28th of June
Rev. Dr. Les Hewitt
Minister: Rev. Dr. Les Hewitt
Data Projectionist: Ian Almond
Organist: Robyn Bradley Singer: Kerryn Morrison
Welcome and Notices – Clive Arthur
If you would like to join in a “COFFEE AND CHAT” zoom session on Friday Mornings at 10.30am – just send an email at any time to LAURIE ALDRIDGE at laurie.Aldridge@gmail.com and he will send the code to click on at 10am on Fridays. You are very welcome to join in the conversations.
Acknowledgement of Country
As we gather on these ancient lands, we acknowledge the Wadi Wadi people of the Dharawal country, who are the traditional custodians of this land on which our church buildings stand.
We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.
Our Christ Candle has been lit to remind us that Jesus Christ, the “Light of the World” is with us.
Call to Worship
Here, in this moment, the Spirit is moving.
Here, in this place, Jesus is bringing us peace.
Here, in our time, God’s new day is dawning.
Come let us celebrate our faith in the living God.
Hymn 491 (Kristin) - “Father welcomes all his children”
Father welcomes all his children
to his family through his Son;
Father giving his salvation,
life for ever has been won.
Little children, come to me,
for my kingdom is of these;
life and love I have to give,
mercy for your sin.
In the water, in the word
in his promise, be assured:
those who are baptized and believe
shall be born again.
Let us daily die to sin,
let us daily rise with him,
walk in the love of Christ our lord,
live in the peace of God.
Opening Prayer (Together)
Gracious and loving God.
You lift up the lowly and bind the wounds of the injured.
You encourage the fainthearted and direct the lost.
We have gathered for worship – aware of Your goodness.
We come with the hope and expectation
that we will find grace for our journey and hope for our future.
Help us now to be aware of Your presence and power.
In the Name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes God’s messenger because he is God’s messenger, will share in his reward. And whoever welcomes a good man because he is good, will share in his reward. 42 You can be sure that whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these my followers because he is my follower, will certainly receive a reward.”
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Meditation: Psalm 13
By Leslie Brandt
O God, sometimes You seem so far away.
I cannot in this moment sense Your presence
or feel Your power.
The darkness about me is stifling.
This depression is suffocating.
How long, O God, do I have to live in this void?
O God, how long?
Break into this black night, O God;
fill in this vast emptiness.
Enter into my conflict
lest I fall, never to rise again.
I continue to trust in Your ever-present love.
I shall again discover true joy in my relationship to You.
I will proclaim Your praises, my Lord,
for You will never let me go.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Dead to Sin but Alive in Union with Christ
12 Sin must no longer rule in your mortal bodies, so that you obey the desires of your natural self. 13 Nor must you surrender any part of yourselves to sin to be used for wicked purposes. Instead, give yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life, and surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes. 14 Sin must not be your master; for you do not live under law but under God’s grace.
Slaves of Righteousness
15 What, then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law but under God’s grace? By no means! 16 Surely you know that when you surrender yourselves as slaves to obey someone, you are in fact the slaves of the master you obey — either of sin, which results in death, or of obedience, which results in being put right with God. 17 But thanks be to God! For though at one time you were slaves to sin, you have obeyed with all your heart the truths found in the teaching you received. 18 You were set free from sin and became the slaves of righteousness. 19 (I use everyday language because of the weakness of your natural selves.) At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes.
20 When you were the slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21What did you gain from doing the things that you are now ashamed of? The result of those things is death! 22 But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God. Your gain is a life fully dedicated to him, and the result is eternal life. 23 For sin pays its wage — death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hymn 693 (Come as you are) - "Come as you are"
Come as you are, that’s how I want you.
Come as you are, feel quite at home.
Close to my heart, loved and forgiven
Come as you are, why stand alone?
No need to fear, love sets no limits.
No need to fear, love never end.
Don’t run away, shamed, and disheartened.
Rest in my love, trust me again.
I came to call sinners, not just the virtuous.
I came to bring peace, not to condemn.
