this will others know
that you are my disciples
if you have love one for another.
By this will others know
that you are my disciples
if you have love one for another.