Each time you fail to live by my promise
Why do you think I’d love you the less?
Don’t run away, shamed, or disheartened
Come as you are, why stand alone?
Come as you are, that’s how I love you.
Come as you are, trust me again.
Nothing can change the love that I bear you.
All will be well, just come as you are.
Prayer Before Sermon
Lord, all Your treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus Christ.
You reveal them to us through words spoken in His Name.
Today, may we understand, and obey. Amen.
Sermon: Welcome... in Jesus' Name
Rev. Dr. Les Hewitt
Before the onset of COVID-19…
Lynette and I have shared fellowship with some of you…
individually around a meal table
as members of the Congregation
and collectively as part of the Couples and Friends.
We have shared with others of you as we have met over morning tea.
Some of you have welcomed us, not only into your hearts,
but also into your homes.
So there is that sense that while we have come to minister to you
in a short term Supply Ministry, you have also been ministering to us.
* Today’s short Gospel reading speaks to us of welcoming.
Jesus sent his disciples out to announce the coming of his kingdom.
He sent them out as messengers… as representatives…
or, as personal envoys.
It is difficult for us to appreciate just how important such representatives were.
Because we live in an age of communication.
We have all kinds of communication systems.
My address isn’t complete until I list our suburb…
our street… and our house number.
Then you need the home telephone number… and the mobile…
and of course… my email address.
Being slightly ‘elderly’… I don’t use ‘Face book’… however, Lynette does.
We have occasionally used Skype… with technical difficulties…
But we haven’t ventured into ‘Twitter’
And with a new mobile phone…
I don’t even handle ‘texting’ with ease any more.
As a Boy Scout, in teenage years,
I was more conversant with Morse Code and Semaphore flags.
However, I’m afraid that I have now forgotten most of that.
But now, with the onset of COVID-19, we have even “tip-toed” onto ‘Zoom’.
So these days there are multiple forms of Media through which one can
maintain personal contact with others, near and far.
* But… in Biblical times they used letters –
not the postal system as we know it today.
They were dependant upon travellers… personal representatives…
who were authorised to act on their behalf.
These people might carry written letters to their destination.
But they were also authorised to represent
the interests of the person they served.
This was essential in ancient times. You needed authorised envoys…
or representatives… who could act on your behalf.
So the Prophets were God’s messengers.
In both the Old and New Testaments the word for “angels”…
simply means “God’s messengers”.
In the same way, Jesus was sent by God.
Jesus is God’s Ambassador or Representative.
And now, here in the Gospels the Disciples are Commissioned
to become the Representatives of Jesus.
And so this line of authority eventually comes down to us.
We share the same commission as Jesus… and the Disciples.
God sends us into the community as his representatives today.
As Jesus sent the Disciples out as his representatives…
he told them… as he tells us today that:
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me.
And anyone who welcomes me also welcomes the One who sent me.
Anyone who gives one of my most humble followers a cup of cold water,
just because that person is my follower will surely be rewarded.”
* So, we might ask:
1. What does it mean for us to be a welcoming congregation?
2. How do we make this “House of God” a more homely place?
3. How do we make Keiraview Uniting a “Community of Love”;
a true fellowship f believers?
These are questions we must continually wrestle with as a Congregation.
And we need to consider the fine detail.
For JESUS said:
“If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these
who represent me, they will certainly not lose their reward.”
* We know that as Christians we are called to welcome others
into this space… in Jesus’ name.
We know that as Christians we are called to give of ourselves.
We know that we have a shared responsibility to make
the world a better place by the generosity of our love.
* The story is told about a Parish mission Group
who bought Christmas presents for a family of Missionaries.
After carefully buying new gifts
based upon the family’s needs, sizes and ages,
the Mission group gathered to pack them.
That was when another Church member just “popped in”
with an used coat that her husband didn’t like.
She suggested that rather than throw it away it could go to the Missionaries.
Maybe someone could use it.
The Mission Support Group was not impressed…
and some were deeply offended. They already knew
that this used coat would not fit anyone in the family.
They had purposefully bought new gifts for each individual in the family.
Obviously this woman was out of touch
with the purpose of their Christmas project.
But when the new gifts that they had purchased were packed,
they didn’t quite fill the large carton.
So someone folded up the coat and shoved it into the box,
saying that it made useful packing.
And they all had a good chuckle over that.
After Christmas came a “thank you” letter.
The Missionary family thanked the Church for their many gifts…
especially for the gift of the coat.
It seems that during a storm on Christmas Eve
a stranger had sought shelter at the Mission.
It was obvious that he was in need.
His clothes were worn…
and not very suitable for the wintry conditions.
On Christmas morning, as the family opened their special gifts
they were embarrassed that they had nothing to give to the stranger.
That was when they discovered the coat.
And it fitted the stranger perfectly.
You see, you just never know which gift…
or what loving action…
or even which act of generosity will be most appreciated..
or even most appropriate.
You just never know the consequences
when a cup of cold water is given…
or how even an unwanted coat
may be used to fulfil a plan of God.
But rest assured that no gift that is given…
no welcome that is extended is ever in vain.
For Jesus said:
“If anyone gives… even a cup of cold water…
to one of these little ones…
he will certainly not lose his reward.”
* As a Congregation worshipping in this place
we know that God calls us to exercise self-giving love.
And he calls us to be the living evidence of that love.
Of course some people are afraid to give of their money…
their time… and their abilities.. to some project… or appeal…
made by the Congregation on behalf of “this or that” cause.
They are probably also afraid to surrender their life to God
because they think that they lose what they are giving.
They do not understand God’s economy!
They do not understand that God works differently.
That God’s ways… are not our ways!
If you are afraid of wholeheartedly giving yourself to God…
then our prayer… the prayer of those around you…
is that God may begin to work
in your heart and mind this morning.
Perhaps God is even preparing your heart and mind even now.
If so, do not hesitate to respond to that call when it comes to you.
But… as a Congregation we need to ask:
“Are we, as a Christian community, afraid to give of ourselves?”
Do we feel that it’s no use bothering ourselves…
because people are just not interested in what we have to offer?
Instead of being a “Light to the world”…
do we just huddle around our own little candles…
afraid that the light will go out?
In all honesty, do we at times try to avoid the risks of Discipleship?
These are questions that we need to face as a Congregation.
And the answers we give will be a mark of our spiritual maturity.
1. Firstly then… we need to think of ourselves as one big family.
When there is a wedding in this Church,
the bride’s family and friends sit on this side (left as you walk in)…
the groom’s family and friends
sit on this side (right as you walk in)…
And as the bride and the groom take their vows, and say: “I do!”
so a new family is established in the sight of God.
As the bride and groom enter into a covenant relationship…
promising to love, honour and protect each other,
so in a sense both sets of family and friends
are also being brought together
in a new family relationship.
This should also be happening here with us… Sunday by Sunday…
This place is our spiritual home and we should see ourselves
as God’s family sharing together.
“We are family… we are one”
2. Secondly… we should practice on each other the welcome…
and the hospitality that we experience in our own homes
and in our own families.
We need to be genuinely concerned about each other’s welfare.
We need to welcome new-comers and visitors
as we would welcome Christ himself.
The word should be spreading throughout the whole community
that this… is a place of welcome.
A home… a family… a congregation
where God’s people can be found…
and real fellowship experienced.
3. Thirdly… each one of us needs to remember that we also have needs.
We must remember our own need of God’s grace…
our own need of forgiveness…
our own need of companionship.
We must remember any loneliness or hurt
that we might have experienced…
and be able to remember how God…
through this very fellowship…
through this family of people… has met our need.
For we also need to receive gifts of grace… true compassion…
loving concern… and a friendly welcome.
For these are the means whereby we can experience
healing and wholeness.
There are times when each and every one of us needs to allow ourselves
to be ministered to by others… in Jesus’ name.
4. Fourthly… and lastly… we must make a conscious decision
to invite Jesus be Lord of our lives…. for this is the only way
that we can be Christ-like in our service of others,
reaching out to all in need
as we would seek to serve Jesus himself.
Such service is costly… occasionally our privacy will be invaded…
and our patience tried and tested.
Yet, as a Congregation of God’s people,
we need to run the risk of being today’s disciples,
and extend to everyone who enters this church
a friendly… family welcome… in Jesus’ name.
Hymn 650 (Servant Song) “Brother, sister, let me serve you”
1. Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.
2. We are pilgrims on a journey
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.
3. I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.
4. I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we’ve seen this journey through.
5. When we sing to God in heaven
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.
6. Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I might have the grace to
let you be my servant too.
A Prayer for the Dedication of our Offerings
Lord Jesus Christ, you were rich,
yet for our sake you became poor,
so that through your poverty we might become rich.
Accept the offerings we now dedicate in your name
as a sign of our gratitude for all you have done for us.
This our prayer we offer in your holy name. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession and The Lord‘s Prayer
On this cold Winter’s morning let us be glad and grateful that we can meet here in this place of worship, to feel the love of the God who laid down his life for us, and the warmth of friendship and fellowship of those gathered around us.
Let us pray.
Our Gracious God and Heavenly Father. You hold our entire world in your hands, from the highest majestic mountains to the smallest micro-organisms. We can conquer the loftiest peaks and gasp in wonder at the mighty whales migrating north to warmer waters, but it is the things that we cannot see or control that we fear the most. The corona pandemic is continuing to shape how we live our lives and plan our futures but throughout it all you are still our Lord who promised he would never leave us or forsake us and so we faithfully wait in your Spirit of hope, patience and self-control.
These last few months have provided an opportunity to stop, look and listen to all the voices that define us as your people; the importance of loving one another whether it be our closest family and friends or the stranger in the street; no matter what our circumstances or what is going on in the world you are still God; how will we be a part of the new thing that you are doing here at Keiraview?
Lord we pray for those who are homeless and seeking whatever shelter they can find while we snuggle up under our warm doonas. Cold weather is felt the keenest by those who are suffering from family breakdown, mental illness or self-isolation because of guild and shame. We pray for those who work at the coalface and minister to those who need strength and healing of body, mind and spirit.
We ask for your blessing on Annette and the family as she continues treatment; for those who care for elderly parents or spouses, and we especially remember Pat as she awaits a permanent place for Keith while still grieving the loss of their only child, Ross. We also pray for those who have been given a very concerning medical diagnosis such as Liz Crawford, and the families who support them with love and commitment for the journey ahead.
We pray for Alan, Robyn and the family in the loss of Alan’s brother, Brian. And now in silence we bring before you the people and situations that are known to us the most personally – we pray for you strength and healing and peace.
Lord, as we open our doors of welcome wider, to all who would come to warm their hands in the hands of love we represent, we pray of our Eden Playtime meeting here on Tuesday. We uphold each young mother and the precious cargo you have entrusted to her care; that she will find a place where there is a friendship, recreation, and community.
We ask for your blessing on every person and family that is represented in this place and help us to remember that you can take the most negative experience and turn it into something good for your purposes.
And we pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, out lord and Saviour who taught us to pray:
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 in the time of trail and deliver us from evil.
For the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory are yours
Now and forever. Amen.
Hymn 596 (AT MHB 29 [Lloyd]) - “Fill my whole life, O Lord my God”
1. Fill my whole life, O Lord my God,
in every part with praise,
that my whole being may proclaim
your being and your ways.
2. Not for the lip of praise alone,
nor ev’n the praising heart
I ask, but for a life made up
of praise in every part:
3. praise in the common things of life,
its goings out and in;
praise in each duty and each deed,
however small and mean.
4. Fill every part of me with praise:
let all my being speak
of you and of your love, O Lord,
poor though I be and weak.
5. So shall you, Lord, receive from me
the praise and glory due;
and so shall I begin on earth
the song for ever new.
6. So shall no part of day or night
from sacredness be free;
but with you, Lord, in every step,
my fellowship will be.
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.